By on November 20, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-11-19 at 9.09.25 AM

Last week, on TTAC’s 15th birthday, I asked you — all of you — for your input on what TTAC should be going forward. I wanted to know what we were missing. Thankfully, TTAC’s leaders have a history of holding open conversations with its readership.

It’s this open communication that’s such a blessing during an age of websites shutting down their comment areas by throwing the uncivil baby out with the bathwater in the name of civility. If anything, empty commentary is civil. It also isn’t commentary.

But we are not empty. You filled the space with a chorus of over 300 comments. We’ve listened and have already begun making changes behind the scenes to put your suggestions in motion.

However, I also need to address the elephant in the room. Actually, there are a few.

Dirty laundry

Every organization has historical moments in which those involved would rather forget. I’m not talking about those turning-point moments that create massive shifts in how an organization operates. We should remember those moments and keep them in mind when making future decisions.

However, petty infighting and “personnel issues” arise from time to time. We will keep the airing of dirty laundry to our private inboxes.

There’s a reason I mention this particular topic first, as it’ll explain why and how I frame our other elephants from this point forward.

Member bans

As much as I understand the call from a certain section of our community to lift sanctions applied to banished members, I stand by my decision to keep those bans in place.

Resistance is not futile, and I did give the topic much thought, pondering what we would gain by letting certain members back into the comments. I also thought good and hard about what we would lose.

Without naming names, when significant portions of editorial time are spent babysitting serial rule breakers, something’s gotta give.

On one hand, we could have devoted more editorial time to moderating comments. However, that would’ve had a direct impact on the content we deliver to you day in and day out. The other option was to lay down some clear, simple, and generally lax rules that all members must follow. I chose to go with the latter.

Before those rules were put in place, I sat down (virtually) with two of the most respected members of our community — Adam and Kyree — to hash out the basics. Our base rule: don’t be a dick. From that, we divided the ways in how members have been dicks of late and wrote very simple, easy-to-understand rules for everyone to follow. Serial rule breakers were told ahead of time what to expect. “Here are the new rules,” I said. “There are no warnings.”

The rules were then put in effect. Some people broke them almost immediately. Those people were either ejected from the league or told to sit out a few games.

We’re all adults here for the most part. We all, at times, need to curb our impulses. When someone cannot curb those impulses, time after time after time, something needs to be done. And done something we did.

Overseas content

This one is simple: investing in overseas content doesn’t make much financial sense. Yes, there is a loyal TTAC following that enjoys forbidden fruit from foreign lands. However, as a regular meal, we just can’t stomach the cost.

That said, offering an improved world view is on the agenda, but it won’t happen right away.

News length

Our news pieces are about to get a lot shorter, folks. There’s no reason to provide 400+ words on a news item when you can find the same or similar content elsewhere. It ties up resources and uses up time better spent on more feature pieces.

Which is a perfect segue into …

Reviews and Politics

Of the over 300 comments you posted, two themes emerged: more cars, less politics.

On the “more cars” front, we’ve created a hit list of sorts of the top 100 cars sold in America and all the new vehicles for 2017. TTAC’s writers have been tasked with sourcing and reviewing as many of those vehicles as possible. Our goal is to bring you at least one review a day during the week. It’ll take time to ramp up the volume, but we’ll get there.

When it comes to politics, we must walk a fine line, and we must define the meaning of political discussion. There’s no doubt that politics, government, regulation, and the automotive industry are intertwined like a well-stirred spaghetti. If we’re to ignore those aspects of the automotive environment in America and globally, we aren’t doing our jobs. However, there’s a vast difference between politics and partisan rhetoric. It’s the latter that’s become an issue.

So, we’ll eschew partisan rhetoric unless it’s germane to the story at hand. Otherwise, TTAC will not take part in the dissemination of rhetoric itself. Still, we’re about to enter a new era in American politics, where rhetoric plays an even more active role than it has in years and decades past. Keep this in mind when reading our reports. We cannot and should not ignore the words escaping the mouths of politicians, elected officials, regulators, and bureaucrats. To do so would be a disservice to you.

Again, I must say thanks to all of you who chimed in this week. The loud chorus shows you care about TTAC. I hope this post and our future improvements show that we care about you in return.

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167 Comments on “You Spoke, We Listened: After Over 300 Comments, This is What We’ll Do For You...”


  • avatar
    threeer

    Thank you. Yes, political policy will always impact the automotive scene…but devolving into left/right, blue/red bickering does nothing to move the discussion forward. I have my views and beliefs…yours may not align with mine but that doesn’t mean I need to call you an idiot for your beliefs.

    Looking forward to seeing how TTAC continues to evolve.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    Since you made them part of the header image, and this story is all about self-improvement…you may want to give a second thought to the current TTAC logo. It’s just not very professional and looks like it was made by the proverbial “nephew with Photoshop”, thus giving the impression of an amateur outfit. Personal preference always comes into play, but the previous thumbs up/down version was at least decently crafted.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Agree with you there, it’s new logo time. This current one came out right after the TV show Mad Men used a very similar one for their fictional ad agency. It’s always bothered me. Someone had Mad Men playing in the background while they were working on it.

      http://www.streamlinedesign.com/images/products/secondary/wall_art_scdp-2.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I could hardly care less about the logo. I think the current one is bold and eye-catching without being overly elaborate or early 20th-century in look. Any change in the logo should be modern and easily recognizable without being plain-Jane text. Any change should center around the initials, either incorporating the full spelling as framing or as a parenthetical similar to the current one.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve been beating the drum for a logo change for a while now. It’ll come with a redesign … if that ever happens.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Redesigning the logo needs be rather low on your list, unless you’re intention is to forget your history and then rebrand. I don’t think that’s your intention.

    • 0 avatar
      Manic

      Current logo was a gift from reader who was unhappy with the equally strange thumbs up/down logo IIRC. Maybe there are designers among B&B who could send ideas….

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    Thanks, Mark. I’m excited for the road ahead.

  • avatar
    first_eored

    All good, just please stay “contrarian.” I only just joined formally, but one reason I’ve enjoyed TTAC for years is the almost unique coverage and credit given to the “good but unpopular” cars, manufacturers and transportation ideas that never get enough attention on other sites. We can find plenty of perspectives on the “Top 100” selling cars from boring companies run by bean counters and focus groups. Please keep providing the insight on why Mazda must never die, manuals have a role, and driving is about more than point A to point B.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Cool .

    I didn’t bother responding to the other piece because i knew it’d blow up my inbox .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Whittaker

    “However, there’s a vast difference between politics and partisan rhetoric. It’s the latter that’s become an issue.”

    This is where you lost me.
    Political talk, political rhetoric and partisan rhetoric are nearly synonymous. There is no vast difference.
    Moderating a message board is a messy thankless task, even more so if the rules are fuzzy. And no matter how fair you try to be, 1/3 of the members will perceive bias.
    Having to take action against egregious rule-breakers is grief enough. Appointing yourself Secretary of Political Rhetoric is nearly self-hatred.
    Why not give the B&B an ignore button and let them individually sanitize their comment sections in accordance with their own political sensitivities?

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      “Why not give the B&B an ignore button and let them individually sanitize their comment sections in accordance with their own political sensitivities?”

      I would vote “nay” on this proposal. This is a culmination of the worst illiberal confirmation bias instincts that has turned web 2.0 into a trillion echo chambers.

      I’ve been reading this website for over 10 years, and trust me, some commenters have annoyed the ever-living pi$$ out of me (and I’m sure I may have done the same to others). But I still learned a thing or two from them.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      Members can perceive bias if they want, but the moderators (Kyree and I) don’t really have any. It sort of goes back to don’t be a d!ck. As long as comments contain some sort of basic human decency, they’ll be allowed.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “sanitize their comment sections in accordance with their own political sensitivities”

      Ignoring what one does not like or chooses not to recognize is never healthy.

      The left lost the last election by choosing to ignore the concerns of those lining up under Trump.

      It is always easier to ignore and sanitize than it is to listen, understand and respond.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Right, and who’s to say if I don’t like your political outlook, that we can’t discuss the Mitsubishi Mirage together? If I’ve blocked you, I can’t see your comments at all, and that’s a bit harsh just because we don’t agree politically.

        So if everyone leaning right blocks everyone leaning left, and vice-NissanVersa, there will be few comments by anyone that will be read.

        I think a block could come in handy for bullies and troublemakers. BUT, we don’t need that, because we have Adam and Kyree to get those who choose to go that route out of here.

        The only two people I would’ve personally blocked thus far would be DW and possibly BTSR, although I would’ve hesitated on the last one. Anyone else here I don’t agree with or frequently have words with is still worth my time. BTSR had his bright moments, but his other, less desirable, qualities were just overwhelming at times.
        I rarely see DW make a point that isn’t heavily biased on his end, yet that’s what he accuses others of, as though bias is only a bad thing when it isn’t unapologetically in his favor. We all are at least somewhat biased to a certain point, but he goes well beyond that point, IMO. He seemed to thrive off his hate for various manufacturers and brands. Let someone say something positive about one of them, or God help ’em, buy one, and he unleashes a tornado. You can disagree without taking it so personally *and* seriously.

    • 0 avatar

      When politics play a role in how the automotive industry acts or how vehicles are built, we should cover that. But TTAC shouldn’t be a delivery vehicle for partisan topics outside the realm of cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Whittaker

      The choice I offered wasn’t between an ignore button and no censorship.
      The choice was between an ignore button and censorship(political) by Mark & Company.

      In other words, to satisfy those who dislike politic talk on TTAC, should we:
      A) Allow individuals to block posters they don’t want to read while not affecting the experience of others.
      B) Have Mark and the mods parse every political comment, judge its “germaine-ness” and its “partisan-ness”…and present the B&B with a politically sanitized comment section.

      I am not suggesting anyone is unfair or consciously biased.
      I AM suggesting option B, in practice, will cause more strife, more banishings and less profundity.

  • avatar
    davewg

    Thanks Marc. I think you’re on the right course with these changes. Like Nate I didn’t respond in a similar attempt to save my inbox, but I think we’re winding up more, or less, where I hoped.

    I would like to start contributing more. I just have to figure out how some posters do it, and repeatedly, and get any bill paying work done…

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    I’m fine with whatever.

    I just wanted to see if my avatar still got fetched.

    Edit: TA-DAAAH!

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      There’s a fox in every hen-house, OMP; some just try to camouflage themselves as one of the hens. By the way, thanks for the compliment in the MT thread.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        My first advisor during my bachelors degree was a History Professor with 90 semesters under his belt. He wore his pants like that, the more amazing thing is that you could see through his thin polyester dress shirts that he wore his boxers even higher than his pants.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I guess I take a more pragmatic view of blogs like this, Mark.

    It’s your blog to run, not mine. I don’t feel compelled to read every post, nor should you feel compelled to post only the things *I* want to read. In this regard. a blog is just like a car magazine – I don’t need to read things that are of no interest to me, but the editor shouldn’t try to always please me!

    Personally, I can’t abide by most anything written by either of the Baruth boys. Does that mean I should tell you not to publish them? No. I’m a big boy, and I can pick and choose what to read.

    You’re in charge. Don’t mind me.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      You’re thinking about it all wrong. Mark isn’t running a conglomerate like MSN which gets to do as they please without much thought to the customer [that’s you]. He’s running a small business which is quite strapped for cash and run on a very tight budget. The customer’s opinion matters a lot.

    • 0 avatar
      statikboy

      Completely agree. Except for which articles I read. The Baruths’ are hit or miss. I mostly stay away from anything political, statistical or regarding auto company management or manufacturing. I’m mostly here for the reviews and concept/prototype/new vehicle news so I’m happy that there’s going to be an increase in this type of activity. I don’t understand why anyone thinks it interesting that this company sold more trucks than that company or that this model saw a loss while the other had a gain, but judging from the comments section, there are a lot of us who do. To each his or her own.

      I would like to see the comments section have compressible nesting so I can skip over the “76 More Comments” on which [pick a topic] is better and why at my whim.

      Can we make this happen?

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    I will renew my call for regular contributions from Bertel Schmitt, [email protected], Bill from Buckhead, P71_Silvy and other great trolls from days gone by. I laugh much less now that they are gone. Now all the trolls are smarmy Australians that simply make me shake my head.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    And oh yeah, if we could get some review’s of Trump’s vehicles, that’d be great.

  • avatar
    punkybrewstershubby aka Troy D.

    So when is Farago coming back?

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    “When Smith & Wesson builds a car.”

    The rot always begins the same way:

    npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/11/08/501185810/smith-wesson-to-change-name-to-reflect-diverse-holdings

    S&W proudly launches its own AMF (or CBS) period but with modern global goodness. Maybe they *will* market an outdoor lifestyle vehicle sourced from China.

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    I have one small nitpick.
    I know black type on a white background is very clear, but on my monitor the white is so dominate and bright it hurts my old man eyes. Can you tone it down a little.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      You can tone down your monitor’s brightness yourself.

      The whole website doesn’t have to be altered.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        This was such an old man comment, I had to read it in an old man voice in my head.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          Damn kids sell us their old stuff but don’t tell us how to work it!

          *Googles “alian wear lap top”…*

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You’d be better off with a nice ASUS, as Alienware makes you pay too much for the name!

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I’ll credit you with a good name, Corey, but there’s better even than that. Alienware today ain’t what it was and ASUS pretty much blows them away for durability. But if you’re willing to pay more, there’s another A-brand that offers even better longevity with less OS babysitting.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I do not support Apple!

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            A pity, Corey. 200% more productive at 25% overall cost of operation over its lifetime DESPITE its higher retail price.

            Hey, I didn’t name it, you did.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Apple products are not best choice for those who will be using device for gaming, either.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            That kind of depends on what kind of gaming. Just because a game is Windows-only doesn’t mean it can’t be played on a Mac. And not everybody can afford to keep even a cheap gaming PC at the cutting edge of performance; not when such cutting edge means frequent breakdowns.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            “Just because a game is Windows-only doesn’t mean it can’t be played on a Mac.”

            That’s the excuse people always pull, yes.

            “And just because this car was only sold in Japan doesn’t mean you can’t have it in the US.”

            But it’s going to cost you, and there are going to be inconveniences.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “…and there are going to be inconveniences.”

            Such as?

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            Actually I’ve just about finished setting up a nice Satellite I got for free (!) from a more tech-advanced family member.

            Spilled a smoothie on my old Dell Vostro (grief!) but salvaged its HD and now use it as a bootable Linux external.

            Golly Darn! Ain’t nothin’ like free stuff!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thinkpad or go home.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I needed a big, heavy laptop for gaming use. Lil Thinkpad ain’t gonna cut it.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            I tried to adopt my wife’s old ASUS (Vista>7 generation) after frying Old Reliable, was very impressed by its sturdiness and build quality.

            Swapped my XP drive into it but couldn’t boot (SATA1>SATA2 compatability?), settled for OEM drive with W7, started to really enjoy using it and then 2 days later the power supply transformer bricked.

            But from what I saw when disassembling the ASUS a little I’d buy one of their 17/18-inchers.

            But I ain’t gonna buy nothin’ if I can get freebies!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Hey you know lots of computer words! Good job. I agree with you on build quality – metal holds up much better than plastic. Mine’s still like new after 3.5 years. All the keys even still have their finish.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            “Hey you know lots of computer words!”

            Hurr… yah I know wurrdz! Reading is cheap!

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            The mighty Fortress of Fawning is all into Apple? Nyuks!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “heavy laptop for gaming use”

            ThinkPad P50 or a Precision.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That P50 is a lotta money.

            https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009M2XB3U

            Got it in 2013.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Less money

            http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lenovo-ThinkPad-P50s-i7-6500U-15-6-1920×1080-IPS-8GB-500GB-HDD-Win-7-Pro-/122163872070?hash=item1c7188c146:g:UrYAAOSwFdtX0b8C

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Lol, and the stats on that one are the same as what I already got, save for one point on the RAM.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Wake me up when Thinkpads have decent trackpads. The one on my work-issued T440s is absolutely horrendous, and the T420s before it was even worse. “Clicking” it feels like hitting the turn signal lever in a 1980 Citation. But I can’t use touch-to-click either because it’s so sensitive that I end up clicking on anything and everything all over the screen. And there’s a non-defeatable right-click region where my finger often rests, so I end up inadvertently right-clicking all the time. God intended right-clicking on trackpads to use two fingers, and that works fine on the Thinkpad, so why do I have to have this stupid right-click area?

            The trackpad alone is enough to make me pay the Apple tax for my personal machines. Under my hands the Apple trackpad Just Works and feels great, and three- and four-finger window management gestures are a nice bonus.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Dal

            I thought I saw where you can use the 420/520 trackpad and keyboard in the 430/530 but from 440 on out its the big GFY. I’m typing on a T450s and it still sucks but not as bad as the 440 (this one has trackpoint buttons).

            You might want to check this out too:

            http://www.pcworld.com/article/204693/
            Disable_Your_Laptops_Touchpad_While_You_Type_Windows_7_Edition.html

            https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/
            ThinkPad-P-and-W-Series-Mobile/Disable-Touchpad/td-p/934913

            I needed this for the 450 as it was horrible to type on without it (cursor jumping about).

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Well, this T440s is going to disappear sometime in early 2017 and be replaced by a T460s, so I’ll get to see then if it’s any better. Hopefully that machine will also be rid of the T440s’s habit of having a random BSOD every couple of months.

            It’s bad enough that, if I take a trip where I’ll always have an internet connection, I’ll take my personal MacBook Pro instead and use our corporate apps over a Citrix connection. Yes, I’d really rather have a Citrix connection than the T440s trackpad between me and my work.

            But I also don’t want to bother with an external mouse, and I find the TrackPoint slow, so I don’t want to disable the trackpad entirely.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You will enjoy this rant from Rossman:

            youtube.com/watch?v=jb7p3VkQCOo

            His channel is interesting because evidently he is a third party MacBook repair shop and he posts some neat stuff.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            That’s entertaining! I have no beef with the keyboard, though, just the trackpad.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I don’t like the post *20 series keyboard but I agree the trackpad issue is far more severe.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Heh, my ThinkPad is so old it has a 2.8GHz Core2 Duo.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            500 series? 61 series?

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            R500, yes.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I have the exact same model at home, max out the ram to 8GB (ddr3 1300mhz IIRC) and buy yourself an SSD.

            Oh and the 15in/15.4in 60, 61, and 500 all use the same batteries which is very convenient.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            I do just about everything in a browser except for a few ROMs and Kerbal Space Program, which my HP Envy is barely fast enough to play. But hey, it was free.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      AoLetsGo,

      Check out this nice, skinny app:

      pangobright.com/

      I’ve also got hyper light-sensitivity and I swear by Pango.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        OMP, “Swapped my XP drive into it but couldn’t boot (SATA1>SATA2 compatability?), settled for OEM drive with W7, started to really enjoy using it and then 2 days later the power supply transformer bricked.”

        Probably from going from a BIOS to UEFI based motherboard.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          “Probably from going from a BIOS to UEFI based motherboard.”

          Yep, I seen them letters when researching it!

          Had just resigned myself to *gakk* spending money when the Toshiba was magically offered to me.

          Now I has a sweet 64-bit system that I aim to run Windows & Linux with till the cows come home!

  • avatar
    gaycorvette

    I like this site very much, mostly because it hasn’t been homogenized and robotized like so many others. You don’t spend half of each review explaining your rating system, for example. Also you give actual personal opinions about cars, not just “well, some people may like it because it will meet their needs, and others won’t because it won’t.” Six of one, half a dozen of another is not an opinion in my book.

    I also appreciate your contributors all have individual voices and idiosyncracies, which, again, is becoming rarer. Please continue to be yourselves.

    In general the value of a car review to me is a detailed description of the driving *experience* itself, in all its dimensions. This is what you can provide uniquely. I won’t hold you to L. J. K. Setright standards, but the effort is appreciated. I can find the trim levels and equipment lists described elsewhere. And I really don’t care about iPhone connectivity. Sure, describe it. But don’t make it into something more important than it is.

    You have come a long way from your adolescent-snarky Volt Watch days, which didn’t wind up making you guys look all that prescient, did it? The “politics” you need to avoid is doubling down on a manufacturer hate crush that blinds you to the value and potential of the product under analysis. This doesn’t really do much for me as a reader. Keep that stuff in your pants.

    But do keep the logo. It’s very 80s. It’s the combination of your acuity and shaggy dog aesthetic that makes TTAC work for me.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Mark,
    I do think you’ll find the SUV and pickup articles give TTAC the best bang for your buck.

    As for the politics I have yet to see any TTAC article explain the hows and whys for regulations, etc. These have the most significant impact on what is sold in the market. And yes, most regulations are cleverly crafted and political.

    Not much investigation is made. Generally a broad and suggestive article is written as an opinion piece, when in fact it is designed to incite.

    I personally don’t mind but a minority do.

    Adam and Kyree are doing a stellar job. Adam is a little Ford biased, I can live with that, so long he can manage a poke now and then.

    Keep up the good work.

    • 0 avatar

      We’ll try to focus on those areas more.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      Al-

      I’ll have you know I’m trying to buy a GM vehicle this week.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      There’s already a dedicated pickup/SUV site over at cars dot com that goes (sometimes) into very extensive reviews. No need to duplicate their efforts but announcements of future products along those lines are useful. On the other hand, that site doesn’t do as well at covering what is now the most popular type of car… the crossover/suv (non body-on-frame models.) TTAC does pretty well at covering those as well as the other supposed oddballs that nobody seems to want (yet should really check out as they’re not nearly as bad as some would have you believe.)

      So, keep up the variety and help open up people’s minds to new ideas.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Vulpine,
        PUTC is not a quality site. By the looks of it Mike Levine (Ford) has significant influence.

        It’s also run by school kids. Low quality trash. There are a few at TTAC who lower themselves and contribute trash on PUTC under different names.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          You know I won’t argue that, Oz. But why duplicate the efforts of someone who already has a lot more money than TTAC is likely to have for running their own in-house reviews.

          Now personally, I’d love to have the opportunity to drive a different car every week and get to write about it; clearly my impressions of many cars tends to differ significantly from the Baruth brothers. Still, everybody has their biases and I don’t argue I have mine. That doesn’t mean I can’t give an honest review of any car I drive just because I don’t like the brand. I don’t like Ford, yet I drive a ’97 Ranger that’s proving reasonably reliable (after thousand$ spent fixing some issues due to it sitting dormant for 11 years) and the last rental Ford I drove (a Focus) seemed to be a decent car despite not being an EcoBoost model. It was comfortable, quiet and even got surprisingly good fuel economy AND didn’t leave me hanging when I needed acceleration. What I couldn’t discuss was reliability because one week of driving it won’t tell me how it will last in regular use and the one I drove hadn’t even cracked 1,000 miles at the time.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Vulpine,
            These sites are not just about articles, it’s as much about us. These sites would amount to nothing without us.

            Duplication is great. Duplication promotes greater competition.

            I do believe TTAC has a well balanced audience with many different opinions. This is healthy.

            Speaking pickups. Imagine if all comments were d!ck spanking comments of congratulations on how great US pickups are, sort of like World Series Baseball. When in fact baseball is very limited were its played. The most controversial comments would be like PUTC based mainly on Big Three pickups. There are 7 billion people out there other than the US and Canada with different ideas that can contribute and promote competition.

            I sense fear among some of our fellow commenters here on TTAC regarding competition. They are insular and the only way for them to feel secure is to produce uneducated comments to justify their insecurity.

            If these guys want America to be Great, then they must learn to compete. Being number one for generations has given these types of personalities a sense of security at the expense of how to compete.

            I love US pickups, actually all pickups. But US pickups are no better than an Aussie designed Ranger or for that matter Brazilian, Thai, German, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Is it your contention that Adam’s supposed bias will affect his role of moderator here?

      If not, then why bring it up? He is not a contributor (of articles), his “job” here is unrelated to automobiles with the exception that they are the subject of the comments he helps moderate.
      Unless you’re prepared to show that he is biased against commenters who don’t drive or praise Fords, and is abusing his role of co-moderator in that respect, then the subject of what Adam chooses to drive or admire is unrelated to his role as moderator.

      I have seen him be quite candid about lackluster Ford products, and he is positive about some compeditor’s vehicles in his personal comments (as have I on both accounts). It doesn’t matter if he is biased. He could say that the 1995 Windstar was the most reliable and sporty vehicle ever built. It would get laughs, but it would not affect his duty here.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        I have contributed some articles and will continue to do so when able. But yes, my primary role is moderator. Al thinks I am in love with the aluminium F150, and that my love skews my opinion when it comes to truck matters.

        I do really like the current F-Series, but I am also fond of GM and RAM’s current trucks. I’ve driven all half-ton and HD trucks from those three makers (2016 and newer too), so I think I have facts and experiences to back up my opinions. I’d take pieces from each to make my perfect truck.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        John,
        Re-read and comprehend what I wrote. You can’t be that stupid. Or your comment is a troll.

        I don’t know, especially if you think a blunt instrument like the chicken tax is cleverly crafted.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      Yes, this site needs more discussion of the chicken tax and midsize trucks. Might as well throw in a discussion of who should be ol’ Donald J’s “Car Czar”

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    TOPIC: PICKUP TRUCKS!

    Had been away for a couple of weeks, so I missed the call for comments on the future content of TTAC articles.

    But, frankly, I had been kind of tapering off on my TTAC participation anyway: just not that interested in cars, per se, anymore.

    Why? The buyer’s world in America is now dominated by pickup trucks, SUV’s and CUV’s, and, with owning four vehicles myself, I find not one of them is a conventional sedan. Three out five top-selling vehicles in America are pickup trucks (it’s been that way for half a decade or more), and I own two of them.

    Another example: the Ford F-150 PU has been the best-selling vehicle, of any type, for about 25 years straight, — not just the best-selling truck.

    I personally have had at least one pickup truck in my driveway since 1974, and think they are the cat’s meow. So, I don’t know if others have suggested this, but I would like to see more TTAC coverage on pickup trucks. (Yes, there has been some.) “Cars” seem so incapable, boring, and passé these days… (^_^)…

    ===================================

    • 0 avatar

      We’re working on it.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Having spent 40,000 miles in the past year in the seat of the pickup truck in my photo (mostly pulling an Airstream), I have to say that, in many respects, U.S. marque pickups are an engineering tour de force. More than 50 years ago, I learned to drive in a pickup (International), but since the early 1960s had spent very little time in them until I bought this one. Considering what it does, this thing is amazing . . . and quiet and comfortable as well.

      The problem for this, or any other car site, is that the criteria for evaluating pickups are mostly different from those for evaluating cars (although my 6.2 V8 powered truck will smoke most cars at a stoplight until the speed governor kicks in).

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      More of the trucks that most in North America buy…The slant has been towards the midsizers of late which while growing, is still a small percentage of fullsize sales.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      In my younger days, I used to press TTAC to focus more on trucks, but after a while I let it drop, because I was just expressing a view for a free website to better reflect my own rural/exurbian background, which is never edifying.

  • avatar
    formula m

    So we’re just done with phrasing, right, that’s not a thing anymore?

  • avatar

    Happy to see you’re laying out some rules for commentators.

    Sad to see you’re going to drop the longer, more detailed posts for shorter ‘news blurbs’. You feel there’s enough of those types of websites already out there, but I’ve always liked TTAC’s quality over quantity style and I’ll hope that it continues but I have not seen another site make the transition successfully. I feel there’s enough short little news blog websites out there. I hope that the feature content you speak of makes up for this decision.

  • avatar
    slance66

    Good changes Mark. It’s all heading in the right direction.

    Folks like Al are probably right about SUVs, CUVs and Pickups bringing many clicks, especially the reviews. But they also bring loads of fun comments from the brown diesel wagon with a manual crowd and the “get a minivan!” group.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      My 2 year old now says: “car” when one passes by her that she notices. I’m trying to expand her vocabulary with “truck” and “van” to start (we’ll move on from there). In the target parking lot this weekend we parked next to an Odyssey and she pointed and said: “car”.

      I said: “Van.”

      My wife: “Which we are never getting.”

      I’d love someone to break down registrations by gender. Are more minivans registered to guys? Who is the primary registrant on the remaining BOF SUVs?

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Well, if you go by experience, PD, it seems the guys buy the vans for family ‘practicality’ while the ladies go for something more like a wagon, i.e. SUV. A family I know that has driven a minivan for as long as I’ve known them (nearly 20 years) just bought two SUVs, the husband a Honda HR-V and the wife a Chevy Acadia.

      • 0 avatar

        “I’d love someone to break down registrations by gender. Are more minivans registered to guys? Who is the primary registrant on the remaining BOF SUVs?”

        We might be able to figure this out.

    • 0 avatar

      I have someone looking into it. This should make for decent content tomorrow as long as we get the data in time.

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    Hey Barruth! Did you see this? You are in trouble buddy…. Your Yakathons are doomed. :-)

    “Our news pieces are about to get a lot shorter, folks. There’s no reason to provide 400+ words on a news item when you can find the same or similar content elsewhere. It ties up resources and uses up time better spent on more feature pieces.”

    Your fav comments… RB

  • avatar
    kosmo

    More cars? Awesome idea. My favorite part. I’d like a comparison test between the Fiesta ST, Focus ST and Focus RS. And I think you guys just might have some fun doint that.

    So Mark, how is this statement of yours not politically partisan: “Still, we’re about to enter a new era in American politics, where rhetoric plays an even more active role than it has in years and decades past.”

    I’ll just say I’m generally fiscally conservative and socially liberal and nevertheless would prefer ZERO politics on my favorite car site, even if it means I miss a CAFE news item or two.

    • 0 avatar

      “So Mark, how is this statement of yours not politically partisan: “Still, we’re about to enter a new era in American politics, where rhetoric plays an even more active role than it has in years and decades past.””

      Because no matter what side you’re on, I think you can agree with it. I am not saying the shift is good or bad, but there will be a shift.

      “I’ll just say I’m generally fiscally conservative and socially liberal and nevertheless would prefer ZERO politics on my favorite car site, even if it means I miss a CAFE news item or two.”

      Politics drive regulation, which then drives our right to choose what we want. I don’t think sticking our head in the ground and ignoring it is something the majority of our readers want us to do.

    • 0 avatar

      I pretty much just did a comparison test between the Focus RS and the Fiesta ST. :)

  • avatar
    xander18

    I certainly appreciate what you folks are doing here. As a diehard old car nut/greasemonkey most auto news sites don’t have much to offer as long as I never set foot in a dealership. TTAC manages to cover the industry in a way that doesn’t feel like a buying guide for someone looking at current MY model leases and couldn’t be less interested in anything else.

    I wish I could offer more constructive criticism, hope this helps or encourages.

  • avatar

    I’ve been here long enough to tell that, given the size of this site, it’s a pretty tame place to be.

    There are some that are “abrasive”, but compared to some of the other auto sites that I’ve been a part of (AWCC, MT, CF, etc), most everyone here is pretty civilised. As a longtime online community manager, I attribute that to the excellent job of the Admins and Moderators are doing here. Keep it up!

  • avatar
    Haze Grey

    Mark,

    I could offer you some overseas content but my writing chops are average at best. If you don’t mind doing a little extra editing I might be willing to give it a shot.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I didn’t comment on the other post, and I just ran into this problem which reminded me to say something so I’ll mention it here. I’m guessing others have said something as well and I know you don’t have direct control over this since it comes from your webhost, but whatever format you guys use, and probably whatever ad software is run, makes this the clunkiest running web page I regularly go to. It lags, freezes, and even crashes on a regular basis. The text comment section is particularly bad, making it difficult to type comments or edit them. Recently some obnoxiously noisy autoplay ad videos have started popping up which makes load times even longer, never mind requiring me to only go to this website with my speakers off. I visit this site on a variety of computers, both Macs and PCs, using different OS, different browsers, and different internet connections and they all have this problem.

  • avatar
    gaycorvette

    Apart from my own personal preferences, I think a key to TTAC’s continued success will rest on the degree of awareness and refinement within the organization of its identity and value proposition. Whether TTAC is fully aware of this or not, this site is quite distinctive compared to the rest of what’s out there. Most other auto sites are basically now shopping services. And those that still pretend to be car mags in the traditional sense, being all owned by Hachette, just recycle the same stories and reviews among themselves. Brand destruction in the name of brand management, worthy of 1980s GM.

    In this boring ecosystem, being distinctive holds great value. Since it has the power to build a brand that has lasting value and appeal, that’s not just a different logo slapped, like a refrigerator magnet, onto the arse of a totally generic product. Lots of marketing mavens will try to sell you on monetization, SEO, vertical integration, integrating a “From the Web” pane that contains more stories than your site itself. And, of course, the obligatory, “Sign up for our FREE newsletter!” popup. As he adjusts his cufflinks. Because that’s all he knows how to do. This is the path to destruction.

    Sure. You gotta make money. Hazelnut tart cherry craft brewed IPA does not come free. But your best bet for being able to jump up and down on a bed covered with Loonies is to resist becoming a clone of everyone else.

    Just sayin’.

  • avatar
    freekcj

    I’d have to wonder if this call out happened say, year three into a presidents term, would the political rhetoric be as strong? The fact we just went through a very opinionated cycle of politics has these things top-of-mind.

    I enjoy TTAC for the content and the comments following them. I enjoy how a blog post about changes to said blog post morph into a comparison of laptop specs.
    My ADD just loves the subject jump.

    Keep it up all.

  • avatar
    Troggie42

    It all sounds good to me! Keep up the great work, Mark!

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