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Two robots appeared out of nowhere And they would neither go nor bid

#1 User is offline   jandrew 

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Posted 2020-July-15, 05:21

A funny thing happened in my free tournament today.
I had 23 pairs when the tournament was due to start and I was prepared with another pair who would sit in on the half-table.
So - the tournament started and I prepared to replace the "sitouts" with my waiting pair.

BUT:

I couldn't find the "sitout" pair and it slowly dawned on me that I had a robot pair instead.
They were not invited, I couldn't replace them with my waiting pair and, although they bid and played in the first round, they refused to bid in the following 6 rounds and each of their tables effectively became a sit out table.

This had never happened to me before.
Did I do something different?
Has the BBO software changed?
How do I stop it happening in future?
How can I get rid of or sub them?
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#2 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-July-15, 06:43

Maybe BBO is finally implementing automatic insertion of robot substitutes and was testing?
If so, great news for all.
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#3 User is offline   jandrew 

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Posted 2020-July-15, 06:52

View Postpescetom, on 2020-July-15, 06:43, said:

Maybe BBO is finally implementing automatic insertion of robot substitutes and was testing?
If so, great news for all.


Absolutely not. No way is that good news.
If I want robots I will invite them.
If I have unwanted robots I want to be able to remove or substitute them.
If I decide to keep robots I want them to bid and play
Two players who were willing to wait and see if they were needed to fill a half table were denied a chance to play.
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#4 User is online   paulg 

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Posted 2020-July-15, 08:23

The same happened to me yesterday, with two robots filling the sit out automatically.

However I was able to eventually replace them by substituting with real players. It took a few attempts for both robots and it was unclear whether this was due to the players failing to accept the invites or not.

It does seem that BBO has changed something. Personally I'd preferred the old way where I manually placed the robots, but I do not run many events.
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#5 User is offline   jandrew 

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Posted 2020-July-15, 08:38

View Postpaulg, on 2020-July-15, 08:23, said:

The same happened to me yesterday, with two robots filling the sit out automatically.

However I was able to eventually replace them by substituting with real players. It took a few attempts for both robots and it was unclear whether this was due to the players failing to accept the invites or not.

It does seem that BBO has changed something. Personally I'd preferred the old way where I manually placed the robots, but I do not run many events.


It has happened to me again this afternoon.
I have had time to find out more and like you, Paul, have found a way to replace them.
I can replace them with a named sub but not with a random sub (all refusals or not allowed, who can tell).

I don't like this. I like to be in control - especially when the robots foisted onto me refused to bid or play after the first round.
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#6 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-July-15, 08:39

View Postjandrew, on 2020-July-15, 06:52, said:

Absolutely not. No way is that good news.
If I want robots I will invite them.
If I have unwanted robots I want to be able to remove or substitute them.
If I decide to keep robots I want them to bid and play


Of course you want those things, but you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, etc.
I agree that you should be advised if you are testing beta software, but implementing automatic substitution must be a step in the right direction.
I'm sure you will be able to choose automatic/manual and substitute humans for robots once it is ready.
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#7 User is offline   jandrew 

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Posted 2020-July-15, 09:47

View Postpescetom, on 2020-July-15, 08:39, said:

Of course you want those things, but you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, etc.
I agree that you should be advised if you are testing beta software, but implementing automatic substitution must be a step in the right direction.
I'm sure you will be able to choose automatic/manual and substitute humans for robots once it is ready.


I am not making omelettes, I am running a tournament.
Why would I want a robot for one round which will neither bid nor play in subsequent rounds.
I want substitutes of my choosing and I can replace a "sitout" as easily as a "robot" so where is the advantage?
Under what circumstances would anybody want automatic robots who do not play the whole tournaments?
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#8 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-July-15, 13:35

View Postjandrew, on 2020-July-15, 09:47, said:

I am not making omelettes, I am running a tournament.
Why would I want a robot for one round which will neither bid nor play in subsequent rounds.
I want substitutes of my choosing and I can replace a "sitout" as easily as a "robot" so where is the advantage?
Under what circumstances would anybody want automatic robots who do not play the whole tournaments?


You seem to be looking at the finger rather than the moon.
They are (hopefully) trying to fix a very important limitation.
Software modifications have to be tested and will often cause some problems.
Anyone who has been a director here recently has undergone entire tournaments exploding both for this reason and for others less comprehensible.
The good news is that the director functions are getting better.
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#9 User is offline   jandrew 

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Posted 2020-July-15, 14:15

View Postpescetom, on 2020-July-15, 13:35, said:

You seem to be looking at the finger rather than the moon.
They are (hopefully) trying to fix a very important limitation.
Software modifications have to be tested and will often cause some problems.
Anyone who has been a director here recently has undergone entire tournaments exploding both for this reason and for others less comprehensible.
The good news is that the director functions are getting better.


Please answer the actual questions :
  • What are the advantages of an automatic pair of robots?
  • Under what circumstances would anybody want automatic robots who do not play the whole tournaments?

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#10 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-July-15, 15:10

View Postjandrew, on 2020-July-15, 14:15, said:

1. What are the advantages of an automatic pair of robots?

They seem blindingly obvious, even if for some reason not interesting to you.
To name a few:
- no need for director to be present to manage (or lose time with) issues deriving from missing seats
- no need for director to insert, pamper and monitor human substitutes, often inadequate or dropping out or causing problems with regular players
- predictable and unproblematic opponents that finish the tournament and alert their bids
- ability for director to manually insert qualified players in the place of robots, without the hurry/delay associated with sitout replacement.


View Postjandrew, on 2020-July-15, 14:15, said:

2. Under what circumstances would anybody want automatic robots who do not play the whole tournaments?

None of course - that is a bug which will be fixed, probably with less effort than explaining that here :)
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#11 User is offline   biometrics 

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Posted 2020-July-16, 01:14

A far as I know, freezing robots happen if you do not allow robots as partners in your tournament.

Substitution of robots can be done if you go to the table=> right click on the robot and replace him with a named player (not a random one).

That´s works pretty well and really fast.
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#12 User is offline   jandrew 

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Posted 2020-July-16, 03:50

View Postbiometrics, on 2020-July-16, 01:14, said:

Substitution of robots can be done if you go to the table=> right click on the robot and replace him with a named player (not a random one).

That´s works pretty well and really fast.


Faster than substituting a "sitout" who can be replaced by a random player?



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2. Under what circumstances would anybody want automatic robots who do not play the whole tournaments?

None of course - that is a bug which will be fixed, probably with less effort than explaining that here :)


I can make mistakes. I can also understand others making mistakes. But never, ever, in over 40 years of producing business software, did I purposely publish a program with a known bug without immediately withdrawing it for correction.
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#13 User is online   paulg 

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Posted 2020-July-16, 04:31

View Postjandrew, on 2020-July-16, 03:50, said:

But never, ever, in over 40 years of producing business software, did I purposely publish a program with a known bug without immediately withdrawing it for correction.

Sadly those days have gone forever, if indeed they ever existed. Software companies release products with numerous known bugs, some minor, some major and they just hope that the major ones do not appear on the front page of a newspaper. There are good and bad reasons for this attitude, it is never a black and white situation, but 99.9% of software companies would never produce a product if they had to fix all the known bugs.

In this case I think the robot not playing was not a known bug. It may have been an old bug resurfacing or manifesting itself in a different form, but that is not the same.
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#14 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-July-16, 06:16

View Postpaulg, on 2020-July-16, 04:31, said:

Sadly those days have gone forever, if indeed they ever existed. Software companies release products with numerous known bugs, some minor, some major and they just hope that the major ones do not appear on the front page of a newspaper. There are good and bad reasons for this attitude, it is never a black and white situation, but 99.9% of software companies would never produce a product if they had to fix all the known bugs.

In this case I think the robot not playing was not a known bug. It may have been an old bug resurfacing or manifesting itself in a different form, but that is not the same.


I agree with jandrew here and on the basis of similar experience, users should (at least) be told if they are running untested software or if there are known bugs. This particular bug appeared when manual robot substitution was implemented and was quickly fixed then, so it looks like a regression which can be quickly fixed again. The bypass as mentioned here was to allow play with robots.
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#15 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-July-19, 19:26

Last week we enabled a feature to replace sitout pairs with robots for a small set of orgs, including "Free" and "MIR1". jandrew's tourneys are use the MIR1 org.

#16 User is offline   jandrew 

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Posted 2020-July-20, 03:42

View Postbarmar, on 2020-July-19, 19:26, said:

Last week we enabled a feature to replace sitout pairs with robots for a small set of orgs, including "Free" and "MIR1". jandrew's tourneys are use the MIR1 org.


And it is really useful to have these 'orgs' to set up the tourneys for or on behalf of clubs and organisations like the Acol Players' Club.
In the wider scheme of things, the minor annoyances like the bug in the introduction of automatic robots referred to in this topic fade into insignificance compared with the excellent service given by BBO to so many players across the world.
I am sure that we can all find faults with the current software and certainly indentify changes which would be a significant improvement. But I, for one, can happily live with where we are.
If I am forced to make one suggestion - it would be that Hosts who are affected by changes/improvements in the BBO software are given 2 or 3 days advance notice so that they have time to make relevant changes to the setup of their tournaments or in how they run them.
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#17 User is offline   glow75 

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Posted 2021-July-01, 15:10

Is there a way to create a tournament that will automatically use a pair of robots in case of sitouts?
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#18 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2021-July-05, 19:44

View Postglow75, on 2021-July-01, 15:10, said:

Is there a way to create a tournament that will automatically use a pair of robots in case of sitouts?

No, this is not currently something the host can control. It's something our admins enable for the tourney type (e.g. Free and MIR1).

#19 User is offline   ahtan 

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Posted 2021-July-13, 22:51

View Postbarmar, on 2021-July-05, 19:44, said:

No, this is not currently something the host can control. It's something our admins enable for the tourney type (e.g. Free and MIR1).


If this becomes a standard feature, I would like it to be an option the TD can disable/enable (or perhaps enable explicitly). I frequently insert myself as a substitute (with a robot partner) should there be a sitout.
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