So far CTDP never used this Development Blog to discuss the politics of the SimRacing community. One of the big examples in the past year was SimRaceWay. We would have liked to close the file by now, but unfortunately SRW keeps hitting us on the nose.
Let’s rewind to summer last year. SimRaceWay was announced as commercial replacement for the aging rFactorCentral. Being barely moderated and discontinued, it could have been a nice restart, however the commercial aspects of the site raised questions. Were Mods driven in commercial Races? What is the business model of SRW? And most simple question, do they make money on Modders free work? Direct contact failed and the responses in their forums were often only vague formulaic answers. CTDP among other Modders were cautious and decided to withdraw their Mods from the upcoming site. We wanted to wait till the thing is launched and the site is running before participating. After all SRW had many good ideas and quite some potential if done right.
After our withdrawal, more Modding groups joined and it escalated in a boycott of the new website. I can’t say how many Modders actually went through with it. SRW didn’t make it easy.
The new site was supposed to launch in early September, but apparently technical problems postponed it and the powers that be decided to only invite a fraction of the user base. Even if not intentionally, it was a great move, because no Modder could log in to see if his wish of removal of his Mods could be checked. Once CTDP had access it was clear, that our mods have not been taken down as requested (and are even available in the HTML-source to this day).
This is were the annoying part begins. Modders wanted to get a clear picture of what is to be expected of the new SRW. Their free work will be integrated on the website in a commercial context and driven in events, so I think this is a valid question. Instead of embracing the question in a respectable manner, SRW locked down and to this day prefers to act behind the Modders back. By having our Mods on their website, and by readding them every couple of weeks, after we request to take them down, SRW brought themself in a position where CTDP is fed up. As I said we were cautious when the site launched and we wanted to give it a chance to proof itself and its potential. We were not malevolent, and we did not have outrageous demands except for knowing how our work is being used. By ignoring our request to remove the mod from the platform, SRW keeps opening this issue over and over again. I could imagine we would have found an agreement by now, however by repeatedly hitting us over the head this way, SRW is obstructing any chance by their own hand.
Browsing SRW is not a bad experience. Despite some technical issues and the slow speed, they incorporated many good ideas. The site is not bad and I’m sure there is common ground. We always said we would revise our decision once the picture is clear, but the way SRW keeps disrespecting the decision we have taken so far, they don’t make it easy to reconsider. This is not a way to make us change our mind and certainly don’t make us friends. On the contrary it is disrespecting our work, downright annoying and legal steps are already being considered.
Is a little respect towards each other to much to ask?
Update 27 Feb 2010 – 12:36 GMT: SRW has reacted by taking down the linked Mods. The open question is for how long…