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[DPRG] On contests

Subject: [DPRG] On contests
From: Ed Okerson ed at okerson.com
Date: Wed May 30 19:47:15 CDT 2007

I think part of the problem at this weekend's competition was simply that
it was Memorial Day weekend.  That wasn't our fault, we were trying to
accommodate the ISDC schedule, and decided to squeeze in a contest.

Speaking for myself, I find it hard to get excited about the contests
anymore.  The outdoor events are interesting, and I would love to compete
in one of those, but there just isn't enough time in the day to get an
entrant ready.

The indoor events used to be grand specticals at the Science Place, with
lots of press and large crowds gathering, that was part of the appeal. 
Not only could you make your robot run the large course, but when you did
it well there was a lot of applause, and sometimes you even got to see
parts of the event on the news later that evening, or in the paper the
next day.  Lately it seems no one in the club even wants to show up for
the paltry show.  I hope no one takes this as personal criticism, because
it isn't intended that way, but it seems that many have volunteered for
leadership positions and then don't want to lead, just delegate.


> Howdy,
> Dale makes very good points, and he speaks from some experience since he
> has
> himself put many many hours into DPRG events.
>>From the single data point of last weekend's contest (thanks Steve!) the
> observation that jumps out to me is not the lack of contest coordinators,
> but the the lack of contest entries.  Lots of effort went into an event
> for
> only two entries.
> We've had this discussion on and off over the years, and the conventional
> wisdom has always been that the membership just won't build robots without
> contests as an incentive.
> Now I'm probably a peculiar deviant from this wisdom.  My problem has
> usually
> been the opposite --- that there are no contests designed to show off what
> my robots are built to do.
> So my question is this:  Is the conventional wisdom really correct?  Is it
> really true the DPRG membership needs a stead flow of contests else no
> robots will ever get built?
> curious,
> dpa
>> Contest attendees,
>> While the list of suggested improvements for running our various
>> contests grows
>> on a daily basis, I can't help but notice that the list of people
>> willing to
>> coordinate and assist in the orgainzation, execution and presentation of
>> our
>> contests continues to dwindle at an alarming rate.
>> Without contest coordinators, contests don't happen.  Please, if you'd
>> like to
>> help improve our contests or other public events, consider volunteering.
>>  It
>> takes an investment in time and planning to make these things happen.
>> Every
>> contest coordinator, including myself, shares the feeling that "I wish I
>> could
>> have done more".  Better press coverage, more prizes, better attendance,
>> more
>> interesting challenges, contingency plans, more venues - the list goes
>> on
>> seemingly forever.  The amount of available time that can be devoted to
>> these
>> tasks, on the other hand, is of necessity limited.
>> As an officer of the club and member of the board of directors, I
>> recognize and
>> value the contributions of valuable time, creativity and energy made by
>> our
>> contest coordinators.  My personal thanks go out to Steve Rainwater for
>> organizing and bringing to life our most recent contest at the ISDC, as
>> well as
>> spearheading our public presence at that venue.
>> Thanks,
>> Dale Wheat
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