Did I Say Something?

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You’ve probably heard people talk about the “Quadrabog” carburetor. Runs like stink, then falls flat on its face – usually because someone screwed up the adjustment of the spring tension that controls the opening rate of the QJet’s huge secondaries.

I feel that maybe I screwed up the adjustment here.

We did a bunch of fine-tuning, revamped the site. I thought these changes made EPautos better.

You guys seem not to agree.

Donations are in freefall. Were it not for LG (thank you, again) things would be much worse than they are – and they are not good. We’re more than half-way through the month and only about a third of the tank full.

This couldn’t have happened at a worse time, for several reasons – which some of you already know about. But one of these reasons is that I took the risk of hiring help – Ben, the computer guy, who tweaked the site and keeps things rolling on the technical side of the aisle. It is hard to pay for help when you’re two-thirds low.

So, I’m putting out this appeal.say-something

EPautos, as most of you know, is not corporate-funded or MSM backed. It’s an independent outlet, a place where you’ll find news and opinion that’s not shilling for someone or something and not trying to snooker you, either.

It’s also a place where you guys are free to join in. We have an outstanding group here – and it continues to grow not only in size but also influence.

I’m routinely asked to be a guest on national-level radio programs (today I’ll be on with Tom Woods, one of the best-known Libertarian voices out there) and it’s all because of your support.

But for some reason, this month has been terrible.

So far…

If I’ve done something, please tell me. If something’s off, please tell me.

But if you value what goes on here, please consider helping us. I wouldn’t post this as a feature article were it not serious business.

Please help keep the wheels turning!

Our donate button is here.

 If you prefer not to use PayPal, our mailing address is:

EPautos
721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079

UPDATE! Several people have already responded to this appeal, including LFKL. Thank you, guys! 

UPDATE II: We are getting there! Thanks to everyone who’s answered the call!

 

EPautos stickers – new design, larger and magnetic! – are free to those who send in $10 or more to support the site.epautoslogo

 

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35 COMMENTS

  1. This is a big problem (maybe the biggest problem) for people cutting lose from the mainstream. The mass communications textbooks often refer to gatekeepers. The general attitude amongst content producers is that gatekeepers are slime. That’s usually true, but they’re still pretty much necessary, at least until something better comes along. Promoting product is difficult and takes up a lot of time. Time that producers would rather spend producing product. And besides, that’s their forte’ anyway.

    It is clear that Google, Facebook and Twitter are simply “meet the new boss” gatekeepers no better than the New York Times, ESPN or Capitol Records. For now, it seems like most of the successful bloggers either still work (even if only part time) in the mainstream, or have enough name recognition from the mainstream to carry their own. This has been quite effective in controlling the narrative and keeping the (as Tom Woods says) same old 3X5 card debate alive.

    But there are alternative universes out there. Religious publishing is almost completely ignored by people outside of religion, yet it is a multi-billion dollar business (worldwide) happening outside of the MSM. Many churches have very extensive video production systems and elaborate stage shows performed once a week. Most of the “promotion” of this content is via word of mouth, either through traditional face-to-face social networks or from the pulpit. This is happening on the Internet, but pulling people away from FB and the other “easy” services is not going to happen overnight.

    So far, the Internet revolution has been focused on tools that make production easier. Having a 4K video camera in your pocket, WordPress, and Photoshop have made it possible for everyone to become a content producer. But there really hasn’t been any progress made in distribution, other than making it cheaper for the gatekeepers. Youtube is fantastic, but you have to accept Google’s terms. Microblogging on Facebook is simple and easy thanks to their apps and sharing buttons, but what you say becomes FB’s property. User-generated content is the gatekeeper’s wet dream: They don’t have to pay anyone and so keep all the revenue for themselves. And, because they rely on the network effect for promotion, they don’t even have to spend much money on that either.

    What needs to happen is a new type of social network, one that isn’t siloed and centralized around someone’s business model. RSS is a fantastic example, although it continues to languish due to poorly designed readers. When I compare Facebook’s timeline to my unread article list it looks very similar, and could be even more similar to a Facebook home page with just a little tweaking (and an easy way for friends and family to post to a blog). My RSS reader is tied to a service provider I pay $12/yr to use, but could easily point to any other server, some of which are free. My ISP includes access to an email server, and at one time provided Usenet feeds until they became cesspools of malware and copyright violations. There’s no reason they couldn’t include an RSS cacheing server.

    But the content producers aren’t tech heads, and the tech heads want paid, and the consumers want free stuff. So we get gatekeepers. Gatekeepers who will soon be regulated by the government, I’m sure. With Facebook’s recent announcement of blocking “fake news” sites, maybe we’ll see the start of a gatekeeper war. And then maybe they’ll realize that by taking the easy route and letting FB control their content they’ve given it away.

    • Eric_G,

      In a way it seems that the crux is how can producers promote/distribute their work to the general public while being compensated in an appropriate manner.

      How can the public become aware of new work/content that they might be interested in seeing/purchasing?

      There is a place for the “gatekeepers” of the world, but it should avoid the abuses of content producers and consuming public as seen in the past. No one likes being taken as a fool.

      I do not have a solution at present.

      • Well, there is that 1980’s shampoo commercial technique: “Then I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on and so on…” Won’t work for everything, but even chain letters and Ponzi schemes work for a little while. Much of my Twitter feed is retweeting other’s posts, which are often just links to a blog or other web page. Same thing with Facebook. Even sites like LewRockwell.com are basically just sharing links to interesting content that is vetted by Lew, a trusted authority. The real problem isn’t one of promotion in of itself, but having a decentralized way of sharing information and getting readers to pay for product. Again, in the early days of the Internet, before the World Wide Web and great slobification, there were highly distributed networks like Usenet and the email routing systems. I’m a ham radio operator. We have a short messaging system called APRS that closely resembles Twitter, but with no central servers (as a practical matter there are, but that’s not a requirement of the protocol). It could easily be modified to act like a decentralized version of Twitter, and do most of what Facebook does, but then there’s no way to monetize beyond getting people to pay for the software. And then someone else comes along with a free version, or someone spams the system, or the government worries about terrorism and demands to know who’s in charge, or someone wants to just to screw it up because they can.

        Today nearly everything on the Internet is client-server. Your computer is basically a fancy terminal. There’s no reason why it can’t be a server too, except that the modern Internet isn’t set up to work that way. It was decided that central servers under tight control was the preferred way to build out the network. And because the existing media companies already had central structure in place, it was easy for them to just extend their influence into the Internet as another channel. In an ideal world, EPautos.com could be running on a server in Eric’s home office and we wouldn’t know or care. My (inactive) personal blog site, being as quiet as a Las Vegas church on Saturday night could exist on my smart phone. But ISPs won’t like that at all. So Eric has to pay for a hosting company in addition to his “client” Internet connection. And because of that, server software is designed to be maintained by experts, not producers.

        As for people paying, I think we here at Eric’s site are early adopters. Eventually people realize they are being screwed with and will pay for premium. I don’t know exactly what model will work out best, but at least there’s experimentation in the bazaar.

        • Hi Eric,

          This site and other Libertarian sites serve as a Beta Test of voluntaryist economics. No force applied or threatened. It’s up to the people who come here to choose to chip in – or not.

          I think it’s a much better model – in terms of journalism – than the advertising-based model that ran the show before (and still does, to a great extent, today).

          As a former print media guy, I know the pressure applied to the editorial side from the advertising side. This compromises the coverage. Even “buff” mags like C&D feel – and kowtow to – the pressure to not annoy the advertisers who ultimately pay the bills.

          But when publication is reader-financed, that pressure is dissipated. All of a sudden, the only thing that matters is producing what the readers want and are willing to pay for.

          This has already been done, successfully, with subscription-only publications that don’t accept ads. But these were physical/hard copy deals; you had to buy the thing to read the thing.

          The dilemma online is the “free” accessibility of everything.

          On the positive side, I’ve found that people who share our political/philosophical views are very good about chipping in. The fact that they do so tells me that (as an example) voluntaryist roads and so on are not necessarily pie-in-the-sky.

          On the negative side, there aren’t that many who share our political/philosophical views. There are probably a lot of Red and Blue team people among EPautos’ readership… who like “free” stuff. Just like “free” government “help” for the things they want.

          • As I age I find that my time is infinitely valuable. I spend a lot of time working for what seems to be less of an exchange, but it will still be necessary for a few more years. I’m almost completely done with traditional television, mostly because they’ve long passed the value to time ratio with their nearly even split between advertising and content (if you take away the show opens, closes and bumpers, reminders of what you saw before the commercial break, etc, there isn’t much left that can be called content). The last football game I wasn’t paid to watch I was able to watch the whole game in about 30 minutes by buffering the first hour on my DVR, and still managed to empty the buffer before the end of the game.

            For some time I go out into the country on a hike, with a camera. The camera was mostly an excuse to go hiking. But lately I’ve just gone hiking, leaving the camera at home. I consider those memories far more valuable than just about anything on the Internet, including EPautos.com. The price of going for a nice hike over watching TV or being online is almost free (cost of transportation being the expense). We all know this equation, but rarely do we put it into practice.

            Then again, maybe it’s that I noticed more grey hair this morning, and pissed off that I’m on call for the next 2 weeks…

          • It’s more than just red and blue team people who want free shit. There are plenty of self described libertarians that want free shit too.

            The free stuff people are in every corner and every group.

            • Hi Ancap,

              This, unfortunately, is very true.

              And it’s dismaying because, after all, Libertarians of all people ought to understand the immorality of “free.”

    • I got to thinking last night that the $100 I sent to Eric is more than the combined total that I’ve ever spent on newspapers, magazines, netflix, even cable (never bought any of those). Hard to believe I know, but true. Eric gets my vote of dollars – I’d much rather enrich him (however small my enriching may be) than any of the mega corps. To them I am a number. To Eric I feel like my contribution allows him to further create the future of media and change how information is distributed. He’s building the model that others will use in the future. It is some form of a decentralization model or system which will put the money and power back in the hands of the many, not the few. What the end result will look like is anybody’s guess, but I know Eric is blazing the way toward it.

  2. I’m going to keep the autopays from Paypal coming, regardless, but as to the new site design, I’d like to have the old WP dashboard back and that popup that offers 5 year old articles gets in the way of the most recent comments. Just my 2 cents.

    • Ed, I’m in agreement. Click on a comment and the top of the page covers it…. a pain. Then you have to delete the pop-up on the right to read the comments….another pain.

    • Ed,
      If you bookmark the link below you can get to the comments.
      https://ericpetersautos.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php

      Over all, I think the redesign is good.

      I liked the list of previous articles on the bottom of the page, but I can use the features or slideshow to see recent articles.

      One thing I think is good about the more stories popup is that newer readers could be directed to other stories they may otherwise have not seen/read.

      Eightsouthman,
      While the popup is annoy, at least it is easy enough to delete manually.

    • Ed,

      I just took a look at the dashboard.
      I can see:
      Left column
      Recently published articles.
      Recent comments.
      There is a news feed in the center column
      Is this what you really meant or was it the link to the comments?

    • I seem to just be able to “scroll around” the popup. It is kind of in the way, but all the info behind it can be read. I just got to this thread by clicking on a comment, for instance. And I did happen on an interesting “heritage” article from it yesterday. To me it is maybe a 30 fer/70 agin thing. In other words, I can live with or without it.

      • Hi Arylioa

        Ben – the new computer guy – created an EPautos-specific layout and I’ve been deferring to his suggestions, because I know nothing ’bout these computers. I’m hoping he gnoes what’s best!

  3. Identity politics
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Identity_politics#The_rise_of_a_Neo-Marxist_New_Left_of_intellectuals_and_students

    I don’t subscribe to the doctrine of identitarianism.

    I don’t get the attraction of being surrounded by like minded strangers.

    Seems crippling and self-limiting.

    The idea that you’re somehow better because you’re adjacent to people you think are is weak minded.

    Also what you assume to be better is rarely scientifically or logically proven to be so.

    It’s a conceit really.

    Are wage earning working men with hyper vigilant fetishes for overbroad concepts of property rights really the best of humanity? If so what proof of this assertion?

  4. Trying to set up Pay Pal, they are supposed to send me a code (via my bank account). I’m in the UK, is there anyway to send money, directly from my bank card ? Thanks

    • Never mind, it looks sorted now. A small regular payment, which I won’t miss, especially if Pay Pal continues to have ‘technical difficulties’.

      Thanks for all the entertainment, Eric.

  5. I’ll be sending something along. For selfish reasons though! As this is the only site I can read regularly and virtually always agree with everything, and which makes me feel good, and lets me know that there are still a few sane people left in the world, and which I can read in the morning and not get heartburn or depressed for the day. I’d be lost without this site!!!!!

    The big corps who want to steal our our personal data have gotten everyone used to the idea of everything on the web being “free”, but one pays a high price for that kind of “free”. 99% of the stuff on the web I don’t even use for free, and the other 1.98% that I use, I wouldn’t pay for, but the other .02%, like this site…priceless!

    • Thanks, Nunzio!

      PS: A bunch of you stepped up yesterday; things are much rosier looking just 24 hours after I posted the appeal. Thanks go out to all of you!

  6. You’re right Eric. I’ve been a long time reader who keeps thinking I need to send in some cash. I do enjoy the site and read it often. You’re one of the last guys out writing about what you write about, and your dedication to not selling out and having to live below what you obviously could make writing elsewhere is really something to look up to. Here’s a $100. Keep the site going.

  7. Eric

    As a regular reader of your site, I am dismayed by all the new advertising links; especially the windows that slide into the content and make you close them. I know you probably need the income, however small it may be, caused by the occasional hit – but the site is much more unreadable now than in the past.

    This page, for example, has multiple adds from “AdChoices” that are just in the way and interrupt the flow of the article. The “You might also like” section is horrible. A lot of sites of this, so it must be profitable (for someone if not for you). Your site is much closer now to the “in your face” advertising that so many other annoying sites have converted to. Many of them have gotten so bad that I just can’t stand visiting them anymore. I will bypass an interesting link if I see that it’s from one of these sites.

    I sincerely hope that your site doesn’t get this bad. You are, however, heading down that path. I would be surprised if your hit counts don’t drop because of the new design.

    • Hi Mark,

      I hear you – but it’s a Catch 22. I’d like nothing more than to have no ads at all. But that means depending entirely on reader support. Which would be wonderful.. if it were sufficient.

      The problem I’ve got – that every web publisher has, just about – is that you can have a large circulation/readership/audience… and very little to show for it.

      The advertisers pay next to nothing (Goo-guhl, see rant about that) and most readers just read.

      Out of 10,000 who come to a site, maybe 10 financially support the site. If even a third did, none of us (publishers/writers) would be squealing.

      I wish I knew what the solution was.

      I mean, other than going broke… or working for free.

  8. Well, I don’t care for the site “improvements”, yet another site that is built and tuned for mobile devices and sail fawns, that appears kludgy on an old desktop like mine.
    But then again, I’m a “smash the machines” Luddite, so don’t take what I say too seriously.
    Most likely election fatigue, would be my guess.
    I’ll be happy to drop $50 buck for the month.

    • Thanks, AF!

      And, yeah, I am not a sail fawn guy either. But – according to my computer guy – this is the way of the world now.

      Of course, he could be wrong….

  9. eric, it could be like my job hunting. People anticipate needing more employees because of pending business that might or might not happen depending on the election. I hope the business community has had their sign, sighed their collective sigh and we’ll be looking at more work, esp. after the 1st of the year and esp. in the patch which always closes it’s wallet the last quarter of the year.

  10. Check’s in the mail.

    This wouldn’t explain any recent big drop offs. But I’ll repeat my often stated mantra….

    “Less political/ideological stuff
    More car stuff.”

    • Hi Mike,

      Well, others say the opposite! 🙂

      The cool thing about EPautos (to me) is you get both here – and can ignore what doesn’t interest you.

      I have an article about the ’17 Lexus NX300h coming…

      • eric, the beauty of this site is anybody can comment to any non-sequitur at any time. I forget just how Ed said it but the essence was breaking the thread was a epa way of life for many of us. I’ll give you an example. Here’s something I copied from gritsforbreakfast.com and while it’s not of this thread, it’s of this site…..so here goes:

        On debtors prison policies as job security for government bureaucrats
        Not all judges view poor defendants who can’t pay fines for petty offenses as a source of “job security,” but neither is the attitude uncommon, nor in the present political environment, disqualifying. The Houston Press’ Meagan Flynn has the story of Houston magistrate Judge Joe Licata, In a recent case involving a woman with high Driver Responsibility surcharges:

        Licata warned her that, if she didn’t pay the fines for these tickets and renew her license after paying surcharges to the Department of Public Safety, “then you’re gonna get arrested every time you get pulled over.”

        That was nothing to her, Clearey responded — because she had already become trapped in a cycle of arrests.

        “It’s nothing to me either,” Licata told her. “It’s job security.”

        Tis as true as it is horrifying that he would view it through that lens.

        The Texas Organizing Project has produced a video with examples of problematic statements by Licata from the bench.
        Posted by Gritsforbreakfast at 3:22 PM Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest
        Labels: bail, Driver Responsibility Fee
        3 comments:

        The Comedian said…

        “Forget it, Jake. It’s Trump-Town.”
        11/16/2016 04:16:00 PM
        Gritsforbreakfast said…

        OTOH, nothing really changed here. The rest of America became more like Texas. Here in Texas, we face more or less the same situation we did two years ago.

        In theory, the Trumpites are supposed to hate these sorts of self-centered bureaucrats who think mulcting taxpayers for their own career gain is a great and wonderful thing. Time will tell if that really plays out that way on the ground, or if it was just something people were using to attack the Clintons.
        11/16/2016 04:55:00 PM
        Anonymous said…

        This is what happens when you give inadequate people power over others – they boost their own egos by beating down those already below them in the pecking order. You see it in the police, corrections officers. Even in the way some defense attorneys talk to their clients. I don’t know if there’s a cure, other than vigilance by those who care.
        11/17/2016 07:08:00 AM

      • “The cool thing about EPautos (to me) is you get both here – and can ignore what doesn’t interest you.”

        Fair enough. But in the best free market tradition, I’m just inclined to support the portion that I find of interest……know what’msayin. 😉

        FWIW, I never pay or contribute for ANY other internet content.

    • I think that this site has a perfect balance. On the occasions I visit other car related sites, they often talk about irrelevant dribbling nonsense like riding a motorcycle backwards down an airstrip or whatever. It is nice to see a site grounded in reality while testing real cars under real conditions. A number of years back, I used to go out and road test cars and post it to the old forums column. Eric- I would be happy to add content to that aspect if you like. Let me know.

  11. A lot of people are flat broke, myself included. However I’ll be dropping a few bucks in the mail to you by this weekend.

    • Thanks, Jason –

      The odd thing is it just went south over the past couple of weeks. Last month was ok. We covered our nut and I was able to invest some of that back into the site. Then – this month – it wilted like my willie when I think about Hillary… 🙂

      Hopefully it’ll pick up. EPautos people have always come through … so far.

      It’s why I’ve been able to say “fish heads for you!” to offers I’ve had to whore myself out and produce “sponsored content” (ads masquerading as articles) and write honestly about (as an example) GM’s “diversity” crap.

      But the pressure to sell out is real – and severe.

      Going broke is no joke.

      A tool like Hannity (or Beck) may be a tool… but he’s a rich tool.

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