Newsletter #502 Preview: Despite What Some
Troubleshooting Sites Say, Some Things Really Do Just Work

July 12th, 2009

A few years back, Mac users would regularly check troubleshooting sites for the latest information on hardware and software bugs, along with sage advice on what was needed to fix the problems. That was before CNET acquired MacFixIt (notice that I’m not putting a link here), which was, in turn, acquired by CBS.

This isn’t to say that CNET doesn’t have hard-working people who are dedicated to their craft as tech columnists, reviewers and reporters. But MacFixIt took a direction that did not serve the Mac community well. Instead of making some effort to separate the occasional unusual problem from bugs that would affect a wide number of people, they appear to have got into the habit of just publishing stories without thoroughly vetting them.

Rather than depend solely on information coming their way, they also troll Apple’s support discussion forums and technical documents for information, hoping they’ll reveal a useful tidbit. There’s certainly a little good and bad in this approach, although it’s also extremely lazy.

You see, any forum that’s focused on support issues will be heavily weighted towards presenting posts from people who took the time to report their troubles. People who have encountered no difficulties at all have better things to do, such as using their Macs to actually get something accomplished.

Story continued in this week’s Tech Night Owl Newsletter.



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One Response to “Newsletter #502 Preview: Despite What Some
Troubleshooting Sites Say, Some Things Really Do Just Work”

  1. in a small town... says:

    The direction MacFixit.com and their MFI Forums
    went was sad both before it went around that bent
    and it started with a change of attitude toward those
    who visited their MFI Forums with answers which
    had been researched by troubleshooting real issues.

    As a former contributor to their ‘new users’ forum,
    I researched and had tried several things before a
    post to help a newbie Mac OS X and OS 9 user. And
    I found resistance from some of their MFI/MFIF staff
    who had some favoritism going on. And a bit of
    cyber-stalking by one alleged expert in their forums
    led my posting alias to be banned for ‘fighting’ when
    I was really fighting for my privilege to post fair &
    reasonable content and help new users….

    A friend of their head moderator had been posting
    nasty comments after nearly every one of my answer
    posts to the New User forums, & in several others, too.
    It was when I finally had enough and the other users
    who’d found my posting helpful had emailed to say
    thanks to me, even after I’d been banned by Cyn, I
    found the friend Kurt had not been banned for stalking.

    The moderation in their forums and the attitudes there
    well ahead of the CNET and CBS Media acquisitions,
    were writing on the internet café wall, to those watching.

    The bias of their editing users from their forums and
    also limiting their content online in MFI. com main page
    to advertiser’s products and items of shallow noteworth-
    iness, were signals of the end of a better reporting era.

    And I’ve seen some of Apple Discussions content in MFI
    cleverly reworked to appear as MFI content; going back
    some time. Since MFIF had a policy of not allowing the
    posting contributor any rights to their authorship, I was
    a bit saddened at their demise but also happy to see
    how cheap they really are. Like a used flood car salesman.

    In any event…
    Good luck & happy computing! 🙂

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