Housekeeping: The Untimely Death Of The TTAC Staff Robot

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
housekeeping the untimely death of the ttac staff robot

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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35 of 55 comments
  • Gmichaelj Gmichaelj on Feb 13, 2014

    Good. Glad you changed your mind on this.

  • Pch101 Pch101 on Feb 13, 2014

    I do think that you should reconsider this. It's not unusual for publications to attribute articles to "Staff." There's nothing controversial or unusual about doing that. The issue is when the writers violate the rules (and when the editors don't catch them.) If you don't have a style guide for the writers, then you should prepare one. One of the basics: If a quote for a source was obtained by another publication, then credit that other publication for obtaining the quote. (Not only does the other publication deserve the credit, but you also need to protect yourself in the event that it turns out that the source was misquoted.)

  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Feb 13, 2014

    The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that man may become robots. - Erich Fromm I only laughed at the bot when it screwed up. Personally I can't think of an entity called TTAC Staffbot or Zombie McQuestionbot without thinking of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

    • See 29 previous
    • Lie2me Lie2me on Feb 15, 2014

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

  • 86er 86er on Feb 13, 2014

    Good luck killing Zombie McQuestionbot.

    • Lie2me Lie2me on Feb 13, 2014

      Yeah, it really gets Vodka McBigbra ticked-off when someone tries to kill Zombie, they go WAY back