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IMPORTANT: FSR Problems: Debate (1)

Discussion in 'Formula SimRacing' started by David Dominguez, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. So now that there is some clear picture of what most people think regarding FSR's problems, let's open a debate to discuss about the biggest problems right now. Another thread will be open soon to discuss about less important problems.

    1- TOA/ISR Club (Team Owners Association (WC) - International SimRacing Club)
    The whole FSR structure and the general lack of care of WC owners are some of the most mentioned problems. Why do you think so? What alternatives do you have?

    2- Lack of volunteers (includes related problems like lack of press area/highlights videos etc)
    Critical problem right now. Forget about having a president to find volunteers for you, instead think about how can you help here. And if anyone wants to help the league, in any role, please step up and say where do you want to help.

    3- WC Sister Teams
    Being a clear problem in the last years, how would you limit sister teams?

    4- Business aspect
    What direction should the league take in this area? What is your current analysis and what are your ideas/proposals for the future?

    That's all for now. Please stay on topic and let's focus only on the mentioned points for now. And please, if you are going to make proposals, make realistic proposals.
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  2. 4)
    -I think we should insert promotional sponsor videos before, during and after broadcast (not only before it, like in 2013). During broadcasts it should be a very short and "rare" video (example: 5 seconds, showed 3 times); before and after races a much longer promotion (ex: 3 minutes). I think sponsor would appreciate it, and we should point out this project in 2015 sponsor(s) negotiations.
    -I think we need a video to support 2015 season; it can be usefull to find new people (drivers, administrators, video makers etc.) and to make sponsor(s) happy.

    2)I think I can help writing very short post-race ACE articles like this http://www.formula-simracing.net/news/43-worldtrophy/764-pro-r01. If you think that's not long enough, then I'm not the right person for this task (I will not write more than that).
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014
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  3. (1) I have a lack of knowledge on how the TOA/ISR club works as it's behind closed doors so I can't really answer on the means of 'why' I think so. However an organisation in the modern day generally looks towards constantly restructuring itself to stay on course with the economy and status quo. Examples of this can be seen currently in Formula 1, some teams evolving away from having a single team principle to instead, lateral management (side to side communication) with a technical director, sporting director, etc.

    Several advantages of lateral management include improved and faster decision making, allowing different section leaders to concentrate on their specific area while still allowing input from others, etc. Therefore there are obvious reasons why F1 teams have moved towards this kind of modern day structure. I don't know if FSR already has something similar in place, but even if it does it should be further reinforced.

    If FSR is on the decline due to how the TOA/ISR club operates, then espousing a new and proposed structure is key to coinciding with the status quo and ideal modern day operations as mentioned above.

    I don't currently have a proposed structure but aiming it towards what I mentioned above could be a start. @Ondrej Kuncman posted something in a previous thread: https://www.dropbox.com/s/toflds0uhhhlofp/2014-10-08_19-22-47.png?dl=0

    Maybe not everyone would agree with that but at least it's been proposed and put out there. What he drew up is still quite an appealing formation and with some extra touches could be even more interesting. As I said, normally when an organisation is on the decline introducing a new approach and structure is part of the key to changing how everything operates positively.

    I can go on more about this but we all have things to do in our life haha and I've already written a book here in this post...

    (2) I've currently volunteered to be a part of the press team for 2015 along with commentary duties (volunteered to edit any articles/reports, etc for the FSR website along with writing up post-race reports for the series I end up commentating on). Not a huge commitment at all and in fact I especially enjoying commentating.

    Obviously we all have lives outside FSR and sim racing, but it's ironic because if everyone has the time to practice for FSR then everyone should have the time to contribute to something here. Everyone throws in a penny, we have a lot more than one penny (Can't remember the exact phrase/quote hahahaha).

    I'm stepping up and am open to helping out anywhere and in any role that I would be comfortable with of course. I just don't know the roles at the moment that need help with. Can discuss this more privately of course.

    (3) FSR rules state any WC team can have a sister team. A new rule could just be implemented allowing no sister teams or collaborations. Then again teams could secretly test without anyone knowing which is risky and could result in substantial penalties. Nonetheless I don't really have an answer to this as it hasn't really bothered me so haven't thought about it too much.

    Sister teams can also be allowed in preference to fill the grid up. For example, if there are new teams wishing to enter WC then allow them to purchase licenses. If there is a lack of teams of the grid, sister teams are granted loan licenses from FSR based on previous years championship standings if they wish to establish a second entrant. If the first placed team doesn't wish to enter a sister team, then the second placed team has the option and so on....

    (4) The league's popularity is visibly declining slowly. Highlights videos are an important aspect which I think will be sorted for 2015 onwards. This could attract new sponsorship as well as bringing in more viewership due to larger public exposure. As the audience increases, bringing the fans and viewers closer to the world's best sim racers will be a bonus. Allowing an insight into how everyone at FSR is as good as they show and finally showing others that we're not aliens, we just work hard (at least most of us) and maximise our talent. Obviously interviews, etc is key to this.

    As mentioned above, having a person take on a role that would fulfill this in a new structure (FSR Sporting/Business Director, who manages the improvement of league business operations and popularity). A position I'd actually be willing to undertake depending on whether or not the future president wants to implement someone in a role like this. Obviously can talk about this more privately.

    The winter series is great for attracting new members as well as providing entertainment while all still being official. New drivers can evaluate themselves against current FSR racers and in addition to this even mid/post season events/series can be held. This can also help FSR trial anything new in order to improve entertainment whether it be on track, broadcasts, etc. Thus if any new ideas are used that were trialled, feedback will be received and this will in turn also improve business and popularity due to constant evolution of the league.

    Anyways.................................................. Haha. There's so much more to talk about it's almost ridiculous, especially with point number 4. It's funny because I've already written so much haha but yeah I've got a lot of things to do at the moment so I can certainly elaborate more on this in the future.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014
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  4. Kris Cobb

    Kris Cobb
    Avid Chronic Racing | Team Principal

    While not a bad structure, the current one seems overly complicated for what we are doing.

    Here is a simplified structure that could accomplish the same thing:

    In my opinion we need to separate this idea that WC teams must be voting members of the FSR. I see no reason to do this. There may be ACE and PRO teams that would like a say, and there may be WC teams that just want to drive. WC Lifetime licenses should be still effective, though duplicate licenses should be revoked (with compensation of course). This would, over time, solve the sister team issue (#3). ACE and PRO teams would be allowed to buy a limited length license or membership (say 1 year) and have a say. This would keep the teams that are active and want a say in, generate a little revenue, and those teams that no longer have interest can choose not to renew. Licenses would only be available to non-related teams (not same owners as another team).

    One thing I would add is a Business Director (or VP could be that). They would be in charge of getting sponsors, etc. basically oversee the #4 problem.

    Lack of Volunteers
    Inactivity should be measured by the work the license holders put forth (or lack of). Inactive lifetime teams should have their license and all voting rights suspended. Maybe a volunteer or 2 from each team every 2 years. If they do not meet this obligation they are on suspended status. We could even delay championship payment for a year (F1 does this), that way both years are subject to the activity requirement for payment. They still keep their license, and get to race, but in order for them to get money from their championship winnings they have to be an active team.

    Better recognition for volunteers should be given as well. Articles on our website during the preseason or mid season could give a bit of background for our volunteers.

    Visibility of what volunteer positions is a MUST. It should be posted by the president what is needed and STICKIED. Some people have no clue we are searching for the various positions.

    2015 MUST focus on getting videos and articles out for every level. This can help us solve some of the minor issues, give attention to sponsors, all while making FSR more professional.
  5. I'll step up for the WC Highlights after every race and will continue on with it until David (aka Simon Adebisi) makes a hopeful return.
  6. also on the business aspect, i thought why not have a get together, i brought up this idea last year, but we had no location to go to, so if it is possible then we can do it before the new season starts or in next years summer break
  7. All serious posts are good, but then people kill them by saying they don't know how FSR works. What about finding that out and then posting?

    Here are all actual (outdated yet up to date) FSR structures: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/2tllnh3bqz843mg/AAA2ssG34qULcm8TfnZ-ZCKla?dl=0

    Here are presidential campaigns of elected presidents since 2010:

    If whoever decides this information is not for public, then that very person is the contributor to this whole mess so don't you even dare.

    The issue with these ''debates'' or forum thread is that it never leads anywhere. There are always lots of ideas, some good ones and some totally pointless. At least it is a start though. So here is my suggestion of how to move forward until end of november:

    Let's hear from all people who feel they have something to say here on the forum, relevant points and ideas to the overall FSR situation will be collected. Next week let's pick the people who had something relevant to say and organize a chat. A brainstorming session with agenda. Much more helpful, inspiring and efficient. Actual real time discussion can lead to great ideas. To make this work I would need to be the one picking people otherwise we end up with bunch of useless people who are full of ****. This is the only way anything moves forward, whoever disagrees, same point as in 4th paragraph. This will also establish basis for cooperation and volunteers willing to commit to FSR.

    Everyone here agrees FSR must change and this change will not happen without without continuous push towards it. If these chats go very well it could perhaps even find new leaders.

    1. Enough was said about TOA/ISR issues, my drafted proposal covered the basics of it and with brainstorming and discussion it can be expanded into more detailed and improved

    2. Every WC team and team in TOA (as per my proposal that TOA member could be any active team) would need to contribute. It doesn't work if teams are here to race or not even that sometimes. Generally this is extremely difficult to solve in short term, but I believe if everyone doesn't have 100 responsibilities and has just 1 it makes it much easier to find people to do stuff. Finding someone to take up a highly responsible and time demanding role is very hard.

    Cobb's idea of delaying payment of WC teams and condition their prize money by activity is very interesting. I like it.

    3. Sister teams are what saved FSR last years. Naturally it isn't ideal in any way, but this is a side effect of FSR/ISR structures (disfunctionality, overworked admins...), lack of transparency and lack of league promotion. If main issues are not solved, this will never be too. This isn't something that can be forced, this is a natural outcome of things. I believe when things are put back in order and FSR regains its strength, in a mid term period(+-2 years) this would start getting fixed by itself.

    4. President /Business Director as Simon said and their team would should be from most part focused on league promotion/sponsorship. FSR Highlights are the most important and absolutely critical thing to have. Again this would be great to discuss of what people feel should be done and especially HOW. I will disagree with Cobby here and say that FSR should focus on WC only. Yes it would be nice to have all divisions covered but let's be realistic. Putting too much turds into the toilet bowl makes it stuck, overflow and blow up in your face if you smell close enough. Advisory not to let that happen.

    Now instead of giving me agrees and likes, do something more useful and post something useful.
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  8. Kris Cobb

    Kris Cobb
    Avid Chronic Racing | Team Principal

    I am taking a screenshot of this and posting it on my fridge ;)
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  9. Edited.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2014
  10. Kris Cobb

    Kris Cobb
    Avid Chronic Racing | Team Principal

    Videos for every level would be unrealistic. Articles not so much.
  11. Ron, please stay on topic. You can argue Ondrej's points, but not personal messages here.
  12. ok fair enough
  13. First of all, I have to say it's good that we are starting to focus on the most macro issues and leave most minor stuff for later, as David explained. While I have to admit I am quite pessimistic after the league's 2014, this is definitely a step forwards.

    1- TOA/ISR Club
    I think the most important thing here is that we are careful with what we want to do. I read some suggestions from people wanting to, in a way, kill the Club and just have a strong leader who organises FSR. I believe that would be a death sentence. The ISR Club is one of our greatest strengths, which separates us from any other simracing league. We have a Club with a purpose, a mission, with a structure, an organisation, those are big assets. We shouldn't get rid of those.

    What we should do is bringing the Club up to modern times. If the Club's documents and structures are outdated or impractical, let's update them, let's simplify them if necessary, let's make them practical and realistic. But we really need a structure and then to follow those documents, instead of ignoring them. We need to have a structure if we think long-term, because people come and go, so we cannot base our survival on a few leaders, we need the Club to be strong on its own, without any indispensable members. I still remember at the beginning of 2005 when the Club was very close to death and the work of two guys, Dennis Hirrle and Joel Roux, on our current structure, was what allowed FSR to survive until today.

    As for opening to the public, all Club documents were always supposed to be public and should be easily accessible to anyone. I would also be definitely in favour of allowing Ace and Pro representatives to participate. It would be difficult for all of them to become fully voting Club members due to the amount of teams, but maybe independent (non related to any WC teams) Ace & Pro teams could elect a few representatives to make their voice heard in the Club/TOA.

    2- Lack of volunteers
    Personally I would look at how do we make helping FSR more attractive, what incentive can we give to volunteers, rather than a scheme were we oblige teams to do so, although it might not be an easy thing to do.

    As David said, lack of volunteers in the press area (website is almost completely empty of content) and lack of people making highlights and promotional videos (Edu had shown great talent here) are two of the most serious issues. We really need to increase the league's exposure. The good number of social media followers were practically wasted, even my FSR Fantasy League could have been better used. We are wasting too many opportunities to create exposure to the general public. Currently, most of our traffic and broadcast viewers are FSR drivers and teams themselves.

    The volunteers problem doesn't only apply to exposure though. While FSR was getting the racing basics right traditionally, there were some quite serious issues this season. To have no issues, we need a group of Race Directors who understand the responsibility they have and are able to produce consistent and unbiased results, following the rules. The same applies for COA members, who should also be active, independent, fulfil the requirements of the COA Statutes and not serve the interests of the directors.

    3- WC Sister Teams
    If we want to get rid of sister teams, the solution would be easy. Where the rules say one related team we change to no related teams. Done. Unfortunately, the problem is the side consequences it would have, which is what we should focus on attacking as an issue. The main side effects could be difficulties to fill the grids (as we had in past seasons) or top teams taking their drivers to Ace. While if that happens it would still help avoiding those team-plays between 4 drivers, it won't help new and smaller teams.

    4- Business aspect
    Not my area of expertise, but I agree with Jonny that having dedicated business people would definitely help. We need to have a lot more marketing if we want to have more sponsors. Unfortunately, with our current exposure levels, we have zero value to any potential sponsor, but if we can improve on that, it could make our chances a lot better and get us a tiny bit closer to the dreams the ones who created the Club many years ago had. I think the main marketing challenge is how to market simracing, how to make them see value in it, instead of just dismissing it as a videogame for a hardcore group of people.

    I really hope we can continue a productive discussion! Also, as long as it is organised with and by serious people (John-Eric and/or David, probably, as President and VP), having a chat might also not be a bad idea, it was something which was supposed to happen annually among Club members, according to the documents, if I'm not wrong. Sorry for the long post! :)
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014
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  14. Kris, while I definitely like your idea on most points and I agree that TOA might be superfluous, I think your suggestion for COA would be completely wrong. Having the President, VP and Directors there would completely defeat its purpose.

    If you read the COA Statutes you will understand what is COA's mission (which unlike what most might think, it's not there just for the race incident appeals). For second-grade appeals on Race Directors decisions, having the Race Directors judging them would be obviously ridiculous. No justice system would ever work if your right to appeal is handled by the same people that made the original verdict.

    And COA could also be asked to intervene in first-grade appeals, which would be necessary if any Club member's rights are violated, for example, by a member of the administration. In those cases, no Board member would be suitable to handle such a case, as you would be appealing to the same people you are denouncing. COA judges must be independent.
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  15. With regards to sister teams etc. I only see them as being a massive advantage over teams who are unable to acquire enough members to have a critical mass like those with sister teams. Especially if those WC teams with sister teams have a team or 2 in each division.

    Simple work around would be, if you choose to enter a sister team into the WC, then you should only be allowed to enter one team in one of the divisions below WC. This might help get rid of the advantage, and close the grid up a bit. A huge downside would be teams having to let some of their drivers go.

    With regards to secret practice sessions, an easy-ish workaround would be mandatory practice sessions set up by the administration, where each division would have it's own dedicated sessions on dedicated days. All teams should be required to attend a minimum (A maximum could be set as well.) amount of these sessions before the race. This also might help reduce any advantages, especially if a maximum no. of sessions rule is applied. Might be a little more like the real world where drivers get to a track on the weekend they're racing and only have 3 sessions to get up to speed etc. (Don't mention their time in the simulators, that doesn't count as proper track time.)
  16. With all my respect what will actually stop a team from practicing on a private server with another team? Even in real F1 there are sister teams and team cooperation. I don't think it's a major problem unless they don't work as one team on track like we've seen in FSR. I'd suggest - forbid team orders between diferent teams despite them being sister, brother, mother or whatever part of the family. Please confirm you understood the message :)
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  17. Honestly said 2.0

    FSR structure is simply outdated and out of interest for FSR nowadays. I could spend a lot of time explaining the reasons, but I will synthesize in just one sentence: I haven't seen any decision coming from TOA/ISR that helped to improve the league in any area. All the positive changes we had came from the decision of the people who simply cared about FSR, and had the self determination to do it by themselves.

    See Christian's message for instance. If the Club's documents and structures are outdated or impractical, let's update them, let's simplify them if necessary, let's make them practical and realistic. But we really need a structure and then to follow those documents, instead of ignoring them. I have read this kind of message countless times in the private forums. And countles "we should", "we need", etc. Guess who had the determination to do it? Exactly, nobody. Why? Because the so called club members always expect the "people who does stuff" to do it for themselves. This is not something against Christian but in general, in fact he can be used as example of person with self determination; he created and developed the FSR Fantasy himself alone, and the league (obviously) promoted it.

    Difficult area. I have been in the president role, VP, and I know how difficult is to find the correct people. And i want to repeat it again; the correct people. Because not everybody is suitable for those jobs. From people who wanted to help with videos having little to none skill on video editing, to press members with clear language barriers (please it's just an example, everybody who wants to help needs to be respected), the thing is that you have to find someone who doesn't need help on their work, otherwise the dedication needed is twice. And, if on top on this, you expect the league to be on top in areas like multimedia (highlights videos, graphics creation etc), you need to find someone that has a) self determination b) skills/knowledge.

    Now, trying to think about how to deal with this problem, we know one thing: if you are good enough, FSR can be a place to develop your skills and become a professional. We have examples like (specially) Jack Nicholls, and also Liam Jenkins and (I think?) Scott Woddwiss. I know that all of them are commentators, but for example the league needs an important amount of artistic creation that could be very useful while trying to find a job. So, somehow we have to find a way to make those roles attractive to those who might be interested professionaly.

    Force wc teams to bring one person to help, as it was suggested, it's a bit uncertain that it will have any positive impact in my opinion. What if we need a video maker and none of the WC teams have any member with those skills/interests?

    Nothing much to say here. Just two things: First, of course having sister teams is very helpful to those who have them. Very. Second: there is no way to control that. Simply, it's impossible. As soon as we have a rule saying "having sister teams is forbided", those sister teams will become independent, and you'll never (unless they are stupid) have the chance to prove that they are sister teams.
    Are sister teams really a problem while trying to attract other top teams to WC? Obviously not. The other elite championship, iRacing WCS, have no limit of drivers per team. I've seen teams with 6-7 drivers on the same grid. And nobody complained. If other teams aren't interested to join WC, is due to other reasons -being expensive/not enough prize pot/no independent admins/game choice not interesting/etc-.

    There was some internal debate here few days ago. Some people say we need first a proper business plan that would help to find new people; I personally think the opposite; first we have to concentrate all those guys who want to help FSR and build something better for the future, and let them decide what rute to follow. Of course, the easiest thing here would be to say "we need beautiful highlights, we need more articles, we need more youtube viewers, we need more this, we need more that". Nop, stay realist, first we need people. People with real determination. You can write the best businessplan ever that it will be totally useless if you are alone. No people no FSR.
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  18. No worries, David, I agree with you. :) Although this is probably not a "one man" task, though. Hopefully, the next President, whoever it will be, can write a first draft of the updated documents with the ideas that are picked from threads like this, and then it should be discussed among Club members. In a similar way as it is done with the sporting Rules but hopefully with more activity.... Btw, candidates could even pick up the challenge of presenting updated documents as part of their campaign!
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  19. Kris Cobb

    Kris Cobb
    Avid Chronic Racing | Team Principal

    If you notice on the sheet checks against the admin (that normally fall in COA hands) would be the ISR club itself. The teams own the club anyway, so why not let them judge this themselves.
    As for Race Incidents, I don't see why having the Pres, VP, and 3 race directors judge the appeal is bad. There are more than a few times that all 3 directors are not in agreement. We have seen that this year. The appealer would be represented by his appeal, and the Race Director would get a chance to back up or revoke his decision while giving 2 more directors and 2 admins a say. Also this lessens the chance that we could have an MIA Court of Appeals (which happened earlier this year) and having a simplified structure.