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Bit-Tech questions

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

  1. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt New Member

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    Lots of interesting discussion here about the handling of game content, and even though I'm not replying to each post here, I'm digesting it all. That DRM feature idea sounds interesting, too...

    Simon
     
  2. Da_Rude_Baboon

    Da_Rude_Baboon What the?

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    For game bench marks would it be possible at the end of a review to ask the community to send in their benchmarks and hardware spec and have a graph/table made up of the results? An article or campaign I would dearly love to see the gaming press take on is why gamers and publishers feel it is acceptable to release games which are frankly broken. There is no other consumer product I can think of were this is standard practice or even acceptable. It is very hard to return a game under the grounds that it's functionally broken.
     
  3. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt New Member

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    If there's enough demand, although inevitably, it's one of those things where if we did that with every game - or even a few - it stops us writing something new. I'm not being downbeat, or ruling it out, or anything like that. Just the day to day practicalities!

    Simon
     
  4. dogknees

    dogknees New Member

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    I joined bit-tech mainly because of articles like this: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2008/11/03/intel-core-i7-nehalem-architecture-dive/1 that I found here. There are others from the same period on graphics accelerator architectures, and other topics.

    Over the last 4 years, articles with this sort of technical depth have slowly disappeared. Similarly, there has been a drop in the number of detailed photos in reviews of motherboards and other components over the same period.

    I used to be able to look forward to reading new hardware reviews and interesting articles on an almost daily basis. Now it's a couple a week at best with no depth and therefore little interest to those of us who are into the technical details.

    Can we look forward to things returning to this quality and quantity under the new management?

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: 5 Feb 2012
  5. Xir

    Xir Well-Known Member

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    Yeah...now I mostly browse the forum...
     
  6. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

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    Apologies for the thread necro, but I was wondering about the status of bit-tech, and thought this would be the most appropriate place to do it rather than start a new thread.

    This is aimed primarily at Simon, although I'd gladly hear answers from any other BT or Dennis staff.

    Over the last few months, I've had my concerns over the longevity and future of the bit-tech site. I know I'm not alone in thinking this, because several other forumites have also aired similar comments.

    Over the last few months, we've seen a reduction in the number of articles (although this does seem to have picked up over the last few weeks), with an increase in the intrusiveness of advertising on the front page. Even Gareth's excellent news articles seemed to have slowed down (I can't believe that's because nothing exciting is happening in the tech sector!)

    There also seems to be a much-reduced staff presence in the forums, even though the forums themselves remain a lively and informative place. There seems to be a disconnect between the front page and the forums.

    So, Simon, it's been almost a year since you started here. Frankly (although I say this with a heavy heart), the improvements that you promised haven't really materialised. Bit-tech seems to have lost its niche place in the market, and has gone from being a first-stop source of information to an also-ran.

    This saddens me, because B-T is one of my favourite stops on the Interwebs, but I can see a day when the front page stops existing, and B-T just becomes a tech forum.

    Tell me this isn't true.
     
  7. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt New Member

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    Lots of questions there, and, as always, these are the truthful answers.

    I'm not going to lie: the first six months of Bit-Tech were hard work, for lots of reasons. It's little secret that things weren't handled as well as they could be, and piecing things back together proved to be tricky. I made mistakes along the way, too, and - with the joy of hindsight - there are things I would do differently.

    To address your specific issues - and let me know if there's anything that I've not answered satisfactorily:

    * The number of articles on the site. Earlier in the year, I think that's the fairest criticism that could be aimed at the site. For a variety of reasons, there simply wasn't enough to read on the front of the site. Harry, Antony, Gareth, Joe and Paul were doing terrific work, but we clearly were a person or two short.

    So, over the summer - and this is what you're seeing the fruits of now - I brought in two new people. Matthew Lambert has been with us since September, working away in the labs, to ensure that we get more hardware reviews on the front of the site. The pick up over the past few weeks has been because Matt has really hit his stride, and - along with the excellent work of the rest of the team - it's led to the amount of material increasing.

    Also, I brought in David Hing, who's been doing extra gaming news and blog posts on top of the work Gareth has been doing. Gareth's workrate and news posts are still as constant as they have been all year.

    So: there was a problem earlier in the year, but there's been - and apologies for the suit-sounding talk for a minute - an investment in more people to sort that out.

    * Advertising. This has been an issue that's eaten a massively disproportionate amount of this year up, truth be told. Some ad formats on the site have been 'unfortunate' to say the least. I've also discovered some of the problems with ads from before I arrived at the site.

    I can't defend every ad campaign on Bit-Tech, and many I've gone into Dennis to directly question. The problem, and I appreciate it's an ongoing debate, is that there's barely an ad campaign now, of whatever format or content, that I don't get a complaint about. I'm not quite sure what I can do about that: if there's no advertising, there's no money to pay for labs-based reviews, or server costs for the forums. Fortunately, advertising has remained healthy on Bit, and in direct response to many of the issues raised on the forum, it's been far more relevant of late (save for Google Ad plug-ins here and there). But finding a line that keeps everybody happy has proven to be tricky!

    * Compared to this time 18 months ago, there's less office-based staff on Bit-Tech (there's no formal crossover with Custom PC anymore), which I suspect contributes to the lower presence on the forum. Again, I concede here that I haven't helped, which a few personal matters leaving me reading more than posting (will spare you the details). There's still a heavy staff presence about the place, even if the post count is lower, though. I read a load of feedback about the site and what people are after, and have spent most of the year trying different things to match that.

    * I deliberately didn't promise a big new broom or particular improvements when I came in, but again, I wish I could have the first six months again. I'm happier now with the track that we're on, and hopefully, you'll see more of the fruits of that in due course. You're all the judges of that, though, and if you're saying it's not clicked back into place yet, that please be assured I've got the message. And I will look to try more things to do something about it.

    * I'm not sure, in the end, which bit you want me to tell you isn't true, but I can tell you that there are no plans to abandon the front page and turn Bit into a tech forum. If there's something more specific you want me to answer - if I've got the wrong question! - then give me a shout.

    As always, all feedback appreciated.

    Simon
     
  8. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    First of all: glad you like the articles!

    Secondly, they shouldn't have slowed down: I'm still publishing two articles every weekday, plus the occasional review or feature. Some days I'll publish three, but as I don't get paid extra for that it depends very much on my free time and whether there's a story needing to be told. On the days where I don't do three stories - the last time I did a bonus was on the 1st of November, looking at the engine - readers still get at least three, 'cos we've now got David Hing posting at least one gaming news piece per day in addition to my coverage.

    One thing you may notice: on the days where I do post three articles, they tend to be shorter than those posted when I only do two. Not always: sometimes I get a bit carried away with a subject and post one of my monster pieces along with two smaller articles. Typically, though, you're looking at about 300-500 words per piece on days where I do two - like yesterday - compared with 250-300 on days where I do three.

    I'd be interested to hear what people prefer, mind: three short 250-word pieces, or two somewhat more in-depth 400-word pieces? It's roughly the same amount of work for either - well, doing three takes a bit more time 'cos I have to do all the enginey things three times instead of twice, and have to find, edit, upload and crop three images instead of two - so if the consensus is that more shorter pieces are preferred I'll certainly see what I can do.

    Sadly, I can't really comment on the rest of your post: I'm just a lowly freelancer, so I'm as much on the outside as anyone when it comes to anything beyond my immediate responsibilities.
     
  9. Shirty

    Shirty Time travelling rogue Super Moderator

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    My simple question is largely the same one that was raised by Pookeyhead here about the lack of review for the Samsung 840 SSD.

    How come:

    AnandTech
    Hexus
    Toms Hardware
    Techspot
    CNET
    Techreport
    Custompcreview
    PC Advisor
    PCPer
    Plus loads of storage review sites + other sites

    Have reviews up for this exciting new SSD, right at the cutting edge of consumer technology - and Bit-tech don't?

    I know no site can possibly cover everything, but this sort of stuff is right down Bit-tech's avenue. Others have bemoaned the lack of reviews for new and exciting components over the past months as well. My question here is just one example.

    Other things like the competitions tab are just frankly tragic, the skeletal remains of Bit-tech before it was torn asunder by a boardroom meeting in the upper echelons of Dennis HQ.

    I have drawn my own conclusions for this, which is that the money is simply not being handed down from Dennis in order to make these things happen, and you (Simon) are unable to meet the demand with the limited funds you have. I don't envy you.

    Gareth, your news articles are one thing that have been consistent, and you will no doubt have seen one or two comments of mine under them. Anthony's modding articles are also interesting, although this is not the reason a lot of people visit Bit in my experience - it can be quite a cliquey experience in some areas of the modding/logs sections, with members rarely venturing out into the rest of the forums to join in. I know the site started as a modding arena, but when it was hitting heaviest in the latter half of last decade it was one of the number one hardware review sites in the world.

    Promises of change and improvement are welcomed of course, and I will always see this as a spiritual home, but to get me out of the forums and on to the main site more than once or twice a week you will have to step up the game a bit, because others are beating you to the punch in so many areas.
     
  10. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Ta - I try. Incidentally, today was a bonus day: I've just posted my third story, as Microsoft has announced that Otellini's retiring - a major story, and a perfect example of the sort of thing I'll write *anyway* regardless of whether I've already done my two for the day or not.
     
  11. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

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    Simon, thanks for the candour and the honesty of your response. It does make me feel a little safer knowing that bit isn't going to Hell in a handbasket - it seems like the first half of your year was a washout, and you've spent the second half playing catchup.

    I would just say that I think that having a more visible staff presence (whether they're office-based or not) in the forum would at least let people know that you are still all alive, and that bit still has a future.
    tbh, your articles (and, more specifically, the quality of your articles) are one of the only things that keeps me visiting the front page. I obviously wasn't keeping count of how often you post articles, but I'm glad to see you're posting as much as you can!
    and there was me thinking Otellini was working for Intel all this time.

    What was I saying above about the quality of your reporting...? :p
     
  12. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Hah! Good job I didn't make the same boo-boo in the article, innit?
     

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