In the manual update today, <r11> was changed in few ways, one of which is that it limits the material of commercially available screws to just steel or stainless steel.
I see this as a very unfortunate and confusing change.
In past seasons, going back as far as itz and quite possibly further, teams have had used nylon and aluminum screws as a method of weight reduction. Using nylon and aluminum screws has a lot of precedence in the program, especially among competitive teams who strive to optimize their robots to the fullest extent allowed.
This practice is, in my opinion, beneficial to the program because it encourages teams to make considerations about things like material properties and tradeoffs, which are very useful and important parts of real engineering. And this option was presented without any unfairness between teams with different levels of funding, as both nylon and aluminum screws can be purchased from robosource, mcmaster, and other providers for very cheap prices. (in many cases, cheaper than official vex screws). And lighter screws is also not very advantageous, it serves only as a way to optimize, not a make or break component of robots.
I myself used nylon screws on my worlds robot last season, and I would be willing to bet that the majority of robots that made it to division finals or beyond also used nylon or aluminum screws. They were a widespread and well established component of vrc robot construction. No issues were had with nylon screws until the gdc began blurring the legality of them through very vague and indeterminate q&a responses, unlike responses that gave a definitive answer in earlier seasons.
So, my question is essentially, why did the gdc feel the need to first question, and then ban a well-established and positively impacting component in the construction of robots? In a day and age when technology is advancing rapidly, it seems very counterproductive to me to impose further limitations on basic design freedoms like the material of screws.
It may seem silly to complain so vehemently about something as minor as the legal material for screws, and at the end of the day this change only makes it a little harder for teams to optimize their robots, but to me this change represents the gdc facing in the wrong direction when it comes to technological progress, and imposing unnecessary and harmful restrictions to the program that is so important to me and countless others.