Anti sandbagging and other areas that need development and communication

Dear pointless subforum,

It feels good to be back to my old self again.

So the roadmap for the season 2021/22 was made public for a change. Clubs isn’t really racing, not if you still don’t have the tools as an event maker whether in a club or not. So what about racing in the new season now that they divulged that the number of racers has swollen to 20% of the Zwift population and, one would assume with this mature product, keeps growing?

Well, not to worry. We are covered this season because Mark Cote was quoted as saying:
“There’s a lot of things to do, both in terms of digital elements - is it fair? Is there any cheating? - all the way down to ‘did we understand the athlete and put them into the right category’? Just know that it’s a top priority, it’s a very hard problem to solve, and it’s a core focus of ours.”

How comforting! Fair racing remains their core focus for the winter 2021/22! Just as it was throughout corona up til now. Phew! It’s good to know that they think about us up there as we are getting cheated by the race rules, again and again, in basically any and every race we participate in. It makes all the difference, doesn’t it?

There’s no theodicy problem in Zwift. Blasphemers! There is The Managment. I believe in them. I believe they exist. And they want all the best for us. Even when we are miserable they still think about us, like really hard. There. Have faith, you sinners!

But I just heard Moolman-Pasio was to, I didn’t quite get it, head some team or be some kind of patron for racing women in Zwift? And that had me worried. Zwift really shouldn’t tie real-life pros too closely to Zwift racing, not if the pros’ commitment is to extend down the gutter beyond cat A. I mean, no offense but while they are all great cyclists some of them aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer. They could easily get the wrong impressions if they are not under strict guidance. What if they e.g. started to question tenets such as the infallibility of WKG as the great divider in racing? The last thing Zwift needs right now is more people like us in here but with celebrity status, ones that people outside this subforum actually listen to.

With love,

Zwiftcruiser

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Coming back to the thread over 7 months later it’s discouraging to see the same issues remain (having only entered one race since then), and to cap it all this latest bombshell.
Not holding out any hope Zwift will take racing seriously, which is staggering.

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Fear not , if they dont , horror vacui . Something will be along soon enough.

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My main worry or negative assumption is that the majority of what has been announced will just be a damp squib, with little that is tangible in relation to this thread and us thirsty b@stards.

This is the scenario where I’ll be pretty disappointed, and feel like Little Mo again.

  • UI / front end improvements: It looks like these all seem to be at the front end, which while much required, are far down my list of ‘must haves’, and are the sort of change that will become invisible because they were so obvious and overdue that they become the norm quickly. I didn’t see any mention of being able to change your own HUD data feeds when riding, which should surely be a piece of piss.

  • Clubs being rolled out: Correct me if I am wrong, but I did not see too much other than rolling out what has been in beta since the Jurassic period, which will basically mean slightly better meet ups. No integration with WTRL or Zwiftpower teams eh.

  • New roads: They look nice and will add some new Crit variety hopefully. Be cool if it’s not just the new roads though - some sort of additional racing gamification would be amazing.

And nothing done in terms of enforcing existing cats / sandbagging, a rankings system, live points races, other cool racing / competitive gamification, overhauling TTTs.

This is my worse case scenario to be clear.

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Nope I’m pretty sure that’s exactly the situation.

Hopefully at least some of those things are foundational work to get some functionality improvements one day.

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My tainted view based on recent releases is that your worse case is probably closer to my best case likely scenario. :cry:

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Is it my imagination, or are the issues getting worse rather than better? The number of incorrect category riders, riders with the same weight for the past 6 months, weight doping (the photos in their Strava profile certainly indicate a different weight to the zwift profile) etc seems to be reaching monstrous proportions, yet there seems little improvement to the system/racing experience from a zwift perspective. Partly it comes from a sore loser perspective, as I don’t like to lose (I am only good enough to race c cats), however, it is a pill that is far easier to swallow when beaten fair and square. In fairness to Zwift, racing pushes me harder than I would otherwise train and until a viable alternative racing platform is offered I am likely to stay put. I would however prefer it if Zwift were honest about their outlook, developments etc and if fair racing is way down the list of priorities over maximising income, then say so.

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I’d say it’s probably got worse if we are talking the normal day to day races. I think for a few reasons:

  • Zwift has continued to get more popular while any controls or communication from ZHQ to the new riders on cheating / sandbagging is non existent. And is arguably worse on that count than 4 years ago.

  • WTRL has sucked up a lot of the more frequent racers who are less likely to sandbag as it isn’t as easy or worth it there. That means less fair racers in the other races on the calendar.

  • Disillusionment from the different Zwift ‘community leaders’ because of lack of engagement from ZHQ. Again, the vast majority of racers in these events would be less likely to sandbag and much have drifted away from racing or are on other platforms. These groups basically created a brand new racing ecosystem in spite of the lack of support and tools from ZHQ. Some are still doing some good stuff, but a good few have understandably either lost enthusiasm or pretty much stopped. I find this one so bizarre as they created great things for free for Zwift, that attracted new subscribers, PR from the wider cycling media and a large population of passionate, loyal paying subscribers.

And still there is no enforced categorisation of existing categories, yet Boost mode was developed.

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Very confused with the thread merge there initially @Gerrie_Delport_ODZ thought I was going mad :grinning:

I personally was trying to start a new thread because comments otherwise get lost in the thousands of others and believe the issue needs a new focus

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Yeah, this thread doesn’t get better by merging any new thread that is slightly related to racing into it…

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We shouldn’t knock Zwift, at least we can clearly see which lap we drop off the back as the cheaters power ahead, invaluable to destroying morale, you cant put a price on it!

To be fair they are having the right conversations now. There is a job advert out there asking for someone who will be responsible for delivering exactly what we have asked for (if they don’t go off on weird autocat tangents). The trouble is it all seems like too little too late, but we can’t turn the clock back. At least there is lots of meme ammunition.

My hope from now on is that they engage with the community early so at least they can be accurate and efficient, and not develop what they think we need, rather than what we are all telling them we need. Autocat was a worrying example.

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My long-held belief is that Zwiftpower shouldn’t be “a thing”. I hope that eventually it isn’t. I’ve never thought it was a good thing that people had to sign up to a third-party system to get “the real results”.

Now that Zwift have taken control of Zwiftpower, they should, IMO, be working to integrate all the good parts of it into the Zwift platform and website directly.

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I wouldnt dare suggest the only reason threads are getting merged is to try and lose the Zwift Race Director / Vice President of competition being shown up as Sandbagging and try and get us to move on.

On the community front, it means different things to different people - Zwift dont see this as their ‘community’, this is core supporters who are too vocal, hence the survey to their bread & butter customers.
Are race organisers the community? Whilst they should be, im always reminded they were most vocal against pace partners and that has turned into one of the few successes, they were looking after their own interests.
I also have very little faith in Zwift making the right decision, based on Autocat, boost mode and their general ineptness…
Positive post there Ha

I was writing the above when that popped up…

I would agree, but take a different approach - Just auto enrol everyone into Zwiftpower as its all one eco system now. Same credentials or make it SSO with Zwift for new users or unregistered users.
I have no issues with a separate results platform but commit to it - Remove in game results/finishing times for all races - Force users to Zwiftpower (It brings multiple benefits)

Though, Im not a fan of then having to sign up to a further 3rd party like WTRL for all their events. Why am I providing HR/Weight etc to a 3rd party to be able to take part in zwift race - I get there is a bit of a juxtaposition with this & Zwiftpower but at least zwiftpower is now Zwift owned.

The one down the road for me, Zwiftpower becomes a Trainingpeaks/Intervals.icu type platform alongside the race results, then you get real benefit out of it.

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15 months ago. :confused:

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We have to also consider the opportunity cost - what could ZP have developed in to in this period? I am aware that there were quite a lot of plans to improve it - including a new ranking system and rankings based pens for race organisers. Of course this would be massively impacted by the lack of pen enforcement, and bringing the whole thing in house needed to be done, but at this point in time, with no significant improvements on the table, we would be in a better place if it hadn’t been taken over.

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Sadly that is why I dont believe anything that is said until I see it with my own eyes.
“you can’t base a reputation on what you are going to do” I believe is the saying

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And what has happened in those 15 months

Was it a well designed and agreed roadmap of assimilation and improvement to the benefits of both platforms. Zwiftpower able to fulfill all the product benefits it could but was unable to previously and zwift acquiring all the feature extension of zwiftpower and creating a better more seamless and integrated experience for those who use the product.

OR

Treated as if just acquiring it was all that was needed to sort all the issues out and instead of this going off to find yet another external system to create yet another set of data silos outside of Zwift that presumably at some point are going to have to undergo the same fate as happened to Zwiftpower because nothing has changed in how these integrations should work. No lessons learnt and nothing improved . Its just history repeating itself.

I know where I am in the answer to that one . As we have not seen as yet any of the former but plenty of the later .

@Lee_H hit the nail right on the head . Simple first step of a proper integration should have been to implement single sign on between the platforms . That would have removed so much complexity and opened up so much road in front of this to be driven forward.

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