Marshymellow: Neowin staff, 'just a bunch of fanboys'

"This site is bias towards [insert any company name here], you're all just a bunch of fanboys!"

We get this attack, and others like it, levied against us so often it's beginning to make my head hurt. It comes from any side that feels we've wronged them in some way, when we post any type of news they don't agree with or when our forum staff moderate a thread in a way they feel is against their particular view.

It's happened forever, and this editorial will in no way stop it. However, it may change a few minds and give people pause. Hopefully it will make a few realize that... we have no agenda, I promise, we're not out to get you.

Staff Poll
Recently I did a poll, in which nearly all of our staffers participated in. The results of the poll were of absolutely no surprise to me, but it proved what I've believed and expressed to others for a long time...

If we tried to have an agenda, we'd have a hard time agreeing on what it would be.

The polls were a couple simple questions about operating system preferences and from it I was able to come up with some interesting statistics. The first question I asked centered on what staffers considered to be their primary desktop operating system, given the option of Windows, Mac OS X and Linux/BSD.

Wait a second; I thought we were trying to prove we didn't have a bias? Stay with me for a second...

It's obvious from the first poll that Windows is the dominant primary operating system of choice for our staffers. This should come as a surprise to very few people, considering the name of the site is Neowin. It should also come as little surprise considering the overall market share that Microsoft enjoys compared to Apple.

But there is a second element to my polling, and it asked staffers to identify their secondary, or backup desktop operating system. Maybe it's their laptop they take with them when they're on the go or on the couch, a system they use from time to time, or that they dual boot with or run in a virtual machine.

Doh! There is that pesky blue section of the chart again rearing it's ugly head. So, from the original 31% who said they used Mac OS X as their primary OS, the overwhelming majority of them used Windows as well.

It would seem I'm doing a good job disproving my point. Except, that this result is typical of most Mac users, especially now that they've been running on Intel processors, virtualization has become common place and Boot Camp is easily available.

You also need to look at the other side of the coin. What did those Windows users say when asked to identify their other OS.

There's our good friend Linux at 50%. Half of the staffers, who responded that Windows was their primary OS, said Linux was their backup. In addition, another 17% said they also identified themselves as a Mac user. This only leaves 1/3 of those users that identified themselves as strictly Windows users on all their systems. But even those users commented that they have used Linux and Mac OS X in the past, but just are not currently using it.

Incase you were wondering, what was the most popular Linux/BSD distro among Neowin staffers was, I asked that too, just of those people.

What does this mean?
Take a look at all these colors, stats and charts. Remember what is the one thing that I want you to take away from all of it?

If we tried to have an agenda, we'd have a hard time agreeing on what it would be.

Very few members of our staff use one OS exclusively. If one day, we decided that we were going to cover and support only one operating system, technology platform, company, it would be impossible for us to come up with one to pick, even if it was Windows.


Actually, we would have a hard time especially if it was Windows. See that 22%? Tell me how that 22% could possibly take over and drive the direction of the rest of the site. Very few of our administrators, supervisors and my fellow editors fall into that 22%. I don't. On top of that, out of our development team NONE of them fall into that area. Actually, with the exception of one developer, they all identified themselves as primarily Mac OS X users. It would be pretty hard to run this site without the people who design and code it.

Staffers at Neowin have been, and forever will be, encouraged to explore multiple platforms. Why wouldn't they? Why wouldn't you? The world is too small to be locked in to one way of thinking or looking at software. That software must be proprietary, or open source, or from Microsoft, or from Apple. We don't make any demands of our staffers to use, or not to use, any platform or distribution and they can make those choice as they see fit.

There is no plot to sell more copies of Windows. There is no plot here to make Apple look bad. There is no plot to promote any specific distribution of Linux. There is no plot to do... anything. We're geeks, we're geeks who run a website and we have things that we like to write about. We find interesting things and we talk about them in the forums. We Twitter about our experiences with those technologies and we talk about them with others.

We report the news, and occasionally we make editorial comments about the news. We try and present a balanced view of all different operating system, software and hardware technologies. Sometimes, we cover some topics more than others... there is nothing intentional or underhanded about it, it's just what happens to be in the news and be of interest to our writers.

Unlike most news sites, we don't generally assign stories to writers. The editors here allow writers to come up with story ideas, present them for approval, and then we post them to the site. We don't reject stories based on the fact that "it's anti-Apple" or "it's anti-Microsoft" or anything of that sort. We don't get any kickbacks from Microsoft for reporting good news, and we don't have a secret Redmond phone line we can use to call them up for the latest information and directives.

Things you see reviewed on this website, they are almost always items we've purchased personally because we find them interesting. When we don't purchase the item, we have a strict policy of giving the product back or giving them away to our members in one of our many giveaways. The only thing we gain from it, is the ability to use the technology and share our experience with our visitors.

And that is exactly what we do, we put things out there that we find interesting and that we think our visitors will find interesting. We look for a lot of diversity in our staffing, but we've never used it as a basis for hiring or firing anyone. There is no requirement to use (or not use) Windows, or Mac OS X, or Linux.

I'd like to be able to tell you that we were far more organized, and that we had this "Vast Neo-wing Conspiracy" to promote or to take down something, but we don't. We're too busy playing with the latest technologies to really care.

"Marsh, Mellow" is a new column about life and technology by Neowin Managing Editor, Michael Stanclift (Marshalus)

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