Why We Welcome Commentary on Our Columns

Tim Bajarin / July 23rd, 2013

One of the most important parts of our TechPinions columns is the comment section at the end of each column.
As editors, we highly vet each column as we are extremely committed to writing and posting pieces that are insightful, informative and sometimes provocative. Each of our writers are seasoned thought leaders and we highly appreciate the comments and even constructive criticism that is often offered in these comment sections.

I want to also make note that we encourage insightful and thoughtful feedback from our readers. When Techpinions started, there was a person who often commented on our columns and we marveled at his insight and the thought provoking feedback he would make on the columns he commented on. Although he was a retired lawyer and not even from our industry, his understanding of the economics of the PC market and how business works really got our attention. So we invited him to do a column or two and they were so well received that we decided to give him a weekly spot on Techpinions. John Kirk now regales us with his thoughts each Thursday.

We know through our feedback from many Techpinion readers that they are a highly educated bunch, prone to strong opinion and full of great feedback about the content and/or logical reasoning stated in many of our columns. We truly appreciate it and welcome these comments that extend the spirit of the column and make it multi-dimensional in a good way. We are also pleased that in most cases, the comments are thoughtful and very seldom stray from the topic or become personal attacks on the author as we see in a lot of other sites where comments are all over the map. As our readers know, personal attacks make no sense when instructive and sometimes constructive dialog should be at the center of the overall discourse.

As one of the co-founders of Techpinions I truly appreciate the great feedback we get from our readers and look forward to hearing more of you share your thoughts and analysis on the columns we post each week.

Tim Bajarin

Tim Bajarin is the President of Creative Strategies, Inc. He is recognized as one of the leading industry consultants, analysts and futurists covering the field of personal computers and consumer technology. Mr. Bajarin has been with Creative Strategies since 1981 and has served as a consultant to most of the leading hardware and software vendors in the industry including IBM, Apple, Xerox, Compaq, Dell, AT&T, Microsoft, Polaroid, Lotus, Epson, Toshiba and numerous others.
  • FalKirk

    Allow me to second Ben’s remaks. I have no way of knowing how much you all learn from my articles, but I can assure you that I learn a lot from your comments. I don’t always like when you point out where I’m wrong, but I always respect your input. Keep ’em coming.

    • TheEternalEmperor

      It’s a treat to read your work, all of your work. Keep ’em coming.

  • Scott Sterling

    I think an intelligent website like this one would be well served to require commenters to use their real names.

    • qka

      Alas, since logging in is done thru other services like Twitter or FB, or even Disqus, and those services are so popular that many users will have the same name and thus must use handles, that will not be easily done.

      My name really is Robert Brown. My wife, when I first met her, didn’t believe that was my real name. Do any of you?

      • TheEternalEmperor

        It’s your prerogative.

  • pawhite524

    Tim,

    Thank you for the acknowledgement to those of us who enjoy the work done by techpinion’s readers and commenters. I have been a loyal reader, and, often a commenter because of of all the virtues, insights, and thought provoking content supplied by the authors and commenters.
    This site is a treat and I will continue to be involved as long as you are up and running.

    Again, many thanks…

    And, yes, my name is P. A. White.

  • Neil

    John’s promotion so to speak actually demonstrates a problem with journalism. It doesn’t pay well. Or at least not as well as many other professions that attract smart people such as investment banking, legal practice, etc.

    Accordingly, many people who work in other industries are more talented than journalists. Litigators in particular receive much more rigorous interview training than journalists thanks to depositions.

  • Herding_sheep

    One of the things I appreciate most about techpinions is not just the insightful commentary from editors, but also the mostly thoughtful and mature comments I see in the comment section. Its certainly a welcome change from the norm on other tech blogs, a sea of juvenile and irrational responses from people who generally don’t bring much to the broader discussion.

    Makes me feel like I can actually participate in the discussions here. Whereas I tend to avoid the comment sections on most other websites.

  • jfutral

    This site’s commenters have spoiled me. Even when people here disagree they at least try to use a modicum of logic and reason (hit and run commenters not-withstanding). Most sites, I’ve given up reading the comments. And the ones where I do venture into the comments, I get so frustrated with lack of thought I have to leave before I get too frustrated. There aren’t too many (any?) comments on this site I just skip and none make me jettison to another website or task just to escape.

    Joe

    • Defendor

      I agree.

      I think the reason the quality of user comments, are better here, is twofold:

      1) The stories themselves are more thoughtful and less inflammatory. It seems nearly every other tech site has resorted to sensationalized linkbait to draw hits for advertising. This naturally riles some people up, leading to more trollish comment section. Do it enough and they end up spawning resident trolls that become a permanent part of the landscape. You can get a taste with Johns “Android’s Market Share is Literally a Joke” story. The title is somewhat sensationalized and this story was distributed to the corners of the net where the trolls lurk. The comment section of that story started to resemble the the trolls more typical lairs. Luckily there wasn’t enough similar stories for them to feed on so they have moved back to their more permanent homes. Better stories draw fewer, but better comments.

      2) Lower volume of users(still related to the above). There is less excitement being combative when there aren’t enough people willing to keep a fight going.

      My concerns are that by taking the high ground, Techpinions will have a lower traffic, and be harder to monetize, and this kind of rational interaction might not be sustainable in the long term. But kudos to Techpinions writers for actually taking the high ground. It seems very rare on the net.

      • benbajarin

        Let me share my thoughts on this and perhaps solicit feedback. First of all you are right in our traffic in the grand scheme of things. I’ve thought about this for a while and my primary question has always been how large a base a site like ours could realistically take. Clearly a syndication deal with a large site would help and we have been solicited on this but we are yet to make a decision on that and I don’t expect to soon but the door remains open.

        Right now our pageviews are in the 250-300 thousand range. Uniques in the 130-150,000 depending on the month. So its healthy and we are growing at about 50% a year. That being said I never intend to take us down the ad network route. I managed the business end and adverting end of two very large tech blogs for a few years recently and I’ll never do that again.

        This is why we are going the sponsor route, which is sustainable but also why we chose to focus on insiders. With the model we are doing where our readers are the customers who want more analysis, deeper commentary, light reports, etc., we feel we can sustainably serve a smaller group of people and make the site sustainable.

        So primary goal number one is to provide exceptional value with Insiders with a service similar to GigaOM pro but much less expensive. We have many plans over the next year for this service to evolve and be of the utmost quality.

        I think what we are doing has a great deal of potential but we are very fluid in our tactics to reach our goals. I’d love to do meet-ups and also conference like venues where I and Tim can present some of our research and reports for a small door fee to a large group. All stuff still on the drawing board.

        We are lucky that many of us have other jobs, and Tech.pinions is our sort of “hobby” in the same way Apple TV is a hobby 🙂 But I’d love to showcase great writing and analysis and help some folks get exposure who aren’t the usual suspects in the public sphere. Of course if we can help some of these writers financially that is always a bonus.

        As Tim said what we love about this venue is the ability to share and kick around ideas. You will rarely see me say things in absolutes and although I may some core convictions of certain things related to the industry, I greatly appreciate feedback and intelligent discussion.

        I sort of view what we can do here as analysis in public. It is a place where can share theories, present data and such but also get feedback as we shape our own opinions on the industry landscape.

        So again thanks to all of you. Your comments are equally as valuable to the site as any columnists content.

        • jfutral

          Well, if you think it will help, I’d be happy to throw in an occasional “You suck!” now and again.

          Joe

  • Bill

    There should also be an ethics statement and full disclosure of the writers connections to or investments in the companies they are covering. The site should embrace full transparency, otherwise its pronouncements may be deemed suspect.

  • Pretty poor headline for this article.
    Better would have been: Apple is dying: we welcome comments

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