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Bit-Tech questions

Discussion in 'Feedback & Suggestions' started by brumgrunt, 6 Jan 2012.

  1. Xtrafresh

    Xtrafresh It never hurts to help

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    Just read through both the reorganisation announcement thread and this one, and I must admit that my initial reaction was just a big sigh followed by R.I.P. Bit-Tech.
    Seeing your resolve and attitude Simon, I'd think it could be turned into a "The King is Dead, Long Live the King"-moment, so for what it's worth, I'll drop my thoughts in here. I'll be as brief as i can (promise :D).

    First, and most importantly, THIS thread :thumb:. Don't talk to us, but with us. If Bit-Tech wants to reclaim it's former glory, there needs to be that complete link to the community again. That means editors actively taking part on the forums, forumites appearing on the frontpage.
    Bit is a community-driven site first and foremost, and I think the recent downwards spiral and the many disgruntled forumites are a result of the site not really acknowledging that, trying to be content-driven instead. To deliver that content, a large, expensive editorial team is needed, and with the level of knowledge that the community already has of the subject matter, it's just never going to be good enough. So yeah: rock, [STAND HERE], hard place.

    The solution is to no just fight the problem of having a slim budget, it's to adapt to it. Oh, and admit openly to the problem, like you are already doing :)

    The current model, though painful, could be an excellent starting point to turn it around. There is a massive amount of content on tap in the community, and lots and lots of us are quite willing to provide it at no cost. There are great initiatives on the forums, like the design competition, and much stuff that could be featured almost unedited, like Gunsmith's Crysis Ironman walkthrough videos, the slew of games played as a community, the case design compos, or many of the build logs.

    Basically, the more you can blur the line between the editorial team and the forumites, without actually losing sight of it, the better. If that can be achieved, i really would not even think twice about strict quality of reviews, quantity of content, or any of those other "deliverables".

    So much for the theory, here's some actual suggestions:
    • Open up the blogging section to the community. Not necessarily for buildlogs, but just any topic that comes to mind, much like the staff blogs now. Divide the blogs into staff (payed), "endorsed" (your top picks, popular forumites, famous modders), and just general. Assign somebody to sift through all the crap and pick out the gems.
    • Ask people from the forum that interest you to write articles, or interview them for opinions on whatever bit-tech related.
    • talk about your process of editing the site, interaction with companies, meetings with industry bigshots, anything that you'd call work-related. We'll gobble it up, especially the parts where you or other insiders give opinion of vision on what's to come.
    • make sure you and all your editors have time alotted to spend on the forum, talking and goofing around in the threads that spawn of your articles. You'll see that a lot more of the article will actually be read if we get the chance to talk to you about it later. The more it feels like a pub discussion, the better.
    • Don't focus too much on very comprehensive benchmarks of the hardware you review, to be honest, that's an arms race you have already lost to anandtech, tom's, and quite a few others who are all doing the exact same thing. Instead focus on having fun with it. That means overclocking, cooling, modding, software tweaking, game setting tweaking, eyefinity/surround/3D testing, breaktesting, pondering current and future uses, and whatever else applies to the article at hand. Anything that shows the passion for the hardware we all share, anything we would want to do to the hardware, but can't because you lucky sods are holding the first testing samples. :naughty:
    • Meet as many of us as you can. LITS was an excellent example, but you could also visit some LANs, hold small events together with sponsors that want to test and present their products, or simply announce you'll be at bar X for a pint and some easy talk about life, the universe and bit-tech everything.

    Post too long already. I tried :duh:
    Good luck Simon, I hope you can turn this ship around!
     
  2. mecblade

    mecblade 14 year old Technophile

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    Mere Apple marketing :lol:

    My question is mainly how big would the difference be between the reviews on Bit-Tech and the ones in Custom PC? I know you've mentioned earlier that different factors would be considered differently by the separate reviewers but would that be the only difference (asides from the writing of course)? Will one half of Bit-Tech-CustomPC get more perks (equipment, review samples etc.) than the other or will you be using the same thing?

    While we're at it, would it be possible to get a soundcard test labs done? I might be the exception but there's really been a lack of reviews for new cards such as the HT Claro II. The last review was in February last year, although I understand it may be hard to acquire review samples.

    I would also echo the requests for more modding content :D

    Good Luck with your new post in Dennis Publishing Simon :D
     
  3. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt New Member

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    I always find there's nothing worse on a forum that putting together a really long post, and then getting a horribly brief reply. So, er, my apologies already for that.

    I like a lot of your suggestions, I've got to factor out practicalities. If you bear with me, I'll try and pick some of these points up in the weeks ahead?

    Thanks for your suggestions and support,

    Simon
     
  4. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt New Member

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    There's substantive testing equipment already in place that we have access to, so I don't think it's a case of added perks between one and the other. There's a comprehensive labs, it's just how we all choose to use it. As I've said earlier, much of the testing process is common to both, so it makes sense to do that fully, once. That's not 100% of the time, but I'm imagine for the most part it'll hold true. What's then done with those results, and the reviews that follow, will inevitably be different, though.

    Sound cards: certain samples are gettable. What I'm getting a flavour of here, though, is a long wishlist of things people want us to, which I've got to juggle resources to best manage. That's not a yes or no to sound cards, more of a "bear with me while I sort it out".

    Modding content we're already looking at!

    Many thanks for your post.

    Simon

    PS I don't work for Dennis Publishing, btw.
     
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  5. mecblade

    mecblade 14 year old Technophile

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    Perhaps 'post' wasn't the right term :D
     
  6. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt New Member

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    Just wanted to post this here, from the other thread. It's come up once or twice over there, and I feel it's right that you get to ask questions about this if you want to. So, with apologies in advance for copying and pasting...

    I didn't really want to jump into this thread, as it seemed more about people thanking the people who had brought Bit-Tech this far. But this has come up twice, so wanted to be open and transparent about it.

    I'm working directly on two websites, Bit-Tech and Den Of Geek. I have other projects going on in the background, too, but not ones that are quite so hands-on.

    I started editing Micro Mart magazine back in 2000 (a position I stepped down from last year), and in that time, there's only been a period of three months where that's what I've exclusively done. I enjoy, and it keeps my brain fresh, doing a few things. At the peak of this, I edited Micro Mart (100 pages + of material every week), Den Of Geek, and several bookazines. I've also edited Micro Mart at the same time as a fortnightly IT trade publication, and a monthly public sector IT magazine.

    The only reason I say this (I appreciate it's a bit dull!) is that I've never just done one thing at the same time. I've got a bit of an odd brain like that, I suppose. Instead, I enjoy working alongside people who are experts, and passionate about what they do, and letting them do it.

    Bit-Tech has clearly had some problems, as many of you have identified, with some of the shackles that have been placed on the team. My immediate job is, I think, is to allow the brilliant writers for the site to write, and not have to worry about anything else going on in the background (I'll be fighting those background battles instead).

    To be clear: that doesn't mean I'm taking any kind of back seat here. It means I might not be as visible as I'd like from time to time, but there's a good reason for it.

    If it's okay, I'm going to copy this post into the Bit-Tech questions thread, and I'm happy to clarify anything about all of this over there.

    Simon
     
  7. Xtrafresh

    Xtrafresh It never hurts to help

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    Normally you'd be right, but this longwinded post was really written to plant a seed and do some actual good, rather than for getting into the usual forum back-and-forth. Thanks for considering it all, and if you spend the time making some visible changes, you can be as short as you like in your responses.

    Also, i'm reminded of the old samurai movie tradition where the move masterful the fighters are, the shorter the fight. Which kinda makes me utter rubbish, but hey :lol:
     
  8. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    For what it's worth, I thought I'd say that Simon is the reason that I'm planning to continue writing for the site on a freelance basis. If someone else had been put in charge, I'd have moved on. The only reason I haven't is because I have full faith in Simon's ability to get Bit-tech back on track.

    Honestly, I've been trying to take projects to Simon for a while now so that we could collaborate on them; that he's ended up coming to me so we can work on Bit-Gamer is fantastic.
     
    Last edited: 8 Jan 2012
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  9. Da_Rude_Baboon

    Da_Rude_Baboon What the?

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    Thank you for your replays to this thread Simon, it has given me confidence in where you want to take the site and I have been here long enough to see quite a few changes happen.

    Extrafresh hit the nail on the head for me. There has been an almost complete disconnect between the site and the forums/community. Part of that has been the lack of participation of the editorial team in the forums. Harry and Joe being the notable exceptions and I doubt its coincidence that they are the the most popular writers on the site. There fore it is good to see you posting and your personality coming through.

    I would suggest a dedicated part of the forum for user reviews and tweak guides. The best of which could then be elevated to the front page if good enough and appropriate. I think once people see user reviews (and more importantly which user reviews) make it the front page it will encourage people to participate.

    I know this is a PC orientated site but I would like to see PS3 games included in the games coverage. It has always been rather grating that a gaming site completely ignores one of the main players in this generation.
     
  10. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt New Member

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    Thanks for your words and suggestions. Much appreciated.

    On your last point: how important to you all is the desktop PC? Appreciating it will remain at the heart of Bit-Tech, are you interested, for instance, in modding other tech, outside of the traditional computer? I'm getting the impression thus far that you are.

    Simon
     
  11. greypilgers

    greypilgers New Member

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    I'd like to know when we are actually going to see some content, features, or even news, please? The website is turning into an obituary for Bit-Tech, with all these threads that are springing up. When are we going to actually see some activity, please? If you leave it too long people will be in the habit of going elsewhere, and then you've lost the battle.
    Already people go elsewhere for the news affecting our industry.
     
  12. Jake123456

    Jake123456 Surprise!

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    Well as you can see, I'm slightly young to Bit-tech, but I for one can say that we all enjoyed the Wii HD Mod, and I would give credit to the person who did it, but can't remember who....:worried: As he did bring a new type of mod to Bit-tech..

    But I would love more than the usual Desktop PC mod, maybe more Laptop mods...That would be nice :D


    Wii Unlimited Edition by Martin Nielsen (Angel OD)!!
     
  13. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt New Member

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    Good question. Just posted some new material now. Should be back on schedule...
     
  14. Blademrk

    Blademrk Why so serious?

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    Some of the Bit-tech-ers will come across as PC-elitist and will cry foul over anything not related to the almighty PC, however there are a few of us who did appreciate the console related articles too (and the board game articles and cheesecake articles and... so on :D ).

    Definitely interested in modding outside of desktop PC's/Cases
     
  15. Bauul

    Bauul Sir Bongaminge

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    The one aspect of the Bit-Tech site I've always struggled with is trying to use it as a reference guide.

    The reviews of new hardware when it comes out is great, but trying to hunt down information after-the-fact is surprisingly hard. I think that's why the Buyer's Guide was so popular, as it was a straight forward summary of current hardware.

    I know this might require a degree of back-end redesign, but some sort of proper filing-system for all the reviews would be really appreciated. Some sort of table that was simple to access that showed, simplistically, how the various bits of hardware Bit has reviewed stacks up.

    Practicle example? A couple of years ago I decided to buy a new GPU for circa £100. I came to Bit-Tech to find out what. The Buyer's Guide suggested a couple, but I hoped to get as wide an idea as possible. Unfortunately it simply wasn't practical to, as I didn't know what to search for, and I wasn't about to look through every single GPU review to try to find the ones that matched my budget. In the end I resorted to other websites which had such reference guides, even though I would have preferred to spend my time on Bit-Tech.
     
  16. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    I can see your point there Bauul, my tactic when I do something like that is search for a review at the time, add 3 months, then find a GPU review. That way you've got the card you're after against similar cards before and after. :)
     
  17. kelvinb

    kelvinb BF3 Username - D0rmarth

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    I love any type of tech modding so I would be intrested in something no one has attempted before.
     
  18. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt New Member

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    Now there's a challenge :)
     
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  19. LeMaltor

    LeMaltor >^_^

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    Why has the only question worth asking been ignored?

    What went wrong with Bit-tech that Dennis so radically had to alter things?

    Why were we lumped together with Custom PC?

    and now

    Why the split from Custom PC?

    Freelance writers -> does that mean brumgrunt is the only employee now at bit-tech? Sounds like Dennis are trying to run this on the cheap. :worried:
     
  20. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt New Member

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    Because it's been answered, really, on the original thread.

    To answer your questions, though:

    * Dennis is changing its publishing model, across several publications, for better or worse. It's outsourcing editorial production, and not retaining any in-house editorial staff. It's not an uncommon model, but it's a relative new one to Dennis.

    * It's not that anything went wrong, really. It's a change in the publishing model that Dennis has opted to try.

    * Wasn't involved in the decision to bring Custom PC and Bit-Tech together, so can't really answer that one. Appears to have had some positives, some negatives to it, from what I can gleam.

    * Because Custom PC is following a similar model, and it was decided, ultimately, to split the products back out. Writers will sort work across both, but each now has its own independent editor.

    * I'm not an employee of Dennis either. I'd imagine that cost saving is in there as a reason for doing it, but it's not the only one. I've not taken Bit-Tech on to manage its demise. Quite the contrary, if all goes to plan.

    Hopefully, that answers the questions?

    Simon
     
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