Why We Don't Cover Tech News Exhaustively

By Kat Hannaford on at

I interrupt my last day of a much-needed holiday to explain a little something about Gizmodo UK, and our direction of the site, following a pretty disgusting series of emails from a reader who's appalled we didn't cover Computex exhaustively this week. Grab your vial of smelling salts, and take a look below the jump for the emails, and a reminder of what Giz UK is all about:

From a reader, who we shall call Scott, for that is his name:

Hi Kat,

 

Just wanted to drop in and say that that is it, Gizmodo, at one point was one of my favourite tech sites. Now it has been reduced by the British team to a festering pile of its former self.

 

Did you know by chance that there is a small computing show going on this week? Yeh, not too big a deal, You might of heard of it! Its called Computex.

 

Wheres Gizmodo UK's content from this? Its utterly pathetic thats what.

 

Oh and the Editor has gone of on holiday during the one of the biggest shows of the year, especially considering this is the first real look at win8 devices.

 

There is a large tech site with a forum topic going on right now where over 200 people already have had enough of crap coverage, hopelessly poor articles and a comment section so full of Trolls.

 

Im out as of now, consigned to the pages of engadget and the verge.

 

Everyone is writing to the US site to complain but for me it is a lost cause.

 

Well done for sinking the ship of the SS Gizmodo capitan.

My reply:

Hi Scott,

 

Thanks for your email. You will have noticed I've copied in the US site's editor Joe into this email, to save you the hassle of writing an email of complaint yourself.

 

Let me address your complaints in the order you presented them:

 

Glad to hear it was once one of your favourite sites. Sorry to hear you don't like the UK version. Did you know you can get around the redirect by clearing your cache, and using the URL us.gizmodo.com? We appreciate some people might prefer US news, so fill yer boots.

 

We are aware of Computex; thanks for the condescension. We're also aware that readers don't really give two shits about crappy laptops, which is why we're not exhaustively covering the show like Engadget etc. Do you think newspapers are sold by covering my neighbour's new gnome? No one gives a shit about that, so please allow us the luxury to decide what's of interest for our readers.

 

Besides -- we have covered the most pertinent news from Computex. Despite the fact I'm still on holiday (my first since I launched the site last September -- thanks for trying to spoil it, btw!), every day I've looked in on the site and seen Computex news. Perhaps you missed yesterday's posts on the Sony ultrabook; Asus hybrid thing; TWO posts on Toshiba's 21:9 laptop, and the countless others that went up, that I've since forgotten about?

 

You may also be so wrapped up in moaning about how your former favourite site has gone to the dogs, that you have also forgotten we've had two bank holidays in a row, so posting has been lighter than it normally would. Please forgive the fact that my writers actually want some downtime every now and then, so they're not burnt out before their time.

 

If you could please be so kind as to direct my attention to the forum you mentioned, so I can scroll through it for three minutes; laugh, and then get back to more important matters? That would be great. I take pains to reply to each and every email I receive from readers -- whether positive or negative -- but if readers don't have the guts to email me themselves, then there's not much I can do, is there?

 

I'm not sure what you mean about trolls, by the way. I read every comment when I'm at work (we've had over 50k since we launched last September -- more than most UK tech sites get in their lifetime), and can quite literally count each trollish comment on just two hands. In fact, commenters are always extolling how nice the other commenters are -- and even arranging meet ups off their own backs, like the group which went to see Prometheus on the weekend.

 

There's not much else I can add to this, so please allow me to get back to the first five days off I've had in nine months.

 

Thanks,
Kat.

Scott's reply:

Wow, Just wow,

 

You really are a classless piece of work aren't you.

 

"Readers dont really give 2 shits about crappy laptops?" really are you kidding me? a lot of the laptops released are some of the biggest jumps in recent year........ you cant really be taking your own comment seriously.

 

Allow you to decide for your readers? So you just ignore what plenty of people complain about regularly...... Sounds like a good plan.

 

"If you could please be so kind as to direct my attention to the forum you mentioned, so I can scroll through it for three minutes; laugh, and then get back to more important matters?" - Your come across extremely classless and tacky here, im actually shocked an editor from such a high profile site is allowed to respond like this whilst representing there company. Accordingly your response will go into said thread, so they can actually "have a laugh" at you.

 

"There's not much else I can add to this, so please allow me to get back to the first five days off I've had in nine months." I will excuse this bleeding heart approach, it is such good timing you chose to go over the course of one of the biggest events of the year.

 

Kat in all seriousness, im disgusted by your response, it makes both you and your company look incredibly bad, im sure you "couldn't give to shits", its a shame people like you are so quick to act this way and a shame that your obvious bad attitude has affected a sit that so many people liked.

 

Can you please respond only with the name and email address of your superior in the UK and the US and please refrain from another abusive rant, the email addresses alone shall suffice.

When we launched the site last September, I made the decision to reply to every email received from readers, whether the content be praising or lambasting. (Though I may've missed some -- my inbox reaches critical status every now and then.) I'm pretty proud that I've managed to convert some of the most damning readers into fans of the site, and in fact, some of my now-favourite commenters (hi, Darrell, Token, and Dean Flynn!) can attest to having exchanged stroppy emails with me (I actually banned Darrell briefly over on the US site a couple of years ago).

I appreciate that Gizmodo UK, and our nine other foreign sites aren't for everyone. Heck, I even appreciate the fact that some people may prefer to still read up on their Americanese news, and visit Giz US instead (which is why we've made it easy to get around the redirect, using the URL us.gizmodo.com -- you may need to clear your cache first). But what I can't abide is people bashing us when they so clearly misunderstand what we're about.

As I try and explain to our scallywag of a reader Scott, we don't cover tech news exhaustively. Gizmodo has never been about that, since day one. We leave that to sites such as Engadget and The Verge, who do a brilliant job at cataloguing everything so coherently. Instead, we prefer to bring you only the tech news we feel actually resonates with our readers -- products that we'd personally recommend you become aware of or even buy; rather than fill your ears with news of every sub-standard Android phone and under-specced Dell laptop. Readers have shown they don't want that -- believe it or not, we actually have metrics to determine what sort of news readers respond to best, and track traffic meticulously. We're also not a straight tech site. Sure, that's at the heart of almost everything we cover, but we're very influenced by design; architecture; space; humour; food... It's a mix that has served Giz well over the years.

In short: We're not going to waste your time, so please don't waste our time. I'm sorry to make Scott a scapegoat here, especially when I can count the nasty emails since we launched on just one hand. (A figure which I would've seen in just one day, when I was working on the US site.) I'm proud of what we're doing here on Giz UK (especially given we have just two full-timers on the site), and equally proud of how well-behaved and un-troll-like our commenters are. I will finish my little diatribe with a reminder that my (email) door is always open if you have any grievances about the site (though praise is always nicer!), so hit me up on kat.hannaford[at]futurenet.com. I'm not normally as argumentative as shown in my reply to Scott above, honest.

Image Credit: Troll via Shutterstock