Problem Clarifications

This is an extract from the 2015 Program Guide explaining the clarifications process: 
Requesting Long-Term Problem Clarifications
Long-term problems are written to provide just enough guidance to solve the problem without limiting creativity. If a team questions the interpretation of a limitation, or is not sure if an aspect of its solution is allowed or meets the problem’s requirements, it may request a clarification.
Anyone requesting a clarification must cite the rule in question. Abuse of the clarification system may result in an Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty. Read and re-read the problem and this Program Guide completely before submitting a clarification request. If the information is clearly presented in the problem or Program Guide you will be instructed to read them again.

There are three categories of problem clarifications:

(1) General clarifications amend or further explain a problem’s limitations without revealing information about a team’s solution. All general clarifications are posted on When teams question a problem limitation, before requesting a clarification, they should first check online to see if their concern has already been addressed. Clarifications take precedence over limitations listed in the problem and the rules in this guide, so it’s important that teams keep current on all general clarifications issued throughout the year.

(2) Team-specific clarifications pertain to a particular team’s solution. These are confidential and are not published, since teams must describe details of their solution to receive an accurate reply. In some cases, the answer to a team-specific clarification may be distributed to judges; however, they are never made available to other teams unless the answer is “no” and other teams will benefit by knowing that specific action is not allowed. If a team receives a clarification allowing an element but the performance does not match what was approved, the judges will disregard the clarification. Be sure the request is specific to a part of the solution.
Teams can request a clarification via e-mail: visit and follow the directions for submitting a question. You can view all general clarifications at this site as well. All clarifications are answered by CCI within seven days of receipt. Copies of all clarifications are sent to the International Problem Captain for the long-term problem in question and the Association Director for the association from which the question came.

(3) Judges clarifications are limited to Odyssey of the Mind association representatives and may be submitted at any time.

If a team receives a clarification, it is important that it presents the printout of the e-mail to judges at competition to avoid scoring discrepancies. Only clarifications issued by CCI are official. No one else is authorized to issue problem clarifications. Do not submit questions about a specific competition site, for example, floor type, scheduling, and so on. You must contact your Tournament Director for this information.
February 15 is the cutoff for submitting team clarifications. Since the problems are new every year and teams are using their creativity, events at the first level of competition may require clarification. This is to ensure all teams are working within the same general parameters. Therefore, even though clarifications that are emailed after February 15 of the program year will not be answered, new clarifications might be posted beyond that date.

Please check for new clarifications before each level of competition.