Ars Redux


Nathan Thompson

During this time of initially self imposed and now societally imposed isolation, there has been time for self reflection.

To recap, I was somewhat peeved with the way Ars Technica, the long running technology enthusiast website, avoided coverage of a particularly ugly, particularly difficult, criminal case involving particularly repugnant allegations by an ex editor.

I was harsh on the site for seemingly calling out all types of bad behavior by members of the tech/science community and even politicians when their behavior intersected with Ars coverage topics; yet, the potentially horrific behavior of a recently departed employee did not even manage a footnote regarding these allegations, the ensuing criminal charges, nor even a note recusing themselves from such coverage given their connection to the case? There was just silence…which was mirrored by most mainstream news outlets. Truly strange.

Yet, as time has passed and many excellent articles by such writers as Jim Salter and a guest piece by the renowned Super Nintendo/Super Famicom emulation developer, byuu, has come to my attention via other sources, it was simply time to revisit my feelings. Clearly Ars is not losing sleep over my readership absence, and as noted, so much time to think, I have reconsidered my opinion on Ars as a media outlet.

What I found in my timid step back into Ars news, was a series of fascinating topics deftly covered, the exact kind of neat, technically sound, and mind nourishing content I had come to expect from the site. Kudos to Ars for knocking out excellent work in the last several months of this very difficult time. First with their own entanglement in the aforementioned criminal case (the editor in chief was called as a witness) and now in this time of social distancing which must be making news coverage harder than usual.

I have empathy for the difficulties journalists, not to downplay the difficulties facing the public at large of course, must be experiencing in gathering news, so a single possible stumble might not reckon as the worst thing ever. Given Ars' allowances for the criminal case to be discussed on their own forums (now locked, but was open for almost 10 months), they are not exactly burying the topic either.

I have no problems saying, hey, maybe there were missteps, but there is often light at the end of the tunnel and I should not be so quick to judge, given my own many and varied personal imperfections.

Let us all live safely right now and take care of ourselves and loved ones! Best wishes to everyone.