Parking on Opposing Platform

This had been stated in another thread:

I responded with this:


As for the Newton’s law part, I was just stating that it bothered me because I know physics well, not that it will mess up the judging. This is not the really important part. But multiple people have questioned this, so I’ll explain Newton’s third law and how it applies here:

In terms of pushes (forces) and robots, Newton’s third law states (action-reaction pairs) that if Opposing Robot pushes Alliance Robot, then Alliance Pushes Opposing Robot just as strong but in the opposite direction. Now let’s look at what is written. The Opposing Robot can push the Alliance Robot on the Opposing Platform the same way as the Center Platform, which presumably would be from slightly below could possibly be from higher, though difficult). Meanwhile, the Alliance Robot cannot be on the Opposing Platform pushing down at the Opposing Robot. But if the Opposing Robot decides to move Alliance Robot out of the way and is pushing somewhat (a component) upward at the Alliance Robot on the Opposing Platform, then the Alliance Robot is pushing somewhat (a component) downward on the Opposing Robot from the Opposing Platform due to Newton’s third law. There is no way to have one without the other. So this action is being ruled both legal and illegal. The rules say Opposing Robot can do this, but they also say Opposing Robot can’t force Alliance Robot to break a rule, which it is also doing.

If, however, the prepositions are incorrect, maybe this issue will arise less frequently. Maybe “down from” is totally incorrect. Maybe it’s supposed to be “off of,” which has a drastically different meaning. This would allow pushing Opposing Robots not yet on the Opposing Platform, and Newton’s third law would only be a problem in much rarer cases.


More importantly, there becomes a big question of what constitutes sufficient illegal pushing. At what point is pushing considered pushing? Do you have to be traveling in the direction of the other robot to be considered the pushing robot? Is it with any active mechanism, such as a drive set to fight being pushed? Etc.? There can be enough leeway here that refs in different regions could apply the rule quite differently.

I think you are misunderstanding the rule. Your statement that down from is a preposition is incorrect. While “down” and “from” can both be used as prepositions when used alone, they are not when used together. It could say: “You can’t push an opposing robot off of an opposing platform” to make it a bit clearer but it isn’t a big deal. The first possible point of confusion is the word pushed, but that is an obvious typo and is supposed to be push. The next point of confusion is “down from.” The word “down” as used here is an adverb, not a preposition as you said. It is referring to the motion the robot will have after getting pushed off. From is referring to where the robot came from before falling. I hope this clears up the confusion and makes sure others don’t get confused as well, because there is nothing contradicting any of newton’s laws in the rule.

First, that is not the common use of “down from” or similar “up from,” etc., especially when dealing with forces. These terms get used frequently in physics with forces and in construction and related areas not meaning “off of.” For example, when you “tie [something] down from,” the general intent is to prevent the thing from moving by connecting it to some point, pulling it toward that point, not to make the thing move down from where it is.

Regardless, there is still a Newton’s law contradiction with “off of,” as I mentioned. Any robot trying to push its way onto its own platform and nearly but not quite making it (meaning off the ground for an instant while pushing the other robot) is going to be in that situation. The contradiction becomes far rarer, as I mentioned, but it continues to exist.

Even allowing for the intent being “off of,” we have big problems. Maybe even bigger. Let’s say my robot is on the center platform. A robot is on its own platform and pushes mine to get to the center platform. I fight back and that robot falls off its own platform. This is both illegal and legal? Illegal for knocking it off its own platform and legal for contesting the center platform?

I’m not saying the essence of this rule is a bad thing. I think it will be good. I’m saying they really need to clarify some parts. I look forward to reading how this is officially written.

It isn’t illegal as you waive g12 when going for the center platform. The rules are very clear about this.

You might want to read what you’re citing again, specifically Note 2:

Note that there are even problems between Note 1 and Note 2 prior to this. I don’t think the intent is that if you’re Alliance Parked then you’re protected by G12 when you fight for the Center Platform. But G12 does say you are. And this new added one using “off of” would only add to that. They really need to update Note 2 to say “…Alliance Parked and not competing for the Center Platform…” instead of just “…Alliance Parked…”

No, they don’t. If you read note 1, then you will see the words attempt to utilize. This wording means you don’t have to be on the platform to waive g12. Trying to drive onto the center platform is about as close to the definition of “attempt to utilize” as it can get.

Sure, in general. Except that Note 2 explicitly exempts the Alliance Platform from Note 1, so Note 1 doesn’t apply here. So you have to show how the Alliance Parked robot is exempt from G12 without applying Note 1. If you can’t, then the Alliance Parked robot is still protected by G12.

When I try to read intent into it, I lean strongly in the direction of agreement with you. But that isn’t what the rules actually say. And when we get clarifications of intent pushing Note 2 more strongly, I have to seriously doubt I’m reading intent into it properly.

Note 1 takes priority over note 2.

So you say and have said. This what the rules actually say:

Therefore Note 1 does not include the Alliance Platform.



So this is the issue if I understand correctly:

Blue on center. Red on alliance.

Red push. Blue push.

Blue on center. Red off alliance.

And you’re asking whether G12 still protects red?

Why use many word when few do trick?


That would be one scenario, yes. But it’s far from the only one. The problem with stating a rule by example is that you must provide examples of all possible cases. That’s why it’s a bad approach. Examples are better used to help illustrate a rule.

well im sorry that this is your physics class and you have to apply common sense. I think it will be pretty obvious in a match which robot initiates the push.

As I said, the specificity of Newton’s third law was just something that personally irked me, not something that I thought would cause a problem for the refs. I also explained that I was explaining that part more because people were misunderstanding Newton’s third law, not because it was going to be a really serious issue for the refs.

OK, common sense, huh? Does the rule say “initiates the push”? How about responding to the push with your own push? For example, what about a robot that has a program so that when it’s pushed it keeps trying to stay where it was? Now the robot is actively pushing back, but only in response to being pushed. And what about a robot actively defending itself on the Center Platform from an Alliance-Parked robot trying to knock it off, and that Alliance-Parked robot gets kicked off its platform? What about being on an opponent’s platform and trying to get to the Center Platform and on the way being fought against by an Alliance-Parked robot not trying to get to the Center Platform, and the Alliance-Parked robot falls off? I’m sure I can think of more scenarios, and I also doubt I can think of all scenarios.

Oh! In all of these cases there is active pushing from the robot in violation, but the robot in violation isn’t the one initiating the push. What does your common sense and non-rule about initiating the push tell you about these? Will the referees agree with you? Are you 100% sure? Will the refs nearly always agree with each other?

I’m dubious regarding the premise.

I’m going to need some rule references or FAQ page that instructs this, otherwise what I read in the rules is…

In other words, when you are on the center platform be careful, it’s risky (less protection).
If you are Alliance Parked, it’s just like the rest of the field… not as risky (normal protection).

All good points. It is very easy to provide flip responses but you are challenging students to consider and analyze multiple perspectives and angles.

You’ll have to ask the original writer of it, @iamdavex . That’s why I wrote something along the same lines:

But even in the official rules, I still dislike that the rules say you can be Alliance Parked while attempting to compete in risky ways for the Center Platform and still be protected by G12 while it feels like the intent is the opposite.