Wow - is Fred from Electrec really this petty?

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KarenRei

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#1
A bit over a week ago, I wrote a comment on Electrec complaining about how it's frustrating that Fred continually asserts that Tesla's Semi numbers don't work out without some sort of miracle battery energy density breakthrough. I broke down the weights of various components and showed that it did. I'd done such breakdowns before, but he'd never commented on them, just continued asserting the same thing. This time, however, before going into the breakdown I referred to the notion as "stupid". This apparently got his attention. And the fact that I was uprated 42 times made him furious (writing "I'm ashamed that people here would upvote it.") Fred's replies to me were consistently rated lower than my replies to him.

Then something odd happened. I had been going from getting a large number of uprates and supportive replies to none at all. I'd write something helpful, or funny, or whatever, and... no matter what, ever since then, just nothing. Today it occurred to me... did Fred do something to my account? So I went to view threads where I'd posted from my cell phone where I wasn't logged in.... and none of my posts are visible. They show up when I write them and look like they post, but they're not visible to anybody else.

For example, in this thread:

https://electrek.co/2018/03/23/tesla-model-3-deliveries-production-q1/#more-64128

I have 8 replies as user:Karen. You don't see any of them, do you?

I've been writing posts for over a week, and I'm just now finding out that they've been secretly hidden from everyone else. I'm still getting "likes" and replies on my old posts - yet only the ones written before Fred apparently decided on this "silent block".
 
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Jayc

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#2
He has been know to fall below the standard one would expect. In fact there was a time when M3OC automatically relayed his news as new threads but certain things he said about those managing things here meant that it did not make sense to promote his stories here.
 

Lovesword

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#3
Note: incoming opinion!!!! Prepare yourself!!! You have been warned!!!

Short answer to your subject question: Yes.

Long answer:. Having only begun to follow the Electrek site in the past couple of years myself, I get the feeling it’s gone from a small, niche reading base to a much, much larger clientele extremely quickly thanks mostly to Tesla, but also EVs in general, gaining popularity and people’s curiosity. The nearly constant stream of posts with any tidbit of data about the Model 3 is when things really seemed to ramp up. This prompted things to change (and attitudes to match) so quickly that it was almost overwhelming to the people involved with the site. I can imagine the shock/surprise/elation as the sites readership grew, and continued to grow so rapidly (along with the profits connected to site visits, ad clicks, advertising in general, etc.) that it felt like a dream. It’s what they wanted after all (a successful website that brings in a good, steady income...as I imagine it does) but to get it, to ACTUALLY get it and have it be so successful perhaps even beyond what they thought it could become is what I feel happened. And as is known to happen with a bit of fame, success and money, it goes to the head, causing some to twist and turn into a different version of themselves. Motivation turns from passion to conservation, questioning of posted site material becomes an attack on his income (that he now feels entitled to) instead of a potential for a great discussion. “Who are you to question me?” scoffing starts to warp the ego and shuts down doors to open conversation, the opinions of others and the ability to use logic.

Having never met the man, the above is all 100% pure speculation (clearly). Maybe I’m right, maybe wrong, maybe partially both...who knows. I must say it doesn’t present a “good look” for him to shut you down @KarenRei, it seems it’s the type of thing he would want to discuss on a website dedicated to the TREK of all things ELECtric!!

I’m certain your reputation here is one of great knowledge and expertise (along with a good humor) whose opinions are beyond welcome. At least that is how I view you and your posts. I know I for one enjoy your contributions and have come to the conclusion that I might not understand everything that you post since you’re much smarter than me, but I will always have my niche as the guy who “off topics” every thread with (mostly eye-rolling bad) attempts at levity.

In solidarity, I will not frequent Electrek!!! (For the next 5 minutes) :)
 

garsh

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#4
Yes, he is.
From December 2016:
I commented on it at Electrek, and now I'm arguing with Fred. I should learn to keep my opinions to myself.

edit: wow, he actually appears to have deleted my second comment.
I do love that Electrek exists and does a great job of covering electric cars and related technologies. But I stopped commenting on the articles after that happened.
 

John

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#6
I'll drop Fred a note and ask if Electrek will reconsider. May have also been one of his moderators.
 

Bokonon

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#7
@Lovesword as a longtime Electrek reader I tend to agree with your assessment. When he started taking pot shots at Trev for seemingly no reason, it was clear to me that something had changed about the way he viewed himself and Electrek within the context of the EV movement.

There is an undertone of "zero-sum game-ism" to his actions that I do not find appealing, especially given how rapidly the whole pie/EV market is expanding. Like, "Elon can only have one Tesla-friendly media outlet, so I must be it". Or, "There are only so many EV-news page-views to be had per day, so any other source of EV news or discussion is a threat to Electrek. Conversely, any increase in my share of page views validates Electrek as a leading EV news source and, by extension, me as a journalist."

I do appreciate what he and Electrek have brought to the table over the years, but this recent trend toward denigrating and shunning other voices, outlets and opinions -- while simultaneously giving increased emphasis to his own, largely speculative viewpoints, via the "Electrek's Take" section under every article -- is very troubling, and makes me question how reliable and worthwhile a read Electrek will continue to be going forward.

I'll take @KarenRei 's thoughtful, data-based analysis and prognostications (not to mention humor) over Fred's any day. Silencing her (not to mention a helpful, objective-minded voice like @garsh) is a mistake, and points to greater troubles ahead if not corrected.
 

garsh

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#9
I've deleted my bookmark to Electrek and won't be going back there unless he unblocks your comments.
That's very noble of you. I guess I'm a little more pragmatic. Fred has a nice site for consolidating news about EVs. So I continue to go there to read the articles. But his propensity to delete comments he doesn't agree with seems wrong to me, so I no longer read the comments or participate in the discussions there.
 

KarenRei

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#10
I'm now "Karen 3" over there. But he has an IP block from some locations I post from (again, "silent disappearance", so that they appear to me but don't show up to others). I can work around it with proxies, but it's somewhat of a pain.
 

EVfusion

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#11

BigBri

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#12
Sounds like a Reddit shadowban.

I appreciate the site as often he has insider information or breaks stories first but the moment every article had 'Electrek's Take' at the end of each story it was pretty clear they have their own agenda. Fred should probably not be the public-facing entity representing the site.
 

TheTony

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#14
Sounds like a Reddit shadowban.

I appreciate the site as often he has insider information or breaks stories first but the moment every article had 'Electrek's Take' at the end of each story it was pretty clear they have their own agenda. Fred should probably not be the public-facing entity representing the site.
Speaking of him and Reddit, I've always found it strange that he's allowed to retain his moderator status there. I realize he was involved in that subreddit before he joined his current employer, but the prudent thing to do would have been to recuse himself from being a moderator on a site where stories from his employer are often are posted and from which they benefit financially. It also begs the question about whether they get preferential treatment in that sub because a moderator is their main (full time) employee.

I've personally read the site where he writes and thought it was decent, and had no issues with it, though I wasn't a commenter there. It was when I noticed smaller stories that I'd post on the reddit sub would get picked up and posted on the site where he writes a day or two later (I'm talking more obscure stories) that I stopped reading there.

On an unrelated note - I much prefer the tone here to reddit. The growth of that sub on reddit has brought with it an increase in low quality content, overly fanatical folks from both sides of the Tesla spectrum and a general lack of decorum. The latter is the main reason why I prefer this site and spend less time there and more here.
 
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PNWmisty

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#15
I do not believe he calls the shots there, but rather the way it's run likely reflects how its parent company operates.
Fred is listed as the "Editor in Chief" of Electrek. You can bet he has credentials to control the comment section.
Somebody made Karen's comments invisible and it's not too hard to guess who it was. I'm not sure why anyone would defend this. It looks very bad when a site brags that it is impartial, but then silences dissenting viewpoints.
 

TheTony

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#17
Fred is listed as the "Editor in Chief" of Electrek. You can bet he has credentials to control the comment section.
Somebody made Karen's comments invisible and it's not too hard to guess who it was. I'm not sure why anyone would defend this. It looks very bad when a site brags that it is impartial, but then silences dissenting viewpoints.
I think you misunderstood my comment. I was responding to the idea that it's "his" business. He's their only full timer and as such probably has control over most of it but that site is not "his". It was founded and is owned and operated as part of its parent network. Fred was found on reddit where he modded (and still technically does) and hired to write for them.

I was just clarifying that one point, not defending anyone's behavior there. If you read my first post in this thread, you'll see that I think they're not above criticism, either.
 

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#19
i enjoy Electrek but have picked up over the months that Fred has earned himself quite a reputation. Karen, your posts and comments are always right on, data-based, and funny. Upvote to your writing. Maybe your car will arrive in the next 10 years?
 

summerfun

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#20
A bit over a week ago, I wrote a comment on Electrec complaining about how it's frustrating that Fred continually asserts that Tesla's Semi numbers don't work out without some sort of miracle battery energy density breakthrough. I broke down the weights of various components and showed that it did. I'd done such breakdowns before, but he'd never commented on them, just continued asserting the same thing. This time, however, before going into the breakdown I referred to the notion as "stupid". This apparently got his attention. And the fact that I was uprated 42 times made him furious (writing "I'm ashamed that people here would upvote it.") Fred's replies to me were consistently rated lower than my replies to him.

Then something odd happened. I had been going from getting a large number of uprates and supportive replies to none at all. I'd write something helpful, or funny, or whatever, and... no matter what, ever since then, just nothing. Today it occurred to me... did Fred do something to my account? So I went to view threads where I'd posted from my cell phone where I wasn't logged in.... and none of my posts are visible. They show up when I write them and look like they post, but they're not visible to anybody else.

For example, in this thread:

https://electrek.co/2018/03/23/tesla-model-3-deliveries-production-q1/#more-64128

I have 8 replies as user:Karen. You don't see any of them, do you?

I've been writing posts for over a week, and I'm just now finding out that they've been secretly hidden from everyone else. I'm still getting "likes" and replies on my old posts - yet only the ones written before Fred apparently decided on this "silent block".
I am taking some time this morning to relax (since it is my birthday) and to look at other threads I have missed over the months and came across this one.

Karen, I have had the same experience. If you question anything Electrek (Fred) writes your comments do not last long or you get descended upon by his legions of minions. The section "Electrek's Take" should be titled "Fred's Take" because "I" is used frequently. I occasionally see a reporter give his "opinion". Readers could care less about opinions, they just want clear, concise, factual information. IMHO Fred has strayed far away from this mark this year and while I still read some of the articles I no longer comment. The commenters on Electrek tend to go off on ridiculous, unrelated tangents.