Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on the Invite to Decline strategy. Reading through them has helped clarify my thinking, and the sheer volume of comments we received shows this was an important topic.
For anyone who may have been concerned my request for feedback was going to lead to a change in the rules, you can relax. I may occasionally ask for feedback on this blog just to stimulate discussion, and to help my understanding of how the community feels on different, and sometimes difficult, topics.
The good news is that I saw some suggestions regarding this particular topic that were so good we’re going to put them in practice, without the need for rules changes.
On Chief Delphi, Chris Pinecone of Team 2791, Shaker Robotics, suggested invited teams, when they wish to decline, thank the inviting team, but say they wish to form their own alliance. Later in the thread, Billy Lo, of Team 610, The Coyotes, suggested MCs change the question they ask of invited teams to ‘Would you prefer to join or form your own alliance?’
I love these ideas.
I would never try to tell teams exactly what words they should use when they decline an invitation, but a ‘thank you’ when someone invites you to something and an explanation of why you are turning the invitation down always seems appropriate. In this case, it also helps clue the audience in to exactly what’s going on.
With regards to Billy’s suggestion, I consulted with Blair Hundertmark, FIRST Staffer, the trainer of all our MCs, and an MC extraordinaire himself. Blair also thought was a good idea, and he’s going to be incorporating it in the training for all the MCs for the 2014 season. So, if you hear the MC at an event in 2014 asking an Alliance Captain who has been invited to join another alliance ‘Would you prefer to join or form your own alliance?’, or words to that effect, you can thank Billy! This is another great way, I think, to put this positively and give the audience an idea of what’s going on. While it’s true the invited team may have had completely different plans before the invitation, at the moment they are invited, their universe of options collapses to two – join, or form your own alliance, so this question makes perfect sense.
Thanks again to everyone who participated.
I’ll blog again soon.