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Official Q&A: VRC 2022-2023: Spin Up

Usage Guidelines All Questions

Inspection and Documentation Requirements


In Q&A 1149, Grant wrote the following:

"If a Team was willing to take the time to drill out every screw used on their Robot, I would be surprised that they found the task of documenting / explaining that effort to be more time consuming or challenging. This is why, if an inspector sees a set of perfectly consistent precision-machined hollow screws, they are probably going to assume the screws were purchased, not hand-made."

I want to ask a few follow up questions. The GDC has historically not answered broad hypotheticals, so I have written out 3 specific cases that we can hopefully use to establish the broader inspection principles. So, I'm sorry to do this, but here are 3 annoyingly borderline specific cases:

  1. Suppose an inspector notices drilled out screws on a robot. Should the inspector compare the screws and look for for minor variances? If no variances are found, and the team does not have an engineering notebook, should the inspector assume the screws are illegal?
  2. Many other legal parts can be modified such that they are basically indistinguishable from illegal off-the-shelf parts. For example, a legal washer could be machined to closely resemble an illegal off-the-shelf C clip. A legal spacer could also be lathed to closely resemble an illegal off-the-shelf spacer with a smaller diameter. Does the principle established for drilled screws apply to C clips and small spacers and other similar parts as well?
  3. Suppose an inspector notices only one drilled screw, small spacer, C clip, or similar part on a robot (meaning they have nothing to compare it to.) How should the inspector determine if the part is legal?

Maybe this is overstepping, but I'd like to suggest for the ruling to err on the side of tolerance. Inspectors and competitors both prefer less punitive inspection rules.

In any case, thank you for your time!

Answered by committee

There are a few reasons why we will not be answering this question.

As noted in the linked Q&A 1149, it is outside the scope of this Q&A system to provide detailed explanations of the nuances and human judgments involved in the inspection process. The only way to possibly do so would be to over-generalize something that is unique to every event's context, teams, and volunteer resources.

The Q&A platform is intended to be a communication channel for questions such as "is this interpretation of a rule legal", not a discussion forum for implications of previously-made rulings. This post does not contain any explicit rules questions, only requests for how to handle hypothetical human judgment calls.

So, the only response we can provide to that question is to point teams to the following portion of T1:

When an ambiguous rule results in a controversial call, there is a natural instinct to wonder what the “right” ruling “should have been,” or what the GDC “would have ruled.” This is ultimately an irrelevant question; our answer is that when a rule specifies “Head Referee’s discretion” (or similar), then the “right” call is the one made by the Head Referee in the moment. The VEX GDC designs games, and writes rules, with this expectation (constraint) in mind.

And finally, although we have been fairly lenient this season on questions being incorrectly posted on the VRC Q&A platform by VEX U teams and vice-versa, we would also like to note that all of the questions in this post are irrelevant to VEX U teams. In VEX U, rules VUR3, VUR4, and VUR5 take precedence over rules such as R11.