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iPhone: Why So Negative?

AKAImBatman (238306) writes | about 7 years ago

Editorial 4

I just got back from reading the Chicago Tribune's various stories on the iPhone. The reviews were very positive, if not a bit reserved. Sales may have topped 500,000 units. And sales have been so good that the AT&T activation servers

I just got back from reading the Chicago Tribune's various stories on the iPhone. The reviews were very positive, if not a bit reserved. Sales may have topped 500,000 units. And sales have been so good that the AT&T activation servers have been overloaded. All in all, a very good launch for the iPhone. Not perfect mind you, but nothing ever is.

So imagine my surprise when I checked Slashdot this morning to find that the only story on the launch is Activation Problems in iPhone Paradise. No mention of the 500,000 unit estimate. Nor is there mention of the strongly positive reaction by the market. The only thing discussed is the activation problems, which are blown incredibly out of proportion. From the "long-wait-short-celebration" department tag, to a link to an engadget poll that won't let you see the results unless you vote (There's no "I don't have an iPhone option?" WTH?), all the way to using a random blog of one guy's experience as the basis for what all ~500,000 users (estimated) are experiencing.

Maybe it's just me, but this has gone way too far.

Slashdot is a place where intelligent people tend to hang out to converse. Because these people know a lot, they easily become jaded. I know that I personally have struggled a great deal with becoming unintentionally negative. And it's not necessarily the problem of dealing with people who know less. That's a reasonable excuse for tech support reps, but it doesn't hold up for professionals. In fact, I often find that I can become so indoctrinated in a certain way of thinking (because I know quite a bit about it) that anything that seems to violate that doctrine must be wrong.

Of course, this is a very dangerous trap. There are always clever ways around problems without violating the laws of physics. In fact, the solution presented often solves the problem in a very unique way that requires a dramatic shift in thinking.

For example, hydrogen cars are often criticized for requiring grid power to generate the hydrogen. Thus many discount the option because it "doesn't provide an alternative fuel source". Which is true, but it misses the point. Hydrogen provides a shift in the way that our infrastructure works. Rather than having millions of inefficient, dirty, smog-inducing, portable combustion engines on the road, we could generate all the power from relatively clean and efficient sources like Nuclear power plants then distribute that power to a "vehicle grid" using hydrogen as the storage and transmission device. From that perspective, hydrogen suddenly becomes a lot more appealing. (Without diving into the logistics issues of converting fueling stations, of course.)

Thus I can't help but wonder, is Slashdot getting too negative for its own good? I've been noticing a sharp increase in stories that are either overblown or outright inaccurate. From PopCap Distressed Over 'CopyCat' Games (the original interview states that PopCap is distinctly unaffected by clones), to W3C Bars Public From Public Conference (the newsie apparently couldn't understand English), to Judge Orders TorrentSpy to Turn Over RAM (Judge ordered web logging to be turned on), I'm beginning to wonder if the general status of the Slashdot users and editors isn't taking a turn for the worse. I'm seeing fewer and fewer stories with a positive slant. Those that do have a positive slant are either overblown claims (which results in a negative reaction) or misreported claims (which results in the same negative reaction, except that all of Slashdot is barking up the wrong tree).

While I understand that much of the confusion and negativity is pouring out of the press, it's important to keep a cool head on our shoulders and think critically about every piece of information we see. While I don't directly blame the Slashdot editors or the readers, I do think that all of us can make a contribution toward positive reenforcement on Slashdot. We readers can do two things:

1. Try to make sure that the stories we submit are correctly stated and reflect the true issue at hand.

2. Keep our replies civil. It's so easy for all of us (myself included) to get mad at the other guy thinking he doesn't know what he's talking about. Yet sometimes he actually does. So please be gentle when correcting each other. You'd be amazed at the smart people you'll develop a rapport with!

For the editors, I can offer one major suggestion: Apply critical thinking before smacking that "Approve" button. I know you guys see an absolutely incredible number of submissions day in and day out. The catch is finding the submissions that are worth posting to the front page of Slashdot. As of late it seems like submissions are being chosen more for their yellow (read: inaccurate) headline rather than their substantiveness as news. So please be considerate when choosing submissions.

Thank you all for listening! :-)

cancel ×

4 comments

What are you thinking!? (1)

jdray (645332) | about 7 years ago | (#19718605)

For the editors, I can offer one major suggestion: Apply critical thinking before smacking that "Approve" button.

You're new here, aren't you? ;^)

Re:What are you thinking!? (1)

Sandbags (964742) | about 7 years ago | (#19718763)

To the original author: OK, you got me. After reading about half your article, i clicked the "vote up" button. After continuing, I quickly realized i should have gone the other way. I fell victim to what you were complaining about, the lack of critical thinking from the editors. btw: everyone is an editor, and everyone can have a say in what gets posted and what doesn't. There's no real central body controlling that...

This article is a rant, not an article. Though i agree the iPhone has too much negative hype and not enough positive (consider who stands to loose by the success of the iPhone, and how much they have invested in the media, or how much the media depends on their ad revenue...), I disagree with your statements on hydrogen cars (as do most scientists) and you failed to source any of your information. You also used the iPhone to get me to read this, then changed the whole point of the article mid stream. More over, hate to say it, your rant about negativity was very negative....

This post was a rant hitting on multiple topics, not one. At best, you should have made multiple independent posts, and you certainly should not have titled it as you did. On a positive note, i will certainly be more careful voting articles up and down in the future.

Hydrogen (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 7 years ago | (#19719275)

For example, hydrogen cars are often criticized for requiring grid power to generate the hydrogen. Thus many discount the option because it "doesn't provide an alternative fuel source". Which is true, but it misses the point. Hydrogen provides a shift in the way that our infrastructure works. Rather than having millions of inefficient, dirty, smog-inducing, portable combustion engines on the road, we could generate all the power from relatively clean and efficient sources like Nuclear power plants then distribute that power to a "vehicle grid" using hydrogen as the storage and transmission device. From that perspective, hydrogen suddenly becomes a lot more appealing. (Without diving into the logistics issues of converting fueling stations, of course.)

All valid and interesting points, but the the dislike of the hydrogen economony comes from the fact that almost no one is set up for it. Yeah, get anough nuke plants going, and electric/hydrogen cars become feasible, but the US has nowhere near the capacity for the shift, and many people, including myself, feel that to do such a switch in any sane way means that nuke plant construction should have been ramped up the day before yesterday, which means we're already too late on that.

And the problem's not that it doesn't provide an alternative fuel source, but that Hydrogen is a band-aid, it doesn't do a damn thing to address the underlying problems (no power diversification, poor housing planning, manic devotion to riding around in a big SUV all by your lonesome, etc.)

Last but not least, people get tetchy about stuff like this, because there's better places to spend the money, like rebuilding national rail and local commuter services, investing in renewable energy, plunking down some extra cash towards cold fusion projects.

Don't get me wrong, unless electric motors get upgraded big time, we'll probably rely a whole hell of a lot on Hydrogen engines when we need the bigger bang, but most proponents of Hydrogen talk likes it's a cure, not a small part of what should be a comprehensive and forward-looking energy plan.

As for the iPhone, I hope it's a great success, if only for the fact that Apple came out with the iPod-killer before anybody else managed to ;)

a dose of reality (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | about 7 years ago | (#19722901)

Slashdot is a place where intelligent people tend to hang out to converse.

Suggest you're not even on the same planet as the rest of us, on this one. There are tons of people in my circle of Amigos here who have mentioned that they don't even venture into the discussions anymore, just come here for the journals. My perception is that really the only people left in the general discussion areas, or at least by far the majority, are:
1) High school and college kids, who come here to just act up and mouth off, and
2) Crazy old timers with ginormous, irrational, cliched chips on their shoulders, who come here to spout their venom and nuttiness.

And the editors, knowing full well the site's demographics, cater to them. So you get front-page items that are negative, sensational, and flame-baiting. Exactly what the (vocal) readership wants. And that's what they gets.
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