Skin It Back

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

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.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • 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.

  • Scott What people want is the Jetson Car sound.This has come up before.
  • Joerg I just bought a Corolla Cross Hybrid SE a few weeks ago, and I regret it. But not for any of the reasons stated so far. It drives well enough for me, gas mileage is great for a car like that, the interior is fine, nothing to complain about for normal daily use. I bought this relatively small SUV thinking it is basically just a smaller version of the RAV4 (the RAV4 felt too big for me, drives like a tank, so I never really considered it). I also considered the AWD Prius, but storage capacity is just too small (my dog would not fit in the small and low cargo space).But there are a few things that I consider critical for me, and that I thought would be a given for any SUV (and therefore did not do my due diligence before the purchase): It can’t use snow chains per the manual, nor any other snow traction devices. Even with AWD, snow chains are sometimes required where I go, or just needed to get out of a stuck situation.The roof rack capacity is only a miniscule 75 lbs, so I can’t really load my roof top box with stuff for bigger trips.Ironically, the European version allows snow chains and roof rack capacity is 165 lbs. Same for the US Prius version. What was Toyota thinking?Lastly, I don’t like that there is no spare tire, but I knew that before the purchase. But it is ridiculous that this space is just filled up with a block of foam. At least it should be made available for additional storage. In hindsight, I should have bought a RAV4. The basic LE Hybrid version would have been just about 1k more.
  • MaintenanceCosts Looks like the best combination of capability, interior comfort, and subtle appearance can be achieved by taking a Laramie (crew cab, short bed, 4x4 of course) and equipping it with the Sport Appearance, Towing Technology, and Level 2 packages as well as a few standalone options. That's my pick.Rebel is too CRUSH THAT CAN BRO and Limited and up are too cowboy Cadillac.
  • Xidex easier to buy a mustang that already sounds like that. love the coyote growl
  • Oberkanone Shaker motor on an EV. No thanks.