The Truth About Cars » Housekeeping http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 16 Apr 2014 04:59:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Housekeeping http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/editorials/housekeeping/ Housekeeping: The Untimely Death Of The TTAC Staff Robot http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/housekeeping-the-untimely-death-of-the-ttac-staff-robot/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/housekeeping-the-untimely-death-of-the-ttac-staff-robot/#comments Thu, 13 Feb 2014 14:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=740657 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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Reminder: Win A ’99 Skyline GTR JDM Sales Book http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/reminder-win-a-99-skyline-gtr-jdm-sales-book/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/reminder-win-a-99-skyline-gtr-jdm-sales-book/#comments Tue, 26 Nov 2013 20:50:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=664602 book

With the original post that explains how you can win a hardcover sales brochure for the 1999 Nissan Skyline GTR now buried a couple of pages deep, I thought I would give you this reminder that the contest is still open and runs until Thanksgiving Day. Originally, I asked The Best & Brightest to look through the last year’s worth of articles and share their favorites but have, upon reflection, decided that may be a barrier to entry to some of the people who have only recently joined our nonexclusive club. If you have been waiting to do less and win more, here’s your chance – respond to either this or that previous article and sometime on Thanksgiving Day I will throw your name in a hat with all the others and choose a winner. One entry per person, please.

As I mentioned in that earlier article, I received this book from one of my students who worked for Nissan when I was teaching English in Kyoto back in the day. It has remained safely on my book shelf ever since and is in perfect condition – no stuck together pages or dried out boogars. Based on a little research it seems that these books are rare on this side of the Pacific and the only one I found was being sold on Ebay for around $40.

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Housekeeping: What Happened To That Mustang Post? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/housekeeping-what-happened-to-that-mustang-post/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/housekeeping-what-happened-to-that-mustang-post/#comments Mon, 25 Nov 2013 15:09:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=663506

Die-hard TTAC readers who stick with us for the weekends might notice something strange about the site today: we’re missing a post. On Sunday morning, we republished a story that originally appeared on SVTPerformance.com. We did this after coming to an agreement with the administrator of that site to “re-pop” news and features that might be of interest to the Best&Brightest, in exchange for links back to the original site.

Yesterday afternoon, the fellow who had originally given us permission to publish the article changed his mind and demanded that we take it down immediately, stating that “[the article] was a direct copy with no link-back initially. When one was added it was a pitiful effort; a single hyperlink that looks identical to several other hyperlinks that lead back to your site.” We’ve honored his request to take the article down and to never, ever, ever link to the “SVT Performance” fansite again.

However, one important piece of the article — an email written by Jamal Hameedi regarding the merits of Nurburgring lap-time marketing — was delivered to us under separate cover by another source, so we’re republishing that after the jump.

Quoth the man,

Ring times! Oh man don’t even get me started on this topic. Our (my) view is that there is no such thing as an official manufacturer Ring time. The times being posted by many manufacturers are in my humble opinion akin to qualifying times being set at a race with no pre/post inspection (ie it would never happen). In the racing world – inspection/verification is a key part of the sport. In order for us to set an “official” time corner weights would have to be taken, calibration checksums need to be verified, engine power verified via chassis rolls, a hoist inspection, and probably a fuel sample taken by an independent 3rd party like a governing/sanctioning body. I would love to see this since everyone seems to be infatuated with Ring times. Having said that, I think it’s really important that performance cars be judged against one another on the track – but the comparisons really need to be on the same day by a professional driver (just track condition from day to day puts another huge variable in comparisons). We have seen lap time spreads of over 3 sec with same car same driver different day at VIR. Now extrapolate that to a track with a 7 min lap time. Motor Trend collects cars on the same day and puts a professional driver behind the wheel – not journalists whose driving ability puts yet another huge variable in lap times – and compares vehicles same driver same day. I think they do it correctly. So does Auto Motor und Sport in Germany.

The reason we test at the Ring is because it is a fantastic venue for doing vehicle dynamics work. You get so much different content in terms of turns, elevation, etc that you would need to visit 5 different tracks to duplicate it. It’s also a chance for our North American vehicle dynamics guys to cross pollinate with our Team RS guys since we are all one group now. Team RS gets a chance to offer feedback on the RWD cars and the SVT guys offer perspective on the FWD cars. That’s really powerful and worth spending the money to send cars and engineers over there. Renting the Ring exclusively ($$$$$!) to make a video – not so much. I’d rather put that money into the car.

I know this isn’t what the internet bench racers want to hear. As soon as there is a standard for measuring lap times – our performance vehicles will be the first in line to get tested. Until then – it’s just marketing and a total free for all. They are very cool to watch though. Lol. The 2013/2014 GT500 sold just fine without a published Ring time (who could have imagined!). Actually we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to make more GT500s due to high demand. I’ve seen other performance cars with published Ring times being offered with incentives and cash on the hood (again – who could have imagined!). So I sleep pretty well at night. And spend my days (and nights) working on the next slayer vs. worrying about Ring times.

Hopefully this gives you some perspective on where our minds are at wrt Ring times.

Does it ever! Thanks to Mr. Hameedi for this email, and let’s all cross our fingers that the nice people at the SVT Performance Fan Forum change their minds about working with us.

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The TTAC Racing Shirts Are Finally Here! So We’re Going To Give More Of Them Away http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/the-ttac-racing-shirts-are-finally-here-so-were-going-to-give-more-of-them-away/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/the-ttac-racing-shirts-are-finally-here-so-were-going-to-give-more-of-them-away/#comments Wed, 16 Oct 2013 13:10:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=625033 jules1

What a long, strange trip it’s been for the TTAC Racing shirts! To begin with, they never made it to MSR Houston for the actual race, being left in a storage area by the folks who were prepping the car. The car itself never made it on track for the race. So this commemorates a race effort that, strictly speaking, never happened. It’s like having a shirt for the 1983 Corvette.

Which makes them either worthless or highly valuable. If the latter were the case, they’d be on eBay like, right freaking now. Since it’s the former, we’re raising the stakes.

jules2

We initially announced that we would be giving five shirts away. Due to the delay, we’re going to make that ten, and we’ll announce the winners from that thread on Monday. We’ll also give away another five to readers who post in this thread.

Sizes available will be Men’s L, XL, and 2XL, as well as Women’s “S” as modeled above by recurring TTAC imaginary character and improbably-constructed child of the Sixties, Julie Hyde. She would like to complain for the record that she received no chance to do any makeup or prepare for the photos. Complaint noted and ignored, Jules. No prizes for guessing what her nickname is.

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Housekeeping: How Are We Doing? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/housekeeping-how-are-we-doing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/housekeeping-how-are-we-doing/#comments Mon, 19 Aug 2013 14:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=499857 GPP

Slightly over a month ago, we had a spot of regime change here at The Truth About Cars. At the time, we unveiled a five-point program to improve the site and improve the reader experience. I’d like to take a moment to review these five points and give you a chance to provide further feedback on our progress so far.

Our points of improvement were:

Point One: TTAC Homecoming. To the best of our knowledge and ability, we have unbanned and restored every commenter who was removed from the conversation during the previous administration. I’m pleased to note that no commenters have required banning since then. If you’re aware of an account that has not been restored, or if you have an account that has not been restored, please let us know. Furthermore, some previously banned commenters have noticed that their comments are being held in the spam queue. We’re checking said queue frequently but if we miss you, let us know. I’d also like to thank the B&B for being civil and decent during the past month. Please try to keep that up.

Point Two: Accountability and Civility. I think we’ve done a good job of staying work-safe; if I’m wrong, let me know. We’ve had numerous pieces from contributors on both sides of the political fence and will continue to do so. Some commenters were upset at the flippant attitude I assumed towards the United States Government on the recent “Super Blue” piece, so I’ll take that criticism to heart. At the same time, this isn’t the Huffington Post or Fox News and we’re going to primarily judge political figures based on how they treat the motorist. I want to hear your opinion any time we lean too far to one side.

Point Three: Refocus on the B&B. We now allow commenters to criticize the authors, self included, and you’ve certainly taken advantage of that freedom, which is fine. We haven’t had a public shaming or banning of any commenter (or even a silent banning). This is one that’s tough to do over the long haul, for everyone. People get passionate about the issues that are important to them. Sometimes passion takes over. Just remember: we’re all in this together.

Point Four: Opening The Conversation. TTAC readers are contributing in record numbers. We’re looking forward to even more of that. Keep writing, keep sending it. We’re still catching up on the submissions we have, but don’t let that stop you. We want you to continue to participate, and as our budget frees up we will be able to pay for unique or interesting stories, particularly from inside the industry.

Point Five: The Truth A few readers (thanks, Mom!) said they didn’t want a complete ban on fiction, so we created “Sunday Stories” for that stuff. It’s clearly labeled so you can avoid it if you don’t like it. We’re renting more cars, getting more different voices on reviews. I’m pleased to announce that we’re about to go toe-to-toe with a major manufacturer on an issue of journalistic freedom, unless said manufacturer gets their act together in the next 48 hours, and I’m looking forward to it. Time to crack some heads and tell the truth.

So that’s how I think we’ve done so far. How about you? What else do you want to see changed, improved, or replaced? We’re listening. It’s important. One final thing: It had never occurred to me that I would wind up being the inmate in charge of this asylum. In general, you’ve been supportive and decent and great about the whole thing. Thanks for that. And for those of you who hate my guts: the pro tem after “E-I-C” is there for a reason. As always, thanks for reading!

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Housekeeping: Who Is “TTAC Staff”, Anyway? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/housekeeping-who-is-ttac-staff-anyway/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/housekeeping-who-is-ttac-staff-anyway/#comments Tue, 16 Jul 2013 03:04:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=495411 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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Estranged TTAC Editor Busted For Wikipedia Vandalism, Then Again For Conflict Of Interest http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/estranged-ttac-editor-busted-for-wikipedia-vandalism-then-again-for-conflict-of-interest/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/estranged-ttac-editor-busted-for-wikipedia-vandalism-then-again-for-conflict-of-interest/#comments Thu, 11 Jul 2013 17:07:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=494859

The article you are about to read was written by former Editor-In-Chief Bertel Schmitt during the course of a long and somewhat personal disagreement he had with former contributor Steven Lang. This article does not represent the views of The Truth About Cars, its staff, its contributors, or its ownership. We’re leaving it up because we don’t censor the past — but we no longer stand behind the piece or recommend that you read it — JB

Like many larger websites, TTAC has its own Wikipedia entry. For many years, the entry has been pretty blah as far as Wikipedia articles go. The only memorable items were the infamous GM Death Watch, and the flying vagina of lore. A week ago, the bucolic peace was disrupted. Suddenly, TTAC’s WP article turned into the battlefield of a bloody edit war. Reverts waged back and forth, robots leveled automated accusations of vandalism.

Sifting through the rubble, it looks very much like the alleged vandal came with a big axe to grind.

On July 2nd, an anonymous editor, or, “an IP” in Wikipedia parlance, added a rambling diatribe about the Dyke incident. The diatribe was light on facts, and heavy on “allegations of gay bashing and the resignation of Steven Lang,” along with accusations of bashing of “the former writer along with Jalopnik. “ A few hours later, the edit was removed by a member of Wikipedia’s Counter-Vandalism Unit. A few days thereafter, the edit was back, in slightly modified form. That edit lasted only a minute. It was removed by a robot that didn’t like Steven Lang’s Facebook page to be used as a reference.

Undeterred, “the IP” kept posting. Pretty much once a day, the diatribe was back, only to be undone by Wikipedia editors shortly thereafter. On July 10, “the IP” detected the undo function, a “revert” in WP lingo: The IP undid a previous undo.  In a situation like this, a revert is tantamount to a declaration of war.

A helpful editor improved the article a lot, only to see the anonymous writer again add the quite apparently unwanted crud.

This edit was immediately removed by a bot “that tries to detect and revert vandalism quickly and automatically.” Currently, this is where things stand, but we won’t be surprised if the edit war continues.

There is one thing that Wikipedia likes even less than vandalism of its pages, and that is edits by people with a conflict of interest.  Comparing the records of Wikipedia with those of TTAC, it turns out that “the IP” was that of Steven Lang’s computer. Which makes it a clear case of Conflict of Interest, or “COI” in the WP vernacular.

Wikipedia rules say:

“You should not create or edit articles about yourself, your family or your close friends. If you or they are notable enough, someone else will create the article. You should also avoid writing about yourself or people you know in articles on other topics. This includes people with whom you could reasonably be said to have an antagonistic relationship in real life.”

After trying to receive a promotion, Steve Lang had left TTAC in a huff, only to make public statements about his alleged moral outrage. Which would fit the description of an “antagonistic relationship in real life.”

The edits did not have the intended effect on Wikipedia, and did not reach the wider audience that was sought. As a make-good and a public service, we document them here verbatim.

 

Edit made on 2 July 2013‎ by 76.20.240.115. Removed on 2 July 2013 by user Fraggle81

The Truth About Cars was recently criticized for an article titled, “Small SUV Crashopalooza: Detroit Loses, Dykes Win” where the editor-in-chief stated the following.

“Boo, hiss, Detroit – pussy-whipped by a Japanese transgender crossover that is also known as a “vag-wag?”

PS: Before you start to tar and feather me for Detroit bashing LGBT discrimination, please be notified that according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the term “dyke” originated “as a derogatory label for a masculine woman, and this usage still exists.” Shame on them. “However, some persons attempt to use it in a manner that they see as positive, or as a neutral synonym for lesbian,” and those persons include the Schmitts.”

This article lead to allegations of gay bashing and the resignation of Steven Lang. One of the long-time editors for the site. After threats were made to encourage specific companies to boycott the blog, Bertel Schmitt offered an apology in an article titled, “Editor Switches Dildos” where he continued to bash the former writer along with Jalopnik, a far larger and more successful automotive blog.

“People have varying thresholds for disgust, I understand. What I have a hard time understanding is that someone with such well-developed sensitivities is proud to write for Jalopnik, a site, which we all know, knows no shame. This is no value judgment. A good journalist should not be bashful.”

Due to the recent editorial direction of the site, and the frequent banning of commenters who disagree with the arbitrary enforcement of TTAC’s editorial policy, the site has continued to struggle against a very long list of online automotive publications including Autoblog, Jalopnik, Hooniverse, The Car Connection, Autonews.com, Motoramic, Roadandtrack.com, Kickingtires, Hemmings, caranddriver.com, Automobilemag.com and, of course, Motor Trend.

According to one former editor TTAC’s google stats are down, some 15-20% from a year ago.

 

Edit made on 6 July 2013‎ by 76.20.240.115. Removed on 6 July 2013 by XLinkBot:

The Truth About Cars was recently criticized for an article titled, “Small SUV Crashopalooza: Detroit Loses, Dykes Win where the editor-in-chief, Bertel Schmitt, stated the following.

“Boo, hiss, Detroit – pussy-whipped by a Japanese transgender crossover that is also known as a “vag-wag?”

PS: Before you start to tar and feather me for Detroit bashing LGBT discrimination, please be notified that according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the term “dyke” originated “as a derogatory label for a masculine woman, and this usage still exists.” Shame on them. “However, some persons attempt to use it in a manner that they see as positive, or as a neutral synonym for lesbian,” and those persons include the Schmitts.”

This article lead to allegations of gay bashing and the resignation of Steven Lang. One of the long-time editors for the site. After threats were made to encourage specific companies to boycott the blog, Bertel Schmitt offered an apology in an article titled, “Editor Switches Dildos” where he continued to bash the former writer along with the automotive site Jalopnik.

“People have varying thresholds for disgust, I understand. What I have a hard time understanding is that someone with such well-developed sensitivities is proud to write for Jalopnik, a site, which we all know, knows no shame. This is no value judgment. A good journalist should not be bashful.”

At this time Verticalscope, the current owner of The Truth About Cars, has not handed out any form of consequences or disciplinary action.

 

Edit made on 7 July 2013‎ by 76.20.240.115. Removed on 8 July 2013 by user Bzr:

The Truth About Cars was recently criticized for an article titled, “Small SUV Crashopalooza: Detroit Loses, Dykes Win” where the editor-in-chief stated the following.

“Boo, hiss, Detroit – pussy-whipped by a Japanese transgender crossover that is also known as a “vag-wag?”

PS: Before you start to tar and feather me for Detroit bashing LGBT discrimination, please be notified that according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the term “dyke” originated “as a derogatory label for a masculine woman, and this usage still exists.” Shame on them. “However, some persons attempt to use it in a manner that they see as positive, or as a neutral synonym for lesbian,” and those persons include the Schmitts.”

This article lead to allegations of gay bashing and the resignation of Steven Lang. One of the long-time editors for the site. After threats were made to encourage specific companies to boycott the blog, Bertel Schmitt offered an apology in an article titled, “Editor Switches Dildos” where he continued to bash the former writer along with Jalopnik. A site that competes in part with The Truth About Cars.

“People have varying thresholds for disgust, I understand. What I have a hard time understanding is that someone with such well-developed sensitivities is proud to write for Jalopnik, a site, which we all know, knows no shame. This is no value judgment. A good journalist should not be bashful.”

 

Edit made on 9 July 2013‎ by 76.20.240.115. Undone on 9 July 2013 by 63.92.255.201. Reverted on 10 July 2013‎ by 76.20.240.115 (while deleting one intermediate edit:)

The Truth About Cars was recently criticized for an article titled, “Small SUV Crashopalooza: Detroit Loses, Dykes Win” where the editor-in-chief stated the following. “Boo, hiss, Detroit – pussy-whipped by a Japanese transgender crossover that is also known as a “vag-wag?”

PS: Before you start to tar and feather me for Detroit bashing LGBT discrimination, please be notified that according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the term “dyke” originated “as a derogatory label for a masculine woman, and this usage still exists.” Shame on them. “However, some persons attempt to use it in a manner that they see as positive, or as a neutral synonym for lesbian,” and those persons include the Schmitts.”

This article lead to allegations of gay bashing and the resignation of Steven Lang. One of the long-time editors for the site. After threats were made to encourage specific companies to boycott the blog, Bertel Schmitt offered an apology in an article titled, “Editor Switches Dildos” where he continued to bash the former writer along with Jalopnik. A site that competes in part with The Truth About Cars.

“People have varying thresholds for disgust, I understand. What I have a hard time understanding is that someone with such well-developed sensitivities is proud to write for Jalopnik, a site, which we all know, knows no shame. This is no value judgement. A good journalist should not be bashful.”

 

Edit made on 11 July 2013‎ by 76.20.240.115. Removed on 11 July 2013 by ClueBot with a vandalism warning:

The Truth About Cars was recently criticized for an article titled, “Small SUV Crashopalooza: Detroit Loses, Dykes Win” where the editor-in-chief stated the following. “Boo, hiss, Detroit – pussy-whipped by a Japanese transgender crossover that is also known as a “vag-wag?”

PS: Before you start to tar and feather me for Detroit bashing LGBT discrimination, please be notified that according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the term “dyke” originated “as a derogatory label for a masculine woman, and this usage still exists.” Shame on them. “However, some persons attempt to use it in a manner that they see as positive, or as a neutral synonym for lesbian,” and those persons include the Schmitts.”

This article lead to allegations of gay bashing and the resignation of Steven Lang. One of the long-time editors for the site. After threats were made to encourage specific companies to boycott the blog, Bertel Schmitt offered an apology in an article titled, “Editor Switches Dildos” where he continued to bash the former writer along with Jalopnik. A site that competes in part with The Truth About Cars.

“People have varying thresholds for disgust, I understand. What I have a hard time understanding is that someone with such well-developed sensitivities is proud to write for Jalopnik, a site, which we all know, knows no shame. This is no value judgment. A good journalist should not be bashful.”

 

For the record, in the past, the author of this article made a few non-controversial, routine edits to TTAC’s Wikipedia entry. These routine edits are expressly allowed by Wikipedia. The author did not make any edits to the WP pages since he took over as editor in chief on January 1 2012. All edits are in the editing history under a quite obvious alias.

Also for the record, Steven Lang was notified by the author of this article via email on July 5 2013 as follows: “Wikipedia has clear and strongly enforced rules that forbid edits by people with a conflict of interest. There is a long list of scandals involving people who ignored this rule. Conflicted persons should NEVER edit an article about a topic in which they are involved. This goes especially for anonymous edits, which rarely are as anonymous as assumed.”

After receipt of the email (which remained unanswered,) Lang knew that he was breaking the rules, and he did so with apparent intent. According to Wikipedia’s rules, conflict of interest editing “risks causing public embarrassment to the individuals and groups being promoted.” The email was sent to spare Mr. Lang the embarrassment. Sadly, it did not work.

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Harware Meintence! Expect The Worst, Hope For The Best http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/harware-meintence-expect-the-worst-hope-for-the-best/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/harware-meintence-expect-the-worst-hope-for-the-best/#comments Mon, 03 Jun 2013 18:35:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=490685

Our intrepid technical team will perform hardware maintenance tomorrow, Tuesday between  8am and 11am Eastern. TTAC will move to a standby server, while they replace hardware on the main server, vacuum the dust mites, lubricate the hard-drives, and whatever scheduled maintenance a server needs.

The techies “don’t expect it to cause issues,” but they want us to know nonetheless. Because the DNS is being switched, there may be timeouts and longer than usual lag times in some places. You have been warned.

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Carsqa.com Admits Flagrant Intellectual Property Violations, Commits Some More http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/carsqa-com-admits-flagrant-intellectual-property-violations-commits-some-more/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/carsqa-com-admits-flagrant-intellectual-property-violations-commits-some-more/#comments Sat, 01 Jun 2013 13:42:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=490369 Carsqa-Head

“Carsqa.com is a bunch of rotten thieves – and we admit it,” wrote carsqa.com editor Chuck Kerkarian yesterday. However, this surprising confession did not stop his publication from committing further egregious acts of intellectual property robbery. The written admission of guilt was followed by an article stolen by carsqua’s Alex Johanssen from Murilee Martin at  caranddriver.com, and another one purloined from Alex Dykes at TTAC. Even after admitting guilt, Carsqua’s Chuck Kerkarian steals a Chevrolet Impala 2.5 review from Caranddriver, and a 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI vs. Hybrid comparo from Mike Solowiow from TTAC. (I wouldn’t steal from an F16 driver, but that’s just me.)

To make the robbery complete, Carsqa asserts copyright for the stolen stories.

Google-Carsqa

The robots that make those auto-auto sites, better known as para-sites, know no shame. An astounding 1880 hits were produced by an EXACT Google search for “Carsqa.com is a bunch of rotten thieves – and we admit it,” the headline of yesterday’s story at TTAC, and soon thereafter the title of an identical story at carsqa and thousands more.

Carsqa has been singled out by us, but it definitely is not alone. I will not be surprised if there will be a new story in carsqa and many others, headlinedCarsqa.com Admits Flagrant Intellectual Property Violations, Commits Some More.”

P.S.: Yesterday, I wrote that there are amazingly few ads on these para-sites. This remains to be true. With a few exceptions. One of them being Amazon.com, apparently an advertiser on the Carsqa para-site. Being one of the world’s largest retailers of books and digital content, Amazon should have a vested interest in the protection of intellectual property, and it may want to review the practice of advertising on para-sites.

Likewise, we encourage all producers of handmade original content to poison the well that feeds the parasites.

 

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Admittedly, Carsqa.com Is A Bunch Of Rotten Thieves http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/psa-carsqa-com-is-a-bunch-of-rotten-thieves-and-we-admit-it/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/psa-carsqa-com-is-a-bunch-of-rotten-thieves-and-we-admit-it/#comments Fri, 31 May 2013 15:44:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=490214

Para-site 2.0

Web 2.0 brought with it somewhat novel interpretations of the copyright. We are used to the fact that our stories show up in all kinds of places. As long as they are within the bounds of fair use, and as long as they link back to us, we don’t mind. We often pick up inspiration for stories elsewhere, but we try to always say where we found them, and we give ample links, the new currency of Web 2.0. Some people are less polite. Recently, matters took a turn to the weird.

(Note: Before you complain about headline or picture, read to the end.)

There are new auto sites out there that just grab anything we and other major car blogs write, and they put it on their site. Apparently in an attempt to fool Google, they then published these purloined stories under author names that have nothing to do with these stories, and which probably haven’t anything to do with existing people. Identity theft 2.0 appears to be fully automatic, as this article attempts to prove.

For this experiment, we picked one of the auto-auto sites at random. Our test specimen is carsqa.com, a site peddling “Automotive News & Advice.” Its owners wisely hide behind an anonymization service. Let’s do a little fact checking.

The “Holden VF Commodore SV6 Review” at carsqa.com is not from Chuck Kerkarian, it seems to be from Anthony Crawford at Cardadvice.com.au.

The story headlined “BMW X5: M Sport, M50d, Design Pure Excellence styles revealed” at carsqa.com is not from Brent Lofaro as alleged, it seems to be from Tim Beissmann at Cardadvice.com.au.

The story about “GM Pondering Silverado/Sierra Variants, Including Raptor Fighter” at carsqa.com is not from Alex Johanssen, it seems to be from Jens Meiners at Caranddriver.com.

Alex Johanssen also did not write “GM Pondering Silverado/Sierra Variants, Including Raptor Fighter” at carsqa.com, as he claims. The story appears to have been penned by Justin Berkowitz at Caranddriver.com, him a fugitive from TTAC.

Neither did Alex Johanssen write “The BMW X5: A Look Back,” as carsqa.com claims. I have it on very good authority that this story was written by Doug DeMuro at TTAC.

Johannsen’s virtual office-mate Brent Lofaro also did not write about “What Keis And Big Pickups Have In Common: A Galapagosization.” I think I know the actual author.

And of course, Frank Lampley of Carsqua,com did not write the terse Notice threatening that Carsqa.com reader will be banned if they don’t comply with a Carsqa.com administrative action. Carsqa’s robot took even that Notice from TTAC, assigned it to Frank Lampley as an author, and ran with it.

Now, let’s see whether they will run with this self-implicating story, and who of their authors will claim the story as his. The site even claims “Copyright Cars QA” for content that definitely is not theirs.

Apparently, these sites are created to make their owners rich. As an ad for the software promises: “Everything is Automatic! You just sit back, Relax & Make Money!”

We’ll do that. Let’s see what happens. Currently, their robot runs a little behind. As I type this, it has picked up Thomas Kreutzer’s Dark Days, changed the author  to Chuck Kerkarian, and is most likely working on the rest.

(The trouble is, I rarely see any ads on these para-sites. Google seems to have a feel for them, and the only people who get rich are the folks who sell the software.)

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Inside The Auto Blogging Industry: Editor Switches Dildos http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/inside-the-auto-blogging-industry-editor-switches-dildos/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/inside-the-auto-blogging-industry-editor-switches-dildos/#comments Wed, 22 May 2013 12:34:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=489222 Safe Dildo

WARNING:  The content following the jump, albeit taken from a popular car site, could be viewed as highly objectionable when viewed here. It could also get you fired at YOUR workplace, or get you in DEEP trouble at home. DO NOT click the jump if this offends you, and DO NOT complain if the warning is not heeded. Mature language. Parental guidance is advised.


It is now common knowledge (at least, it is familiar to the folks who are into this stuff) that longterm TTAC writer Steven Lang departed TTAC. His great stories about the secret world of car auctions, and his first person insider reports from the drive here pay here underground will be sorely missed, and I don’t mean this in mean jest.  I keep telling people that nobody is irreplaceable, but Steve is.  He will be, unless we find the owner of a drive here pay here joint, who is also an auto auctioneer, and who can write – an unlikely combination of talents. Wherever he goes, read his stories. But is Steve safe where he goes? It looks like he might be jumping from a small frying pan into sustained fire.

According to his story at Jalopnik, Steve departed TTAC over the use of a word that stands for short-haired women loving women, along with “random articles that feature sex toys and general meanness at total strangers.”  (The Jalopnik story linked to the respective shocking stories at TTAC. The story also repeated the D-word, which I don’t D-are to repeat for fear of waterboarding.) Apparently, he thinks he is in subtler hands at Jalopnik and Yahoo.

People have varying thresholds for disgust, I understand. What I have a hard time understanding is that someone with such well-developed sensitivities is proud to write for Jalopnik, a site, which we all know, knows no shame. This is no value judgement. A good journalist should not be bashful.

To assist Steve in his career, we developed this multipart look Inside Of The Auto Blogging Industry – with a special emphasis on Jalopnik and its corporate owners at Gawker. This is useful information to any new writer at Jalopnik. Gawker will exert  much more influence on  Steve’s stories than Verticalscope on ours. Which is easy to do: VS never exerts any influence on stories at TTAC, never did, never will.  I have been reliably informed that Steve not so much wanted to have a cleaner TTAC, he may have sought a job as the chief of the august publication. There is one way to create an immediate job opening: Make our corporate owners change or influence a story on TTAC, and I will immediately leave.

Too much has been written already, therefore, we let pictures speak for themselves.  Here, we provide a pictorial insight into the social dynamics that await a not so young writer at his new Jalopnik workplace.  We provide the pictures with full links as proof that we did not make it up. If you want to shoot someone, don’t shoot the messenger. Last chance to leave, we are entering the world of Jalopnik

Christian Dildo

At TTAC, Steve was upset about a regular, albeit high quality dildo. (Jack Baruth loved the sex aid.)  At Jalopnik, Steven sees himself confronted with a Christian dildo, used as an illustration for “Cab driver banned from displaying crucifix because it looks like a penis.”

ku-xlarge

At TTAC, Steven had to endure pictures of floppy ears. At Jalopnik: Pictorial cruelty to animals. Nobody seems to care, as shown by the headline “Well, There’s Your Problem.”

dick bridge

Jalopnik seems to be obsessed with reproductive organs: “Russian Drawbridge Defaced With Giant Penis.”

rubbers

Jalopnik has a special section for Penis size News , Videos, Reviews. Probably just to fool Google, but they fooled me. Here, news about “Penis Size and Speeding Tickets: A Sizable Correlation.”

snow penis

More reproductive organ obsession: “Yes, That’s A Snow Penis.” It’s huge, considering that it’s cold.

whale penis

Save the whales: “Pam Anderson Forces Russian SUV-maker To Circumcise Whale Penis Leather Interior.” And more penis fixation.

Stereotypical Lamborghini

Stereotyping, Lamborghini edition: “Meet The Most Stereotypical Lamborghini Owner In The World.”

Stereotypical Lamborghini 2

Stereotyping, Lamborghini edition, 2: “Meet The Most Stereotypical Lamborghini Owner In The World.”

Penis Road

Signs of clinical penis fixation: “Ten More Unfortunate Street Names

slutshole lane

The road less traveled: “Ten More Unfortunate Street Names.” Says Jalopnik:  ”Take too many trips down this road, though, and you’ll end up on Cockburn Street.”

strange tank

Domestic violence: “The Ten Strangest Tanks Ever Built

Viper V10

Illustration for a Viper V10 topic: “Y U NO HAVE MORE LOW END TORQUE!? Cars? What cars?

Fuck

Expletive undeleted: “Tuesday Night’s Stock Car Race Was A Total Shit Show

Diesel Dyke2

The Diesel Dyke!” When Jalopnik used this highly pejorative word (trucks should be up in arms and demand that author Davey G. Johnson be fired,) nobody complained – as far as we know. However, there seems to be strange self-censorship going on. Where is the picture of the diesel?

Diesel Dyke1

Ah! Here it is! To access this picture, a cached copy had to be used. However, now we are totally confused. Not upset. Confused. What was wrong with the truck?

gay news topgear

Jalopnik has a special section for Gay News, Videos, Reviews and Gossip. For news like “Top Gear “Bans” Gay Couples From Studio Audience.”

queeried Golf

Or for reports like this one: “VW Rabbit Most Queer-ied Car In First Quarter, 2009.” Did anyone demand Matt Hardigree’s ouster over this disparaging word?

GoogleSometimes, Google plays tricks on us. I’m sure Ray Wert did not say this about Jim Press. However, Google makes it appear as if he did. And if you can google it, it must be true, no?  Collateral damage caused by SEO saturation bombing, I guess.

Say stop. Ok, I stop. I leave it up to you: Was Steven’s outrage genuine? Or did he simply not do enough due diligence before his Jalop-hop?

PS:

The Jalopnik stories about Steven Lang resigning his editorship  appear to have been mostly removed from Jalopnik. The link under the Read …  leads to Kinja, and a click on the link gets this:

404 Not found

At least it does so on my machine.

destin

Likewise gone is the picture of yours truly, in which Jalopnik caught me groping two men. The men are my former Typhoon offshore racing teammates Randy “Mad Dog” Schleuss (left) and Jim “J-O”  Natoli (right). Subliminal message: They are all gay. As if it’s bad. Too bad we aren’t, those long nights in the camper, dragging a black 29ft 525hp raceboat down never-ending freeways would have been more entertaining.

dike

 

Still there among the comments at Jalopnik is the obligatory picture of the little Dutch boy sticking his finger in the dike, along with sundry “Lesbaru” references. On TTAC, there would be smoking ruins by now. At Jalopnik: Absence of outrage.

mailorder

And how do we feel about this uncurated comment? Where Steve comes from, it’s “general meanness at total strangers” when a reporter at a Chinese auto show takes pictures of a floppy-eared booth professional who was put there so that reporters could take pictures of a floppy-eared booth professional. Meanwhile, at his new workplace, there are comments that could easily be seen as sexist, racist, and as a suggestion of trafficking. Where’s the reader revolt?

Besides, she’s not half my age. She’s 20 years younger. And, she says, “I’m not Asian, I’m Japanese.”

The discussion is open. Feel free to discuss the above. As far as the D-word goes, I have learned my lesson. I apologize to anyone who honestly felt offended. I won’t use the word anymore, now that I know that sensitivities are much higher at TTAC than at Jalopnik. The ban on a discussion of the D-word topic itself remains in place. We leave that to the other sites, and to people who need to be better at feigning outrage. 

(All pictures, except Google screenshots, courtesy Jalopnik.com, Groping picture: Tomoko Schmitt)

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Notice http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/notice/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/notice/#comments Mon, 20 May 2013 03:08:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=488979 After an article was posted on May 16, a wide-ranging discussion took place. The discussion was given unimpeded, unedited space over more than 200 comments. In the course of this discussion, threats were made. We take all comments seriously, including any threats.

The threats can be found in the discussion, and they remain there for documentation purposes. These threats are not condoned, the commenters who made the threats are gone. After and because these threats were made, the discussion was closed.

The discussion remains closed. Please do not hijack other threads to continue a closed discussion. Doing so would trigger immediate bannage, and a removal of the comment. Please refer to the commenting guidelines in the FAQ.

In the interest of editorial freedom, TTAC must and will resist ANY third party attempts to influence or change its content. Please refrain from doing so. Factual corrections will be made. Thank you for helping to protect an environment that is open to all civilized discussion.

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We Are Asking For Your Help On The TTAC Time-Warp Problem http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/we-are-asking-for-your-help-on-the-ttac-time-warp-problem/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/we-are-asking-for-your-help-on-the-ttac-time-warp-problem/#comments Sat, 04 May 2013 14:44:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=487365 Time warp - Picture courtesy thelivingmoon.com

As you may (or may not) have noticed, there was an issue on TTAC where people would get only an old copy of TTAC. They received the new version once they logged on. Or maybe it was the other way around. Our technical team got right on it, and it seems they fixed it. I am asking your help to make sure that the problem indeed has been fixed.

The technical team’s work was made very hard due to the fact that the problem was unobservable by them. I also could not reproduce the problem on my computer, and neither could Derek. Other TTAC editors, such as Alex Dykes, saw the problem. It is not easy to fix what one cannot see.

  • Please reply whether you still see the problem, or you don’t.
  • Please include your browser and operating system (for instance: “Chrome 26/Windows 7”).
  • Please report only on problems you see from today, Saturday, May 4th 2013 on out.
  • Please do not report on problems you saw before that date.

(Of course, if the problem is still out there, those of you who have it and who have not logged on will not see this story, but we do whatever we can ….)

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What About Those !@#$%^ Characters? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/what-about-those-characters/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/what-about-those-characters/#comments Thu, 02 May 2013 17:44:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=487175

Our tech team applied a security update that appears to munch text. They are hard at work on fixing the problem. It’s not your computer that has character flaws, it’s ours.

 

 

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How Not To Get Banned On TTAC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/how-not-to-get-banned-on-ttac/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/how-not-to-get-banned-on-ttac/#comments Mon, 25 Feb 2013 10:28:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=478955

It is very simple: Stay civil.

Commenters can say anything on TTAC, as long as it is said in a civilized way. It’s not what one says on TTAC that can attract a ban, only how comments are made. Rudeness, bullying, name calling can quickly lead to a permanent bannage.

TTAC is proud to be different than the usual sites on the Internet. A huge part of what sets us apart is the depth and quality of the comments. Sadly, there are a few isolated cases who don’t seem to understand this simple rule. Last week, we had to ban a few commenters because of that. We also received a few letters in the recent weeks, complaining about a deterioration of the general tone in the commenting section.

It always pains me when I have to send someone away. However, sometimes, sacrifices must be made. It pains me when long term quality commenters are shown the door. However, the commenting rules apply equally to everybody, including TTAC editors. (The commenting rules do not apply to TTAC articles.)

Rudeness triggers rudeness, and soon, it brings the whole discussion down. Do you want to go to a party where you know you will be accosted and bullied?

Please read the TTAC Commenting Policy. It works on two very simple principles:

  1. When commenting, picture yourself being invited to a dinner party with a roomful of strangers. You probably will not attack or insult the host, or the other guests. You will get annoyed by rude and uncivilized guests. You will understand that the host will not invite people back who violate simple rules of civility. Attacking the host could mean an end of the dinner before desserts are served.
  2. You have a right to your opinion, you are immediately wrong if you are rude. Rude, uncivilized remarks mean an immediate loss of the argument. They also can mean a loss of commenting privileges.

To make it even simpler, we have worked principle #2 into the TTAC Law:

“First to get rude loses the argument.”

  • If someone gets rude on TTAC, simply say “TTAC Law.”
  • If someone calls you a cottonpicking male offspring of a female canine, simply say “TTAC Law.”
  • Instead of demanding to bring a banned commenter back, simply say “TTAC Law” when rudeness happens. YOU can prevent bannage: Say “TTAC Law.”

Also, we have new authors, and we will have more. Please go easy on them. Unless you are a very seasoned , long-term professional writer, having your writing criticized in public can be extremely embarrassing. We have lost a few new good writers because of this. From now on, we will rather lose a few bad commenters. By the way: TTAC editors never ever edit comments, we are not here to clean up other people’s messes.

So before you hit SUBMIT COMMENT, check your writing: Is it rude? Insulting? Would saying it get you not invited back to the dinner party? Would it get you smacked over the head in a rough bar? Then DON’T SUBMIT THE COMMENT.

 

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TTAC Top Troll Poll: Here Are Your Nominations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/ttac-top-troll-poll-here-are-your-nominations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/ttac-top-troll-poll-here-are-your-nominations/#comments Thu, 07 Feb 2013 12:19:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=476653  

Trolls ‘R’ Us

The campaign for TTAC’s Top Troll goes into its final stretch. Nominations for the TTAC Top Troll Poll have been made.  Some folks received multiple nominations, but we will not declare a winner just yet. The Top Troll will be decided by popular vote. Tomorrow, Friday, we go to the Top Troll Polls. But first, we need your help.

TTAC Top Troll Poll Candidates
Nominee Nominated by On
DeadWeight Chocolatedeath 2013/02/05  at 11:05 am
Volts on Fire Secret Hi5 2013/02/05 at 11:48 am
Tresmonos Self 2013/02/05  at 12:04 pm
Bigtruckseries Jack Hammer 2013/02/05  at 12:05 pm
Pch101 Jack Hammer 2013/02/05  at 12:05 pm
Buickman Frillo 2013/02/05 at 12:18 pm
APaGttH Frillo 2013/02/05 at 12:18 pm
86SN2001 Frillo 2013/02/05 at 12:18 pm
stryker1 Self 2013/02/05 at 12:31 pm
psarhjinian Self 2013/02/05 at 12:55 pm
MDBT Self 2013/02/05 at 6:08 pm
Bluto Self 2013/02/06 at 7:26 am
Muttley Alfa Barker Self 2013/02/06 at 8:07 am
Lorenzo Self 2013/02/06 at 9:45 pm

After sifting through nearly 300 comments, and ignoring repeated comments that this is just to generate repeated comments, here is the list of candidates, along with the people who nominated them. Remember, there will be two winners: The Top Troll, and the commenter who nominated the winning Top Troll first. Repeated nominations are not listed.

Please, check the list and note any inconsistencies. Remember: Nominating a TTAC editor or author counts as an immediate self nomination.

Should any worthy trolls be found missing in your opinion, now is the time to nominate them. The primary will close tonight, and tomorrow, it’s Top Troll Poll time. And don’t forget: There is the double secret rule, which will be unveiled when it is too late.

Today, we run a procedural vote:

Should self nominations be admitted to the poll? Without them, the final poll would be less cluttered. If you feel strongly about keeping them: It’s your vote that counts.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll. ]]>
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Announcing TTAC’s Top Troll Poll http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/announcing-ttacs-top-troll-poll/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/announcing-ttacs-top-troll-poll/#comments Tue, 05 Feb 2013 15:50:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=476407

Our mascot

Like any good on-line community, TTAC has its fair share of those little supernatural beings from Norse mythology, called trolls. If I tell you that some people call trolls fairies, this will immediately cause protests of LGBT discrimination, racism, or worse. How do you bring trolls out? Simple, you bait them. For instance with sentences such as the above. We have a better idea: We want you to elect TTAC’s SUPERTROLL.

What is a troll?

Wikipedia says it is “someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”

The Urban Dictionary says a troll is “someone with nothing worthwhile to add to a certain conversation, but rather continually threadjacks or changes the subject, as well as thinks every member of the forum is talking about them and only them.”

Today and tomorrow, you can nominate TTAC’s most eminent and egregious trolls. Simply enter their TTAC handle in a comment, with a short explanation, if you insist.

Of course, TTAC’s master trolls will immediately try to deflect the poll by nominating TTAC editors or authors. Those are off limits, and by nominating a TTAC editor or author, you would immediately nominate yourself as a TTAC Top Troll candidate.

We will let the nomination run for a day or two, then we will vote.

  • What does a TTAC Top Troll get? Freedom. As it is the common practice in this kind of a contests, you can vote the Top Troll off the island.
  • You may nominate a maximum of three candidates. Nominate more, and you go on the list.
  • Be the first to nominate the Top Troll and you get a TTAC Get Out Of Jail Card – unbannable for a year
  • There is another sealed and secret rule. I shall reveal it when it is too late.

And now: Start the nominations.

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TTAC Future Writers Scandal: TTAC Crowns Loser, Hoses Winner http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/ttac-future-writers-scandal-ttac-crowns-loser-hoses-winner/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/ttac-future-writers-scandal-ttac-crowns-loser-hoses-winner/#comments Fri, 01 Feb 2013 12:11:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=476030

Andrew Lok, a.k.a. contestant #28, won the Thursday round of the TTAC Future Writers Week by a wide margin. His epos on stolen GPS machines, and his pilgrimage to the Valhalla of Speed, the Nürburgring der Niebelongen, received 45 percent of all votes on Thursday.  In the following week, when the full results of TTAC’s Future Writers Week were published, Lok was gone.

Instead of Lok, William Simonsick found himself standing on the podium. His treatise on the demographic stereotypes for Subaru buyers, with a focus on the People’s Republic of Boulder, originally had deposited him far back in the pile on place 5 when all the votes were counted. A few days later,  Simonsick suddenly was the cat’s meow. Scandal!

“Statistical abuse at its worst,” barked TTAC watchdog Pch101, who called  for a public hanging of the responsible. “Toad” APaGttH said this is “undoubtedly a case of severe bias.” Actually, nobody had noticed. Except Wild Bill Simonsick, perhaps, but he kept his own counsel, a retired professor of the Marquette Law School.

Today, we received an email.

“I got hosed!” writes Andrew Lok, “I won the Wednesday round and didn’t make it to the final assignment. What happened?” We immediately started an investigation, and determined that due to my stupidity a computer error, Lok was falsely dropped, and Simonsick was falsely named as a winner, along with a general jumble of the Thursday results.

Having already crowned Simonsick, we don’t want to send him back to the ranks of the unloved. Therefore, William Simonsick becomes Editor’s Chocie #2. He will cover demographics in Boulder for TTAC.

Here is the corrected and hopefully definitive listing:

TTAC’s Future Writers
Name Contestant Ranked Day
Michael Trainor 4 1 Monday
George William Herbert 7 2 Monday
Grant Tillery 1 3 Monday
Matthias Dean-Carpentier 20 1 Wednesday
Andrew Nevick 16 2 Wednesday
Evan Reisner 19 3 Wednesday
Andrew Lok 28 1 Thursday
Matt Oppen 22 2 Thursday
Sean Scoggins 24 3 Thursday
Jeremiah Cayce 32 1 Friday
Jeff Snavely 35 2 Friday
Thomas M Kreutzer 29 3 Friday
Keith Kostecke 39 1 Saturday
Derek Young 41 2 Saturday
Michael Stephenson 36 3 Saturday
Billy Pollock 49 1 Sunday
Dan Reitman 46 2 Sunday
Matt Horsfield 48 3 Sunday
Editors’ Choice
David Hester 31 3 Friday
William Simonsick 23 5 Thursday

PS: Andrew nearly caused me a heart attack. After his email, I immediately raced to the Wednesday round which Andrew said he had won. Neither Andrew‘s nor Bill’s names could be found. I feared total data corruption, Chinese hackers, or worse. Turned out that good Andrew also isn’t perfect either. It was the Thursday round.

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TTAC Future Writers: Help Me! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/ttac-future-writers-help-me/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/ttac-future-writers-help-me/#comments Thu, 31 Jan 2013 16:05:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=475938

TTAC’s Managing Editor Derek Kreindler shocked me with the news that he will undergo a life-threatening operation on Monday: His tonsils will be removed.  Should his doctor not know what he is doing, now he does.

Derek had even more shocking news for me: He will be out all week, nursing his removed tonsils with the vanilla ice cream they had promised me when my tonsils came out at age five. They never gave me the ice cream, but leaving me alone at the helm of TTAC, Derek gives me a big problem.  You, Future Writers, can help:

Yesterday, I gave you your first assignment, with a deadline of February 9. Would it be at possible if you could send-in the story (you have the secret email address) a bit earlier? Like Monday? How about Tuesday then? Some of you already sent in theirs, and beating deadline will always be rewarded. Maybe, just maybe, the stories will be so good that we won’t need Derek when he comes back sans tonsils? Just kidding, Derek, just kidding. We love you, even without those  …. things.

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TTAC Future Writers Week: The Winners Get Their First Assignment http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/ttac-future-writers-week-the-winners-get-their-first-assignment/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/ttac-future-writers-week-the-winners-get-their-first-assignment/#comments Wed, 30 Jan 2013 15:57:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=475832

 

You noticed that I needed to catch my breath a bit from TTAC’s Future Writers Week.  The results still have me breathless. At the start, I thought with seven a day, I probably have enough until Friday. Was I ever wrong.

Even extending the event by two more days  due to overwhelming popular demand, I still have enough candidates for another few weeks. Don’t despair:  Your works will be presented to the ruthless readers of TTAC, in the future, after we have digested that whale of a contest.

After a grueling week, 19 writers join the ranks of TTAC, which makes Thetruthaboutcars not only the carsite with the best readers, but most probably the carsite with the most writers.

Here is the final list:

TTAC’s Future Writers
Name Contestant Ranked Day
Michael Trainor 4 1 Monday
George William Herbert 7 2 Monday
Grant Tillery 1 3 Monday
Matthias Dean-Carpentier 20 1 Wednesday
Andrew Nevick 16 2 Wednesday
Evan Reisner 19 3 Wednesday
Matt Oppen 22 1 Thursday
William Simonsick 23 2 Thursday
Sean Scoggins 24 3 Thursday
Jeremiah Cayce 32 1 Friday
Jeff Snavely 35 2 Friday
Thomas M Kreutzer 29 3 Friday
Keith Kostecke 39 1 Saturday
Derek Young 41 2 Saturday
Michael Stephenson 36 3 Saturday
Billy Pollock 49 1 Sunday
Dan Reitman 46 2 Sunday
Matt Horsfield 48 3 Sunday

Not to forget David Hester, Contestant 31, who earned the highly coveted  Editors Choice Award on Friday. Should I ever get a ticket in Canada, I will drop your name, David, and I expect the ticket to be dropped.

Also do not forget: There were no winners on Tuesday. Tuesday was deemed an awful day by our jury. My condolences to Paul and Mike, who may have been disqualified by association.

Many of  TTAC’s new writers already wrote and said: “What now? When do I start? How do I start?”

Here is your first assignment:

  • Finish the winning story.
  • The snippet that was quoted during the contest must be part of the story, verbatim. Everything else is up to you.
  • The story should have anywhere between 400 and 800 words. Please not longer.  Also include one short paragraph that introduces you: Who are you, what do you do, where do you live.  Please send the stories to my personal email, which will be given to you in a few days, along with more instructions.
  • Deadline: Saturday, February 9, 2013

Start wirting! (And please, use a spell checker.)

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It’s Sunday. Definitely Last Day Of TTAC’s Future Writers Week http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/its-sunday-definitely-last-day-of-ttacs-future-writers-week/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/its-sunday-definitely-last-day-of-ttacs-future-writers-week/#comments Sun, 27 Jan 2013 18:02:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=475416

The commenters already thanked the Saturday team of contestants for their great work. Let’s thank them again. It was good – at least most of it. Today, we announce Saturday’s winners. We also present a new batch of contestants. Then, we will take a break. But first, Saturday’s winners.

Please give it up for:

  • Keith Kostecke, a.k.a. contestant #39
  • Derek Young, a.k.a. contestant #41
  • Michael Stephenson, a.k.a. contestant #36

TTAC applauds thee. Those who have not won: Don’t despair; there is always a chance to make Editor’s Choice. We announced one editor’s choice yesterday, and we will announce more  next week when we wrap up TTAC’s Future Writers Week for a while. As announced, we will present you  more  contestants during the course of the coming weeks and months, but we won’t do it every day.

Before we do that, let me present you today’s – and for the time being last – batch of contestants.

 

The TTAC Future Writers – Sunday Contestants

The rules of engagement, listed below, remain the same as yesterday. Keep in mind, the writing examples are presented here in the same order as they arrived in my mailbox. They are shown unedited, unproof-read, as-is. If no writing examples were sent, despite the fact that they were requested, snippets from the emails were used instead.

 

Contestant 43 writes:

“I don’t like people, but I like cars. A machine seems simple, elegant, sometimes beautiful. Sleek body lines lead to enticingly sculpted rear fenders, making some objects of sexual desire. She (or maybe he) will go as far as you want on the first date (considering you’re buying), and putting on the aggressive moves just enhances the fun. It’s a delightful thought loving cars instead of people: no talking, no nagging, and you can just be yourself. Or can you?”

 

Contestant 44 writes:

The shifter knobs were gone. Which means that someone at some point realized that they were being stolen. It was the first day of the Phoenix Auto Show in downtown Phoenix. Great weather but no one would be there because it was Thanksgiving Day. A day for football and family and turkey. There were 500 cars. All brand new. You were allowed to sit inside every car. The advertisements said that there would be no ”selling”. But everyone knew that the salesmen would be there. How could they not be there when 100,000 buyers were going to be in that place. The ads were right. No salesmen. No selling. Just a few of the manufacturers’ employees to answer questions; and that’s all they did. No sales pitches. Just smiles.”

 

Contestant 45 writes:

  As I started approaching 200K in the Accord, I decided that would be the magic number that would trigger my hunt for a new car. During the few months leading up to the rolling of the odo, I ruled out – or should I say gas prices ruled out – anything that didn’t get at least the average 23 MPG that I was getting during my commute to and fro the workplace. While I’m not a total Honda fanboy, I was quite satisfied with the low cost of ownership I experienced with the Accord, and also with the 2007 CR-V sitting next to it in the garage. Because of this, I thought for sure my next car would be another Accord EX, but this time not in the never-can-keep-it-looking-clean-for-more-than-five-minutes black color that I suffered with for all of these years.

Contestant 46 writes:

Riley was my college buddy who was gawky, stuttered, had bad teeth, and a haircut I could really only describe as a Starter Afro, which was weird because Riley was white and from Maine. And yet, to his friends’ continued amazement, Riley always got tons of girls – I mean they were all over him. Equally amazing, I remember thinking, was his choice of car: a 15-year-old 1987 5-speed 318is. Sure, the car looked pretty cool, in an ironic-homage-to-Gordon-Gekko kind of way, but for what he paid for it, there were surely better cars for braving the treacherous hills and thruways of wintertime central New York state. “

 

Contestant 47 writes:

I bought my Civic two years ago from a family member who bought it new way back in 1993. The car now has over 350,000 km on it, so I expected that it would require some repairs. But it hasn’t required much work. I have changed the starter, battery, and several coolant hoses, but nothing major – yet. In August of last year, I took the car to the nearest AirCare center for its bi-annual emissions test. It failed – high NOx reading. Shazbut. I had already checked everything on the car that I knew to check before the test. The engine doesn’t burn oil, the spark plugs were clean, and the timing was bang-on. I turned to the internet for help.

 

Contestant 48 writes:

“The bogan: A racist Australian male commonly seen dressed in black jeans, a Jack Daniels singlet and a pair of blacked out sunglasses. What makes a bogan though is his car. He will often have three cars, one functioning car in the garage and the other two that he’ll eventually get around to doing up. One will be on the front lawn, and the other in the backyard. They tend to be part on two camps, Ford or Holden. They will get together each year on a weekend in October to drink ”piss” (beer) and play Metallica as high as their cheap Aftermarket speakers can handle. This cocktail of alcohol and rivalry often leads to a brawl.

 

Contestant 49 writes:

“Isn’t that covered under warranty?” Whenever this question was asked, there were two possibilities as to its origin. 1) The customer is trying to get something for nothing, or 2) The customer is dumber than they are stupid. As I learned as a service advisor, neither was the kind of person I wanted to deal with. I was at our company’s Saturn-SAAB dealership with some of the best people in the business. I was lucky enough that not only was the owner one of the best men I’ve ever met, he genuinely cared about his staff and his customers. We were always told to do whatever we had to do to keep the customers happy, because customer service is what built businesses.

 

R.O.E.

Above are today’s contestants. Pick them carefully. The top ones will be around for a long time. Here are the Rules of Engagement:

  • You are presented with a set of seven writing examples. Their authors haven been carefully anonymized. They have a number instead.
  • The top three out of each set of seven receive an entry permit into the rarefied world of TTAC writers. Those who don’t make the grade and who fail in front of our jury will be sold into white slavery, or worse, recommended for the morning shift at Jalopnik. (Inciting voter apathy could mean that all contestants are sold off, we want and keep the winners.)
  • The snippets come in the exact order they landed in my mailbox.
  • The snippets have been chosen by me, in a very subjective way: By looking quickly at the story, and by picking what stands out.
  • You have two votes for each day. Both votes have equal weight. You may not vote more than once per day and set of contestants. Don’t throw away your votes!
  • The vote for each set runs until the second set appears. That’s typically for around 24 hours. Vote now, do not procrastinate. Voting for the last set stops when I say so, also typically 24 hours after the last set goes up.

 

And now,let’s go to the polls!

(No hanging chads. Don’t mail or phone it in. Read snippets before voting. Vote now.)

Remember: You have TWO votes. Place your bets.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

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TTAC’s Future Writers Week Draws To An End http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/ttacs-future-writers-week-draws-to-an-end/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/ttacs-future-writers-week-draws-to-an-end/#comments Sat, 26 Jan 2013 16:18:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=475360

Friday – thank God – was a great day in TTAC’s Future Writers Week. It definitely was a lot better than Dud-Tuesday. The readers loved what the Friday round of writers wrote. The winners were separated by just a few votes, always a good sign of an exciting race. My favorite came in 4th, which again proves that my tastes are totally removed from the mainstream. And the winners are:

  • Jeremiah Cayce , a.k.a. Contestant #32
  • Jeff Snavely, a.k.a. Contestant #35
  • Thomas M Kreutzer, a.k.a. Contestant #29

My personal favorite David “Dukeboy” Hester did not make the podium, probably due to blatant discrimination against LEOs. I have a thing for cops, except when they pull me over, and I declare Dukeboy TTAC’s first Editor’s choice. With that, TTAC’s Future Writers Week ends with 13 new TTAC writers, selected and elected by a very tough audience from 35 contestants. Would there not be one nasty problem …

I am drowning in many more contestants. We have gone through less than half of what is in my inbox. Yesterday, I asked for your advice in that matter.

I did read all your recommendations. You tell me that you want this contest to go on. I need to reconcile this with the fact that I also want to write about other things, and that (you did notice that the writing gig will be pro bono, did you?) I definitely do not have the budget to hire that special TTAC Future Writers Editor. I also want to do something else than dig through old Apprentice UK YouTube videos.

So here is what will happen: I do another round today. Maybe, I will do another round tomorrow, after I have returned from a fact-finding mission that will prove once and for all and with pictures, that Japan is NOT a closed market for imports, and that, as a matter of fact, one can find parking lots full of imported cars with not a single Japanese car in sight, right here in downtown Tokyo. Don’t believe? Come back tomorrow for a new round of TTAC’s Future Writers, and for the definitive photo report on the wide open closed market that is Japan.

EVEN THEN we will still have masses of unchecked contestants in my hopper. Those will be presented to you throughout the year, in the now familiar format, and you can select them in the now familiar format throughout the year. Meaning: A round of voting maybe once a week, or once every two weeks, possibly. But no more new entries, please.

Amca and Jif, you are confused: I said no more new submissions. If you have sent in yours before, I should have them. If you haven’t seen them show up, then they must be in the huge backlog, and they will be judged – eventually. As a penance for not paying attention, you must read TTAC throughout the year to check for when your number is up.

As for the repeated calls for female writers: I heard and hear you. They will be chosen according to a completely new evaluation scheme: You bring them. I pick them. Then, Frau Schmitto-san will go through what I picked. Frau Schmitto-san is a designer and will want pictures.

 

The TTAC Future Writers – Saturday Contestants

The rules of engagement, listed below, remain the same as yesterday. Keep in mind, the writing examples are presented here in the same order as they arrived in my mailbox. They are shown unedited, unproof-read, as-is. If no writing examples were sent, despite the fact that they were requested, snippets from the emails were used instead.

 

Contestant 36 writes:

“103 miles. 103 miles of ¬ba-bump-ba-bump concrete interstate, tires droning beneath uninsulated floor pans, a rattling rear door, and a squeaky passenger visor. This veritable symphony of automotive maladies lulls me into a semiconscious daze as I travel up and down I-16 during both of my daily 51.5 mile trips to and from work. There are a handful of small stretches of smooth pavement that do offer a brief respite, allowing the radio to drown out the road noise without making the speakers rattle. The only thought that enters my mind from the time I leave work until the time I arrive home is a simple four word phrase: I hate my car. It wasn’t always this way, though. I test drove it four times before trading in my silver 2004 Crown Victoria LX on a brand new 2008 Toyota Rav4 Sport V6. I know, I know… Panther blasphemy.”

 

Contestant 37 writes:

“You know you should like it. It may be a few years old, but it’s maturity, not decline. The ticker reads a number only attainable after many years of faithful service, but somehow that doesn’t show when you fire it up. It turns over effortlessly; the engine fires up willingly; the engine quickly settles into a gentle purr. It’s a Toyota – a Corolla – and it shows it. It was built to last, and last it will. Shift it into gear, and you are under way. Fifteen triple-digit summers and fifteen oil-congealing winters have done little to lessen the quality of the ride, and yet the car is soon forgotten. Your heart quietens and relaxes; your breathing slows. All you see is the traffic in front of you; all you feel is this empty feeling inside. How could it be that someone designed and built this car to be forgettable?”

 

Contestant 38 writes:

“I won it on eBay in 2008, between Christmas and New Years, during a moment when the stock market was in the toilet and most people were more worried about paying for presents than buying things for themselves. No one was buying cars, certainly not little, overpriced ones, which is why I snuck up and sniped a 2006 BMW 325 xiT station wagon, real fly in tan leather, burled wood and arctic silver paint (you know, the shade that looks blue or grey depending on the sun, the angle, and the mood of the observer. It’s like a mood car).”

 

Contestant 39 writes:

“Jeff called while I was watching the Ed Sullivan Show. He was my best friend but it was odd for him call on a Sunday night. (As eighth-graders in 1968, it was unusual for any of us to call our friends except to see if they were available to “do something” at that moment, and we never did anything on Sunday nights.) Jeff liked to take his parents’ 1967 Saab 96 around the block when they were gone and, that evening, overshot the turn onto his street, jumping the ditch and landing in his next-door neighbor’s front yard. After repeatedly killing the engine while attempting to get traction, he managed to exit the yard. As this was a two-cycle three cylinder Saab that sounded like a chain saw when revved, Jeff assumed the neighbors, or the police, would soon be paying a visit.”

 

Contestant 40 writes:

“While the NAIAS was going on, there was a much more significant auto show in Scottsdale at the Barrett Jackson Auction. As someone who actually doesn’t care much for most classic cars, let’s face it, Packard’s are not pretty, nor is the Mercedes-Benz gullwing, sorry. Plus I like comfort, seatbelts and navigation. The auction is one of few enjoyable things to watch now that the football season is ending. At the auction, we saw automotive failures that are now successes and designs that can no longer exist because of safety and fuel standards. It also shows a bygone era of when cars were built by trial, entrepreneurship, design flair, and whimsy rather than by computers. It also proves how important design is (i.e. the Mustang), in that all you need to do is get it right once, and then just modernize the style. There’s a reason why design is so important: once it works, it will last forever.”

 

Contestant 41 writes:

“I have always been drawn to oddball cars. Growing up in Vancouver during the early 90s, we were privy to a host of automotive delights which were never available to our neighbours to the south. The mixture of Cold War ambivalence, Canadian frugality and the then largely non-existent emissions regulations ensured that there was a constant stream of cheap and reasonably cheerful offerings in the used car markets. A 1986 Skoda Estelle you say? Done that. A Lada Niva? Been there. Three mid-80s Hyundai Ponies in rapid succession? Pleaaaase.”

 

Contestant 42 writes:

“The Obamobile will be like no vehicle you’ve ever owned before. First, the good news. It will get much better fuel economy than the less hopeful, less changed competition, and it will belch fewer pollutants into the air. More good news – it weighs less than vehicles lacking the refinement of the Obamobile. Now for the bad news. It weighs less than vehicles lacking the refinement of the Obamobile. There will be a minor period of adjustment until the ordinary vehicles are gone from our roads during which, if your Obamobile collides with an older, less nuanced vehicle, it collapses into a box roughly shaped like a coffin. But there’s a silver lining, citizen. You can be buried in your Obamobile, and there will be one less burial option your survivors will have to dicker over at the funeral home.”

 

R.O.E.

Above are today’s contestants. Pick them carefully. The top ones will be around for a long time. Here are the Rules of Engagement:

  • You are presented with a set of seven writing examples. Their authors haven been carefully anonymized. They have a number instead.
  • The top three out of each set of seven receive an entry permit into the rarefied world of TTAC writers. Those who don’t make the grade and who fail in front of our jury will be sold into white slavery, or worse, recommended for the morning shift at Jalopnik. (Inciting voter apathy could mean that all contestants are sold off, we want and keep the winners.)
  • The snippets come in the exact order they landed in my mailbox.
  • The snippets have been chosen by me, in a very subjective way: By looking quickly at the story, and by picking what stands out.
  • You have two votes for each day. Both votes have equal weight. You may not vote more than once per day and set of contestants. Don’t throw away your votes!
  • The vote for each set runs until the second set appears. That’s typically for around 24 hours. Vote now, do not procrastinate. Voting for the last set stops when I say so, also typically 24 hours after the last set goes up.

 

And now, let’s go to the polls!

(No hanging chads. Don’t mail or phone it in. Read snippets before voting. Vote now.)

Remember: You have TWO votes. Place your bets.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

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TTAC Future Writers Week: Help! Help! I’m Drowning! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/ttac-future-writers-week-help-help-im-drowning/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/ttac-future-writers-week-help-help-im-drowning/#comments Fri, 25 Jan 2013 11:11:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=475190

This is day five of TTAC’s Future Writers Week. We have three new winners. We have seven new contestants. And I have a huge problem.

Let’s get to Thursday’s winners first. It looks like you had no problem picking them. Sex, crime, Autobahn and Nürburgring carried the day yesterday. Not quite in that order, but that’s what keeps it interesting. Keeping with the budding writer theme, it was mostly PG13: We did read stories about front bench seats that were used for nothing else than a dumping ground for fast food residue, we learned about a pervert who did not want to party with people half his age, and who preferred an affair with a Peugeot instead. It was a winning combination. Yesterday’s winners are:

  • Andrew Lok, a.k.a. Contestant #28
  • Matt Oppen, a.k.a. Contestant #22
  • Sean Scoggins, a.k.a. Contestant #24

We congratulate thee! With the votes and confidence of your peers, you have advanced into the ranks of TTAC’s Future Writers. Hold your horses, bask in your glory, and wait until you hear from us for your first writing assignment.

I also must admit that I am having a huge problem. With today’s new batch of seven, we will have juried 35 contestants. Looking at my email-inbox, I have contestants for at least another week, if not more.  I think, the prudent thing to do is to immediately say:

No more applications, please! The inbox is closed.

As for what to do with the huge backlog, I need your advice.  Voting once every four years seems to be big enough a bother, but voting each day for weeks? I could blow them all out over the week-end. Want to jury a huge collection of one-liners over two days and get it over with? I could do personal triage and simply take the ones I think are good. I bet the commentariat has better ideas. Let’s hear them. And don’t send more applications, please! There will be another contest, trust me.

As for the backlog, I will be most grateful for your advice. Suggestions that the contestants are no  L. J. K. Setright are being met with the old adage that you get what you pay for. And that there is no such thing as a free Setright.

The TTAC orchestra already has left for the weekend. So without fanfare and drumrolls:

The TTAC Future Writers – Friday Contestants

The rules of engagement, listed below, remain the same as yesterday. Keep in mind, the writing examples are presented here in the same order as they arrived in my mailbox. They are shown unedited, unproof-read, as-is. If no writing examples were sent, despite the fact that they were requested, snippets from the emails were used instead.

 

Contestant 29 writes:

“My neighbor growing up, Wayne Stork, was a quiet, gentle giant of a man who loved machines. Growing up as a car nut myself, it was hard to miss the fact that the Storks owned almost every kind of cool machine you could imagine – motorcycles, trucks, cars, boats, tractors, hay bailers even a couple of bulldozers and a ramp truck. If it rolled, floated, or crawled, Wayne probably owned it at one time or another. For a guy with an enduring love of machines, however, Wayne had one fault – he never really took especially good care of anything. As a result almost every machine Wayne owned died within a few years of purchase.“

 

Contestant 30 writes:

 “Here is where I give full disclosure: I’m a former owner of a Nissan pickup. Remember the Hardbody? I had one– and loved it. I’m a current owner of a Nissan cube and a base Ford Ranger pickup. I bought the Ford because at the time I was shopping (2007), it was the most fuel-efficient pickup on sale in America. I seldom haul more than a few hundred pounds in the bed, and primarily use it as a commuter. When truck-shopping after years of faithful service from my recently totaled Hardbody, I just couldn’t talk myself into a Frontier for a couple of reasons.”

 

Contestant 31 writes:

 “My G-ride awaits, a 2007 Ford Crown Vic Police Interceptor in “Official Government Business” silver. My department assigns each officer a home-fleet vehicle and I’ve been driving this one for a little over 40,000 of it’s 89,000 miles. One of the last of the real Police Interceptors, it boasts the civilian interior upgrade, with mouse- fur covered cloth bench seats instead of vinyl, carpeting instead of vomit resistant rubber, and a CD player. However, in a surprise outbreak of fiscal prudence, whoever ordered the cars that year failed to check the box for the exterior upgrades, like chrome trim. It’s the best of both worlds: soft semi- luxury inside with the blacked out “move to the right” front grill.”

 

Contestant 32 writes:

“Why the ****should I provide three paragraphs? I’m not in this for the notoriety associated with being published. I am a high school English AP teacher and everyday 180 students are forced to read my cynical commentary on a subject that serves no inherent purpose to them. The only reason that I am even responding to this query is because I am a man; I eat raw meat and drink milk that expired last week, I have a permanent line of dirt under my fingernails that I am apparently saving in case the apocalypse happens and I need to be carbon dated, I make a conscious choice to inhale deeper when the whiff of gasoline or diesel is nearby, and the only type of circular saw I know how to use is worm gear driven, weighs sixteen pound (lightweight due to the lack of a safety trigger), and needs its oil changed three times a year.”

 

Contestant 33 writes:

 “About ten years ago, I finally began to settle down. Got engaged, and went out and bought myself a sports car. I justified this particular car to my then-fiancee with a plan for an epic (there’s that word again) honeymoon trip: Drive to New England, in autumn, topless. No, this isn’t Maxim or The Chive. Topless car, not topless wife. So, fueled by fires of forum chatter aplenty, I started my search for the only ragtop that makes sense to keyboard racers: a Miata.”

Contestant 34 writes:

 “Rays of ice-blue xenon pierced the dense, rain-soaked night, illuminating a postmodern, high-priced, yet dully conventional house. The BMW’s headlamps exorcised the darkness as Sadler navigated into the dry uncluttered garage. The wet tires crackled and left a trail along the immaculate sealed concrete. The garage door whirred to a close muting the cacophony of a summer storm. Sadler silenced the engine’s hollow thrum. Wearied, he sighed before stepping out of the “platinum grey metallic” vehicle. Entering the back hall he had expected familiar quiet and coolness, but lashing rain sounded too clearly and the indoor air was humid. Sadler knew he had an uninvited guest.”

 

Contestant 35 writes:

 “I thought I was hard-core. People who complain about the Lotus Elise’s lack of creature comforts or suspension compliance are wimps I thought. Many of us would agree that pure driving pleasure outweighs most other considerations, but the Elise is the ultimate test of this idea. I had lusted after the Elise ever since seeing one in Europe in the late 1990‘s and everything I had read about it perfectly meshed with my ideals about sports cars. After owning a ’91 Miata for almost ten years, the Elise was the next logical step. When I first sat in one in 2005 upon their release in the U.S., I knew I would own a used one someday. The styling was to die for, the cockpit was starkly beautiful in its own way, and the mechanical-feeling shifter was a joy.”

 

R.O.E.

Above are today’s contestants. Pick them carefully. The top ones will be around for a long time. Here are the Rules of Engagement:

  • You are presented with a set of seven writing examples. Their authors haven been carefully anonymized. They have a number instead.
  • The top three out of each set of seven receive an entry permit into the rarefied world of TTAC writers. Those who don’t make the grade and who fail in front of our jury will be sold into white slavery, or worse, recommended for the morning shift at Jalopnik. (Inciting voter apathy could mean that all contestants are sold off, we want and keep the winners.)
  • The snippets come in the exact order they landed in my mailbox.
  • The snippets have been chosen by me, in a very subjective way: By looking quickly at the story, and by picking what stands out.
  • You have two votes for each day. Both votes have equal weight. You may not vote more than once per day and set of contestants. Don’t throw away your votes!
  • The vote for each set runs until the second set appears. That’s typically for around 24 hours. Vote now, do not procrastinate. Voting for the last set stops when I say so, also typically 24 hours after the last set goes up.

 

And now, let’s go to the polls!

(No hanging chads. Don’t mail or phone it in. Read snippets before voting. Vote now.)

Remember: You have TWO votes. Place your bets.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

]]>
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TTAC Future Writers Week: We Have New Winners. And You Can Vote For More http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/ttac-future-writers-week-we-have-new-winners-and-you-can-vote-for-more/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/ttac-future-writers-week-we-have-new-winners-and-you-can-vote-for-more/#comments Thu, 24 Jan 2013 18:37:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=475083

The Wednesday installment of TTAC’s Future Writers Week, where YOU decide who will write for you, ended better than the round the day before. This time, you voted for three serviceable writers, and they are:

  • Matthias Dean-Carpentier, a.k.a. Contestant #20
  • Andrew Nevick,  a.k.a. Contestant #16
  • Evan Reisner, a.k.a. Contestant #19

Contestants 15,  17, 18, and 21 did not make it past the jury of your reading peers. Do not despair, there is always a chance to get called upon via the “Editor’s Choice” award, where we apply our strictly subjective, and self-serving criteria.

Note:  Some contestants have expressed impatience over the fact that they have not been notified, told what to do, where to show up, what to write etc. Hold your horses. Take a vacation. Buy a new keyboard. You will get notified once the contest is over, and when we know exactly how to do this. As you may already have suspected, we make it up as we go along.

As for sources and methods: All I can say is that carburetor rebuilds on kitchen tables are more popular than ideal inventory levels and item-master systems. I know, this is despicable, but what can I do?

What I can do is present to you the Thursday set of seven writers, from which you choose the three best ones by popular vote. You have two votes. The best three win.

If you haven’t entered yet, and if you still want to play: Submission rules are here. Please try to stick to the rules, especially to the part where it says to simply send a note to editors, with “Becoming a TTAC Writer” as the topic. This helps sorting the applications into my proper mailbox. Creative topic writers are subjected to the hazards of spam filters and inattentive Editors. They also may receive a mark on my list, labeling them a potential pain in the neck that doesn’t listen to directions. (If you have already lost, and you are thinking of re-submitting: As long as you do it with a new email address, and using a new name, I probably won’t notice. But you will be stuck with that name forever!)

And now … drumroll, please

(As you can see, even the orchestra does not listen to directions anymore ..)

The TTAC Future Writers – Thursday Contestants

The rules of engagement, listed below, remain the same as yesterday. Keep in mind, the writing examples are presented here in the same order as they arrived in my mailbox. They are shown unedited, unproof-read, as-is. If no writing examples have been sent, despite the fact that they were requested, snippets from the emails were used instead.

 

Contestant 22 writes:

“My appreciation for the front bench seat started in the summer of 98’ with a chevy celebrity station wagon. A perfect example of late 80’s A-body goodness, it came with a blue velour-like bench seat that had seen generations of my family pile in three wide for the annual christmas road trip. You could count the number of years this bench seat endured by the number of french fries and other fast food items crammed between the seat cushions like rings on a tree.”

 

Contestant 23 writes:

“Sometimes the demographic stereotypes for particular car buyers exist for a reason. Being a current legal student that first graduated from that big Colorado university in the People’s Republic of Boulder and will almost certainly become the basic “yuppie”, Subarus have held some appeal to me. The idea of a rugged, capable, different family sedan has piqued my interest for awhile; I nearly purchased a used Subaru several years back, settling on a Volvo when I decided that the comfortable box would be a far greater companion on cross-country drives than the quirky, boxer-engined Subie.”

 

Contestant 24 writes:

It was going to be one of those nights, and I knew it. The roommates were all going to a get together and wanted me to join in, for some odd reason. Parties are really not my gig, especially a party where I am the old one at Thirty Nine and the rest of the participants are under twenty six. But I said yes for some reason that still eludes me to this day, especially since we were going to take the roommates car. Now most folks know I am a touch of a car snob, yes I drive a Peugeot that should be getting a pension and I have a odd taste in cars as a general rule of thumb. But let me tell you about my experience with ’the box’.”

Contestant 25 writes:

“This particular RX-7 has 67,000 original miles and remains today exactly as it was when it rolled out of the factory in Hiroshima, Japan, in May of 1983. It was very nicely equipped for the day. High quality velour covered the center of the immensely comfortable bucket seats. There is a sunroof that pops open for ventilation and that you can step out of the car and manually remove entirely to stow in the cargo area for the full open air feel. That is right kids, no electric adjustment for this roof!”

Contestant 26 writes:

“The Desingo edition lets you pic your own personalized color combo for your new Mercedes. This doesn’t come free and it can take some time to get your special ordered ride to your door, but the results are nothing short of stunning. The grade of leather used in the Designo process tops the already high quality hides used in production line cars and a wide array of materials are available to complement the hand-stitched cockpit. Curly Maple, Olive, Bamboo woods, and glossy, deep black piano lacquer and natural stone trim elements are on the menu. Our CL 63 Designo had the $2300 Mystic Brown paint and $8900 Saffron Beige leather upholstery, a heated wood and premium leather steering wheel, the Alcantra roof liner and the Desingo exclusive metallic threaded carpeting options.”

Contestant 27 writes:

 “I had considered a GC in 2008 when I bought my Mini, but the exterior styling didn’t appeal to me. I began seeing the 2011 GC’s on the road and liked the refreshed styling, which is a result of their time with Daimler. I like the masculine sculpted sides, and the clean design of the front and rear. Is every SUV destined to have a chrome strip across the back? In any event I like the look, although the rear taillights could have been LED based instead of the bulbs. Maybe the new 2014 model will make the switch.”

Contestant 28 writes:

Upon disovering my GPS was stolen, after stupidly leaving my car unlocked and unattended in urban Amsterdam for 3 days, we came to the realization that we had to depend on following Kozan in his rental 128i to get us to the Nurburgring. The drive out of the Netherlands to Germany was uneventful and fast. I was amazed that my little Swedish hatch felt so solid, at triple digit speeds, for miles and miles on the Authobahn.As we neared our destination, I was astonished this was finally happening. It was the little things that made it surreal. Everything from the little racecars emblazoned on the road sign for Nurburg to the excitement of seeing euro only cars like the Focus RS500 made me realize this was finally happening.”


R.O.E.

Above are today’s contestants. Pick them carefully. The top ones will be around for a long time. Here are the Rules of Engagement:

  • You are presented with a set of seven writing examples. Their authors haven been carefully anonymized. They have a number instead.
  • The top three out of each set of seven receive an entry permit into the rarefied world of TTAC writers. Those who don’t make the grade and who fail in front of our jury will be sold into white slavery, or worse, recommended for the morning shift at Jalopnik. (Inciting voter apathy could mean that all contestants are sold off, we want and keep the winners.)
  • The snippets come in the exact order they landed in my mailbox.
  • The snippets have been chosen by me, in a very subjective way: By looking quickly at the story, and by picking what stands out.
  • You have two votes for each day. Both votes have equal weight. You may not vote more than once per day and set of contestants. Don’t throw away your votes!
  • The vote for each set runs until the second set appears. That’s typically for around 24 hours. Vote now, do not procrastinate. Voting for the last set stops when I say so, also typically 24 hours after the last set goes up.

 

And now, let’s go to the polls!

(No hanging chads. Don’t mail or phone it in. Read snippets before voting. Vote now.)

Remember: You have TWO votes. Place your bets.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

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TTAC Future Writers Week: Tuesday Ends With Gong. Wednesday Round Begins Now http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/ttac-future-writers-week-tuesday-ends-with-gong-wednesday-round-begins-now/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/ttac-future-writers-week-tuesday-ends-with-gong-wednesday-round-begins-now/#comments Wed, 23 Jan 2013 10:52:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=474879

The Tuesday round of TTAC’s Future Writers Week ends with no new writers selected. That round definitely did not trigger mass excitement among our judges. Some even wanted to be able to assign demerits. Contestants 13 and 14 were the only halfway real entries in what otherwise was email snippets and proposals nobody wanted. Getting the most votes (from a definitely apathetic panel of judges) while running virtually unopposed does not constitute a win.

Let’s see whether a fresh batch of contestants can do better today. Again, everything is strictly in the order of incoming applications. Unedited, un-proof-read, as is. If there was no clear writing sample, something from the email was taken. Sorry …

 

The TTAC Future Writers – Wednesday Contestants

The rules of engagement, listed below, remain the same as yesterday.

Contestant 15 writes:

My reaction to the new Vette is mixed. In general the proportions are fine but the detail design is underwhelming. The charcoal grills on the hood and haunches as well as the entire 1968 Toyota treatment of the rear end leaves me wanting (and scratching). The lack of a body colored A pillar is just plain goofy on any level.”

 

Contestant 16 writes:

 “Despite living in California for nearly eight years now, and recently becoming a citizen of these United States, I still consider myself to be an Englishman. To be English in America is a generally pleasant experience – no man will ever get tired of pretty girls telling him how cute his accent is – but it is also a life full of little differences which remind you every day that this is not your home, even though it is where you live.”

 

Contestant 17 writes:

 “So what is the ideal  inventory level, measured as days of inventory?  This is a more complex question, as it really depends on the manufacturer’s and the dealers’ business models and goals.  Assuming the North American model of car sales, the goal is to keep just enough cars on the dealers’ lots to allow a potential customer to find the one he or she wants to drive home, right now.  Too few cars, and you will lose customers because they can’t find the cars they want; too many, and the costs inventory financing and rebates will start to mount, and the dealers will begin to complain about too many cars on their lots.”


Contestant 18 writes:

“The majority of facilities currently manage supply prices through an item-master system and bill for those supplies through a separate charge-master system. Although the supply cost data needs to be communicated between the two disparate systems, they are not linked. Accordingly, manual processes must be performed to maintain the integrity of the data which can cause discrepancies in pricing resulting from missed charges, undercharges and overcharges.”

 

Contestant 19 writes:

“First, we must answer the question, ”What is a beater?” I suppose that is open to many definitions. If you have just plunked down $40,000 for a 1999 C70 Convertible, a $5000 740 might strike you as a beater. But my definition is simpler: a beater is a car purchased for a three-digit figure (or less! A recently acquired ’77 244DL cost $45!). It’s simple. $999 or less should easily get you a perfectly serviceable 240. Remember that a new-car buyer barely gets a decent down payment for that amount. Personally, I have owned eight 240 series cars, and have never paid more than $750.”

 

Contestant 20 writes:

“Growing up, my father and I bonded over trips to the pick-a-part in Atlanta or carburetor rebuilds in our kitchen, usually all for his 1984 F100 pick-up. For a while, I thought my Dad was simply an eccentric that liked his old truck for some reason, and never wanted to buy a new car. However, I would eventually get the bug. My freshman year in high school, my Dad was driving me to school, and he pointed out a 1965 Mustang. I only knew enough to say that the car was pretty and old, but my father launched into the story about how the Mustang was based on the Falcon, largely just with a different body. It was then that I realized that every car on the road has a story, and from there, I started reading everything about cars I could.”

 

Contestant 21 writes:

“I wrote the monthly car column for xxxxxxx (yes, we did one) for five years, until it was recently discontinued because every print magazine is now really, really tiny. I’m still on staff there, and ghostwriting for famous people in magazines and books pays my bills. But I would prefer to continue to write about cars under my own name. I’ve been a professional writer for more than 20 years, and I grew up in the industrial midwest working in my dad’s tool and die shop.”

R.O.E.

Above are today’s contestants. Pick them carefully. The top ones will be around for a long time. Here are the Rules of Engagement:

  • You are presented with a set of seven writing examples. Their authors haven been carefully anonymized. They have a number instead.
  • The top three out of each set of seven receive an entry permit into the rarefied world of TTAC writers. Those who don’t make the grade and who fail in front of our jury will be sold into white slavery, or worse, recommended for the morning shift at Jalopnik. (Inciting voter apathy could mean that all contestants are sold off, we want and keep the winners.)
  • The snippets come in the exact order they landed in my mailbox.
  • The snippets have been chosen by me, in a very subjective way: By looking quickly at the story, and by picking what stands out.
  • You have two votes for each day. Both votes have equal weight. You may not vote more than once per day and set of contestants. Don’t throw away your votes!
  • The vote for each set runs until the second set appears. That’s typically for around 24 hours. Vote now, do not procrastinate. Voting for the last set stops when I say so, also typically 24 hours after the last set goes up.

 

And now, let’s go to the polls! 

(No hanging chads. Don’t mail or phone it in. Read snippets before voting. Vote now.)

You have TWO votes. Place your bets.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

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