Pictures at Invitationals

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cparks
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Pictures at Invitationals

Post by cparks » January 19th, 2013, 5:48 pm

My school was at an invitational event today and after impounding our device, some of the other parents noticed people taking detailed notes and pictures of our box. I'm curious if there's a general consensus in the community about this kind of thing, it seems rather rude to me. One of the other coaches suggested hiding the boxes under a blanket, but I didn't notice any of the other teams doing this, is this necessary? Should I be concerned that other teams are going to attempt to copy our work?

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Re: Pictures at Invitationals

Post by wlsguy » January 19th, 2013, 6:35 pm

cparks wrote:My school was at an invitational event today and after impounding our device, some of the other parents noticed people taking detailed notes and pictures of our box. I'm curious if there's a general consensus in the community about this kind of thing, it seems rather rude to me. One of the other coaches suggested hiding the boxes under a blanket, but I didn't notice any of the other teams doing this, is this necessary? Should I be concerned that other teams are going to attempt to copy our work?

At most invitationals taking pictures of another team's devices is prohibited.
Now notes are another matter. You really can't stop someone from writing down what they see.

Our school has, at times, not used our best devices until later in the season if it was something easily copied.
This was especially the case last year with our teams Chinook Helicopter.
It was ready in December but they "sandbagged" 4 invitationals to insure it would not get copied before regionals and state.

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Re: Pictures at Invitationals

Post by knittingfrenzy18 » January 20th, 2013, 5:11 am

Last year our team took some pictures at invitationals. Although to be polite, you should probably ask for pictures if you want them.

Also, my coach always tells us to bring to lesser stuff to the lower tourneys, so as not to giveaway our best ideas and stuff, and then hit them at state. :D
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Re: Pictures at Invitationals

Post by Skink » January 20th, 2013, 1:24 pm

A couple points. Unfortunately, photography is not against the Mission event rules, Science Olympiad General Rules, or other Science Olympiad policies. Specifically, the Media Recommendations are of interest here. Unacceptable Scenarios 1 and 4 are of interest:
Media Recommendations wrote:Unacceptable Scenario 1 - A student participant takes video or still images of a tournament event without the subject’s permission and posts them online on a web page or public video source, such as YouTube. We cannot stop individual Science Olympiad participants from using their own images (e.g., captured on by video camera or phone camera) of themselves online. If it is being done from a competition or protected event without permission, that team or school may be sanctioned or
disqualified for violating the Rules & Code of Ethics printed online and in every manual.
In other words, unless your device appears on sites like Youtube or this site's wiki, there was no violation.
Same wrote:Unacceptable Scenario 4 - A student brings a recording device (a camera phone, a microphone, any
digital recording device, whether sound, still or video) into a tournament event and uses those images
for a competitive advantage (such as selling the information to a team advancing to the next level;
passing the information along to another team; giving the protected content to a rival science
competition or publishing entity). Any proof of this kind of activity will disqualify a student from
Science Olympiad for a period of time determined by the State Science Olympiad organization in
which the prohibited activity occurred, with ultimate oversight by the Science Olympiad National
Executive Board.
You would have a hard time proving that anyone was gaining competitive advantage by photographing your device.

I'd like to defer to these gentlemen who are builders (since build events are not my forte) who wrote about the issue last season.
Balsa Man wrote: I think this is the first time this year this has come up- it has come up in years past.
There is nothing in the rules - event rules or General Rules - that speaks to this; nothing that says it can't/shouldn't be done.
A competition is open to the public. Absent a rule/requirement/request from the event organizers/supervisors prohibiting photography/videoing, anyone is free to do so.
There are restrictions separating where competitors can be, and where spectators can be, and as long as a spectator follows these, there is no rule issue- whether they are watching, or photographing.
There are no.....intellectual property rights that prohibit anyone from photographing a device.
When you bring a device to a competition, in an event where spectators are allowed, what it looks like, how its built, how it works is open to public observation, limited only by restrictions on how close spectators can be to the device. Up to some level of detail (limited by allowable proximity), what's there and how it works is there to be seen. If in Mission-P -you see a better solution to a task than what you have, there is nothing to prohibit you from trying to implement your version in the next competition. That's how science and engineering works in the "real world"; the body of knowledge expands, it is built on the collective work of others.

A photo capturing a concept, from a distance, is not materially different than seeing and understanding the concept from observation. Implementing a concept is where the challenge is. If you're worried about some key .....cool idea, neat construction trick, etc., then part of the design problem is shielding it from observation.
Fester, from the perspective of an event supervisor, wrote: Every so often I'll run into a builder that's so certain that they have something new that they don't even want to show me. Two things: No view equals no points-- it's in the rules. I also go out of my way to find the earliest possible reference to whatever it is that they claimed was new. I have a pretty good reference library & collection of my own; the earliest in-print was 1840 and the earliest by recollection involved Ben Franklin.

I could go further into motivations behind both photographing as well as preventing photography, and systematic photographing by adults, but it's almost 2 AM, and I also promised I'd be nice. Seriously, instead of getting angry, take it as a compliment of the highest sort.
All of that said, you have a few options.
1. Cover up your device as suggested. Competitive teams have been known to do this.
2. Save your competitive device with ideas you do not wish to spread until later tournaments if showcasing it at an invitational is such a problem. Remember, even if students and parents couldn’t take photographs, the supervisor (who could be a coach from their school) can after Impound.
3. Politely request that folks with cameras and phones not take those pictures. Noncompliance with that sort of request does violate some rule somewhere. I’d rather not go find it since it’s a minor point overall.
4. Accept photography as ‘fair game’ at competition, particularly in open events like Mission.

It goes without saying I’d wager copying or taking note of one task from your box would insufficiently help another team because the tasks have to ‘hang together’ to a degree, do they not? Also, if you’re in IL as indicated, I’d guess the vast majority if not all of IL’s most competitive teams weren’t at yesterday’s invitational, so going with options 1 or 2 above next time is still possible to avoid further dissemination of your ideas. Good luck!

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Re: Pictures at Invitationals

Post by A Person » February 21st, 2013, 1:55 pm

knittingfrenzy18 wrote: Also, my coach always tells us to bring to lesser stuff to the lower tourneys, so as not to giveaway our best ideas and stuff, and then hit them at state. :D
Most higher level teams do this; it's not uncommon to see a team member placing in a build event, which is nice.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke

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