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Is the 15 second Inspection Time fair?

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Jun 4, 2021
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Pardon me if this has been raised before or if the questions are too dumb. I admit I cannot plan more than 3 steps reliably.

1. Is the 15-second inspection mandatory in all 3x3 competitions?

2. I feel that inspection benefits the cross making and hence biased towards CFOP users more than Roux Users. Is there any truth at all there, and does it depend on whether one is at the Beginner level? I assume that inspection is mainly for planning the first few steps, and therefore, it looks simpler (to a beginner like me) for CFOP because it is easier to visualise steps for making a white cross than for planning the first steps of block building (which looks more complex). This may be due to my very limited Roux experience compared to CFOP (both at Beginner level).

3. Even assuming the same CFOP method is used, doesn't the inspection look like a handicap the Beginners (who cannot plan many steps and cannot do so much with it) are giving to more advanced cubers?

4. I realise inspection is necessary for blind solving. However, for other competitions, is it really a good way to let cubers show their best skills for top level competitions, when they spend 15 seconds in inspection for something that takes 5 seconds or so to complete? Besides, it seems to me that the inspection is reducing the challenge of solving a cube (based on quick reaction and assessment, besides just dexterity) when the first moves or even the whole cross building are already worked out.

Thanks.
 
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kubesolver

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2. You're free to choose any method.
3. It's fair that rules give advantage to better cubers. In the end the competition is to determine a better cuber so the rules that magnify skill advantage are good and there are more of them.
E.g allowing f2l cheat sheet would reduce the advantage of those who know it all etc.
4. Has been discussed to death. Google old discussions. In short: cubers believe the sport is better with inspection. 3x3 with no inspecting used to be an event but got removed iirc
 
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You can use infinite inspection time when practicing and when you feel ready, use the 15s inspection

I don't think it's unfair to give the same time to everyone, but the contrary.

I think this way:

In a given sport, all athletes are allowed to warm up. The same with cubing, all have the 15s inspection to "warm up". If you solve it in your head the entire solve and a beginner solved only 2 pieces in his head it's because of ability, not the best circunstances (because all of them were giving the same time)
 
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Thanks for all the information. I understand now. However, when someone says the best cuber can solve a 3x3 in a few seconds, the fact is that they need a total of a few seconds plus around 10 additional seconds. I'm afraid the analogy with sport is not very convincing, since knowledge of the positions of a cube's pieces affect performance very significanatly. Warming up in sport is just to prevent injury and ensure proper performance, i.e. to avoid problems. I consider cubing more than just a sport (which is mostly physical).
 

kubesolver

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Max Park solved 434 cubes in an hour averaging 8.2s per cube.
It's fair to say that top cubers can solve a cube in just few seconds.

However keep in mind that the rules of WCA are by cubers for cubers and not to make impression on laymen.
Similarly with +2 penalties. We ignore potential complains from random strangers that it's not solved and only consider the impact it has on a competition
 
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Max Park solved 434 cubes in an hour averaging 8.2s per cube.
It's fair to say that top cubers can solve a cube in just few seconds.

However keep in mind that the rules of WCA are by cubers for cubers and not to make impression on laymen.
Similarly with +2 penalties. We ignore potential complains from random strangers that it's not solved and only consider the impact it has on a competition

434 cubes. Wow !!!

I found the video and watched it. He can do about 15 by the time I complete one solve.
 
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ZF slow

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I see inspection as a quality of life thing. I find it annoying to be timed from the second I see the cube. Inspection is fair and balanced as everyone has the same amount of inspection on the same scrambles. Some might be able to inspect further into the solve, but inspecting is a skill that can be trained and improved. Sure, we may never be able to inspect like Tymon can, but we may also never be able to turn at the speed Ruihang Xu can.

Inspection is balanced, and a lovely luxury.
 

stwert

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It's an interesting question for sure. I do think it's fair, but the outside impression is another factor. When I first started cubing, I "realized" that the world record is not a few seconds, but actually 15s + 3.5s. This makes it less impressive, obviously. There was a trivia book talking about how some people can solve 12 cubes in a minute, and I was like "no, they're not taking into account inspection time". Of course now that I have learned more about cubing, I realize that the best solvers would probably add only a second or two without inspection, right? From the outside, that's more impressive, but the public doesn't know that. So I think inspection time skews the public perception both ways. Also, I haven't seen a lot of competitions, but it seems like Cubers don't use the whole 15s typically, right? What would you say the average time is?
Finally, I'll just add that I don't think it makes sense to compare advantages for beginners vs pros. Cubing is a sport where you're competing purely against yourself, until you're at least sub-15 or 20 and it makes sense to compete against others. Maybe that's just me though. My 2 cents as a beginner.
 
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LBr

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Pardon me if this has been raised before or if the questions are too dumb. I admit I cannot plan more than 3 steps reliably.

1. Is the 15-second inspection mandatory in all 3x3 competitions?

2. I feel that inspection benefits the cross making and hence biased towards CFOP users more than Roux Users. Is there any truth at all there, and does it depend on whether one is at the Beginner level? I assume that inspection is mainly for planning the first few steps, and therefore, it looks simpler (to a beginner like me) for CFOP because it is easier to visualise steps for making a white cross than for planning the first steps of block building (which looks more complex). This may be due to my very limited Roux experience compared to CFOP (both at Beginner level).

3. Even assuming the same CFOP method is used, doesn't the inspection look like a handicap the Beginners (who cannot plan many steps and cannot do so much with it) are giving to more advanced cubers?

4. I realise inspection is necessary for blind solving. However, for other competitions, is it really a good way to let cubers show their best skills for top level competitions, when they spend 15 seconds in inspection for something that takes 5 seconds or so to complete? Besides, it seems to me that the inspection is reducing the challenge of solving a cube (based on quick reaction and assessment, besides just dexterity) when the first moves or even the whole cross building are already worked out.

Thanks.
I do not agree.

Even if dexterity involves not much thinking, inspection is a skill that all cubers should know, and beginners will be less good as they are less experienced. In fact, inspection allows for a more efficient solve, so not as much dexterity is required if yuor solve is more efficient. About Roux, Inspection needs to be optimised for Roux, and if you think inspection in roux is harder, then it could be considered a weakness of the method.

In a competition, you get a +2 if your inspection is between 15-17 secs, and a DNF if it's over 17 seconds
 

OreKehStrah

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1. Inspection is fair because it’s a consistent time for every solve, and everyone gets the same amount of time to inspect (with the ever so slight potential difference of time for a judge to lift the cover and start the timer)

2. At the end of the day we are interested in how fast someone can solve the cube with their own solution. Not having time to determine how they want to start would just be an arbitrary handicap to how fast people could potentially get. It’s sorta like how chess games are played with a clock. You have time to plan out your next move but can’t spend forever thinking about it.
 

Tabe

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I have always thought inspection time should count. Inspection is a skill - inspecting fast is a more difficult skill. All of it should be counted. I realize that ship has long since sailed, of course.

On the pro-inspection side, one thing inspection does is eliminate randomness in how you see the cube when you start solving. Without inspection, the orientation of the cube is random which could significantly impact what a cuber first sees when picking up the cube, potentially greatly changing the time of their solve. Inspection is a fair way to get rid of that randomness.
 
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I realise inspection skill is very important and I do take time inspecting now. I agree that inspection skill helps the advanced cubers and rightly so. Then, I have another question.

I noticed that some competitors inspect their cubes only for a few seconds and put them down while others continued to use most of their 15 seconds. Are these competitors, who can inspect very fast, being handicapped then? After watching Max Park's 434 cube solves without inspection (very impressive and revealing), I can see that he would lead others even more if the inspection time was counted, i.e. he can start solving after only just 1 or 2 seconds, and thus lead other competitors by an even wider margin. That would have shown his true ability and show his superiority even more, although his times would be slightly longer (by about 1 or 2 additional seconds more, compared to the 8 or additional seconds for most cubers). The current method may show his typical time for a good solve against another as 5 seconds versus 7 seconds, when the actual total times used for the solves would most likely be 7 (maybe even 8) seconds vs 15 seconds, if we count the inspection time used and if competitors can start any time from the time the cubes are revealed. Wouldn't such "actual" figures, say 8 vs 15 seconds, show more clearly how awesome he is?

Maybe the fixed 15-second time is not completely fair to other highly skilled ones besides Max, those who have great inspection technique? There may be some who are now averaging 12 seconds with the WCA rules but who only take 6 seconds for inspection, then they would rank higher than someone who is averaging 11 or 10 seconds but takes 10 seconds for inspection, if inspection time could be counted and one can start as soon as ready, i.e. basing result on the true or actual time used for solving.
 
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Given by your example of the 12 seconds solver using 6 seconds of inspection, they are being benefited by using less inspection because they have more time left to plan further, which could make them faster. This is more limited if you use more inspection time.
That's why(in my opinion) 15 seconds of inspection fair.
 
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well if we change it, we will have to do a records reset to make it fair which is the last thing we all want (rip speedstacking)

I can see the pain, but with all due respect, sometimes rule changes can be good in the long run. Many rules in sports have changed when there are enough good reasons, e.g. to promote the sport, to make it more universal, easier to understand as a competition, or sustainable in terms of sponsorship/sales and to attract new players/spectators. Table Tennis in particular changed many times, e.g. changes tothe 21 point games to 11 point games, having to toss the ball up first when serving to avoid tricks, then the ball from 38mm to 40mm, then banned certain type of rubber and also speed glue, and mostly they are to make it more interesting as a world sport, fair to all countries or to give all countries a reasonable chance of winning, more interesting to watch as balls were flying way too fast with new technology and points finish in a flash without the changes. Ballroom dancing tempo and judging rules changed quite a few times, when more developed dancing skills (continually evolving only through the last decades) demand it, so as to differentiate the best dancers, when they were all so good. Rumba tempo, for example, was increased not so long ago from 25 BPM to 28 BPM for competitions.

I can see cubing times like 3+ seconds apparently reaching some sort of plateau and wonder whether there might be opportunities for improvement. I am just trying to understand better. It's of course up to the organisers and members of WCA to decide on anything relevant to comps. I can also see the cube changing rapidly and wonder whether, there is a need to control the type of changes. The centre piece of some well known cubes look perfectly circular now and the bevel looks stronger too, which is very different from the original design and obviously help corner cutting. If all the surfaces are also shaved, that may make corner cutting possible at just about any angle. Good for speed, and also for sales and sponsorship, but IMO some periodical review/discussions on rules and definitions is a healthy thing, to revisit important basics of competitions and at least to make beginners and the public understand better.

Given by your example of the 12 seconds solver using 6 seconds of inspection, they are being benefited by using less inspection because they have more time left to plan further, which could make them faster. This is more limited if you use more inspection time.
That's why(in my opinion) 15 seconds of inspection fair.

What I meant was this. The 12 second solver needs only 6 seconds to inspect. He cannot do any better by spending more time inspecting and planning further after 6 seconds. He can do as good an inspection as the other person, who is a 10 second solver but needs 10 or more seconds to inspect to solve in 10 seconds, and in a sense has an advantage. The amount of inspection time allowed makes all the difference. Should it be adjusted (another obviously old question)? There will never be a time that everybody would agree to. Let's look at it from another perspective. Who is actually the better cuber in the eyes and opinion of the common person? I suggest that the actual total time used by the cuber for solving would make sense to the public, i.e. if the competitors are allowed to start any time from the start of inspection, or as soon as they have enough information for their method whether it is 1 second, 2, 4 or 15 in the inspection. If done that way, then we are measuring the true fastest possible time a person can solve the cube in a real world scenario (though not WCA controlled competition).
 
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abunickabhi

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I had a similar discussion last year on the WCA forums,



Suppose this 30-second inspection rule is implemented, I do not think the WCA database will be needing a revamp. Post 2020 comps, can have this rule and normal formats like mean of 3 and average of 5 can continue. So, it will not be a logistic hurdle for the Software team.

The only disadvantage I find with this proposal is the extra time the organisers will have to take into account, participants stalling inspection time to gain extra information and clues or tougher for delegates to make decisions about some mistakes that happen during this inspection time (over-inspecting, turning the puzzle, gaining information)

Events that will gain massively from this change are bigcubes, where competitors will be able to inspect more into the first centre and make bigger pattern library, being able to inspect all 6 colours or different methods in 3x3 speedsolve.

Till now competitors have fine-tuned their solving style to 15 seconds, but if the new inspection limit is introduced, it will allow for more risky and creative solves, and for the spectators it will not be a monotonous step by step process that they have to see and appreciate the solve by its splits, but rather discuss about the solve, and how the competitor utilized the scramble to their benefit.
 
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