I apologize for bringing this topic up again, but I am still confused about the requirement of scored vs unscored golf balls and their necessity in ETS eligibility.
The original rules state (bold text is mine):
A bonus ETS is defined to "receive points only if: 1) it is initiated by the process of a golf ball moving into a scoring jug (cannot be counted as an Energy Form); 2) it has a sequence of 2 or more transfers from one Energy Form to a different Energy Form; 3) the ETS is successful in its entirety as listed in the ASL; 4) it causes the next golf ball to move toward and into a scoring jug; 5) the device ceases to work when the ETS is not successful or the ETS is removed; and 6) both the initiating golf ball and next golf ball drop into a scoring jug.
One rules clarification states:
2014-10-26 19:58 Do the initiating and final golf balls have to be eligible for scoring in order for an ETS to be eligible for scoring? Initiating and final referring to the golf ball starting the ETS and the golf ball released at the end of the transfer.
Yes, both the initiating and final golf balls must be eligible for scoring in order for an ETS to be eligible for scoring.
No. Neither the initiating nor the final golf balls need to be scoreable balls in order for an ETS to be eligible for scoring.
2014-10-26 19:42 If more than one golf ball is being sorted, do you just drop one in to start the device and the others are already placed in the device, or must all of them be dropped in?
The Start Task golf ball is the only one that is not in the device at the Start. All other golf balls must begin in the device. at a point below the bottom of the lowest scoring plastic beverage jug. (Italics signify this text was crossed out)
2014-10-22 08:07 Can objects, other than scoring golf balls, be placed inside of the scoring jugs, provided that they do not alter the inside surface of the jug?
No, objects other than the scoring golf balls may not be inside the scoring jugs. The inside of the scoring jug may not contain any objects, excluding scoring golf balls, throughout the duration of the run.
For the purposes of my argument I will ignore the contradiction in the third rules clarification as an error and assume that non-scoring golf balls can be in the jug.
As Chalker stated, the intent of these clarifications is to allow for ETS points if one golf ball is to fail. (For example, if an ETS is planned to have 2 + 50 + 2 points, and for whatever reason the second golf ball does not get into the jug, the ETS will still receive credit). However, I think these clarifications can be interpreted such that they do not require the attempted lifting of golf balls into a jug to cause ETS points.
As an example, we can hypothetically take two competitors:
One competitor interprets the clarifications as allowing for possible failure in lifting the golf balls, but still requiring the attempted lifting in order to qualify as starting and ending an ETS. As a result, he designs and builds 6 components to vertically lift the golf balls the required distance into the jug, spending significantly more time and possibly reducing the reliability of his device. In addition, the added components make his device larger, causing him to lose some of his competitive advantage.
The other competitor interprets the clarifications as allowing for not having to lift golf balls such that they become "scoreable". He simply has them start near the top of the jug and uses a simple mechanism to push them into the jug, allowing him to spend less time in construction, increase the reliability of his device, and reduce the size but still gain the significant ETS bonus points.
If the second competitor's interpretation is legal, at the national level he or she would have a significant advantage.
Ultimately, the judged legality of the device will come down to which way the proctor interprets the rules clarifications at the competition - whether the second competitor's interpretation does or does not violate the General Rules ("interpreting the rules in a way to give an unfair advantage"). Since a given proctor can obviously vary, given the ambiguity of the clarifications my concern is that differentiation between the winning and losing competitors will become a question of which interprets the rules more liberally and is able to get away with it rather than which has built the best device.
Any thoughts or a definitive response to this ambiguity (or at the very least, a ruling on how this would be interpreted at the national level) would be much appreciated. For now, I will interpret this in the most restrictive sense (that you are required to attempt to lift the golf balls to receive ETS points). I would send a rules clarification to try to get a clearer ruling, but I am not sure how to succinctly phrase the situation and my concerns in a clarification format that would yield a meaningful response, especially considering the existing contradictions in the previous clarifications.