|jmke ||18th November 2002 10:26 |
News: The [H]ardOCP Debacle: Benchmarks, Bannings and Thread Deletions: JC's summation
Firstly I would like to say that this is not an effort to "keep the scam going".
I would like to condense all the commotion from the last few days into a few facts and observations. While some will regard this as another shameless cry for attention, it is far from this. It is also not my intention to make things seem worse than they really are …
Since most threads in various forums have such a large number of replies and pages, it could be useful to set things as straight as possible. I was not the only person to start this whole "scam" but I seem to have had a hand in it, and I have been directly targeted by Mr. Kyle Bennett so here goes.
Some hours after all the reviews on Intel’s 3.06 GHz HT enabled chip hit cyberspace, I read several reviews, including the one at [H]ard|OCP. Actually this was the first one I read, since I usually pass there, and the forums, in the morning (Belgian time). Now, I can tell you that I tend to look over the benches rather quickly, except for the 3Dmark scores, since these are in my line of interest. I immediately was surprised at the extremely big advantage HT seemed to deliver, but of course my first thought was not that the numbers were wrong. I then looked a bit down the chart and it started to look very wrong to me. I decided to hit the forums and see what was going on there. I replied in some topic where there was talk about the awesome scores. Soon after this I discovered a topic made by a fellow overclocker, who seriously questioned the validity of the 3Dmark scores, as they were - and still are - published in the [H] review. Since the same thought had struck me, I replied and agreed with him.
After this I looked at the review in bigger detail, and found a 3Dmark compare link to Steven Lynch’ 3Dmark score at maximum CPU overclock of just past 3.8 GHz. I had a compare link of my own at nearly the same CPU speed, but with higher FSB than Steve’s bench. My radeon had been at stock settings for that test. I could clearly see in the detailed framerates that Steve’s card had been significantly overclocked for that particular run. But since it was his highest score, I considered it normal. However, when we then look at the 3Dmark numbers stated in the review, they are obviously flawed. They are correct on the 2.53 and 2.80 GHz parts, but then there is a 1700 point (!) gap with a stock running 3.06 CPU. Simple math and knowledge of 3Dmark and Pentium 4 chips teaches us that the maximum gain could have been no more than 400 points in equal testing conditions. Yes, different mainboards were used, but I have personally tested those boards and there is hardly any performance difference between them. Top of the bill, the scores in the [H] review at 3.06 GHz equal my scores at 3.75 GHz / 238 MHz memory with a stock running Radeon 9700 for me. Every person with experience in 3Dmark can see that for a stock running 3.06 GHz P4 to hit 17.300 marks, you would need to seriously overclock your graphics card. Steve did this in his 18.400 benchmark, and again, simple math will show card overclocking had been done at 3.06 GHz speeds. If anybody has another way to gain 1700 marks from 2.8 to 3.06 GHz, and then only 1100 going from 3.06 to 3.8 GHz, please show me!
With [H]ard|OCP’s numbers were way different from those found in other reviews, there remains little room for doubt that they are indeed wrong. So why are they still up, unexplained? Professionalism?
All of this occurred BEFORE the scores were changed. I have used the "revised" numbers in my calculations above, the "old" ones were 600 3Dmarks higher even, and were clearly removed for being too unrealistic. Then when the picture magically changed, there was a widespread amazement in the forums. Many ppl asked questions about how and why, and not without reason.
What happened then defies all reason or logic. Both Kyle ŕnd Steve repeatedly denied that the picture was changed. Proof was dismissed as being a Photoshop hoax. People asked questions. Suddenly I found myself banned. My amazement increased. I immediately contacted Kyle in a fairly polite manner (email is published in our forums) , but I admit not without a sense of irritation. What I got back was an extremely short reply, saying basically that I was making things up and trying to discredit [H] and getting people to my "own" forums. I decided to make a final post under a new name, to show the numbers I had dug up, and undeniable proof that not only the numbers looked wrong, they WERE wrong. Within 5 minutes this topic was also deleted, and my IP address banned. Actually my entire ISP was banned. Extremely irritated and disappointed in a way I posted about my experience in our and different forums. I had been publicly called a liar and more, and I was not about to let this pass without lifting up a few rocks and see whats under it. Further study of [H]ard|OCP’s review numbers only showed more clearly that the numbers on the 3.06 chip were either made up, or obtained by overclocking the graphics card and thus stretching the gap with lower clocked CPU’s.
Forgive me this rant, but I want to be as clear on these events as possible.
Shortly after creating a thread in our forums, I got stories of [H] members which had been silenced in the same way as I had been. Even a simple question of what happened was sufficient to get an IP ban within minutes. In my time at the [H]ardforum I had never seen such a sudden display of shutting up honest members. There were no flames, only questions. How many ppl exactly were banned is hard to say, but it is at least a good list, which you can also find in our forums. Anybody who appeared to have knowledge of what happened and publicly display it in the [H] forum, was literally banned within minutes of posting. Many (or should I say most) [H] members who got banned were actually respected, with a good history and a large postcount. This was not a case of some new members making trouble, it was a good part of the forums simply asking what was going on. But the powers which rule those forums wanted to do anything to make it seem there was absolutely nothing going on. Another post was made by Mr. Kyle Bennett in which he accused me of lying, and having personal motivation for the "attack" on the credibility of [H]ard|OCP.
I believe that the major mistake on [H]’s part was to try and exterminate the questions in their forum. They have always had the attitude of "if you don’t like it here, go elsewhere", and this is exactly what happened when the bannings were taking place. People did not sit in a corner and cry, they scattered to different forums to expose what was going on. Kyle Bennett has every right (except an ethical one perhaps) to delete and ban people in his forums, but in the same way do persons have the right to go and tell the story in different forums, where Mr. Bennett has no power whatsoever. Did arrogance finally back-fire on the Fragmaster?
More questions kept coming, at one point the [H] forums even got turned off completely for some minutes. We can only guess after the exact motives behind this, but it is reasonable to assume somebody was trying to decide a course of action. Maybe there was a telephone call to Steve, maybe somebody was going through our forums to see what exactly was being said, we will never know and its not really important. But when the forums did come back online, every thread or post which contained a question or some criticism about the numbers in the [H] review, got deleted or locked. The authors banned.
Also we should note that the biggest part of the members did not get "banned" under their name. Probably to avoid further questions when ppl would notice the huge amount of bannings suddenly.
People waited for an explanation, and then almost 2 days later, Kyle Bennett finally decided he needed to address this matter, and comfort people, on his front page. Now there was the admission that the picture had indeed been changed. There was no apology to all members whom he and Steve had personally called liars and trolls, and subsequently banned. Although his explanation states that when a picture gets changed, this is normally reported and a reason stated, this did not happen. Not before and not after this admission. Because the main points remained unexplained, those who had been banned or had voluntarily said goodbye to the [H] , were unsatisfied. Although Kyle has clearly demonstrated potential to be in the PR business, he maintained his somewhat arrogant attitude against the members which had fallen victim to the initial cover-up. His story did what it was supposed to do though, the uninformed members decided it had been no big deal and considered the case closed. Many of us are still wondering though, how it took him 2 days to "investigate" , when the web folder containing the pictures on the [H] server displayed clear evidence that the 3Dmark picture was changed several hours after the review, unlike all the other pictures used in that review.
Now, after all this, what has really changed? Well, not that much. [H]ard|OCP still has most of its hardforum population intact, and the main page will still be getting plenty of hits, to ensure the [H] will continue to exist without any problem. The majority does not care what happened. In fact, at the end of all this, it is really no big deal. After several testimonials from people who have been personally in contact with Kyle Bennett, it is clear that he is not the most loved person in the world. His attitude towards other sites and even his own members is disgraceful. But this is not the point, nobody needs to like him. The [H] forums have had a very serious drain in knowledge though. Those who often answered the questions are now gone. It will continue to exist, but most of the spirit and knowledge is gone. Many who did not get banned decided to leave after what happened. [H]ard|OCP’s reputation has also suffered a blow. Their results will be viewed with much more scrutiny than before, something which can only lead to either more professionally conducted reviews, or the complete deterioration of [H]. Either way, we are not bothered.
Pretty much everybody except Kyle Bennett and [H] has come out of this a little bit better. Many forums, and our own, have gained valuable members, who bring valuable knowledge and experience to the forums. You could say the best has been distilled from the hardforums and divided over multiple different forums.
It has never been my intention, at any point, to increase traffic to this website. I have posted in multiple forums. After being shamelessly shut up when asking an honest question, many people like myself wanted the truth and events to be exposed. How we were treated for making highly regarded contributions to the hardforums was inexcusable. After all, it is the members of websites who make it great, it is the members which any website needs to exist. After giving a LOT of our own personal time to [H] , we deserved respect and an honest treatment.
Everybody is free to think their own about this, and visit [H]ard|OCP as often as they like.
I do not want to convince anyone to leave [H] . I want to put the situation as clearly as possible, so everybody can make up their own mind about what happened.
We welcome all new members to our website, and we hold not the slightest thing against our members visiting [H]ard|OCP or any other website. We can only hope that all persons who have been involved in this will learn the attached lesson. I would like to ask though to keep things decent in the forums everywhere, there is no need for flaming or kamikaze posting at the [H]ardforums either. I fully support questions being made in a civilized manner. Who knows, they might get answered some day.
With this I hope to have painted a clear picture of what exactly happened, and whether it has been a big deal or not is for you to decide.