Monday, 2 September 2013

Why I decided to start a blog

Back in autumn 2008, I was asked by the board (I will tell you what the board is in another post) of Formula Student Germany, if I wanted to participate in developing rules for an Electric FS class.
Some of my first thoughts were: How could I make a difference as an Official? What was missing in terms of information delivered about the reasoning behind ?

One of the answers was/is: The structure and the work of the rules committee and also the organisational structures/work of the Officials of the FS competitions always lacked transparency for me.

The rules committee (I will also write about that in the future) for example was a big grey cloud and each released rules version made me often scratch my head and think:
  • What were they thinking when they introduced this rule?
  • How is a new rule created: Are they just sitting together and one comes up with the idea of clarifying the colour of the role bar padding and the other members simply agree? 
On the other hand I also thought that there was a lack of people I could directly talk to about issues with the rules, as well as event organisation in general and about the reasoning and procedures behind decisions and processes. In my opinion it is way easier to accept a decision, if the reasoning behind it was explained, meaning all necessary information is provided or at least is available on request.

I decided to become part of the "dark side", as I call the organisational part of FS competitions, and joined the newly founded rules committee of FSG to develop the very first version of the FSE rules. While working on the rules during 2008 and 2009, I strived to involve the teams in the development of the electric rules and became more active in the FSAE and FSG forums. 

I was also trying to participate often in discussions about new rules, about event operations etc. in order to shed more light on these parts and also to be a source of background information. I think this works quite well, although it also leads to funny moments from time to time when people approach me at an event and say: "I know you from the FSAE forum!". In that case I think that I should try to cut my activities back a bit and not post in every semi-interesting thread. I remember that Michael Royce Sr. himself approached me at FS UK 2010 with the words: "There he is, the infamous Tobias Michaels." Obviously he was reading my posts as well...

Back to topic: I felt that the forum was good to get in direct contact with the teams and to participate in related discussions, but from time to time I had small pieces of information to share, which could be quite valuable for the teams. A forum however is the wrong platform for this as these information pieces are usually distributed in one-way, broadcast manner to reach as many teams as possible in an easy way. So I joined twitter. My first tweet was created in July 2011, you may read it here: TobiasMic's First Tweet (I still avoid using Google+ and facebook by the way)

During the past two years of using twitter, more and more situations occurred in which I deemed 140 characters to be insufficient for delivering the information I had to share. I started to use Dropbox in order to distribute documents to the followers of my twitter channel. However, this is rather inefficient and not easily accessible later on.

So here I am with a blog to push the transparency of the dark side even further. I will try to post an entry to my blog every week or at least every other week, provided that I have enough interesting content and also time to create a post. I will use the blog to provide more detailed and comprehensive background information to which only Officials have access. However, this also means that the provided information will be sanitised from time to time to protect the IP of teams or internal matters of the rules committee / event organisers for example.

I missed a minor cause about why I started to blog: I am one of these arrogant smart asses on the Internets who think that others are really interested in reading what they are writing :)

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