TG Daily: A readers’ Guide

Opinion: A few months back, we took the brave – some might say daft – decision to allow readers to post comments on TG Daily stories without an editor approving them first. Not many sites do this. OK, no other site does this. Here’s why. You may wish to have a dictionary to hand for some of the more challenging words.

There’s no point in a site existing in splendid isolation. Without readers, it’s pure onanism, or ‘blogging’ to use the vernacular. Sites that ask you to spend 20 minutes filling in an online form, then waiting for an email confirmation to arrive, really don’t want you to comment on their deathless prose, do they.

So we decided to allow anyone to speak their brains, without let or hindrance. We hold these truths to be self-evident and we really want to hear from you, regardless of your mental acuity. And blimey O’Reilly, we have.

So here’s a few pointers on making a favourable impression with us – and your peers – when posting comments on the site.

Focus group
First off, we’ve been doing this stuff for a long time. Your editorial team started writing before the advent of PCs and when mobile phones were but the stuff of science fiction. Some started before the discovery of fire and Apple’s focus group deciding what color it should be.

With age comes incontinence. But, more crucially, experience. When we receive a press release evidently written by a six-year old child, containing such terms as ‘solution’, ‘world-class’, ‘leverage’ and ‘core competency’, we reach for our service revolvers.

What we do here – and what we’ve done in other places such as The Register, The Inquirer and IT Examiner, is question anything and everything. When a company does something stupid, we’ll point it out. When it does something good, we might even praise them a bit.

And so it is that, unlike most IT sites, we don’t have a news agenda. We’re not pro Intel or AMD, for Microsoft and against Linux, or even slavering supporters of Nvidia against ATI. So here’s a tip: If we run a story that praises a company currently on your List Of Death, we’re not getting at you personally and you leaping for the keyboard and immediately commenting that our mother is a diseased crack ho, or that we are an orang-utan, is probably slightly wide of the mark and will win you few friends.

The secret here is actually reading the story, rather than just the headline, or even the author’s byline. Commenting that a story is rubbish, then admitting you haven’t even read it because it’s written by that bastard Andrew Thomas is more of a reflection on your mental acuity than it is on that bastard Andrew Thomas’ analytical skills and writing ability.

Astonishingly, we may occasionally write a story supportive of Microsoft. Unlike vast tracts of what passes for the IT Media these days, we don’t automatically replace the S in MS with a dollar sign in a way that wasn’t even funny 20 years ago when “What Spectrum?” first typed M$. Oh how we laughed. Hahaha.

Microsoft, Intel, AMD, Nvidia, Oracle, Apple and EDS are just companies. They do stuff right and they do stuff wrong. OK, we lied about EDS, they really are just crap. But to take a consistent anti-MS or Intel stance is, to use a journalistic term, just shit. Journalists are supposed to tell readers what’s going on out there, not simply write that Vista smells of piss and wait for the audience to laugh.

Once respected, twice shy
When we read a once-respected rag like Computerworld and see a headline such as “Windows 7 drivers still a bit flaky”, only to find that the story is actually about an ancient HP all-in-one printer/scanner not having the drivers needed for network scanning, we rather take the view that this is an HP issue rather than a Microsoft one and that the headline is merely playing to the crowd and hoping for a big hit on Google News. Dissing HP is, of course, less newsworthy than dissing Microsoft, even if it isn’t Microsoft’s fault.

Colorful metaphor
Another aspect of reader comments that never ceases to amuse here on the 122nd floor of the Sears Tower is the total inability of readers to grasp the simple concept of irony. When we write of heading out of a wint’ry morn with a team of oxen for a day’s honest toil in the fields, it is perhaps wise for readers to consider for a fleeting moment that we don’t actually mean it, but that it might in fact be a colorful metaphor used to illustrate a point.

Try to avoid telling us how to run the site and what editorial direction to take. If you don’t like our style, there are loads of alternative sites to try. Hell, why not start your own? If we can do it, how hard can it be?

But please do not presume for a moment that everyone – or, indeed, anyone – is in the slightest bit interested in your reasons for deleting the site from your bookmarks and never coming back.

Histrionic posturing
Such histrionic posturing only serves to illustrate the cataclysmic shallowness of your character. Especially when you come back to tell world+dog that you’re leaving and never coming back. Six times. If you don’t like us, be a man and just clear off.

And when reading an opinion piece, filed in the relevant opinion section and labelled with the word ‘opinion’ in bold, filing a comment complaining that the piece in question is merely the author’s opinion, makes you look like a bit of an idiot, if we’re brutally frank.

So here’s the bottom line – we love you to read our stuff and by all means comment on it, but, hey, why not actually read it before you reach for the green crayons?

Swamps of Tennessee
Sometimes our readers are far from positive about terms such as daily saving time, or even TG Daily Saving Time.

In such circumstances we just get hold of the clock and wind it backwards.

Endian of the Univers
As every fule kno, Univers is a font. The Univers is a very big place and can scale up from four points to 64 or even more points. This is nothing to do with evolution and everything to do with scaling. Which has nothing to do with lizards, chameleons or orang-utangs.