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Proposal: Should the WCA be responsible for lost/damaged puzzles during an attempt?

Should the WCA be responsible for lost/damaged puzzles during an attempt?


  • Total voters
    65

strakerak

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Apr 3, 2013
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Houston, TX
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The title may seem a bit iffy, but here is the proposal.

At US Nationals, after placing my puzzle on the drop-off table, the puzzle and the scorecard were both stolen. I know it is bad to still obsess over this, but all in all, should the WCA be responsible for a puzzle you grant to them?

Do you think it was a bad idea to have a drop-off table be right next to where competitors can enter/exit given the fact that someone can just take a cube up?

Do you think that in this case after granting your puzzle and trusting any organizer/runner/delegate/entire competition to take your puzzle, scramble it on their own terms and only use it for when you compete, should make them completely responsible for damaging, destroying, or losing the puzzle?

Speaking with some competitors after 4x4, they did have a pro-WCA is responsible thought, due to the fact that you don't know what is going on with your puzzle while you are in the waiting area.

Please post your thoughts/opinions and explain thoughtfully instead of jumping to an immediate "yes" or "no"
 
Last edited:

notfeliks

Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2013
Messages
382
The WCA mostly relies on trust and integrity for this sort of thing (at least as I understand it).

Unfortunately, when given trust, certain individuals see it as opportunity instead. Despite being the scum of the earth for doing so, there's always going to be these people, and all we can do is deal with it.

It obviously couldn't hurt to have a trusted supervisor at both tables to try and minimise any foul play, but I don't know about staffing needs for massive competitions like US Nats, so maybe it's not possible.

I hope you get your puzzle back.
 

ryanj92

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Dec 26, 2011
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Sheffield, UK
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I'm referencing the organizers as the WCA in general, since a delegate is present anyway.

Also, what if the organizer was the delegate?
I agree with yoinneroid, i think it falls under 'organiser duty' rather than 'delegate duty', so whether the same person organises and delegates is besides the point...
Also how many comps have you been to that had of a one person organisation team?
 

Divineskulls

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Jun 16, 2011
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Levittown, PA
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2011RECH01
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I don't see any organizer I know stopping what they're doing to look for someone's stolen puzzle. I can see them making an announcement, seeing if anyone had found the puzzle, but they cannot be held responsible.

I have never heard of anything like what happened to you happening at any other competition. I really think that puzzle being stolen right off the scrambling table is a very rare occurrence.

Damaged puzzles caused by judges/scramblers? Yes, that is the fault of the person who damaged it, but I don't see any way of remedying the situation other than letting the competitor borrow someone elses puzzle.

I tend to try to keep track of where my puzzle is while it's on the scrambling table. Obviously I don't look at it while it's being scrambled, but sometimes I'll go up and check that the scorecard with my name on it is still up there somewhere when I haven't been called in a while.
 

TimMc

Premium Member
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Aug 12, 2007
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Location
Melbourne, Australia
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2009MCMA01
In my opinion, no. It should be the responsibility of the organisers and individual volunteers (e.g. scramblers). Excesses for insurance would probably be at least a few hundred dollars so it'd be easier for an organiser to just pay a competitor enough to buy a new puzzle.

Tim.
 

Lucas Garron

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Jul 6, 2007
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California
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2006GARR01
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Is that a proposal, a question, or a grievance?

While in theory it would be nice to hold organizers/the WCA accountable to lots of standards (like NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY ANYWHERE IN THE AUDIENCE), there is a practical limit.
Even if organizers used more precautions, it would still be possible (probably quite easy) for someone to walk away with someone else's cube.

In general, these things are "at your own risk". It would be sad if either 1) organizers had yet another risk/liability to take on, or 2) they start subjecting competitors to non-indemnification clauses. (Like the "you consent to be filmed" signs. This would negate the whole point of making organizers responsible, but I think it would absolutely be within their prerogative.) I think relying on trust is much nicer and more practical.

I'm sorry that this happened, but this is the only case I can remember where someone's cube disappeared between dropoff and scrambling.
As far as I'm aware, it's also only *suspected* theft. Did you also check the museum lost-and-found before the end of the competition?

If enough people (including those with organization experience) agree, or if there is evidence of lots of cases I don't know about, I'd be happy to work on putting this somewhere in the Regs.
But at the moment, I have to say: I'm sorry, but this is not a reasonable policy right now.
 

CiaranBeahan

Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2014
Messages
879
Location
Dublin, Ireland
WCA
2012BEAH01
I do think that the WCA should be responsible for losing puzzles, but only if they lose it. For example if someone was to just lose a puzzle at the table they sit at it isn't the WCA's fault. But if the Organizers or the people handling the puzzle from the time you give it in to the time you get it back after your solves, if they were to loose it then the WCA would have to take responsibility. IN MY OPINION.
 

wontolla

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Oct 21, 2010
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You don't mention what you mean by "responsible". Is it that the organizers should go and catch the thief? Or the WCA should write you a check? Or a written apology?
 

strakerak

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Now if this has been the only time that this has happened in the past 11 years then it should't be a big issue. But I can see WCA looking into it if it happens like 10 or more times a month. Another thing is that who in the right mind would steal your card and cube right before you do the solve?

Don't know. He/She probably saw one of my unboxings.
 

maps600

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Dec 1, 2013
Messages
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Location
San Diego, CA
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2013HELM02
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I feel as though a non-cuber stole it. It was most likely a little kid who saw toys on a table and just took one without thinking. I think the WCA should attempt to keep the puzzles waiting to be scrambled in a better place with access to only the competitors.
 

Nestor

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2010
Messages
375
Location
Dominican Republic
WCA
2013SANC10
If the organizer is held responsible for lost puzzles, then what? He should pay for them?

This can been exploited as someone can simply "steal" their own puzzle and get another one for free.
 
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TimMc

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Aug 12, 2007
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Melbourne, Australia
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If the organizer is held responsible for lost puzzles, then what? He should pay for them?

This can been exploited as someone can simply "steal" their own puzzle and get another one for free.
This is a risk that Speedcubing Australia accept locally. But it wouldn't be worth submitting a claim because the excess is far greater. We need to have insurance to host events in public venues. And we need regular volunteers to get Working with children checks (criminal history check). The law varies from state to state... I'm sure it varies in the US too.

The dropoff/scramble table simply shouldn't be left unattended. Simply monitoring these tables could help reduce the risk of theft. We haven't had any puzzles stolen from these tables before. Organisers should just keep an eye out.

We've had one incident where a judge accidentally put their practice cube in a cover after a solve and the competitors cube was left, misplaced, on the table.

That said, we've had a handful of thefts from practice tables and bags at a few competitions.

Tim.
 
Joined
Jan 4, 2013
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I agree that organizers should be responsible, but I think the main reason the most people don't think this should happen is cuse a competitior could claim he lost the puzzle when he really didn't.
 

Dene

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Dec 5, 2007
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masterNZ
If this happened at one of my competitions, I'd want to help out. But I don't think it should be a rule that it is the responsibility of anyone. When I read about the incident in the delegate report my first thought was "did you re-imburse the competitor?". I guess this could be a problem if it's an expensive or rare puzzle though...
 

TimMc

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I agree that organizers should be responsible, but I think the main reason the most people don't think this should happen is cuse a competitior could claim he lost the puzzle when he really didn't.
Taking responsibility for monitoring cubes doesn't mean you'll hand out cubes or cash to everyone that claims they've lost a cube.

If there's no evidence that a puzzle was placed on a scorecard then the competitor will need to trust the organisers. If a claim is made then the competitor will need to trust that the organisers will trust the competitor. If there's no trust and no evidence then it'll be difficult for the competitor to be compensated.

Scenario 1:
Organiser: "<BLAH> where's your cube!? Final call!"
Competitor: "I already put my cube on the scorecard!"
Organiser: "I didn't see you put it there."
Competitor: "WHAT!?!?!"
Organiser: "Do you have another cube?"
Competitor: "Where's my cube?"
Organiser: "I didn't see you put your cube here. Do you want to compete or not?"
Competitor: "WTH?"

Scenario 2:
Organiser: "<BLAH> where's your cube!? Final call!"
Competitor: "I already put my cube on the scorecard!"
Organiser: "Ah, that's right. You had a weird orange cube right?"
Competitor: "Yeah. Where is it?"
Organiser: "I'm not sure. Let me ask. HEY EVERYONE! HAVE YOU SEEN AN ORANGE CUBE?"
Audience: "... nope ..."
Organiser: "Do you have another cube?"
Competitor: "Yeah. But what about the orange one?"
Organiser: "We'll see if it turns up by the end of the day. If it doesn't I'll give you a new cube or money to get another orange cube."
Competitor: "GAH. Fine."

It seems like an isolated problem. Monitoring the dropoff/scramble table will significantly reduce the risk of theft. We've never had this type of theft in Australia.

If the problem occurred all the time then it might be worthwhile coming up with a process to reduce theft.

Tim.
 
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