By on July 1, 2015

microphone

On average, TTAC runs 12 stories a day consisting of features, reviews and news. On average, virtually none of those are about TTAC.

Let’s change that.

It’s not goodbye
As most of our loyal readers have noticed, Cameron has left the news position. However, this is not the end of Cameron’s tenure at TTAC.

In her heartfelt letter to our readers yesterday, Cameron outlined the main stumbling block with having her take the reins in the news editor position: her lack of a driver’s license.

“But, how does a driver’s license have anything to do with news?” you may ask. It’s simple, really. The news editor is now also responsible for reviews and we may send that person on a trip here and there. Being able to drive is essential to the new role.

Cameron will be back, hopefully sooner rather than later, as she details getting her license as an adult. After this, hopefully she will become a regular fixture at TTAC once again, but that’s more so in her hands than mine.

If there’s one thing I can say about Cameron, though, it’s that she is probably the hardest working writer … scratch that … hardest working person I’ve ever met. Period. I’ve never seen anyone churn out the sheer volume of copy she does while still keeping the quality of said copy as high as virtually everyone else who writes for TTAC.

And truth be told, I completely stopped editing her pieces after a while. Instead, I would just enjoy them like you all did – as news and a break from the daily grind of work.

Say hello to newsbot v2.43.1 Aaron Cole
Denver, Colorado resident Aaron Cole will be taking the reins of the freshly assembled Ikea news desk.

Aaron brings with him 12 years of journalism experience with 5 of those in the automotive world. His responsibilities will include news, op-eds and reviews. He will also help me not make a fool out of myself by editing my pieces before the B&B rip them apart. While I’m on the road, Aaron will act as managing editor.

Please say hello to Aaron. I promise he’s not a robot.

TTAC is growing and we need to keep it that way
Things are looking up for TTAC. Over the last month or so, TTAC readership has increased. If TTAC were an automaker, we would publish a release today about all the gains, breaking it down by article type and opening up our production numbers for interpretation. Instead, I will tell you one very simple, small bit of information that will explain the decisions made above.

Regurgitated news is dead.

TTAC and others crank out copy based on press releases from automakers and other companies involved in the industry. The majority of us automotive journalists start our careers this way as stringers. We do it cheaply too, so as to get a byline and point to it as proof of prior work. Think of it as a character-building exercise.

Unfortunately, it’s this content that also rarely resonates with readers. Only one out of 20 or 30 news pieces garners the same attention as an average feature piece. As a response to that, TTAC will be digging deeper going forward.

Our goal will be to provide a perspective in every story that isn’t offered anywhere else. Unless it’s a breaking news item of significant importance or a piece of information that would be dangerous if omitted, we won’t cover it unless there’s a story to be told. The days of simply copying information from a press release or deriving a story from another article solely so we have another headline will eventually come to an end. They will be replaced by long(er)-form news features.

Obviously, this isn’t a change that’s going to happen overnight. Sit tight, relax, and continue to enjoy the TTAC you know tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.

Now it’s your turn
The mic is now all yours. Please feel free to sound off in the comments. Aaron and I will attempt to reply to each and every one. Also, don’t limit yourselves to the topics above. Everything is on the table today.

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344 Comments on “TTAC Open Forum: Let’s Talk about the Elephant in the Room (and Everything Else)...”


  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I look forward to more in depth articles.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Now we take you to the TTAC Newsroom with Morbo the Annihilator and Linda van Schoonhoven…

    Can’t wait to see this in depth content.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Covering the news is both fine and necessary. And in the auto media, that means rewriting press releases. (There aren’t many scoops — if you want to know about products and specs, then that info is going to come most consistently and reliably from the OEMs.)

    The main thing is that you should be opinionated about it. (For my sake, an informed opinion would be preferable, but that isn’t strictly necessary.)

    So go ahead and rewrite the press release, but append to it with other information that you may have and lob in your two cents about what you think about it. And no, you don’t have to hate it for the sake of hating it — be candid and provide the pros and cons as you see them.

    • 0 avatar

      This is exactly where TTAC needs to go – more insightful news stories with opinion. We don’t necessarily need to be first, but we will have the full story and you’ll know exactly where we stand on the matter.

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        “This is exactly where TTAC needs to go – more insightful news stories with opinion. We don’t necessarily need to be first, but we will have the full story and you’ll know exactly where we stand on the matter.”

        This is what TTAC used to be in the old Farago and even Schmidt days. This just repeating of news (and maybe adding uninformed opinion) we’ve seen over the last months or even years is not what TTAC is for. I can get repeated news and uninformed opinions anywhere. I even avoided most of Derek’s and Cameron’s articles as they didn’t add any information.

        Give us 3 good articles a day instead of 12 reprints of USAToday….

        • 0 avatar
          jimbob457

          Couple of thoughts about rewriting press releases.

          1.Tend to make them shorter, if you can.

          2.Use a separate paragraph to offer a comment, or if you don’t know enough about the subject to do that, think of some questions. Ask them and invite readers’ comments.

          The big advantage of blogging is the easy reader response.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “even Schmidt days”

          Say what you will about Bertel, his work during Pedalgate was exemplary. That kind of journalism would be good to see more of; the recent investigation of the “cheap prox-card remote hack” was a welcome return to this.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        As a personal preference, separating opinion-editorials and news more explicitly would be a nice start. Robert Farago was generally pretty good about this*; Bertel Schmitt somewhat less so, and Ed Niedermeyer not at all.

        One of the reasons I started following TTAC was the relatively clear delineation of news and editorial content. I don’t mind bias—everyone has bias—but when it’s presented as legitimate news it cheapens the site. I quit reading Autoblog, for example, because it would regularly post highly editorialized content couched as news.

        While we’re at it, the clickbait (or at least clickbait-as-news) could be toned down a little. I know it exists for a reason and it’s occasionally fun, but when combined it with editorializing it gets hard to take. I don’t mind having my opinion challenged, but I can’t say I like being baited.

        * and I say this as someone who does not agree with Mr. Farago’s politics. At all.

  • avatar
    goacom

    News is a commodity. I can get it from sites like autonews.com earlier and in a much more detailed manner than what was being offered here. Original opinion, insight, pontification and humor is where the differentiation comes in.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    As much as Mr. Schmitt’s personal junk seemed to make it front and center and having to carefully scroll at work, his industry insight was very interesting to an outsider like me. Much of what brought me to TTAC was getting a professional look at the car companies’ inner workings and not just enthusiast woo hooning whatever miata clickbait.

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    Can you Millenials get any more narcissistic? What? Couldn’t stand the readership not hearing about you and your internal drama?

    How about writing about cars? Precious little of that here.

  • avatar
    319583076

    More reviews. TTAC has several unique and interesting perspectives on all cars from mild to wild. More reviews would be appreciated.

    More Steve Lang and industry insider stuff. Anything about the business of buying and selling cars is interesting. Insider stories about production, design, even the business of marketing and planning would be appreciated.

    More technical articles. We had several in-depth looks at transmissions. There was a series of articles on suspension design, engineering, and production. More tech would be appreciated.

    Now, for the elephant in the room. I like most of the Baruth insight on autos (both Jack and Mark), I dislike all of the rest. Check your egos at the doors, fellas, and just give us the goods on the cars. That would be appreciated.

    That’s my opinion, your mileage my vary.

    • 0 avatar

      As resources allow, there will be more reviews.

      Steve Lang is back. Hopefully he will become more than a once-a-week contributor.

      Technical articles. The verdict is out on that for now.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        what does “the verdict is out” mean?

        I know Steve is back, others in that vein would be great.

        And, of course, keep Sajeev’s and Murilee’s stuff coming – I read every one of their posts.

        And, finally, thanks for your response!

        • 0 avatar

          I haven’t looked to see how in-depth technical articles have done in the past and I have no idea how much they’ve cost us to produce. For now, they are pretty low on my priority list. I am not going to lie to you and say otherwise.

          • 0 avatar
            GiddyHitch

            Bummer, I definitely enjoyed the transmission articles (Power Transfer or something) as they were very readable but densely packed with technical details of the most complex assembly in a typical automobile. The suspension articles were less enticing and I believe contained a number of errors. Would have loved to see some articles on the complexities of sheet metal stamping (and its impact on a car’s form from concept to production), proactive safety features, lighting technologies, engine technologies, hydroforming, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            The saturation dive articles on transmissions are exactly what I want to see.

            E.g., I don’t want to see retreads on what manufacturers claim about their product–I want real analysis by experts identifying what claims are true & which are bogus. Why don’t Ecoboost engines live up to the claims? What really causes failures (and what exactly is a “failure” nowadays) in modern cars?

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          And I am also remiss, now that you mention him, in not praising Murilee’s writing, also.

          I thought of others off the top of my head here earlier, but Murilee as well as Ronnie fell through the cracks (in my skull) earlier.

      • 0 avatar
        rcx141

        Steve Lang is very interesting to read. Probably my favorite after Jack.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          I read as much for the business soap opera as I do for the cars.

          I tell everyone that following the auto industry is what I do instead of watch sports.

          I really enjoy the industry insider perspective.

          I can read about smoking tires anywhere, and that’s of limited interest because you can just buy a 707HP car if you’re willing to make enough lifestyle tradeoffs to do it… Meh.

          Figuring out the right tool for the right job is what gets me excited on the car side of the house.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        Tech articles. Don’t try to turn this into a database on how to fix everything on everything. But some articles having some insight into common failure modes, slick workarounds for otherwise difficult repairs, etc., would be really nice.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      My mileage does vary…I not only like Jack’s direct automotive factual stuff, I like his meanderings and observations on life as well. Bark too, though to a lesser extent. He seems like the younger brother who would be fine in his own right, but has the misfortune of being a few years behind an older brother who is way over the top good. A tough act to follow. Still, I like Bark’s work also…it’s just that I find myself wishing he was another Jack, which is totally unfair.

      But there are enough electrons in the universe (and in the TTAC budget) to allow for both the “just the facts, ma’am” about cars, AND the varied wanderings of the brothers Baruth (or would that be the brothers [BM]aruth?

      And more Sajeev too. He iKs like a spiritual connection to the idea of a copnnection with the ordinary reader that makes Click & Clack also special.

      Steve Lang…fascinating glimpses into the business of moving used cars. Needs a proofreader, though. But overall, good. Maybe more than good.

      Keep Cameron. Keep Ward. Keep some of the others…I won’t try to surgically define who…let others do the slicing and dicing.

      But also bring in some fresh material and writers.

      Thanks.

      YMMV, too.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      The brothers Baruth are what makes much of the content of TTAC interesting and with personal takes, items relevant to the process of acquiring the hard data they report, etc.

      If you don’t like it you don’t have to click on it.

      It’s not as if their work is ubiquitous, and concealed as something it is not, in order to trick you into clicking.

      Were theirs the only content on TTAC, your comment might have some merit. But as a comment on their work, based on your own personal dislike of their adding personal observations to their work, you really don’t have any rational basis for complaining.

      Though I see you at least allow for the fact that their writing may be of interest to others, as evidenced by your YMMV comment.

      But I can’t help but feeling that you would be the type of person who would take Hemingway to task for not sticking more to information about the boat, the tackle and bait used, the dates and times, and so forth, in the writing of The Old Man and the Sea.

      Not everyone can spin a tale like the brothers B., let them spin, and either take it or leave it. It is not the be-all and end-all of TTAC…it is just another place to stop along the way.

      And I doubt that there are very many of us who have time to absorb all that appears here anyway.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    More Sajeev…. and his bizarro world sidekick, Sanjeev. Plus, I always enjoy hearing from an adult occasionally, so turn Ronnie loose, or free him from his regular duties more often. Plus, I wouldn’t mind a dash of that thoroughly insane Farago guy. You know – where are they now? But check to be certain he is adhering to his medication schedule.

    • 0 avatar

      My God, I must really be getting old. Someone described me as an adult. I think that’s the first time that’s ever happened.

    • 0 avatar

      Hah. Sajeev is a busy guy. He’s got a big boy job during the day.

      Ronnie can submit whatever he wants.

      I think Farago is too busy writing about shooting implements to care about cars these days.

      • 0 avatar

        Just to amplify Mark’s comment, I generally write about whatever strikes my fancy. Everything that I’ve submitted since he’s been in charge has been published, with minimal editing.

        We sometimes discuss ongoing stories that I’ve been covering, like Elio, but mostly Mark leaves me to my own devices.

        While I still like to comment on topical matters, vintage cars and history seems to be something that I’m good at, so that’s still going to be the bulk of my content here.

        It’s fun to go to a car show and discover something that you know will be of interest to others. For example, last weekend the Sloan Auto Fair in Flint featured “Canadian Muscle cars”. Not only were there some great oddball Acadians and Beaumonts (including the second of seven existing ’68 SD396 Beaumont convertibles that I’ve been able to photograph) but a Canadian collector also brought his Australian Chrysler Charger.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Since I’m severe ADD (early onset dementia?), I’ve been re-reading the GM/Ford/Chrysler Death Watch series from the beginning. What magnificent writing by a number of contributors, but especially Farago and Paul Neidermeyer. I’d love to see a reach out to them for perspective 6 years after the meltdown…

        Fewer Canadians because the extra vowels throw me off and that metric bullshit….

        Happy Canada Day! I was at the doctor today and I noticed the distinct Canuck ‘twang’, so I ventured a guess and wished her a Happy Canada Day and she just lit up…beautiful country. Visiting Hamilton in about 2 weeks….

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        I have read a couple articles at TTAG. He may be OK but the other article I read is from a different author and it is complete trash click bait full of such BS and misinformation I never went back. If he ran this place the same way I would have never been a daily reader.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        I have read a couple articles at TTAG. He may be OK but the other article I read is from a different author and it is complete trash click bait full of such BS and misinformation I never went back. I wasn’t here when he ran the place but if he ran this place the same way I would have never been a daily reader and wouldn’t be here today.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      +1 to more Sajeev. He’s always entertaining.
      +1 to more Ronnie, his perspective is interesting, and I’ve come around to his old man ways of seeing things.

    • 0 avatar

      Farago has been running thetruthaboutguns.com since soon after he left TTAC. I really like him as a journalist (despite disagreeing with him considerably on politics), but I’m just not interested in guns (although I made one contribution to that website–here in case anyone is curious

      http://thetruthaboutguns.com/2011/02/david-holzman/toy-gun-bash-story/

  • avatar
    rcx141

    You can get generic press releases anywhere. I read this site mostly for Jack Baruth, the David Coverdale of journalism.

    • 0 avatar

      There are many reasons to come here and Jack is certainly one of those reasons.

      • 0 avatar
        rcx141

        Some people enjoy bland food and middle of the road entertainment and that’s great. As for me, I prefer muscle cars, heavy rock, curry, hard liquor, and JB !

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        More rental car, loaner car and whatever car reviews that Jack Baruth got the ball rolling on – it’s my favorite, single thing about TTAC.

        I DESPISE buff reviews of new cars provided by manufacturers where any person with common sense knows the reviewer is not in a million years be completely honest and upfront about the warts & problems with the vehicle and its price due to fear of being blacklisted in the future (the capture of “auto journalists/reviewers” by manufacturers is truly sickening).

        Also, a feature whereby vehicles that cost 1/2 to 2/3 of same segment competitors, and are overall better than the costlier model, would be great (I’ve experienced such vehicles more often than many would believe, or have experienced themselves).

  • avatar
    JMII

    I don’t mind the regurgitated news as long as it is in a quick links / run down format with a few extra comments. Those posts save me from visiting 10 other sites in attempt to stay caught up.

    More tech, or repair type articles would be welcome. The insider stuff about the industry is always great (sales, service or tech related). I’d like to read more auto racing stuff but it appears the crowd here just isn’t that into it because the few articles that do appear don’t gain traction (sorry bad pun).

    Also despite people ripping his rehashed topics I LOVE Doug’s writing style. A funny take on a old topic isn’t a terrible way to generate comments.

    Enjoying the readers reviews. I assume it takes more effort to edit those into readable material but its worth it.

    What needs to go / stuff I can live without: 4 posts in a row about the Giulia. I understand its the first new Alfa in years but couldn’t the original story just be updated as new info comes in? Did we really need a new post just because another pic or vid went up?!? This always happens when a big story breaks – first there is the “OMG tomorrow we learn about X” tease post which is worthless really, then we get the some information which is nothing more then PR junk / marketing spin, then another post that wraps up what we learned between post #1 & #2… and finally one extra post explaining why car X is awesome / terrible which turns out to be nothing more then an organized collection of the B&B’s comments from post #3.

    Overall I give the site a B+ or 4 out of 5 lug nuts… I check in multiple times a day :) I know everyone is doing their best and it shows!

    • 0 avatar

      A lot of posts on a related topic posted in succession might be a pain to commenters, but it’s valuable for people who don’t comment.

      Giulia was a little bit of a mess because we posted the leaked shots at the same time the official photos were published by FCA. Then there was the video right after. It caused some headaches for commenters and myself trying to keep up with it all.

      However, for people who don’t comment and aren’t going to be refreshing the same headline over and over, it makes sense. Also, for those who follow us on RSS or another mechanism other than coming directly to TTAC throughout the day, they can see updates as new headlines are posted.

      I wish there was a better solution for this with our CMS (like pushing another headline with the same URL), but I haven’t seen or used it yet.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I think in limiting the “press release” coverage, keep in mind you still want TTAC to be -the- source for auto news which readers use. I don’t like it when I see something big on MSN, and it’s not covered here at all.

        Don’t wanna have to read auto news other places, only here.

    • 0 avatar
      j3studio

      I think the auto racing articles don’t do very well because they don’t have much differentiating detail. For example, this year’s Le Mans article seemed … spare, especially to someone who (God help me) watched about sixteen hours of the coverage.

    • 0 avatar
      cpthaddock

      One of the best posts here was Doug’s take on an show shortly before he joined “the disappeared”.

      I have enjoyed Doug over the years and believe that humor has an important role to play when it’s used with skill. It does seem that his success at “the other site” comes pretty easy and he’s not putting in the same effort any more, which is a shame. Doug should take the roasting he gets here from time to time as motivation to get his groove back.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    I think Ronnie should be assigned to more car reviews and allowed less Men’s Health cant.

    Bringing back Alex was wonderful.

    • 0 avatar

      My reviews are dependent on getting cars from the press fleets. I get about a half dozen a year.

      “Men’s Health cant”?

      I’m way too old to be either a MRA or PUA. I hang out a lot more at Stacy McCain’s place than Heartiste.

      I’m also the guy who has written a bit about pioneering women in the auto industry:

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/dorothy-levitt-the-woman-and-the-motor-car/

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/before-mary-barra-helen-deroy-philanthropist-and-pioneering-automotive-businesswoman/

      Interestingly, both of those posts each got only three comments.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Need more reviews and less filler. Not all of them have to be the long in-depth ones either. The Capsule Reviews and Reader’s Rides or whatever they are called are great and more of them would be appreciated. Also would not mind seeing more older/used car reviews.

    • 0 avatar

      More reviews are part of the plan. The number of reader reviews we publish is wholly dependent on what we have available.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Sad face.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I have a comment to this point.

        It seems to me there isn’t good follow-up from the TTAC contribution/editors on a few things.

        -Results of a question. Derek asked once “What vehicle is this with the switch panel backwards at the Detroit show?” We commented and answered, and I don’t think I ever saw an article posted with the answer.

        -Bball man contributed an MKC Rental Review a long time ago, yet still we don’t see it. Then he sent it to you (Mark) again! Months!

        -Both Jack and Derek were to do a Rental Review of the same model car, to see two perspectives. We didn’t get to see that, though it was promised.

        I’m not sure if it’s continuity problems or what, but the people who are here regularly notice this.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I don’t mind filler, so long as there is commentary, particularly calling out corporate BS in press releases.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    I, along with Julian and Ricky, would like to wish a Happy Canada Day to Mark Stevenson, Brendan McAleer, Tim Cain and other Canadians!

    And also would like to welcome Aaron Cole.

  • avatar
    Czilla9000

    Moar car reviews please.

    I’ve noticed in the past couple years there have has been a dearth of reviews of new vehicles. TTAC used to be brimming with new car reviews.

  • avatar
    probert

    I would like more reviews of French cars of every vintage, because the idea of an entire industry based around the most comfortable way to move a lazyboy from one location to the other is fascinating.

    Frequent mention of the Gordon Keeble would be nice -just because, along with the Gumpert Apollo, it’s the finest name a car has ever been given.

    Along those lines – Reviews of cars with names like The Geely Beauty Leopard would be much appreciated. They might be inspirational enough to snap me out of my chronic depression, and minimize early morning drinking.

    I know this is a lot to contemplate but , as they say, thank you for your time.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Japan is the fount of all automotive progress and we ain’t got Bertel no more. Sad face.

    • 0 avatar

      I am sure we could find someone in Japan.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Bertel wasn’t objective, and on some things he was just flat out wrong (as a long time reader I remember the month after month prediction of the Chinese auto market collapse and the death of GM with it).

      In the end he brought on his own demise here at TTAC, and hurt his credibility with public pen!$ swinging matches in a very public setting, and childish stories like the Troll Poll.

      Shame – he is a smart guy – but there is apparently some issues there that are barriers to him playing nice with others.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    If you’re going to become more opinionated about the articles that appear here, please keep said opinion measured and thoughtful. I do not wish to come to this site if all I’m going to see are glib, off-hand remarks.
    Example of a fictitious headline and response:
    “Chevrolet has decided the name for the upcoming Bolt, will remain the Bolt.” Opinion: “What a bunch of Boobs!” (the idiot variety, not the female anatomy variety). Why? “Because it’s GM!”
    Besides, glib, off-hand remarks is why we have the B&B ;-)

  • avatar
    david42

    Thank you. News is unnecessary here; we need analysis & perspective. Take a day, take a week, take a month… as long as you produce something insightful, I’ll keep clicking.

    Also, please federalize and import a Citroen C6 for me.

  • avatar
    srh

    “I’ve never seen anyone churn out the sheer volume of copy she does while still keeping the quality of *said* copy as high as virtually everyone else who writes for TTAC.”

    I see what you did there…

    Personally, I have found the flood of context-less news pieces on TTAC to be disappointing. I’m relatively new here (a few years maybe?) but in the last few months my TTAC RSS feed has seen a decreasing number of clicks. I’m glad to hear that the numbers are up, but in my opinion the content has been on a downward slide. I’m very pleased to hear that is going to change.

    JB’s articles almost always get the nod, as do interesting car reviews. Opinionated pieces are great, so long as they’re written by someone whose opinion is valuable (see JB).

    Maybe it’s time to seek out some new contributors to supplement the 3 or 4 dependable ones?

    • 0 avatar

      “Personally, I have found the flood of context-less news pieces on TTAC to be disappointing.”

      That’s one of the reasons for the change.

      “Maybe it’s time to seek out some new contributors to supplement the 3 or 4 dependable ones?”

      Bringing in additional contributors on top of who we have right now probably isn’t in the cards. That may change later.

  • avatar
    notferris

    In my humble opinion it would be truly refreshing to see a return of real professional automotive journalism.
    What do I mean by that?
    For reporting:
    1) Objectivity (this seems to be extraordinarily rare these days)
    2) Research (I mean real research not 15 minutes spent on google)
    3) A clear defining line between opinion and fact

    For reviews:
    1) Objectivity (far too much bias in reviews these days)
    2) No cherry picking when comparing models (as in comparing models on the sum of their parts rather than individual attributes)
    3) Transparency with clearly defined metrics that have known benchmarks (for each segment and sub-segment)
    4) Instrumented testing (a prerequisite for objective reviews)

    I’m certain I must be in the minority here but I find the Jeremy Clarkson style of auto reviews to be worthless garbage. Yes, they are amusing to read but utterly devoid of meaningful information for readers to make purchasing decisions (and isn’t that the purpose of a review?). BTW, in my opinion Consumer Reports is NOT objective either.

    I find that too many auto journalists have lost the capacity to review vehicles objectively based on the segment they compete in while understanding the priorities of the purchasing demographic.
    As an example, here is a competing websites review of a much derided vehicle:
    http://jalopnik.com/2014-mitsubishi-mirage-the-jalopnik-review-1472224538

    Note that at the end the reviewer still rates it only a 5 out of 10. However, the author is skillfully objective in his write-up. This, in my humble opinion, represents a truly professional review. Shockingly it is also entertaining to read.

    Finally, too many auto sites seem to be intent to cater mostly to car enthusiasts… I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but since enthusiasts make up a minority of the car buying public, a little shift in balance would be welcomed.

    That said, I drive a 2014 Mazda6 with the 6-speed manual. I’m also an analyst, so I like numbers and in-depth research more than most…

    Cheers!

    • 0 avatar

      I’m replying now to say I will give you a longer, more thoughtful reply later – something I can’t possibly do when I’m 4 beer deep in Canada Day.

    • 0 avatar

      “3) A clear defining line between opinion and fact.”

      I think we do a pretty good job of that already. At the bottom of each post on the home page index, check the tags. If it’s news, it will say News. If it’s editorial, it will say Editorial.

      “For reviews:
      1) Objectivity (far too much bias in reviews these days)”

      To be completely unbiased would be blind to the biases that exist in the marketplace. There needs to be _some_ bias to make it relevant.

      “4) Instrumented testing (a prerequisite for objective reviews)”

      Alex does instrumented testing now and I have looked into how much it would cost for me to do this as well. It’s somewhat prohibitive, but not outside the realm of possibility.

      “Note that at the end the reviewer still rates it only a 5 out of 10. However, the author is skillfully objective in his write-up. This, in my humble opinion, represents a truly professional review. Shockingly it is also entertaining to read.”

      In my personal opinion, 5/10 is reserved for a car that’s average. The Mirage is definitely below average.

      “Finally, too many auto sites seem to be intent to cater mostly to car enthusiasts… I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but since enthusiasts make up a minority of the car buying public, a little shift in balance would be welcomed.”

      I think we strike a good balance here between enthusiast, business and articles aimed at the general public at TTAC. However, while you say enthusiasts are a very small part of the car buying public, they are a disproportionately large part of any automotive website readership. Why? For the same reason people who are into knitting might constantly look at websites about yarn. People who are interested in cars are going to read about them everyday. People who aren’t will only read about them when they’re about to make a purchase.

      • 0 avatar
        notferris

        Good Evening Mark,

        Thank you for your reply and kudos for making it out of bed so early after a night of celebrating. :-)

        I apologize for the lengthy reply. This is for clarification only and I am not expecting a response.

        I am not asking for completely unbiased coverage/reporting. I don’t believe in absolutes and it is nigh impossible to be completely objective. Rather, I mean to encourage a more thoughtful approach to reporting where data and facts are not misrepresented (or contextually misused) to fit a certain narrative. I’m not accusing you or any TTAC writers of doing this. Rather it is an observation I’ve made across the automotive press/websites (and news media in general).

        Thank you on considering additional instrumented testing. I feel it is important to share the numeric data with readers for transparency purposes (a major reason I dislike CR’s reviews).

        Regarding the Mirage, I shouldn’t have included the rating as it detracted from the point I was trying to make… *sigh*

        I completely agree with you about the disproportionate representation of enthusiasts on automotive websites. I further understand that they make up the majority of your audience and to be successful you must cater to them.
        Additionally, I applaud you for the variety of articles you feature.
        It was my mistake for not tying my comment in explicitly with auto reviews (that’s what I was referring to). There appears to be a disproportionate focus on how a car handles, the steering feel, the acceleration, peak hp and/or torque, etc. While the aforementioned are important to enthusiasts, they tend to overshadow segment specific characteristics. I.e. people buy CUV’s for functionality more so than performance. The sale mix of Forester XT vs. non-turbo or prior generation RAV4 I-4 vs. V6 would likely back this up.
        Thanks again for your time.
        Have an excellent weekend and good luck with the redesign. I will be reading. :-)
        P.S. I promise not to comment too often since I tend to get really, really wordy…

  • avatar
    ldl20

    Mark:

    Whatever you do with TTAC is fine by me. As a 40-year-old who still gets a bit anxious when the end of the month comes around and C&D and Automobile are close to appearing in my mailbox, being able to get so much content EVERY SINGLE DAY without needing a subscription is a huge plus.

    I think some of us get too worked up over the content of these sites, or when formats change or writers leave (Edmunds Inside Line was pretty cool until they screwed it up, for example), but in the end, life moves on. Things change, nothing stays the same forever.

  • avatar

    This place had for the most part avoided Jalopnikization so far. So…just continue that trend. I thoroughly enjoy TTAC, though; Gives me something to do between auctions and retailing. The articles are springboards for the commentariat, where you really get a more vibrant and mature conversation than you find elsewhere in the autoblogosphere.

  • avatar
    ItsMeMartin

    Like many others, I would greatly appreciate it if you did more car reviews, just don’t focus on new cars only. I would suggest doing more Readers’ Rides, rental reviews, older car reviews etc.
    Other than that, what I would like to see on TTAC are more industry insider pieces. I would personally like to know more about the process of manufacturing, planning, marketing and selling cars. And just like I learned something about the car auction business from Steve Lang’s articles, I would also appreciate it if you described the inner workings of the car dealership.
    I would like to thank you, Mark, for communicating with us and trying to shake things up around here and improve them. Keep it up!

  • avatar
    7402

    More car reviews; I love the rental reviews.

    Please review more old cars as well. I don’t just mean the 3-10-year old segment (very valuable, BTW), but old, old stuff as well. This doesn’t have to be the high-end stuff–I think Jay Leno has that niche cornered with his “garage” videos–but the kind of stuff that regular car guys with regular budgets are driving.

    I actually read the industry stuff and historical insider-information articles. Please recruit recent retirees or the like to get the inside scoop.

    Automobile journalism has been plagued since day one by the industry’s stranglehold on the media as evidenced by the percentage of the advertising space in every medium that auto manufacturers and dealers consume every day. Frankly, I’m not sure it’s a good idea at all to get test cars from manufacturers. Why not wait until they can be rented or brazenly ask your readers to provide their own new car for a review?

    • 0 avatar

      “Why not wait until they can be rented or brazenly ask your readers to provide their own new car for a review?”

      I will be incredibly blunt: rentals cost money that we could otherwise use to pay other writers. Borrowing cars from readers is fraught with issues like scheduling, duration of the drive, and insurance.

      Until a better solution than press cars becomes available, or one of us wins the lotto, that supply of vehicles from automakers will continue.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I echo everything 7402 said above, most emphatically.

      Well stated.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    As this a housekeeping thread, a gripe/plea:

    Please stop this recent practice of leading headlines with the names of people who are known by almost no one.

    For example, when I see a headline such as “Yamamoto: This MX-5 Is All You’re Getting, Take It or Leave It”, my first thought is “What does an admiral who was shot down during WWII have to do with Mazda?” (As I’m not Shirley Maclaine, I’m not inclined to believe that guys come back from the dead to join the senior management of automakers.)

  • avatar
    colin42

    1. More weekend articles. It when I have to most time to read and comment but there is little to comment on

    2. If a writer leaves please tell us, thank them for there contribution and keep the door open for them to return.

    3. Reboot some of Derek’s ideas like getting the B&B to tells us about their unusal cars. Or more UR turn.

    4. In depth (technical) articles. Everything from history of a model / technology to how tires work to how emissions systems work etc

    5. More reliability stats from Steve Lang and Michael Karesh – I’d love to see an analysis and comparison of their methods of data vs the big publications.

    • 0 avatar

      More weekend articles: we are working on it.

      When a writer leaves: if they want to say goodbye (unless things have seriously gone south), they can write a post as they leave. It’s wholly dependent on what the writer wants to do.

      Reboot some of Derek’s ideas: I can look into it.

      In depth (technical) articles: As I said above, I haven’t made a decision on these yet.

      More reliability stats from Steve Lang and Michael Karesh: Steve is back. He may increase his contribution over time. Michael isn’t writing for TTAC and we have no intention of adding additional writers at this point in time.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    More Steven Lang and other content showing the business of selling cars, pls.

    Personally I don’t mind the news aggregation. I don’t like going to other car sites. It’s pretty much this and Jalopnik for me. Lumping all the daily news together would be enough for me.

  • avatar
    statikboy

    I have a layout suggestion.

    I’d like to see each day’s news have it’s own page. So ttac.com is today’s news, ttac.com/page2 is yesterday’s news, etc. Stories published after midnight EST, or whatever other arbitrary time you want, become today’s news, everything from prior to midnight moves back a day.

    I don’t know how easy this would be to program into the site, and it might seem like a small thing, but it would appeal immensely to my sense of OCD/aspergers/something and make my readerhood experience much more enjoyable.

    Thanks for considering my idea. :)

    • 0 avatar
      statikboy

      PS. I really like the viewpoints from non-North American reviewers like Vojta Dobeš and Marcelo De Vasconcellos. Please include more reviews about non-USDM vehicles and by non-NA writers.

      Disclosure: I am Anglo-Canadian. I just enjoy forbidden fruit stories/alternative viewpoints.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I second the idea of making each page correspond to one day. I’d rather use 3am or 4am ET, though, for the sake of us PT readers. I often have more time to comment after 9pm PT.

      • 0 avatar
        statikboy

        I’m also in PST. I chose 12 Eastern at random… I assume there would be a logical time to make the break based on when most stories are posted.

    • 0 avatar

      So, you can _kind of_ do this yourself. If you want articles from a particular day, you can do this: https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/YYYY/MM/DD/

      It won’t be all on one page, but it’s a start.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      Providing a chrono view of articles would make it much easier to know what is new without having to peruse through what is older and has already been read or ignored, as the case may be.

      Being able to see what has been read, similar to youtube’s putting an Already Viewed overlay on vids you have watched, would also be a great aid to interacting with this site.

  • avatar
    KOKing

    I first happened across TTAC through a Vellum Venom piece. I like those. I’m no design guy but car design is something I enjoy analyzing and discussing. Automobile had something similar on occasion back when I sub’d to that in print.
    I’d also like to see more SERIOUSLY in-depth technical pieces. The one on the whys of the ZF 9AT was GREAT, even though AT tech is well over my head. Both paultan.org and TempleofVTEC had those in their early days and they seem to be gone from there as well.

  • avatar
    cornellier

    I’d like to see a better comments interface. Something more like Reddit, where the cream rises to the top and the, er other stuff is hidden. I don’t have time to read every comment and it’d be nice if they could be sorted in some way other than chronological.

    • 0 avatar
      hotdog453

      A lot of the initial comments also happen in the first like 15 minutes of a posting, so anyone who comes in late typically is never seen or responded to.

    • 0 avatar

      “I’d like to see a better comments interface. Something more like Reddit, where the cream rises to the top and the, er other stuff is hidden.”

      Me too.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I absolutely detest the idea of dynamic commenting systems. Those only favor the legacy posters at the expense of new ones, particularly for those who don’t suck up to the regulars.

      Website comments sections already tend to be cliquish enough as is. Please don’t encourage more of it.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        This. No plus or minus on the comments. What I WOULD like, is a dynamic comment apparatus, so comments are reflected as they occur, and I don’t have to read through 50 emails and click here and there. I’ll leave the page open on the browser.

      • 0 avatar

        +1 to both Pch101 and CoreyDL

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        Pch101 Your comments despising cliquish ranking in comment systems is well put. For once I find myself in total agreement with you.

        And disqus rots, because I do not want to have to reveal my activities and sentiments across multiple social platforms…I want to be able to communicate on TTAC and be visible only to those people who come on here, and those who know my handle and search for it.

        I do NOT want all of my comments and viewpoints shared with everyone from every walk of life I might interact with on some level or another. If I wanted that, I’d be FBing like mad instead of hanging around the B&B to see what the consensu is on various subjects.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      “Something more like Reddit, where the cream rises to the top and the, er other stuff is hidden.”

      For the love of God, no. It creates a form of revisionist history where the narrative is manipulated by popularity.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Something more like Reddit, where the cream rises to the top and the, er other stuff is hidden.”

      Hell. No.

      While the comment system here can be clunky at times, “upvoting” or “liking” or any other sort of comment/commenter rating system would absolutely degrade the quality of this site.

      The main reason being that 100 drooling meme loving idiots will bury what is actually insightful content, just like what happens on the other sites. If anything, people should have to read the opinions of others more often, not less.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        Danio3834 is another of the B&B I forgot to mention as one of the better ones. Apologies.

        And your comments are exactly correct here.

        Why can’t we have a system similar to crownvic.net for example, where it is easy to find and read both articles and posts that are new, and to flag ones of continuing interest?

        The flaws in TTAC’s commenting system are so numerous I can’t figure out how to enumerate them all, without going on a lengthy tirade, something I’d rather save for a subject that is more inspirational and/or inflammatory.

        But as an example of just one, why do some posts have a reply button and others do not?

        And surely you could find a way to nest replies so as to see who is in reply to who and what.

  • avatar
    hotdog453

    Something I really haven’t seen much of, from any of the “big name” sites, are reviews of “places”. Like, for example: You could have sent a reporter to the Tail of the Dragon in May, to see the 600 Mini’s driving about. It was hilariously good fun, and could have easily made an article out of it. I’m sure SOMEONE there owns a Mini :P And, frankly, given the coverage, I’m sure they would have loved having someone cover it in depth.

    I realize covering the “lifestyle” of the car crowd might easily get overwhelming and bizarre, but I can easily see some of the more popular spots getting a decent article out of them.

    • 0 avatar

      If events want to invite us, we are more than capable of attending. However, when we need to pay for those trips from our own budget, they can be very cost prohibitive. I would rather pay someone to write more content than waste money on a flight.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    My only gripe is that Ive submitted several questions and have recieved no responce. I know I dont pay for any service here and your time is valuable, but Im left to wonder: is it just me? Are my comments unwelcomed, therefor my questions/technical issues are ignored? I hope thats not the case. There is a reason I quit Jalopnik and started coming here instead. I like it here. I didnt hate it there, but it was a bit childish at times and it got to me after a while.

    A question I havent submitted but would like an amswer to is this: is there any reasonably doable way for commenters to recieve a notice when only their comment is replied to?

    I know this isnt that important, and youre discussing content of the site rather than the workings of the site, but its been bugging me. I dont want to subscribe to the whole thread and recieve 19 emails telling me two different commenters are arguing over the hp figues of a 1986 LeBaron, but I would like to be notified if I ask someone a question and they answer, or I give an opinion and someone reminds me of a fact I had forgotten or never knew, etc.

    Thank you for this site and all the work that you all do to make this site what it is. And, thanks in advance for considering my question.

    • 0 avatar

      “My only gripe is that Ive submitted several questions and have recieved no responce.”

      Can you tell me exactly what you mean by this? Send me an email if you want. [email protected]

      “A question I havent submitted but would like an amswer to is this: is there any reasonably doable way for commenters to recieve a notice when only their comment is replied to?

      I know this isnt that important, and youre discussing content of the site rather than the workings of the site, but its been bugging me. I dont want to subscribe to the whole thread and recieve 19 emails telling me two different commenters are arguing over the hp figues of a 1986 LeBaron, but I would like to be notified if I ask someone a question and they answer, or I give an opinion and someone reminds me of a fact I had forgotten or never knew, etc.”

      I hope we will have a solution to this soon-ish.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    Sounds like a fine plan to me. If I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t bother to mention that the phrase “Unless it’s a breaking news item of significant importance” is a little screwy – what would insignificant importance consist of? Editing is good.

  • avatar
    Matt Betts

    Will Ur-Turn be coming back? Or will there be any opportunities for individuals actually “in the biz” to contribute? I’d like to hear more about how certain cars are created/designed. For example, I enjoyed hearing about the Toyobaru from the designer, getting in their head. I would guess there’s enough IPs coming from Chrysler, GM, Tesla, Ford, and everybody else that something could be put together.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    Severe lack of boobies on this site I tell ya what.

  • avatar
    z9

    There was a brief period a while back where it seemed as if there was almost daily minivan coverage. I am not a minivan driver at the moment but I found all of it great reading. I don’t know why I enjoy reading about minivans but I do. I guess it’s the drama: minivans saved Chrysler and then they were the epitome of uncool, all in a short time. It’s been argued that the main reason people bought SUVs is that they were anti-minivans. And yet there are brave souls who see through the deception and continue to derive great pleasure from their minivans, and I have found some of those people here. TTAC has taught me to admire these folks, and TTAC has taught me I can be a better car guy when I am taught to appreciate the value in everything from the stow’n’go to the impossibly plush velour interior of a late 1970s vintage Olds 98. Jeez, I hope I don’t sound like a hipster saying this.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      I maintain that the minivan is the most cosmopolitan of automobiles because of its broad appeal across classes, ethnicities, and regions (except Texas), and the lack of a luxury version (which boggles my mind when I see Siennas garaged next to Teslas, S classes,Porsches, etc.). The second gen Prius held that position for a time as well.

    • 0 avatar

      We will try to cover every car, truck, SUV and – yes – even minivans as much as we can.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I’m a minivan van, because it’s the right tool for the right job in my house.

      I also enjoy reading about commercial vaas for reasons I can’t really put my finger on.

      AFIAK, there hasn’t been much happening in minivans lately. FCA extended the cycle of the T&C, despite its terrible performance on the small frontal offset crash test.

      The rumors about hybrid vans from Toyota and Chrysler are intriguing.

  • avatar
    dr_outback

    I have a driver’s license.

  • avatar
    wmba

    See, Mark, what I don’t get is this:

    The day you took over as Managing Editor, we had to read three-fourths of the way into your article for you to shyly admit to the fact.

    Aaron Cole takes over as News Editor, and not a word as to who he was until the comments section.

    What in hell is wrong with opening the first post of any new staff member with a bold declaration: “Hello, I’m Brasso George, your new Editor of Whatever.” Or better yet, an introduction from you about the new staff person.

    I don’t get this hiding behind the bush, gosh, golly, gee, I’m too shy to identify myself stuff. Get it out and get on with it – you have the reins, strut your stuff.

    Such normality will drive your agenda, rather than this “what do you want?” stuff. Pursue your own path, and don’t be fluffy. The comments as time goes by will let you know whether you’re on a reasonable path, or simply becoming irrelevant.

    Personally, I have read the site less since you took over, as I see no overall steadying hand or philosophy. My advice therefore is to develop same posthaste. And when you do, broadcast it so we all know where you’re coming from – don’t let it slip out in drips and dribbles as time goes by. Be forthright.

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      +1

    • 0 avatar

      “See, Mark, what I don’t get is this:

      The day you took over as Managing Editor, we had to read three-fourths of the way into your article for you to shyly admit to the fact.

      Aaron Cole takes over as News Editor, and not a word as to who he was until the comments section.

      What in hell is wrong with opening the first post of any new staff member with a bold declaration: “Hello, I’m Brasso George, your new Editor of Whatever.” Or better yet, an introduction from you about the new staff person.”

      When I introduced myself, that was a bit of a flub. With Aaron coming on board yesterday morning, we simply didn’t have time until later in the day to address it. Content comes first.

      His introduction is above in this very article. Also, this is probably one of the very few sites in the automotive industry that actually lets people say hello and goodbye. When we publish those posts is completely up to us based on how we are prioritizing our day.

      “Personally, I have read the site less since you took over, as I see no overall steadying hand or philosophy. My advice therefore is to develop same posthaste. And when you do, broadcast it so we all know where you’re coming from – don’t let it slip out in drips and dribbles as time goes by. Be forthright.”

      That’s what I just did above.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        “Content comes first.”

        Over the introduction of a permanent staff member? Strange. You make my original point. A rule appears out of nowhere, as an afterthought. It all may make sense to you – me not so much, and why would I or anyone else know that “content comes first”?

        “His introduction is above in this very article. Also, this is probably one of the very few sites in the automotive industry that actually lets people say hello and goodbye. When we publish those posts is completely up to us based on how we are prioritizing our day.”

        So change the prioritizing – even the Joe Blows who do a UR Turn get an introduction at the beginning of the article. But not a new editor, apparently. Do you see my point?

        ‘“Personally, I have read the site less since you took over, as I see no overall steadying hand or philosophy. My advice therefore is to develop same posthaste. And when you do, broadcast it so we all know where you’re coming from – don’t let it slip out in drips and dribbles as time goes by. Be forthright.”

        That’s what I just did above.’

        Really? I don’t think you did anything much, and just reinforced what I originally said. It’s a state of mind. You perhaps have a clear idea of all these little rules, but we don’t. Osmosis is not a very goood method of disseminating information, and what you consider normal is completely unclear to me. We’re obviously at cross purposes, but I really don’t care that much in the grand scheme of things.

        So carry on as you were. I will say this. Aaron Cole is good – made me laugh my head off earlier today on the cellphone cooling mat post and his sly review of the Scion iM, so I regard him as a worthy pick.

        • 0 avatar

          Before I respond directly to this, let me say one thing: it’s great that we can have this back and forth in the open.

          Now…

          “Over the introduction of a permanent staff member? Strange. You make my original point. A rule appears out of nowhere, as an afterthought. It all may make sense to you – me not so much, and why would I or anyone else know that “content comes first”?”

          The difference between the end of the day and the beginning of the day was literally hours. There are a lot of things happening behind the scenes – such as setting up accounts, planning out the day, and coming to grips with a new working relationship – that take priority. And when it comes to making an announcement of a new member versus editing an informative piece earlier in the day that is applicable to a wider audience, the decision is clear.

          We can agree to disagree. I stand by my decision. There is no rewind button.

          “So change the prioritizing – even the Joe Blows who do a UR Turn get an introduction at the beginning of the article. But not a new editor, apparently. Do you see my point?”

          I see your point. I just don’t agree with there being a difference between a morning and afternoon/evening introduction. It would have been nice to introduce Aaron earlier in the morning, but we both had other things to do.

          “Really? I don’t think you did anything much, and just reinforced what I originally said. It’s a state of mind. You perhaps have a clear idea of all these little rules, but we don’t. Osmosis is not a very goood method of disseminating information, and what you consider normal is completely unclear to me. We’re obviously at cross purposes, but I really don’t care that much in the grand scheme of things.”

          Well, what do you want to know? Give me a clear question. I will give you a clear answer.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    More death watches, please.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    Many articles lack insight. ALTHOUGH HE IS NOT THE ONLY ONE, Tim Cain’s articles on vehicle sales, such as: https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/chart-day-u-s-automaker-market-share-america-june-2015-ytd/#more-1104993

    Just a boring recite of some numbers. So what? I can get this from looking at numbers on autonews, or the WSJ or wherever. How about taking say just one automaker (at a time) and looking at what they’ve done since, I dont know, 2009, or last year? Let’s say Chrysler (preferably one of the Big 3 / Big Jap 3 / H&K)

    One could break down say the T&C and the Caravan showing their volumes month to month, with marks to show when each car got redesigned, or just refreshed. Then some discussion about how T&C/Caravan are doing vs Odyseey and the Toyota. Some discussion of what the estimated incentives were versus new features. Are T&C/Caravan sales more a function of good product, or more of deep discounting?

    Then a few days later, the Dart/200. By the end of the month TTAC could cover all the products for one or two major players. That could be insightful.

    THROWING OUT A FEW FACTS WITH NO ANALYSIS, THEN HANDING IT OVER TO THE READERSHIP, DOESN’T SHOW ANY INSIGHT OR PRIDE IN WORK.

    But perhaps the writers aren’t paid a lot?

    I saw this going to bed, will this article get buried tomorrow, or will we see an ongoing discussion of this?

    EDIT: I should point out that articles like:
    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/different-perspective-daimlerchrysler-merger/
    are very insightful.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      I don’t bother reading Tim Cain’s articles here on TTAC, preferring to go to his actual site instead.

      It’s July 1, beginning of the month, so Cain is assembling all his June statistics with no time to write historical studies. When you go to the site itself, you can find out monthly sales of every vehicle back to 2006 all by yourself. With over 250 nameplates, and the need to compile stats every single month, I don’t see how Cain has much time to opine more than he does. So TTAC has to decide whether it needs to publish his sales out-takes every few days or just at the beginning of each month for the preceding month.

      The news feed is a different story. You need someone with a good memory and an understanding of the industry and general past sales if you expect quips and insight on some current PR blather-fest from manufacturers. Aubernon lacked any perspective on that, in my opinion. I hope Cole does have one. Again, as I said above to Mark, having an actual opinion matters. That’s what engenders discussion from the pros and antis in the comments.

      • 0 avatar

        Looks like I’m not the only one happy to have stopped reporting the news.

        Mr. WBMA, Mr. Cole will likely do a better job covering the day-to-day than I ever could; I prefer writing original features, like the one about Ian Corlett’s vintage Porsche EV, over waiting for someone else to say something. Or three, as Ed suggested on his Twitter a few hours ago (we see you BTW, Ed).

        I can only hope you’ll give my features more of a chance than you bothered to give to my news-bot reporting. You’ll actually have a opportunity soon enough.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          That was a really nice piece.

        • 0 avatar
          wmba

          “I can only hope you’ll give my features more of a chance ….”

          I gave your news feed items the chance, but found them a struggle to read and understand a lot of the time to be honest. Struck me as a duck out of water. It has nothing to do with one’s work ethic or dedication, it’s about suitability for the purpose – and you have written openly on that, for which I applaud you.

          As for features, sure I’ll read them. Why not? That’s a different kind of thing entirely – it’ll be interesting to learn your point-of-view.

  • avatar
    Reino

    Welcome Aaron, from another enthusiast in the land where red and green lights are never coordinated, yellow lights are purposely shorter than the rest of the world, and a general driving public that lines up like lemmings in one lane a mile before a zipper merge, and all seem to drive at the pace of ‘mosey’: good ol’ Mile High.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    One request: Please don’t refer to cars exclusively by platform code. Knowledge of what a E30, Theta, Panther, B7, NB, C107, 997, W-body, etc. refers to is not universal, even among people generally interested in cars. A reference to a platform doesn’t have to be super-precise or exhaustive, but some hint as to approx. what make, model, and years the code refers to would be nice.

    Same goes for engines… I know a particular engine can be used in a lot of different cars; when using an engine code with little other context, it might be nice to mention manufacturer, cyl., displacement, and an example or two of cars it might have been sold in.

  • avatar
    Scout_Number_4

    Love the Baruth’s, Sajeev & Murilee–more of what they do, please. I’ve greatly enjoyed the history pieces that have appeared here–Edsel, Packard Sky Bridge, etc. The inside-the-car business stuff is must-read for me. I shared Jack’s article about why dealers are the real customers of the automakers with several colleagues. Also appreciate traffic law stuff, red light cameras, etc.

    Don’t care about sales data reports, do care about FCA trying to merge with someone.

    What’s missing? I go elsewhere to learn TTAT, The Truth About Trucks. What’s the best rig for towing my trailer? Which used trucks are the best/worst, how to buy used, why doesn’t Toyota sell an F350 competitor? Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found a forum for TTAT that I like nearly as much as I like TTAC.

    Thanks for asking.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Mark, just one other thing, which I beg you to take to the overlords at WordPress: without running a browser with AdBlock this site is intolerable. I don’t begrudge you the entire right hand third of the screen to run all the ads you like, and if the commerce stopped there I would disable AdBlock for TTAC. I’m a fan; I want TTAC to prosper. But when a banner gets slapped over the bottom of every picture, or the page takes forever to load because it never finishes downloading all the ad content, or you’re trying to read and some ad starts blaring out of the speakers, well, then the blocker shall block and nobody’s ad gets seen.

  • avatar
    NotFast

    Great news! I didn’t start coming to TTAC because of the news, it was all the other hard hitting stuff.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I only have one question

    When will you update the DOUG-BOTs writing style?

  • avatar
    Undefinition

    It think this site is at its best when you can really feel the authors’ honesty and personality through their writing, WHILE delivering content. Brendan McAleer’s car reviews (back when he did them for this site) were not only hilarious, but also did give some practical feedback on the car. Likewise, Jack and Bark’s articles, I always got me thinking about things in new ways, while still maintaining an slick “bad boy” vibe. Same thing for Ronnie and Murilee’s features… I’m LEARNING something new, and I can sense their enthusiasm. Even Tim Cain, who never gets any props; I appreciate a guy who can tell a story through graphs, and I can sense his enthusiasm for his approach.

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    I really enjoy the “whatever happened to” articles, like old TV or movie cars. Also, I think it would be interesting to get opinions (staff and B&B) on specific models (1987-1893) Mustang LX, 1988-1998 Chevy/Gmc truck, 1990-1997 Miata, etc).While I can appreciate new car reviews, I would like to hear from people who have owned their cars for a few years, find out how they hold up, real gas mileage, etc.

  • avatar
    Ihatejalops

    Oooh oooh, I can do reviews! And give some industry insight. Hey, I tried to buy TVR in the 2000’s. Just get rid of DeMuro and you’re all set.

  • avatar
    Waftable Torque aka Daniel Ho

    My favorite TTAC articles concern classism and competitive consumption. I consider myself well read on the topic and thought about submitting my articles during Derek’s reign. I have enough content to make a weekly column for a year.

    Then I realized that I won’t work for free, and shot a hole in that idea. Mark, if the content is worthwhile, are you willing to pay for it, even if it’s at normal freelance rates? Honestly, you really need someone to relate low-riders and limos to r/K Selection theory.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I’ve never read a Junkyard Find article. Don’t care about sales data–I could Google that if I wanted to. Don’t need to see the mug of the homely chick who’s charged with some sort of crime for the 11th time. I like reviews and technical stuff. And I like that I can post an idiotic comment like this and it just shows up.

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    I like the general mix of the presentation at TTAC. I like getting auto industry news, and I like the more humorous moments of Jack Baruth’s life. Oh, and I particularly like Murilee Martin’s junkyard photography.

    Now for a suggestion: Gather up the entire editorial staff along with as many contributing writers as possible. Invite P.J. O’Rourke and take a road trip.

    More humor to balance the facts would make it just about perfect for me.

  • avatar

    People are probably going to hate this suggestion but I think you need to sit down and think seriously about what it is you want this website to do. Do you want to educate people about the industry? Do you want it to teach people about the hobby and automotive history? Do you want it to be commentary in the same way that a lot of “news” websites are really about political commentary? Do you want it to be focused on reviews and driving cool cars? Entertaiment? What is it supposed to achieve? Then cut away the things that aren’t helping you achieve this goal.

    Personally,what I think you need to focus on is generating discussions. TTAC’s greatest strength has always been its readership. If you find that certain types of posts or authors aren’t consistently hitting their marks then you should lose them.

    That might mean that some of this site’s traditional pieces need to go. People may not like that at first, but you can’t be afraid to reinvent the site to go the direction you want. If you just wander all over the place then you get Jalopnik where, right now, they have articles about airline ticket prices and the new Terminator movie sharing space with articles about cars. If I want aggregated news etc I can just go to Reddit and get 1000 times more that much quicker.

    Look, you are the new guy, I know you want to proceed with caution but there comes a point when you need to grab the bull by the horns. Enough with trying to finesse this, just get on with it. We have had plenty of jerks run this site in the past, the absence of real drama over the past year or two has been nice, but you need to get on with what needs to be done. At the very least,the changes will stimulate discussion and that is what this site was built upon, right? Go for it.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Virtually nobody who visits a website will ever post a comment. And only a tiny fraction of those will become regulars. You can’t really use the comments section to gauge the readership, since they aren’t representative of the vast majority of the readership.

      For almost all car sites, the most important thing is to have car reviews. It’s the reviews that generate the volume and search engine traffic. TTAC’s problem is that its clashes with the industry have minimized its access to press fleets, while getting cars by other means is difficult and costly.

      • 0 avatar

        Presumably, the editor would have access to analytics that would tell which articles are generating the most hits. I know my favorite part of this site are the comments so I focus on those, but the new EIC could focus on whatever they want.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Comments are important. I’m just noting that very few readers will provide them.

          A website that knows how to create engagement is Jalopnik. But not all of us are fans…

          • 0 avatar

            They don’t generate a lot of insightful comments though. All the LOLs and one !iners people are posting there get droll pretty quickly.

            TTAC is still small enough to be a community. We all know one another and can weigh the value of a person’s comments. I like that and I think a lot of lurkers do as well.

        • 0 avatar
          Sals

          Agree on that. I love reading this community’s insightful comments–they’re a great continuing education.

    • 0 avatar

      “People are probably going to hate this suggestion but I think you need to sit down and think seriously about what it is you want this website to do.”

      We have and it’s outlined above.

      “Personally,what I think you need to focus on is generating discussions. TTAC’s greatest strength has always been its readership.”

      …and trying to find a balance between the B&B, which is a vocal minority, and everyone else who doesn’t comment is something we are tackling.

    • 0 avatar
      WhiskeyRiver

      I’m not sure what I said to warrant the first paragraph of your reply.

      I said I like the website.

      Your second paragraph implies that you might desire to lose me as a poster.

      Your third paragraph suggests you might get rid of some of the things I like about this site.

      Your fourth paragraph suggests I am a jerk. And apparently you’re looking for some real drama.

      Am I reading your reply in the wrong way?

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, you are reading it wrong. The lack of the little arrow next to my original post and the line between our two threads indicates that it is not a reply to you but that it is its own original thought directed at Mark Stevenson.

        You didn’t write anything that would draw anyone’s ire, I think most of us like those things as well.

        Beyond that, I hope no one would take what I wrote as being anything other than an attempt to help this site’s new editor refine his thoughts and focus his leadership. I was hoping to encourage him to sit down and take a hard look at where he wants to go and then plot out the ways to get there. Apparently he already has, so it’s water under the bridge anyhow.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    I’d respectfully request much more severe moderation of offensive comments. Farago pruned the responses from readers ruthlessly, as did Bertel. The more recent hands-off policy on comments does not do this site any favors, and I submit makes the hard work of the writers to be taken much less seriously.

    Stupid comments are fine as they get self-regulated by the B&B. But the racist, sexist, homophobic, nationalistic, and outright degenerate comments that are allowed to stand (see recent Subaru articles or anything about Mary Barra that instantly draws multiple “I’d tap that” responses) are a detriment to this site’s reputation as one that stands above the average automotive blog.

    Kill the off-topic political flame wars that too often erupt in the comment sections. Issues about the auto industry often cross into political realms, but the leftist versus rightest haranguing gets old really fast and buries the more intelligent posts.

    I’ve been regularly reading and posting at TTAC for five years now and have been quite disappointed at how mean the commentary has become. I hope there’s a way to bring the comments back on target and to elevate the level of discussion. This is what once made TTAC great.

    Finally, please stop baiting the rabble-rousers. Articles about global warming, the Confederate flag, and civil rights legislation only pertain to cars in peripheral ways and generate the same tired set of responses from the same tired set of posters. It gets really old hearing the same regurgitated arguments and insults thrown around over and over again.

    As for articles, more thoughtful insight to the industry is always appreciated.

    • 0 avatar

      Comments: Yes, we need more moderation. But, I am not going to moderate at the expense of providing content. The problem lies in the comment system. It’s incredibly difficult to moderate effectively without it taking up your entire day. Changes in the future will hopefully address this. Or, maybe, we can promote a few level-headed B&B members if they’d like to volunteer.

      I’m not interested in flame wars, but I am even less interested in avoiding topics just because people in the comments might get into an Internet shouting match.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Good lord, please do not add moderators. So what if there are comments that make people uncomfortable, let them stand. Even the worst comments here are several grades above Autoblog and 9000 levels above YouTube. The best thing about this site under Jack’s watch was the freedom in the comments where only the most problematic people were banned. I can get carefully moderated groupthink approved commentary anywhere. Unfiltered is the best.

        • 0 avatar

          We don’t need to crush descent like the Russian Gulag, but there definitely needs to be some balance. Some comments are getting way out of hand and definitely not representative of the B&B as a whole. At worst, it is thinly-veiled trolling that attacks my writers and other commenters. Fuck that.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            If someone wants to associate me as part of the B&B with the next mouth breathing shitposter, they’re part of the problem. Fuck them. No pruning necessary.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            What if it’s overt trolling? Is that acceptable?

            Like we know DeadWeight comes here to troll. But I don’t mind that. He’s right sometimes.

          • 0 avatar
            LeeK

            Yes, thank you Mark. Deleting the posts that attack the TTAC writers is a step in the right direction. I’ve already praised Cameron for turning the other cheek to some of the ugly stuff that gets thrown her way.

            Danio, I simply don’t agree that unmoderated comments make for a better site. It has nothing to do with “group think”. There are some really mean people out there who hide behind their keyboards to hurl insults at anyone who don’t agree with their views. Trash FCA or GM? Fine. But search for some of the disgusting comments made in the Subaru threads about alternative lifestyle people, for example, and there is no reason to have them remain there. They add nothing to the topic.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            bball, I’m really surprised that you actually think any of my comments amount to trolling.

            Whether I’m objectively correct or incorrect regarding any particular comment, opinion, statement, etc., is a different matter, but I hardly ever (or never) state something I don’t honestly believe is true (even if I state it dramatically, for effect), and on the extremely rare occasion I engage in any ad hominem attacks (like upon Kyree 3 weeks ago), I man up and apologize pretty quickly.

            Ad hominem (personal) attacks should be the ONLY comments censored, removed or moderated, IMO – but I’m a free speech hawk.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    It seems to me that TTAC has become an institution. Like a dog pissing on a fire hydrant marking out its territory we have a change in management and changes come.

    I do not oppose this, as this is the way of my employment.

    What I find entertaining about TTAC is the diversity of the commenters.

    TTAC so far have considered us, so I do believe any future changes will benefit the commenter.

    Change is good or a tweak as in this case, no change means ideas and progress has died in the ass.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Here is a big one. Put a next page button at the top and bottom of the website.

    • 0 avatar

      I want a straight-up redesign.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        Mark,

        A straight up redesign, for sure! But be sure to look at some of the features that are available elsewhere which make reader interaction on high volume websites easier to manage.

        Crownvic.net is not perfect, and seems to have passed its heyday, if not jumped the shark, but its commenting and forum organizing system, which can be found on many other sites also, is a much easier one for a person to navigate through, to tag what they want to continue to follow, and to mark for future skipping what they have decided doesn’t interest them.

        As a person who has spent a career in systems design and user interface specification, I would welcome an opportunity to be able to review and comment on some of the proposals for a new design.

        If you want that kind of help and feedback, I volunteer. If not, well good luck anyway, and I hope you grasp what it is that I am suggesting, to make it possible for this website to scale up in volume while not overwhelming those who wish to interact with certain parts of it without being swamped by other parts.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    I have some feedback that TTAC is still doing very well with the more mature and serious audiences. For one thing you appeal to a very broad spectrum of people in many different parts of the car business.

    My own interest is the influence of gasoline/diesel prices on vehicle sales and design. My daughter reads you avidly because she is an internet advertising account executive specializing new light vehicle sales.

    • 0 avatar

      “My own interest is the influence of gasoline/diesel prices on vehicle sales and design. My daughter reads you avidly because she is an internet advertising account executive specializing new light vehicle sales.”

      This is VERY interesting. Lately, I have pulled TTAC back from the gas price discussion because those pieces don’t seem to do very well. Also, I try to avoid talking about advertising because, depending on how its done, you can come off as a shill.

      But, if there’s interest and we can frame that content in the right context, maybe both of these types of articles will make a return.

      Thank you!

      • 0 avatar
        colin42

        I found the gas price articles by David Obelcz very interesting.

        • 0 avatar
          colin42

          https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ur-turn-truth-oil/

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          I liked the discussions on gas and oil prices. Would like more on changes in fluid specs also.

          Would like more on platform recall issues…not so much ones like “trim on rear quarter panel may become misaligned”, but the really serious ones.

          It seems to me that if TTAC were more active in this area, with the knowledge in the writing community and in the B&B, some of the famous problems of the last decade might have been pinpointed earlier here. Things like the exploding airbags from Takata, or the GM ignition key fault, for example. And in an earlier day, the plastic intake manifold on Ford modular motor Panthers, or the spark plug removal problem on the 3V mod motors. Not to pick on Ford, it is just that I have studied this area more, as I am more involved with it.

  • avatar
    ReSa

    I’d like to see more Euro market car reviews. Vojta is doing a fine job but I’d like to see more of it. As much as I like reading about US cars that will not make it to our continent, I can imagine that US readers would like it the other way round!

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    I would like to see the site dig deeper into infrastructure. How roads and bridges work is just as important as how the cars on them work. Few, if any enthusiast sites cover this, and every time a decent infrastructure article comes up, the comments go nuts.

  • avatar

    Buy Tim Cain, Edward Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, and make sure he reads and understands some of it, or sign him up for one of the courses.
    http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/courses

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    If we’re talking about improvements to the site, may I make a non-editorial suggeation? Please do something about the overall clunkiness of this page. Response is sluggish, made even worse by slow-loading ads, and it’s buggy. It doesn’t make any difference if I’m on mobile or desktop, whether I’m using Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome. Some days, it’s frustrating enough that I just give up and leave. Just something for your consideration.

    • 0 avatar

      The advertisements issue is an ongoing conversation. A site redesign is something I want desperately.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        Adblockers are the cognoscenti’s best friend.

        But fifteen to twenty second cycle times to post a comment and reposition on the comment is too much. And these are times on a decent speed, nonshared ISP connection, on a machine with plenty of unused RAM, a 7200rpm hard drive, etc.

        The problem is all on the website end…can’t blame it on overloaded linkups or tools at the user end.

  • avatar

    I was interested in the point made about news articles versus features. I write both for a car blog and disappointingly the essays and reviews get less traffic than news and re-clipped press releases. Sometimes a photo and ten lines get more interest than 450 words of a think-piece.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    I support the move away from straight auto news. It’s a commodity product. Let the Autoblopniks compete for those clicks.

    More in-depth articles about driving techniques, race experiences, autocrossing, Murilee’s Impala Hell Project pieces would be great.

    The Impala Hell Project series is my all-time favorite piece of auto journalism. I’ve sent it to a number of people, and will re-read all 20 occasionally for poops and chuckles.

    JB’s articles on how to keep your eyes up, how to control RWD skids, and the like make me a better driver (one example is below). I also send these to anyone who will read them because they impact driving skills. It also encouraged me to buy a Ross Bentley book.

    Timur Apakidze’s pieces on transmission design – while not for the feint of heart – help set TTAC apart from the “basement dwelling incells” prevalent on other sites.

    To me, TTAC is a premium site with premium readers. We’re generally not members of the TL;DR crowd. Eight hundred plus word articles don’t scare me and allow the talent of the writers to shine. Enhancing TTAC’s position would make me happy and I’m sure advertisers as well because the B&B aren’t just random clickers looking for settlement funding companies or payday loans.

    TTAC writers are enablers for my own auto addiction – keep it this way.

    JB’s article on vision:
    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/trackday-diaries-the-vision-thing/

    • 0 avatar
      Timur Apakidze

      Thank you for the kind words about the pieces on transmission designs. It has been a little over 6 months since my last piece, it is good to see that people remember them with some level of fondness.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012

        That stuff was really great.

        Though when I try to explain some of this stuff to friends with 8 and 9 speed transmissions in their Jeeps, this happens.

        https://goo.gl/WOsAJJ

  • avatar
    Exfordtech

    Missed that thread, some “entertaining” insights there. Had to go back and see what it was, and to get some inkling of what commentor and his/her comments may have been that disappeared. From that prior discussion, I don’t imagine I missed anything of substance. Seems the older I get, whenever I encounter such people, it only serves to remind me why I prefer the company of my dogs and horse.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    Less negativity. More “best” lists, fewer “worst” lists. I would rather read a dozen more pieces from Sajeev about the merits of Panthers, or from Kreutzer about how much he misses his old turbo Dodge, than one more piece about how bad the Mitsubishi Mirage is. If you must write about the Mirage, rent one and autocross it, or drive it from Maine to Seattle and blog about the great gas mileage you got and scenery you saw. You know, something of interest to people who enjoy cars and don’t use them as a vehicular version of an expensive piece of jewelry or a sock stuffed down the front of their pants. Leave that crap to Jalopnik.

    At the Arthritis Foundation Auto Show in Dublin, OH, I saw a PT Cruiser that some crazy guy had shoehorned a Hemi engine into – lengthwise (RWD conversion). If I must read about PT Cruisers, I’d much rather read about that one than about a guy driving over a PT Cruiser with his Hummer.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Ok my 2 cents, I like that for the most part the b&b comments are useful, I love Steve ‘s point of view as a used car dealer, I like Dougs articles, I may be one of the few but they are funny, love piston slap , Jack , I like his car stuff mostly, his lifestyle pieces not so much , but others do so I just pass them by, kudus for letting a writer post a good bye , it is a classy move on your part, how about when a writer comes in a hey this is who I am piece, this is what I drive , unless your do not have a car, DL. Maybe you should do a article on why some many folks write and leave, why so much change here, a kinda of the behind the scenes of car blogging , how much does someone get to write a feature …

  • avatar
    CB1000R

    I would hate to think that Cameron resigned because of a TTAC gem like: “Why Does The Public Accept Car Reviews From People Who Can’t Drive?”

  • avatar
    northshorerealtr

    First of all, THANK YOU for asking for our input/opinions–and for responding to each one. I don’t ever recall that level of openness by management before. Your responses have been direct and to the point, and not “this is what I’ve decided to do, and you’re gonna like it”.

    I’m maybe one of the three people here who like the “connect the dots” analysis of some of the articles. For example, is the smallest Buick SUV riding high as it canabalizes Verano sales? Or is it doing well because of other factors?

    Or (another minority interest), Costco managed to “sell” 400K units of vehicles via use of an autobroker. Interesting; but a connect the dots analysis might have shown other sales venues that are currently under the radar. (I’m at a loss to explain what those venues might be; after all, they’re under MY radar, but as auto analysts, they’re probably on yours.) These other venues may be about to reach a tipping point in importance–or are they?

    I’m loving the price-based comparison your reviewers do. “I’ve got $35K to spend on a new car. What are the advantages/disadvantages of those in that price (not necessarily size) class?” For example, 300 vs. Impala vs. Genesis vs. Infinity.

    I’d probably enjoy a full article with occasional updates comparing U-Connect with MyFordTouch or Command or whatever? Not specific to the driving of the cars, but they definitely impact the drive experience in more than a few words in a review.

    Also enjoy the “while you were sleeping” articles for fast review without going to other sites. I suspect some of those blurbs might be worth following up on/analysis (more connect the dots stuff).

    Overall, I’m a fanboy of the site after being here since the late Fargo days. Are there issues? Sure. The site itself is sometimes clunky, I don’t necessarily read the racing articles (sometimes, yeah, but not always), and on any article I DO read I’m certain to read the comments for both enlightment and entertainment. Although I do question some of the political drifts and fashion comments, I hope the readers learn to do their own monitoring. (Seriously, B&B–you comment on one industry guy as being too metrosexual/buttoned down and another for being too hipster, all the while you’re in tattered underwear and oddball clothes? If we comment on a guy or gal, let it be for professional issues, not their own appearance choices.)

    Bottom line here is so far, I’m loving your direct transparant approach and looking forward to see where you take the place. TTAC wasn’t built in a day and your sensitivity to our input is gratifying. And keep in mind, the Best and Brightest here are rooting for ya, despite their reticence to admit it.

    Thank you!

  • avatar
    Dragophire

    I have been coming to this site since Fargo first called the 300C ghetto. Change happens.

  • avatar
    anomaly149

    I don’t know how the readership breaks down auto OEM/supplier employee vs auto enthusiast for TTAC, but I have a feeling there’s an awful lot of the former on this site. That’s probably a big reason for the article click mix you see press release vs. detailed or op/ed.

    The transmission articles were awesome, I’d love to see more content like that on TTAC. You won’t see any other site with the guts to write that stuff, or the sorts of critical (and sometimes negative) reviews that result in press car blacklists. Good on ya.

  • avatar

    Been here since Farago too.

    There’s a “flying vagina” B9 Tribeca just down the road from me, a permanent reminder of Robert’s hilarious yet accurate disdain for Subaru’s then-new design language…and once he uncovered what that was REALLY about (saluting parent Fuji’s Zero warplanes)…let’s just say Subie’s current design direction is a big improvement.

    Looking forward to more in-depth and original perspective. But overall the site’s improved since Ed and Bertel…that was just a poor fit for TTAC, Daily Kanban works better for them and I read them over there.

    Jack is the heart and soul of this site…but don’t let that go to your head.

    Sajeev…a very close second.

    FWIW I hit Daily Kanban if I have time…ditto GM Authority, but TTAC and alumnus Paul Niedermeyer’s Curbside Classic are my daily essentials. I’d include Autoextremist here too but Peter publishes weekly.

    No Jalopnik…no Left Lane News.

    I figure if it’s worth me knowing I’ll find it on TTAC.

    Thanks. I remain a fan.

  • avatar
    hf_auto

    I just wanted to say thank you, and you all are doing a great job. The site has been firing on all cylinders lately and it’s a joy to drop by.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Couple thoughts, other than what I added on to comments above:

    -Brendan’s pieces are always great, and I always learn something! Ronnie does this historical thing as well, and it would be great to see them write on two different sides of the same topic, at the same time (or couple days span). But Brendan’s pieces are posted like a year apart from one another.

    -There should be more series pieces here where there are Parts I-IV, etc. Those keep me thinking and engaged on the content, and wanting to know what the next bit is. Really only Jack does these.

    -Junkyard Finds are always a ++! Even though we (or I) usually turn them into talking about unrelated Lincolns or some Park Avenues or something.

    -Please, oh PLEASE demand original content from Doug DeMuro. I don’t think he’s got any left in him, honestly. You should not be paying someone for recycled crap from Jalopnik, or from an article (or three) on this very site in 2013. That is simply unacceptable. He is not a journalist any longer; he’s quite clearly a hack and someone who steals wheel center caps. I no longer click anything he writes here, and that is unfortunate.

    -As suggested above, live-action comments system where they show up immediately in real time. No plus or minus, we don’t need that here.

    -Better follow-up to promises and statements of what is in the future, as I outlined above.

    -Vojta does a good job, as does Marcello. Both are under-utilized. Both do a great job interacting with the commentariat here. I think we should add a Frenchman to talk more about French cars. Citroen gets everybody excited. Need someone in Japan as well, as formal JDM hardtops and Glorias get us worked up too.

    -The Matt Gasnier series about Cars Across America was great, and the good photography was nice too. Even if he can’t park a Ram 1500 properly. He doesn’t seem to write regularly.

    -Introduction/bio of new writers as they’re coming on. I want to know who Aaron is before he starts posting. I understand the “leaving” articles are optional, but “joining” ones should be required.

    • 0 avatar

      Right on the mark as usual. All of these are stellar thoughts.

    • 0 avatar

      the first page of TTAC should include at least all articles from the last several days. There is no need for big pictures to go with them.

    • 0 avatar

      Forgive me but I thought Cars Across America was shallow and dull, focusing on the obvious. There are much more interesting and informatives ways to examine the (American) social geography of cars.

      I’m much more interested in what is going on in the US than elsewhere, but for what’s happening abroad I agree Vojta and Marcello are quite good.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m a fan of Brendan’s writing (and his photography skills far surpass my point & shoot stuff). I think it’d be fun to get together with him and a car that interests both of us.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “Vojta does a good job, as does Marcello. Both are under-utilized. Both do a great job interacting with the commentariat here.”

      +1000

      I LOVE both their contributions, as they open my fundamentally North American-rooted viewpoints.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        What Deadweight said, re: Vojta and Marcello. I also thought the gentleman who is the editor of the Mexican car mag, who was falsely tagged as the driver of the wrong side up i8, wrote a very classy reply to that rumor. I’m sure his slight difficulties with English as a second language would more than be offset by his experience, his ability to express himself, and the general way that he comes off as a class act. Apologies for not remembering his name or taking the time to research it. The magazine’s name I believe is Autoexplora.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    Wasn’t it TTAC that got in hot water when it called out Subaru for it’s “vagina grill”? Your opinions have become soft and fluffy since that flare up. I kind of miss those days…You were right about the Subaru and even they knew it. Somebodies got to speak the truth….Maybe someday Acura will completely purge itself of “Beak Front Grills” , somebody has to tell them!

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      Why on earth that Subaru grille thing ever got blown up as an issue is beyond me. In the much less subliminally aware America of fifty some years ago, everyone was talking about the resemblance of the Edsel grille to female private parts, even on TV. Only for the most part, the medical and scientific term wasn’t the one used. And there was frequent mention of hair, followed by snickering of a kind that Beavis and Butthead would have been proud of.

      Vance Packard also pointed out that the exhaust pipe passing through the bumper led to the formation of a brown ring around the exhaust holes, drawing an unfortunate subliminal homosexual connection in the mind of the average (male) member of the car driving public.

      Why on earth such an obvious observation as the Subaru grille should have caused an uproar at this late date is beyond me, except for and unless it was Subaru PR’s desperate attempt at damage control…a feeble attempt that they never really got called out for.

      Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it.

  • avatar
    mtr2car1

    I guess that I’m in the minority here and I would prefer less time being spent on reviews.

    As Jack has said, the whole idea is built around a carefully worded essay to ensure something is said that sounds “challenging” yet doesn’t keep you from being invited back. Not that TTAC would ever fall into that trap, but why bother?

    I can read reviews EVERYWHERE and they all basically say the same thing and you can tell when somethings not right by the hints being laid down (like the issues with FCA’s 9 speed trans).

    To fit the mantra of the site, your going to have to say things like what Derek said about the MKZ…then your going to get booted from the press junkets…then no reviews…again, why bother…if you can tell the whole truth…

    I’d like the group to explore the industry more and dig out the things that Ed and Bertel could explore given their experience, keep up with the other things that are also good (Jack, Murlee, et all)

    • 0 avatar

      While I agree that industry insights are valuable, they’re only valuable when provided by somebody who has worked in the industry. Take from that what you will.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I dunno. A lot of industry insiders are the proverbial frogs in boiling water who are so accustomed to bad ideas and ineffective programs that they miss things that are obvious to an outsider with good analytical skills.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree in general about reviews. If one is looking to buy a car, one can get excellent reviews on Michael Karesh’s site, truedelta.com, among other places. A review has to be truly special to make it worth posting here–something that offers insight well beyond the usual. Reviews such as Jack’s of the new Miata on Road and Track, or the sorts of reviews Dan Neil wrote at the LA Times.

  • avatar
    mtr2car1

    If your passionate about this industry you dont need to be an insider. Ed had that skill and Derek grew into it. If Marks running the place now, he doesn’t have to be inside to give his insight on how the HR-V is smoking and the Ford is missing out sitting on the side. To me , those conversations are what TTAC are about.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I am glad I am no stiff like some of you guys who want to live in a perfect blogosphere pushing your demands to suit your short comings in debating.

    I do believe TTAC is operating and moderating in quite an acceptable fashion.

    I allows the passive/aggresive misinformers to comment and people like myself who just want to cut them down.

    I do not mind good and hard debating over issues. What annoys me are the so called clean and politically correct commenters who want to shut out people such as myself. These types should move over to some right wing religious site then.

    Another issue are the ones who can not face the reality of a nation/political situation, any nation not being the best at something or having deficiencies.

    The motor vehicle industry is heavily political and nationalistic. Mix the two and you end up with people like Pch101/DiM, etc.

    I noticed an attack on DW above. I do consider this quite childish. I am a supporter of DW and his comments. Why do you want to change others to be like you? Why do some want to standardise this site?

    Imagine if everyone was the same. The world would be a really fu§ked up place to live.

    I do disagree with commenters becoming moderators. This will kill TTAC.

    It really seems to me some commenters do not want real challenge or confrontation in debate. These are the ones who should be removed.

    If you can not have robust debate and argument you will never find the truth.

    Being political would make TTAC akin to the UN……….boring.

  • avatar
    SWA737

    I think it would be interesting to follow Cameron’s progression from little/no automotive experience through getting her license and then on to hopefully, becoming a newly minted automotive enthusiast. Get her with Sajeev for some technical training, get her with Jack for some track instruction. An automotive blank canvas.

    • 0 avatar

      This is in the works. Though getting her in the same place as Jack and Sajeev would be difficult.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      A veritable Liza Doolittle of automobiles. Mark, make it happen…get them in the same place, or figure out another way for interactions to occur, but make it happen. You have a unique opportunity. Don’t waste it. Even if you have to squeeze some extra $ out of V$…I’m sure with a little bit of salting of other sites, people would flock here to see this happen.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    Jim Yu writes good stuff, too. Can TTAC reach out to him?

  • avatar

    That Mental guy is awesome. He should have more access to Porsches..

    Crap, this isn’t my troll account….

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    As much as I enjoy Jack’s writing — and believe me, I do — I’d like to ask that you encourage the other writers to use (or find) their own voice. I read a piece earlier today that seemed like it was trying to be Baruth-y. Maybe it was deliberate, maybe it was unconscious, maybe the writer was just trying something out, but the result was awkward.

    Besides, I don’t think the world could handle more than one Jack Baruth.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      @WildcatMatt To quote Travis Bickle, “You talking to me?”

      Because just yesterday Jack and Nate tried (probably successfully, still weighing how it might work) to submit some of my stuff, based on a throwaway last line I wrote for Jack’s horrifying Laguna Seca ending, where he was essentially a sitting duck for a couple of minutes, as drivers (and I use that term loosely here) continued to roar by him under a yellow flag.

      In the end, he went against normal crash etiquette and chose to get the hell out of Dodge, before Dodge became obliterated, with him in it.

      The last several seconds were Jack wandering up a small embankment on the other side of the tire wall, captured by his onboard camera.

      A bit later that night (wee small hours, long night upgrading multiple apps and O/S patches on multiple systems), I fell into a mood that keyed off someone else’s joking pronunciation of Louisville. That caused me to segue into an old memory of an old summer spent in central KY, complete with a winning longshot on Derby Day, breakfasting with my work buddy at the governor’s Derby breakfast, and finding a brief but intensely entertaining rebound relationship that was more than a rebound relationship…two people with only one thing in common, and an acute awareness that that time would exist for a while and then be gone forever.

      I can see where someone might think that this was an attempt to spin a Jack-like DG/VMcB tale, or some such. But it was in fact none such…it was a sudden intrusion of a memory of a relationship that was intense and out of the blue, for just a few weeks, two people with only one thing in common, but that one thing strong enough to be unfazed by anything else in our divergent lives.

      But it was not an attempt to be Baruthian…instead, it was an attempt to process a thirty year old memory of a brief but intense interlude that echoed across my mind and my memory from a distant past, before I finally met the love of my life, and “settled down”, or something like that, and I had a new life begin.

      If that either seemed to you an attempt to replicate Jack’s writing, or made you feel awkward, I can assure you that my intent was neither.

      It was an attempt to face head-on, and deal with, a strong but long nearly forgotten memory of something brief (just weeks), irrational and mutually compelling. But its re-appearance in the foreground of my memory was itself awkward, and my writing was an attempt to deal with how it was strange and awkward to have this memory, long since voluntarily relinquished, reappear as I sat at the kitchen table of my home and family for the last two and half decades.

      As I noted there, it was like a Bob Seeger “…heard the sound of distant thunder” kind of a moment. And writing about it was my way of trying to put that sudden memory of a past time and place into perspective.

      But it was not written as an attempt to emulate some other style, or even to raise and answer any question for any readers…it was entirely an attempt for me to grab on to something that once again came to the foregrond of my memory. It was and is my hope that by sharing the strange power of that relationship and the memory of it, that I might find some way to come to terms with it.

      The only relationship to Jack’s way of doing things and writing about them that that story had, was that I suspect that both he and I believe in the existence of the random intense relationship between a man and a woman that makes no rational sense, and yet is something that must be dealt with when it occurs, whether it is convenient or not.

      To me, that is one of the great mysteries of life, such irrational but compelling encounters driven by nothing but an electromagnetic coupling which, from the beginning is known not to be permanent, yet is something that cannot, will not be ignored.

      That it came to mind keyed by a local pronunciation of the name of a nearby city, from across a distance of more than a third of my life, seemed to be one of those quirks of memory that could either be pushed back down, or taken out and examined.

      I chose to examine it, first because it would not go away, and second, because I hoped that by reviewing it, I might make some new sense out of that time and that relationship, either to myself or to some readers, or both.

      But I no more emulate styles than I would go get a haircut or buy some clothes to try to look like someone I admired or idolized.

      To the extent that I might ever have, that was a characteristic that may have crept into my persona in my youth. But I have been far too busy finding and being who I am for the past decades, to want to or be able to emulate some one else.

      Admire, yes. Emulate, not hardly. I am busy enough being myself, and writing (communicating) what is inside my own head…and there is enough in there that I don’t need to, or choose to, scavenge for material, or styles of writing, from someone else.

      On the other hand, this site seems to attract a high concentration of alpha males of diverse interests and accomplishments, and it does not surprise me that there are so many bits and pieces of peoples’ lives that get shared here, and that resonate with adventures related by Jack, or other good writers around here.

      I will not wade into the deep end of the pool by trying to name who I think those other good writers on TTAC might be, or so I intended. Actually I would like to do that.

      None if the following is meant to imply that I think other writers and members of the B&B are not talented. These are just the people who have struck me as being very gifted in their ideas and/or their way of expressing them.

      Writers: JB, Cameron, Sajeev, a lot of Steve Lang, Bark, Mental and after that, for me it is hit and miss.

      B&B, in no particular order: bball40dtw, 28Cars, Nate, Arthur Dailey, JohnTaurus, and a lot more whose handles I can’t recall off the top of my head.

      And if your comment about emulation was not in reference to what I have written lately, then I will depart leaving behind the words of the immortal Emily Litella: “Never mind!”

      But “TTAC is dead. Long live the new TTAC!”.

      And I do hope it evolves into a more feature-oriented site. It is a noble goal. But it is a long way from setting a goal to achieving it. Inquiring minds will be inquiring.

      • 0 avatar
        WildcatMatt

        Actually no, it was not that piece.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Oh, well then. Carry on.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          @WildcatMatt Sorry about that…I had no way of knowing a priori that you were referring to another piece, and I had just penned a personal piece spontaneously, that had been triggered by a comment Jack had sent to me.

          But as I said, I admire Jack’s writing, but can only be myself.

          But I am still curious as to what that piece might be that you saw. Inquiring minds want to know.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Nice post, thanks for the complement.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Seconded.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            Thanks bball49dtw and 28-Cars-Later. They were well deserved. And there were a few more I didn’t recall at that moment, but I have added them in elsewhere. Most noticeably Murilee and Ronnie. And I should have included Sajeev’s evil twin Sanjeev, as well.

            In all seriousness, the level of discourse on this site is head and shoulders above just about any other place. And even the few that might come near are ones focussed on some incredibly pointy-headed and narrowly focused discipline.

            This is the only place online that I know of that combines a lot of intelligence with a lot of wit and camaraderie.

            I am honored and flattered to be considered a part of it, even a small one.

            I’m glad I missed the BS and Niedermayer years, but I have gone back and read enough of the history to know why and not to just mindlessly crank out that sentiment.

            And as hard as the management tries, and as good a job as they do overall, it is the collective mind of the B&B that makes this place unique.

            I hope to be able to hang around here for a good while longer, and hope all of you I enjoy interacting with will do the same. (And even a few of you I don’t enjoy or don’t interact with, for that matter.)

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “Aaron and I will attempt to reply to each and every one.”

    More broken promises!

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