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New 2015 WCA Regulations (Effective July 1, 2015)

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#41
When it comes to the idea of a Rubik's cube I think you are nitpicking.

http://rubik.storflor.com/logo/kube2.jpg

This is what a Rubiks cube looks like.

This is what most people in the world would point at if asked to point at a Rubik's cube.
Noncubers would still look at a stickerless cube and recognize it as a Rubik's cube as well (though they might think it was a cheap knockoff in the same way many would say about my white-plastic Weilong). I think it is you who are nitpicking about the idea of a Rubik's cube. But I can't be sure since you completely ignored my previous post requesting your exact definition of "the original idea of the Rubik's cube." >_>

I think we should allow all puzzles that do not give any visual advantages over this cube.

Suggestion: This could possibly be something to use in the regulations, show a picture of a Rubik's cube and say that any cube that don't give any visual advantages is allowed.
Somebody already mentioned that you failed to define "visual advantage," but here's a couple of points anyway:

We already know that if a cube has tiles, you can see, for example, the BU color without having to tilt the cube as far as you would with stickers. Does this mean you are thoroughly against tiles being allowed by the current regulations?
Hypothetically, if I were able to conclusively prove that I can lookahead better on a white 3x3 than on a black 3x3, would you then be thoroughly against white cubes being allowed?
 
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#42
I see you think like I do. Originally I brought up this approach with the WRC and delegates, but it wasn't viewed particularly popularly at the time. Regardless I did the work to come up with a definition and resulting regulations. I was planning on getting around to posting it on here at some stage but never got around to it. I'll see what I can do in the next week or two (so busy atm).
I would be interested in seeing what came to your mind for the definition. After only brief thought on it, I would figure that things like shape (perfect cube vs. partially rounded for the pillowed), material (uniform/multicolor, opacity), and coverings (stickers, tiles, logos [or colors in general, how uniform must they be]) would have to be addressed, but I wouldn't want the definition to be very wordy or even that official sounding, or it would be too hard to agree on.
 

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#43
Just a note: Kit and I have asked the Board whether they are in favor of following community interest, and pursuing a way to allow stickerless puzzles.

We can't promise anything, but perhaps such a decision would prevent everyone from fixating on the details of stickerless cubes.

The problem isn't that people on the WRC/Board believe that stickerless cubes give an unfair advantage right now. The problem is that we need to take in a whole bunch of (conflicting) preferences about how to expand the puzzle Regulations while trying to minimize unanticipated consequences. We need something that allows us to judge new puzzles in the future, without resorting to technicalities or subjective interpretations, as much as possible. (Otherwise, we'll have many more conversations about whether to allow certain puzzles – with no objective way to settle things.)
We also need a way to combine / decide on a subset of possible changes.

Please try to help with that.

Here are some specific responses:

Good thing this is brought up well before the end of the year so there is lot's of preparation time.

Pro and con lists are a nice overview. Although I certainly don't agree with some of the points. I guess in order to make a decision the main issue will be how important certain pro's and con's are (unless more pro's and con's will come up). Ex: Do you value community support more, or consistency with other regs, or the amount of conservativeness...etc?
I've stated this elsewhere, but my personal goal when I was working on the 2014 Regulations was to take all the existing Delegate interpretations and limit it to a set of puzzles everyone agrees should be legal. We were aiming to end up with a simple set of boundaries for what is legal, so that competitors and Delegates can easily tell what cubes are allowed. This was all in response to all the new kind of puzzles that Delegates asked about in 2013.

The bullet point about the regulations being conservative could use a small correction.
I'm not sure about that. I remember the days when it was unclear if the WCA would even allow non-Rubik's brand cubes at Worlds. The Board only occasionally judges new kinds of puzzles to be okay. The leaders of the WRC have been following the interpretation that we should be conservative about judging whether new puzzles features are okay. Delegates frequently ask about puzzles because they don't assume that unusual features are allowed by default.

Perhaps things were more "open" before 2010-ish, but the variety of puzzles was much less.
The main thing you could do was get a puzzle that turned faster, but Article 3 has always stated that this is okay.

Apart from better turning, every qualitatively new feature has been subject to separate scrutiny.

In any case, the current policy is definitely conservative until we find something better to adopt.
(Sébastien's proposal has been the only serious attempt at this, but no one stepped forward and tried to improve the flaws to make it work.)

I've also changed "has always been conservative" to "is conservative", since that is also more relevant.

I think there are some changes needed for the Reasons for Disallowing (under Stickerless cubes). Seeing things like "This is a weak argument against current stickerless puzzles, but any good proposal should make it clear that this should not be permitted to an unreasonable extent. " makes me doubt the objectivity of the writer of this document. The argument of sticking with the idea of a Rubik's cube, as it originally was made, is also completely missing.
I think the quoted point is important. Current stickerless cubes are harmless.
But if we're not careful, our changes to the Regulations might allow internal plastic colors to be used for something new and unanticipated (maybe something more like a supercube). Maybe not, maybe plastic colors wouldn't really have to do with it. We just don't know, and hoping that such issues don't crop up... hasn't worked well for us.

I've added the one about the idea of a Rubik's Cube.

In my opinion the whole plan of these pros/cons lists is a little silly. I hope you don't want to make any kind of "The community wants"-argument as I don't really see a lot of diversity here (speedsolving.com) when it comes to this specific issue.
?

If the community wants it, that is usually a reason in favor of a change.

I've seen a lot of discussions about the Regulations in the last few years. One thing I've noticed is that everyone always assumes that others are familiar with a particular set of pros and cons, and often disregards something others consider as important. It's not productive for everyone to talk past each other when they haven't read some of the relevant reasons that others have put forth.
A list of pros and cons allow us to discuss which reasons are more important/popular, instead of what we think the reasons themselves are.


What is the difference here? The qualitative difference between the original game and the new technology.

So the question for us to answer is: What constitutes a qualitative difference to the puzzle we all know as the Rubik's Cube? Where do we draw the line in allowing for technological advances? Surely you wouldn't accept a self-solving cube. But this is no different to your bicycle analogy.
I think the word "qualitative" is very useful here.

  • We already allow sanding and lubing? Sure, mech improvements are fine.
  • We already allow 7cm cubes? Sure 3cm cubes and 10cm cubes are fine.

But whenever there's a new kind of change, interpreting whether it falls under what we previously considered an acceptable puzzle is usually subjective.
(Dene and I have had some thoughts towards a puzzle policy that tries to define what the phrase "basic concept" was trying to get at. I don't believe anymore that this would allow us to judge whether to accept all the new kinds of cubes that will be coming out soon.)


I see that what we're really debating, and what we really need to debate, is whether or not these changes give unfair advantages to a cuber. We know that they give potential advantages, but are they "unfair"?
"Unfair" is the important point, but I've given some thought to the definition of advantage.

Should the regulations limit these advances in order to maintain a fair playing ground? Or should they allow the advances, leaving each cuber to make their own decisions about which puzzle type works best for them? (which could also be considered a fair playing ground)
I've mentioned this a few times, but one thing that people often fail to consider is that in order to be fair across the world, we need Delegates to be able to make clear judgments about what puzzles are okay.

We already know that competitors get upset if Delegates make inconsistent rulings (e.g. allowing stickerless puzzles for BLD in Europe while they're completely prohibited in the US).

We may expand the puzzle Regulations, perhaps even to something like "anything goes", but we will probably always have a boundary.
As we allow more and more kinds of variations, it may become harder for Delegates to follow that boundary.

In particular, not all Delegates have the time to follow news about updated interpretations.

So what is "fair"?
I wish I knew.
I don't believe that something is fair simply if every competitor is allowed to use it.

My best intuitive thought in that a traditional speedcube should still stay competitive. Gratuitous variations are also not okay.

No cube is unfair as long as everyone is allowed the same cube.
I'm not convinced.

Firstly, good cubes should be reasonably accessible to all competitors (not just allowed). Cube prices have stayed stable around $10, so fortunately this is not a concern in the foreseeable future.

We need some limits (it should still turn like a Rubik's Cube, and visually resemble one), and I don't believe that your statement holds unconditionally.

However, I agree that this is the case with most *current* cubes that we're considering.

Suggestion: This could possibly be something to use in the regulations, show a picture of a Rubik's cube and say that any cube that don't give any visual advantages is allowed.
Unfortunately, that would not be detailed and accurate enough. See my discussion of advantage above for something more practical.
 
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#44
I'm not sure about that. I remember the days when it was unclear if the WCA would even allow non-Rubik's brand cubes at Worlds. The Board only occasionally judges new kinds of puzzles to be okay. The leaders of the WRC have been following the interpretation that we should be conservative about judging whether new puzzles features are okay. Delegates frequently ask about puzzles because they don't assume that unusual features are allowed by default.

Perhaps things were more "open" before 2010-ish, but the variety of puzzles was much less.
The main thing you could do was get a puzzle that turned faster, but Article 3 has alway[s stated that this is okay.

Apart from better turning, every qualitatively new feature has been subject to separate scrutiny.

In any case, the current policy is definitely conservative until we find something better to adopt.
(Sébastien's proposal has been the only serious attempt at this, but no one stepped forward and tried to improve the flaws to make it work.)

I've also changed "has always been conservative" to "is conservative", since that is also more relevant.
At World`s 2005 there was indeed an exception. After that this never happened again and basically all variants people wanted to use were allowed (up to transparent cubes, which were not popular at all). "Is conservative" is a "smart" change in the sence that you then just ignore the past and only focus on (for a big amount) your own changes...

I wish I knew.
I don't believe that something is fair simply if every competitor is allowed to use it.
Why not? How can anything be unfair if everyone has the same parameters? Or don`t you think it is fair for those who did not have those cubes in the past?

I'm not convinced.

Firstly, good cubes should be reasonably accessible to all competitors (not just allowed). Cube prices have stayed stable around $10, so fortunately this is not a concern in the foreseeable future.

We need some limits (it should still turn like a Rubik's Cube, and visually resemble one), and I don't believe that your statement holds unconditionally.

However, I agree that this is the case with most *current* cubes that we're considering.
Ok, this piece of text is very much personal beliefs, and nothing of this is directly used in the regs. Never was accessibility or good pricing a factor. The unlimited free choice: the fact that you can theoreticall build your own cube has always been one of the aspects of the regs the community likes a lot and to me gives it a liberal and open character. Best funny example of this was Adam Zamora competing with his (estimated) 30cm x 30cm x 30cm 2x2 :D
But if I understand you well: you would not be OK with it if someone would be selling super-duber speedcubes of €2000 per piece of which only 3 are build?
 
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Lucas Garron

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#45
At World`s 2005 there was indeed an exception. After that this never happened again and basically all variants people wanted to use were allowed (up to transparent cubes, which were not popular at all). "Is conservative" is a "smart" change in the sence that you then just ignore the past and only focus on (for a big amount) your own changes...
Maybe. I wasn't really involved until 2008 and later. Can you think some good qualitative changes that were allowed without question when they were introduced? (I'd actually really like to have some of those as case studies.)

It doesn't really matter if it's a smart change or not, because anything other than being conservative by default *would* be a change from now.

Why not? How can anything be unfair if everyone has the same parameters? Or don`t you think it is fair for those who did not have those cubes in the past?
Because it may be unfair to those who use "normal" speedcubes. That is a subjective judgment.

That argument about the past hadn't even occurred to me. Yet another example how none of us can anticipate every aspect of a topic. :-/

Ok, this piece of text is very much personal beliefs, and nothing of this is directly used in the regs.
Yep, and I labeled it as my belief. Please do point out if I'm stating personal viewpoint as an objective fact (as with the conservative policy).

Never was accessibility or good pricing a factor.
That's because it's never been a problem. There are lots of things that we don't think of as factors when they're not problems, but that doesn't mean they don't matter.

If better cubes were significantly more expensive, I'm sure people would talk about how the price is unfair to different competitors.

But if I understand you well: you would not be OK with it if someone would be selling super-duber speedcubes of €2000 per piece of which only 3 are build?
If they allow an otherwise mediocre speedcuber to set a world record, I think people would definitely be upset.
This scenario is a pretty clear-cut case of something I would consider an unfair advantage.
 
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#46
Maybe. I wasn't really involved until 2008 and later. Can you think some good qualitative changes that were allowed without question when they were introduced? (I'd actually really like to have some of those as case studies.)
"Changes that were allowed without question" I am not sure what you mean with this.

It doesn't really matter if it's a smart change or not, because anything other than being conservative by default *would* be a change from now.
What I meant with my comment is that by applying the little change, you deliberately leave out an important part of the facts and focus only on the current version of the regs. Therefore you write the text toward the "conservative-argument" which then sounds as a valid argument which suddenly is not-that-valid when considering the whole timeline. Btw: only the text in the "Stickerless puzzles" has been altered, in "Tile thickness" it still says "have been conservative".

Because it may be unfair to those who use "normal" speedcubes. That is a subjective judgment.
Replace "normal" with "bad" and your whole sentence doesn't make that much sense. Why would you choose a bad (or at least not the best) cube if you have the opportunity to choose a better one?

Yep, and I labeled it as my belief. Please do point out if I'm stating personal viewpoint as an objective fact (as with the conservative policy).
Ok :) sometimes it is not very clear if you are speaking for "Lucas" or for "Lucas-the-WRC-member" or for "we-the-WRC".

That's because it's never been a problem. There are lots of things that we don't think of as factors when they're not problems, but that doesn't mean they don't matter.

If better cubes were significantly more expensive, I'm sure people would talk about how the price is unfair to different competitors.
If they allow an otherwise mediocre speedcuber to set a world record, I think people would definitely be upset.
This scenario is a pretty clear-cut case of something I would consider an unfair advantage.
Yes some people are more wealthy than others, some people have more time to spend practicing than others, some people live nearer to other cubers than others, some people have more talent than others and some people have more fingers than others. All factors you can't and shouldn't want to influence in making regs. It's the kind of "unfair" that is life.
 

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Thread starter #47
The WCA Board has given WRC clearance to allow stickerless cubes for 2015. (Provided that clear, carefully written regulations will be made in time, which shouldn't be an issue)

Thus, we would like to shift discussion to tiles and pillowed cubes.
 
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#48
We already know that competitors get upset if Delegates make inconsistent rulings (e.g. allowing stickerless puzzles for BLD in Europe while they're completely prohibited in the US).

We may expand the puzzle Regulations, perhaps even to something like "anything goes", but we will probably always have a boundary.
As we allow more and more kinds of variations, it may become harder for Delegates to follow that boundary.

In particular, not all Delegates have the time to follow news about updated interpretations.
Very true. Though, with any change that may be made, there will always be a slight delay between when the changes are made, and when they begin to be universally implemented. So that shouldn't really be a reason for a change not to occur. Inconsistency will happen regardless, sadly.

As for the difficulty in following that boundary, it'll likely require that very specific regulations be given regarding it in addition to the regulations that are removed to allow more. Not only that, but with any new set of regulations, comes new situations, new problems, and new abuse of regulation that will require further modification of the regulations. This is normal and will happen with any major change made to regulations. And I don't think it'll take long for the dust to settle after construction, and for everyone to be comfortable and understanding of the new regulations set up (maybe a few months, and after that it should be relatively normal again).

The WCA Board has given WRC clearance to allow stickerless cubes for 2015. (Provided that clear, carefully written regulations will be made in time, which shouldn't be an issue)

Thus, we would like to shift discussion to tiles and pillowed cubes.
Cool, I'm excited. I've also posted about the tiled and pillowed cubes. Not sure what else can be said about them. I think the basis for change could also be made the same way, by asking questions that let us know how most feel about their inclusion.

Is there someone here who uses a pillowed 3x3 as their main? That would use it in a competition? How about 4x4? 5x5?... etc(I think more likely as the cubes get bigger) Would allowing pillowed cubes change much in regards to how many cubers use them in competitions (other than the 4x4 and up using pillowed cubes for grip)?

And tiled cubes? Who uses them and for what puzzles? Would these puzzles be any different than what is already permitted? Do you find you gain an advantage over using other cubes or is it simply more comfortable for use? Are they even that popular among cubers, enough to require more allowance for them in competitions?

I know that I don't use either of these often (I don't like them all that much, except for the bigger pillowed cubes), so it'd be good to hear from those who do use them.
 

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#49
Very true. Though, with any change that may be made, there will always be a slight delay between when the changes are made, and when they begin to be universally implemented.
There had better not. I'd rather have lots of Delegate questions than more inconsistency.

And I don't think it'll take long for the dust to settle after construction, and for everyone to be comfortable and understanding of the new regulations set up (maybe a few months, and after that it should be relatively normal again).
I'd give it at least a year or two. *After* the changes stabilize.
 
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#50
The WCA Board has given WRC clearance to allow stickerless cubes for 2015. (Provided that clear, carefully written regulations will be made in time, which shouldn't be an issue)

Thus, we would like to shift discussion to tiles and pillowed cubes.
Tremendous news. Better get practicing for when I can finally enter competitions.
 
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#53
I love the idea of legalizing stickerless cubes. If you are speedcubing for the fastest time, you don't have the time to turn a layer 45 degrees to see what's behind. As for tile thickness, it's the cuber's problem when the tiles are too thick and you can't do anything.
 
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#54
Not a sticker less fan

I have the unpopular view here. I don't like sticker less cubes because I feel that now there will almost be an obligation to get sticker less cubes because they supposedly make you faster when let's be honest they probably hardly do. I want to use stickered cubes which I prefer the look of and not feel that I am at a disadvantage to others
 
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#55
You claim that stickerless cubes don't give any real advantage, but you're complaining that not using them will put you at a disadvantage ? You're just contradicting yourself...
 
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#56
I'm saying that there probably isnt much of an advantage but that even though the advantage is so minute, I will not want to disadvantage myself at all even if the disadvantage is near negligible and therefore will feel that I will have to use a stickerless cube to put me on a level playing field with everyone else.
 
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#58
But I bet if feliks broke the 3x3 single with one everyone would then get stickerless. But I agree that using a stickerless doesn't explain someone else's speed, it is obviously about practice!
 
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#60
I agree but if the best ever solve recorded at a competition was with a certain type of cube, a lot of people would consider switching and I don't think that that would be blindly switching because the wr is good basis for a switch. People would switch in the same way as when many the majority switched to yau for 4x4 when Sebastian Weyer broke the WR avg with yau for the first time. (30.81).Every 4x4 wr after that was done with yau where before the majority used redux. The wr undoubtedly had a massive effect on the way people solved the cube.
 
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