By on February 13, 2014

staffrobot

Half a year ago, we introduced the concept of the TTAC Staff byline. I had some high hopes for the idea, primarily because we had some people who wanted to write for us but who would face some potential backlash for having their names appear on these august pages. This has made a lot of people unhappy and has been widely regarded as a bad move.*

It’s also history, as of today.

Earlier this week, we were contacted by the fine folks at Automotive News regarding a couple of pieces we’ve run under the TTAC Staff byline in the past. These pieces were inadequately attributed, which is another way of saying we didn’t give credit where credit was due. This is done more often in this business than anyone wants to admit, but it shouldn’t be our practice here.

So this is what we’re doing. We’ve apologized to Automotive News and to the individuals whose work was quoted without attribution. We’ve disciplined the writer involved. Last but not least, we are discontinuing the “TTAC Staff” account. News items will be credited to a specific contributor. Writers who would like to remain anonymous are encouraged to contact us regardless; we’ll work something out to protect your identity.

We’ll continue to work to bring you all the car-related news that’s fit to print, correctly documented and attributed, in the future. Thanks for sticking with us.

* with apologies to Douglas Adams, wherever he is now

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55 Comments on “Housekeeping: The Untimely Death Of The TTAC Staff Robot...”


  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    I for one liked the idea. There is no reason to give an author credit for simple reposts, even though simple reposts can add value to the site.

    But that does make it messy when something is not properly attributed, and the person not properly attributed does not have an individual, only the site, to blame.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Yes … a lot of them were rather simple regurgitations of stories elsewhere, not much added value.

      If this means we get more substance in the industry stories, I’m all for it.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        If someone truly has something to add to a news story that’s one thing. But if not then a brief “staff” summary and link beats a word count desperate rehash.

        Also “We’ve disciplined the writer involved.” Poor robot, how about the editors involved?

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      I pretty much agree with racer, his use of the word “reposts”.

      I like that I can basically count on TTAC as an automotive news aggregator so I don’t have to brave the scummy wilds of the world wide net tubes.

      So, I guess I am saying, I hope you guys figure out the best way to keep original content generators happy, while continuing to bring all the automotive industry inside news I so enjoy.

    • 0 avatar
      koreancowboy

      How does one become a contributor here?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Cameron did a lot of them anyway!

  • avatar
    bryanska

    I never cared. I liked the content, and most importantly the commenter quality here.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Let them use a commenter handle as a byline if it can’t be the real name. It will still identify the person for attribution of praise or blame.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Douglas Adams is fine and well in a parallel universe. He and Vonnegut have pirated broadband from our dimension and are submitting articles all over the inter webs, anonymously, of course. I have a sneaky suspicion he wrote the unattributed Auto News article that appeared here…wait. Yes. He says he has an excuse. Was sharing a peanut butter and fried chicken sandwich with Elvis and simply rushed it. Sorry.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Robots are people, too. R.I.P., TTAC Staff robot.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    Good. Glad you changed your mind on this.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I do think that you should reconsider this. It’s not unusual for publications to attribute articles to “Staff.” There’s nothing controversial or unusual about doing that. The issue is when the writers violate the rules (and when the editors don’t catch them.)

    If you don’t have a style guide for the writers, then you should prepare one. One of the basics: If a quote for a source was obtained by another publication, then credit that other publication for obtaining the quote. (Not only does the other publication deserve the credit, but you also need to protect yourself in the event that it turns out that the source was misquoted.)

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that man may become robots. – Erich Fromm

    I only laughed at the bot when it screwed up. Personally I can’t think of an entity called TTAC Staffbot or Zombie McQuestionbot without thinking of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Misties of the world unite!

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Big McLarge Huge!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Rip Steakface.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I have a Cadillac question for you, 28.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Cadillac of Questions, or a Question about Cadillacs?

            Sounds like you should put it in the forum before you get accused of hijacking this thread.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ugh, I don’t even use the forum, on account of not liking forums. I’ll just hold my question until a Cadillac article comes up.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Sorry Corey they keep giving me work to do and asking me to like, do it (“this deal is getting worse all the time”).

            What was your question?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ok here goes.

            Often I see advertised a “DeVille Touring Sedan” on Ebay and such, in the 88-93 small, square version.

            Is this real? I don’t see any distinguishing markings on them, though it seems like I recall there might have been a DeVille Touring where the logo was inside the grille rather than on the hood.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Yes, there was a Touring Sedan trim packaged offered on Deville, Seville, and Eldorado through at least MY91 but I am unsure when it was originally offered (88 or 89 if I had to guess). IIRC it was meant to apply a “european” look to stout and chromed up ‘merican Cadillacs. Something along the lines of standard alloys, little to no chrome, special emblems on the C pillars, no hood ornament but emblem in grille, and instead of the conventional trunk lock/wreath, they had special plastic “touring sedan” trunk emblems. I’ve seen the Eldo and Seville in person (even have Eldo TC emblems) but never the Deville. The Seville I believe had a different interior as well, something odd like standard bucket seats in a 2+2 seating config, and standard digital dash. Personally I find the Deville quite handsome in pictures and would prefer it over Seville/Eldo of the period.

            Ok here we go:
            https://www.google.com/search?q=deville+touring+sedan&client=firefox-a&hs=Sc&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&tbm=isch&imgil=atrgr05aw98G8M%253A%253Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fencrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com%252Fimages%253Fq%253Dtbn%253AANd9GcTPbcGZfHBSC-LNMo9Fm4lgRGFYjRTz_wjpWxDdZdJ63E4Rwcny%253B467%253B358%253BvQAMElUhSwCuMM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.imcdb.org%25252Fvehicle_213397-Cadillac-Sedan-DeVille-1991.html&source=iu&usg=__Cf4zxOfvD1cyAyb9h-BV2XN210M%3D&sa=X&ei=CYb9Usf8IaHhygHL14GICg&ved=0CE0Q9QEwBQ&biw=1024&bih=652#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=atrgr05aw98G8M%253A%3BvQAMElUhSwCuMM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.imcdb.org%252Fi213397.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.imcdb.org%252Fvehicle_213397-Cadillac-Sedan-DeVille-1991.html%3B467%3B358

            The only things which stand out are the grille and wheels, which are def not the standard 15in wheels of MY91. This one has some chrome but I don’t see any around the mirrors or wheelwells which I believe was standard at the time.

            Heres an ebay link to the TS trunk emblem, The thing that makes this different is its one plastic piece and removes so you can have access to the lock like the standard one does, but the standard one is just a shield and is chromed out. The 94 Deville got a new trunk emblem similar to this except it just has a hole cut in the top as it was mounted on top of the lock and does not open.
            http://www.ebay.com/itm/92-93-Cadillac-Deville-Touring-Sedan-Trunk-Lock-Cover-Enamel-Emblem-Assy-/151143158501?ru=http://search.ebay.com:80/151143158501_W0QQfviZ1

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Thanks for the info. Many of these labeled “Touring” are actually not, then. Very few have the emblem in the grille and the special wheels.

            If you had a Seville Touring, wasn’t that then an STS by this time? The one with six little square exhaust outlets?

            I have seen a 2+2 STS I believe, with a big wood plank between the seats. Also had extra wood on the doors, and leather panels surrounding it. Really tons of wood on those.

            Found a pic.
            http://autosofinterest.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/1988-Cadillac-STS-brochure-2-3-4.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You’re quite welcome Corey. The rear decklid emblem of the one I saw years back said “STS” but it was probably still called “Seville” by Cadillac. I don’t recall if they were using “ETC” on the Eldo equivalent, that may have just been missing a rear emblem. Thx for the pic it looks much older than it is inside.

            Ok it appears to just have been missing it on Eldo. I’m not a huge fan of the Cadillac E-bodies, but I’d drive this one all day long.

            http://startinggrid.org/2013/05/12/street-parked-eldorado-touring-coupe/

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That one’s lookin clean with those vogue tires. Probably wouldn’t work as well in other colors. It would be cool to find one in good shape from some old lady. Pearl white please.

            And again with the 6-outlet exhausts! Mmm sporty.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            What’s with the old Cadillac chat? I have a couple of old Sevilles

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Corey

            I too very much enjoy these but I’m wary of the 20yo+ “old lady” car after my experience with the ’90 Town Car I had. I think I would prefer a car in good condition which has been driven semi-regularly (regardless of mileage) and has been kept up on (such as my Volvo). I’m also leery of some of the non-drivetrain essential components from GM of the period, such as brake lines, fuel lines, fuel pumps, etc. I think to do it well, you have to know what you’re getting yourself into and be prepared to spend to replace aged out components and materials. On the plus side stuff like this does not go for very much so if you can budget 5-7K you can find a nice example and make it close to new again.

            @Lie2Me

            That’s right you’ve been listening to Cadillac chat on T-T-A-C 107.9 FM. Caller 10, which years of Seville do you have to chat about?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’m not in any position to do it currently, since I still owe on my M, and I should really replace the driveway in the spring, and after that a new roof comes a’ callin.

            It would also have to sit outside, and get all ruined by weather.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I have that issue now with my cars. This fall I’m going to seriously look into storage for at least the Volvo if not the Pontiac too. Fortunately the Volvo was built to handle Swedish winters so its held up well.

            Fortunately I don’t see demand being high on decent examples that are left of late 80s C-body and E-body Cadillacs. Plan for the future and make room in your life for one, an Eldo would complement your M nicely. I lust after the rare MY92 featuring a whole new E-body car with the workable 4.9. Pretty much everything from MY93-98 is in the junkyard save the newer N*s people keep going or save.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I could just build another garage, I have plenty of room! Less grass to mow then, ha.

            Wasn’t the 92 with the 4.9 only on lower trim levels, Concours? I know the 4.9 models had the “straight across” covered rear wheel, for a more formal appearance.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I do envy you.

            Northstar was supposed to be ready for MY92 but it was a year late, so all MY92 Cadillacs including the new 90s looking E-body Seville and Eldorado were equipped with 4.9. When Northstar debuted for MY93 in 1992, Deville was still 4.9/C-body and didn’t offer it but the touring models of Eldo/Seville came with the L37 Northstar. AFAIK base Seville and Eldo I believe were still 4.9 until MY94 when Northstar became standard. The 4.9 continued in K-body Deville through MY95 except in the Concours models with got the LD8 Northstar until MY96 when it was switched to L37 and all other Devilles got LD8.

            On a side note one of my when I hit the Powerball fantasies is to do 3800 conversions on early Northstar survivors and possibly a 4100 Coupe De Ville (I had an 85 and loved it minus the sh*tty engine).

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            @28

            Gen1 ’79 pristine with 29K on it. Gen2 ’83 that I got for near nothing just for fun, butt-ugly bustle-back

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Nice Lie2Me, esp on the gen 1. I knew a man once who had an ’84 Seville Elegante which he acquired for nearly nothing as well and loved it. He claimed to get 20K of trouble free miles out of it and planned to do whatever he could to keep it going past the 105ish it had when I this conversation took place.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Although I love the 1st gen Seville the 2nd gen is a far superior automobile in every way but looks.

            My dad had a ’92 DeVille with the 4900 engine, that car would fly. Super torquey on the low end

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I wasn’t a huge fan of the bustleback but I agree it was much more refined. There is a website link I have somewhere of a gentlemen who is really into the 79-85 Eldos and had pics/instructions on how to do an Olds 403 swap on the 4100. If your Seville is in good shape and the 4100 starts acting up as we know it will, it can still in theory be salvaged.

            One of the advantages of gen 1 Seville is its Nova roots, I have seen pictures and heard of Sevilles with engine swaps, beefier suspension, and other aftermarket mods. Incidentally here’s a tidbit, gen 1 Seville was manufactured in Iran in prior to the Islamic revolution (to 1987?).

            “The Seville was manufactured in Iran under the brand name of “Cadillac Iran” from 1978 to 1987 by Pars Khodro, which was known as “Iran General Motors” before the Islamic Revolution. A total of 2,653 Cadillacs were made in Iran during this period. This made Iran the only country assembling Cadillacs outside the U.S. until 1997 when Cadillac Catera was based on Opel Omega and built in Germany for U.S. market. Cadillac BLS, built in Sweden for European market, but never available in U.S. market, was introduced in 2006. Even though Cadillac Allante had its Italian origin, its final assembly was done in the U.S.”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_Seville

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            So overall:

            4.1 awful
            4.9 good
            5.0 good
            5.7 lame, reliable?
            LT1 fine -optispark prob
            4.6* no

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            368, aka V4-6-8: I’ve heard it can be made to work.
            4.1: Kill it with fire
            5.0 (Olds 307): I don’t know enough about it to rank it good or not.
            4.5/4.9: good, I have seen both motors do 200K
            5.7: pretty good simply SBC L98 or LT1
            4.6: I avoid.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            You do know your Cadillacs. I didn’t even know about Cadillac Iran. 1st Gen was a heavily modified X-body platform (Nova) but shared few components, certainly not a rebadge. The 350 V8 was Oldsmobile, but the Seville was fuel- injected

            My father had a V4-6-8 Fleetwood, had the engine replaced at 6 mos. old

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thx Lie2Me, I’ve dealt with many of them over the years and I appreciate the little touches of what Cadillac “was”, plush interior and ride with seating for six, ostentatious chrome and ornaments, embroidered leather emblems and model names, turn signals on the hood, standard V8 with lots of power.

            That’s a shame about your father’s Fleetwood. I’ve never owned a 368 but evidently at some point it was made workable by removing the computer and throttle body and replacing it with a 4bbl carb. Today if you could find one I’m sure there is a EFI kit to convert the 368 to working TBI, I’ve heard of it being done on 425 Devilles. I remember in 2006 there were two men who both had to be their mid to late fifties bidding on a creampuff MY80 Fleetwood tan/brown roof with 30K as TMU at Butler AA (now Manheim Pgh) and I think it went for $2600. I didn’t know either gentleman but I did ask the man who won what he was going to do with it. His replay was “I’m gonna fix it and enjoy it”, since the car ran through the block find I assume he was referring to replacing the computer if it had already not been done.

            Speaking of FI, does your Seville still use the factory Olds stuff or did you swap it out?

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            No, it’s all original, but has the better injectors Cadillac used after ’77. I bought it from the estate of the original owner who had it meticulously maintained. It runs great, but because of the age has a certain frailness about it so I don’t really push it. The ’83 is easily a DD if I wanted it to be.
            Here’s a couple of pics

            http://s188.photobucket.com/user/jimbob1955_2007/library/Sevilles

    • 0 avatar

      I actually thought Zombie McQuestionbot was, well, another “bot.”

      As for the rubber mallet, I got a lovely wall-mounted case with a dark cherry stained frame and brass tag for it. The mallet is now on display in Jack’s guitar room, and visiting hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week with a $5 admission; kids 12 and under get in free with paying adult.

  • avatar
    86er

    Good luck killing Zombie McQuestionbot.


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