Topics covered in Post-National Discussion

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Re: Topics covered in Post-National Discussion

Postby rfscoach » May 23rd, 2016, 5:05 pm

Would anyone involved like to share some of the topics/ideas brought up?
Sure.. I think one of the most important ones is which Chalker looks better in a cheese head hat: me (who was wearing it all over campus all day Saturday), or my mother (who wore one on the stage near the end of the awards ceremony).
Hmmm....Patrick. By the way, nice eye roll towards Matt at the Coaches/ES meeting.
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Re: Topics covered in Post-National Discussion

Postby chalker » May 23rd, 2016, 6:08 pm

Hmmm....Patrick. By the way, nice eye roll towards Matt at the Coaches/ES meeting.
He deserved it... he was the first ES to decide to make an announcement, breaking the good flow we had going.

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Re: Topics covered in Post-National Discussion

Postby chalker » May 23rd, 2016, 6:19 pm

I just wanted to ask how the appeals process worked. Im not 100% sure on how it works, but it seems to me its a bit different at nationals than other tournaments. It seems like the decision is not really made by the ES, but rather by some committee. For one of my events i heard that some 'physics board' was to make the final decision, and ruled against me, despite the nationals ES being on our side.

As others have mentioned, your experiences in NY with appeals are outside the norm for other SO tournaments. Jeff had a good overview above of the process. The one point he didn't mention (and perhaps isn't even aware of), is that the National Arbitration board will sometimes bring in the National Committee chair for the event to provide their opinion / insight. I think this might be what you heard with regards to 'physics board'. I, as the Physics Committee chair, was brought in several times to the arbitration room (which is always located right next to the scoring room I run) to provide some input. Note I didn't get a formal vote, but obviously can significantly impact the opinions of the 3 members of the team.

I'm a bit confused about your statement regarding 'the nationals ES being on our side'. If that's the case, the appeal would never have gone to the arbitration board. They only get it when the competitors and ES disagree.

FYI, I can't remember the exact numbers, but something like 2/3rds of the appeals were denied this year and 1/3 granted. And in at least 1 case when they were granted, the penalty was retroactively removed from multiple teams, including ones that didn't even appeal, in order to be fair to everyone.

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Re: Topics covered in Post-National Discussion

Postby Bazinga+ » May 23rd, 2016, 8:59 pm


I'm a bit confused about your statement regarding 'the nationals ES being on our side'. If that's the case, the appeal would never have gone to the arbitration board. They only get it when the competitors and ES disagree.
It was an unusual case. I think the ES thought it was a grey area in the rules but seemed to be pretty confident that our appeal would go through.
I would also like to question the appropriateness of penalties not in the rules. Namely, for many events when a rule isn't followed/ something is out of specs it is decided that the team's event score would receive some penalty. To me it seems to make more sense to either completely DQ/tier a team in an event or not to, rather than giving them an arbitrary penalty.
This is because the significance of a penalty could not only drastically vary from competition to competition, but is also a sign of poor event design, in that a scenario was not covered in the rules and now an almost random penalty must be assigned (especially if the penalty is chosen by people without much knowledge of score distribution and the event's difficulty).
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Re: Topics covered in Post-National Discussion

Postby chalker » May 24th, 2016, 6:52 am

I would also like to question the appropriateness of penalties not in the rules. Namely, for many events when a rule isn't followed/ something is out of specs it is decided that the team's event score would receive some penalty. To me it seems to make more sense to either completely DQ/tier a team in an event or not to, rather than giving them an arbitrary penalty.
This is because the significance of a penalty could not only drastically vary from competition to competition, but is also a sign of poor event design, in that a scenario was not covered in the rules and now an almost random penalty must be assigned (especially if the penalty is chosen by people without much knowledge of score distribution and the event's difficulty).
A couple comments on this:

1. We can't always account for all possible scenarios / things that would happen in events (we are human afterall and have limited time and space to print the rules in). Hence we put in General Rule #1 about the spirit of the problem and a vague statement giving the tournament director the ability to assess arbitrary penalty points.

2. Also note General Rule #5, which encourages officials to apply the LEAST restrictive penalty possible. We definitely don't want to be DQ/Tiering people for every little mistake, but we also don't want to have there be NO repercussions for violating the rules.

3. I agree penalties could vary drastically from competition to competition, which is partially why we want to hear about them and we monitor SciOly. However note that at Nationals the penalty discussions are going to involve the people with the most knowledge possible about the event rules. We also generally don't even look at the score distributions when assessing a penalty - each one should stand on it's own merit.

4. While you haven't explicitly said it, I'm pretty sure you are referring to the situation in It's About Time. As an aside, in case you didn't realize I was the person that came in to the room near the end of the device testing period and asked you a couple questions about your device and took pictures of it. The Event Supervisor texted me to come provide advice on the situation. He and I discussed it extensively and jointly agreed the device design was a violation of the spirit of the rules. I think you might have misinterpreted his attempts to 'soften the blow' while informing you of the penalty as him 'being on your side of the penalty'.

5. Note that rule 5.f. gives leeway in the exact penalty to be assessed for construction violations (e.g. up to 10 points). You were assessed a 5 point penalty (not 10 like you previously stated), which moved your rank from 18th place to 27th (and didn't have any impact on your overall team ranking).

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Re: Topics covered in Post-National Discussion

Postby anagene » May 24th, 2016, 9:43 am

Hmmm....Patrick. By the way, nice eye roll towards Matt at the Coaches/ES meeting.
He deserved it... he was the first ES to decide to make an announcement, breaking the good flow we had going.
Did you mean rolls?
He had the look of one who had drunk the cup of life and found a dead beetle at the bottom.

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Re: Topics covered in Post-National Discussion

Postby chalker » May 24th, 2016, 10:09 am

Did you mean rolls?
Yes, he deserved the eye roll ;)

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Re: Topics covered in Post-National Discussion

Postby rfscoach » May 24th, 2016, 4:54 pm

Did you mean rolls?
Yes, he deserved the eye roll ;)
Chalker7, anything to add?
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Re: Topics covered in Post-National Discussion

Postby Bazinga+ » May 28th, 2016, 6:05 pm

Not sure if this has been covered before, but I don't think it's right to just have the coaches of the teams which appeal to argue the appeal. Most often the students doing the event for that team have more knowledge of the event/device/rules, while the coach simply has a general understanding of each event.
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Re: Topics covered in Post-National Discussion

Postby chalker » May 29th, 2016, 7:17 am

Not sure if this has been covered before, but I don't think it's right to just have the coaches of the teams which appeal to argue the appeal. Most often the students doing the event for that team have more knowledge of the event/device/rules, while the coach simply has a general understanding of each event.
The coach is the conduit. A main reason for this is that they can serve as an initial triage for issues that are worth appealing and those that aren't. Another reason is that if you can't explain the situation / facts to your coach, you aren't likely to be able to explain them to the arbitration team. Oftentimes the arbitration committee will ask the coach to bring the students in to demonstrate / talk to them if they need further information.

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