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Marl Borough

The thing about this paper on Virual Community governance is that so much of it seems to be supported by incorrect research. The site, GPChampionship.com does not govern itself like that. When there is a disagreement, the so-called RD's whine in a public forum, threaten to quit and close the site, then have members praise them. Ultimately they point out who they have disagreed with and that person rather than have the problem solved privately is ousted from the "community." Moreover, the story about the magazine ending is completely misreported. Not even close to why it stopped publication. It is a shame to see an academic paper like this report things so badly.

Jaap Wagenvoort

Thank you for your contribution, Marl Borough. It is important to be aware of the context of the post of Marl Borough in order to fully judge his opinion and the statements he made regarding the way the GPChampionship.com community works. That is why I explain the situation in detail.

The described way of how Marl Borough describes the way the GPChampionship.com virtual community management work is a very subjective and coloured one, simply because of the close relation of Marl Borough with a person who got into a conflict situation in GPChampionship.com.

The conflict could not be resolved. The end result was that the person has been banned from GPChampionship.com community and as such the opinion above can be interpreted in a better way.

Of course everyone is entitled their own opinion, but stating an opinion as a fact is simply not fair and therefore this reply.

The way Marl Borough describes the way the community management operates is his view of how he thinks the management work. It is my opinion that this is untrue. The management continously listens to the community. Basically, that is the only way for a virtual community like GPChampionship.com to survive. The fact that only one member in the history of GPChampionship.com has been banned shows how little conflicts really escalate and lead to bans. In fact, this was the first time ever that this kind of end result was seen.

The GPChampionship.com community is a typical community with members that come and go. Virtual community research showns that community involvement is the way to success and Marl Borough (who himself actively joined these involvement processed in the GPC forums in the past years!) for one knows that GPC is very active in listening to its members (remember the 'Your opinion' topics?).

The fact that conflicts reach the surface in a community is not good. Of course GPChampionship.com management consists of volunteers who dedicate their spare time into creating something nice for other people to enjoy. This means that mistakes are made, too.

Describing it as the way GPChampionship.com work however is untrue and a false and unfair statement towards GPChampionship.com. It is true that the site has been closed in the past. However, this happened in the situation where one conflict could not be resolved. That doesn't make the community governance like this. It was an emergency situation where a conflict escalated and GPChampionship.com management was unsure what to do given the situation. This happens, when conflicts are out of control and actually justifies the importance of preventing conflicts from escalating. It does not mean that the governance structure of GPC is geared towars closing the site when a conflict occurs. This is simply a false statement and there are loads of cases that justify this (again, all forum dicussion is backup and we have at least 7 cases in the last 6 years of growing conflicts that have been resolved by careful management and constructive discussion channeling). However, this is of course no guarantee for completely getting rid of the risk of an escalated conflict.

Marl Borough claims that the way the magazine ended is misreported. I for one was part of the magazine team (Marl Borough was not) and have witnessed the impact of the in the paper described situation (where commercial interests caused the enthusiasm of the volunteers in the magazine team to reach levels below zero). It definately played a massive role in the very early demise of the magazine in 2004. Of course in the end 'I have no time' statements really stopped the work on the magazine, but as we all know people simple make time when they are enthusiastic (especially in virtual communities where contributing to the community and offering your time for free is so important). The enthusiasm was cut short because of the described situation and I still feel that that caused the work of the magazine to come to a stop. We have full backups of all forum discussion as proof for these statements (there were 3 people who have explicitly stated that they had lost all fun into putting loads of time into the magazine at that moment).

As described in the paper, conflicts should be prevented and this gets a lot of attention in the GPChampionship.com community. A lot of similar communities have diminished over the past years (F1SimRacing as a recent example) because of major conflicts.

The conflict that lead the ban of this ex-member actually shows the importance of conflict prevention. It obviously did not work and ultimately resulted in a big conflict, which clearly shows that even with the awareness and focus on conflict prevention, it still occurs and destructive behaviour is visible.

This underlines the importance of (continous focus on) conflict management in virtual communities.

Even described activity designs (i.e. clear racing procedures) and change management procedures don't seem to be able to prevent all conflicts, which is something we can all learn from and which could be used for future research on this very interesting topic.

Concluding: the post of Marl Borough contains the opinion of a person who was the team manager of a person who received a ban on GPChampionship.com. This, logically, influences his opinion on GPChampionship.com. Probably this lead to the opinion above, which however is not true in my opinion. Again, it is a free world where we live in and everyone is entitled their own opinion. So is Marl Borough and so is everyone else including me.

Kind regards,

Jaap Wagenvoort

Marl Borough

We should thank Jaap Wagenvoort for his long opinion.

It was afterall he who wrote that he had a personal disagreement with a person and made it part of the public domain of the GPC Forum. It was he who allowed other members to say bad things about one person, and it was he who allowed his co-RD to make a posting that incited the GPC membership to pursue a course of harassing the user with whom Mr. Wagenvoort disagreed. This harassment continues today thanks to the RDs at GPC!

Jaap Wagenvoort wrote this:

"I've really been on the verge of stopping all my work for GPC yesterday after a driver explicitly questioned my intentions"

His co-RD wrote this in asking the membership to harass the person:

"GPChamionship.com will be shut down... you can all thank him personally by sending him a mail or PM."

Apparently there are logs of it elsewhere.

According to my friend, that resulted in a massive backlash of hateful emails and comments.


This is not preventing conflict, this is bringing it to the forefront. I have heard that the actions of Mr. Wagenvoort have had and continue to have harmful effects on some friendships that Mr. Wagenvoort felt he should destroy.

As for the magazine, as someone who knows first hand from hearing from the person who made it, it ended because it was more work than possible to keep up with. The person making the publication was, in his message to me, not at all discouraged by the events Mr. Wagenvoort retells here (and mistakenly uses in the paper). The simple fact is that in order to keep up with the magazine and what was expected of him by the RDs, the person gave it up.

Marl Borough

Just one more thought. It is a shame to see professor de Moor's name involved with this paper.


A user asks:

"why the race is Sunday morning?

sorry but i can't race in Sunday and more much people can't race ."

And Mr. RD replies:

"It's simple: in the interest-topic much more people preferred to race on Sunday morning.

Instead of whining, what would have your preference?"

Now, I have to think that the latter comment is itself a trouble-making thing. But I must be wrong, the RDs at GPC don't cause trouble or bait others to cause it.

So sorry to see a good intellectual's name mixed in with this paper's bad research.

Aldo de Moor

I was informed by Jaap Wagenvoort that the gamer 'Marl Borough' who is registered on the online racing site has not posted these comments. Pretty sad to hide behind somebody else's identity, even if it's virtual...

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