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mhlarsen

Support or Piracy?

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I am not sure whether this has been discussed before, but it should be.

 

Avsim hosts several many 'Unofficial forums' in the name of Payware producers.

 

As such forums may be valid for a number of reasons, it also seems to invite the support of software piracy.

 

Many official forums has a system of registering a members serial number or whatever before support is given.

 

On the 'Unofficial forums' support is often given in good faith by Avsim members without this check of validity, which the Avsim member has no way of confirming anyway.

 

It would seem that such a task could be controlled by a moderator, but here as well the problem of confirming the legality of the request is also evident.

 

But do we as a niche community really want to invite this support of piracy just to be able to post rants or whatever about the Payware producers?

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Hi Michael

AVSIM and such places provides us dev's with additional outlets to support our end users

its a fast way to help our customers in easy simple cases; this approach also allows the community to assist with a quick responce in familiar issues;

 

i myself will assist on external forums; but to a curtain degree

once its out of a simple realm issue; i ask to come in to Aerosoft site and open a support ticket

 

i dont mind having a general pool of information available to my customers

i cannot hold the good people of our community responsible for few kids mischief

there are other ways to deal with these rats without the need to hold back on your end users

 

we are to some extent lucky to have responsible and respectful adults as the majority of our community

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Yea  tend to agree with the op on this one,  in rex  and ftx . majestic,  and sim forums you first need to provide your order  details before you allowed  to enter  and get support in their respective forums

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I tend to agree with the OP also. If the vendor has a closed forum, it should probably be that way elsewhere also. Problem is, most legit users don't care about piracy, they only care about their own inconvenience with any attempt to protect a vendors work.

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most legit users don't care about piracy, they only care about their own inconvenience with any attempt to protect a vendors work.

 

it is indeed a fine line to walk;

over protecting your work could cause inconvenience to your customers

which is something we always try to avoid to make the experience smooth in such cases

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I think that we are underestimating the ability of Avsim's members to sniff out a pirate. In many cases it is fairly obvious if a product has been pirated and the members are swift to make their feelings known. Its kind of self regulating

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I think that it doesn't really matter whether there are these unofficial forums or not, those people would ask for support for pirated products in other more general forums as well, if AVSIM didn't have the unofficial support forums. The main purpose of these unofficial support forums is simply to keep things tidy and gather as much information on an addon as possible in one place.

If these places did not exist, we would have the same questions on the products (priated or not) in the general forum sections (e.g. FS9, FSX, XPlane), where they would be buried pretty quickly, and for others it would be harder to retrieve the info lateron. Besides, if there is the suspicion that someone is pirating (and many people actually admit that bluntly anyway, even in the official forums), immediate actions are taken. Also, if you feel like someone is a pirate, hit the report button and tell us your reasons to believe that!

 

Note: The above is my personal opinion only!

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I think that it doesn't really matter whether there are these unofficial forums or not, those people would ask for support for pirated products in other more general forums as well, if AVSIM didn't have the unofficial support forums. The main purpose of these unofficial support forums is simply to keep things tidy and gather as much information on an addon as possible in one place.

If these places did not exist, we would have the same questions on the products (priated or not) in the general forum sections (e.g. FS9, FSX, XPlane), where they would be buried pretty quickly, and for others it would be harder to retrieve the info lateron. Besides, if there is the suspicion that someone is pirating (and many people actually admit that bluntly anyway, even in the official forums), immediate actions are taken. Also, if you feel like someone is a pirate, hit the report button and tell us your reasons to believe that!

 

Note: The above is my personal opinion only!

 

I think the problem is not whether forum members can ask questions about a specific product in other Avsim forums or other places on the Internet.

 

It is rather if Avsim should be 'promoting' the 'unofficial' support of payware products otherwise strongly guarded by the producer?

 

Catching a pirate on the producers forum is based on facts, that is a serial number.

 

Catching a pirate on an 'unofficial' forum is based on 'suspicion', 'feeling', 'sniffing', which I think is highly problematic.

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I expect that the various dev shops in the 'unofficial' support forums are quite capable of asking Tom to remove them if necessary and I expect Tom would comply...

 

DJ

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I think the problem is not whether forum members can ask questions about a specific product in other Avsim forums or other places on the Internet.

 

It is rather if Avsim should be 'promoting' the 'unofficial' support of payware products otherwise strongly guarded by the producer?

 

Catching a pirate on the producers forum is based on facts, that is a serial number.

 

Catching a pirate on an 'unofficial' forum is based on 'suspicion', 'feeling', 'sniffing', which I think is highly problematic.

You are missing the point of "Unofficial forums". As FloG stated, it is an effort to categorize specific add-ons so if someone is seeking information, they can find it in one place instead of an entire site search.

 

As for Avsim "promoting" support of "strongly guarded" software, that's simply not the case. The information provided in these forums is a result of users of the product posting, or in many cases, the manufacturer of said package. If a manufacturer doesn't wish to have the Avsim interface then that's their choice. They have a forum here because either they or their users have requested it and they have agreed to it.

 

And just to enlighten you, Avsim is very active in identifying and removing pirates. If you've been around these forums long enough, it is usually apparent if someone isn't on the up and up. The producers of the products also have ways of spotting pirates and have done so in these forums of which you speak.

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So..... Is this a request that unofficial forums be removed? Honestly, it seems a tempest in a teapot. Piracy exists. Its not going anywhere. Hurting the many people who find such forums useful in the hopes to thwart a few pirates (who will simply laugh, the same way they laugh at copy protection) is once again hurting legitimate users more than the pirates.

 

Avsim members represent an aggregate of probably hundreds of years of experience across the entirety of the flight simulation genre. Is all that helpful knowledge to be silenced in the hopes of maybe catching a few pirates?

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No  think the op is not asking  for the avsim forums be removed only  that users  add there order details or registered users be allowed in the forums.

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You are missing the point of "Unofficial forums". As FloG stated, it is an effort to categorize specific add-ons so if someone is seeking information, they can find it in one place instead of an entire site search.

 

As for Avsim "promoting" support of "strongly guarded" software, that's simply not the case. The information provided in these forums is a result of users of the product posting, or in many cases, the manufacturer of said package. If a manufacturer doesn't wish to have the Avsim interface then that's their choice. They have a forum here because either they or their users have requested it and they have agreed to it.

 

And just to enlighten you, Avsim is very active in identifying and removing pirates. If you've been around these forums long enough, it is usually apparent if someone isn't on the up and up. The producers of the products also have ways of spotting pirates and have done so in these forums of which you speak.

 

No, I am not missing the point of these forums as their function on Avsim is evident.

I agree though that some producers seem more active on these forums than others, but that does not change my argument.

 

Why have an 'Unofficial' forum when an Official forum exists to take care of all customer requests? I fail to see the logic in this.

 

I also honestly doubt that Avsim moderators or anyone else can spot pirates easily on these forums. How are these people apparent?

 

Generally if you choose as a 'customer' to post technical requests on the 'Unofficial' forum and not the Official forum, that seems odd to me as a paying customer.

But I can point out many posts on these forums that does just that, even today, without any consequence at all.

 

Piracy exists yes, but that should not be a free license to practice it. And may I add we have no idea how many pirates we are talking about.

And yes, the members on these forums have immense knowledge about flight simulator  products and generously share this with others, which is why we love to come here.

 

I am also not sure if these 'Unofficial' forums are created on the request of the payware producers? I doubt it.

 

Do I want the 'Unofficial' forums removed?

 

Well, this is up to Avsim to decide. 

 

Maybe I would feel better as a paying customer if these 'Unofficial' forums had a stamp of approval from the payware producers.

It would not change the piracy issue, but then I would know that the producers accepts this or have a customer/pirate calculation that makes this acceptable to them.

 

But I also ask if Avsim on one side can condemn piracy and on the other 'promote' piracy in the 'Unofficial' forums (not intentional of course).

If you as a forum owner do not apply the same customer vs. product check as on the Official forum, then you have given pirates a convenient loophole.

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Its not uncommon for many reports (and my personal experience) of official forums being rude, inactive or ultimately unhelpful.

 

I come here for help first and am very glad these unofficial forums exist.

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I'm sure there are many pirated copies of X-Plane, FSX and P3d floating about also, should these main fora be shut down also? How many pirates might be around doesn't concern me in the slightest, it's simply not my problem. I have more to worry about than that. As you said yourself, "this is up to Avsim to decide" which they have done. I'm sure they are capable of weighing the pros and cons.

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