Skin It Back

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
skin it back

When we added a comments section to The Truth About Cars, I was determined that TTAC would not become what Jalopnik’s Mike Spinelli called “a picnic over a cesspool.” To that end, TTAC instituted a zero tolerance policy towards comments that flame/insult the website, its authors or fellow commentators. I’ve sent dozens of emails to offenders, explaining why their comment(s) were edited or deleted. I’ve also permanently banned seventeen subscribers from posting. I believe this policy has been a success. But I want to give you a chance to publicly vent your feelings on our editorial policies without fear of retribution. And here it is.

Given our “death/suicide watch” coverage, it’s no surprise that some readers continue to believe TTAC is biased against The Big Two Point Five. Some feel so strongly they consider us anti-American. First, I would remind these critics that the site contains both positive reviews of domestic product (Fusion, Navigator, GT500, Corvette, SSR, Outlook, etc.) and negative reviews of transplant vehicles (Tribeca, M5, Cayenne Turbo S, etc.). Second, criticizing American companies is not un-American— especially when you’re trying to alert these organizations to the dangers they face. If you beg to differ, well, differ away.

Meanwhile, anyone who wants to forward a more positive perspective on Detroit’s fortunes is invited to submit one or more 800-word editorials justifying their optimism. We’d also welcome any writer willing to chronicle the triumphs and tragedies of foreign or transplanted automakers (Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mercedes, BMW, etc.). In any case, rest assured that TTAC’s always open to editorials on any automotive subject, including opposing viewpoints. And, in our defense, our Detroit-centric coverage reflects limited resources rather than ambitions.

TTAC also stands accused of hypocrisy. Specifically, my editorial calling Bob Lutz an idiot had many wondering why I felt free to make such an undignified statement when they’re prohibited from making similar remarks about the site, its authors of other commentators. At the risk of making an invidious distinction, TTAC’s zero tolerance anti-flaming regs do NOT apply to the editorials themselves. Our essayists’ job: stimulate vigorous debate. If I/they must use hyperbole and deliberately provocative prose to achieve these goals, by God I/they will. If this double standard rankles, well, now’s the time to say so.

I’d also like to know if we’ve got our editorial mix right. Generally speaking, TTAC’s publishing a single piece per day, alternating between rants and reviews. I experimented for a bit, running my Jalopnik precasts in addition to the normal editorial posts. Would you like these audio features back again? What about QOTW (Question of the Week)? While we’re at it, should TTAC resurrect the “as read by” audio on the editorials and reviews? Do you want to see accompanying video, or are we best off sticking with writing?

Those are my concerns. But I don’t want to frame this debate. Let slip the dogs of war. Don’t hold back. Tell us what we’re doing wrong or, if you’re feeling charitable, what we’re doing right. No holds barred. No limits, save [a bit of] linguistic decency. And one more thing. Don’t think I get a thrill out of banning people from commenting here. As you might have guessed, I may not share these miscreants' opinions, but I share their passion, frustration and anger. Clearly, they don’t understand or appreciate the boundaries of civilized discourse. But it's equally obvious that they have strong beliefs. For that, and nothing else, I admire them.

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2 of 160 comments
  • Vjtx Vjtx on Jan 16, 2007

    I value the moderated comments. When civility is maintained, everyone can participate. No bullies, no shouting down reasoned opinions. If you have to wreck someone else-then your point is too weak.

  • 86er 86er on Feb 14, 2007

    I thought despite the age of this thread to insert my comments here lest they be too uncharitable to the publisher and columnists: Sometimes when I read this site it feels like I'm reading commentary from another planet. Not that differing viewpoints are a bad thing, but I think this site needs a little more depth. What I mean by this is that, especially with respect to the DW/SW series, it's really all a matter of perspective. I live in Regina, Saskatchewan, and perhaps the market will get to where it is in California someday, but as of this moment domestics are still very popular, in Canada as a whole and on the prairies in particular. Chalk it up to rural yokel ignorance if you must, but where I was raised the "Big 2.5" are not on life support. This site tries to review trucks but I always come away from reading the reviews with a bad taste of condescension. There's poseur truck buyers here just like there is everywhere, but in farm/industrial settings like mine these trucks aren't just being sold to the village people, they're being sold to people who need these units for work. While I'm certainly aware that many of TTAC's columnists hail from Texas, aka The Centre of the Universe for Trucks, I still don't feel like my worldview is being represented here. While I like the site and read almost every article, I still feel like something's lacking.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂