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Old July 10, 2009, 06:31 PM
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Default Two years: Questionable editorial neutrality and inconsistent diction

To Hardware Canucks and its readers,

Hardware Canucks articles have become considerably... wordy since the smaller days of 2007.
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Originally Posted by Hardware Canucks
Cooler Master has been at the forefront of case market for some time now...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardware Canucks
... one that is poised to upset the Xigmatek / OCZ apple cart and bring in a new reigning king of the budget coolers. The heatsink we are talking about is the brand new Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus.
These are a handful of examples which have picked out from the beginning of the most recent review. From them, and from some recent articles, I have a suspicion that Hardware Canucks is skirting the wrong side of editorial neutrality. Though, I certainly am not accusing the staff of misconduct, the overall tone of reviews today against reviews conducted two years ago has noticeably changed--I've noticed that you've changed your editorial staff since then, as well. I often subscribe to review communities to only later abandon most of them when it is revealed that they are not neutral or deny the reality that they aren't. Given the overall writing style, this is probably not the case, but, even if the allusion is not intentional, intonations should be avoided entirely or moved to the conclusion, perhaps even after whence.

Now, my main bother is that the diction spoken through the articles has shifted towards a snappy, first-sight freestyle tone. I can't be arsed remembering who the original boffins were who wrote the old reviews, but, their deliveries were subtler and in a fashion that exuded wisdom. The diction indicated that the writer had taken a step back, from having conducted the testing, before beginning to write with the big picture in mind and especially after having analyzed the results to pose questions. Right now, it seems that we are battering away at the keyboard at irrelevance. The results are long-winded arguments peppered with too many improvised personal remarks that separate and obscure the major contentions. As I've suggested, these blog-like phrases, thoughts, discussions, and assumptions that do not contribute to the immediate topic should be moved to the end of the article as objective opinion. The snappy diction is portraying Hardware Canucks as an amateurish start-up community, which, I know is not true because all of its staffers are intelligent, highly technical personnel with reputable expertise in their fields of review. Pace it down a little and deliver the information coherently, ad perpetuitatem, and in a formal dialogue.

I will provide an example
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardware Canucks
The heatpipes themselves -of which there are four large U-type units- are staggered in a left to right fashion in order to allow more fresh air to flow over them when compared to the more mundane double row affair (as seen on the PromlimaTech). These heatpipes may be the smaller 6mm heatpipes versus the 8mm pipes found on the OCZ Vendetta 2 but since there are more of them, the overall efficiency of this setup should be greater. This of course assumes all four heatpipes are in contact with the CPU. In the past, we found that the four heatpipes directly touching the CPU to be less efficient on the 775 test bed, but as the OCZ Gladiator Max was reviewed long before our i7 system arrived on the scene…things may not be so cut and dry.
And here is a cleaned up, more natural-flowing version
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amon
The upward orientation of the four heatpiptes is staggered to encourage unobstructed direct air cooling. The loss of thermal distribution from slender 6mm diameter heatpipes--against the OCZ Vendetta 2's 8mm units--is recovered with an advantageuously greater quantity: four in total. However, this perceived advantage is conditional as prior testing on our late socket-775 testbed, using an OCZ Gladiator Max, has shown that four direct-contact heatpipes had not assisted in cooling over three. Heatpipe quantity is further in contention as our new test platform uses a Core i7.
Please bear in mind that I am not demeaning the staff. I know I am not a relatively regular user and don't follow the enthusiast scene (at least not since the Northwood days). I simply want to the best for Hardware Canucks by providing constructive criticism (as this forum section recommends) to improve its reputation and relevance to its readers. For instance, I would like to see its readers, after reading an article and its editor's personal remarks, to think about what has been reviewed pose higher-thinking questions, such as: why has manufacturer suddenly entered a foreign niche; when is it right to consider value over utility; who is responsible for uncompetitive or monopolized markets, and what can be done about them; and so forth. I think Hardware Canucks is capable of being the dog's bollocks of review networks on the Internet as it is graced by talented staff, but, it just needs a bit of polish to complete the, admittedly, presently fractured package.

By the way, if Hardware Canucks is looking for a pro bono proof-reader, I'd be honoured to lend a hand--and even meet up with the reviewer if he/she is local for one-on-one discussion about the article. Perhaps the reviewers can distribute their work between other staff for proof-reading before submission so that only talented work is produced by means of collaboration with talented people.

Cheers and beers,
Amon


P.S.: the word "bemoaned" seems too popular.
P.P.S.: this is largely trivial, but, your diagrams (graphic visualizations of test results) are enormous to me.
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Old July 10, 2009, 07:10 PM
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Wow, Amon, I think you'll get quite a few responses to this. What I think you are referring to mostly is a difference in writing style between reviewers. And while I think AkG's reviews (whose reviews have been posted more regularly as of late) are more "edgy" and written to appeal to a slightly younger crowd base, I don't think there is any less information presented than in say Skymtl's reviews, for example. What you are decrying seems to me to be the less formal style of writing. And implying that the current reviewers are not talented? And that the reviews are not proof-read? I know that they are, they just don't have the time to catch everything. Everyone on board is a volunteer. I point out the gaffes that may confuse other readers, and ignore the inevitable spelling "misteak" that leaks through. Good luck with it, I don't think you are going to find many supporters for your position.
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Old July 10, 2009, 07:26 PM
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Hmmm i find the reviews really good as well !!! All i have read simply stated the reviewers thoughts on the subject he was reviewing.
With that said i also find the articles very informative and honest !!!!!!

Now as you all can tell i know nothing of writing etc etc (don't even know where to start and stop a sentance.)
But i do know well written reviews qand i think what we have is well written but thats not saying that Amon is wrong either as i quite enjoyed reading how he worded his hypothetical review as well .
I think we could't go wrong with talent like Amons added to the fray !!!!
As for me i will stick with enjoying a great forum that is fun ,insightful and just over all great people!!!!!


YOU ROCK HWC!!!!
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Old July 10, 2009, 07:27 PM
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I dont see anything wrong with that review at all. CM HAS been at the forefront of case technology, perhaps if you followed the enthusiast scene you would know that, but you do not. Really i dont see anything even wrong at all with the second quote either. If you mean the information about ocz and xigmatek isnt needed, i find it useful when a reviewer makes comparisons to similar products. Which again, the xigmatek and ocz coolers are the best bang for the buck, if this cooler can compete with that id like to know.
"Right now, it seems that we are battering away at the keyboard at irrelevance." Really dont see how this is meant to help and not insult the reviewers.
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Old July 10, 2009, 07:34 PM
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Hate to say this but I know what Amon means, HWC is always the last place that i look for reviews when i want to purchase something

And going against fellow staff is like starting a revolution
Hats off to you sir.

Don't hate me
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Old July 10, 2009, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5ILVgeARX View Post
Hate to say this but I know what Amon means, HWC is always the last place that i look for reviews when i want to purchase something

Don't hate me
When I'm interested in some new hardware I look here first to see if it's been reviewed yet.
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Old July 10, 2009, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5ILVgeARX View Post
Hate to say this but I know what Amon means, HWC is always the last place that i look for reviews when i want to purchase something

Don't hate me
Its the first place i look. Usually i will check out other reviews as well though just to see if the tests on all the different sites are accurate but thats about it.
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Old July 10, 2009, 07:52 PM
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One of the things that I've learned from a couple of the reviewers here is that they are ALLOWED to say what they want about the product, aka is it fantastic or crappy. Having that kind of leeway opens up the doors to many different styles of writing these reviews because you can attack them in an open mind. I do agree with you that professionalism (meaning you want to speak perfect English) is 50-50'd here on HWC, but even newspapers are turning that angle and making them more personal which does create more conversation from the viewers, whether it be positive or negative. Heck I assume that none of the reviewers here were even English majors.

I will also agree that I, too, like to read something that is greatly structured and grammatically correct. But these reviews are more about tests and results than a story. These reviewers write verdicts from the results and there's no other way around it. They get an opinion after they see it. On the other hand, sometimes writing professionally can bore the reader because there's just way too many big words for we grown men and younger crowd (I guess I should say that I'm part of the younger croud). There are some things that I do not like about the reviews here and that is the grammar and spelling mistakes. My grammar may not be so perfect, but when I can spot them, it really ticks me off.

There is definitely something wrong when I can foresee the results in the introduction when the reviewer talks about "crushing" and "destroying" other brands, and this should not be talked about in an introduction. Whether it was a try to get the reader excited, instead it can really deter the reader because they already know the result. It was as if the reviewer wrote the introduction after doing the testing, and because of this it creates bias. This is a way of cheating, not as in cheating for testing, but in a way of finishing up the review in a quick manner. It is exactly the way that I did my labs in school, and the reason why I only received "OKAY" marks on them (my profs were lab report Nazi's).

Anyway I do agree with you in some parts, but overall I think that they are doing a good job at catering to everyone's technical knowledge. It's really hard to explain thermodynamics to a 15 year old...

HWC is also the first place I come to for getting background knowledge on a piece of kit.
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Old July 10, 2009, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amon View Post
By the way, if Hardware Canucks is looking for a pro bono proof-reader, I'd be honoured to lend a hand--and even meet up with the reviewer if he/she is local for one-on-one discussion about the article. Perhaps the reviewers can distribute their work between other staff for proof-reading before submission so that only talented work is produced by means of collaboration with talented people.
Sorry I have to add, you say you're not trying to demean the staff, yet i your last paragraph you bash them saying that they are not talented. They may not be English gurus like you, but they sure do know their stuff, and that's where it counts. I don't care whether it's not professionally written; as long as it's worded so that I get the point, then it's all good.

I guess I should add that they should get rid of some of the "crap" or unneeded sentences and words. It would go a long way...
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Old July 10, 2009, 08:05 PM
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I'd agree about more proof-reading but otherwise I find the reviews to be helpful and well done.
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