You Spoke, We Listened: After Over 300 Comments, This is What We'll Do For You

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson
you spoke we listened after over 300 comments this is what we ll do for you

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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4 of 167 comments
  • Freekcj Freekcj on Nov 21, 2016

    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.

  • Troggie42 Troggie42 on Nov 21, 2016

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

  • SCE to AUX That beautiful emerald paint is a $2200 option, so I think you can push this car over $50k.
  • Dartdude Biden's administration is full of unqualified people. This is what happens when you don't hire on merit. Pothole Pete is living proof of it.
  • Dukeisduke Oh brother, these high-end BEVs are getting ridiculous. Faraday Distant Future, or Faraday Never? I'm betting on the latter.
  • Kwik_Shift After finally seeing a Dodge Hornet in person, I was so underwhelmed that I didn't even want to test drive it.
  • Dukeisduke The new Range Rover Sport SV takes the concept and cranks its wick to 626 horsepower, meaning that when it's not in the shop, this Rangey is capable of hitting 60 mph from rest in just 3.6 seconds.FTFY