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Proposal: changing time limits and #of advancing people during a competition

Erik

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Obviously I have a different view on competitions or at least on attending them. I've been to nearly 60 competitions in the last 5 years and I can't remember a single one where I registered because of a time-limit. Of course, events can be a good argument (at least more or less uncommon events like feet or FMC mean) but I don't think that the complete removal of events happens that often.

But apart from that and back to the topic: if we had such a rule, what would be the penalty for changing the schedule too late? Who should be blamed?
And how can you find out who is responsible and distinguish between unforeseen circumstances and just failure?
I don't think this is possible at all.

I know of quite a few competitors that have a look at the time schedule and by estimating if they can manage the time limit or not, register for that event or better spend their time practicing for other events. This is especially the case at events like 5x5, 6x6, 7x7, 3 BLD etc. Events like these are also the ones where time limits get the most last-minute changes to win time.

As for breaking the rule (remember, my proposal didn't only mention a hard 'forbid'), what's the penalty for not providing a schedule, not having a score taker, not having a smoke-free venue, not having a competitors area, or for when the competition is not publically accessible? I think this is all the same category. We have those rules, but no penalty. The main purpose of the previous set of rules is to prevent unwanted situations and force organizers to organize an acceptable competition.

In the unlikely event that you have to make last-minute changes (I really think a delegate should have to quick-check and approve the schedule before a comp), the best option would in most cases be to let the competition run late. Like Hwee-Chong said: as an organizer you are responsible, so you have to pay up when you have to pay extra rent. If it's not possible to extend the competition and events have to be skipped, I'd highly doubt accepting another competition of that organizer and as a competitor I'd want part of my money back. Again: this can most certainly be prevented by proper planning!

@ Shelley: of course there are valid reasons. In that case you can change the schedule after consulting the delegate, after which the delegate would put the fire-drill, extreme weather etc. in their delegate report and everything is settled. Still, because you have some valid scenarios doesn't mean you shouldn't try to prohibit situations you actually can influence I think.

@ Bob: I'm sorry, but I don't see which unforseen circumstances took place. You knew who was competing right? So you could've adjusted the time schedule before the competition started. I understand a change had to be made, but I fail to see why you'd have to find out at the day of the competition. Unless I misunderstood and the change was made before the competition started (it's not entirely clear for me, reading your post)
 
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Lucas Garron

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During or right before competitions time limits or the number of people that advance in the next round are sometimes suddenly changed.

Do you have examples in mind? Examples in this thread are mostly hypothetical (apart from some very justifiable cases). As a general rule, I try to avoid spending too much time on "just in case" Regulations.

I think that organizers should use tentative events more often.

Tentative events are fabulous. We've used them a lot at Stanford (and might have introduced the term "tentative event"?), and I think ti's reasonable even to have quite a few tentative events.
It's always possible to convert a tentative event to a guaranteed one. Berkeley and Stanford have done this a few times when a competitor (Takao Hashimoto) nicely asked whether he'd be able to participate in Square-1 or Megaminx for sure (so that his trip would be worthwhile).


But apart from that and back to the topic: if we had such a rule, what would be the penalty for changing the schedule too late? Who should be blamed?
And how can you find out who is responsible and distinguish between unforeseen circumstances and just failure?
I don't think this is possible at all.

Organizers are expected to hold competitions properly. If something slips at a competition, the organizer should make it clear to the Delegate that they will be able to fix the problem time, else they should lose the privilege to hold competitions.

Delegates are expected to follow the Regulations and the spirit of the WCA. If *they* can't make the right judgments for something like this, they should also be at risk to lose Delegate status. I don't think we've had a problem with that, though.



@ Shelley: of course there are valid reasons. In that case you can change the schedule after consulting the delegate, after which the delegate would put the fire-drill, extreme weather etc. in their delegate report and everything is settled. Still, because you have some valid scenarios doesn't mean you shouldn't try to prohibit situations you actually can influence I think.

For those who aren't aware, I'd like to draw attention to A1a3 and A1a3+, as well as our the definition of "should" that we use:

A1a3) For each round, any time limits must be announced before the round starts, and should not be changed after it has begun. Changes must be made at the discretion of the WCA Delegate, who must carefully consider the fairness of the change.
A1a3+) REMINDER The organisation team and the WCA Delegate must be mindful that time limits influence the strategies of the competitors (e.g. rushing the first two attempts in hopes of meeting a cutoff in a combined round), and that changing time limits after the beginning of the round can disadvantage some competitors unfairly.

3. SHOULD This word, or the adjective "RECOMMENDED", mean that there
may exist valid reasons in particular circumstances to ignore a
particular item, but the full implications must be understood and
carefully weighed before choosing a different course.

We could expand A1a3 a little. As mentioned before, I'd like to know of concrete examples. If we make a change, we should address the kinds of decisions that have been problematic in the past, without infringing on the freedom and judgment of organizers (and Delegates) more than necessary.
 
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Jimmy Liu

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During or right before competitions time limits or the number of people that advance in the next round are sometimes suddenly changed.

I have just experienced a situation like this during Cross-Strait 2014.

As for this was the first time ever I flew to another country for competition, I was hoping they would qualify more people to the second round to make my trip worthy. But neither the delegates nor organizers announced how many people would advance to the next round before the competition, they just decided it at will during comps.
Take 4x4 for example, they qualified maybe around 14 people to the final round initially, and they change the numbers not once but twice. While the first day of competition was over, I was at hotel checking results through cubecomps, only to find that they change the number to 12 people who were advancing to the final.
As the second day began, I found that they only qualified 9 people.
Same situation happened in 2x2, they qualified 27 people who are all sub 6, but they cut it to 15 people who are all sub 5.
Maybe cubecomps was not reliable for correct information, but the delegates who didn't inform how many people would make next round beforehand was just annoying.
 
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tseitsei

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A1a3) For each round, any time limits must be announced before the round starts, and should not be changed after it has begun. Changes must be made at the discretion of the WCA Delegate, who must carefully consider the fairness of the change.
A1a3+) REMINDER The organisation team and the WCA Delegate must be mindful that time limits influence the strategies of the competitors (e.g. rushing the first two attempts in hopes of meeting a cutoff in a combined round), and that changing time limits after the beginning of the round can disadvantage some competitors unfairly.

I think this pretty much solves the problem already...

Also
Tentative events are fabulous. It's always possible to convert a tentative event to a guaranteed one.
This
 

BillyRain

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The worst was when I used to be slower and they used to change the 4x4 and 5x5 cuts at the last minute by 10 seconds. So it would go from 2:30 to 2:20 or something. It would almost kill my chances of making cut and would be so disheartening after doing so much practice.

Also, how much difference is 10 seconds really going to make during a round?!
 

Erik

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Do you have examples in mind? Examples in this thread are mostly hypothetical (apart from some very justifiable cases). As a general rule, I try to avoid spending too much time on "just in case" Regulations.

This is certainly not a "1 in 1000 comps" scenario. I haven't been to many competitions the last few months so I can't remember specific cases. The last speficic case I experienced is maybe German Nationals 2013, where time limits were changed on the day of the competition itself. It caused quite some frustration with some competitors. Not entirely sure which event, but I could find out if you are interested.

It's probably a wild guess but I estimate it happens in about 1/10 to 1/15 competitions, which I would definitely consider to be "significant". Of course I can only speak for West-Europe.
 
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Jimmy Liu

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I suppose we could change time limits and #of advancing people during a competition, but only under the circumstances that the time limits are loosen and advancing people are more.
That is, we'd better set a strict time limits and strict advancing people before competition to ensure the schedule could be done smoothly, then we can base on registrations to adjust them.
 

Laura O

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Organizers are expected to hold competitions properly. If something slips at a competition, the organizer should make it clear to the Delegate that they will be able to fix the problem time, else they should lose the privilege to hold competitions.

Delegates are expected to follow the Regulations and the spirit of the WCA. If *they* can't make the right judgments for something like this, they should also be at risk to lose Delegate status. I don't think we've had a problem with that, though.

I totally agree with that (these are just facts) but I don't understand how this is connected with the posting you quoted.

Don't get me wrong: I don't like last-minute changes in the schedule, I don't like unreasonable or just bad schedules and I think that's something that should be avoided in any case. There are delegates who care a lot about their schedules and they work out quite well, while there are others who use the same schedule for their competitions since years with the same problems appearing again and again. So obviously it's just a question of how much you care about it.

Nevertheless I think it's pointless to formulate rules for that because they already exist on the one hand. On the other hand I don't know how they can actually be used. And if this is just a "should be" without any concrete consequences, I don't see any improvement through this.
 

Dene

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I don't have anything new to add in terms of my opinion on the subject, I just thought I would say to all the organisers out there:

Just close registration a week before the competition starts, don't accept any more registrations, then write the schedule. Once you've been doing this for a while you'll soon get the hang of it.
 

kinch2002

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The worst was when I used to be slower and they used to change the 4x4 and 5x5 cuts at the last minute by 10 seconds. So it would go from 2:30 to 2:20 or something. It would almost kill my chances of making cut and would be so disheartening after doing so much practice.

Also, how much difference is 10 seconds really going to make during a round?!
I don't believe we have ever done this at a UK comp in 4x4 and 5x5. Sometimes it is 2:30 and sometimes 2:20, but it has never been changed last minute. If you can point to an online schedule that shows the pre-comp advertised cutoffs and then some results that show it was changed, I will take that back, but I don't believe it has been done.
Also, it's not a 10 second difference, it's 1 or more competitors doing 3 solves more, which can make a significant difference.

I remember that we did change 6x6 or 7x7 (can't remember which) once, which affected you, and yes we considered that it would annoy people, and made a judgement call on it, as the regulations allow currently.
 

Pedro

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I also don't like changing cutoffs during the competition, but I would rather do that than have to drop something. As someone already said, running late is not always an option, and people have planes/trains/bus/whatever to get, and those don't wait because the competition is late.

My schedules always say something like "this is provisional...it may change based on registrations".

And if you close registration a week before, and then make the schedule, what would be the limit for posting/changing the cutoffs? 6 days?
To have a final schedule a week before, you'd need to close registration even sooner...
 

DrKorbin

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tl;dr current situation is fine for me.

I can see the only problem if the competition has a fee for each event. A competitor pays N bucks hoping he can do 5 attempts only to find out that the cut-offs changed and he will be able to do 2 attempts for the same money.
Ah, there can also be an issue with blinds when you can choose between fast and safe solves.

I hope a Delegate will take this into consideration when changing the cut-offs or limits, as A1a3+ says.

Beside that, I can hardly find an issue. Some people say changing limits or cut-offs is frustrating for competitors. Yes it is, and having tight limits from the beginning is frustrating too, so organizers have to frustrate competitors sometimes.
Some people say that they train hard to make sub-2:30 only to find out that the cut-off was changed to 2:20. Obviously, such competitor can't win this event (unless organizers set a very very hard cut-off). So why did he train this event so hard? I can see two reasons why you train something: either to win/podium or - ba-dum-tss - just for fun. Training just for having avg5 in WCA database is pointless imho. You should never forget to have fun of trainings.

As a side affect, as Sebastien mentioned, this change encourages organizers to announce limits at the last moment before the event starts. And also, a competition with limits changing in the last moment is better than no competition at all (to those who want to forbid organizers to organize further competitions).
 

Tim Reynolds

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I have just experienced a situation like this during Cross-Strait 2014.

As for this was the first time ever I flew to another country for competition, I was hoping they would qualify more people to the second round to make my trip worthy. But neither the delegates nor organizers announced how many people would advance to the next round before the competition, they just decided it at will during comps.
Take 4x4 for example, they qualified maybe around 14 people to the final round initially, and they change the numbers not once but twice. While the first day of competition was over, I was at hotel checking results through cubecomps, only to find that they change the number to 12 people who were advancing to the final.
As the second day began, I found that they only qualified 9 people.
Same situation happened in 2x2, they qualified 27 people who are all sub 6, but they cut it to 15 people who are all sub 5.
Maybe cubecomps was not reliable for correct information, but the delegates who didn't inform how many people would make next round beforehand was just annoying.

Periodically this happens if the organizers forget to put the correct number of people advancing into cubecomps before the competition. Then cubecomps will just say 3/4 of the competitors are advancing, even if that's not what the organizers were planning, and then they have to change it to the real number. I'm guessing that's what happened in 2x2; 27 is close to 3/4 of the 38 competitors in round 2.
 

TMOY

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Some people say that they train hard to make sub-2:30 only to find out that the cut-off was changed to 2:20. Obviously, such competitor can't win this event (unless organizers set a very very hard cut-off). So why did he train this event so hard? I can see two reasons why you train something: either to win/podium or - ba-dum-tss - just for fun. Training just for having avg5 in WCA database is pointless imho. You should never forget to have fun of trainings.
Are you serious ? Every competitor has his own goals at every compettion, and making the cutoff is a perfectly acceptable one. Your comment is just rude and sirespectful for those competitors ("you can't get a podium in that event ? Then shut up, we don't care about you and we can spoil you whenever we want"); if you truly have that kind of mentality, please remind me to never attend a comp you are the delegate of.
 

Zoé

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I can see one big problem with changing cutoffs/hard time limit when you need to pay in advance and the fee you pay increases as you get closer to the competition.

If such a competition has nice cutoff/hard time limit in the provisional schedule, then a slow competitor might want to register early for event he thinks he will make the cutoff/hard time limit and where he will be able to get a time. Of course he knows that those can change, but if he waits to register he will have to pay more. So what to do then?
If they register and then the time limits or worse the hard cutoff were to be changed not too long before the competition, it could result in them having registered and paid for an event where the only "times" they will ever have are DNFs!
If they don't register and wait to be sure to register only in the events where they can make the cutoffs/hard time limits, they will just have to pay more for those events, which is kind of a waste of their money.

In both case, I think it's a bad situation and we should definitely try to avoid it! We could for example allow people that registered early to retrieve from events and get their money back if the cutoffs/hard time limits get stricter.
 

DrKorbin

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Are you serious ? Every competitor has his own goals at every compettion, and making the cutoff is a perfectly acceptable one. Your comment is just rude and sirespectful for those competitors ("you can't get a podium in that event ? Then shut up, we don't care about you and we can spoil you whenever we want"); if you truly have that kind of mentality, please remind me to never attend a comp you are the delegate of.

I have not changed limits during the competition yet :p
Ok, each competitor has his own goals. As I said, changing limits can frustrate some competitors. But I hope that organizers and delegates have a very good reason for doing so, and forbidding this won't be fine.
 

TMOY

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I have not changed limits during the competition yet :p
Ok, each competitor has his own goals. As I said, changing limits can frustrate some competitors. But I hope that organizers and delegates have a very good reason for doing so, and forbidding this won't be fine.

I'm not asking to forbid this, I've already been to comps when it was actually necessary. But it still should be discouraged as much as possible.
 

Lucas Garron

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I agree this is not good. I was at a comp with megaminx and I hadn't done that before and wanted the official times. The soft was 3:30 and hard was 6:00. I practiced hard for many hours to be sub 3:30 and was averaging ~3:18 at the time of the comp. 15 min before event soft change to 2:30 and hard to 3:00. So now I have 2 megaminx DNFs in my profile. Wanting real times aside, I payed real actual MONEY for 5 megaminx solves. And I got 2 incomplete solves instead. My next comp had the 2.5/3 cutoff already and I am averaging sub 2:30 by now, but if they change on me again I will not be a happy camper.

Thanks for posting about this. It's good to know, for any future Regulation changes about time limits.

(I've also posted to the Delegate email list asking about this incident.)
 

PanCakez001

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I agree this is not good. I was at a comp with megaminx and I hadn't done that before and wanted the official times. The soft was 3:30 and hard was 6:00. I practiced hard for many hours to be sub 3:30 and was averaging ~3:18 at the time of the comp. 15 min before event soft change to 2:30 and hard to 3:00. So now I have 2 megaminx DNFs in my profile. Wanting real times aside, I payed real actual MONEY for 5 megaminx solves. And I got 2 incomplete solves instead. My next comp had the 2.5/3 cutoff already and I am averaging sub 2:30 by now, but if they change on me again I will not be a happy camper.

Hey there Alex. This is Shonathon Collins ( the delegate for the competition.)

The decision for changes to the cutoffs were not changed the day of the competition. They were actually changed several days prior to the competition (roughly 5) and those changes were made the website after a realization between the organizer and myself that there was not enough time (only 30 minutes) to run an event with 21 people signed up ( granted only 13 showed) with a soft of 3:30 and a hard of 6.

I'm sorry that this inconvenienced you. This upcoming competition shows no reason for the cutoffs to be changed so u should be able to get an average and hopefully a good single.

Sorry for the inconvenience once again.
 
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