There are a few guiding principles in the DI rules. If you understand these, then it is easier to extrapolate the rules when it is necessary to do so.
Here are the Golden Rules:
- if the rules don't say you can't then you can
DI is about kids finding new creative solutions to problems. Having a set of rules that list only what you can do would be counterproductive to creativity. So the rules tend to indicate what you can't do instead.
There are bounds to this philosophy that you might find the kids will test. They still need to operate within the law. So this golden rule does not give them license to break the rules of the school where a tournament is held or the municipality. We'll also see that what they come up with must not compromise the safety of the team or other people at the tournament.
- officials need to ensure that solutions are safe
Safe solutions is a topic we will get into in greater detail in this topic. As appraisers, one of our most important goals is ensure that the kids solutions and actions don't create an unsafe environment for the team or others at the tournament.
A complication in this area is that you don't always know what the kids are going to do and their idea of what is safe and yours may differ. We will discuss this more in a bit.
- we strive to provide a level playing field
The point of many of the rules is to avoid a team winning because of an unfair advantage. The most common of these is spending more money on the solution. Each challenge has a budget limiting what the kids can spend on the solution they bring to the tournament. There is a whole section in the Rules of the Road on computing the cost of your solution.
Kids competing with other kids of the same age and that others (including parents) cannot contribute to a team's solution is another important aspect of providing a level playing field.
Have some fun. While you won't find ensuring the kids have fun at the tournament anywhere in the Rules of the Road, NH-DI certainly feels that kids and appraisers that have fun at our tournaments will value their experience to a greater degree and are more likely to return. Your attitude as an appraiser can go along way in this regard.