Biased Against Quark?

Biased Against Quark?


Appearances can be deceiving. While we here at Quark VS pride ourselves on reading every comment by every reader, and responding whenever possible, we don’t typically explain how we, this site, or journalism in general work. However, reader Victor Oleny asks a very good question that we feel many of our readers are wondering. [...]

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Appearances can be deceiving.

While we here at Quark VS pride ourselves on reading every comment by every reader, and responding whenever possible, we don’t typically explain how we, this site, or journalism in general work. However, reader Victor Oleny asks a very good question that we feel many of our readers are wondering. The answer may surprise you.

Here Victor asks:

[Pariah S. Burke said:] “Quark VS is an independent and unbiased news and editorial Website that is not affliated with any of the companies about whom or whose products it writes or may write.”

“If it’s such an unbiased website, how come it has a preponderance of articles advocating InDesign and bashing QuarkXPress way beyond what is stastically normal? “

Victor might have been specifically thinking about some of our articles, like the six-part special series about Adobe InCopy CS, “InCopy CS2: In Production.” That series is, to date, the most indepth look at InCopy anywhere. If Victor was counting that series amongst his charge of “beyond statistically normal,” then there’s a piece of information he’s missing.

We wanted to give the same treatment to Quark CopyDesk, the competitor to InCopy. We wanted to build a series of articles called “Quark CopyDesk: In Production,” which, like our InCopy series, would go deeper into introducing and explaining CopyDesk and its role in publishing workflows than any previous media. Both InCopy and CopyDesk are extremely powerful tools that get little press because few analysts and writers understand them. Consequently, many workflows that could benefit from one or the other, have no idea the applications are available or what they can bring to the collaborative editorial-creative workflow.

We wanted to give you everything you would ever want to know about Quark CopyDesk, and we wanted to compare it side-by-side by with InCopy. Unfortunately we–and you–were never given that chance. The Quark, Inc. public relations office never responded to our request for information and evaluation copies of Quark CopyDesk, even after we told them how much coverage we wanted to give to it (essentially, we wrote them with what I stated above).

The same thing happened when I interviewed Will Eisley at Adobe about variable data publishing in InDesign, and Jess Walker, also at Adobe, about JDF job ticketing. Neither of those interviews was originally intended to publish as standalone, InDesign- or Adobe-specific views on those subjects. They were each half of a pair of interviews on the same subjects; the other half was to be interviews with Will’s and Jess’s counterparts at Quark. Like our requests for CopyDesk information, Quark refused to let their VDP and JDF experts be interviewed.

So, the fact that you are not reading Quark’s side of everything is not because Quark VS is biased. It’s because Quark has elected not to let it’s side be made public.

A person might wonder if a particular company might try silence as a means of manipulating the public perception of an independent and unbiased news source like Quark VS InDesign.comas anything but unbiased. Afterall, a news and editorial Website will continue to write and publish, but if one side of an argument is withheld, that Website would look biased toward the other.

Of course, another person might hypothesize that the silence is motivated by fear. Fear that, if competing applications were placed head-to-head without the benefit of one company having undue influence over the results, that that company might fear its applications won’t measure up. A person with this position would point to the unanimous conclusions reached by all independent and unbiased news sources that have already compared one set of such applications, as an example.

Where you believe the answer lies, depends on the type of person you are.

We write what’s news worthy in the context of the subjects we cover–Quark, Adobe, QuarkXPress, InDesign, and related tools, techologies, methodologies, and events. Quark has not done much that is both newsworthy and positive of late. Despite our almost desperate search for positive news about Quark and XPress–despite our repeated requests for information and applications that would enable us to paint a deeper (and presumably more positive) picture of Quark and its products–there isn’t much to be had.

Even if Quark has elected not to provide news directly to Quark VS, we will obtain and report that news while being as fair and balanced as possible. But, we can only report on and provide opinion about what’s actually going on. Right now, Quark doesn’t have a whole lot going on–at least not a lot that most people think of as putting Quark in a positive light.

It’s cyclic, though. At the beginning of 2005, Adobe and InDesign weren’t making much news while Quark was. At the time, we were accused of being pro-Quark and anti-InDesign because everything we published was about what Quark did right (free English-language Tech Support, reduced prices, QuarkVista’s very cool features, and so on).

Victor mentioned “statistically normal.” Look around at other news sources that cover Quark and/or Adobe. No one has much positive press about Quark right now–not even Quark’s own website.

Quark VS is the most comprehensive coverage of QuarkXPress, InDesign, Quark, Inc., Adobe, and related subjects. If it’s happening, you’ll read about it here. It’s unfair to complain that we aren’t covering news that doesn’t exist.

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3 Responses Discussing “Biased Against Quark?”
  1. Well said.
    This is social news, sides tip as the information spreads, just as Apple is all the craze, and the delays in Vista are a downer. What fun would it be if it wasn’t a rollercoaster for us?

    04 Nov 2005
    16:48 PT
  2. FWIW, I’ve noticed my own articles are biased against Quark and X-Ray Magazine, and favor InDesign and InDesign Magazine, but if I can back it up with clear evidence then it’s not a bias as much as it’s simply a judgment of quality. If QuarkXPress had the tools and features of InDesign, or if X-Ray had the tutorials and useful information that InDesign Magazine has, then I’d crow about it. Because that’s all we’re wanting, is the best tools possible for doing the work we all love.

    07 Nov 2005
    07:13 PT
  3. I believe this guy is just some Quark defender. I used Quark in the past, then switched *wel not really but i used it in school. However, even if this site(some of it) praises InDesign’s features and tools. It is not the site’s fault it’s InDesign, yes, for being such a good product. I am not a publisher. I am an old Pagemaker user that found that having InDesign CS is a great tool not only for Publishing but for daily stuff.
    And if we love it so much, well we have the right to talk about it like it was the greatest software out there.
    Paco and by the way sorry for my spelling mistakes*jejeje

    08 Nov 2005
    11:21 PT

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