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Mailbag: More Email on THG Byline Scandal

Posted By Kathy Smith

Date: March 18, 2002

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Subject: RE: Bylines and journalistic integrity.

Tom,

I fear you will not get a chance to read this, as I am probably not the only person sending a similar letter. But this is

something I take very seriously, so I am sending it anyway.

The specific reason I am writing is because of removal of credit from Van Smith's articles. My objection is not so much personal or specific, but a matter of general integrity.

With the current world of electronic journalism, there are new advantages and disadvantages. In the world of print, an issue of a book or magazine stays the same once it is printed. The views expressed cannot be changed without a reprint. In the electronic world, it is easy to change content, or even remove credit to a particular author. The only thing that maintains the original content and credit of an article is the integrity of the site.

When your views, affiliations, or friendships change, you should have the integrity to keep the content of your site intact. Anything else is a great disservice to your readers.

I have been reading Tom's hardware since before you got your own domain. It was back in the days when you could overclock by using jumpers on a Socket 5 motherboard. I have visited lately mainly because you have MPEG-4 benchmarks, and I am waiting for a machine that can do real time video encoding. This is a case where what I want and what I believe in have come into conflict.

I am no longer going to visit your site. I believe I can't trust the unchanging integrity of past articles. This implies that your views, past and future, are too easily swayed. I'll have to seek my benchmarks somewhere else.

Take care,

Harley Nelson.

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Subject: suggestion

Dear sirs,

I used to respect your site and your opinions. But after what you did to your former editor Van Smith, I must say I'm disgusted.

I suggest you reinstate his name in his articles and give him the credit he deserves, before this whole thing causes even more damage to your site than it already has.

G. Mukherjee

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Subject: You still exist at Asian sites. Tomshardware blocked from Wayback machine

I wanted to look up some older articles from Toms Hardware to see what other articles you have written.  Looking up www.tomshardware.com at archive.org returns this:
 
Blocked Site Error.

Per the request of the site owner, http://www.tomshardware.com is no longer available in the Wayback Machine. Try another request or click here to see if the page is available, live, on the Web.
http://www.tomshardware.com
See the FAQs for more info and help, or contact us.

 Now this could just be a coincidence, or could it?

Brad

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Subject: Dusted

To: THG
From:  Punyhumans
 
Bookmarks to your site have been removed from all machines under my control.  This is being done to protest questionable journalistic practices on the part of THG.  The deleted THG bookmarks are being replaced with bookmarks that point to Van,s Hardware.

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Subject: Tom's Hardware

One more interesting thing you might want to note about Tom's, when you pointed out the google cached story on Tom's that showed how he changed the author from Van Smith to himself, I thought about how quickly the Google cache will be updated and that will be lost, and figured the Internet archive wayback machine (www.waybackmachine.org) would have it forever. But no go, you get a message trying to look at old copies of that that per the site owner's request, archived copies of www.tomshardware.com are not available. Guess he doesn't want anyone to know about his revisionism.

Doug

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Subject: Tom's Hardware Falls

When I first heard the news that Van Smith's byline had been removed from your site I was skeptical. After all Tom's Hardware was the hardware site I respected the most. I have to admit that normally I don't pay much attention to bylines, but one article I remember vividly, "A Titan Falls - AMD Plays David to Intel's Goliath".

How can I be sure that the byline was Van Smith? Because this one article on your site had a huge impact on my life. I had several friends who were invested in the stock market and I was thinking about going with 100% of my money invested in AMD. When I read the Van Smith article I knew that I had to follow my instincts and do it. His article large reads like prophecy. I was impressed so much by his foresight and understanding of the forces at work in the computer industry. At the time his viewpoint was a minority viewpoint, but he had the courage to stage against the tides. I will always remember the name Van Smith for

that. Regardless of the money I made or lost on the stock market, it

really got me interested in watching the day to day movements in the industry. Hardware actually became something exciting for me.

I have never, before, or since, read a hardware article that provokes so much thought. The disappointment I feel in THG is titanic in it's proportions. I would say it's even offensive to have a piece of my personal history modified like this. That article is from February 2000 and it's still in my bookmarks. I can't say that for any article. I have to seriously consider removing all my hardware bookmarks at this point. Who can be trusted anymore? Obviously not THG.

A cached version with the van smith byline on the article that affected my life was found at

http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:nSFmva-UNWoC:www.tomshardware.com/column/00q1/000209/index-10.html+%22van+smith%22+goliath&hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1

A cached version with the van smith byline on the article on rambus was at http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:u_7lLqhTAlkC:www.tomshardware.com/mainboard/00q1/000315/+%22van+smith%22+rambus&hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1

Paul Sundling

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Subject: Re: A Scoundral By Any Other Name

Van,
 
Of course you can use my note!
 
I have always held you in the highest regard and for this action to have been taken against you is unfathomable. But when you consider the source, I guess its not so far fetched. I knew this man to be a jerk but this is so far beyond that as to leave me almost ashamed at being in the same business.
 
I busted my hump to get AtlantaOC up and running (unfortuneately its now dead due to a hosting problem and an issue with my partner) and was so careful as to always follow solid journalistic proceedures when testing, writing etc. While my skill level is in no way close to yours, I always was asking myself "what would Van do" or "what would so and so do" ...seriously...when I wrote something. I didn't want to make ANY mistakes, although I'm sure I did. But I was trying to be careful with the words I put forth on my site.
 
I cannot see how someone with so much to lose could be so stupid as was Mr. Pabst. But when one is that full of themselves and so secure, they do tend to make such foolish mistakes. He must have thought he was above it all...really a poor choice to say the least!
 
Thanks Van and I think you will come away the stronger for this situation...and maybe, just maybe we will have ridded ourselves and this industry from this plight called Thomas Pabst.
 
Kurt Tusher
"OCmadeEZ"

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Subject: Slander at Tom's Hardware

Dear Tom,

I find the systematic & intentional writing out of contributions made by Van Smith to THG, makes a mockery of your attempts to gain the moral high ground in some of your hardware articles.

Worse still, it seems you are trying to obscure this intrigue. How long do you reckon it will take for this news to spread? What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Look man, you have a great site, write excellent articles & geeks like me read you because of this. If you screw with your Journalistic Integrity, then you will kill your readership dead. I can not and will not trust a journalist, who engages in these tactics.

Perhaps I ought not to take with a pinch of salt, the fact that you often run Intel adds?

Please lay all the cards on the table, on your front page and do it REAL SOON, for you & your readers.

Haralambos Geortgilakis, aka Greek Geek

Appearances often are deceiving. -- Aesop

P.S; also submitted the gist of the above, to /.

<snip> http://www.vanshardware.com/articles/2002/03/020317_THG_Slander/020317_THG_Slander.htm

<snip>

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Subject: Tom's Hardware on Internet Wayback Machine

Thought you might find this interesting:
 
http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.tomshardware.com
 
Blocked Site Error.

Per the request of the site owner, http://www.tomshardware.com is no longer available in the Wayback Machine. Try another request or click here to see if the page is available, live, on the Web.
http://www.tomshardware.com
See the FAQs for more info and help, or contact us.

Mike

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Subject: About What I read concerning THG

To Van Smith:
 
I am against THG about what He did. It is totally wrong and ya know He should restore the bylines. Since your Site came to be I have been reading it. I really do enjoy looking and reading your articles. I do trust in what you write about. I did read THG for the last 2 years but since the slander I will no longer read his site. I did also remove the Fav place marking. Keep up the work. I think that you do a good job......Thanx Mr Van Smith!
 
Sincerely Neil

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Subject: THG Scandal

Hi Van,

You donít know me, but Iím a big fan of your journalistic style, honesty and integrity, and frequent your site daily. You are one of the few hardware experts that I still hold trust for and look to for the no-holds-barred truth, even if it hurts. I feel badly that youíve gone through this scandal and Iíll let you know that Iíve removed Tomís Hardware Guide from my list of Favorites.  I wonít be frequenting his site anymore in light of the way that heís tried to discredit you. Itís very sleazy, underhanded and unprofessional. Tom has slipped lately in his integrity and honesty and this was the LAST straw for me.

I wish you the best and hope that you resolve this dispute without litigation. I just hope that Tom has some shred of decency buried in his body somewhere and will make things right before it gets to that point.

Best wishes!

Regards,

Jim Dow

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Subject: RE: Cooperation with THG

Tomas - I have no connection with T. Pabst at all - in fact the Register set up a relationship with Pabst but that's nothing to do with me at all. My only connection with the Register is I still have a large shareholding but that gives me no influence at all on what they say or do.

Mike

-----Original Message-----

From: Tomas.Wiak@freudenberg.se [mailto:Tomas.Wiak@freudenberg.se]

Sent: Tuesday, March 19, 2002 8:32 AM

To: mike.magee@theinquirer.net

Cc: contact@vanshardware.com

Subject: Cooperation with THG

Importance: High

Dear Mr. Magee.

I am one of you many many dedicated readers.

One thing is making me anxious, and that is your cooperation with Tomīs Hardware Guide.

I have always seen your site as one of the important ones when it comes to objectivity. But now with this thing between THG and Vans Journal, is making me anxious that also your site might be affected by THGīs way of working.

Do you think that you can keep your integrity in this case?

Or is it so that THG is so "strong" that you will follow in the same path? What I mean, is that while most of the sites on the net are reporting on the THG/VHJ case, you made a small notice and no follow up as far as I am concerned. And your site among us readers is known for pursuation of "bad smells" in the IT world...

THG have been deleted from my favourites, and I shall not enter them again, unless the back off, and admit to the fraught. I would in any case like to visit your site still in the future, since I find your site very interesting!

In someway this reminds me a little about the case of Inquirer/Register.... And I think that the www-community was there to support you.

In any way, you have my support on your site, but the fear is there that you might be little influenced by Mr. Pabst...

It takes teally men with big balls like you and Van Smith to stand up against all the dirty things that are circulating out there. And I find Vanīs article about comercials and objectivity among the most brawest things that was put up on the net.

Many best regards

Tomas Wiak

(P.S sorry for my bad English)

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Subject: THG Scandal

Dear Mrs & Mr Smith,

I've been a thg reader since 1997, but since last year I felt it was going the wrong way: less accurate articles that thg was trying to compensate with more and more benchmarking; I call that "to drawn the fish". Tom Pabst took oftenly his paladin suit to claim he was only telling the Truth, forgetting it was only his truth. More important than a article conclusion is the way to get to it, and this fact seemed to have been skipped by the thg team. Its poor analysis level tries to hide behind an excessive number of benchmarks.

Now, thg's last move takes the problem at another level: If they're able to act as dictators who rewrite their story the way they like, which faith can I have in them? the answer is of course none.

In the past months I felt irritated about the "cold war" that was sometimes emerging between Van's Hardware and thg. It's difficult to make your mind about something you don't know. But now that thg world widely proved it had no ethic at all, things are getting brighter.

Internet sites usually live on their hits. Thg lost mine, and I hope we will be a lot to act the same. I wish Van's Hardware to follow the opposite path.

Good luck,

Olivier Poulard

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Subject: Tom Pabst

Tom Pabst's bad karma piggy bank is just about full and will be ready for redemption anytime now.

Farid Yared

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Subject: Loss of Identity

Hiya!

I've been following this Tom's Hardware Guide byline business for some time and have become sufficiently irritated by it to speak out.

Removal or replacement of an author's byline from an article is a form of theft.  I would feel just as violated and outraged as Van Smith if one of our competitors replaced the labels on our workstations and servers with his labels.

In removing/replacing Van Smith's bylines, THG has stolen his work, stolen his identity and even stolen his reputation.  Those of us who know good technical writing when we see it will not allow a blackguard like Tom Pabst to get away with this crap.  As with so many other things in this world, the best way to get Pabst's attention is to hit him where it hurts: in the wallet.  If we all boycott his website and advise those who we know to do the same, his advertising revenue will sink -- and may he'll go with it.

I have personally removed the THG bookmarks from all computers in my business.  Go to hell, Tom Pabst!

Bill Brier, the Prez
BCS Technology Limited

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