Programming copying rules

If a team 4copies code made by another team but changes variables can they get dqed

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If its plagiarism (you took the code without permission) then it could go against the code of conduct.
If the other team gave you the code then it’s not against the rules.

The key interest of judges (and most involved volunteers) is that you understand the code you are using. If you copy another teams code and you have no idea how it works, and cannot make adjustments or improvements then there are ground for DQ or even removal from an event. Nobody wants a team to fail but if a 3rd party is doing all of your programming then it gives you an unfair advantage over teams of the same age that write their own code.

One could argue that you are already using a 3rd party by using the pre-compiled code provided by Vex (and others) but I would counter that same code is provided to all of the teams up front so all teams have an even opportunity for success.


I will say that unless you go bragging about it on the VEXforum, no one will ever know any different, so there’s no point of it even being an issue. Still, don’t copy someone else.

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There are a lot of behaviors at an event that reveal if the team knows their code. Plus, other teams are expecting a team to be capable of modifying their code to change strategies. If a team can’t then they don’t make for a very good alliance partner.

I am not even touching on the ethics and judging concerns.

I would look at Student Centered Policy for some guidance on programming expectations
Here are important excerpts that are relevant to this discussion:

At Events:

Students creating and revising their own programs and explaining code functionality and development over the season. Students can demonstrate applying programming concepts contained within their code. Adults sharing troubleshooting tips when students encounter a complex programming task.

Outside the Events:

Students programming their own robot (driver and autonomous) and developing an autonomous strategy. Students learning programming fundamentals from Adults or other sources that can be applied to create custom programs for their robots. Students crediting how programming concepts were derived as comments in their code and in their engineering notebook.

Further Notes on Programming

The guidelines for student-centered programming are challenging to define due to the variety of programming learning resources and the amount of available code online. It is beyond the scope of this guide to specify the legality of all possible scenarios and it is recommended specific questions are posted on the Official Q&A’s.

Importance of Fundamentals

Learning a new skill or concept should begin with the fundamentals to build a solid foundation so the student can understand and apply this knowledge. Students with novice programming skills should use learning resources that emphasize building and applying foundational knowledge and should not incorporate programming concepts into their robot that is beyond their current ability level. This general guideline supports appropriate learning progressions and fair play at competitions.

Teams that utilize example code or custom libraries from outside sources should use caution. The program used in the robot should represent the students’ design efforts and abilities. Blindly using code without understanding the code functionality is not consistent with the educational goals of this program. Students should be able to understand and explain the code used on their robots, and students should be able to demonstrate that they can program on par with the code included on their robot.


  • If students are using a custom function, then they should be able to describe the functionality of the custom function and demonstrate how to create and use a custom function.
  • If students are using a custom library, then they should be able to describe how the code used from the library functions and should have the ability to create and import a custom library.
  • If students are using custom PID controls, they should understand PID feedback control concepts and the functionality of the PID code development and implementation.

Overall, students should be utilizing skills that are within their ability levels and understanding.


Advances in ideas and technology are often built on the knowledge of others and it is important to give credit to those contributions. Teams that use or adapt mechanical design ideas and code developed by someone other than the students on the team should cite these sources in their engineering notebook and code. During Pit interviews, students should describe how these contributions were utilized in the development of their robot. Teams may select their preferred format of citation and should generally include the following information:

  • Title of resource or source code
  • Author(s)
  • Date (date of publication or release)
  • Version (if applicable)
  • Location (where to find the source)

There are many online resources to learn more about the importance of citation, what to cite, and how to cite sources. Teams that use or adapt outside sources are encouraged to research more about citation.


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