Live-Blog Challenge

Jeremy Rand's picture

YAC-Sponsored GCER 2010 Live-Blog Challenge

Historically, many teams try to notify their friends about what's happening at GCER. We (the Botball Youth Advisory Council) want to document this communication in one place. This benefits teams (who will be able to relive the excitement) as well as KIPR (who will be able to use this documented communication for PR and research purposes). Since friendly competition tends to help in situations like this, we are sponsoring the GCER 2010 Live-Blog Challenge. As its name implies, the challenge is to produce the best live-blog documenting the events at GCER 2010!

Results are in!

Results of the 2010 GCER Live-Blog Challenge

After much careful deliberation by the judges, we have the results of the 2010 GCER Live-Blog Challenge. The judging process took much longer than expected (11 weeks instead of the expected 3 weeks), in part due to the phenomenal quality of the blogs produced (and the corresponding difficulty in ranking them). We know a lot of participating teams have been waiting to see how they did, and a lot of Botball fans have been waiting to read all of the blogs. To all of those who were waiting: your wait is over!

Thanks go out to the YAC members who spent a large portion of their time judging the blogs, and to the teams who participated. We hope that more teams will choose to participate in the 2011 GCER Live-Blog Challenge!

And now, the results:

1st Place: 10-0113 Norman Advanced Robotics - Norman, OK
2nd Place: 10-0256 R.L. Turner High School - Carrollton, TX
3rd Place: 10-0133 Triad High School - Troy, IL
4th Place: 10-0251 Great Mills High School - Team 6 (The Style Armada) - Great Mills, MD
5th Place: 10-0315 Terre Haute North High School - Terre Haute, IN

Congratulations to all teams who participated! See you at GCER 2011!


Live-Blogs should be finished and passwords removed by July 13, 11:59PM Central Time.

Getting Started

  1. Choose a blogging service. Your team may use whatever blogging service you wish; we have found that Posterous.com is quite good.
  2. Your team may use any combination of media you wish (text, images, audio, video, etc.). We'd like to see some variety, when possible. Posterous makes all of these media easy to publish, which is one reason why we recommend it.
  3. Before the start of GCER, e-mail your team name, team ID number, and the URL of your blog to YAC member Jeremy Rand: biolizard89 AT gmail DOT com.
  4. Before the start of GCER, post a small amount of material about your last-minute preparations for GCER, and your expectations for the tournament. A short summary of your strategy, especially including anything you think will make a difference at the tournament, should be posted before GCER also.
  5. You are encouraged to password-protect your blog during GCER, but make sure that the password is publicly available or removed by 11:59PM, July 13.
  6. If you have interested friends not attending GCER whom you would like to be able to follow your team, feel free to send them a link to your blog, along with your blog password. However, we do not recommend making the password publicly available until after the conclusion of GCER.
  7. Since your posts are passworded, you should feel free to discuss any details of your team’s strategy that come up. This is why we recommend sharing the password with only a few trustworthy friends rather than making the password public. If judges feel that you are trying to hide strategic information, you may be penalized.
  8. Your team may enter only 1 blog. However, as many members of your team may post to the blog as you wish.
  9. Posterous allows posting from a mobile phone. Your team may wish to take advantage of this, so that you can post quick updates when you're not at your computer.
  10. Starting on the first day of the conference, your team should start live-blogging.

Guidelines for a High Score

  1. There should be a post shortly after most activities, including breakout sessions that interested you, significant test rounds, and all seeding and D.E. rounds.
  2. If something happens that interests you enough that you might tell a friend about it later, blog it!
  3. Blog posts can be as long or as short as you wish. Don’t leave out important content, but endless rambling makes your posts annoying to read.
  4. It is recommended for at least one programmer and at least one engineer to blog, so that your blog can benefit from both areas of expertise. If you have multiple robots, and each engineer or programmer is only familiar with one robot, you may wish to have multiple engineers or programmers blogging.
  5. Try to divide up blogging time within your team so that one blogger with down time can cover for a blogger who’s frantically fixing a robot.
  6. If you have a designated blogging team that works in parallel with the programmers and engineers, make sure that the blogging team is aware of what the engineers and programmers are doing.
  7. Content will be judged based on its ability to effectively convey the experience of competing at GCER to someone who has never been to GCER, and may never have competed in Botball. (A YouTube link with the game rules video is here; you may wish to provide this in one of your first posts.)
  8. Spelling and grammar should be understandable, but we understand that you will be writing posts quickly (often on a mobile phone) and probably will not have time to spell-check. As long as we can understand what you wrote, we won't take off points.
  9. GCER is a place for middle-school and high-school students. So keep your posts PG-rated. Ask yourself if you would be comfortable showing your posts to a 6th-grader in front of his/her parents.
  10. Your blogs must be finished by 11:59 PM, July 13. Post a “conclusion,” detailing how your team did, and any final thoughts on the tournament. For example, you might talk about how your team could have done better, and/or congratulate other teams on their winnings. By this point, your blog's password should be publicly accessible or removed, so that visitors (and judges) can read your blog.

Winners of the Live-Blog Challenge will be announced after GCER, hopefully within 3 weeks.

And the legal disclaimer: you grant KIPR and YAC the right to use and distribute content you post in the Live-Blog Challenge, although you will always receive credit and you maintain the copyright on your content.

Participating Teams

Organized by Region

Greater DC Region

  • 10-0251 Great Mills High School - Team 6 (The Style Armada) - Great Mills, MD

Greater St. Louis Region

  • 10-0315 Terre Haute North High School - Terre Haute, IN
  • 10-0133 Triad High School - Troy, IL

Oklahoma Region

  • 10-0113 Norman Advanced Botball - Norman, OK
  • 10-0256 R.L. Turner High School - Carrollton, TX
  • 10-0049 Southwest Covenant School (Tenacious Battle Apples) - Yukon, OK
  • 10-0050 Southwest Covenant School (The Crimson Permenant Assurance) - Yukon, OK