Questionable Calls at Worlds 2019

Hey everybody -

To start off this post, I want to make it clear that we’re not trying to complain about referees in general or bashing any individual in particular. At the end of the day, referees are humans just like us all and make mistakes - their hard work and volunteering often goes unnoticed and events like these take the spotlight over their commitment to fair play. Rather, we’re trying to find an answer to a question you’ll see at the end of the post, alongside a TL;DR.

To provide some context, my team (353X) and I competed in the Arts division at Worlds. We had a great time overall and found little issue with the event apart from the situation described here. During our last qualification match, Qualification 253, the autonomous bonus was given to the red alliance (us) following proper scoring and agreement across the scoring team and head referee. However, about 10 seconds into the driver control period the autonomous bonus was abruptly given to the blue alliance by the head referee without proper re-scoring or agreement from either alliance.

For reference, here’s how the field looked following the conclusion of the autonomous period:

The top two flags on the left pole are half-toggled, the top two flags on the middle pole are blue and the bottom is half-toggled, and all flags on the right pole are on the red side. Although the 8th cap is out of sight, it was against a wall and didn’t count - meaning the red alliance had an advantage on caps as well. This makes the score during the autonomous period 13 (red) - 7 (blue), as the blue robot was not parked whereas the red robot (ours) was. The head referee and scoring team agreed on the red alliance winning autonomous and immediately began driver control.

However, immediately following the start of the driver control period, the head referee calls the autonomous bonus for the blue alliance for whatever reason, and the bonus is awarded to blue DURING driver control without any confirmation from either alliance. Here is a video of the sequence:

We lost the match 17 - 19, meaning the abrupt switch in the autonomous bonus was match affecting. We talked to the scoring team about the situation and asked if we could discuss it with the head referee, upon which we were told that the decision was final and no change would be made.

The outcome of the match meant we seeded 29th as opposed to 15th (had the match been scored properly) and as a result didn’t make the elimination rounds. We’ve accepted that what happened has happened and everybody makes mistakes, but can’t help but wonder -

What can we do about situations like this in the future? How can we make our case clear when indisputable decisions are made abruptly without team confirmation?

TL;DR: Improper scoring of a match and abrupt switching of autonomous bonus DURING driver control affected our seeding and relationship with other alliances, and we had no opportunities to correct the inaccuracy. What can we do about situations like this in the future?


Thank you for beginning to address this problem. It’s very unfortunate that this decision affected your chances so severely.

When driver control starts so quickly after the autonomous bonus is initially awarded, in many instances is it impossible to dispute a call no matter how incorrect it is.

An increased effort to ensure that a concern at least has the potential to be considered in the space between autonomous and driver control would work wonders to solve this problem, and, in your case, the decision that was decided upon should never have been able to be changed at the time that it did. If a change that significant happens, sufficient reasoning should be provided.


This sounds oddly familiar to what happened with 315G at US Open. I can’t recall the exact details, but something occurred similarly with how a misscored match that was agreed upon couldn’t be changed, even though it was agreed upon that the match was scored incorrectly.

However, what’s different about this case is that the match was originally scored correctly- which adds a different layer of confusion. Do you know why the ref was hesitating, or did they give any explanation as to why they decided to unilaterally change the auton score?

As for your question, the sad truth is I don’t think there’s much you can do as a competitor. It seems even at Worlds that competitor input at the time of the match is not valued as much as it needs to be such that these things don’t happen. What I would ask you is, was there a ref that agreed with you? Because at the US Open, I gather some refs agreed with 315G. If this is the case, I would propose to VEX the idea of having two people score a match instead of one, with a head and assistant ref scoring a match’s auton and end result to ensure reliability of results. Also, VEX should allow the rescoring of matches in these kinds of situations, where the ref clearly made a mistake and should be able to correct it.


Many events do this already, but the US Open just didn’t have enough referees to do this.

I agree that this should be more widespread in the future.


We were given no reasoning as to why the ref hesitated or why she changed the score DURING the driver control period. Even after the match concluded, we were told that the changing of the autonomous bonus wouldn’t matter as we won the match anyways, only for the scoring team to correct themselves a few moments later and say it WAS match affecting. It seems the entire scoring team AND head referee agreed on the decision to award the bonus to the red alliance at the beginning and based on one motion by the head referee the decision was reversed.

EDIT: Fixed “to” in the first sentence to “no.”

And even in cases where it doesn’t affect the scoring of a match, having the right autonomous winner always matters, because AP’s are the first tiebreaker after win points.


Does anyone have the video of the whole match from the start including autonomous?

I looked through it on Livestream, even if blue parked, it seems obvious red won.

This is a consequence of the game rate RECF seems bent on pursuing and also one of the reasons we stopped going to Worlds a couple years back. Once Worlds starts, they can’t seem to wait to push it as fast as they can until it’s done. The timing between autonomous and driver is almost non-existent. I understand the need to stay on time, but would rather see 10 games at Worlds instead of 12 and give the proper amount of time for auton calculation. It really feels like everyone is in a frenzy.


I just watched the livestream. Its certainly odd. I’m obviously missing something though because whilst it looks like autonomous was scored wrong the end result was a blue win according to robot events, on the live stream the score comes up as a red win (albeit still with the blue auton)

Edited to add, I guess this was the correction noted in your second post, I just added it up for myself and the score on the livestream was wildly incorrect.

It’s an odd one for sure and a question that only the person who made the change to the Autonomous winner can answer.


I remember watching this match on the livestream, very odd. I think as a competitor you did all you could, there just needs to be score agreement before anything gets entered imo.

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The problem isn’t that they didn’t consult us - it’s that they CHANGED the score without consulting us, while our team was focused on driving. We agreed on the correct score, and then it was changed. Also, an excuse was made that we would have won the match anyways, which wasn’t true and even so would have caused us to rank lower due to lower AP. Obviously I’m biased because I’m part of this team, but I don’t understand why worlds decided to add 2 more matches to each schedule and rush matches insanely hard instead of having more time and simply running 10 matches, and actually giving time for calls to be made and for teams to enter their own arguments. At one point, I remember Arts running 10 minutes ahead of schedule, meaning they were rushing faster than the schedule intended.

From what I understand, this exact situation happened to the team next to our pits (343Y?) in one of their matches, and an auton misscore occured in Round Robin- I can’t remember what match it was but it was Arts vs. some other team, and they scored a random cap which wasn’t on a post. They rushed passed Arts’ argument, and I don’t believe that they rectified the issue at all. Even though it wasn’t match affecting, APs still matter in ranking (as can be seen by the 14 rank difference that this call made).

I just feel kind of helpless and undervalued as a competitor seeing as to the fact that we were told that the match was final and the ref just moved on without considering a score change.


We had a similar issue between 6105C and 323Z. Auto wasnt counted as it looked to go to 323z at a quick glance cause of parking and 6105c’s auto failing completely. However, the alliance partner for 6105 had scored 5 flags and it appeared to obviously be in 6105s favor. The ref called blue(323) and very quickly hesitated and called wait 3 or 4 times but driver control started and he couldnt do anything at that point but rule blue since he had already called it. We were told when asked that we shouldve made a bigger issue of it at the time but we couldnt because there was not even a count down to driver. Just him calling blue and driver starting. This resulted in a tie match. This ref was not present for elims in arts and we heard the replacement head ref telling the scorekeepers that auton needed to be scored extremely carefully.


You’re right - the need to stay on schedule and in some cases AHEAD of schedule seems to outweigh a commitment to fair play - the decision to choose BO1 as opposed to BO3 is one which has been endlessly debated but an example of the RECF’s pursuit of logistical perfection and a scenario in which teams who are more deserving of a victory often get unlucky.


The unfortunate thing is that when consulting the scoring team about a discussion with the head referee (the person who made the change to the Autonomous winner), we were told her decision was final and no change would be made - thus making any of our reasoning pointless.

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My team got flipped over in two different matches while stacking caps and the ref did nothing about it.

While I myself have no experience with these kinds of things, short of myself counting wrong and being confused, I’d just like to commend you on this post. You do not lash out unreasonably at the RECF, or try to change what has already happened. Instead, you call for change in the future, to help other teams. Your claim has legitimacy and you have evidence to back it up. These are the kinds of posts we should be seeing on this topic.


Thank you. I’m sure we’ve all seen inflammatory posts and unreasonable expectations from event staff in the past - by making this thread we’re just looking for an answer to a question we’ve all asked at some point.

Yeah, unfortunately, refs mess up occasionally. In Engineering Q175, defense, 666S, was tipped by offense, 2158K, and the situation was in such a way that had 2158K backed off as the Head Ref said to, they would’ve been tipped by 666S, and, since <G13> exists, the call against them was, in my opinion, bad.

When refs do mess up, there’s a reasonable rule against changing match scores - but I feel like in this case, It’s worlds, there’s clear video evidence, there’s extra refs that could also score matches, so either there should be safeguards or an option to review matches when it’s the SCORE and not a DQ that’s being argued. A lower emphasis on rushing matches would also be nice - the refs barely had any time to listen to team complaints, discuss with teams, or even score the match before moving right onto the next match.

After listening to some teams from this thread as well as talking to others throughout the day, it seems that this match wasn’t an isolated incident, which means that it may have been a systemic problem. At the moment, teams have no options due to the time crunch that causes officials to feel the pressure to move on without a second thought.

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I would gladly sacrifice a match or do in quals to give the refs less pressure to move on and gives more time to check the scores.