I understand that when it comes to making purchases, people on the internet like to weigh in with their knowledge and wherever possible, correct other people about the myriad errors they’ve made. Because, as we know, people only ever buy things to make other people happy… *cough*.
As a plain old internet dweller for a number of years, I’ve visited a lot of websites with a lot of discussion in the comments section. Gaming sites often turn into a fanboy flame war, technology sites are the same, news websites are a mecca for the stupid, as are some sport sites, but nowhere do I think the discussion can be more mind-ringingly hollow than in the comments section underneath a car review.
If I wanted to hear from an asshole I would have farted
If you read any review with a even the tiniest sample of objectivity, you will notice that the reviewer of the vehicle probably spends a large portion of time carefully penning words to a piece that properly articulates their feelings about an object which costs a good part of an annual wage. As a result of the vast price of motor vehicles, I would imagine that authors are probably aware of the weight of their recommendation. When the reviewer is forming their opinions, just the thought that people are going to drop a large amount of money on said vehicle probably jabs at the back of their skull like a school bully sitting behind a victim on the bus.
But, because everyone on the planet has watched Top Gear, “the internet of experts” are more than willing to fire off their opinions, painfully unaware of both their confirmation bias and the futility of arguing on the internet. Reviewers are accused of being “bias” (sic), or on a certain car maker’s payroll in exchange for favourable articles. Such accusations are held up on foundations of fantasy, built with the bricks of bollocks and held together with the mortar of fanboy tears. We all know that you can’t argue with a fanboy.
The merits of each and every vehicle are presented in these fanboy arguments, with details scrutinised and analysed. Corrections at fired by each of the combatants as they all arm wrestle at the table of car knowledge, hoping to slam the other’s hand down and vanquishing them. This, of course, is a futile endeavour because arguing on the internet is a force so unstoppable and perpetual that it defies the laws of thermodynamics.
Arguing on the internet is a force so unstoppable and perpetual that it defies the laws of thermodynamics.
There are those who have read a few car magazines, been to a few motor races and got all the platinum trophies on Gran Turismo. There are those who believe that because they can smoke up their tyres, or perfectly drift a Silvia around the virtual streets of Tokyo, that they can do so in an actual car, despite that particular skill having no practical use outside of the closed conditions of a drift competition (oh, and “recovering from an out of control slide” is not a practical reason, despite any protests to the contrary).
Then there are those who have pored over each and every article in magazines and can quote specifications for any car you care to name. There are those who consider “zero to one hundred” times as the ultimate metric, but they are also wary of the counter argument of how a car performs “in the bends”. They will cite a vehicle’s weight, its tyres or some other fancy techno-sounding jargon as a measure of its grip, before denouncing anyone else who contradicts them as a “moron” before retreating into the warm and safe confines of their own personal beliefs.
The make-up of a keyboard warrior
It is quite bemusing sometimes, watching the fiery debates that surround some of the vehicles, particularly when most of these cars are far beyond the wallet-ability of the people who are arguing. Of course, reading the words of Joe or Jane Keyboard Warrior from upper-lower-middle class Nobodyurbia as they debate the relative strengths of the Porsche Green Hell Spyder against the McLaren UberBro Hybrid seems somewhat odd considering the mainstream wailing heard nowadays detail that times are tough and people can’t even afford their power bills. Let alone running a car. Let alone running a high performance car.
On rare occasions, I see arguments on how much these herculean cars cost to maintain, which again serves to confound me; if someone can afford to buy one of these cars, then I sincerely doubt that the cost of fuel or tyres is of any bother to them. Or, if they buy one of these cars but can’t afford to run them, then they need to stop and consider their spending habits and their lack of foresight.
I’ve read journalists remark on twitter “do not read the comments“. I personally feel for writers for automotive publications, as there is absolutely no way that the words they write will elicit any reaction from readers other than cynicism and scorn. Whenever Wheels Magazine announces their Car of the Year, their mailbox fills up with the words of the personally slighted and threats of cancelled subscriptions.
I’ve considered trying to write for an automotive publication (and I’m available to any publication seeking a sardonic idiot), but it appears that the true experts aren’t in magazines, but in Chris Harris’ Youtube comments.