By on July 15, 2013

robot-writing

Can’t slip anything by you guys. Some of you have already noticed the TTAC Staff byline. Popular theories so far have ranged from sweatshop labor in an overseas basement to the sub rosa return of valued former editor-in-staff Bertel Schmitt. They’re all wrong.

We’re trying to bring readers a greater variety of news and information. To do that, we have a brand-new rotating staff of writers who submit topical content to Derek on a daily basis. We are asking these writers to adhere to certain standards, some of which were laid out in the changing-of-the-guard post on Friday. No polarizing political stuff, no trollin’, no blood/gore/religion/opinions-on-the-proper-shade-of-brown.

Where you see the “TTAC Staff” byline, you can assume that the content is intended to meet some fairly specific internal standards. If it doesn’t meet those standards, feel free to say so in the comments and I will address your concern with the author. If you would like to join the “TTAC Staff”, there’s a possibility that we have an opening — but you will need a high tolerance for abuse, correction, and the album “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son”. So let us know.

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63 Comments on “Housekeeping: Who Is “TTAC Staff”, Anyway?...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” – don’t have it but I am the oldest son of an oldest son going back at least 7 generations. Does that count for anything? :P

    join the “TTAC Staff” – “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.” – Groucho Marx

    Personally Jack, I think you should have kept us guessing about who “TTAC staff” was. I’m sure the B&B could have come up with some even more crackpot theories than the return of BS…

  • avatar

    Since your last round of hiring a while back, I’ve been looking at more at TTAC and still prefer it over Jalopnik. Even in the time spent here adding to the comments, I’m still not sure I’d really be able to add anything to the staff even though certain network connections thought otherwise.

    As it is, my own blog has slowed because of… well, I’m not really sure what’s changed. It can’t be a disinterest in cars, as I’ve not stopped spending my free time (and not-so-free time) with car stuff running through my mouth or fingers. Maybe I’m a little bored with what’s out there, or I’m not sure where I really like the idea of writing anymore (if anywhere). The blog in particular seems like one more penniless project with hopes it’ll get somewhere, and it’s wearing down my drive while my spirit is dragged down in other ways that need not be mentioned.

  • avatar

    That and the staff being so far apart kinda helps. Having everyone in the same locations (hello big magazines, /Drive or whatever it’s called on Youtube, etc.) kinda breaks things up well. Otherwise you’re listening to a bunch of Angelino’s, New Yorkers, or someone in the Detroit area without much else.

  • avatar

    If TTAC keeps losing members, eventually I’ll be in charge and I’ll replace all the articles with 0-60, 0-quarter and 0-top speed videos.
    We’ll do simple drag races of stock vehicles.
    Your viewership will go up considerably.

    IN FACT, I think TTAC could benefit from embracing Youtube and allowing readers to upload a short video about what they love/hate about their car – even posting their vehicle’s stock 0-60-quarter performance. I’ve encouraged people to post videos of their cars on my Youtube channel in fact so I can keep my content (and $) flowing.

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      One of my favorite Bertel moments here was when he replied to your offer to submit reviews on TTAC and described the nausea he experienced when trying to watch your reviews.

      I’ve watched a couple of them–they are interesting, but I do recommend a sea band or dramamine before viewing.

      • 0 avatar

        Gravol also has a sedative (at least in Canada).

      • 0 avatar

        I have considerable access to cars here due to my occupation. I was one of the first people with a Model S video on Youtube that wasn’t an advertisement in disguise. All my videos are PURE emotion LOL.

        As for Bertel, I offered content and he said no. He labeled me a troll and tried to vote me off the island ONLY TO GET VOTED OFF THE ISLAND.

        DON’T BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU.

        Keep in mind, I’ve contributed to TTAC before back in the Farago days: (back when I used the name Flashpoint)

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/02/the-truth-about-using-a-heloc-to-buy-a-car/

        at least SOME people can still spot TALENT!!!

        I’m making over $500 a month on those crappy videos Bertel!

        I’m shooting videos on MY CELLPHONE and TURNING THEM INTO CASH.

        It’s like “Chernobyl Diaries”. Budget = $1 million, Box office = $38 million.

        Yeah it sucked, but it hauled!!!

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Youtube pays?

          • 0 avatar

            ABSOLUTELY

            It’s called “monetizing a video”.

            Youtube advertises HEAVILY on pages with a large amount of regular traffic. I’m seeing almost 30,000 views per day divied up between my videos. The advertisement from GOOGLE ADSENSE pays $0.10 or so per view and more when people click ads.

            I’m seeing $500 checks BRO… direct deposited every 22nd of the month – by the time I wake up.

            I’ve turned TROLLING into an empire LULZ.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            God save the King (of Trolling :D)

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            Why do you elevate this wanker to “troll” status? My dog craps things that know more about cars.

            Hey BigTrucks, how’s that 90 IQ “never gonna be a self-driving vehicle” working out for you?

            Driven a 2014 S-Class yet? Even seen one?

            Yeah. That’s what I thought…

        • 0 avatar
          SAMreturns

          Not sure how you get access to the cars, but power to you for posting your videos and making some cash off them. I can’t say it’s for me, but your style and commentary definitely caters to a certain population.

        • 0 avatar

          Porschespeed

          I’m not happy with the W222. When my XJ-L lease is over, who knows what I’ll buy next?

          And don’t get hard for that “self-driving” stuff. That car is never gonna be able to be autonomous.

          “Self-driving” means. NO ONE IS IN THE DRIVER’s SEAT.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “He labeled me a troll and tried to vote me off the island ONLY TO GET VOTED OFF THE ISLAND.”

          That is funny how that worked out.

        • 0 avatar
          Silvy_nonsense

          “Yeah it sucked, but it hauled!!!”

          Sad.

          • 0 avatar
            IHateCars

            I suspect this little exchange generated a few more views on BTS’s youtube site.

            Well played, sir. Self promotion is underrated.

    • 0 avatar
      Piston Slap Yo Mama

      Here’s a novel idea bigtruckseries yada yada: the website Bangshift.com loves to go fast in a straight line. You’d really like it there.

      I’ll pass on the youtube videos. I prefer reading rather than waiting for a video to buffer, being assaulted by advertising and the general amateurishness inherit in the media, though I do have a weakness for Mighty Car Mods (they’re utterly without ego). I don’t wish to monetize your channel when I can just as easily monetize my own.

      Also, you describe yourself as a troll. I know the axiom “don’t feed the trolls” is apt, but I’m pleading with you: if TTAC’s new methodology is to not ban users, could you perhaps develop a passion for Bangshift?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I really don’t see what is so bad about BTS’s contributions here. They’re certainly not as bad as attempts to bully people away from TTAC. He doesn’t like the same cars you do, or that I do. So what? If you don’t like reading his stuff, don’t read it. It isn’t like he’s a paid shill or an imbecile. He’s just an opinionated guy on a forum where people get to express their opinions.

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          ++
          Besides, he’s not a troll. He’s a yetti.

          此外,他读普通话.

        • 0 avatar
          Piston Slap Yo Mama

          I only chimed in because he’s a self-described troll. If you look over my history of TTAC comments you’ll see I try hard to not hammer people with my ball-peen opinions but I admit I’ve little patience for outsized egos, a hallmark of people who stamp themselves with the sobriquet of “troll”.

          Otherwise, I agree with you.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “I’ve little patience for outsized egos, a hallmark of people who stamp themselves with the sobriquet of “troll”.”

            And we have several of them on ttac who simply cannot understand that different people may have a different point of view based on the very same facts.

            Yes, ttac has changed since the days of Farago but maybe it will improve under the current re-organization and shuffle.

            The industry needs ttac as a source of feedback and we, readers, need ttac, so we can voice our likes and dislikes about what the industry wants to sell us.

        • 0 avatar
          The Heisenberg Cartel

          Yeah ditto. I don’t watch BTS’ videos but I find him to be an interesting and sometimes funny commentor. What’s with all the hate? Dude piss in everyone’s cheerios this morning?

  • avatar
    jhefner

    So you are the ones who ended up with the roomful of gnomes after I left my last job; I kept them chained to their desks doing find-and-replace in my databases for me, while feeding them nothing but peanuts and Coke in little plastic cups. A crabby little bunch, I have no idea why; it was a better life than standing in the garden in the hot sun while fending off dogs and cats.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    The changes sound promising. I’m looking forward to the writing.

    Off topic suggestion: Bring back podcasts – they work for me even with tasteful sponsor plugs and ads.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I’d just like to see more DIY articles, old project cars, junkyard stuff, etc. So many places talk about new cars, but I love to see more stuff on the classics (but through practical eyes.)

    Would also like to see more stuff written by technically inclined individuals. That is something VERY hard to find in the auto-journo world, but with my background, is something appreciated greatly.

  • avatar
    360joules

    “Caroline” called from Bangalore call center #3. Her real name is Kavita, she drives a Ford Ecosport, and she wants both a byline and payment for her article “Why Right-Hand Drive Rocks the Commonwealth.”

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    http://www.writerparty.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/ttacstaff-1024×586.jpg

    ^So you’re saying this is who TTAC staff is?

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    Am I on drugs or is my account still ghosted? How many posts do I have to make to get auto-posted when I reply?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      The software (which, I’m told, doesn’t have long to live) still freaks out about links and whatnot.

      BECAUSE YOU COULD BE POSTING THE INTERNET WORM OR SOMETHING RIGHT?

  • avatar
    99GT4.6

    Seventh son of a seventh son? I approve!

  • avatar
    wsimon

    Its worth mentioning that the contact function of this website would not work for my computer due to issues with the validation phrase; I was attempting to use the function but it refused to work.

  • avatar
    Richarbl

    Congratulations on the new direction for TTAC.
    However I might suggest you change the “Housekeeping” header for this type of article.
    Whenever I saw that word heading an article it usually meant that there was going to be excessive introspection followed by someone getting banned, threats and more rules.

    I would be happy to never see the word Housekeeping on this site again

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    Some funny stuff above from the Night owl bunch… cept that Porsha.. guy. He needs a long nap.

    Just funnin, you all get some sleep, now.

    Yawn!… Where’s my Teddy…

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    For what it is worth, I think the articles should show the author’s name.

    The new look TTAC should include a rule on Author Accountability.

    We should know the background of the writer and his authority and ethos: “the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution; also : ethic”

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Derek and I are accountable for this content. If you must, simply envision Derek’s name floating above it on the page. (I’m mostly saying this to upset Derek.)

      As a writer, I cannot STAND being told to hew to a particular line. The purpose of the TTAC Staff byline is, in part, to keep writers from being upset if we rip out an entire paragraph about how FAIL WHEEL DRIVE SHOULD DIE or SPEED CAMERAS ARE SATANIC DEVICES.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      Reg; “We should know the background of the writer”

      Yes! TTAC should do background checks. Derek and Jack should get right on that… in their spare time.

  • avatar

    +1 for Iron Maiden love.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    What’s the scroll-writing machine writing, and why? Now I’m interested in that.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      The latest bill in Congress to take away yet more of our freedoms, it has to be passed before we can read it. And that is my political post for the day. :)

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      ++

      Seriously, it’s like strapping a broom to a backhoe for sweeping your driveway. Kind of a reverse of steampunk; modern tech for an archaic task.

      Plus, I wonder what miracle ink/applicator system they’ve created to not skip or clog during such steady use.

    • 0 avatar
      W.Minter

      It’s a KUKA robot writing the bible. Hand-written, sort of.
      http://www.robots.com/blog/viewing/kuka-robot-writes-bible-in-15th-century-font

      The artists behind it: http://www.robotlab.de/
      Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaSLm51kmbg
      Ze German version: http://www.kuka-robotics.com/germany/de/pressevents/news/NN_101119_KUKA_Robot_Bible.htm

      Slighlty more awesome (video inside): the drawing robot
      http://video.golem.de/foto/7436/fraunhofer-zeigt-zeichnenden-roboter-kuka-%28cebit-2012%29.html

      Or some dancing robots:

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I will have to check these out when I’m not at work. See if they have anywhere to justify such a monetary expenditure.

      • 0 avatar
        Summicron

        Fascinating, W.Minter, thanks.

        Looks like it uses a variety of applicators from a pump-fed system to art store variety felt tips. Doesn’t get quite the extreme thick/thin Gothic in its Bibel script as a broad-nibbed pen but still very handsome.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      The writing robot writes, and having writ, moves on.

  • avatar
    radimus

    “We’re trying to bring readers a greater variety of news and information. To do that, we have a brand-new rotating staff of writers who submit topical content to Derek on a daily basis.”

    In other words, they farmed this out to Amazon Mechanical Turk. :)

    • 0 avatar
      W.Minter

      Amazon Mechanical Turk, that’s so 2011 ;)

      Please have a look at “a technology solution that creates rich narrative content from data”:
      http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/forbes-among-30-clients-using-computer-generated-stories-instead-of-writers_b47243

  • avatar
    vcficus

    That robot ain’t replacing Jack Kerouac, no matter how long that scroll is… can’t get him drunk, for one.

  • avatar

    Is Bertel going to keep posting?

    Is Bertel going to keep posting?

    Is Bertel going to keep posting?

    Is Bertel going to keep posting?

    Is Bertel going to keep posting?

    Is Bertel going to keep posting?

    Is Bertel going to keep posting?

    Is Bertel going to keep posting?

    Seriously.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Too bad I can never contribute. “Opinions-on-the-proper-shade-of-brown” is my specialty. Well, that and driving a 1962 Buick LeSabre 30 MPH over the speed suggestion when you’re late for class.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I prefer to see the author’s names so 1. they can have some credit for the work and 2. so we know who to direct our criticisms to!

    • 0 avatar
      The Heisenberg Cartel

      +1, also so that if I like a particular writer a lot, I can request more of his or her stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      Until TTAC finally breaks down and hires a copy editor, it won’t be difficult to tell whose work you’re reading. All of the editors and contributors have characteristic styles that incorporate “custom” grammar and punctuation — especially punctuation. For longtime readers, it identifies a writer just as surely as a byline.

  • avatar
    Scribe39

    I’m just glad it didn’t say “TTAC Staph” . . .


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