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December 2008

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Subject:
From:
Steve Scherr <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Steve Scherr <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Thu, 11 Dec 2008 23:50:43 -0500
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On Thu, 11 Dec 2008 14:31:21 -0500, Swayne, Nick <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>... my concern at the state tournament was .... the very precise integration of the referee into 
the team that I took issue with.  Their plan required pre-match "training" for the referee to the 
degree that the ref became a de-facto team member.

I made comments in the Championship forum about terminology, and so I'll rebut myself here 
with respect to the rules that appear to be under discussion.

In past years, as a referee, I have declined to relocate objects to precisely-defined locations, as 
the rules allowed me to move them "out of the way" but the focus on autonomous action did not 
permit me to do "fine location" on behalf of the robot or team.

In this year's rules, all the relevant Stray Objects rules have the helping verb "may" in referring to 
the referee's permission to move objects.  The referee will apply Benefit of the Doubt as to whether 
the movement has a strategic purpose, and especially, "a direct effect upon scoring".  I admit to a 
double standard at times--there is a lot more doubt in my mind about a strategic purpose for a 
team that only does a handful of missions, than there is for a team that can do most of the 
missions and can predict in advance precisely where they will put something and when it needs to 
be (re)moved.  In an ideal world, I would expect such a team to avoid the blocking object or to 
sequence its trips from base so as to eliminate the conflict.  [Since this is not often an ideal world, 
it is certainly possible that a brainstorm idea occurs very close to the beginning of the 
tournament, reducing the ability to take such actions.]

The Benefit of the Doubt rule gives the referees flexibility "when it is reasonable to do so".  Any 
time that a team thinks that it might be being exceptionally clever, it is good to consider: "If a 
strategy is questionable for you, chances are it will be questionable for the ref too, and guarding 
it until the tournament is risky."  If a team thinks of the strategy in time to ask the question, then 
relying on the referee to rule in the team's favor is a poor engineering decision--the team could 
have eliminated variability by getting an explicit answer.

Final analysis--
Using one time attachments and leaving them in the field is ALLOWABLE (and perfectly fine, IMHO)
Asking the referee to move or remove dropped attachments is ALLOWABLE
The referee moving the attachments is ALLOWABLE but also NOT REQUIRED.  If the ref doesn't 
move them, you can consider him/her to be mean, but not unethical or breaking any rules.

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