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Odyssey of the Mind Clarifications System

The Clarifications System is here for YOU!

Every year, when Odyssey HQ writes new Long Term Problems, they strive to make the challenges fun and open to different creative interpretations. Ideally, the Long Term Problems and the Program Guide rules are written with enough guidance for teams to solve their problem but not so much to limit creative choices. 

However, we all think differently. Part of the beauty of the Odyssey of the Mind program is that it encourages divergent thinking and wants teams to push the limits of their creativity. Since we know teams are always thinking up new things, sometimes clarifications will be needed! Odyssey HQ provides clarifications to teams and officials to help further define the problem rules if necessary.

There are three different types of Clarifications: General, Judges Only and Team-Specific.

  • General Clarifications: General Clarifications are posted publicly for all teams, officals and coaches. They contain updates, amendments, or further explanations of Long-Term Problem limitations. If there are General Clarifications for the problem you are solving, they take precedence over the original problem details and the rules in the Program Guide. It’s important that teams keep current on all general clarifications issued throughout the year.
  • Judges Only Clarifications: Sometimes, the answer to a team-specific clarification request may be distributed to judges. In these cases, there may be additional guidance from Odyssey HQ, to ensure that judging of team solutions is consistent throughout the entire Odyssey of the Mind program. These clarifications are ONLY seen by Odyssey of the Mind association representatives.
  • Team-Specific Clarifications: Team-Specific Clarifications are for your eyes only! If your team is unsure whether your solution is allowed within the limitations of their Long-Term Problem and the rules of the Program Guide, you may request feedback from Odyssey of the Mind HQ. HQ will provide short answers to specific questions in these instances.

    When submitting a question for a Private Clarification, provide as much detail as possible. Your questions questions and the answers will remain CONFIDENTIAL. If HQ says your solution is allowed, the answers may be taken to tournaments to affirm the solution is valid. 

Teams submit these requests by logging into the Member Area of the OM website. Teams must check the Member Area to see whether their question has been answered. Answers are no longer provided via email.

Before submitting a clarification:

  • Check the General Clarifications on the HQ website
  • Read and re-read the problem
  • Read the program guide
  • Ask yourselves whether the question can be answered by the rules in the problem or guide

Remember: HQ does not answer questions that touch on subjective scoring elements. DO NOT ask whether an idea is more creative than another or would score better than a different idea. Objective questions only.

Odyssey HQ puts high priority on getting questions about the Long-Term Problems answered and explained, so submit your questions now!