QOTD: Clearing Up The Reader's Ride Confusion, Making Them Better?

(Clip contains NSFW language)

Due to the not-quite-globally-distributed nature of TTAC’s leadership, we inadvertently gave you guys a bit of a confusing situation this week.

We’ve had a “Reader Review” by Rich Murdocco, discussing his car, and a couple of “Reader Ride Reviews” by Bark M. and Jack B., in which the cars of TTAC readers are reviewed.

I think it’s reasonable for the readers to have different expectations of these two different types of car reviews. So, the question(s) of the day:

0. What terminology should we use to distinguish between TTAC editors reviewing reader-owned cars and readers reviewing their own cars?

1. What expectations do you have for our staff reviews of reader-owned cars? Do we need to describe the car from the ground up like we would with a “First Drive”?

2. What about the reader-contributed reviews? Should we continue with them? Are they interesting or credible from your perspective as a reader?

Thanks for considering the issues and keeping us on our toes! — JB

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5 of 64 comments
  • Victor Victor on Jun 09, 2014

    As for Reader Reviews, yes I've driven maybe six or seven different options before zeroing on my Citroen, but what the hell do I know? I don't think I can say anything useful about my car's handling or how it really stacks up against its competitors. I can tell you I like the glass roof and that it fits two tables, six chairs and BBQ gear, meat and beverages enough to feed 20 people. I've owned five different cars, that's not a useful base of knowledge. And they all sucked, anyway. Maybe the Bnb is filled with wiser and cleverer guys than me. It probably is, but I do not see how useful or accurate a reader review can be. So, I wouldn't mind having them, but I believe they belong in the forum. It even serves the porpuose of sharing useful information about reliability and maintenance. As for Reader Rides Review, frankly these sound better than sampling press fleet cars. I've always been highly suspicious of them.

  • GiddyHitch GiddyHitch on Jun 09, 2014

    Bias Ply = readers reviewing their own rides TTAYC = TTAC reviewing readers' rides

  • Dingleberrypiez_Returns Dingleberrypiez_Returns on Jun 09, 2014

    The reader "reviews" are rarely reviews at all- they just speak to a single person's experience with that car, as it fits into their particular life. Sometimes there are interesting things to glean from them- for instance, how the car buying experience is better at a particular dealership than another, or some entertaining story about how someone was turned off to a particular brand. These stories are completely anecdotal and hardly qualify as reviews. If you're going to call it a review, there has to be specific criteria that's being reviewed, and a comparison to alternatives or established thresholds (e.g. rating number) that gives it meaning. Otherwise you can just call it a reader "experience." Which is fine too if the article is well written, and has something interesting to tell. I don't think most people have enough experience with other vehicles to write an actual "review," and without a review template they tend to wander.

  • Land Ark Land Ark on Jun 09, 2014

    0. Use the owner's commenter screen name instead of their real name in the by-line and introduce them in the lead. 1. I personally have no expectations, and I think it should be taken on a car by car basis. If it's an all new car that TTAC hasn't written about yet, absolutely do a ground up review. If it's a refresh of an existing model then just mention major differences between the new and old. 2. I find them interesting, however I am of the opinion that anyone can submit a review of their car anytime they want in the already existing Reader's Rides forum. I could see encouraging that and if someone has a really good one it can be posted to the main page. This could also increase general interest in the forum which I admittedly should be more active in.