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Open Letter to AutoSimSport and the Community

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Bruce Saltzman, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. In the latest issue of AutoSimSport, I read with some dismay, an article which in part discusses the return of RSC. In that article, there was also mention of RaceDepartment which contained misinformation, or at the very least, omissions of fact that implied we offered virtually nothing in comparison to the amount of donations we ask for and receive each month to cover our expenses.

    There was no mention of the three dedicated servers we provide to offer free quality racing venues for our members, nor the the additional server to run our forum and related databases. Also not mentioned was the annual expense for related software that run our forum and front page. Of course there is in addition the countless hours donated by a fairly large and completely unpaid staff to administer the forum, front page, and racing event organization. Why were these issues omitted? Because simply stated, we were not contacted to determine the facts. Normally, responsible journalists check the facts before they write an article.

    This is also disturbing because RaceDepartment has supported AutoSimSport with an announcement in our forums and on our front page whenever a new issue is released. Also, it seems that routine attacks on RSC has moved off the OpEd pages into the hands of a particular writer, who has chosen to attack RSC with regularity. Apparently, it now appears that others in their writing stable have chosen to do the same with RaceDepartment, at least one time thus far.

    At the risk of sounding naive, I'm hoping that the normal response from the management of AutoSimSport will not be the usual ire, ranting, and threat of legal action. I could be wrong, but so be it. I'm not the least concerned about it as the facts of the matter are clear, in writing, and in the public domain. We in fact have a letter from the writer in response to our concerns that actually prove he is unaware of what he wrote or the damage he potentially inflicted on RaceDepartment's reputation in the community. What I am hoping is that they will do the right thing and correct these issues in the next OpEd, or at the least have the writer of this article take the necessary steps in the next issue to update his next article in the next issue to reflect the actual facts.

    In the interest of full disclosure, my past associations in this community include a position with RSC as an Admin and close to a year with AutoSimSport where I was responsible for the monthly production of each issue. This open letter in no way is reflective of these past associations. As an Admin here, these opinions are my own and in no way reflects the opinions of others unless they so otherwise state.

    To the RaceDepartment Community:

    This is not intended to start any flame wars so please don't. Constructive comments only will be allowed. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.
  2. Bram

    Roaring Pipes Maniacs | #27 Staff Premium Member

    This is exactly the point I fell over as well. Nothing wrong with a strong opionated article, but this kind of journalism was more a ranty article based on assumptions without checking the facts first.

    Glad I am not the only one feeling this way.
  3. That's cheeky of AutoSimSport... Ungrateful...
  4. Hannu Karesola

    Hannu Karesola
    Premium Member

    I was dissapointed when red the article. The truth is that Racedepartment offers practically everything you need for sim racing or to follow motorsports etc and it's free if you want so!
  5. indeed, that's the most important thing, it's free if you want too. You don't need to pay if you don't want too.

    I have alot of fun and i get practicly everything here, for a donation.
    I think you can't get a better deal for ya money.

    It says it all that i stopped my search for the best quality online racing here to never look back for anything else. This is the place to be! Shame, i haven't read the article yet, will do now. But this clearly sounds like a rant... That boy should shame himself for writing that stuff!!
  6. Wow I'm sorry to hear about this.

    I was a regular visitor to RSC, but RD has become my home since I joined and I feel your dismay towards this article.

    This community at RD is amazing and I cannot go a day without popping in and I love the racing club and everything it stands for:good:.

    In fact I've not given back what i should to RD and I'm going to go and make my first Donation now and I will continue to support RD from now on with a monthly donation. Though I cannot afford much RD deserves support from the users like myself who get so much from this site and it's racing servers.

    Obviously I'm sure that RSC itself has nothing to do with this and I hope that AutoSimSport do the right thing and rectify this misjustice soon.
  7. Hannu Karesola

    Hannu Karesola
    Premium Member

    Ok, this will not be about sim racing stuff because it's this site main thing and it handles so well that there's no need to talk about it. This is about real life motorsports.

    I'm a regular user of RD motorsport forum. It's the place where you can find all motorsport news you are interested in. If someone finds interesting news from the web it is immeadiately posted there.

    Users there are trying to find out links to streams which are broadcasting your favourite motorsports because they want you to see it also. There are topics going on for most popular events and when following them you can't miss a thing. For example during LeMans 24h race users posted over 300 times to that topic. All that info which was posted was collected from different medias and forums all over the world which makes it unique. It creates the feeling that you are not watching it alone even your neighbours or friends are not interested in.

    This is a sim racing community but this is also a lot more! There's plenty of stuff for sim racers, motorsport fans and car fanatics.

    I just don't know better place for that which is totally free!
  8. In response to the issue at hand, I have the following to post from AutoSimSport Management:

    Race Dept. was mentioned not in an article, but in an opinion piece. Nowhere in that opinion piece did anyone stipulate that Race Dept. were cheating or otherwise being unfair with the community - what was stated was the opinion of one of AutoSimSport's columnists in which he made the point that he saw no reason why any forum such as Race Dept., RSC, or any other site, should be in the business of content distribution since there exist perfectly reliable sources for such content distribution. That being the case, it is logical that sites are over-burdening themselves with costs which trickle down to their users. Magnus' point was to simply make note of the fact that if Race Dept. did not distribute files and so forth, it would not need its multi-servers; in short, he was expressing an opinion which read - RD is a far better place than RSC, but that it's costs were difficult to understand for the end user. It was, and remains, an opinion of one of our columnists. To somehow make the leap and deduce from one column that the magazine is somehow anti-RD is fanciful in the extreme; we have opinionated columnists, and as the saying goes, they don't necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the magazine ... though we most certainly stand-by their right to have one.

    As to this, I should also add that Magnus was actually quite complimentary about RD! Again, not that I want to defend Magnus because he has every right to say as he wishes, but his point was not to bury RD but to praise it and, at the same time, ask why the community's biggest sites seem committed to a certain state of being which requires ever-increasing amounts of cash to keep running.
  9. Bram

    Roaring Pipes Maniacs | #27 Staff Premium Member

    Like Bruce stated our major costs are not from the download server (on the contrary i would say) but mainly from the racing servers we have. We run races 24/7, 365 days a year for various sims.

    Somebody that haven't drove a single inch ever on our servers or in any way participated in this community can ofcourse have an opinion, but then at least have the facts straight and not based on assumptions. He thinks that we can do without donations and as an alternative offers that we should put advertisements up (on a different website: score).

    I am proud to say that we don't have those google ads and pop-up advertisements on our pages to generate money. Donations for RD is vital to continue this community in our current form. If it ever happens that we cannot cover our costs (first year a few people funded RD privately) anymore then we are forced to spam the site with hidden adverts and google ads.

    We currently have over 1000 active members in the Racing Club. A kid can do the simple math that if everybody dropped in their share of the donation it so low that nobody should even argue about it. (way lower then the 9 bucks the author pays every month to drive on another place)

    If that is what people want, I am fine either way. I am not fine with a journalist of a very well respected magazine writing opinions without checking the facts. That he is a columnist doesnt matter, he writes for your magazine and his words/opinions are printed in it.

    Anyways, thanks for getting back to this Bob, its appreciated!
  10. You're welcome, Bram.
  11. When I think about what we get here at RD for free it is amazing and as Bram has said we don't have to suffer big ad banners and popups.

    RD isn't simply a forum and resource. We get RDTV and Racing clubs and well organized leagues. I cannot think of many other places you get a service like this and you ask nothing for this, but provide us the opportunity to support RD via donations.

    Big respect to RD and all it's staff:good:.
  12. Yes, thank you Bob for posting Alex's response.

    I suppose I must apologize for not being clearer. I thought you understood I was referring to the article that starts on page 195 with the reference to this particular subject ending on page 196. I say this because your response seems to bear little resemblance to the points I was questioning.

    1. It matters little to us that this was an article or opinion piece. It's just in this case, it wasn't an article that contained material that wasn't factual, it was an opinion piece about us made worthless by the omission of reality.

    2. We never said we were accused of cheating or being unfair. To be kind, it sounded more like we were being judged unrealistic about the costs of running a site such as RaceDepartment.

    3. The main point, and most glaring omission by the writer, was the fact that RaceDepartment maintains three dedicated servers for the sole purpose of providing organized and well managed racing events, available on a 24/7 basis, if that's what the community so desires. Additionally, we maintain a fourth dedicated server for the purpose of running a forum for a very sizable community.

    Now I suppose if we were simply running a blog with a few downloads, a shared hosting solution might be warranted. The downloads we offer are a convenience to our community, afforded by the maintaining of dedicated servers, so that our members don't have to deal with the inconvenience of file downloading services. Again, the main purpose of these servers is to offer well run online racing to our community, not host file downloads.

    The real irony here is that the writer concludes this subject by saying "I will not donate my money to either of those sites (RSC/RD) 'cause it's just not worth it. I'd rather spend my money on the sites that offer quality online racing on stable servers."

    If the writer would have done his research properly, he would have found that he could have had "quality online racing on stable servers" right here at RaceDepartment, FOR FREE!
  13. I don’t know what article Bob is referring to but his points bear little resemblance to the ones that appeared in the magazine. I had posted a longer reply but deleted most of it before hitting the reply button as it would probably be taken as a bit of a flaming response – it’s a shame the magazines editors didn’t also show the same kind of respect. The article was insulting and totally lacked any factual evidence to back to inane ramblings of the writer. To come here with such a mealy mouthed response shows further disrespect to a site that has made me feel welcome and been genial hosts to thousands more regardless of them donating or not.
  14. Read the exerpt... Who does he think he is? RD doesn't force anyone to donate (that reminds me...) and we DO offer quality racing, comparable to no one!

  15. Ramon van Rijn

    Ramon van Rijn
    Premium Member

    Me don't understand auto simsport either.

    We indeed ask nothing in return for our services, but of course its more then welcome if anyone donates since otherwise our services would be in danger.

    Tbh the staff is donating themself also, at least I do.

    To be clear about financials of RD;
    - Webserver (dedicated) for forum, league management, timing, frontpage and downloads costs us 106 eur/month
    - 2x Race server (dedicated) which we use for GTR Evo/Arca/GTL/rFactor costs us 87 eur/month (each)
    - 1x Race server (US dedicated) is maintained by Eric and we are grateful as its free!
    - 1x yearly license for vBulletin
    - 1x yearly license for vBSeo
    - Some domain names that are bought (Racedepartment.com/racedept.com/nationsgp.com/nationsgrandprix.com)
    - From time to time some administration fee for our provider when doing specials to our server(s), or unforseen things (small updates/tuning)

    In total its around 370 eur/month, and we have set a bar at Eur 400 to round the figure.

    What we offer in our services is already mentioned. Its free if you can't donate. Its appreciated if members donate tho.

    We are never shouting for donations, its mentioned by the donation bar on top of our page(s) and in 1 thread in the support forum.
    Where auto simsport lately is aggressively mentioning their lack of donations.
    Question: how can a magazine with such amount of advertising still need extra donations?
    I don't care, so also should writers of ASS not care about other sites/communities. Stick to your own business and try to do best in your own way.
    We try at least!
  16. Actually I had a really good laugh while reading X-Ter's rant column in ASS. Not because it was that good, but because he's great in having such a very pointed look on things, that it usually gets people upset rightaway. But that's the point of a rant column, right ? :wink:

    So while someone who puts up a rant by default wouldn't ever really try to understand why that what he rants about is the way it is (else it wouldn't be a rant...), you, the rant's reader would have to try to understand the rant writer's agenda. Unless you just wanna be offended, that is ;)

    Guess you missed a point here. According to X-Ter, R2P is simracer's heaven, as its the only place (apart from iRacing) where simracing is organized in a professional way - and according to X-Ter the only way simracing should be done. So running that 3 race RD servers would be entirely useless anyway ;)

    Yeah - but it ain't professional
    And since for example R2P already offers professionally organized simracing, there's no need for you to provide (any pay) servers of your own. Thus you don't offer any useful service that should cost that much $ - from a R2P zealot's point of view. X-Ter has always been a strong believer in professionally organized simracing.

    The problem with a rant column is that it's quite useless without an author that has a very strong mind about being right all the time. And at best being narrow-minded on the topics of his rants as well. X-Ter does a quite perfect job here IMO

  17. I'm not that familiar with R2P so I can't speak to their level of professionalism. So I guess I'm asking what is the criteria one uses to judge professionally organized sim races over those that are not?
  18. Microsoft produce a professional operating system used by alot people, why should Apple or the Linux community produce software that does the same thing.
  19. Bram

    Roaring Pipes Maniacs | #27 Staff Premium Member

    If his only goal is to upset people then AutoSimSport should consider not placing his articles that has no form of professional journalism in it. AutoSimSport is a well respect magazine with over 60,000 spread copies on the latest issue (right?). The least we can expect (and others like RSC as well) is that a magazine that reaches so many viewers does its job correctly.

    Like Bruce i can't say a word about R2P cause i ain't a member there. I am sure they do a fine job as well, just like many other good communities on the interweb. Then let him write an opinion article about how good they are, which is way better then trying to be controversial in a very unprofessional way.

    I hope to see a rectification in the next issue, and I am sure AutoSimSport is professional enough to print that. A quality magazine as themselfs don't need to score with rant. They score with indepth articles about the news in simracingland.
  20. ah - because neither Linux nor MacOS for example support DirectX. So it does not do the same thing from a WinOS programmer's point of view. And in case you take supporting DirectX for the sole prove of being professional...:madgrin:

    It's nothing to do with R2P. It's about one single author's point of view