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Review Policy and Scoring

Our reviews and first looks are fundamental in helping the community make an informed decision.

Reporting on the latest in flight simulation has enabled us to generate a huge audience and community. As such, we have built up a level of trust that we would never want to compromise with the industry. Whether that be from a consumer, a developer, an advertiser or a publisher, our journalistic and community-spirited integrity is what keeps us grounded. We understand our position as industry leaders and work hard to ensure we continue to provide a media outlet that benefits the whole flight simulation community.

An important part of the process is providing relative, thoughtful and engaging reviews, first looks and opinion pieces. Over the years, our review process has changed to better reflect the community’s interest and to ensure we can strive to provide content of value. In addition to the standard ‘review’, we have a variety of other means to share thoughts and opinions on products and other industry news. To ensure that the community as a whole knows our thought process, we have created a straightforward review policy that all of our team members abide by.

Last Updated on November 17th 2021.

In Summary

  • Our reviews, first looks and other opinion-based content is honest and created from the heart.
  • We work tirelessly to provide content which is meaningful, accurate and enable users to make an informed decision over something. 
  • We acknowledge that sometimes we get it wrong and will endeavour to fix issues quickly when pointed out to us.
  • Your view may be different to ours and that is okay. We write based on our experiences and try not to second-guess what others may think or feel. Be respectful of that and we’ll respect your opinion. 
  • We are never paid for reviews, positive content or anything remotely similar. Those who try to strong-arm us are instantly dismissed.
  • You can provide feedback to us in each article so we can get back to you or improve.

General Stance on Opinion Based Content

Regardless of the type of content produced at FSElite, below is our general stance on opinion-based content:

  • No content earmarked as a first look, review or opinion is paid for. Not now, not ever.
  • We do not favour any developer, publisher or advertiser for reviews or content.
  • Our content is honest and based off of the independent assessment of the contributor or editorial team.
  • Content is given to a team member who we feel will get the most out of a product. For example, we won’t give a jet aircraft to someone who specialises in aerial combat sims.
  • We use copies of software provided to us by the developer or publisher. If this is a digital product, the reviewer will often then keep said product for use after the content is complete.
  • We do not seek approval from a developer, publisher or advertiser prior or after content has been published. Complaints are handled via our contact form.
    We adhere to any “embargo” placed on a specific product or developer.
  • Every effort is made to understand a product when creating opinion-based content, but we may make a mistake. We will make any corrections where possible.

 

We will always use our Community Charter to ensure we stick to our promises to the community in all circumstances.

Review Content

We hold reviews close to our hearts, as this was our original defining piece of content. Reviews underpin our entire ethical stance and we’re proud that we have never succumbed to external influence. Our reviews will always be free of interference and our editors will never bow to pressure from our sources. Here’s more information on our review policy.

The Review Process

Our review process goes through the following cycle:

  • Our editorial or content production team decides on a product to review. The reason to review a particular product may be because it holds interest to them, they feel it would be of interest to the community or we have seen a lot of discussion on a specific product’s quality.
  • FSElite then receives a press copy or will self-purchase from a relevant store. If FSElite purchases a product, it is purchased with money raised through advertisement and never through the individuals’ pocket.
  • The contributor will then spend enough time with the product to understand the ins and outs. This time will vary depending on the product type.
  • During this time, the contributor will take notes of the likes and dislikes, including any bugs or showstoppers.
    Our contributor will then begin placing these notes into a comprehensive review, along with capturing imagery or videos that represent the points being made.
  • Once the contributor has a draft ready, it is sent to our senior editorial team to read over and provide any feedback to the contributor.
  • Once these edits and changes have been made, it’s then uploaded to our content management system before being reviewed one final team by the editorial team.
  • We then publish the review and maintain a watchful eye on the comment section after publication.

 

This is a general overview of the complicated and detailed process our team follows.

Policies and Information

Our Review Scoring Policy

Since 5th February 2020, we have removed scores from our reviews. This based off of community feedback and to ensure that our reviews continue to be relevant. As such, we do not have a ‘score’ policy, but we do have guidelines to help ensure that a review remains consistent with our mission.

In Summary Box

Following each review, we have a box that holds information such as the reviewer’s likes, dislikes and an overall summary of the product. This is true for reviews published after February 5th 2020 when we changed to our no score policy.

Reviewing Team

We have a global team, all with differing opinions, likes, dislikes and expectations. Having a team of people with this varying view, it enables us to create objective reviews based on the type of product. For example, someone who is mostly into combat simulation would not be a good fit to review a jetliner aircraft. Equally, having a diverse team ensures our voices represent the broad spectrum of the flight simulation community.

Information Box

In order to give you the most accurate review possible, each review comes with an information box giving you details on how we obtained the software/hardware, the version number being reviewed, the price and more. This information is provided ‘as-is’ at the time of writing.

Review Dispute Information

Sometimes disputes can arise from our reviews. We promise the community, as per our Community Charter, an honest review. We do our upmost to be fair, concise and clear what we’re looking for in a product – sometimes a developer, publisher or brand will disagree with our views.

Ultimately, we write reviews based on our personal and individual experiences. We don’t create content to fit a specific message; we create content that will help someone make an informed choice.

We welcome well-written, comprehensive and constructive emails that point out where there may be a mistake. If there’s a mistake that we overlooked, then we will consider a correction. Telling us we “should read the manual” or insulting our knowledge will not result in a response.

If you’re a community member and you have an issue with a review, you too have the opportunity to provide us with feedback. Again, it should be well-written, to the point and provide a clear reason as to the disagreement.

Disputing a review with FSElite does not mean a review will change. We are happy to engage with all parties, but the Content Directo has the final say over the matter.

Product Updated Since the Initial Review

If a product has been updated since the original review, we cannot guarantee a new or change of review. In an ideal world, we would, but that just isn’t possible given the breadth of products and resources available.

We may, on occasion, re-review products should there be highly significant changes or there’s a genuine reason to do so.

We make it clear on our reviews which version of a product we review when it was published.

First Look Content

In addition to our reviews, we also produce ‘First Look’ pieces of content.

Difference Between First Looks and Reviews

Reviews are our more comprehensive and detailed findings of a product. Sometimes, we want to share our views quickly or provide a brief look at something for the community. A First Look would typically mean we have spent only a few short hours with the product, or it is the first time we have used the product.

As such as we are able to give the community another perspective in deciding whether to buy something or not.

Head to Head Content

We introduced our Head to Head comparison content in order to see how two similar products from different developers compared. This is most common for when looking at the same airport product.

How Head to Head Works

We try, where possible, to capture the same angle at the same time of day and settings. This enables us to then provide a true comparison. We then supplement the imagery with text highlighting any differences.

In a head to head, we will give you the details about both developers and their products and compare other elements such as customer service, pricing and installation experience.

Is FSElite Paid for Reviews, First Looks, etc?

No. Never.

Any developer who tries to strong-arm us or make life more difficult for us will be reprimanded and possibly publicly shamed by us for trying to do so.

Developers stick to making things and leave the media to us.

Concerns of Bias

We get it; there’s always going to be concern of bias or influence. Our team are humans and, like you, can sometimes get excited or overwhelmed by cool things. This is why we have multiple people on our team read over a review before publication to help ensure our reviews remain objective. We never let outside influence effect our reviews or editorial content.

Our views, typically, are that of a community member using the product for the purpose it was designed for. We understand that not all products are created equally or are designed to be of top-shelf quality – hence we’ll adapt our thought process and style to cater to that.

Remember, our team are like you; simmers who enjoy the hobby. If we like something, we’ll tell you; if we don’t like something, we’ll also tell you.

Should you have concerns still, you can contact us through the feedback tool on each content or via our contact form.

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