Reader Submission #21 – Pretend Journalism

Today’s Reader Submission comes from Kurei, who’s attempting to explain why our URL has been silenced on at least one major driving game message board:


Long story short, found out about PRC after that one Empty Box video, been checking every now and then for the hilarity of the comments, as well as seeing “news” pop up there before other Sim Racing websites get to it – sometimes at least (Assetto Corsa coming to consoles, for example). Keep it up, the fact that people are getting upset and thinking over the stuff you guys bring up means something is working, and the longer it works, the more people will see the reality of things for themselves, and question whether something is wrong or right in the Sim Racing community.

Anyways, contacting you today, because I finally have something worth submitting, a ‘sort-of’ response as to why PRC.net is censored over at RD. Late last night, I read the article about PRC being censored at RD, and decided “what the hell, let’s see if it’s censored in the “status updates” – Sure enough it is, which with my lack of sleep seemed a lot funnier then than it does now. But today after work, I logged-on to see if the update got any attention, and it did.
26VDjq0dR_T6nM1ODxY68TpzbUq_NMK3DXVjbV9zPcYInitially, it seems like that article you did about RD’s “financial troubles” may be the reason. Now obviously they haven’t said it is or isn’t on their side, but I responded with the same mentality as one of the other comments I saw on that article, nothing is stopping RD from hitting that ‘submit’ button and sharing their side of the story, and yes, PRC not contacting RD for their side isn’t “traditional journalism”, but this is The Internet, all kinds of crap doesn’t happen in the traditional sense anymore. But at least PRC is willing to bring-up things other sites won’t touch beyond their personal “shilling.”
Anyways, there you go, let’s see what kind of shit-storm this brews in the comments, if at all.

The quickest way to respond to this submission is to literally just re-post a comment someone else left, because it covers literally every single aspect of what you’ve brought up.
argument

Some of the stuff we publish might be new and fresh to the average reader just getting into the community surrounding driving games as a whole, but it appears that sometimes we’re actually late to the party, and issues surrounding RaceDepartment that we’ve brought up, such as the way earnings are divided or series are governed, are common knowledge among veterans. I kept myself at an arms length when writing for them because that’s how I roll, and greatly enjoyed my time in their Brazilian Stock Car series, but when the Assetto Corsa penalty scandal exploded, suddenly I had a group of guys being like “oh by the way…” – And the names landing in my inbox weren’t just scrubs wanting to incite a virtual riot via PretendRaceCars.net, but dudes who all had decent reputations among the community, some of them at the highest level of Sim Racing, and most of their stories aligned with one another. At that point it’s like “okay, let’s run the story.”

For example, I myself live in a city known for our NHL team’s dominance in the late 1980’s. There have been several rumors about how out of control the drug usage is among professional hockey players, spread by several different trustworthy buddies who have run into certain players on our roster at popular bars and nightclubs. I’ve been saying since we all turned eighteen and these stories started getting around that there’s a cocaine problem within the NHL, and five years later, oh look, this might actually be the case. So when it comes to reporting on touchy subjects within the driving game community, a few trustworthy sources who’s stories all align is often enough to hit the throttle on publishing something controversial.

It’s cool if you want to censor our URL, but be warned that an oddly large amount of people use PRC.net as an all-encompassing resource for driving games, and at some point you’re going to have to explain to that group why linking to us on certain forums isn’t allowed, and you’re going to have to explain it in a way that doesn’t make other users fly in a frenzy and compare you to a historical European leader. Once the firestorm is ignited, you’ll also have to handle these users in a way that doesn’t provoke other users to jump into the fray. Good luck!

We’re censored on RaceDepartment because yes, we posted some stuff where a Reader Submission drew attention to biased moderation and how earnings are shared amongst staff members, and it probably pissed a few people off. The fact that some commenters acted as if these issues are common knowledge to veterans of the community speaks volumes for the state of the website.

We’re censored on forums relating to Project CARS because we’ve drawn attention to numerous issues both within the game and with the immediate community surrounding it. Before the game’s launch, while hundreds of users would run around to every major driving game site to spread the gospel of pCars, we were the ones posting glitch videos and forum screenshots that indicated the game would be released in a less than stellar state. When the game was released and universally panned by people wondering what the fuck they just bought, we capped all their posts and posted a lengthy history of the game explaining why users were claiming it was the greatest racing sim ever despite hundreds of videos detailing glitches that hadn’t been fixed in over three years. When several patches failed to fix gamebreaking issues, we kept everybody updated on it while other sites bragged about how the soundtrack was available on iTunes. And when Ian Bell had several meltdowns within the game’s official forums, we were the only ones pointing out the sheer lunacy of it all.

I don’t think they took too kindly to being put on blast for shipping a broken game that appears to be nothing more than a marketing experiment, and wanted to ensure the final few remaining ass-kissers remained firmly in their grasp.

We’re censored on the iRacing forums because even if five of us sit down for an afternoon and all help write a 2,500 word essay on iRacing’s introductory oval racing vehicle, iRacing believes I have a strange vendetta against them and allows other users to run around spreading false information in an effort to discredit anything I attach my name to on the internet. They do not want people to catch wind of the fact that they charge several times more than the average PC game for interesting bugs, poorly-received updates, frustrated players, and server issues that shouldn’t be present in a game some people spend upwards of $800 on.

We’re censored on Reddit because the majority of r/SimRacing consists of both pCars and iRacing users.

I think that covers everything.

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32 thoughts on “Reader Submission #21 – Pretend Journalism

  1. “Kurei : True, but there’s always that ‘submit’ button on the homepage if RD wants to tell it’s story, and tackle the issue head-on rather than take an easy-out with censorship.”

    Zing.

    Like

  2. But how would it look if Bram/RD hit the submit button, and telling things?
    That would most likely sharing some pretty private stuff (at least regarding Bram, as the original article really hits out on him, and things he have bought). Not everyone do want to share private stuff that way.
    At the same time, it doesn’t do any good either. Let’s say Bram/RD submits an ‘article’. What would end up happen? Many people would say he/they are just lying to make it look better, and it’s all status quo.
    And, it’s not that way it works either. I do know that legal actions was started due to the claims and accusations, which would explain why Bram and RD was silent over the issue. The same source(s) explained that due to the author was hidden behind being anonymous, there wasn’t anything to do at this point.
    My experience with legal actions is that those take time, and when it was all done, I would believe it would be too late to submit anything.

    The screenshot provided in this article is the same way.
    “There’s no disputing that the owner of RD (Bram) is able to live comfortably off of what looks like his sole income stream (RD)”
    Well, if the evidence of this are 2 facebook pictures, I would say it is very much disputable. Does he live in a big house? Small apartment? Girlfriend? Living parents? Heritage? Lottery(not very likely…)? Does anyone know about these things, or is it just assumed that he got a car and some furniture because of RD-money? I would also like to know a plausible theory for where that big income comes from. Google ads? If so, read up a bit on how ‘lucrative’ that is.

    The thing about these SimRacing bosses, is that they get fans, and haters. The only two communties I’ve been involved in, is RD and TouringProSeries – or, I have raced many other places, but those places is where I’ve been the most.
    And it is the same for both. You have fans of the boss for those places, and you have people who can’t stand them. And to top it off, afaik, there is absolutely no friendship between them either.

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    1. You bring up some good points there. I very much doubt that Bram would have to do much to “clear his name” so to speak. He definitely wouldn’t need to go on as much of a rampage as the original contributers to the article did. He’s not stupid enough to directly attack someone in a public article, so he’d probably do it in a tactful and respectful manner.

      I also don’t think any legal actions were really taken, I mean what kind of a court would accept a case which stems from racing pretend cars on the internet? Who do they charge, and what do they charge them for? A group of anonymous sources for putting out a story on the internet which consisted mainly of libelous claims?

      A quick Google search helped me see that Bram has just one job at the moment, and that’s RD. See LinkedIn and Twitter. He also states that he’s a proud owner of a Volvo C30 on his public Twitter profile. He’s definitely not hiding the fact that he works only for RD, nor the fact that he owns a vehicle which is not of the cheap variety. The fact is that PRC has shown beyond reasonable doubt that there’s some substance behind their claims, and it’s open for anyone to view. Whether you should believe them or not is a different argument, and it’s a decision which people should be making on their own terms.

      In terms of Google Ads, it all depends on what sort of ads RD is serving on their site, and what the minimum bid amount for each of those ads are. For a community getting at least a million pageviews a month on it’s front page, advertisers would need to bid quite high to get their ads to show more frequently since the competition would be high. The more these ads are served, and the more clicks they get (depending on the type of ad), the more money RD could potentially make from them. I doubt it’s much, but they could still be getting a decent amount of revenue if they were doing things smartly.

      If you really think about it, this is all so silly. It’s like a “Keeping up with the Kardashians” for sim-racing. There’s really more to life than pretending to be a racing driver or pretending to be someone of importance. The sooner people realise that, the sooner this kind of BS will stop.

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      1. No charge will be brought, because of the anonymous nature. That is, if the real identity behind the article had been known, it would’ve been a difference thing. The internet isn’t a free zone where you can post whatever you want about whoever you want. The same laws that exist for the “offline life” also exist for “online life”. And in very many countries (Netherlands is an example), coming with lies, presenting them, like it’s been done here, is not legal – unless you have actual facts to back it up – not theories, but facts.

        Yes, Bram have one job, and he owns a Volvo C30, but as I wrote in my last post, did any of yours, or others searches provide information about heritage, girlfriend, parents, where he actually lives etc.? PRC has done nothing else than to point to a car, some furniture, Bram, RD and presented it as “Look, he could buy that, he only works with RD. RD must bring in tons of money”. That is not beyond reasonable doubt. There is so many variables that is not factored in.
        Maybe it was an advanced heritage payment, or something. I do not know, but I know there is so extremely many possibilites that isn’t even mentioned here.

        I think you overestimate google ads, well over 50% over todays internet-users use adblock, and, all premium members have no ads. So for 15 eur a year (is it not?) you can get rid of ads. So I would guess that the ad-income isn’t much higher than that, if it all.

        Then, no-one have ever offered a thought to the expenses of the website, and servers. You need to pay for the name(s) (there are more than just racedepartment.com that is owned), server space – and add to that, that RD have a download-section as well, that’s not cheap. Also, there are servers for the simracing. That’s not cheap either.
        These things aren’t offered a single thought in anything.

        The “evidence” is a single car. That’s not exactly… any kind of evidence.

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      2. I don’t think you’ve understood the point really. Nobody was saying that RD makes a killing. I think what they’re pointing out is that whatever money does come in, it doesn’t get shared evenly.

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      3. Where do you get your facts on google? 50% of internet users use an ad blocker? Are you being for real, or are you just trolling? There are no stats whatsoever to back that up. If that were the case, then there would be no such thing as buying and placing media, and many of the million dollar companies which make their living off of placing an selling media would not be in business.

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      4. The income isn’t supposed to be shared evenly I guess. My guess would be that any income would be to pay off all expenses, and then maybe have something in reserve. Remember that licenses for forums, plugins etc. also needs to be paid annualy.

        Regarding the adblocker thingy, I guess I was somewhat wrong. I am going off the 2014 study from Adobe, that shows that 54% of men from 18 to 29 use adblocker, and the total number have tripled since 2012.
        Also, the more tech savy the webpages are, the more people use adblock. Youtube, and big gaming media is the biggest losers from this, together with PC-hard&software sites. What I didn’t really think about, is that the male 18-29 group isn’t the only group for simracing, but there are a big amount of adblock users in the simracing-age-sex-group.

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  3. this blog is pretty much the reason why I decided not to buy Project Cars and I’m very grateful for that, because I don’t have money to throw out of the window or burn, much less to spend on a broken game with the company CEO acting like a jerk with his customers.

    Assetto Corsa has its problems as well, but their devs are much more respectful and listen to the community. Same thing for Reiza and of course ISI – who even have a refund policy if you’re not happy with your purchase.

    Also, welcome to the gaming world of post Steam refund policy. Devs be worried.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “because I don’t have money to throw out of the window or burn, much less to spend on a broken game with the company CEO acting like a jerk with his customers.”

      Pretty much this, I think Stella Stig summed it up in one of his videos pretty good by saying that his attitude will either need to change or they’ll fast run out of support and, more crucially, customers buying their product(s). Being one of the “backers” I’ve already pretty much dropped the game and am waiting for Forza 6 to come out on console, and looking to pick up GSCE to add to AC on PC. I just feel like Project CARS suffered from doing a lot of things, but not doing any of them particularly well.

      Maybe it’ll be a different game in a few months, but I’m not sure I’ll still be playing it by then to notice.

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  4. RD summed it up pretty well and short: you are “censored” on most forums and websites because you spread lies (sometime intentionally for click baiting i guess.. some other times because you don’t even spend 2 minutes to verify the source or if the “news” could be true).
    Even this “article” is full of lies… how do you pretend that people will take you “seriously”?

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      1. Every point in bold in the article is a lie… where should I start and where I should end? you are censored on RD because you are trolling; you are posting on pcars forum because you are spamming (there’s other few users who doesn’t like the game there, and they aren’t banned, because they keep their discussion on a civil manner); you are banned on iracing because you can’t post a single constructive discussion; you are banned on reddit, again, because whenever that community is open, the trolls are brainless ppl are not accepted.

        On each of those forums and website, there’s plenty of other users that couldn’t be considered “friendly” or such… but they use a constructive language, they are there to help (to improve).. if you go there to only say: “this is shit.. you are shit.. i’m right.. ” you will only receive.. guess what? A ban! So happy ban guys… will continue to talk here… and here only, ignoring the rest of this community, and (the bad part) being ignored by all of them.

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      2. I’m on those forums, and before this blog on RD in example, the only messages i read there was like: “you [insert random offense] … bla bla bla [insert link to this blog with some spicy hate]”. I can understand how this could lead to be banned.. don’t you?

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      3. For some reason I can’t reply to the Anonymous below your post. But everything he said so far was that we are spammer and trollers. He never talked directly about the stuff he considers lies. He’s avoiding the main subject because he know he has nothing, so he will just attack us personally, instead of giving arguments to why he says what PRC writes is a lie. He never commented on that, but just called them liers, spammers, and trollers. So many personal attacks.. he should be a politician.

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    1. Just because someone says “THOSE ARE LIES!!!1111 LEGAL ACTION!!!111” doesn’t mean he’s right. Bram yet has to refute a single point that James made.

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      1. There’s no need to get personal. All he would have to do is say, “What you posted is wrong. The revenue from RD does not go into my own pocket. The revenue from RD goes only to one place, and that’s RD. So that many sim-racers like yourselves can get together in one place to have a good time driving together, and a place where they can connect and meet new people. All this for as little an amount as our premium membership costs.”

        And that would be end-of.

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      2. Would it? Or would the people that, quite obvious hold a grudge just say “you are lying, look at the Volvo” again? Because that’s the problem here isn’t it? That he somehow have bought a car?

        Also the original article didn’t just state that Bram live off RD, but that “a select few staff members” pocket the money, and if there are 4-5 people doing it, then the income must be extremely high to make a living out of it… That just doesn’t seem plausible at all.

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  5. Have you tried posting in /r/games or /r/gamingforgamers ?

    /r/simracing may very well be focused on a niche genre but some of the bigger stories, like the whole Project CARS drama, may be of greater interest to the gaming community as a whole.

    Would certainly be interesting to see non-racing responses to that.

    Like

    1. Right, let’s go spam on other subs … let’s manage to gave this blog banned on every single website out there. I never seen a blog falling so fast like this one.. and you need dedication to make it to happen, considering that normally the hate sentiment is well followed…. by the trolls.

      Like

      1. Right, 1 million people and the same 15 users posting day by day (14 if you exclude me) … I think there’s something wrong with your stats, or you’re reading it wrong (tip: crawlers aren’t real unique users). But the important is that you really believe it.. so good for you! 🙂

        Like

  6. I unsubbed r/simracing quite a while ago. Even when I was heavily active in simracing it was tough to gain any traction there talking about rF/rF2, because everyone was like “…but, iRacing.”

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  7. Kurei is a user from GTPlanet (I am tankuroded there) and he originally posted this to the PCars wining thread. So far, PRC haven’t been banned from GTP.

    Now, it’s either J-List ads here or a simracing sub on Voat (Reddit clone populated by “muh censorship” runaways) run by James.

    Like

  8. Lol all these people trying to say that sites like Racedepartment, PCARS, Reddit, iRacing and the likes actually give a damn about what goes on here.

    I’d be willing to bet that nobody from any of these sites is actually reading any of the articles or comments. They’re probably laughing it all off and clicking the ban button as soon as they get the chance so that the situation doesn’t get bigger than it needs to be.

    Like

    1. i’m here and I read those forums (apart iRacing), but i recognize that after the initial buzz, none is talking about this blog on RD anymore. So while it’s not completely true that there’s none here, on the other side we’re pretty ignored by the rest of them… consider it like Pub, we talk with the usual 10 ppl, it’s fun until it lasts, there’s someone maintaining this service for free, so let’s use it! …until we’ll find something better.

      Like

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