Sunday, October 7, 2012

Thoughts on proper commentary inspired by Ihnatko

On the lastest edition of Andy Ihnatko’s Almanac Mr. Ihnatko shared his thoughts and insights on his process of writing a product review.  Ihnatko is a free lance technology journalist who is most known for his articles in the Chicago Sun-Times, and his podcasts work on the TWiT and 5by5 networks.  He is also known for his trademark sideburns, quit wit, and encyclopedic knowledge of all thing nerd.  

I give you seven Ihnatkos!
His thoughts on proper product criticism and journalism was quite interesting to me.  This was not just another discussion on Android versus iOS.  Ihnatko's process on which products he chooses to review, and what are the  bounds of proper, fair, and respectful critical review gaven ne food for thought.   His ideas of acting and writing based upon a larger idea based upon plain old fairness and professionalism caused me to ponder how I attempt to comment and discuss various podcasts and sometimes blogs.   

I do attempt to be fair, and I try not to be critical just for the sake of flaw finding, and I find no joy in posting link bait.  Much of what I do or do not enjoy on aspects of some of the podcasts and blogs I post a commentary upon is really quite subjective.  There is not much use of arguing that a Chevrolet in blue is terrible, but in silver the car just sings.  The next person could have a wholly opposite view, and there is no way to come to an agreement.  When I do find something subjectively pleasant or troubling with a show or an episode I try and call myself out.  I am painfully aware how much I fail.  Authoring a post that is positive is more useful than banging out some hit piece, and I would submit more useful the majority of the time to the reader.  I must balance this out with giving my honest views on a topic than sugar coating it.  If a podcast I normally enjoy goes off the rails for whatever reason, not discussing such a thing would be a disservice to the reader and the podcaster.  The negative ought to be discussed in respectful tones.  Snark and venom might be nice for the moment but does any readers a disservice in the long run.   Lately, Ihnatko who is known in the tech computer as a fan of Apple products as pointed out some issues with Apple's iPhone vs some of the newer generation of Android phones.  A person with a lessor track record, I would weigh his opinion less seriously. I would wonder if he was bitter at Apple or just wanted to create a stir.  However, because of his past history of fair critiques I actually pondered whether to hold off in getting the latest iPhone.  Ihnatko has garnered credibility and stature.  For me this is something I, and I would hope most folks in the skeptical community would strive for too.  

While it is a bit off the skeptical path, I would recommend this episode of Almanac to anyone who spends part of their time authoring a blog or podcasting commentary on the works of others.  Anything that forces one to be reflective is a useful exercise.   This episode of Almanac prove to hit those buttons for me.  

cross posted on TheUndergroundteapot

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