Stop, Drop, and Read!
As the build season quickly approaches, remember the importance of reading the game manual before you do anything else. Here is a great example that was posted on Chief Delphi recently:
To: All FRC participants
From: More experienced FRC participants, your inspectors, your referees, and your field crews
Date: 1/4/2014 (published a couple days early on 12/31/13)
Topic: The Manual, and Other Resources
We know that on the date shown above, you will see the 2014 FRC game for the first time. So will we. It’s natural that you’ll have some questions about it. That’s great, so will we.
But when you see the game and immediately go onto Chief Delphi asking “Can we use CO2 on the robot?”, “Where do the bumpers have to be placed?”, “Can we use another battery?”, “Is there a design for X device?”, and “How many robots can we tip before we get a penalty?”, please expect a tough response from us. It’s not that we don’t like you; on the contrary, we’d very much like to get to know you better (and some of us probably will!). In fact, it’s that your questions have probably been answered already, very clearly.
This typical very clear answer can typically be found by a quick reading of the Game Manual. You just have to find the right section. Of those 5 questions above, 4 answers will be in the Robot section, 1 in the Game section, and one will get a response something like “you’ll learn more by designing it yourself”, as it is not in the Manual. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Ctrl-F brings up a find feature, or there’s a search box on the Manual page. Search a couple of key words, and you’ll probably get all the answers you need for those “obvious” questions. Generally, if you’ve looked, and/or you show evidence you’ve looked, the responses won’t be quite so harsh as if you just post “hy guys can we us3 a engine on the robot thx”.
Now, on occasion, you’ll see something in the Manual and have a question. Chances are some other folks did too, probably the rest of us participants and officials at some point. A quick Chief Delphi search will help show what if anything we’ve discussed about the topic; if nothing crops up, start a thread and see what develops.
Bear in mind, however, that ANYTHING you see on Chief Delphi is NOT official. I’ll repeat that: NOT official. If Dean Kamen, Woodie Flowers, Dave Lavery, AND Frank all got onto Chief and said something, it still wouldn’t be official. CD is not the Manual, and it is not the official Q&A system. (Al Skierkewicz on inspection items? Not official yet, but probably will be once you see the officially-released documentation.)
The official communication channels for rules-related items are: The Game Manual, including any Updates up to the latest one, gives the rules. The Q&A answers questions about those rules and gives interpretations. FRC Blog? Not a rules source, but if Frank says something it’s reasonable to assume that a Q&A or Update will address that shortly–but it still isn’t a rule.
Short version: Please read the Manual before asking questions on CD, and bear in mind that no CD answer is ever official.
P.S.: For anybody ANSWERING rules questions, please, please, please put the rule number in your post, so that others can track it down! Quoting the rule verbatim is also a good idea–but then others won’t have the fun of finding it in the Manual and maybe noticing some other rule that affects their design.
It cannot be stressed enough that it is important to know the rules of the game before you attempt to solve the game.
Stop, Drop, and READ!
FRC Game Manual: http://frc-manual.usfirst.org/