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PostPosted: 06 Dec 2014, 19:38 
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Hi Torsten, I think the detailed lab results are of little interest to players. What is of interest though is whether or not a source ball / branded ball passed all the tests and if not, which ones it failed.

Firstly, I'm concerned you haven't answered my question about when the second round of testing will take place - and "ultimately finding out" the results is too vague an answer and of no use to those who want to make an informed choice now. These plastic balls have already been on the market since July 2014 and it's taken the ITTF 5 months and counting to test the balls just once. From what you said before, a source ball / branded ball will need to fail the tests twice before their ITTF authorisation is withdrawn. Working on this principle and based on how long it's taken the ITTF to test the balls just once it could be anything up to 10 mths or more before the ITTF actually withdraw authorisation for a source ball. During this time many of the "failed" balls will have found their way into the market place and sellers will have stocks of them still to sell and players - us the ones who pay the money for them - could have invested in an inferior product. That is not good.

Secondly, you say "if the ball is within it's ok" - but that is within range for a celluloid ball's specifications, specifications which have in my opinion been mistakenly enforced on a product made with a different raw material, with different properties and for a different sized ball. Why haven't the ITTF devised tests specific to the plastic ball? Why didn't the ITTF do what you yourself told me happened with the celluloid ball - namely, find one that plays identical or as close to identical as possible and then set specifications based on that ball. The ITTF seem to have got things the wrong way round here. You are right we are not playing in a lab, so why have the ITTF concentrated on meeting lab specifications first and not players reactions to the ball.

I appreciate your help with the videos and your willingness to come on this forum but the ITTF seem to have an attitude of "daddy knows best and all is well in the world", irrespective of the arguements or questions put forward. But we're not children and in a world where openness, honesty and accountability is supposed to be a driving force for progress and engagment with all stakeholders is paramount, the ITTF's reticence or unwillingness to share the results - even generic simple ones such as which source ball used by which brands has passed the T3 tests - does nothing to inspire confidence in either the balls or the ITTF. The ITTF seem to have forced themselves into a corner to deliver a plastic ball by July 1st 2014 when in reality that deadline should have been delayed until January 1st 2016 when the development of the plastic ball is expected to be completed.

As we concluded in our video series when my league tested the Joola plastic ball and the Joola celluloid ball, for lot's of our players there was little difference between how the two types of balls played and our players felt they could get used to the Joola plastic ball after a few weeks practise. Some didn't notice any difference and there is no doubt they are a huge improvement on the old prototype I tested back in 2012. But and it's a big but, from listening to forum feedback from other players and interviews with ITTF players there is a difference for them and that cannot be ignored. In addition, there is also respected feedback that there is a difference between different source plastic balls especially in terms of bounce height and durability and that feedback cannot be ignored and it won't go away with the answers you have given so far.

Why does it matter to me? I bought 54 Joola plastic balls with the intention of using them to feed a table tennis robot for future equipment tests. I now cannot use those plastic balls for testing because I now know they are not the finished product and therefore any testing I do will be invalid. If I'd known this before hand I wouldn't have bought them, I'd have waited until January 2016 when Technical Leaflet T3 says manufacturers expect their development to be completed.

Torsten, given the choice of playing with
1. a plastic ball that plays similar but not identical to a celluloid ball or
2. a plastic ball which plays identical to a celluloid ball

which would you choose to play with?

I would choose option 2 but right now but I can't do that because
- the ITTF are taking too long to test these plastic balls and
- appear unwilling, for whatever reason, to tell the public which source balls have passed and which source balls haven't passed the tests and
- and are unwilling to tell us which branded ball uses which source ball and
- I haven't the time or money to test every source plastic ball available myself so I can make that informed decision myself

Please put an end to the rumour, hearsay, best guesses about plastic ball vs celluloid ball and give us the information "we" need to make an informed decision for "ourselves" and that information is which source ball and consequently which branded balls the ITTF tested in September and which ones met all the original T3 specifications - not the revised temporary ones.

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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2014, 01:40 
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agenthex wrote:
The common perception among players is that the ITTF has no accountability nor transparency and none of your replies seem to dispel that.

I thought this was supposed to be someone who knew what they're talking about but is no better than speaking to any other PR spokesperson, or a wall.


If you feel like that, I regret to hear it, but it is not me to change it. And I disagree with you, because I explain everything which is up to me. Recall your own question about what is our hardness testing equipment.
I know what "they" are talking about, but as a member of the Equipment Committee I am not at all an ITTF executive. Did this remain unclear? The purpose of this thread was to answer technical questions in addition to my Q&A presentation. Which I did. I am here for no more than this. In addition, some non-technical comments were given as far as possible. But if you expected me to change the ITTF policy, then I cannot and will not meet this expectation.


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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2014, 01:55 
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Debater wrote:
I would choose option 2 but right now but I can't do that because
- the ITTF are taking too long to test these plastic balls and
- appear unwilling, for whatever reason, to tell the public which source balls have passed and which source balls haven't passed the tests and
- and are unwilling to tell us which branded ball uses which source ball and
- I haven't the time or money to test every source plastic ball available myself so I can make that informed decision myself

Please put an end to the rumour, hearsay, best guesses about plastic ball vs celluloid ball and give us the information "we" need to make an informed decision for "ourselves" and that information is which source ball and consequently which branded balls the ITTF tested in September and which ones met all the original T3 specifications - not the revised temporary ones.


I do respect your concerns, and I have nothing to take back from what I said about your great work for the UK in doing these videos. But having answered to agenthex, you can see the reasons why I will not be able to respond to several of these points. What I can provide is some more info to your first point: Why is it time-consuming to do these tests?
1. Contrary to popular belief, ITTF does not own a lab by themselves. In "our" labs, we are one client amongst others. We already try our best to get as much priority as possible.
2. Precisely arising from the concerns by people for example in this forum, I had proposed to buy each brand in two halves from two different retail sources in two different countries, preferrably in two continents. Which was accepted. The goal is, not to grab a perfect lot just by chance, but to have a wider coverage. This was taking its time, especially because we decided not to ship and test everything brand by brand, but collecting a bunch of them. But this process will simply give more reliable results.


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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2014, 02:50 
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NextLevel wrote:
Baal,

How do you reconcile some of the XSF results in this pdf with yours?

http://newgy.com/docs/White_Paper_On_Using_40_Plus_Balls_Public.pdf


About weight, I can say that my balance is extremely accurate, as it is a laboratory analytical balance accurate to single mg and professionally calibrated every year (and we don't use it in general for weighing ping pong balls). i am confindent in what I have seen. As to diameter, I agree with the results in that pdf.

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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2014, 02:56 
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Torsten,

Here is my fear. I fear that the companies who make seamed balls in China have a great deal of influence with ITTF and that their inadequate balls will nevertheless magically "pass" the tests come January 2016. Based on data that Debater has collected, and also some measurements I have made, a lifetime of playing TT at a pretty reasonable level, and a lot of time with various plastic balls I am very confident in my assessment of Chinese seamed balls as they are now. I know it is possible to make a decent plastic ball because the Japanese Nittaku and the Chinese seamless balls are quite good. I have no complaints about playing with either of those. I fear though that we will be stuck playing with very bad balls because of commercial interests, and, quite frankly, official corruption, since I know that ITTF has a long-running deal with DHS. That's my fear, which is coupled with the fact that even more recently made CHinese seamed balls have not solved some of the key problems. Someone needs to be hold the line. I appreciate your coming here but I just need to tell you very frankly what I am afraid of and I am pleading with you to make sure that doesn't happen.

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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2014, 06:36 
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It's clear to me we are barking up the wrong tree.


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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2014, 20:47 
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roundrobin wrote:
It's clear to me we are barking up the wrong tree.

Nice picture, which probably fits 100%. :) But no worries; the barking is not all too loud: With the exception of very few people as you have in every forum, the questions are all OK. I just do not have all answers to them.

@Baal: What I can promise is that the results coming from the lab will not be adjusted in any way. This is because I am the person who will get these results immediately. Of course then you need to trust me, which ultimately I cannot influence. :angel: But recall we did have failures in the first steps of the plastic ball development and they were not reverted to passes. It would be the same in random testing.

Of course I cannot swear that the AGM or the other executive bodies will never ever change specifications for balls as a reaction to whatever. But at least, I did not notice such a wish when we decided the temporary release on May 2nd 2014, nor do I notice it today, 7 months after.


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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2014, 05:22 
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Torsten wrote:
agenthex wrote:
The common perception among players is that the ITTF has no accountability nor transparency and none of your replies seem to dispel that.

I thought this was supposed to be someone who knew what they're talking about but is no better than speaking to any other PR spokesperson, or a wall.


If you feel like that, I regret to hear it, but it is not me to change it. And I disagree with you, because I explain everything which is up to me. Recall your own question about what is our hardness testing equipment.
I know what "they" are talking about, but as a member of the Equipment Committee I am not at all an ITTF executive. Did this remain unclear? The purpose of this thread was to answer technical questions in addition to my Q&A presentation. Which I did. I am here for no more than this. In addition, some non-technical comments were given as far as possible. But if you expected me to change the ITTF policy, then I cannot and will not meet this expectation.


Ostensibly someone with Dr as title should know what technical answers are, and I see zero of them above.


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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2014, 07:08 
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Hi Torsten,

Again many thanks for at least responding to our questions, even if the answers are not to our liking. Here are a couple of mine, that I hope will get more substantive answers :)

Who exactly sets what can and can not be made public about the results of the official ball tests?
As commentary, you have been more forthcoming about the ones on plastic balls. I assume that you are not allowed to say more about specific manufacturers' balls than their existence or withdrawal (will that ever happen?) from the ITTF approved list.

Who exactly has decided that rebadged plastic balls cannot have their originating manufacturer and country identified?
As commentary, this is important information for we consumers of said balls, as Debater and I think Baal have stated.

You say that as a result of comments made here at OOAK and other places, you have changed / are changing the exact protocol of some part of the random follow up test. When you say "Which was accepted", who exactly made that decision?
As commentary, we, the amateur players who are members of our country's national table tennis association, are usually told that to make changes for the benefit of our sport, to let our voice be heard, are told that we have to operate through our national TTA. Yet here we are getting something done via the back door.

<rant that you have probable heard before both here and elsewhere>
Something in our sport's organization is broken if the whole thing about the introduction of the plastic ball is based on multiple misrepresentations yet no one can be held accountable for it. We are told by our national TTA that nothing can be done.
</rant that you have probable heard before both here and elsewhere>

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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2014, 08:02 
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There's nothing more behind than what is said in the ITTF Constitution: The body to set such decisions is the Executive Committee, because this body deals with ITTF's business throughout the year. This in turn is controlled by the Annual General Meeting, where all National Associations have their vote, so if your TTA tells you: "Nothing can be done", I do not exactly understand that.

So, it is not "one person" who is taking decisions like these. (Even if so, what would you seek to achieve from this single person?) However, the members of the Executive Commitee can be publicly found on the ITTF website, so that they are not a secret circle.

For minor issues such as where to buy test balls from retail, in practise the Equipment Committee is making its own proposal, putting the Executive Committee on CC and if there is no objection after some days' time, we go ahead. That's what I mean with "Which was accepted." It is not much different to the daily business in a company.


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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2014, 09:43 
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And a counter-question: You feel that a decision made in favour (!) of your quality concerns is a decision made through the back door? Did I get this right? Why?


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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2014, 12:06 
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I said:
Quote:
You say that as a result of comments made here at OOAK and other places, you have changed / are changing the exact protocol of some part of the random follow up test. When you say "Which was accepted", who exactly made that decision?
As commentary, we, the amateur players who are members of our country's national table tennis association, are usually told that to make changes for the benefit of our sport, to let our voice be heard, are told that we have to operate through our national TTA. Yet here we are getting something done via the back door.


Torsten said:
Quote:
And a counter-question: You feel that a decision made in favour (!) of your quality concerns is a decision made through the back door? Did I get this right? Why?


In your previous reply you have nominated the Executive Committee and the AGM. I feel that if the ball manufacturers knew that random sampling was made from "The ABC Table Tennis Emporium" (made up name) in a particular country then surely they would ensure that only really good balls would be shipped there.

You yourself have said:

Quote:
For minor issues such as where to buy test balls from retail, in practise the Equipment Committee is making its own proposal, putting the Executive Committee on CC and if there is no objection after some days' time, we go ahead. That's what I mean with "Which was accepted." It is not much different to the daily business in a company.


The question is what is a minor issue. :)

To continue in the thread of my other questions, when I was asking who exactly, I was expecting that a committee or possibly ITTF position would be responsible.

You are saying that there will be minutes from the Executive Committee and / or the AGM that state that a motion was put and voted in the affirmative to not name the original manufacturer and country of plastic balls. Is this not just what is to be put on the ITTF approved ball list? Can you not just supply another web page somewhere on the ITTF web site that could tell us that, as it is known from the T3 specifications, that for rebadged plastic balls the original manufacture must be nominated.

And similarly with the only visibility of the ball tests being the presence or absence of the ball on the ITTF approved ball list, can you not publish something in addition?

I have another question:
Who (which ITTF position or committee) authorized you to make the presentation of which this thread is about? Did you or the Equipment Committee decide that it was a good idea and the Executive Committee remained silent on it? Or did the Executive Committee tell you to do it to counter public (among table players anyway) unrest?
Of course if you do not answer this question we will be able to assume the answer we want given our level of cynicism.

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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2014, 20:33 
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To random testing: ???? Precisely this is what we are avoiding. No one except me and the ITTF office and the lab knows from which countries we buy the lots.

To the Q&A: As said some time before: "Adham did not write one single line of the Q&A presentation." It was my personal work because I thought it was a good idea to act as a messenger and explain to those who feel to be "down there" what is the rationale behind several things going on "up there" - as far as it touches my own field in ITTF. The Executive Committee and Adham personally confirmed my idea and so it was put on the web site.

Such an action always results in some people wanting to shoot the messenger. Which has the only consequence that they get no more messages. Therefore I was happy to see that the majority in this thread did not do so. So thanks again for the Welcome here.

However, please understand that I will not take the other questions, because now it is going into plain politics. This was to be expected, it is in human nature to come up with the more difficult questions as soon as the simple ones have been answered. But it is neither in my scope nor within my resources to deal with it.


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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2014, 20:48 
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agenthex wrote:
Ostensibly someone with Dr as title should know what technical answers are, and I see zero of them above.

I was thinking for a while what might be the reason for this frustrated feedback. My best guess is it's because I did not respond to your physics considerations.

So to remove another misunderstanding: Indeed it will not normally happen that ITTF responds to such considerations offered by single persons. This is because
- There are many of such considerations offered.
- All of them have a different opionion of what should be changed in ITTF testing.
- ITTF does not have any professional staff / full time jobs to evaluate these contributions in addition to our work with our own technical consultants.
- The body for deciding what ITTF does is not the single player, but the majority of players, represented in the AGM via NAs and ... you know.

As to my perception how sports associations are operating, none of them has to offer such resources, perhaps apart from the football and F1 guys.


Last edited by Torsten on 08 Dec 2014, 22:00, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2014, 20:57 
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Thankyou Torsten for giving the time on this forum, I appreciate it.

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