back to article The Register's entirely serious New Year's resolutions for 2016

We launched as an email newsletter in 1994, hit the web four years later and are now a multinational media entity operating on three continents. Millions of people read us every month, which is humbling. We may have missed our birthday, but did do some proper “we've turned 21 and that means we're probably quite grown up now” …

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    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      @Doctor Syntax

      "Does that mean space-wasting irrelevant pictures will be dropped?"

      I don't think we've read the same article? I think there will be more pictures, more videos, and your adblocker will be working overtime, just like BTO ;- }

  1. Joe Harrison

    Don't listen to them

    This thread seems to be full of idiots begging you to lower the editorial tone to a predictably dire schoolboy humour level.

    However we're all business people here and I'm disappointed in any such move to incentivize your value add. Let's please see you roll out your effort to launch a new community-killer site which will taper the playing field vertically. Moving forward, it's time to act with game-changing ideation and close the loop with a robust and sustainable reporting of industry transformation and recontextualization. OK?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Re: Don't listen to them

      Fine stroke Sir

      1. Dabooka Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Don't listen to them

        Don't forget to realign the paradigm

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't listen to them

          Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow while you're at it.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Don't listen to them

      What? There's no "maximize share-holder value"?

    3. PNGuinn
      Go

      "time to act with game-changing ideation and close the loop with a robust..."

      Que??

      Please can you tell us what you were smoking when you wrote that so we can all avoid it!

      I presume that was either sarcasm or irony....

      1. Alistair
        Windows

        Re: "time to act with game-changing ideation and close the loop with a robust..."

        @PNGuinn:

        Joss sticks.

        You must be new around here.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't listen to them

      We certainly need to de-socialise the aggressivisational behaviour traits in the per-resource feedback space. Let me sharepoint that for you.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't listen to them

      Having run this redesign idea up the flagpole to see who salutes it, the answer has come back as 'yes - with two fingers'

  2. A. Coatsworth

    I think the best way to deal with sexism (real or sarcastic) is tracking Sarah Bee back, and unleashing her on commentards and writers alike. Sheer fear will sort the problem.

    Other than that, I don't really know what to make of this announcement. It is vaguely worrisome, I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Hopefully El Reg won't lose the teeth needed to actually bite the hand that feeds IT.

  3. Fading

    New and improved?

    So we've been putting up with old and inferior all these years. Scepticism, sarcasm with a healthy dosage of irreverence (and irrelevance from time to time) is why I keep reading El reg, would be a shame if it morphed into just another tech news website.

    One thing though; "peer" review isn't a gold standard and is heavily weighted by the journal it is published in (the nonsense that gets in "Nature Climate Change" for example) - and retraction watch should be compulsory reading for any article writers relying on "peer" review for "evidence based" stories.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: New and improved?

      Also waiting on peer review would have caused us to miss the extremely amusing NASA temperature 'modification' gaff that (shockingly) page had great fun with. I do miss the casual writing of Worstall although I cant get into Dabs's articles (certainly not his fault and I can see why he has a following, just not my taste).

      As an older and wiser publication, we've also come to realise that some of our more adolescent behaviours are starting to look a little inappropriate. Expect less SHOUTINESS, an evolving sense of humour, more modern and global cultural touchstones, science coverage that gives proper prominence to peer-reviewed, evidence-based research and a recognition that attempted self-aware hopefully ironic sexism is almost always indistinguishable from actual sexism.

      Words which sound like PC speak for PC speak. And now I hear Billy Connolly talking about 'beigeists'.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: New and improved? = Revamped and SMARTR Organised for Beta Virtual Use ....

      ... Anonymous InterPlanetary Action

      So we've been putting up with old and inferior all these years. Scepticism, sarcasm with a healthy dosage of irreverence (and irrelevance from time to time) is why I keep reading El reg, would be a shame if it morphed into just another tech news website. ... Fading

      Methinks engaging commentards can ensure that such a failure does not come to pass, Fading.

      It is not as if some readers have nothing of note and newsworthy to share with populations, is it? Some posts are real eye openers/hearts and minds stealers.

  4. WaveyDavey

    Do a BoingBoing redesign ...

    ... and I will come down and widdle through your letterbox.

    So there.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Do a BoingBoing redesign ...

      ...or worserer, a Bong! redesign hot from the Silicon Roundabout.

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Serious suggestion

    Voting on articles, not just on comments.

    It would guide you as to what we want & don't want. To some extent the number of comments is indicative but these can be distorted by a good OT diversion.

    1. Thecowking

      Re: Serious suggestion

      We used to have that, in the before time.

      Someone (my ur-mind says Orlowski, but my conscious brain isn't sure) stated emphatically that it wouldn't be coming back a year or two ago.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Serious suggestion

      We already vote on articles, by reading the ones that interest us and ignoring the ones that don't. Granted a creative headline can get us to read an article we otherwise wouldn't, but unless there's a "that headline was clickbait" vote in addition to thumbs up or thumbs down, it would deliver exactly the same information.

  6. andrewj

    At the first sign of a shitty website redesign for mobile, it's buh-bye from me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mobile = shitty

      I think you have hit it.

      It is self evident truth in the website creation industry that websites have to be redesigned on a regular basis otherwise there wouldn't be any work for website designers to do. The modern approach is for "responsive" designs. These are single websites that attempt respond to the type of device viewing them and then adapt. I say "attempt" deliberately because so far everyone one I have seen is worse than that which it replaced and many are pure crap.

      One characteristic is the loss of written content compared to pictures. It is an unfair prejudice to say that pudgy fingered smartphone or tablet users can't or don't want to read and only like pretty pictures or YouTube videos, I think it is more the case that the screen area available on smaller devices limits what can be displayed and pictures win out. Once you prioritise presentation over content the presenters determine policy.

      The BBC website is a classic. You need to go through several link layers to get to the words. The index pages are now almost devoid of anything but pictures.

      I can but hope that El Reg will stick to its well honed page design even if it attempts to become all serious and grown up (BTW what is wrong with SHOUTY? When someone does something stupid you need to shout at them; either to warn them of danger or hurl well deserved abuse). I fear however that the plague of web designers will be upon us.

  7. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Unhappy

    In other words

    Character is out, blandness is in.

    Broadening people's horizons is out, retreating back into out comfort zone is in.

    Talking to intelligent people is out, making sure we never offend anyone is in.

    Being different is out, being yet another IT publication is in.

    Who's made you an offer of lots of money to merge with El Reg then? CRN? Ars? "Just that small matter of being different from every other IT news site out there to sort out first"

    Hmmm....

    1. ssharwood

      Re: In other words

      No offer. And no on all fronts. We'll still be the reg, full of snark and scepticism. Still telling it like it is in colorful language with cracking headlines. And more depth and broader horizons.

      1. The Dude

        Re: In other words

        If the last few months are an indication of what is in store with the changes, it won't work. The register has gone from being a 30 minute/day read to about 60 seconds. Without Dabbs around, less than that.

        Maybe we could get the real reason(s) why Worstall, Lewis and Page are gone? Inquiring minds want to know.

        I know... maybe Alistair Dabbs will explain it, in his usual thoughtful, mature, educational, non-shouty and humorous manner. I don't see him lasting much longer anyhow, with the new regime.

  8. beboyle

    I looked for Alistair Dabs throughout the holidays without finding him. I was hoping to hear he'd just had some time off. I truly hope you haven't let him go. He is the essence of what I come here for.

    There's a reason I've been reading The Register first every day. If you become another ComputerWorld I'll just read ComputerWorld, thanks.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    what???

    "an evolving sense of humour, more modern and global cultural touchstones"

    What the fuck does that mean?

    And you are doing away with the weekend edition?

    Something tells me you are getting too big for your own boots as in "you will enjoy what we publish because we know what's best"

    Next thing you will be telling us to stop eating bacon and eat more salads...

    Cheers

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: what???

      If the bacon goes, so will most of us. Besides, two rashers of bacon a day will ensure that you won't be a suicide bomber. I'll get my coat for that.

  10. AegisPrime
    Paris Hilton

    Ars?

    Isn't the sensible IT stuff/real journalism's what Ars Technica's for???

    Paris because she may not be with us for much longer...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So do we have to do ALL the puerile infantile stuff now?

    Might I suggest polling readers BEFORE "revisiting the design"...any UI changes for this demographic (all demographics, really, but El Reg's in particular) will be met with bitching on a grand scale. On a purely practical note, if you poll first you can at least say "well that's what you asked for" and -who knows- the polling itself may well suggest better ways of doing things.

    Something else you might want to revisit is your aims regarding cynicism...in these days of shiny, tweety, lowest-common-denominator, where every bastard is trying to move you to the cloud/sell you something "as a service"/both; I would maintain that cynicism is a very good starting point. Possibly you're not being cynical enough.

  12. theOtherJT

    What did I just read?

    There's a... voice... to the Reg. When it's on form it feels like a lesson from that one slightly elderly teacher who knew damn well that the world was changing but didn't have to like it. The one that was going to go on doing things their way because they were too good at their job to get fired for it. The one possessed of an acerbic wit which everyone feared getting turned on them, but loved to see directed at others. The one that could pour scorn with the very, very best of them and knowing that made any praise received so much more valuable because you could be utterly sure it was sincere.

    On your best day 'Reg, collectively, you sound like that.

    This, on the other hand... well.

    I see the author is marked as "Team Register" which feels apt for something that reads like it was actually written by committee. A committee that was a bit reluctant to... well... commit. It feels like the sort of press releases you get from a really expensive PR department when they have something unpleasant to say but have no choice but to release it. Sure, the message is in there, somewhere, but the purpose of the statement was to obfuscate it not to promote it.

    In short, I've read this twice, and I'm still not entirely sure what you're trying to tell me, only that I don't think I like the tone of voice I'm being told in.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: What did I just read?

      Sorry, only one upvote to give. Very well said.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I for one

    Hope you don't poll readers about changes. That's a recipe for disaster. I have to consider the possibility that we commentards are actually a small minority when it comes to page views, and perhaps quite unrepresentative.

    I'll probably get heavily downvoted (but given my observation above, that might be expected) but I do feel that Worsthall, Page and Dabbs had a certain amount to say that was relevant (and I have enjoyed and learnt from their articles) but they are not professional columnists - and that's a good thing, because when we look at ones who are like Hopkins, Littlejohn and co. it is hard to avoid a technicolour yawn. Unfortunately they are difficult to avoid outside their lairs.

    And remember - the definition of a Conservative is someone who thinks he has always believed what he told people was complete rubbish twenty years ago. Change is needed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I for one

      Not going to downvote; but I suggested polling for *UI changes* (before doing any, more specifically). Not polling about any political/back-office stuff that is going on; so sorry if I didn't make that clear.

      Commentards are a minority of the site's heaviest users, so aren't completely irrelevant...plus there's a fair amount of expertise tucked away in there. I like to think of the comments as a sort of RAID backup for the main story...you get different spins on it; bits the story may have missed; updates from other sources; interesting tangents; plus quality abuse and terrible puns. Makes the total "story experience" more complete and informative (not to mention fun)...and I think that El Reg would need to take great care in changing any aspect of that.

      The 'statement of intent' could go either way - it's a bit bland and obscure. Could be a genuinely needed update or it could be "new broom" management who have things done their way...bitch; looking only at the money and fuck off with their golden handshake before it hits the fan.

  14. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    WTF?

    Hmmm

    Very much Hmmm.

    In fact, on a Hmmm-ness scale of 1 to 10, this manages Hmmm 11.

    I shall be watching closely. I've not been all that impressed by the changes so far.

  15. David 132 Silver badge
    WTF?

    Oh dear.

    an evolving sense of humour, more modern and global cultural touchstones

    {...wavey lines as we segue to the Editor's office, 6 months' hence...}

    "Dabbsy, thanks for coming in. It's about that article you wrote. Great article, great stuff, lovely, super.

    But I wonder if it's sensitive enough to global cultural touchstones?"

    "Um..."

    "Lovely, super. But we have to ask ourselves, what would an itinerant goat-herder in Mongolia make of this? Is 10 Things I Wish IT Suppliers Would Stick Up Their Arses really relevant to the needs of a Single Womens' pottery collective in Dhaka?"

    "Err..."

    "Lovely. So re-write it with less emphasis on cis-gender white privilege, there's a good person. And try to throw in more references to the Ethiopian Tewahedo belief system while you're at it."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh dear.

      Have an upvote for the references alone

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Oh dear.

      You're actually Alistair and I claim my 5 pounds!

  16. AdamWill

    big thumbs up

    "Expect less SHOUTINESS, an evolving sense of humour, more modern and global cultural touchstones, science coverage that gives proper prominence to peer-reviewed, evidence-based research and a recognition that attempted self-aware hopefully ironic sexism is almost always indistinguishable from actual sexism."

    This is great news. Might even start reading regularly again. Thanks, El Reg.

  17. bon_the_one

    The Furture... I've taken my shades off...

    I'm with most of the comments here, I have been reading El Reg for YEARS (some of us can still do shouty!), and came here for brillliant, intelligent articles that were basically Clarkson-esque at times. Superbly informative, but in a sublime way that gave you information but in an amusing, entertaining way. I'm wondering if a certain previous editor got in to a fraquas...?

    I stopped reading the main site after the God Awful redesign with header pics (of a Cat5 cable for Network articles as another commentard pointed out! WE KNOW WHAT A CAT5 is!!!). Fortunately someone else on comments pointed me to m. and I have been able to read El Reg again.

    This article just made me think El Reg has brought in Perfect Curve (Please refer to the BBC Sattire series 'W1A' if you have not seen it). I also found it quite ironic I read this article on the day 'BBC Three' re-branded as 'BBC Two!'.

    Now, where are those Joss Sticks and that Whale Song CD...

  18. Esme

    Oh, yes, I forgot to add, re those UI changes

    "We'll revisit the site's design on all devices and for those of you who read through aggregators. We're also conscious that the web can now host any form of content, but we rely heavily on the written word. Indulge us in an experiment or three as we explore how to use the medium."

    If you're going to muck about with the look and feel of the site, please don;t forget about those of us with odd visual problems. For instance as a result of being a fan of Kerbal Space Program, I recently found out that I have Scoptic Sensitivity Syndrome. I'd previously had to describe myself as having a problem with certain types of patterns, don't like too much contrast (ever tried finding the LOW contrast option in any OS's UI? Do let me know if you find it, I tend to have to fiddle incessantly with random individual bits of UI becasue whilst those needing high contrast UIs tend to be catered for, it seems UI designers have never thought about the converse) and can't handle glare well. (one of my main criticisms of most of the web is that there appears to be no way to turn all that white to something more soothing like green, or even yellow. If fellow commentards know of a way, I'm all ears) As a result of which I have to take frequent breaks from reading most sites, due to the glare. I digress...

    When SQUAD changed the games forums recently, their forums went from being relatively easyand pleasant to read to something that has a very clean design, I can recognise that - but all the same, it feels deeply disturbing, somehow, so much so that I'm reluctant to visit very often now. Even knowing that it's something to do with how my brain processes the visual information, I just can't cope with that design. And it's a type of 'clean, flat' design I;ve seen in many places of late - MS's UI's included (Office 2013? It now not only annoys me with its foibles, it's actually hateful to look at now. I avoid whenever possible, but locating emaisl I need to work from is definitely much harder than it was). With the current design (I read El Reg only from desktop PC's btw) the only thing that bugs me is the glare from all the white space. I can live with that.

    And in case anyone thinks otherwise, no, I'm not expecting El reg to tailor their site to my particular needs, just asking 'em to bear in mind all of us with odd visual disorders and that 'clean design' of a UI isn't the only thing that's important. I'd also add that I was bemused by the BBC's last site re-design. It looked fine to me previously. Now it looks bland and less interesting, and rather as if its trying to hide lack of in-depth content behind a flashy GUI. It doesnt set off my visual disorders though. Neither does El Reg's current UI.

  19. GrantN

    This enquiring mind would like to know what has become of Page and Worstall since their departure from el Reg. Lewis wasn't everyone's cup of tea but I enjoyed his articles very much, and also found Tim's economics articles to be really interesting. They may not be writing for the Register anymore but I'd be most interested to know if they have put their talents to good use elsewhere on the www.

    1. Ilmarinen

      @GrantN

      Worstall has a blog and links to other stuff he writes: http://www.timworstall.com/

      Don't know about Page - anyone?

      1. PCar

        Re: @GrantN

        Tim also writes for Forbes:

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/

        and The ASI:

        http://www.adamsmith.org/blog/

        He sometimes writes for other new sites inclding The Gruniard

        However, the articles there are sadly never as long or in depth as his articles here were.

        Lewis Page - also no idea. Anyone?

        I would really like to see them both writing here again.

        Their articles were, for me, the most interesting, informative and thought provoking.

  20. Quortney Fortensplibe
    Headmaster

    Glare of Publicity

    "...(one of my main criticisms of most of the web is that there appears to be no way to turn all that white to something more soothing like green, or even yellow...

    How about something like f.lux? I use that on laptop and desktop, to subtly tint the screen as evening approaches, so that white takes on a creamier hue.

    On my Android devices I use Twilight which, while not quite as polished, is the nearest equivalent I've been able to find.

  21. cd / && rm -rf /

    I really hope this doesn't mean Lester's knob-jokes and post pub nosh menus aren't being given the boot.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Care to explain what we're supposed to make of the double negative?

  22. SniperPenguin

    "Our overall resolution is to become an even better business tech news publication"

    Translation - Our advertisers want us to be more corporate in return for larger, more cash-rich marketing campaigns.

    When will you guys realise that we read you because you are *NOT* Techtarget, or any of all the other bland template-based "tech-websites" that just quote from each other's articles and vendor press releases.

    You are popular because your are independent of that bulll*****, You have the BOFH, good articles from Chris, Alisdair and Trevor (amongst others) who write things here that would likely be edited out of existence on other sites.

    Lose that, and you lose your readership base - Your call.

    1. Dabooka Silver badge

      Re: "Our overall resolution is to become an even better business tech news publication"

      I don't like the 'more business tech' slant.

      Sounds obvious, but if you think about it a bit a lot of the content is relevant to users and consumers as much as anyone else. I often link to articles for my non-techy friends, often because the articles are very accessible.

  23. Mage Silver badge

    cultural touchstones

    Umm... I'd like an Irish Tablet. If I could read Irish.

  24. Ilmarinen
    Pirate

    Paging Page, Worstall, Orlowski

    Somebody earlier suggested a fork of El Reg, away from this current 'ere thing and back to wot we know and luv - let's put it to the Commentardiat...

    Ayes - upvote

    Nays - downvote

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