Conduct Detrimental to iRacing

Sometimes, game developers can put some absolutely cheeky shit in the Terms of Service, and Section 2.1.1 of iRacing’s Sporting Code is some cheeky shit.table of contentsTo those who will inevitably stumble upon this post without knowing a whole hell of a lot about iRacing, I’ll do my best to break it down for you before we begin:

iRacing is a hardcore online-only racing simulation that relies entirely on a heavily structured ranking and moderation system to create what’s essentially a virtual world of auto racing, with several different types of cars and tracks, all under one roof. To create an environment where online races against human opponents are taken as seriously as the real thing, the game’s Terms of Service, dubbed the Sporting Code (complete with its own sanctioning body) is designed to act as one huge official rule book. This allows iRacing to suspend or even outright ban dirty or unsportsmanlike drivers from the game, keeping the races exceptionally clean and free of the losers you’ll see in an average Forza session. While there are definitely dickheads in each race who drive in an aggressive manner, your average online session in iRacing is worth the outrageous subscription and content costs, sometimes totaling over $150 just to run a three month season with your preferred car.

We here at PRC.net aren’t big fans of iRacing because we’re nerdy as fuck when it comes to these games, and care about little shit like physics oddities and exploits that really only affect the top 10% of drivers within the game, but in short, it’s League of Legends on wheels, and it’s by far the most popular racing game on the PC, even including mainstream titles like Project CARS, F1 2015, and Need for Speed.

But there’s one rule within the extensive Terms of Service document, which you can verify for yourself here, that’s shady as fuck.

12006606_10204965851654664_3285769119234129181_oSection 2.1.1 of the iRacing Sporting Code states:

  • It is expected that each member will treat other drivers, iRacing officials, employees and the community with respect and class on and off the race track and will not bring the sport or iRacing into disrepute via their actions including but not limited to those that iRacing.com/F.I.R.S.T official deem prejudice the integrity of fair competition in any series or special events within iRacing.com.

Disrepute – The state of being held in low esteem by the public.

For those who lack the reading comprehension necessary to understand what was just displayed above: If you say bad things about iRacing, you’re violating the Terms of Service and can be subjected to a suspension or outright ban.

Think about that for a second, while we explore what this kind of bizarre rule leads to on a much bigger scale:

dennyThe year was 2013 and NASCAR’s new Generation 6 body style had just been introduced, producing some of the lousiest stock car racing ever. After a podium finish at Phoenix International Raceway, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin wasn’t fond of the new bodies and the aerodynamic issues they caused. During a post race interview with Fox Sports, Denny simply told reporters that every team on the circuit had been struggling to figure out the new cars.

He did not swear. He did not name and shame specific engineers or figureheads at NASCAR. As a driver who was entering his seventh year on NASCAR’s biggest tour, he told the TV crew how his day went. NASCAR believed this harmed their public image and fined him $25,000.

41The year was 2014, and Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kurt Busch had stuck his dick in crazy. Despite ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll showing up unannounced to his RV and instigating a bizarre argument over their prior relationship while Busch was completely nude, Driscoll put on an Oscar-worthy performance for the judge of a Delaware Courthouse and temporarily convinced the media that the 2004 Nextel Cup Champion should be erased from the NASCAR history books after an alleged violent outburst that her own son later admitted was completely made up.

Even though Kurt was clearly on the receiving end of a woman with abandonment issues and emotional hemophilia, NASCAR handed Busch a three-week suspension for being the victim of criminal harassment, and Chevrolet temporarily cut ties with him. Driscoll was investigated for tax fraud fiver months later.

iRacingSim 2012-01-30 03-22-36-04NASCAR is a multi-billion dollar corporate entity competing with the National Football League and other mammoth operations for TV ratings and advertisement revenue. While I personally don’t agree with the punishments above, every slight step out of line from anyone on the property has the potential to snowball into a disaster if you sit on your hands and do nothing. When you are a massive corporate entity on the biggest stage imaginable, you have to operate like a massive corporate entity, and sometimes, that means being absolutely fucking retarded.

iRacing is a video game. If someone points out the New Surface Model is kind of shit, they will not be interviewed by Michael Strahan on Good Morning America the day after the article is posted on the iRacing member forums. There will be a nerd fight in the afternoon on the forums during European primetime, and another nerd fight a few hours later when the American guys get off work. This isn’t a big deal.

So what does this mean for iRacing if it’s against the Terms of Service to bring iRacing into disrepute?

You can be banned for criticizing the game.

iRacingSim 2012-02-23 22-24-10-88

Any commentator for a broadcasted league race is forced to watch their words, and even when obvious issues with the game are occurring right in front of them, are forced into pretending they don’t exist.While not a lot of people watch these broadcasts to begin with, if they see shit that’s not cool, they should be able to talk about it.

Any YouTube personality or editor for a website reviewing a new piece of content in iRacing, whether it be a car or a track, are forced to say only positive things about the new release, as they risk losing all the money they’ve dumped into the sim if iRacing isn’t satisfied with their review. The community relies on honest impressions from these sites, and these people are forced to lie due to the game’s Terms of Service. That’s not cool.

Any Peak Anti-Freeze Series or Road Course DWC drivers are forced to toe the party line if they want to continue to participate in a year-long tournament with a $10,000 cash prize for first place. These people are the most credible people to listen to when serious discussions about the game’s bugs are brought up, and they’re forced to lie or downplay certain things so they aren’t booted from the championship. That’s not cool.

And any John Smith who’s simply questioning why a new build has introduced a game-breaking issue into the game, well, if he’s too loud about it on the forums, he’s gone, no questions asked.

The precedent this has the potential to set is horrifying.

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35 thoughts on “Conduct Detrimental to iRacing

    1. Why are these comments so popular? “Brb gonna grab popcorn and watch these comments.” The arrogance is strong with these. My god, stop acting like you’re better than other people because your opinion is different.

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      1. Because every single article on this site seems to summon crybabies from the ether. When I don’t agree with James or Sev (I don’t think Maple’s said anything controversial) I ignore it. Like when James complained about the lack of people playing GSCE. I race once a month or so. I really am busy and don’t have a ton of energy to race these days, but when I do I want good content.

        So what did I do? I moved the fuck on and ignored it.

        iRacing, NR2003, and Assetto Corsa topics constantly have people whining and crying the entire time because how dare James say something controversial about a game you like.

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  1. Although I’m not a fan of such agreements, you’ve provided zero evidence that members have actually been banned for any of the linked issues beyond the Street Stock PRC article.

    I’ll be the first to admit I’m a iRacing fan, and probably unable to be as objective as I’d like when the service is criticized, but beyond an inflammatory Sporting Code, where is your evidence of people being banned for 1) mentioning glitches in the dynamic weather system, 2) pointing out that the servers can’t handle large events, and so on.

    It seems your article is really about iRacing taking itself way too seriously. You don’t seem to mind NASCAR’s implementation of the same policy, but because iRacing is not a multibillion dollar corporation, their implementation is wrong? If that’s your argument, explain why.

    That article would probably be very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He didn’t say “you get banned for saying this” he said “you can get banned for saying this”. Maybe you should read the article again.

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      1. “Point out that there’s a glitch in the game’s new dynamic weather system? Suspension”

        I don’t read the above as, “a strict interpretation of the Sporting Code suggests you might, or can, suffer a suspension for pointing out a glitch in the game’s new dynamic weather system”.

        I’m sorry, but the suggestion is that you will be suspended, and including the link suggests that it will offer evidence of that specific occurrence. Instead of providing evidence that someone has been suspended for such comments, the link is simply a PRC article pointing out the aforementioned glitch.

        Maybe you’d care to read the article again?

        As a fan of the site (as well as James’ writing style), I found the lack of supporting evidence underwhelming.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. This is where it gets hairy.

          There are indeed people who have been suspended and/or banned from iRacing for the exact reasons listed in this article. One of them is a K&N Series driver, another a Super Late Model driver, and finally the third example off the top of my head is an actor.

          The biggest roadblock is making just one of these guys comfortable enough to share everything publicly. As it stands right now, I’m essentially sitting on a shitload of info, just waiting for the thumbs up to post it.

          A lot of these guys have worked out deals behind the scenes with iRacing staff members in order to continue racing, and going public with the info would jeopardize their already shaky relationship. You’ve gotta understand, iRacing in some aspects is seen as Facebook for younger auto racing fans & drivers; despite the shortcomings and godawful community management, there are a lot of genuine social circles that have sprung up. Essentially, these guys would like to keep racing online with their friends as long as possible.

          This comment on Reddit is the most I can link to back my ass up at the moment, but given the guys I’ve been speaking with say “alright, let’s do this”, it will get extremely ugly in a hurry and there WILL be a follow-up article.

          https://www.reddit.com/r/iRacing/comments/3jvqdb/weather_fiasco_mk_2_on_its_way_with_new_surface/cute71p

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  2. As an iRacing member myself and a regular forum visitor i can 100% say you don’t get banned for critisizing the game. Plenty of evidence for that but you somehow manage to ramble and go on about principles without proof.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But they can do it if they don’t like you. They have the legal excuse to ban in such situations. I think it would be enough to ban you from the forum, rather than from the entire game.

      But the thing is that iracing treats their service as professional motorsport racing. But a part of the people (part of iracing users and outside people) still see it as a game, and not like a professional/legalized motorsport league. Iracing consider themselves to be in the same league of entities like: F1, Blancpain, Nascar, and other legal racing motorsport. Their justification for the prices is that physical motorsport racing is also very expensive. They for sure treat them like that, both in PR, costs, legal issues.

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    2. So many people have been banned by iRacing. Management is downright hypocritical. They get treated the same wat they treat others. Nim Cross is the most vengeful person on the face of the planet. He should try saying the Lord’s Prayer.

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  3. F1 has a similar clause called “bringing the sport into disrepute” – and that’s the clause they used to kick out the Andrea Moda team in 1992 (the owner being arrested for financial irregularities and mistreatment of Perry McCarthy).

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  4. Lol, nerdy? Be nerdy is not to break the rules of something. Its an anarchy. If deves dont want to discuss it, ok. Meet them on press room and discuss live – they will answer as they do it everytime. Isnt it more interesting then write 2500+ words about buttheart? Yes its cool to criticize, but without getting in touch with devs its useless and just for lools/subs.

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  5. I’m not sure how to reply directly to your comment, James, but I now understand your position much more clearly.

    I’m new to iRacing myself, having only begun racing in April (although I’ve got 350 starts since then, lol), and had no idea young racers viewed the service as you suggest. I think that would make an incredible article, and also one you’ll never read anywhere else.

    As far as the anonymous drivers’ experiences, I think they deserved a place in the article (anonymous, of course, with little identifying information). I certainly think they provide supporting evidence that the article is currently lacking.

    Regarding the fascist aspect of the Sporting Code, I’m ambivalent. My immediate reaction is, of course, “how dare they”, but I also understand they need to protect both their business interests and the integrity of the service. In the end, as with many issues, I’m just not sure how I feel. Things simply aren’t as black & white as we’d like them to be (nor as others make them out to be).

    I think your recent ban, following the SS article, was extremely short sighted, and, honestly, uncalled for. IIRC, the article wasn’t mean spirited; in fact, I read it as constructive criticism.

    In any case, I appreciate the unique perspective PRC offers our community. Yours is one of the few sites I visit daily, and I hope it continues to flourish.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve contacted my country’s Consumer Protection Agency, asking them if this shit is legal. I highly doubt it is. I’m a pretty happy iRacing member but this shit is fucking bullshit regardless of my opinion on the game.

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  7. ha you shouldnt be worried about iracing suspending folks but worried about all the kid who will attack you like you slapped the glasses of there face or kicked there briefcase outa there hand if you express valid criticism,since there latest build there service has been unplayable for 100s of folks.
    i saw a post that said there old code is giving them trouble implementing newer tech features and causing hi tech pc’s to grind to a halt,and he got told he was a entitled spoil t brat for thinking iracing should work as intended.and that hes a fool if i expect it too.
    the way fanboys can twist anything round to where iracing is perfect is a real special attribute.

    Like

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