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Is the 15 second Inspection Time fair?

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Jun 4, 2021
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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.

I think anything is possible through planning, e.g. setting a timeframe like 3 years or 5 years, for a change to get the logistics and processes worked out, and, to reduce inconvenience to competitors who have fine-tuned their strategy based on a 15-second inspection. I agree an adjustment in inspection rule can provide more flexibility to cubers who can then become more creative or make better use of the time (or how much time to inspect or to start turning) based on their own strengths (planning and balancing their moves/finger speed/memory ability) and provide more interesting competition.
 
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Thom S.

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Sep 26, 2017
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So far your arguments seem to come down to "I can't use inspection yet so I don't like it" and "Non-Cubers may not like it". Competetive rulesets always (sometimes) are to find an even playingfield and make it challenging, but not annoying for competitors.
You have inspection, you orient your cube, half a second of 15 seconds. Take away inspection, suddenly that half second gets added to your solve which is out of your control. Your orientation could be good or bad and that could lead to unfair advantages with pre-orienting. (Maskow comes to mind). Would Megaminx solvers be at a disadvantage because the orientation is more rotations away? Would Pyra and Squan solvers be at an advantage because there are less orientations.

I see inspection as a given right. If you use more inspection and solce faster, you are the better solver, since the fact it's been given to you and you use it. Not using a given time just seems stubborn.
Who cares what outsiders think. Most cubing happens at home and in competitions where spectators agreed to have inspection time anyway.
Take that away leads to problems, rule changes and fighting over who gave whom which orientation.
 

StrategySam

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Mar 29, 2021
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I think all methods benefit from longer inspection, just some methods benefit more. I feel like roux benefits more then CFOP with longer inspection because in roux effincency is a big factor on how good the solve is.
 
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I think all methods benefit from longer inspection, just some methods benefit more. I feel like roux benefits more then CFOP with longer inspection because in roux effincency is a big factor on how good the solve is.

I only started Beginner Roux very recently but I can't agree more. There is a big difference, to me, in the complexity of building a cross and building blocks. The cross is mostly straightforward moves and simple, and it takes less time even for me to inspect and work out the moves. It would seem beneficial, if cubing interest promotion is one of the goals of competition organisers, to avoid having one dominant method and have more variety. Roux and possibly other methods can be more popular with a longer or more flexible inspection time, or no inspection time. Relying on the preference of the majority of current members and considering amount of work need to effect changes are very important, but consideration should also be given to periodically reviewing and to more long-term objectives, or the future needs, future cubers, and advancement of cubing. It seems to this layman that the ease of learning as well as the current rules may be locking in the popularity of CFOP. Most beginners just learn it and naturally become CFOP cubers, which may hamper cubing development IMHO.

In Australia, there is an all-day "stock" or road car race in Bathhurst. It is in beautiful country with nice winding roads, as well as nice straights and lots of spectators and interest from around the world. There used to be, up until the 80s, many different brands and models, turbo charged, big V8, Porsche, BMW, Honda, Peugeot, Corvette, ... Toyota Supra and MR2, Subaru WRX, ... and car racing teams from all over the world came each year for a truly great event. Fantastic. Then Godzilla was born and took over the races everywhere. It was nice to see a specially developed for racing but street legal car like it (AKA Nissan GTR). I was hoping there would be more special designed road cars like it racing here, like the NSX, Misubishi 3000GT, ... The local Ozzie fans become parochial and they were unhappy even though the drivers of the GTR were Australians (Jim Richards and Skaife), and the fans pressured the organisers no end, until the GTRs were first heavily handicapped with very heavy loads, and then banned altogether. Rules changed to favour the big Australian V8s, and one after another, famous brands from overseas dropped out, and all those nicely designed cars with more and more impressive performance disappeared from the race. Now, we only have Ford and Holden V8 zooming around, and you can't tell them apart, unlike the days when cars with different suspension, engine compression, sizes, ... can all compete, and when there were more support, sponsorship and involvement from other countries in the race, in development and design of cars for racing. Well, the locals are happy ever since. And the event is hardly televised or followed by the general public, or by anyone overseas. People used to schedule the whole day from morning till sunset to watch a most interesting competition live on free TV, until about 1992.
 
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mookiemu

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Jul 12, 2016
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A 15 second inspection time benefits creativity, no inspection benefits luck. 15 seconds is fair and great for the spectator. It is part of the game. There is no need to change this because it ain't broke. It's a rule created by cubers, not non-cubers.
What I would like to see is the inspection time in BLD solves be separate like in non-BLD. Imagine if you had 15 seconds inspection for BLD and then the clock starts for the solve? We'd have 8 second BLD solves.
 
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A 15 second inspection time benefits creativity, no inspection benefits luck. 15 seconds is fair and great for the spectator. It is part of the game. There is no need to change this because it ain't broke. It's a rule created by cubers, not non-cubers.
What I would like to see is the inspection time in BLD solves be separate like in non-BLD. Imagine if you had 15 seconds inspection for BLD and then the clock starts for the solve? We'd have 8 second BLD solves.

Max Park solved 434 3x3 cubes in an hour with no inspection, averaging a little over 8 seconds each time. I don't think that's luck. That's the actual average time he spent solving a 3x3 cube, and that's done with great skills and quick response. It does not seem to me that creativity has much to do with cubing in real competitions or in inspections, since everything done probably has been practised 1000 times. There is of course creativity when new algorithms and methods are worked out, but that's not part of the competition.
 
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kubesolver

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Nov 15, 2019
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Regarding creativity even in basic cfop there is plenty room for your personal style and creativity beyond basic technique.

There is beauty in

Stay a bit longer and maybe you'll see it as well
 

CodingCuber

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Max Park solved 434 3x3 cubes in an hour with no inspection, averaging a little over 8 seconds each time. I don't think that's luck. That's the actual average time he spent solving a 3x3 cube, and that's done with great skills and quick response. It does not seem to me that creativity has much to do with cubing in real competitions or in inspections, since everything done probably has been practised 1000 times. There is of course creativity when new algorithms and methods are worked out, but that's not part of the competition.
Using inspection effectively is one of the most important parts of a solve. Take a look at top level cubers’ solves and notice how much in advance they can plan. This helps to reduce pauses and plan out a more efficient solve. Also, without 15 second inspection, colour neutral solvers are disadvantaged.
 

GodCubing

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May 13, 2020
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A 15 second inspection time benefits creativity, no inspection benefits luck. 15 seconds is fair and great for the spectator. It is part of the game. There is no need to change this because it ain't broke. It's a rule created by cubers, not non-cubers.
What I would like to see is the inspection time in BLD solves be separate like in non-BLD. Imagine if you had 15 seconds inspection for BLD and then the clock starts for the solve? We'd have 8 second BLD solves.
Can't fix what ain't broke
 

OreKehStrah

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Max Park solved 434 3x3 cubes in an hour with no inspection, averaging a little over 8 seconds each time. I don't think that's luck. That's the actual average time he spent solving a 3x3 cube, and that's done with great skills and quick response. It does not seem to me that creativity has much to do with cubing in real competitions or in inspections, since everything done probably has been practised 1000 times. There is of course creativity when new algorithms and methods are worked out, but that's not part of the competition.

Sure, 8 second solves are quick and skillful. However, without inspection, an artificial handicap is applied and as such one’s potential isn’t reached. With inspection, people are getting sub3 second solves. Inspection is just part of what pushes solve times faster and faster.
 
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Exactly, so why change. It would ruin all past solves, and there is no utility

I suggested quite a few already in previous posts.
yeah if inspection was removed, a lot of aspects of speedcubing we be gone. No advance techniques to plan the cross, no cross to f2l transition, and this also applies to other methods like roux. I don't think that there is any reasonable argument why inspection time is unfair.

The REAL difference if the 15 second allowance was removed is that you do the inspection during the solving (clocked) time. The more skilled Cuber would be able to inspect faster and plan better in less time, in their looks. Anyone can choose to spend more seconds in planning or start turning, but everything is clocked. That is fair and that can show who the better Cuber is than artificially enhanced times like 3.47, 3.79, 4.1, ... I think it would be more accurate and also revealing to see times like 7.2, 10.4, 16.6, ... That is, a wider gap in the actual times recorded for the competitors, times which are more accurate to show the real times used, as a way of differentiating levels of skills, including inspecting skills. The 3.5 and 3.61 ... times seem like truncated figures.

I think this also has to do with what balance WCA thinks should be in the test, or what percentage of it should be a memory test, a planning test and test of real-time turning/reaction. It is of course up to the organisers and members to decide, based on what's best for cubing.
 
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Of course planning faster is better, but if two people average the same speed but one person takes 8 seconds to plan cross+1 while the other person takes 12, I would say that they have the same skill in terms of just generic speedcubing. Like @Thom S. said, inspection is a right, but it doesn't determine your speed at all. Removing inspection, and using slower solves is not more accurate than having inspection.
 
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Can't fix what ain't broke

No, it's not to fix but to improve. In the camera world, countless users of DSLRs resisted for years and denied the advantages of mirrorless camera. That is easy to understand as they have invested heavily in their equipment, expensive lenses, and also very important investment in skills for quick action with the outdated camera design, eg chimping and guessing exposure and colour outcomes (since they cannot see the real image they are capturing on their viewfinders). However advantages like shooting information (blinkies, exposure data,...) and also focus peaking, 5 stop stabilisation, high res, WYSIWYG viewfinders, silent operation, and many more, gradually changed opinions but it has taken more than 10 years for the change. I understand the inertia involved and the difficulty involved. After all, many are still using ounces, pints, inches, 5/8 and 3/4 inch ...
 
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I suggested quite a few already in previous posts.

The REAL difference if the 15 second allowance was removed is that you do the inspection during the solving (clocked) time. The more skilled Cuber would be able to inspect faster and plan better in less time, in their looks. Anyone can choose to spend more seconds in planning or start turning, but everything is clocked. That is fair and that can show who the better Cuber is than artificially enhanced times like 3.47, 3.79, 4.1, … I think it would be more accurate and also revealing to see times like 7.2, 10.4, 16.6, … That is, a wider gap in the actual times recorded for the competitors, times which are more accurate to show the real times used, as a way of differentiating levels of skills. The 3.5 and 3.61 … times seem like truncated figures.

I think this also has to do with what balance the should be in the test, or what percentage of it should be a memory test, a planning test and test of real-time turning/reaction. It is of course up to the organizers and members to decide, based on what's best for cubing.
In Speedcubing the point is to solve the cube with techniques you know. No inspection would make more advanced techniques completely useless because that takes time. Look ahead would be trash and it would be impossible (almost) to be color neutral. In the Red Bull speedcubing Bill Wang, a color neutral solver, used white cross only in "Fastest Hand" because there was no inspection, making it very hard to use his full skill and potential. Let's take Tymon Kolasinski, one of the best 3x3 solvers in the world. He relies on inspection to plan amazing solutions. His 3.43 Full-step Sub-WR single on ML had a xxxcross and a pause less 4th pair. In a following interview he said that he planned the entire F2L solution during inspection. Think about how crazy that is, most people struggle to plan an xcross but the entire F2L, the hardest step of CFOP! To say that solve would have been more impressive without inspection, maybe a 7-8 second solve is ridicules. If inspection was to be removed it would never have been added in the first place. Sure, there are some debatable rules in the WCA but inspection seems like a no-brainer. Speedcubing isn't about pleasing the spectators like in say, American Football. It's about doing the best you can do with the skill you have, if you want to please the spectators with a less impressive solve with lots of pauses for the average cuber by turning down inspection, go ahead! No one is stopping you. But to argue that it should be removed because you think it benefits not the joy of speedcubing is ridicules. If inspection was not a part of speedcubing I wouldn't partake in the sport because it takes the joy of striving to improve away.

As mentioned in another post, solves would be completely based on luck, not skill. There would be countless variables that take away from efficiency and such, CFOP would be pretty much the only viable method besides LBL and we'd have to go for the first thing we see. Inspection on the other hand is something that you can never stop improving with, you learn and learn, get better and better, and maybe one day be like Tymon, even he is continuously improving. All the skill is to know what to do in each situation and how to take advantage of certain positions. With no inspection you simply don't have time. You can say you work it into the solve but it would be better just to get right into solving then to make a massive pause to look at each individual piece and determine what you can do best with what you know.

I think you should have an understanding of the cube, methods, techniques, planning, etc, before you make a conclusion that it would be possibly better without those 1-15 seconds and, no offense, but with what I can garner you do not have a mediocrely advanced understanding of how to take advantage of things and how to plan multiple moves ahead in a short time.

Just my two cents.
 
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Regarding creativity even in basic cfop there is plenty room for your personal style and creativity beyond basic technique.

There is beauty in

Stay a bit longer and maybe you'll see it as well

It's true that I am a very new beginner and that's why I have questions about the very basics.
 
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Of course planning faster is better, but if two people average the same speed but one person takes 8 seconds to plan cross+1 while the other person takes 12, I would say that they have the same skill in terms of just generic speedcubing. Like @Thom S. said, inspection is a right, but it doesn't determine your speed at all. Removing inspection, and using slower solves is not more accurate than having inspection.

I have to think about this, that inspection is a right. So, everyone is entitled to have some allowance and arrangement to make up for their limitation (like 8 vs 12 seconds in your example). I am not sure, but it sounds like a handicap system to me. Max Park IMO could be much faster than many of those who also solves in a few seconds, based on the current inspection rule, as he can inspect and plan so fast, as he has demonstrated. Shouldn't he or anyone who can inspect very fast be rewarded or recognised?

I also have another analogy. Suppose we chop off the time a race car needs to get up to speed by only clocking their speed and time after they cross the first 100m, to avoid limitations particular cars have in traction, in getting enough torque, and getting over the initial slow start due to an excessively large engine? Lighter cars with advanced turbocharger, 4WD suspension, ... that can accelerate faster would be penalised, I think. Records will be broken! In a 100m dash, we can also do something about the stagnant 9 second times, allowing the starting blocks to be spring loaded, so that they can be propelled forward at the start to make up for the time they have to get up and actually run at full speed, fair to all. Every runner can use the new blocks. That sound unreasonable because they are spectator sports and the common people's understanding and feeling, and their commercial value count. I suppose cubing is different, as mentioned and as I can gather from the replies so far, and it is for cube members.
 
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