Linus Tech Tips, Gamers Nexus, Ethics and Responsibilityby darren horrocks
Yesterday, Gamers Nexus posted a video titled “The Problem with Linus Tech Tips: Accuracy, Ethics, & Responsibility”, which addressed several concerns that GN have with Linus Tech Tips, the LMG Labs, and Linus Himself.
With this post, I would mostly like to address several things Linus stated in his response to the video.
There won’t be a big WAN Show segment about this or anything. Most of what I have to say, I’ve already said, and I’ve done so privately.
This is a public issue, the general public have now seen what Steve and GN have to say, and attempting to keep the responses to Steve private, suggest that there are things that Linus does not want to be in the public, suggesting intentional wrong doing, rather than simply making mistakes.
To Steve, I expressed my disappointment that he didn’t go through proper journalistic practices in creating this piece. He has my email and number (along with numerous other members of our team) and could have asked me for context that may have proven to be valuable (like the fact that we didn’t ‘sell’ the monoblock, but rather auctioned it for charity due to a miscommunication.
Firstly, to continue what i said on the previous quote, why are there things Linus wants to keep private here on an issue that is already in the public eye? Secondly, contacting Linus personally, and resolving it quietly. is the exact opposite of “proper journalistic practices”. Journalists can ask the subject of a story for comment, but it is not at all required, especially if the request for comment will affect the story or affect the journalist writing the story. On the point of “selling” the monoblock, legally, they accepted cash for that waterblock, and then donated the cash straight to charity, that is a sale in Canada, the USA, the UK and almost anywhere else in the world.
To my team (and my CEO’s team, but realistically I was at the helm for all of these errors, so I need to own it), I stressed the importance of diligence in our work because there are so many eyes on us. We are going through some growing pains - we’ve been very public about them in the interest of transparency - and it’s clear we have some work to do on internal processes and communication. We have already been doing a lot of work internally to clean up our processes, but these things take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but that’s no excuse for sloppiness
Linus appears here to be suggesting that the LMG Lab is a “work in progress”, yet they are presenting the numbers without any disclaimer stating that they could be incorrect, they are stating the numbers as absolute fact. The Lab cannot both be a “work in progress” and absolute fact at the same time, if Linus and the new CEO want to “take ownership” of this, any data coming from the labs in previous videos and all future videos (until these issues have been ironed out) should come with a visible, and audible disclaimer stating that the labs is a work in progress.
Linus has also stated on the WAN Show that he is unwilling to spend “100, 200, 500 dollars” on fixing these mistakes, before they are published, on videos that make them 100s of 1000s of dollars. Why would such a trivial amount of money not be worth spending on factual accuracy? What money has been skimped on elsewhere on factual inaccuracies that have not been picked up on? Linus’s stance on this opens up more questions than it answers.
Now, for my community, all I can say is the same things I always say. We know that we’re not perfect. We wear our imperfection on our sleeves in the interest of ensuring that we stay accountable to you. But it’s sad and unfortunate when this transparency gets warped into a bad thing. The Labs team is hard at work hard creating processes and tools to generate data that will benefit all consumers - a work in progress that is very much not done and that we’ve communicated needs to be treated as such.
There is no transparency, it took somebody else to point out all of LMGs mistakes to prompt a post from Linus. The “corrections” they have made, are made in the laziest and cheapest and least visible way possible. Are LMG looking to strive for accuracy, or a better bottom line?
With all of that said, I still disagree that the Billet Labs video (not the situation with the return, which I’ve already addressed above) is an ‘accuracy’ issue. It’s more like I just read the room wrong. We COULD have re-tested it with perfect accuracy, but to do so PROPERLY - accounting for which cases it could be installed in (none) and which radiators it would be plumbed with (again… mystery) would have been impossible… and also didn’t affect the conclusion of the video… OR SO I THOUGHT…
If LMG/Linus now know that the video is entirely factually inaccurate, why does the video still remain public? Why has there not been any insert into the video to let consumers know that the entire content of the video is incorrect? Why has LMG not added inserts into the video to show what they did wrong? Again, this is down to the bottom line of the company being a bigger priority than factual accuracy.
Adam and I were talking about this today. He advocated for re-testing it regardless of how non-viable it was as a product at the time and I think he expressed really well today why it mattered. It was like making a video about a supercar. It doesn’t mater if no one watching will buy it. They just wanna see it rip. I missed that, but it wasn’t because I didn’t care about the consumer.. it was because I was so focused on how this product impacted a potential buyer. Either way, clearly my bad, but my intention was never to harm Billet Labs
Here Linus states that other members of the team, specifically the writer and co-presenter of the video, were not pleased with the video and its findings and wated to retest, and Linus vetoed that and let the video go out as it was, and still allows it to remain live to this day (at the time of writing this post). If the intention is not to harm billet labs, then why offer such harsh opinions on known bad data, and why leave the known bad video, up and live?
Either way, I’m sorry I got the community’s priorities mixed-up on this one, and that we didn’t show the Billet in the best light. Our intention wasn’t to hurt anyone. We wanted no one to buy it (because it’s an egregious waste of money no matter what temps it runs at) and we wanted Billet to make something marketable (so they can, y’know, eat).
Linus is only sorry now that he has been called out, hes stated several times on the WAN show that he doesnt want to pay trivial amounts of money to fix factual inaccuracies in videos, hes left several known factually inaccurate videos live. Linus and LMG need to take real action on this rather than making a placebo statement to try and quell the rage from the community.
In conclusion, I dont dislike Linus, I dont dislike LMG/LTT, and I dont dislike what LMG are trying to do with the Labs, but I do think they need to drastically clean up their act in order to stop themselves from becoming an industry joke and having the labs be dead before they even get into the full swing. They are the largest tech youtube channel where a lot of people get their information from, they influence a lot of people and what those people buy, and can influence whether or not a small company lives or dies. With that power, they need to be incredibly careful, or they will continue to be called out and will suffer unfixable reputational damage.
Hopefully LMG fix their issues internally, and a proper response is made, and the previously known factually inaccurate videos are fixed, and future videos are fixed correctly with visible and audible corrections.