Sunday, December 12, 2010

F3F Cyber Warfare: Point of No Return?

After the disappointment of the F3F German Open not being an Eurotour Contest in 2011, there's a new threat that lingers in the international F3F sporting community. The current competition registration management of the Contest Eurotour, which is not centralized by Contest Modellsport Gbr on a dedicated web server, is not working as it should.
Let's take today's example of the first F3F Contest Eurotour event of the coming 2011 season in Rana near Louny, Czech Republik. The organizing team prepared the web canvas of the contest description on its web site. There we find, for the present time, an entry "Rana Open F3F 2011" in the side menu which leads us to the following page.
Comments showing private information are grayed out
At page top, one can clearly read "Information to come." The competition description is not yet published, the registration schedule is not yet set, there's not any registration form or e-mail address available. This is simply a page on which the organizing team is still working, making it ready for the interested pilots, making it simple to use, etc. It's all good and normal, BUT the page is there, online, accessible to the world. AND there's is something that I'm convinced the organizing team didn't want at all: the comment feature is active!!!
So what happened today between 00:30 PM and just now (10:30 PM)? Well, one clever guy (Sigi, no pun intended, I do not throw you the stone, it's just to explain the sparking phenomenon) typed his registration data AS A COMMENT TO THE EMPTY PAGE (name, frequency, FAI license number, mail address, etc.), thinking this way he's getting a free slot for the contest. The spark is set, and, as in an disorganized nature, wildfires starts fast and spread rapidly!
It didn't take much time before a second guy forced his registration data in, hoping it gets validated by the contest organization. And a third pilot added his comment, and a fourth, and so on until tonight. Right now, there are 12 pilots (including me and a few buddies I forwarded the info to) unofficially registered for the F3F Rana Open through simple comments on an empty web page!
As some Austrian pilot stated, it's fun to watch this unusual way of registering for an international high level competition. And yes, Lukas, I fully agree with you, it's fun to watch, especially when the latest registered pilot is someone we did not know was flying F3F (see picture below)!
But it's also showing so clearly that there is a generic problem with the present registration system. Today, we almost spam the comment feature of a web page as fast as possible to try to get a free slot for a Contest Eurotour event. I can't call this a professional way of dealing with international F3F competitions. And since the Contest Eurotour competitions are regulated by CONTEST Modellsport GbR, a professional private company, I think the least we could get is a professional and fair registration platform giving equal chances to all motivated pilots to try getting a starting number.
The endeavor of Contest Modellsport has always been and still is promising. They probably promote our sport to a far greater extent than our clubs, regional and national associations could do. But European F3F clearly lacks a centralized competition management system and Contest Modellsport certainly thinks it's not their duty to invest in this part of a functioning sporting circuit. Since they are a private company, they are free to apply the strategy they want.
But on our side, on pilot's side, on club's and association's side, let's think about this and other major or minor issues in the current way F3F events are handled, as well on international, national, regional, and local levels. We can't continue to promote our sport to our younger slope pilots, motivate less sportive club members to spend time and energy organizing and support local F3F races, setting up qualification standards for national teams, preparing for a first F3F World Championship in 2012, and be so negligent as in both examples of this weekend in the way we manage european high level contests.
You'll say: "Do it better, it's easy to criticize!" You're absolutely right. It's easy to express some criticism. But it's only when one is able to do a thorough critique, a full reflexion on the way things go well or how things go bad, that some concept can be developed and later implemented to optimize the system. This is certainly as valid for an individual like me as for an entire community of motivated F3F pilots.
I am convinced the FAI should support the round table needed for discussing and approaching a better way of doing things in Europe: it's called a democratic Euro Cup organization!
I wish you all some nice dreams.

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