By on November 14, 2016

TTAC Logos

When I first joined The Truth About Cars in April of 2015, I made it my mission to catch up on TTAC’s illustrious history. I marked a date in my calendar: November 14th, the date of TTAC’s first published post, which makes today TTAC’s 15th anniversary.

TTAC has done a lot in 15 years. It’s offered up honest, informative, and entertaining reviews, which many in the industry still describe as “brutal” — a descriptor we wear with pride. We’ve kept an eye on the Detroit Three before, during, and after the massive bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler. We’ve kept Silicon Valley and government honest. And we’ve launched the careers of some of the industry’s most trusted critics (and others who completely sold out — you can’t hit a homerun every time you step up to the plate).

It’s easy to look back on 15 years of history with a romantic view, but it’s infinitely more difficult to predict and anticipate the future.

That’s why I come before you today.

We’ve followed some obvious themes as of late: a strong but softening sales environment; rising incentives; America’s (and the rest of the world’s, really) rekindled love for SUVs and trucks during a time of low fuel prices. We’ve also tried to eschew politics more so than many other outlets, though that will change as the political football is about to be thrown in the direction of auto manufacturing and free trade.

Conversely or complementary, we’ve attempted to pivot our content more toward enthusiasts and in-market buyers looking for advice, to be the guardian of your dollars, to give you a leg up against the salesman.

Yet, with all this effort, we are still a blog. Our sole product is content. Our main focus is enticing you with a headline so you’ll click through to read our words. Unfortunately, that seems to be the only thing we’ll be able to bring you for the foreseeable future.

Here’s some truth: TTAC is 15 years old and the current iteration of its website is coming up on its seventh birthday. We’re the Dodge Journey of automotive websites — new trim packages now and then, but the bones themselves remain, long amortized and profitable but showing age. We operate under one of the tightest budgets in media and see little to no investment. We’d love to give you more — but we can’t. There’s no plan for TTAC to evolve, to change, to become an authority. Our hands are tied and the rope becomes more taut by the day.

But there’s hope.

I believe great solutions are born from adversity. Look at Alan Mulally, for example. The ex-Boeing executive quite literally mortgaged the farm after he joined Ford. Now FoMoCo is reaping the benefits of his decisions over eight years later. He didn’t do that by throwing down edicts today so common in corporate America. He listened to his advisors, to his employees, and to Ford’s customers.

In that spirit, instead of breaking out the beer and congratulating ourselves on a job well done, I’d like to ask you some questions: What is TTAC to you? What would you like to see more of? Less of? What would keep you coming back? What drives you away? Be honest. Be brutal. I expect nothing less of you, because you expect nothing less of us.

I also want to take this moment to thank you. We are nothing without you, so thank you for sticking by us for these 15 years and I ask you to stick with us for 15 more. We’ll do our best to make it worth your while.

Mark Stevenson
Managing Editor, The Truth About Cars

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

343 Comments on “15 Years of Truth – A Message from TTAC’s Managing Editor...”


  • avatar
    Pantherlove

    Things I’d like to see more of:
    Sanjeev!
    Ask Mark/Bark
    Actual car reviews

    Things I’d like to see less of:
    Political grandstanding.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I can’t argue with any of this. I would also love to see more deep dives in sales analyses.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks for your input!

      • 0 avatar
        DearS

        The place has changed a bit since the economic collapse days. I would like to see more critical reviews like you had in the past. I am glad you guys continue to integrate automotive related stories in everything from politics to the American way of life.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Basically sums it up — there are a number of cars I’d love to see a Vellum Venom write up on. (current Prius, BMW i3, Cascadia, to name a few)

      If budgets are tight more reader reviews (up to editorial standards). There is an Enterprise walking distance from my house, I’d grab a weekend rental on my dime if I thought I had an even thin chance of getting published.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      It shouldn’t surprise you that I’d suggest less of Bark. He’s cheap sensationalism. It might sell, but you need to be better than that.

      While I’m typing, any chance of getting Alex Dykes back?

      • 0 avatar
        wumpus

        While I’m no fan of Bark: if a car isn’t going to rack up significant (or especially *any*), than any information about how a car behaves on the track is insignificant (or pointless if it never ventures onto one). I think that his view is pretty critical to ttac. Unless the B&B significantly changes (or I’m off base), it seems that his views are close enough of the B&B.

        I also think his brother is right and that recommending cars to people is a fools game, but either he will grow out of needing to recommend them or grow out of caring how annoyed they are at being recommended “the wrong car”.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          I like Bark’s articles and same can be said for Jack’s. I find that I am much more likely to disagree with some of Jack’s comments. Both add to the site and are great at triggering debate. Some may see that as being masters of click-baiting but I disagree.
          The B&B are the main reason why I come here. The contributors to the site should be chosen based upon how they continue to attract the “best and brightest” from the blogosphere.

      • 0 avatar

        YOU JUST CAN’T QUIT ME

    • 0 avatar
      cheezman88

      I agree with this as well. I’d like to see more actual informative and honest car reviews rather than political and or click-bait pieces. I would also add that i’d like to see more technical articles, like the one from a while back that dove pretty deep about the innerworkings of a transmission. This site means a lot to me as its where i learned about the inner workings of the automotive industry. It honestly gives me pride to know that there are things i know because of this site alone that others do not about the automotive world. And i hope i can continue to come to this site regularly both to learn and for entertainment.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    More of:
    -Writers interacting with commentariat proles, like Sajeev and Carter J.
    -More articles about weird models and trims like that compillation Golf one.
    -Need more actual reviews. Doesn’t seem like there’s a dedicated reviewer since Alex left. Tim is doing it but I don’t think it’s his favorite thing. He likes spreadsheets and stats more.

    Less of:
    -Clickbaity stuff involving politics.
    -News Roundups which are only tangentially car relevant (for example, Russian man chasing car after parking brake left off).
    -Volkswagen trashing articles. Just do a weekly roundup on those – they’re all the same and I don’t even read them anymore.
    -Potentially NSFW images in my inbox. It happened recently which is already one time too many. You can do better – falls under point one of this section.
    -Authors present and past coming here to trash each other publicly in the comments and/or in editorials. It distracts from what we’re here for, and is very unprofessional. Keep that in your email or your Facebook inbox, where it belongs.

    Like to see:
    -Revised comment board which has been promised for two plus years or so, with better integration/visuals, and a mute button. I have several people I’m just waiting to mute. Please!

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks Corey!

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I don’t know if Tim likes the reviews, but he is good at it. Maybe not as exhaustive as Alex, but there are always small details that let you know he actually drove the car for a while.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I think it’s good how he uses the car in a family context, and provides a practical viewpoint in that way. Seems like whatever he gets takes over DD function until it goes away. Not advocating that his reviews be stricken, there just needs to be a supplementary writer (Hi Tim!).

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “-Authors present and past coming here to trash each other publicly in the comments and/or in editorials. It distracts from what we’re here for, and is very unprofessional. Keep that in your email or your Facebook inbox, where it belongs.”

      This was the first thing which came to my mind. As a consequence of a recent incident in these pages, I no longer click on Jack’s entries. It pains me to do so, but I can’t reward TTAC for his unpredictable and unbridled ad hominem attacks.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Generally agree with Corey. Focus on quality. Do it well and the rest will follow.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    More HEllCat???????

    But seriously, the B&B are my favourite commentators/group on the internet. Funny and informative.

    The Baruth brothers. Both are good writers. Sanjeev, would like to see more of his work. Murilee’s postings always bring a smile. Mark, Ronnie’s and Tim’s columns.

    More reviews, of rental vehicles and by vehicle owners. More information on vehicles not available in North America and sales trends worldwide.

    I enjoy the political and social commentary. Just like the ‘classic’ Top Gear episodes, entertainment with an automotive backdrop.

    Would like to see Steve Lang back but understand that he may be ‘difficult’ to work with.

    Much more that I just can’t think of at the moment.

    By the way, owner The Star recently bragged about increased profitability, based largely on the performance of its VerticalScope holdings.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    A next page button at the top of the page is high on my wish list.

    Also more actual car reviews would be nice, especially by owners and rentals.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I have a comment on your second point. Occasionally there will be a request put out for some user content and reviews. I’m sure many get submitted, and then 0-2 actually get published.

      So either the content is just not used, or not suitable for publishing, in which case I’d be more specific with future requests.

      • 0 avatar

        “So either the content is just not used, or not suitable for publishing, in which case I’d be more specific with future requests.”

        It’s neither of these things and totally a failing on my part.

        I always have the best of intentions when putting out a call for reader submissions, then I never make enough time to put those pieces in WordPress, edit them, and everything else.

        I do still have all those submissions though. Maybe next week, after the LA Auto Show, I can go through that folder and see if there’s anything decent in there. I’d like to publish more of them.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Would be good to see them come around more often indeed.

        • 0 avatar

          I would love to do a regular reader submission if this were a thing (longtime enthusiast and auto industry veteran here).

          • 0 avatar
            Thorshammer_gp

            I definitely concur on more reader submissions…in the absence of people like Steve Lang, who brought insight into things I would rarely have otherwise given much thought to (his piece on the Honda Passport was one of my favorites), I think given the chance, a lot of people here could help fill that gap.

          • 0 avatar
            Old Man Pants

            I wish Pch101 would throw us a little treatise every now and again. It would be on a par with Womack, Jones & Roos.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Old Man Pants – was Kenmore recalled?

          • 0 avatar
            Old Man Pants

            Lou,
            Kenmore was just getting stale to me plus I was revisiting the work of my favorite photog, Cartier-Bresson, and one of his famous “decisive moment” photos shows the grandaddy of all old-man-pants:

            mediastore2.magnumphotos.com/CoreXDoc/MAG/Media/TR7/0/7/4/d/PAR46659.jpg

            A square crop of the old gent in the center would, I thought, have made a *perfect* avatar for what I wished to convey with my new name.

            Foolishly, I changed my name before attempting to upload the crop. WorePress’ Avatar Management no longer works so as recommended by their kludgey site I attempted to navigate Gravatar’s steaming scheiß-pile only to have a hissy-fit over *its* cement-like opacity.

            So, in an attempt to humorously honor a great photog while adding some freshness to my online presence I was stymied by a troglodytic commenting system and my own petulant frenzy.

          • 0 avatar

            @Old Man Pants Go to Gravatar.com and upload your avatar there using the same email address you use for TTAC. It will then show up here.

          • 0 avatar
            Old Man Pants

            Mark,
            Thanks for the personal attention!

            I ignored that old email address long enough for it to go away but have just established a Gravatar account with another and uploaded my image.

            User name at Gravatar is “ausfall8” and pix is “OMP”.

            Again, gracias!

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          Mark, A few months back, I had submitted a user review after a brief email exchange. Then nothing.

          I do realize that the job of an editor can make things really busy, but it would have been nice to get an acknowledgement email (I have no problem with rejections or being edited as I was once a columnist for a technical journal).

  • avatar
    danio3834

    It’s much of the same old “insights” on the same topics, with the same hyperbole and predictable comments from the same commenters day after day. I used to read daily, now maybe check in once a week.

    The great commenter purge was a off-putting. While I didn’t always like what those people said, this doesn’t need to be a safe space. That’s never what TTAC was about.

    More original content, reviews and information etc. would be welcome. I can get auto news from any number of other sources with more resources. Give me a reason to come here.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks Danio.

      The commenter situation is sticky. The people who were banned were warned time and time again of what not to do. They could have easily done the same thing they always did with some mild tweaks. Instead, they decided not to abide by the rules. I’ll continue to treat everyone equally. Nobody is more special than anyone else.

      • 0 avatar

        Rules are a necessary thing. Anarchy is a bad. The problem with rules is unintended consequences.

        We suffered through the Bertel era where banning people required no rules at all. The the JB era where past transgressions were forgiven, after which it became great fun to be here and I often looked forward to reading the comments more than I did the articles themselves.

        The content here is generally available everywhere else. The vast majority of the articles cite the source so I’m not revealing anything new here.

        After the new rules we again see bans. And moderators. The unintended result is that this place feels more like a neighborhood bar where there’s only regulars. People the regulars don’t like or agree with are run out in a hurry. New customers are not welcome unless they fit in somehow with the regular clientele. A couple of non-employee bouncers (moderators here) then facilitate your hasty exit.

        Here, God help ya if you don’t love Tesla and think Elon Musk hung the moon. And that sentiment seems to start at the top. The last several months I’ve had to read negative news about Tesla elsewhere as it’s not even mentioned here.

        So my input here is lay off on all but the most egregious behavior. We don’t need the place to devolve into a bunch of people threatening violence or menacing language but some BTSR type self-aggrandizing and HELLCAT! jokes are just plain entertaining. I miss the levity. Let everyone come back home that’s not banned for racism or FU kinda language. If you’re running a business you need customers.

        Danio stated it well. The current environment has the feel of a college safe speech timeout room.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          “Here, God help ya if you don’t love Tesla and think Elon Musk hung the moon.”

          I think this assessment of the general feeling here is pretty off. I run through a list in my head of the people I find here regularly, and none of them seem particularly to like Tesla. Even Mr. Electric Car SCE to AUX is critical of them some.

          Just a couple days ago there was an article on how they can’t service their cars because their service departments are few and far between and overtaxed.

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            Indeed.

            24 articles mention Tesla since September. 16 of them with what could be considered “negative” critique of the company (I wouldn’t characterize them as negative articles, though, in many cases – just reporting on negative news).

            If anything, I think TTAC has been pretty good at highlighting the “truth” about Tesla as far as factual representations of the current state of things go,and Kudos to them for that.

            That being said, I think if you were to look at news articles vs vehicle marketshare in the US, at least, you’d see Tesla taking up a rather unbalanced amount of the news cycle lately. I suppose it’s possible that other manufacturers aren’t doing anything worthy of note, but it’s been an awful lot of Tesa-or-VW lately, right or wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            “Even Mr. Electric Car SCE to AUX is critical of them some.”

            @CoreyDL: Thanks for the observation. I must give credit primarily to Pch101 for opening my eyes a bit. The debate here ought to help educate one other, too.

            I don’t fit the EV stereotype very well. But the anti-Tesla bias by Steph (and others) feels like it’s coming straight from a right-wing news outlet.

            I can get pro-EV stuff elsewhere, and I can get anti-EV stuff elsewhere. I come *here* to get TTAC.

            Opinions are fine, but they’re too eagerly mixed with newsy material in the articles, and I’m not just referring to EVs. FCA comes to mind next.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I agree – I think it’s a difficult line to walk in avoiding the NewsBot theme of prior times. The tendency then is toward snark, since that’s what we do here.

    • 0 avatar
      Crancast

      1000 times this comment, dead on.

      To be more blunt, this site continuing in the same manner is on a death march. In the past year, the only reasons to consistenly come here were for Jack, Bark, and the comments. And then the purge happened. So it is strictly down to Jack and Bark. Every other piece of content is done better somewhere else. That is not a dig at anyone and the great work done here, just the reality of limited resources and the seeming refusal/inability to invest in the product here.

      Original content is a must. Reviews – those brutal TTAC reviews that stir discussion are a must. And on to-be or recently released autos, not a Journey rehash (sorry Bark, sure your options were limited that day). Make peace with those banned and add in the functionality to ignore/mute for those more easily offended.

      Or continue along with a tweak here or there. What do I know, I never comment anyways. Just a serial-lurker who happens to be lurking on other auto sites a whole lot more.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Maybe off-topic and don’t want to hijack this but what “purge?”

        There are only a handful of people I don’t see anymore. There are a few who still post but far less frequently (pch101 posted in the B&B not too long ago, but barely see them). As far as a couple who got hit with the ban hammer, I can’t say I miss them. Don’t know if bigtruck just doesn’t come or got the boot.

        But curious to know about what purge – I only see 3, maybe 4 or at the most gone. Do miss crabspirits big time!

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @APaGttH – agreed.

          The “ban hammer” came out due to some rather personal attacks. BTSR was actually good to debate with once he dropped the bluster and obvious self-promotion.

          The “pub” metaphor is a good one and the mood is set mostly by the regulars. The “regulars” at a pub are set by the atmosphere of that pub. That falls onto the ones that run the pub. It is a fine line to walk.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Little late here — saw Deadweight comment a bit ago, so presumably he’s not commenting regularly of his own accord.

            Perhaps BTSR could be brought back, and given a short leash.

      • 0 avatar

        Most of my Tesla articles have been critical so you may think that there is some type of bias but they correspond to my knowledge of servicing and tuning vehicles and how Tesla compares to the rest.

        You can go elsewhere to get a rehash of an Elon video or conference call or to see praise for Tesla. I hold Tesla to the same fire as the rest of the manufacturers and will call them out when they look to monopolize parts of their business while preaching about sharing.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      This^^^

  • avatar
    seth1065

    First Congrats on 15 years,well done by the whole team past and present. I come here to see a unique take on the car world, I do not need cut and paste from other sites here. Yes TTAC has it’s bias but it is mostly clear which way most of the writers lean so not a huge deal. I can live with dodge Journey bones of the site but it is very light on features on the weekend when I have more time to read , and more reviews , more review , less political BS like the trump car vs hitler car. Bring back a Steve Lang type or a Alex type who gave us unique reviews or insights with no attitude which is refreshing and a little lacking here to be honest. Funny for years this site openly mocked Jalopnik but now your buddies, maybe your owned both the same folks or some of your writers appear there but the switch is a little hollow. I will say the comments section has gotten better with less screaming so I am all for that and you deserve credit for cleaning that up.

    • 0 avatar

      “Bring back a Steve Lang type or a Alex type who gave us unique reviews or insights with no attitude which is refreshing and a little lacking here to be honest.”

      Yeah, I would like to have a dedicated reviewer again.

      “Funny for years this site openly mocked Jalopnik but now your buddies, maybe your owned both the same folks or some of your writers appear there but the switch is a little hollow.”

      I think mocking Jalopnik is clickbaity. We generally have the same ideals but approach them from different directions. I think there’s some mutual respect between the two outlets. And if you go way, way back, RF did write for Jalopnik at one point in time.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    I’m kind of new to TTAC. Still not sure what to make of it. Some postings entertaining, others not so much. A commenters post too much and dominate the comments. I think I have a crush on Kyree. Have seen his posts in other places and often concur with wherever his thoughts are.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Definitely less of the politics. There are plenty of sites out there that folks can go to for their daily dose of Red v Blue headaches. I understand that certain policies that come out of D.C. will impact the automotive landscape, but that is far different than delving into the sniping I’ve seen lately regarding political views.

    I’ve worked in the auto industry (not anymore), so seeing some of the background into the various manufacturers and suppliers has always interested me.

    Reviews on cars that the (majority) of readership can actually afford would be nice. For the record, I own a ’13 Cruze and ’14 Escape, so that should tell you quite a bit about my demographic.

    And finally…civility. Look, we can always agree to disagree on various topics, but there are still too many days when I simply leave the site and quit reading because discussions devolve into name-calling.

    • 0 avatar

      “And finally…civility. Look, we can always agree to disagree on various topics, but there are still too many days when I simply leave the site and quit reading because discussions devolve into name-calling.”

      If this is still the case, I haven’t seen much of it.

      • 0 avatar
        orenwolf

        Agreed. The personal attacks seem to be (mostly) resolved now. Thank you for that. There’s no way that a discussion of cars should devolve into personal attacks. that’s normally saved for family gatherings. ;)

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “civility” – I agree that it has been pretty good. Most of the political debates have been incredibly interesting with minimal personal attacks.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          I haven’t had as much time to read stuff lately — has the political stuff simmered down since the election? From what little I’ve seen, the answer is “yes.”

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    Rescind the ban on the clown BTSR and the prickly laywer DeadWeight. They may be annoying but were fun to read.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      +1

      I miss BTSR, and not just because he’s supporting our corporate mission to Hellcat All The Things. Even if he does poo all over Viper, I still (platonically) love him.

    • 0 avatar
      analoggrotto

      How did Big Trucks get banned ? I saw DW but missed this …

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      1) DW was not banned, as Mark has explained roughly 225 times.
      2) If he was a lawyer, I’ll eat my shoe.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      DW was not banned, he was suspended after repeated personal attacks against a writer here. He has either washed his hands of it, or has simply returned under another name, keeping a lower profile. I had a feeling TruckyMcTruckface or whatever was him, don’t know what happened to that persona or person if it were someone else.

      BTSR was using TTAC to promote his own internet-based career. This isn’t craigslist, you can’t post ads for free.

      I, for one, don’t miss his FIRST post with total disregard for the content of the article, just grandstanding his positions over and over.

      “Dodge Caliber in the article picture? Well, no need to read, I’ll just tell everyone how it needs to be BIGGER and HELLCAT and etched TRUMP logos in every window and I do 80 in school zones and I am doing so great on Hyundai money!”

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        DW turned a four minute major into a game misconduct and then mouthed off to the league after it suspended him for five games. After a DUI I hear he’s up in Minneapolis now teaching anger to a pee wee team in district five.

    • 0 avatar
      Whittaker

      A suspension and a ban are the same thing.
      Either can be temporary or indefinite.

      Regardless, it was a bad decision, unless he posted something much worse than I saw.

      If you want scintillating conversation you have to endure some questionable moments, as any employer of Jack ought to know.

      Safe places are boring. Given the choice we won’t choose the boring car, or the boring blog.

      • 0 avatar
        orenwolf

        I pity those in the communities that you deem “interesting” if you feel the only way for them to *be* interesting is to allow individuals who would rather attack others and avoid the topics at hand to generate “entertainment”.

    • 0 avatar
      Troggie42

      Honestly, I’ve been here a long, long time (I lurk a lot instead of commenting, usually), and with BTSR, I don’t think anything of value was lost. Dude was inflammatory and was always stirring up crap, and not to mention his habit of just spamming the comments as SOON as the article was posted with irrelevance and silliness and MANY CAPITAL LETTERS. DW could go either way IMO. He just went a bit too crazy one day and pushed it over the line as opposed to when he had been toeing it before.

  • avatar
    NoID

    More original content, maybe some series on the automotive development cycle or laying bare how ridiculously unrepresentative some of the quality and reliability rankings are, and the history of how such awful metrics became the OEM’s goal posts.

    Yeah, these things take time and money, but they’re what set you apart. Bark’s articles about dealers are always informative.

    Say what they want, I find the politically-charged posts here invariably ticking off left- and right-wingers alike, so I say keep them so long as they’re used like seasoning and not the main dish.

    Maybe bring someone who used to be in the auto industry on staff as a tech editor. Because your salary budget has room for more weight on the payroll…*roll eyes to indicate sarcasm and a mutual solidarity against The Man Holding Us Down*

    All that said, this is the only automotive website I routinely visit. Keep up the good work!

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Strong partnership with Curbside Classic. Maybe even a merger. There’s something about the “regular guy” aspect of TTAC which no other site has besides Curbside Classic.

    TTAC is not breathless and douchey like Jalopnik. But it’s also not bookish like CR and Edmunds, and certainly not a “buff book”. So given ALL the other choices out there, I come to TTAC for “how will this car fit into my daily life?”

    And once you’re in that space, there isn’t much of a difference between new and used. More like “how can I drive something interesting”?

    So get together with Curbside Classic. Divide the labor. You’re close already with content, maybe economies of scale?

    Try to set expectations around comment moderation. It’s important but don’t feel the need to be the comment police. Let folks know you don’t the resources.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I think you don’t realize that the people who run Curbside Classic used to work here – they don’t get along and that’s why there are two sites.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Perhaps CC could be approached about a little syndication?

        Run a CC article here and pay Paul (which I know he would use to keep the site going.)

        Another place y’all should check out if you want to geek out is “Ate Up With Motor”

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        According to what I’ve heard from various sources, Paul has been BEGGING VerticalScope to buy CC for years. He started off by wanting $50k and now he just wants to be rid of the hassle.

        I hasten to say that this is not something I can personally verify; it’s just what I was told during my tenure as EIC.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          From the tangent on Zackman, I would believe he’s quite fed up with running that site.

        • 0 avatar

          Paul sounds like he has a full life as it is, so am not surprised to read he’s after VerticalScope to buy Curbside Classic. I’ve enjoyed CC from the beginning, back to when it was a feature here on TTAC.

          Of course there is the little unspoken thing about what happens when you run out of CC’s to chronicle…and Paul’s reaching that point, it appears.

          As for Ate Up With Motor, Aaron must be in a different place in his life. New content is VERY slow in coming. Five years ago there was a new story every week.

          IDK how you can keep politics completely off the site, not just looking ahead to the possibility of revised US trade deals, but looking back as things like Cash for Clunkers. The political landscape and the automotive landscape are and have been intertwined for decades. Just handle it as it’s been handled over the years and provide us with the most accurate and impartial picture you can.

          Jack, keep the commentaries coming. They’re an essential part of TTAC. Bark, you’re a fount of information about the world of car dealers…fascinating and infuriating all in the same story. Keep it up.

          Thanks Mark and everyone at TTAC for all you do; this is the alternative to buff books and Jalopnik.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            On the subject of Curbside Classics – I saw a Mercury Village Nautica Edition, complete with the original white rims parked on Alki in Seattle over the weekend. Years of sitting on the point has taken its toll on the paint, but still rust free.

        • 0 avatar
          bryanska

          I had NO idea about all this. I’m a huge reader of the site for many years but I’ve missed a lot.

          And if the guy isn’t friendly to you, then absolutely leave it alone. I still remember a nasty, nasty Email I got from the Autoextremist guy which turned me off forever.

          Even so, I do feel strongly that there is a REAL differentiator in being “extreme inclusive”. Jalopnik hates the PT which wouldn’t fly here. Buff books go nuts over the latest BMW liftback, and that’s a blip on the radar here.

          I’ll stand by my lifelong manifesto: All Cars Deserve Discussion.

    • 0 avatar

      Inter-office politics prevent this. That’s all I’m going to say on the matter.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Mark.

        I commended you on October 26th, 2016, for doing something that should be the core of TTAC (IMO), and you didn’t even notice:

        https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/10/fisker-trying-drum-hype-fake-article-comments/

        DeadWeight
        October 26th, 2016 at 11:32 pm

        I logged in this one time to commend Mark Stevenson for a) discovering this possible pattern and connection regarding this Indian social networking/marketing firm (with a possible connection to the wife of Henrik Fisker), and b) having the old-school journalistic balls to publish this.

        This article represents a return to the best of what TTAC once was, and could be yet again.”

        Not going to lie, brah – hurt a little bit.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I was one of the first commenters over on CC. I think Paul N. is massively two-faced and wouldn’t want to see TTAC support him.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m pretty sure we already have someone on staff who can adequately cover old cars. Also, while I have no say in the matter, if had to choose a site to partner with, it would be Aaron Severson’s Ate Up With Motor. I think that Jalopnik made a good move hiring Steve Lehto, who also does a fine job with history.

      When I do research, I try to avoid using CC as a source. PN petulantly banned me from there because I took issue, politely, with the headline to one of their posts. Apparently PN thinks that he invented the idea of writing about old and interesting cars one comes across.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        “…PN thinks that he invented the idea of writing about old and interesting cars one comes across”

        Of course he didn’t – you did, and Murilee. The articles from both of you are consistently some of my favorites.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        Seconded on Ate Up With Motor. Aaron’s attention to detail is absolutely amazing; it’s a travesty that he hasn’t published a series of glossy coffee table books which sell to the cognoscenti at absurd prices. It would be a coup if TTAC could get him to write regularly.

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        Bummer. No love!

        The ONLY differentiator on CC is that he uses everyday sightings as inspiration. I don’t even need to see the cars on the street; I just like hearing about the marketing, R&D, and reception of some forgotten machine like the Geo Storm. Hell, trace a line to some current machine and it’s not so stodgy.

        In the absence, rental car reviews are a close second. Peel away the top trims and get at some forgotten model. It’s all connected.

        Thanks for the work. I have considered throwing my hat in the ring for contributing, but I’m occupied by changing careers right now.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Steve Lang provided an insider’s view into the auctions and used car trade. We need him or someone like him. There is so much more about cars than new purchases. More used cars and trucks are bought and sold every year than new.
    Thumbs up/thumbs down on comments would be terrific.
    More articles about unusual vehicles sold in other countries would also be a great addition.
    Well-written contributions from writers other than the regulars about personal automotive adventures or experiences of one sort or another.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I’ll post a separate comment about what I want, but I just want to chime in here to oppose thumbs-up/thumbs-down on comments. I think that’s the fastest way for a site to succumb to groupthink and drive off everyone who has views that differ from the consensus.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        Thumbs-up/thumps-down just also encourages people to try and be the first to say the most ridiculous stuff or ridiculous jokes in order to farm for thumbs ups/likes/whatever and feel better about themselves (see Jalopnik or frankly any [formerly] Gawker site].

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Agree, I am firmly against the thumbs up/down. It ruins every single page where it’s implemented.

          • 0 avatar
            dukeisduke

            Same here, I don’t like upvote/downvote. One reason I left Autoblog.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @CoreyDL
            It would get silly if you are discussing automotive topics outside NA, that have relevance to them or vice versa

          • 0 avatar
            56BelAire

            I’m on board with no Up-Down voting. I do think a limit of 3-4 comments per article would be good. It would eliminate some of the pissing matches we have seen recently on certain political articles.

            There are some here who always seem to need the last word. 12-15 replies on a article is a little much. We already know where you stand on post 3.

            The neighborhood bar analogy was perfect.

            More “old car” stuff. We had a few articles about detailing a few years ago….then they disappeared.

            DW, good to see you, this place isn’t the same since you left.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Agreed. Voting on entries is a round about way to towing the party line.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      This. I have some insight on wholesale but I haven’t been actively in it for years and the only other I know of with such experience is FlyBrian.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      FWIW Jack does not like Steve, I don’t know how Mark or Vertiscope feels. I always got a kick out of Steve’s stories.

  • avatar
    analoggrotto

    More Jack Baruth and his mischief. I come to read his articles and opinions on Toyota, Porsche, etc. and just glance by most everything else.

    The Junkyard section is a good one too, I enjoy reading others recount personal experience with the subject entry.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    Insights from industry insiders.

    It would be great to get some informative articles written by plant managers, vehicle design and engineering team members, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      This would also be welcome but I suspect if it was forthcoming you’d already see it displayed on lo these hallowed walls.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      Insider writing is a very tricky tightrope to walk. You are writing about your job; which means you risk a visit to your manager’s office or worst for writing on behalf of the company without consulting the public relations department or company lawyers.

      Write behind a meme, and people will question if you are for real or not; or if what you are writing is the truth. Say too much to prove you are for real, and the trip to manager’s office looms in your future.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      It’s not worth it.

  • avatar
    sneustadter1

    I am a regular reader and really appreciate the consumer tech articles ie additives, replacement part options general maintenance. I take ISSUE with the recent RANTS i perceive against the older driver. We are not coupon clipping plutocrats living off the labor of our fellow citizens. We have put in some 30+ years working and paying our dues, literally and figuratively. We voted and paid for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid seeing them logical extensions of a civilized society. We chose and sacrificed income and growth possibilities for the security of funded pensions….LETS GET REAL LADIES AND GENTLMEN!

  • avatar
    scott25

    Agree with pretty much all the posts here, more reviews of new cars, rentals, and even the occasional used car would be nice. Also like that you give updates on your personal cars, but no so much the whole “guess what I bought” thing Bark did.

    Always enjoy the traditional TTAC features like Vellum Venom Vignettes and junkyard finds, but already miss crabspirits. Even sometimes enjoy Ronnie’s articles but not often. Jack’s still the best automotive journalist I’ve ever read except when he’s going out of this way to be controversial.

    Also don’t enjoy the clickbaity vaguely car-related news stories like Cory mentioned, or articles that are unneccessarily political just to cause arguments.

    Some of the banning of commenters was necessary, but also agree with Danio that this definitely doesn’t need to be a safe space.
    .
    Also love anything about obscure cars from throughout history or that are available elsewhere, you know, general enthusiast-pandering. And also always enjoy the sales trend analysis.

    • 0 avatar

      “Some of the banning of commenters was necessary, but also agree with Danio that this definitely doesn’t need to be a safe space.”

      I think we’re all on the same page in theory, but people might have an issue with those we’ve decided to ban.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I never had the impression that “purge” (was it more than BTSR and DW?) was about creating a safe space – the comments were becoming unreadable thanks to those two. 80% of any thread was DW venom and BTSR babbling and pimping his youtube channel. If that was allowed to continue TTAC would be left with nobody but those two in the comments, and this blog depends on reader engagement.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    Drop all political discussions. Seriously, none of your writers are even close to educated enough to offer more than armchair punditry on them and it ends up being a waste of space except to drive clicks.

    Pace yourself better, I get the industry moves in big shifts, dropping all the news at once but given you aren’t trying to be a mass media center you really should be doing 2-3 articles per day at most. There are times where I come to see an article and it’s vanished because it got pushed off in an hour. Most of your best articles aren’t news-related, use them better to fill in the thinness.

    Overhaul the comments? That’s a passive gripe since you’re on WP but I can quietly resent the weird setup they’re in.

    otherwise congrats on 15, I’ve been reading going on 5-6 now…Congrats.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      “Seriously, none of your writers are even close to educated enough to offer more than armchair punditry on them and it ends up being a waste of space except to drive clicks.”

      That is a little rich, coming from someone who was absolutely certain Trump would not win; I actually though about you as the results came in last Tuesday night.

      But I also agree that politics don’t belong here. I thought it was a double standard when TTAC put a ban on politics in the comments section, then couldn’t help yourself and dropped several strongly political articles last week. Either it is OK or it is not; and I agree with the others that there are too many other places to go if politics is what you want. I have seen too many sites ruined by infighting due to politics; and I would hate for this site to be the next.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        I don’t mind some political editorial, so long as it is clearly editorial and separated from something like a car review. It’s interesting to read a variety of opinions. If the comments devolve, move on to something else.

        Besides, it is going to be challenging to avoid politics in the future since the President-elect wants to revisit trade agreements that would impact the auto industry.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Trump won because 110K votes split across 3 states showed up. He didn’t win a huge victory, he basically got lucky Come remind me again in 4 year how wonderful his presidency is for you….I mean, if you even have a job still.

        By and large, because Trump snuck in on luck doesn’t suddenly make my knowledge less, in fact, it reinforces how bad things are going to get going forward.

        Here goes some things you can take to the bank:

        The rich will receive a massive tax cut, no they won’t reinvest in the US.

        Obamacare will be defunded and will cause more insurers to back out while creating terrible plans when they allow differing states to compete against each other so they all rush to Utah with minimal values.

        Our debt will explode much further and faster than before but conservatives will blame Obama because that’s just easy for their base to swallow.

        The EPA will be gutted, water and air quality will decline across much of flyover country as cancer shoots up through the roof.

        You go ahead and run along now, I’m irritated enough in 2 years we’ll have the senate back and 4 years when the massive recession hits in the middle of his term from poorly managed markets we’ll be voting him out.

        PS: Trump isn’t revisiting a single trade agreement. His base’s coalition put NAFTA and supported TPP. Nobody is rewriting any trade deals this decade. Trump just buffaloed you extra hard because white 40+ men felt that their factory jobs should return and forgot that the people who sent them away were rich conservatives in the first place.

        • 0 avatar
          Click REPLY to reload page

          This is the most clear-headed “political” analysis of the presidential election that I have seen.
          Those who voted for Trump would be wise to remember the old adage: “Be careful of what you wish for, you just might get it!”

        • 0 avatar

          In 2018, 25 Senate seats come up, most of them in states favorable to Republicans. If the Republicans don’t mess up, they could be in power for a while.

          The founding fathers making the House of Representatives the most powerful part of the federal government (budget, impeachment) and then making them run for reelection every two years was genius. It makes Representatives more accountable to their constituents than their party or president.

          Midterm congressional elections are a wonderful check on irresponsible behavior by a party that controls the executive and legislative branches.

          If Trump and the Republicans don’t follow through on their promises to the people who elected them, or if they overreach, we’ll see Democrats controlling Congress in 2018.

          In the meantime, I’ll be happy if Mr. Trump names Ted Cruz or a similar constitutionalist to the Supreme Court and also overturns all of Mr. Obama’s executive orders, plus the two that Mr. Nixon and Mr. Kennedy made permitting federal public employee unions.

          I voted reluctantly for Mr. Trump, mostly because of creeping authoritarianism from the left. What irritates leftists like you is almost certainly good for America and Americans.

          • 0 avatar

            @Xeranar Goodbye.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “I voted reluctantly for Mr. Trump, mostly because of creeping authoritarianism from the left. ”

            So, you voted for the guy who wants to make Muslims register and put their mosques under surveillance…in the name of “anti-authoritarianism”…and hacking liberals off.

            You’re willing to pay an awfully stiff price to give the middle finger to liberalism, I’d say.

            And this, coming from a Jewish guy? I’ll let the irony speak for itself.

            Liberalism has its’ flaws, God knows. But the most glaring flaw of modern conservatism is that for all intents and purposes, it has become “anti-liberalism.” That’s not much of an ideology to hang your hat on, I’d say.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “plus the two that Mr. Nixon and Mr. Kennedy made permitting federal public employee unions.”

            Dream on, Ronnie. Trump got his margin of victory in large part by converting union and recently ex-union Rust Belt voters who voted Democratic in past elections. He is not going to turn around and engage in a bunch of union-busting.

          • 0 avatar
            cornellier

            You reluctantly voted to attempt to negate the negation and irritate leftist “like you”? Nice strat dude.

        • 0 avatar
          mtmmo

          Glad to see you haven’t learned anything at all. At least you’ll have the next 4 decades to enjoy the conservative Supreme Court you helped create.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          Dude, you just said you want to drop all political discussions right before this rant.

      • 0 avatar
        Click REPLY to reload page

        “Why aren’t children frightened of scary clowns any more?

        Because the big orange clown from New York is MUCH scarier!”

        Apologies for getting ‘political’.

        We return you now to your regular selection of TTAC comments.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Xeranar,
      I do believe politics and big business go hand in hand. Government/politics has a huge influence in the auto industry.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Mark,
      I do believe more needs to be covered in the SUV and pickup segments.

      When articles on these types of vehicles appear interest increases.

      I think TTAC has been getting less hits of late.

      Keep on tweaking the site. TTAC will be a generation old in a few years. As TTAC ages, time and trends change.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “armchair punditry”

      Nobody – except you – is asking TTAC to become a political science professor.

      “Armchair punditry” is what friendly neighbors engage in, and it’s what governs elections. We all vote based upon the weighted opinions of others. It’s a good thing election outcomes aren’t based upon our learned university counselors who are so much smarter than the plebes.

      If there’s a universal truth in politics, it’s that dumb people voted for the other guy.

      As for TTAC, there can be no separation of politics from these pages. It’s a very relevant subject in many car discussions, and it’s actually a main reason I come here. Sterile discussions of 0-60 times and MPG don’t attract me.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        SCE, you’re spot on here. The auto industry is tied to politics – it always has been, but now we’re seeing that connection evolve or mutate, depending on your perspective. Let’s keep discussions relevant and on point where politics and automotive intersect and keep the bullhorn ranting to political sites.

        As a violator of this idea in the past, I’m committed to put my best forward going forward.

      • 0 avatar
        Polystyrene

        I technically am tasking them to write better if they want to write at all. If I wanted breitbart, I would get it. Their conservative viewpoints constantly bled into discussions and made it hard to stomach.

        Since I’m disinterested in going forward and Mark has made it clear he prefers a writer who doesn’t understand Communism but talks about it like an expert to a minor commenter calling out the failures it’s clear it’s time to go read somewhere else. I may still lurk for some Murliee articles but TTAC can enjoy the morass that Trump will create. In 4 years, you can tell yourself you were right when there are fewer jobs, no reworked trade deals, and a heap of civil liberty lawsuits against his administration…

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @SCE to AUX – Agreed. Only the well educated can weigh in on a subject? I adjust what I know based on what responses I get. Knowledge and respect comes from sharing opinions.

  • avatar
    slance66

    More car reviews
    More ask “anybody” just about anything.
    More real world reader reviews…maybe the B&B tell us about their cars?
    More on buying cars, including used cars. Stuff like Lang used to do.
    Keep the entertaining Baruth stories…he’s to TTAC what PJ O’Rourke was to CD
    Focus on the intersection of cars and our lives. It’s something the rags miss.

    Less statements about how the industry sold 2% fewer Jettas or whatever. Big trends…ok, but ordinary quarterly sales stats aren’t interesting. On the whole more about cars and less about the car industry.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      This is a good list. I like the point about “focusing on the intersection of cars and our lives.”

      TTAC used to have more of that. Derek had a lot of personal stories, and Thomas Kreutzer did it as well. Of course Jack has plenty of personal content in his work; he has done that for so long I probably take it for granted.

      Another example where this generally works well is BMWCCA’s Roundel. The car itself often takes a back seat to the road trip or review venue.

    • 0 avatar
      Phillin_Phresh

      “Less statements about how the industry sold 2% fewer Jettas or whatever. Big trends…ok, but ordinary quarterly sales stats aren’t interesting. On the whole more about cars and less about the car industry.”

      This. I love hearing about the broad trends going on in the auto industry, but I generally scroll past any story on TTAC that just reports a small change in sales without any context.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    What is TTAC to you?
    It’s a distraction at work and a place I feel like the group think generally supports my own line of thinking. It’s the first place I check when I look at my list of car sites and the only one I comment in with any regularity. I feel safe here, and felt safe even before the ban hammer returned. Even with the folks stirring things up for no reason I never felt like I would go away angry at what someone said.

    What would you like to see more of?/What would keep you coming back?
    My first concern is the commenting system. I don’t know how to fix it, but it needs to be fixed. Sometimes I think I’d like to post photos, but other times I really think non-pix is for the best.
    My favorite articles have been – in no order – Vellum Venom, Steve Lang’s articles, early Doug DeMuro, Jack’s take on cars/life, Murilee Martin (would enjoy more of his stuff outside the junk yard finds), and for the most part the reviews are very good even if it’s about a car I don’t care about.

    Less of?/What drives you away?
    I feel like a lot of recent the articles have been diverging from my general interest. I’ve noticed a lot fewer comments on many of them also suggesting it isn’t just me. There’s nothing really wrong with it, it’s just not as entertaining and fun as the articles I enjoy. A lot of them give me all I need to know in the titles.

    I really enjoy the site and hope it sticks around a long time. It’s obvious that the money isn’t there but it seems like you all do a lot with the limited budget.

    On a more personal note, I met with one of the site’s former writers who filled me in on some of the background dirty laundry and I would suggest that you, Mark, find a way to be a little more accommodating and less authoritarian with the talent. It seems like your personality can sometimes drive away some of the better writers.
    I appreciate your willingness to publish new writers, but fear the budget issues here will limit long term talent from sticking around.
    I know it’s difficult to run this site and I definitely don’t have the answers. I do think you have been doing a very good job overall.

    • 0 avatar

      Thank you for your candor. It’s truly appreciated.

      You’re right: sometimes my actions drive away writers, but sometimes those writers underperform (and I’m not saying it was the one you spoke with, because I have no idea who that is).

      If someone is willing to bring new ideas to the fore, I will almost always give them a shot. Some of our best and most memorable content comes from occasional writers. However, there are many things beyond just clicks that drive the talent pool.

      Another thing I like to focus on is paying people enough to earn a living — or at least part of one. That means the same amount of money is spread across fewer people as our overall budget hasn’t changed in years.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    the only thing that’s really turned me off about TTAC recently is the problems that crop up with pages rendering incorrectly (my favorite is the unscrollable pages in Chrome) and ads redlining my CPU.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    More posts from places in the world of cars other than the new car industry. I understand that Steve Lang left on bad terms but someone else who writes about the sort of subject matter he did would be very welcome. Also maybe consider someone from an independent car repair shop.

    More technical deep dives. The series a while ago on modern automatic transmissions was terrific.

    Occasional QOTD-type posts (they don’t need to be daily). They always provoke interesting discussion.

    No more than one VW article every two days.

    No more than one page of articles per day, ever. The right number of daily articles is about five or six, but I should never have to go to the second page to see something posted the same day.

    You occasionally need an explicitly political article to cover cars well, but let’s have less political spin — especially dumb conspiracy-theory references — on otherwise non-political articles.

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      +1
      Especially this: “More technical deep dives. The series a while ago on modern automatic transmissions was terrific.”

      I also liked the occasional fiction pieces too.

  • avatar

    Just so you folks know, I am writing down all of these.

  • avatar

    First, let me say that as guy who subscribed to C&D since the late 70’s and Automobile since issue 1, I let those subscriptions lapse because I get the same news in a more timely manner from TTAC. And, frankly, I’m more interested in real cars that I can afford than supercars, exotic road trips, and the like.

    So, yes, more reviews would definitely be nice. Heck, even used car reviews would be pretty interesting.

    The lone exception in terms of my print subscriptions is Collectible Automobile, because I enjoy automotive history (especially from a styling and marketing perspective). I get some of that over at Curbside Classic but not enough to keep me from renewing CA.

    That said, styling analysis, historical context, marketing analysis would all be welcome additions.

    As an example, I find Buick’s current advertising pretty sad, “THAT’S a Buick?” The last thing you want to do is remind people, “Oh, yeah, we’re known for being stodgy but we’re not like that any more.” Not your father’s Oldsmobile, indeed.

    Contrast this with current Lincoln and Volvo advertising which establish a premium tone. Whether you like the ads or not they do a much better job than Buick. Or maybe GM has reserved that tone for Cadillac (as seen in the recent CT6 ads).

    Anyway, I went on a tangent there but you get the idea of the sort of discussion I would find interesting.

  • avatar
    Brett Woods

    Slow down and stop looking at Jalopnik. Submissions might be shared and revised with consideration to private questions before publication (A trades with B, C trades with D), submitters then have, if they wish, multiple “writing partners.” Also a narrowing of word length parameters per submission. Some recently have been shockingly long and sketchy while others have been empty click bait. These may all have a place, but don’t feel pressure to pump it out. It’s fine when it’s slow and visitors have time to ponder and interact with the subject matter and each other.

    The posters here have been the best on the web and TTAC is the best looking, most informative site in the genre. Love the plain white spacious clarity free of pop-ups and auto-vids. I wouldn’t change anything physically, except maybe to add an easier way to access past page archives for newcomers.

    Thanks for everything so far.

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    I agree with the comments so far, especially more reviews.

    The change I most want to see is to the style of links in body text. Black text with unstyled red a href links against a white background is bad, bad, bad.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I love the car reviews, especially the rental ones, which are some of the more honest ones around. This has made me look at vehicles that would likely never cross my mind, or even scratch those that were higher on my list.

    I also look forward to any of the junkyard entries since they shine a spotlight on often forgotten vehicles and dredge up old memories of cars from my youth.

    The commentariat are also some of the more reasonable around, often answering questions of providing anecdotes. I do, however, often scroll by anything that gets political since I’m here to read about cars.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I’m going to disagree about the rental ones. Unless the reviewer has a methodical way of reviewing the car, there are too many subjective items that can sway your opinion. This is especially true if you’re focused on the trip, rather than objectively reviewing the vehicle.

  • avatar
    zamoti

    I’d like to see more project cars in here; I like hearing about the people who tackle the tough jobs to repair/restore something different. I’d like to learn few things about independent shops, how they operate, remain profitable, etc. I frequent /r/justrolledintotheshop and I think plenty of the content shared there would fit nicely here.

    Also, how about some reviews on older cars; we always hear about project reliability of new cars, let’s see how some of them hold up three or five years later. Rental reviews are good, but I would be interested to hear about privately owned cars are holding up and the owner’s stories (like carsurvey.org, but with more character).

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    What is TTAC to me?

    A site that has as much, if not more, intrinsic value in the commenters than the posts themselves. A true cross-section of automotive enthusiasm and thought-provoking opinion.

    What I’d like to see in TTAC is a true, determined effort to support that community by moving into this decade and offering a proper commenting medium, especially one that allows for threads unrelated to articles, and, features such as being able to look at commenters other comments, mentions, and offer features like private messaging between them. The B&B are a big part of the lifeblood of this site and deserve a modern commenting implementation.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      At one point TTAC did try a reader forum. It was not successful.

      I guess we don’t appreciate the efforts of the editors to drive conversation until we are left on our own to do it.

      • 0 avatar
        orenwolf

        That may well be, but I think a lot has changed both technologically, and in terms of the breadth and depth of the B&B, since then.

        If TTAC had a forum that opened a thread for each post, but ALSO allowed user submissions as threads, we could have:

        1 – political discussions relegated to threads people could choose to participate in (or not)
        2 – coverage of niche issues that TTAC can’t afford to fund but readers care about (Icelandic vehicle reviews!)
        3 – B&B vehicle reviews
        .. all while earning revenue for TTAC, rather than being broken off into other sites (or facebook, say) where they cannot.

        There are some GREAT commenting systems that integrate into the TTAC CMS that would allow for, and they could choose from any or all of the options below:

        1 – commenters can review the past comments of other commenters
        2 – commenters can PM each other for private discussions if desired. Right now, only the TTAC management can do this, via email
        3 – comments can be replied to via email
        4 – commenters can be notified when they are mentioned in a comment thread
        5 – commenters to “like” posts without downvoting, with a cap on likes/day (up/down is not useful, but if you can +1 a comment a limited number of times a day, you can get a feel for the discussion). The key to this, of course, is that “un-liked” comments do not suffer negatively. These comments can be floated up as “popular”
        6 – TTAC staff can float up “staff pick” comments as well to appear with the article.

        There’s a real opportunity to modernize the interface the B&B use to build community here, and the increased revenue could help increase the budget of TTAC itself and perhaps give commenters more of the content they desire, as a result.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    I like the Junkyard series, that’s what brought me to TTAC initially.

    An occasional series of looking back would be interesting, perhaps written by someone who sold cars in the day. E.G what was it like to sell a Lincoln Town car in 1985? How did the market perceive it then relative to it’s peers?

    Maybe a car review series of older cars written through the perspective of the time? Sure, most everything today will run rings around that 85 Town car, but what about other 85 cars? Maybe a head to head with an 85 Fleetwood?

    • 0 avatar
      Dirty Dingus McGee

      This ^^^

      An occasional retrospective on an older enthusiast car. Even something that has been maligned over the years (IROC Z-28 anyone). Not to turn the site into and old car magazine, Hemmings and others have that covered, but there might be other folks who would like to read about them also

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I’ve never been so dedicated to a web series as I was to Last Rides.

      Seriously, Phil and Crabby, where’s my coffee table book?

  • avatar

    BRING BACK THE FICTION!

    Signed,
    Not Bark

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Congratulations on 15 great years. I wish you 15 more (but only 15, I believe in term limits.) I’ve been reading TTAC since almost the start, and I like it so much I named my firstborn Farago Subaru. Changes? I don’t know, just wing it.

  • avatar
    jhefner

    It was Murlee Martin’s junkyard finds that brought me here, and are still my favorites. I have also enjoyed the historical articles on Friday, and miss Ronnie’s historical/car show articles on Saturday. I know the historical stuff does not get as many clicks, but it was what makes this site special.

    I also enjoy and appreciate the automotive industry articles. I am involved in logistical way with the automotive industry, and I find these articles both informative and justification for time spent here. Likewise, I enjoy the technical articles and Sajeev’s Vellum Venon and piston slap articles.

    I agree the quality of the additional influx of articles has been that of puff pieces. It has me being more selective in what I read instead of each and every article that is published.

    Thanks for 15 years of enjoyable reading.

  • avatar
    dingo426

    It would be great to have news and reviews of cars around the world more often as you did before. As an overseas reader this kind of stories are very interesting.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    ‘Trigger’ warning tab to notify moderator/staff that someone has violated one’s safe-space and/or otherwise committed a microagression, resulting in:

    1) Cry-in

    2) Snack-in

    3) Therapy puppy/kitten be made available

    4) Group hug

    5) Groupthink Huddle

    #IamPCPrincipal

    #NoMoreFreeExpressionPrivilege

  • avatar
    ajla

    Congrats on 15 years! I’ve been here so long that there is pretty much no way I’ll leave as long as the site still exists.

  • avatar
    s_a_p

    Reader reviews that get filtered through the editorial process. Obviously I dont want to read a bunch of humble bragging about how people are so blessed to have car X. However. Driving a car for a couple of years can reveal some insight that people may find valuable. For instance. I bought an Audi A4. for 50k miles it never broke, I kept it dealer maintained and it ran like a dream. It made me think, Audi has finally figured out how to make a car that lasts. Then it passed 50k.

    1) 2 $170US bixenon bulbs replaced
    2) some plastic part that covered the cam and cost 17 bucks to buy and 800 for labor.
    3) the first paid for scheduled service cost 1200 due to some other out of warranty issue.
    4) the standard 18″ S-line wheel was bent and costs 750 to replace
    5) some Other issue that would never through a CEL but had a code in the system, It would have cost 160 to repair plus labor.

    At that point I realized I had about 500 in equity in the note, and promptly 86’ed the A4. My recommendation is to acquire this car as a low mileage lease and never try to run it into the ground, it will always run you into the ground.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Wheels are expensive from any dealership, because they don’t expect anybody but insurance companies to buy them. Plenty of places sell wheels like that online for around $200. Even Rockauto. Hubcaphaven is my favorite wheel reference, though they’re not always cheapest.

      When my buddy bought his B8 S4, he picked up a set of new 18″ A4 Avant take-offs for winter off E-bay for CDN$800. Probably would have only been around US$500 to US$600 if he were in the states. Shipping to Canada from the U.S. tends to be horrific.

  • avatar

    I’ll add to the litany of love for Mark/Bark, Sajeev/Sanjeev, Murilee, and the usual suspects.

    I want to call out the “Ace of Base” series for special praise. It has its eccentric moments, but it forces both writers and readers to look at a somewhat randomly chosen set of cars. It’s the most interesting new feature of late.

    The sales-stats posts usually leave me cold, but I understand the appeal to others.

    I LOVE the deeper engineering dives. Even if I didn’t understand all of it, the breakdowns of how recent new multispeed automatics worked were really interesting. I like stuff that gets into the engineering process for cars: platforms, production processes, all of it. I think that production engineering and the development process (especially in the realm of trade-offs) are under-covered in the buff press compared to how important they are to making cars. (the thing about Bertel was that he wrote exactly the right number of articles about MQB, given its importance to one of the largest companies in the industry).

  • avatar
    Waftable Torque

    I only come here for Tim, and TTAC might occupy a minute or two of reading per month. I never forgave the misogyny of this site of a couple of writers here, nor the supplicants who encouraged that style of writing.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      #MisogynisticTriggering

      #WhiteMalePrivilege

      • 0 avatar
        Phillin_Phresh

        @ DeadWeight

        Make fun if you want, but I think there’s a vast difference between “safe spaces” and showing a basic level of respect for 50% of the world’s population. If TTAC wants to keep growing its readership, it can’t be a boys club. That goes for the contributors and commenters alike.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I expect people to disagree with me b/c I’m very opinionated, but I now feel that some Millennials on college campus (and elsewhere) are coddled in a way that is truly bizarre.

          I realize I’m a Gen X-er (40), and so I’m old and grumpy, and that every generation has said that (essentially) succeeding generations are/were coddled, but we’ve reach batshit-crazy levels with the college administrators breaking out the play-doh, therapy kittens, cry-ins and “group-screaming” in their safe spaces.

          I am not Microaggressed by your disagreeing with me regarding this matter, and welcome alternative views (to my own), and even encourage scathing rebuttals to my own viewpoints.

          I’m very hard to trigger (though it has happened a few times).

    • 0 avatar

      GUILTY

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Yeah, I only read Baruths, Murilee Martin, and Sajeev basically (and lately some of Tim’s reviews) because of Ronnie Schreiber’s bigoted posts. I think they eventually got deleted, but it made me lose trust in the editorial staff, so I stopped reading the site generally.

  • avatar

    Congrats on the 15 years!

    What brought me here was a fellow enthusiast/auto writer who would post articles from here. I like the conversational tone from (most) of the articles here, and they seem to be written from a “regular guy” perspective.

    What I like to stay the same:

    Auto industry news. Although I get quite a bit of it from being in it, I also appreciate a different point of view.

    Rental reviews. I rent cars fairly often, so I’d like a heads up of what’s out there, so I don’t rent the same thing over and over again (last rental was a base Jetta that I enjoyed for the most part).

    Used cars/auction stuff…how to buy, what to look for, etc.

    Everything else that’s currently in the mix, but I’m blanking on at the moment.

    What I’d like to see change:

    I echo some of the other suggestions in seeing more reviews, and more reviews of attainable cars. Every auto site does the supercars to death, keep being different.

    More used car reviews, buying tips, etc.

    Less airing of the dirty laundry. I don’t care about who’s not getting along with who, and what’s going on behind the scenes, unless it’ll direct affect the readers here.

    Fix the commenting system

    Or

    Create a separate forum. I hail from the days of AWCC and MT forums, and currently run a FB car group, but it isn’t the same. I long for a proper car forum, and TTAC is about as close as I can get to scratching that itch.

    New theme for the site, or is that asking too much?

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    More: thinly disguised roman-a-clef fiction about erotic interludes with female autowriters:

    Less; “Bark’s Bites”

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Need less of:
    Politics and thinly-veiled politics. Plenty of that elsewhere, and I’ve never seen anything here (comments or content) that I haven’t seen done better already.
    Snarky, unprofessional tone whenever Tesla, VW or FCA are mentioned. Those brands do what they do for a reason.
    Press releases taken at face value. Give me the truth, not the veneer.

    Need more of:
    In-depth technical articles. Vellum Venom is great, and that series on automatics was some of the best stuff I’ve read here.
    Tales from the sales floor. Maybe not “more” as-in more often, but “more” as-in keep’em coming.
    Short historical articles.

    Think of adding:
    Tales from the production floor. The cars we see on the road are just the visible tip of the iceberg. What lies beneath are a gigantic mess of suppliers, tooling, manufacturing, even accounting. I once met a guy who used to work for GM as a statistician making sure that they didn’t accidentally use components that lasted too long. he said the ultimate goal of his 1000+ worker department was to have a car that totally disintegrated at 150,000 miles (and not one mile sooner).
    Tales of the techs. I’ve learned more about the car industry from hanging-out with techs than I have from the web, or books, or formal education.

    Just about right:
    Biographical/first person stuff, as long as thinly-veiled politicking is kept to a minimum.

    Needs work:
    Test drives. I’ve been reading/watching some really great tests out of Europe, but what I see here is a variation on the classic auto mag: lots of specs, a couple of pet peeves, “understeers at the limit,” market positioning info cut-and-paste from the press kit, filler. It comes-off as dated fluff carried-over from the days when mags totally depended on the Big 3 for income (and the Europeans for exotic vacations).

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    More industry-stuff. I like to know why carmakers do what they do, and how they execute, or fail to execute.

    More style stuff (Sanjeev!).

    More actual reviews!

    Maybe a bit of motorsport? But that’s just me.

    Big, high quality pictures in reviews. Not as in glamour shots, but give me some nice high res, easy to browse pics of various bits of cars – details! Nobody else does this; TTAC is the place that calls out carmakers on bad materials and DLO fails, so give us some pictures to back it up, too!

    ——–

    Less terrible, browser-breaking ads (you already know this from me!).

    Less politics. Please, please, please. Jack is a great writer, but keep him writing about racing and cars, not complaining about how the world isn’t manly enough anymore. I come to TTAC to get away from that. I’ve already been coming here less in the last few days because of the politics. I know some intersection will always be there, but the rub-your-nose-in-it style really gets old in a hurry.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I’ve only been here a year or so, but I used to read the occasional article in the Farago days. I like the site, and I don’t expect it to be everything, since I also follow the HMN Daily Blog, Hooniverse, and The Autoextremist.

  • avatar
    tomm

    I visit TTAC more than any other online car site. It is my favorite for the wide variety of auto-related topics covered. I also like the simple format. So thank you for a great job.

    I would like to see more of Jack Baruth, car auction articles, car reviews (especially performance/sports cars). The only things I tend to skip over are the non-car related (especially in comments section), and the junkyard reviews, most of which tend to be about cars that weren’t interesting when new let alone as junk.

  • avatar
    DanyloS

    Bring back car reviews be brutally honest with some fun writing (manufacturer provided, rental, borrowed, personal)

    Long term reviews (seems like with most of these there are no problems to report but maybe provide a monthly check in, avoid going down the Edumunds path of hunting for nuances and making them problems)

    Sajeev’s Vellum Venoms are great, maybe some more design/technical analysis ie the Truth behind why some design is the way it is

    If possible more of the “Inside the Industry” articles (sales practices, auctions, manufacturing, real vs perceived impact of policies, etc.)

    Also… Get rid of that SaNjeev guy (haha j/k keep both they are great!)

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I’m gone again.

    More rental reviews, reader reviews, unmitigated and blaring (but righteous) screeds against automotive marketing & advertising bullsh*t, and a return to TRUE anti-auotmotive media establishment hit pieces and muckraking, TTAC.

    For you are one of the last true flames, ebbing to and fro in the winds of change, and protectarates against a tsunami of marketing, advertising and astroturfing (sponsored by Big Data, washed-up & useless auto-journosaurists, and algorithms), that smashes against the consumer and his/her best interests, year after year, without mercy.

    Break the shackles of PC-speak, safe-space, #TriggerZones, TTAC, and all (even snowflakes that protest too much) will be better off for it!

    Release the Kraken!!!

    Viva Marine Le Pen!

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Another vote for more (edited) reader reviews. TTAC has solicited readers for content before, but it rarely ends up published. Why?

    Reviews of older cars in the context of how they compare to modern cars. Some buy used because they are broke/cheap, others buy used because they think nothing new is worth the money.

    Bark needs reinforcements on the enthusiast side. Many readers get off on telling people that they won’t buy new anyway; Bark shouldn’t be the only one antagonizing them.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    More car reviews please. Beg and borrow friends and relatives cars. They don’t have to be new, would love to see reviews on old cars. Also more personal car related stories from the staff. Love to hear about people’s experiences with their cars. Usually leads to great comments from others with similar experiences.

  • avatar
    Paul Alexander

    Just want to say congrats for the 15 years! Do not feel qualified to make suggestions, though. Keep up the good work!

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    @Mark Stevenson,
    More Articles from non NA sources.:
    Does anyone know Ford Australia is developing the new Ford BRONCO? Answer would be no
    Diesel cars, more articles on them , like the coming Skyactive Mazda Diesel to be sold in the US
    Articles on Vans, More European Vans Are showing up in NA.
    How about an article on a Navara, Hilux, Triton or the new Mercedes Class X when it comes out
    Actually one on how they are used outside NA

    Cannot stand the VW soap opera articles

  • avatar
    vanalstine

    More reviews of everyday cars. Some have suggested edited reader reviews. I think that’s a good idea. Personally I’m not interested in industry analysis. Like the previous reader, I’m not interested in the VW soap opera articles either! I discovered TTAC a few months ago and love it. The comments are as equally entertaining as the articles. Great community.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    I personally like most of the recent content, but contrary to many of the commenters I would like to see more political oriented stories/editorials. The auto industry is the most regulated sector of the entire economy, so politics cannot and should not be avoided as a topic. I might suggest point-counterpoint type debates on auto industry related issues such as CAFE, electric car subsidies, fuel/carbon taxes, free-trade policies, safety regulations, self-driving vehicle regulations, funding sources for roads, etc.

    I would also like to see more editorials/critiques/pro-con debates on automotive related advertising/PR campaigns (e.g. is VW doing a good job in managing the diesel scandal, is Telsa doing a good job is dealing with new product delays, etc), brand strategies (e.g. can Cadillac/Lincoln ever compete equally with the Germans, should the Bolt be marketed as a Chevrolet, can Tesla survive, etc.), and product/manufacturing strategies (e.g. does the product line proliferation of the Germans make sense, was BMW smart to make the i3 out of carbon-fiber, should Cadillac share the same engines with Chevrolet, etc.).

    I would also like more product reviews including user reviews, but also comparison reviews.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Last time you asked I said the same thing, but since you asked again:
    Bring back “fiction”. it’s insight into the writers, and .. in a gonzo way lets the truth that can’t be told be communicated anyway.

    TTAC is my #1 online time-suck. I like it.

    More: stories from the trenches, whichever trenches, MFG, auction, stealerships, service – assuming any service writers could write… LEO’s, The technical dives if anyone is willing to write them for peanuts and put up with the comments, sponsored racers, gentlemen racers, … car reviews instead of press event reviews.

    Less: Politics without adequate automotive tie in.

    Keep enough voices I’m used to around, including yours Mark S. and I’ll be here.

    Go so commercial / cheap content driven I can’t find the good stuff between the vertically integrated content and I’ll have to leave.

  • avatar
    idesigner

    Mark this site is simply the best in car news and reviews.
    I’m just addicted to this site and look forward to reading everyday at the office and home.
    I don’t add many comments but read all of the articles.
    Wish there was an app that made it easier to post.
    Love the new Ace of Base articles, its what I buy and more than enough car for everybody.
    The Design reviews are EXCELLENT and hope to see more of.
    Carter articles are awesome and good info to get into your next classic car.
    Great job to the whole staff and love the Canadian content.
    Cheers from Montreal!

  • avatar
    Old Man Pants

    More car guys!

  • avatar
    brettc

    I’d love to see more stuff from inside the industry relating to dealerships like what Bark provides (and Jack as well to an extent).

    I really miss reading Steve Lang’s stuff, but it seems there was a falling out.

    I’m not a fan of the politically charged recent articles. I come here to read about cars and forget about politics and other crappy adult things.

    I like the stuff that Carter writes. I always learn interesting things from it.

    More car reviews would be great, if possible, especially oddball cars like European market cars or Canadian cars that don’t exist in the U.S. I miss Alex but luckily he’s still doing things separately.

    I guess that’s it, sorry to be negative but I do enjoy TTAC overall.

  • avatar
    Acd

    Sounds like the most recent meeting with the Vertical Scope overlords didn’t go so well. Oh well, we fight the war with the army we’re given in the words of Donald Rumsfeld (sorry to the readers who want less politics for that paraphrase but it fits).

    Go back to the last time you or a managing editor/editor-in-chief/editor grand pooh bah asked for input on what they want the site to be–it probably hasn’t changed.

    Mark you’re going to have to find undiscovered writing talent to create interesting content and then find some more after the sites with budgets pick them up and pay them if they succeed. For better or worse TTAC is the farm system for car sites until VS either steps up with a financial commitment or sells it to someone who actually cares about growing it.

  • avatar
    DanyloS

    Also, just saw someone mention it above but will second the Ace of Base series is fantastic! Please keep these up.

    *wishful thought just maybe if the dealership model ever goes away people will actually be able to place an order for a base model.

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      “*wishful thought just maybe if the dealership model ever goes away people will actually be able to place an order for a base model.”

      Is that actually a problem in the US? Here (Toronto area) I mean, sure, you’re going to be offered a deal on a vehicle on the lot, but can you really not walk in and order a base model vehicle? Would they turn you away?

  • avatar
    relton

    I used to write for TTAC years ago, when Farago ran the show. Later editors didn’t like my stories, and I haven’t been motivated to write much lately.

    If I was still working, I’d be reluctant to write about industry and work stuff. But now that I’m retired, I don’t have any inhibitions in that regard.

    I have never been comfortable calling the commentators the “Best and Brightest”. That was a term of ironic derision in a famous book of that name by David Halberstam.

  • avatar

    Congrats on fifteen years.

    I know writing for a blog is a challenge, and I think even the poorly-chosen content here is generally well done, but my punch-list reads thus:

    1) Yes, more straight up car reviews.
    2) Less fluff pieces that are clearly filler, and by that I mean “news” pieces I could pick up on Buzzfeed. I’ve gotten to where I just skip past those “articles”.
    3) Was the “death watch” of the 200 really necessary? You guys not only beat that dead horse, you dug it up, beat it some more, then buried it again and salted the ground where you’d buried it. I don’t like strings of articles on one topic that would seem better served by fewer, more-robust articles. Think about it: if your readers aren’t invested in a vehicle anyway, to what purpose does it serve you putting up fifteen updates of said dead-car-idling?
    4) Bark’s “inside dealership” articles are fantastic, and his advice is informative and valuable, even if the poor guy still hasn’t gotten the follow-up posts from some of the folks who asked him for help (yours included).
    5) More reader submissions.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The car reviews are just about right for me. I like their subjective quality, and don’t really need the stats that I can find elsewhere.

    But here’s a gripe regarding the mfr list at the bottom of the page: Citroen, Mercury, MG, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, and Suzuki have no business being listed. Several other names are bit players that should be listed under ‘others’. Tesla and Genesis should be added to the list, and Scion is about to be retired and could go away soon. This old stuff makes the site look so 2008.

    Comment section – Actually, its function is one of my favorite features of the site. I think it’s pretty good, and easy to use.

  • avatar
    Old Man Pants

    China, China, China; sic Tim Cain on ’em.

    Particularly, how is the battle between purely domestic production, JVs and foreign imports shaping up? Does the Chinese government still hope to pump & dump foreign OEMs for the sake of their domestics or have they tacitly conceded that assiduously pilfering IP from the JV’s is the most they can hope for?

    A car blog without a sustained focus on China in 2017 will be pretty lame.

  • avatar
    Troggie42

    I can’t think of anything to add that hasn’t already been said, but I do want to echo the idea that some in-depth “How a thing works” articles from time to time could be pretty cool. I have no clue what would or would not drive traffic beyond REALLY clickbaity stuff that would just drive away the core folks in lieu of passers by who don’t stick around, but I’m sure you guys will figure it out at least enough to keep the lights on. I think this place is pretty good, just keep up the high standards you seem to have for writing and you should be A-OK.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Not sure when I started with this site; it’s been at least 8 years. One sure method of getting honest feedback is to look at the number of comments. Few comments usually means the article wasn’t appreciated. Alex’s reviews were formulaic, but the formula ensured that they were thorough. I miss them; although I would hate to see them as the only reviews on this site. I don’t understand why some sort of cross-licensing deal can’t be worked out. The classic model for a blog is not exclusivity; it’s linking. There were a few reviews that were hardly more than puff pieces; they should have been spiked or re-written. I recognize the difficulty a site like TTAC has in getting review cars other than by reviewing rentals or something made available privately: with the auto industry considering car reviewers simply an extension of their marketing department, they have no interest in cooperating. Nevertheless, reviews bring a lot of people here.

    The technical articles, from knowledgeable people, are also very valuable, even if some of them go over my head. What can you expect from an English major?

    Regarding banning, I was one of the founding members of Audio Asylum in 1999 and moderated several of the boards. We had the ability to simply delete posts when things got crazy, which, in some ways is more effective than banning. Most people post from an Internet account that doesn’t have a fixed IP address; so banning is like playing whack-a-mole. I thought Big Trucks was kind of amusing, although predictable. Like most of us, he didn’t always have something worthwhile to say. So, ease up on the banning would be my suggestion. I agree that this should not be a place for snowflakes; but I’ve seen how a few nutjobs can drive everyone else off. We don’t want that here.

    “Inside” articles, while tough to get, are worth more than their weight in gold to me, an outsider. I appreciate the fact that several apparent “insiders” are among the commentariat.

    In a phrase: keep up the good work and stay hungry!

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    I’m a long time reader and congrats on 15.

    This is piling on, but I’d like more:

    – Everyday car reviews. Matt Farah found success with this.
    – Coverage of the auto journo industry. I recently listed to a former TTAC writer, now with an outfit once referred as a ‘cloaca’ on this site, on Smoking Tire’s podcast. In addition to advertising that giving him a long term tester nets you 6 hits in the magazine, his views – or lack thereof – need debunking. I hope Jack doesn’t listen to it, because he also said the current gen Accord is much worse than its predecessor.
    – Car life. I still go back and reread Murilee’s Impala Hell Project when I need to kill some time, as well as Maximum Street Speed.
    – Non-traditional reviews. Jack’s review of Drama McHourglass’ 2005 Hyundai Accent review is one of the funniest things I’ve read, and I usually send it to people introducing the kind of writing to be found at TTAC.
    – Amateur racing – honest pieces about running in LeMons, Chump, AER, SCCA Solo, etc. This site pushed me to try SOLO, and now I run in LeMons, which has good and bad aspects.
    – Auto industry insights. Notwithstanding Bertel, TTAC had some good content about the dark side of the auto industry. Bark’s pieces on dealer ops are very interesting.
    – Well-written reader contributions for all of the above.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’ll chime in with some of the most of the preceding remarks…

    1) More car reviews.
    2) More car dealer stuff from Bark

    As far as the politics are concerned…you can’t go on to the Internet and not find people expressing a political opinion, folks. But if that’s what you want, you’ll find this site has far more intelligent disagreement than your local newspaper.

  • avatar
    brn

    I’ve commented on content above, primarily riding on the comments of others. I’d like to mention something a little different.

    The site layout is dated and a little frumpy, but I like it. I like it a lot. You see a headline, a photo, and some initial content to the article. Click on the link and you get the entire article. You don’t have to click you way through slides or any such garbage.

    I even like the commenting system. It loads quickly. You get to see all the comment at once (no clicking through garbage). It’s chronological. First level replies are indented. It would be nice if sub replies were indented as well. I’d also like to see the ability to include links. No need to insert videos or pictures, as that becomes a jalonik game. I also like that there’s no up-vote or down-vote buttons.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Replies are indented all the way down, but the non-collapsibility means that it can be hard to figure out just who is replying to whom unless you put your cursor on one indent arrow and scroll down until it hits the next one at the same place.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    I would say that it’s definitely a step up from a Dodge Journey. Maybe more of a Jeep Wrangler.

  • avatar
    dr_outback

    More tech related articles. Maybe start a “Where are they at now?” series on off lease cars and how well they hold up.

  • avatar
    Will in MKE

    Would love to see Thom Kreutzer pen articles again. I know he’s busy living life in Japan. Twist his arm or something, huh Mark? His contributions were always down-to-earth, honest, engaging articles. Great style. Come back Thom!

    • 0 avatar
      Phillin_Phresh

      Seconded. I really enjoyed Thom’s writing. Since he’s now living in Japan, TTAC actually has a unique opportunity to report on car culture in the land of the rising sun. He could be a great foreign correspondent.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Am I also banned or just being censored. I have attempted on three occasions to submit a post refuting Ronnie’s inflammatory right-wing comment and each time it has disappeared into the ether.

    What’s up?

    • 0 avatar
      Old Man Pants

      “Am I also banned or just being censored.”

      Worse! You’ve been WordPressed!

      It’s like in Costner’s Robin Hood where the Sheriff of Nottingham threatens to cut Locksley’s heart out with a spoon because it would hurt more.than with an axe.

  • avatar
    cornellier

    Everytime this comes up I suggest adding karma / points / muting as implemented on Slashdot in like 1999 and what made Reddit so successful. Guess I’ve been muted.

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      The problem with the slashdot system was, because it allowed downvotes, it was trivial to create an echo chamber of comments the masses agreed with, and all other comments were hidden.

      an upvote-only system doesn’t have this problem, as long as you can’t choose to filter un-upvoted comments. Even better, if you limit viewers to, say, 10 upvotes/day, then they choose to only upvote truly insightful comments, and viewers then can use the upvotes to mean “others like this comment”, without adversely affecting other comments in the process.

    • 0 avatar

      +1 to orenwolf. He nailed it. Way back in the halcyon early days of Slashdot, you’d get opposing viewpoints across the spectrum of everything from OS debates to politics. Now it’s one vast echo chamber, which is why it long ago lost readers like me.

      I mean, I’m as Martian as it gets with politics, so I’m used to differing opinions, but I want a venue where all opinions are given a chance.

  • avatar
    Slainte72

    As others note – the unvarnished truth told in compelling language written by and for true automotive enthusiasts.

    I care less about the sales performance stats and more about honest reviews or comparisons.

    Consider adding more about performance driving skills? Not racing necessarily but your audience is less about image (I hope) and likely prefer the act of driving and/or the sheer beauty of the shape and engineering that goes into these things.

    What is your ‘brand’ personality…who is your target audience (and participant)…who do you want to be when you grow up :)

  • avatar
    cornellier

    Suggestion for content: “Pimp ya Ride”. I just spend 500$ adding a shiny CarPlay HU (and some other electronic enhancements) to an old car and it makes driving that vehicle a pleasure again. Looking at an upgrade on the same model which give less enjoyment is in the region of 30K$. In this day where a lot of the comparisons of cars have to do so much with “infotainment”, why not just swap out your double DIN?

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    1. Love me some Jack Baruth. If half the stuff he writes is the truth, I wish I was him. And that hair.

    2. Junkyard finds. Love seeing interesting vehicles from the past, and clues to what their lives might have been.

    3. I hang out in some of the rougher parts of the internet. I read a lot of whining about politics and such in the comment section of TTAC, but really, this is a very civil website. People come and go, websites change over time. Get over it, and someone challenging your views is not the end of the world. It doesn’t get out of hand here, like some other places.

    A suggestion for content: I would like to see the antithesis of the Junk Yard find: pristine examples of vehicles that should not still roam the earth. Any boomer with some cash can own a ’65 Mustang and keep it nice. But there’s some real freak out there using a ’83 Pontiac Phoenix as a daily driver and buffing it with a diaper and Turtle Wax on weekends. Find these people, and do stories on their ride.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      This. 1000% this. I love the idea of finding those people out there that faithfully (some would say to the point of being deranged!) maintain cars that never really caught on. Heck, I saw a near-mint Chevette on the road the other day. Should have stopped the owner and talked to him about it.

  • avatar
    suspekt

    More of:
    1. Articles written by industry insiders on specific themes or one-off peices

    2. Engineering explained type articles

    3. Design analysis from actual car designers.

  • avatar
    5280thinair

    I found TTAC when Murilee Martin mentioned it on a piece on another site a couple of years ago. When I first came here I was struck by the fact that the writers didn’t appear to be the same sort of automotive journalists found elsewhere:

    – Jack brought tales from the sales floor.
    – Murilee describes scouring junkyards.
    – Steve Lynch described how things really worked inside of auto companies.
    – Bozi gave insight to how a small used car operation bought and sold its cars.

    Likewise, the commenters seemed a somewhat different breed:

    – A number of professional mechanics gave real life info that popped some “conventional wisdom” bubbles.
    – Kyree commented on the usability of cars controls and infotainment systems.
    – Employees of auto suppliers gave insight into how things work inside of auto manufacturing.

    To me it seems like there’s less of this sort of content these days. My recommendation would be to find additional writers (or develop talent with promising commenters) to:

    – Get current perspectives from the sales floor (from Jack’s articles I gather it’s been quite some time since he sold cars for a living; getting someone who’s still in that job or only recently left it would be good.)
    – Get broader perspectives from across the automotive design, manufacturing, supplier, sales, and servicing angles.
    – Leverage some of the unique perspectives you have with current contributors or commenters (e.g. more Vellum Venom from Sajeev, convince Kyree to do detailed articles on the design and usability of infotainment systems, give tres space to expand on some of the manufacturing/supplier topics he’s touched on in comments, etc.)
    – Look for other angles not well covered by other publications and find writers who can talk intelligently about them.

    The above would give you more original content, was well as differentiating the site from either the staid “traditional” car review sites or the cesspool of zero-experience know-it-alls on others.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    I want to see more pieces by female writers. Cameron Aubernon has been gone a while now.

    And if national politics must be raised with respect to a given car-related topic, I would hope that individual writers’ personal political beliefs can be omitted. I can’t imagine a circumstance – whether a reported story, an opinion piece, a memoir, whatever – where such a thing would be necessary or desirable here.

    On a related note: A longtime frequent TTAC writer chose this thread (see above) to reveal that he voted for Trump, and as a result, I’m now less likely to read anything by him, despite the value I’d ascribed to his past work. Conversely, if Clinton had won, some other readers would feel likewise toward a writer who’d stated that he had voted for her. Why be unnecessarily divisive?

    • 0 avatar

      Why be unnecessarily discriminatory? A person’s vote has nothing to do with his valuable perspective on the industry, or his ability to write.

      • 0 avatar
        gottacook

        Bark, in isolation your remark makes sense – but it’s not much of a rejoinder. Yes, a staff writer remarking about his vote “has nothing to do with” the value of his contributions to TTAC – that’s exactly why it ought not to have been mentioned.

        Beyond possibly driving away readers, it’s just plain unseemly for a staff writer to introduce his or her personal political opinions. And it’s surely not a required component of a story about (for example) federal government action in favor of or against the auto industry.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Mark et al – Congrats on 15 years of excellence. It’s been a pleasure following TTAC since nearly the beginning…re-reading through the DW series still sends chills down my spine.

    Y’all have been through your ups and down and growing pains, but it is still a site I MUST visit at least 2-3 times a day to see the latest posts. It’s a respite from a very stressful but wonderful job and my island of calm.

    Mark, you’ve done a tremendous job with guiding the site. Jack left some big shoes and you’ve filled them in your own way. You’re a good listener and can well accept criticism.

    Regarding the bannings, they were appropriate and overdue. One of the greatest assets of TTAC are the “best and brightest” commenters and their experiences. The ugly side are the commenters, now mostly banned, who felt discourse meant insults.

    Here’s to the next 15 years….

  • avatar
    Phillin_Phresh

    First, Mark, thank you for being a steady hand and a voice of reason through all the recent drama on this site. The very fact that you’re asking for our perspective is commendable.

    I would focus on the things that made this site stand out in the first place. Bigger players like Jalopnik, C&D and R&T have the market cornered on clickbait and gushing reviews. It’s the journalistic equivalent of junk food. Since discovering this site several years ago, I have appreciated TTAC for diving deeper into the automotive industry. Here are my recommendations:

    1) Sustain and grow the base of industry insiders and specialists who write for this site. People like Sajeev, Mark B., Tim, Jack, and Steve L. give a valuable glimpse into aspects of the auto industry not seen elsewhere. Adding perspectives from auto manufacturing, auto repair, auto racing, and aftermarket modding/restoration would be fantastic, and I know some of these fine folks can already be found in the comments section.

    2) Focus on the bigger picture. It’s great that TTAC is a major source for auto industry news, but try to move beyond the play-by-play reporting on press releases and illustrate how those developments fit into industry trends overall. I’ll give you an example – this site recently posted an article about Mazda bringing diesel engines back to the US in the CX-5. Please note I don’t intend to pick on this article or author specifically. But how does this news fit into the industry overall? Are U.S consumers demanding more fuel efficient vehicles? Is this part of Mazda’s broader strategy to increase fleet fuel economy without having to invest in hybrid and EV tech just yet? Try to have your team dig deeper.

    3) Embrace all the diversity in car culture. Build on the success you’ve had with Murilee and Jack. Evidently, readers are seeking more “car stories”. This will be an important counterbalance to the new car reviews and industry trend pieces. The bulk of your readers won’t be buying a new car, or shares in an auto company, anytime soon. So what ARE they doing? Chances are, they’re wrenching on the weekends, installing performance mods, restoring a 25 year-old jalopy, racing in Autocross, or just trying to improve their heel-toe to have a little more fun on the drive home from work. Write more articles on these topics.

    4) Prioritize truth and honesty, even when it’s inconvenient. One of TTAC’s biggest assets is your reputation. More specifically, this site is not a “sellout” that will shill for any car company that writes you a check. First, you should solidify this philosophy in some kind of public disclosure or mission statement. Second, you should fervently protect it, and enforce a code of ethics with your team. I’m not saying you don’t do this already, but it’s important that your mission is evident to your readers.

    5) Explore strategic partnerships and ways to grow revenue. TTAC just reached a 15-year anniversary, with a huge readership and a reputation for telling it like it is. That’s what you can bring to the bargaining table. Evident from the comments above, your readers are eager for more car reviews. What about reaching out to auto manufacturers, or rental companies like Enterprise to ask for loaner cars you can review? To be clear, this does NOT mean selling yourself out. There’s no need to accept the invites for a caviar luncheon or free trips to Ibiza. It also doesn’t mean compromising your editorial standards. Try approaching these companies on your own terms, you might be surprised. Raising revenue is also important. Don’t be afraid to take donations, a la ProPublica. TTAC is a site whose palms can’t be greased by industry, and you’re not afraid to publish controversial truths. Use that to your advantage.

    6) If you can’t join ’em, beat ’em. There is clear demand for historical content on TTAC, evident from the comments above. It’s also clear that TTAC and Curbside Classic won’t be smoking a peace pipe anytime soon. So what do you do next? Publish your own historical content. That’s not to say you should copy the style of CC, but maybe work with someone on your team to profile a car or piece of technology that was pivotal in the auto industry. Infuse it with TTAC’s own style. Then see how many clicks you get. I would be willing to bet there is a lot of demand for historical content, like (and I’m spitballing here), the history of Alfa Romeo’s presence in the US, the triumphs and failures of the Chevy Camaro over the decades, or the impact that the 1973 oil crisis had on the auto industry. There are lots of topics that haven’t had much written about them yet. And TTAC could seize on that opportunity.

    And one last thing – please don’t let TTAC limit itself to being a boys club. This is 2016, and the community of car enthusiasts is as diverse as America itself. Grow your team to foster more diverse viewpoints, and moderate the comments section accordingly. Make it clear that belittling women, other races, gay or trans people, or the disabled will not be tolerated. By enforcing an atmosphere of fairness and non-discrimination, TTAC has a chance to increase its readership. I have personally forwarded articles to female friends who enjoyed your content, only to be turned off by crude comments from a small portion of the B&B who should know better.

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      “2) Focus on the bigger picture. It’s great that TTAC is a major source for auto industry news, but try to move beyond the play-by-play reporting on press releases and illustrate how those developments fit into industry trends overall. I’ll give you an example – this site recently posted an article about Mazda bringing diesel engines back to the US in the CX-5. Please note I don’t intend to pick on this article or author specifically. But how does this news fit into the industry overall? Are U.S consumers demanding more fuel efficient vehicles? Is this part of Mazda’s broader strategy to increase fleet fuel economy without having to invest in hybrid and EV tech just yet? Try to have your team dig deeper.”

      +10,000 to this.

      Without question, the stories I remember most on TTAC are the ones that tried to look at the larger meaning behind the day’s news, rather than simply reporting it. There have been more than a few articles lately that just report the news, almost without comment. And this lack of analysis was often the first thing the B&B jumped on once the article was posted.

      Do a daily roundup of small news bites, then focus on a few, well-researched comments on the rest of the day’s news. Of course, this might mean fewer posts overall, and perhaps that means fewer pageviews and revenue, but I firmly believe that will lead to more long-term readers as a result.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      “6) …the history of Alfa Romeo’s presence in the US…”

      I will add that at this very moment, I’m trying to compile a list of which import cars from smaller companies like Alfa Romeo, Citroen, etc. were actually sold by their respective brands in the US (not all of them between Year X and Year Y were), and at what time (it’s often different than their EU model run). It’s not very easy.

    • 0 avatar
      Whittaker

      “Make it clear that belittling women, other races, gay or trans people, or the disabled will not be tolerated.”

      Even though it was likely unintentional, this kind of statement is divisive and exclusive
      What about fat people? Gun collectors? Bisexuals? Prism drivers?
      Nationalists?, Dwarfs?
      If you believe that TTAC is a place where nobody should be belittled, why not say exactly that?
      Why allow the inference that some people are fair game?

      • 0 avatar
        56BelAire

        @Whittaker,

        You missed one group not to belittle…..”old and not so old white guys”.

        We are really sick of being called; ignorant, stupid, uneducated, racists, bigots, xenophobes, rednecks and hicks.

        • 0 avatar
          Phillin_Phresh

          @ Whittaker – I must admit I wrote that part last night, after several fine Michigan ales. And your point is spot-on.

          I mentioned those groups because they are common targets of divisive rhetoric. What I really meant is that TTAC should be a place where we can have informed, objective discussions about cars without using language that insults other people or treats large sections of the population like objects or caricatures. For the most part, TTAC is a model for civil discussion on the internet. But every once in a while, I’m disappointed to see the same old jokes about “trannies” or some woman’s “airbags”. They’re not even funny. And as a white male, I think this site would benefit tremendously from some more diverse writers with different perspectives on car culture.

          @ 56BelAire – This may surprise you, but I couldn’t agree more. I spent several months of 2016 doing door-to-door canvassing for political campaigns, having conversations with voters from all over the political spectrum. You can never assume someone has certain beliefs based on their demographics, and just because someone doesn’t agree with your ideology, it doesn’t make them a bad person.

          • 0 avatar
            Whittaker

            “TTAC should be a place where we can have informed, objective discussions about cars without using language that insults other people or treats large sections of the population like objects or caricatures.”

            Phillin_Phresh, Thanks for explaining and I couldn’t agree more.
            In fact I agree with all six of your suggestions though I would be sorely tempted by a trip to Ibiza.

  • avatar
    DudeMcLovin

    I LOVE TTAC! I’m a convert from Jalopnik after that site went to hell a few years ago. I visit this site every day to see the newest tidbits of autolandia that your writers so dutifully serve up.

    I share in others comments about more car reviews and less politics. Please don’t try to be everything to everybody. If you do, this site will also go to hell.

    Keep kicking ass and Happy Birthday TTAC.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    p.s. – I really could make TTAC the most-read, most visited, auto-related website in the world, within a year, if not sooner.

    It’s a very simple blueprint, would not involve throwing the (substantive) baby out with the bath water, it would not cost much in relative terms or even nominal terms to do (many great things cost far less to implement and drive than many inferior things, when there’s the will and a shrewd mentality at work), and it would liberally reverse the leverage that manufacturers and dealers now have over publishers/press, leaving the TTAC’s of the world in a superior bargaining position.

    Some will claim this is impossible, hyperbole, or a pipe-dream, but there’s an opportunity to effectively do what I just proposed that’s so large, in the form of a huge, gaping hole, that I am shocked that no one has fully capitalized on it yet.

    With minimal investment, I’d have reviewers driving the vehicles of their choice, free to offer up absolutely pure & honest opinions of said vehicles with absolutely no fear of retribution by the manufacturers.

    I’d also dedicate a large slot of this nee platform towards exposing the extremely shady, fraudulent, disgusting tactics and often illegal practices of the automotive service business, to the extent that some of these operations (many franchised ones) would be driven out of business, and dealership-driven models of servicing vehicles would be dramatically revised in favor of the consumer.

    There’s so much dirt & slime in the autojournosaurist model of vehicle reviews, and the vehicle sales and service segment, that an Young Turks-style assault of these things would not only generate tremendous revenue, but it would actually force reform of these prsctices.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      “There’s so much dirt & slime in the autojournosaurist model of vehicle reviews, and the vehicle sales and service segment, that an Young Turks-style assault of these things would not only generate tremendous revenue, but it would actually force reform of these prsctices.”

      I’m glad you’re back and fully agree.

      • 0 avatar
        Old Man Pants

        Wouldn’t most car-buying people have to care in order for the massive public traction he envisions?

        “F*ck, I need a car and I just want to get this over with, not storm some f*cking barricades.”

    • 0 avatar
      mazdaman007

      Welcome back DW ! Really glad to see you here again. Maybe I’ll be visiting this site more often, all we need now is BTSR.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “I really could make TTAC the most-read, most visited, auto-related website in the world, within a year, if not sooner.”

      It’s gonna be yuge.

  • avatar
    Jeff Zekas

    More Jack Baruth and his brother, Mark… and more reporters like them… would make TTAC a superior publication.

  • avatar
    Sceptic

    This site used to be unique. Now it’s just a bunch of reprints from Autoweek etc. I have fond memories of the time when Berthel Schmitt was the editor. We need industry insights, not the marketing drivel!

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    No politics

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I don’t have time to read all of these, but I’ve read a few:

    – I agree with those calling for less politics. There are more than enough sites on the internet for that stuff. Yes, it drives a lot of clicks and comments, but it’s definitely a case of short-term-gain, long-term-loss, as it has a tendency to drive away readers over time, when they find other sources of content actually about cars.

    – I realize this is probably a futile request, but it’d be nice if Jack could write posts without commentary on his sex life, kids-these-days, feminists, and other things that have absolutely bupkis to do with cars, and everything to do with the sort of stuff your drunk divorced uncle rambles on about at Thanksgiving dinner while the whole family cringes and tries to change the subject.

    – Beg, plead, and borrow for more reviews. See if overnight test drives can be cajoled from dealers, have VerticalScope cough up the $50 or so to do an overnight rental of a car, whatever. TTAC’s reviews are generally the best on the internet (with a couple exceptions; even TTAC isn’t immune to the occasional puff piece.) I love the fact that TTAC publishes reviews of something other than the tippy-top, fully-loaded creampuff that every other publication laps up as test cars.

    – Can a tech be recruited for “Tales from the Shop Floor” or some-such? An interesting recent diagnosis and/or repair, a story about a tricky fix procedure, a misleading diagnosis, views on which cars are especially easy or hard to work on, and so on.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    I may have missed it, and perhaps there’s a non-technical rationale behind it, but, images in posts would be great.

    I enjoyed Steve Lang’s column, loved MM ever since his days at Jalopnik, and really like the “general interest” automotive articles, such as the history of a certain marque or more on a random industrial designer.

    These are good pieces in between the No Fixed Abodes which, to me, are stand-out articles.

    You guys do great, and I keep returning.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Since not all of us can buy brand new all the time it is nice to read the reader submissions of the cars they have and what they like and don’t like about them after some time of ownership.

    I enjoy most of what is written here. Some are not my style and I don’t often click on them. No one is perfect so there will be some mistakes and there will be some articles that rub the wrong way. I think the B&B is pretty good about letting you know which ones those are.

    Keep up the mostly good work and remember, more content isn’t always better.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    One of the things I’d like to see more of is reviews on the technology in the cars. I get tired of just the whole “Ford Sync is terrible” or “Cue is aweful” without any real insight into why some interfaces are better than others. Nowadays, infotainment systems are an integral part of owning and operating a car. Hows Android Auto? Apple Car Play? Something a little more in-depth in this area would be nice.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    I wanted to comment even though, in reality, my opinion has been to take the free content for what it is, and skip over the stuff that I can’t use or readily assimilate. TTAC is a daily read for me, even if I can’t comment as often as I’d like these days.

    I appreciate that JB has said he will have some more car focused articles. I agree that he is a phenomenal writer, but I don’t find most his tangents or even on some articles, overall subject, to be of value to me. Therefore, I’ll always read the first bit and then decide if I will continue. The comments tend to follow the tone of the writing, so again, I will generally just move on if I can tell that it won’t be of value to me. Some of the other writers have the odd tangent as well, but less so. There have been a number of articles lately whereby the comments discussion was just so far outside of anything I could absorb, decode, and contribute too I just avoided it. That being said, and as someone above mentioned, in general the comments foster useful disagreement. Rarely am I supremely disappointing by a lack of civil discourse here.

    TTAC is like a delicious chicken wing. I take the meat I like and leave the rest. We all like different parts of the meal.

    All that being said, I agree that more in the way of reviews (not having a dedicated reviewer makes this tough) would be great. I actually really appreciate the reposting of news items, because it keeps me from having to check a dozen sites a day. I appreciate that the author tends to rewrite rather than just link.

    The ask Mark and ask Sajeev type of columns are quite useful, please keep these coming.

    On and off, with Derek and now Mark I have tossed around attempting to be a regular contributor. My comprehensive Verano pieces seemed well received, and I really do owe y’all a full history of its unique crappiness. I drive around a lot of the prairies and also into the mountains for my business, I’d love to put some miles on a variety of vehicles and report my findings, but I’m not really sure about renting all of those vehicles for these situations, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, despite my desire to contribute. Especially since the Verano has good tires for what I do, and rentals tend to come with the cheapest 3 season rubber ever made.

    I’ve come to really enjoy my interactions with the B&B at large and also a few regulars who keep tabs on me. TTAC is great and I’m all for another strong 15 years.

  • avatar
    love2drive

    I agree with some of the comments above. It also doesn’t feel that long ago since the last time the readers were asked to give suggestions.

    I would prefer zero politics at all, other than talking about regulatory impacts, legislative impacts when absolutely necessary. But with no political opinion woven in either in the posts or the comments, just the impact of changes being made by government(s). With the US 50/50 for such a long time, to truly keep a community you have to remove the reflexively divisive. A lot of flame wars came out of these types of posts, and it makes the environment almost incapable of being enjoyable, and you’ll certainly limit yourself only to the audience who gets in to that sort of firebrand. There’s an audience for it, for sure, but a defined one. If you’re goal is broader readership, you’d steer clear.

    I think the banning of the more explosive commenters was wise. You’re trying to build a community around a shared interest, not give voice/outlet to people’s unrestrained emotions. Commenters can have plenty of opinion on auto products and auto manufacturer decision making, but as soon as it becomes personal (either about those business leaders or, even more, other commenters or the author), you’re bound to turn a good portion of your readers off (myself included).

    I agree with some of the other commenters that a greater challenge to the journalism industry types is warranted, but in a real way, not just an us vs them, they’re-suck-ups-and-we’re-not fashion. A comparison of big outlet reviews of the same product, for example, highlighting who got the weekend at a resort versus those who didn’t. Can good press be bought?

    I do like Tim’s sales figures info – it shows where the auto makers are making smart decisions versus not.

    I enjoy Jack’s writing, although sometimes he over-writes.
    Not a fan of the fiction pieces at all.

    The first thing I look for is Junkyard Finds.

    I read Curbside Classic and enjoy that as well. To me the site has a totally different purpose, I go to it for different reasons. Newer vs. Older.

    I think the format/technology is fine as is – I think if it becomes too slick/polished it will lose some of its edge. I do wish there was an app, though.

    My guess is to achieve what you’re going for you need newer, rawer talent, with stronger editing by your paid staff rather than writing by them.

    Been reading since 2008 (9?), but rarely comment.

  • avatar
    HeyILikemySaturnOK

    Hi TTAC

    Congrats on the 15-year mark! I appreciate you for opening the floor to suggestions.

    I’m just a lurker/occasional commentor, so take that for what it is.

    More reviews of just ordinary cars would be great. I enjoy the rental reviews since those are the types of cars i would actually end of up driving. Also, i would appreciate more reviews on long-term reliability using both data and owner anecdote if possible.

    Also, I love reading this site mostly for the historical and cultural significance of cars, so i would love to see more of this.

    I don’t care too much for the track/racing enthusiast stories myself, but i understand that others seek this site out as a source for that stuff.

    Less personal politics in the articles, please. Now, I do feel that political coverage is necessary due to the relationship between governments and the auto industry – debates over the merits of how regulation affects the car industry, the environment, infrastructure, etc have their place here. But, less name-calling and ad-hominem attacks could benefit this site.

    Also, as someone above suggested earlier : “it’d be nice if Jack could write posts without commentary on his sex life, kids-these-days, feminists, and other things that have absolutely bupkis to do with cars, and everything to do with the sort of stuff your drunk divorced uncle rambles on about at Thanksgiving dinner while the whole family cringes and tries to change the subject.”

    That’s all i got, thanks!

  • avatar
    andrethx

    a lot of the other comments here echo my own thoughts on how to improve this site. if you are trying to build a community around this site, though, you’ve got to do something about the comments section. i read most of the car blogs out there from time to time, and i like this site — it’s got a lot going for it — but the comments section drives me away.

    i rarely post in the comments, it’s always circle-jerk of about 10 commenters who, from my perspective, are all pretty much interchangeable old conservative white guys who all seem to think they are David E. Davis or PJ O’Rourke reincarnated. there are some exceptions to this, but those few dominate every discussion. i’m glad that they all feel comfortable here, but many of the rest of us in the remaining 99.999 percent of the target demographics for this site do not. of all of the major car blogs, TTAC easily has the most hostile comments section.

    if you feel yourself reaching for your keyboard to complain about “safe spaces,” “political correctness” or “triggering,” you are part of the problem. nobody cares about that shit except political extremist — it’s just both sides vilifying people they don’t like. not a good strategy for a car blog.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    More Murilee and Mark articles. Bark is OK. Boot Baruth entirely.

    Try not to be biased towards/against certain manufacturers/brands.

    No politics.

    That is all.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    Bring BTSR back as a contributor and as a commentor.

    I don’t mind political articles and I find all of the contributors opinions on them well thought out and interesting.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    I want to see a family reunion. Bring back some former writers and give me:

    Lieberman and Jack racing each other across a large midwestern state in their personal cars, no rules, go-pros with a 2000-word write-up from each at the conclusion.

    Farago with a long-term test-drive of a Winnebago as he makes his way from gun-show to gun-show for two months.

    Ed Niedermeyer returning to TTAC to write a career Death Watch series. His dad throws in pictures of privately owned gray market cars for free.

    Bertel doing the Tokyo Auto Show where his mission is to find the spiritual successor to the B9 Tribeca’s grille and basically creep us out a little.

    DeMuro returning to mail in another review so we can tell him to go back to Jalopnik in all caps. Or Autotrader, or wherever he’s writing now.

    Lang writes about the best vehicles for LGBT customers, then immediately re-resigns in protest. Follows up with a how-to listicle about Wiki editing.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    I stopped reading and commenting some time ago. There were just too much “agenda”, opinions and politics creeping in and some posts and comments were juvenile. Then the VW emissions thing happened and that was just about all there was to read on this site…
    Things seem to be better these days and I have been reading again. Keep it interesting, honest, objective and avoid swamping stories and I’ll stay tuned.
    Other than that, more news on cars and new models. I like to see details summaries on cars to. I know some people think measurements are bunk but some of us like to compare figures. HP / Kw, Power to weight ratios, top speeds, acceleration figures, stopping times and… how about some charts with torque curves and power curves!

  • avatar
    mix-124

    TTAC is where I visit to relax after a long day. Interesting, insightful and timely news are definitely what I’m here for.

    Like many of the comments above, I’d definitely like to see more of:
    +actual car reviews.
    +Tim Cain’s analyses, I find them very interesting, maybe he can include even some more details of his analysis. I understand he has a separate website for that already, but maybe just a bit more?
    +Sajeev and Sanjeev!
    +Bark’s Bites
    +Actual car buying advise, technology reviews (and I don’t just mean infotainment, actual technology on all aspects in the car) etc.
    +Car reviews from around the world. Not just NA. There are so many interesting stuff going on in the auto world around the globe!

    I actually enjoy the remotely auto-related things included as well. Don’t mind any more of that either.

    An app would be fantastic. I use “feedly” app to catch up on my mobile, but if there was a stand alone app, I’d definitely use that only. Since I’m using that app, visiting the website just makes me scroll through so many stories I’ve already read.

    Congrats on the 15 years. I’ve been following since I think 2009. This is maybe my 3rd comment so far.

    Some avenue for donation would work I guess, if you make that available to the BB.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    What about having the B&B actually post the repairs and maintenance costs of their own vehicles? We could create our own realistic long term cost and reliability surveys.

    Age of vehicle, mileage, parts replaced or repaired, mileage when this happened, estimated cost. Much more useful information than a 2 hour drive in a brand new vehicle under the watch of manufacturer reps.

    And the information wouldn’t be filtered.

  • avatar

    Thank you everyone for your input.

  • avatar
    tlk

    I was a long time reader of another auto blog, starting with a ‘J’. Finally, the one sided, non car related political garbage they spew seemingly every day became too much for me. They’re dead to me, but my appetite to know about all things automotive is still as strong as ever.

    My 2 cents:
    Write about things that you find interesting and make you think. Maybe publish, comment on or link to some how tos. Dig up some entertaining stuff on YouTube and share it with the community. Keep us posted on developments in the racing world. Share the stories of what some of the more adventurous of us out there have done to our cars, including the process, parts, challenges and results. The dedicated forums out there are teeming with these posts but most people outside those specific communities will never see them! What bothers you about cars? A lot of this stuff you’re already doing and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading, so just keep it up!

    And when politics do come up, please try to be objective and not derogatory. Opinions are as diverse as the people of this country, and no one has it all right!

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Scoutdude: You don’t want to use that wrap stuff on your calipers, it says it is for wheels and accessories and...
  • Scoutdude: Back when we used to turn rotors instead of replace them it wasn’t uncommon to find “Jesus...
  • Peter Gazis: FreedMike The Pilot has more space. Becky wins!
  • Scoutdude: There are some premium calipers out there that are powder coated in the OE color if that was they way the...
  • Jeff Semenak: I bought a 2001 Olds Bravada used, in 2004. The most left Button under the Stereo was unmarked and, the...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber