You may have seen those big plus and minus buttons at the end of just about every article on Macworld.com. They're there to let readers give us the most basic of feedback about a story: did you like it or not? (Though we have a regular group of article commenters, the vast majority of Macworld.com readers don't post very many story comments.)
Sometimes the results we see from the Yes/No voting on an article are unsurprising. Sometimes they seem almost totally random--a seemingly innocuous story gets 40 thumbs-down votes in a matter of hours--and we start to suspect our voting system might be out of whack. But most of the time it's a good barometer about how you feel about a story, or the subject of the story. (That's another quirk of our system--sometimes people think our story is bad, and vote it down. Other times, they might actually like our story, but they don't like the product the story is about, and vote the story down as a result. Like I said, it's a basic measure, not a nuanced one.)
That all said as a throat-clearing prologue, here are Macworld.com's 10 most-praised and five most-loathed stories of 2010.
1. Why I left Facebook (+301)
In May, our Christopher Breen quit Facebook in the wake of the furor over its privacy policies. Our readers seemed to appreciate his sentiment.
2. Macworld goes hands on with the iPad (+237)
One of the advantages of getting invited to Apple press events is getting your hands on new hardware before the general public. In the case of the iPad, we got to use one for about half an hour, nearly four months before the rest of the world. We took a bunch of pictures as we were using it, and made this slideshow.
3. iPad cases and bags galore (+229)
In advance of the iPad's release, Dan Frakes and David Chartier created a visual tour of pre-announced iPad accessories. People liked what they saw, apparently.
4. The iPad's future shock (+220)
In January, developer and educator Fraser Speirs explained why dyed-in-the-wool IT professionals, other techies, and Apple competitors were reacting so negatively to the iPad. Those groups might not have gotten it, but Macworld readers did.
5. An inside look at the Mac mini (+212)
Our Dan Frakes got a new Mac mini and immediately photographed it, to give Macworld readers a tour of this new, even smaller micro Mac. Those readers were appreciative.
Here's a fun bit of holiday cheer. A small ensemble takes the stage at a church in Georgia and performs a Christmas Concert entirely on iOS devices.
7. Photos from Apple's iPad event (+179)
Not only did you like our hands-on photos of the iPad (see #2), you also liked our gallery of images from the iPad unveiling event.
8. Review: Apple iPad (+172)
I worked for two days straight on my review of the iPad. I'm glad you guys seemed to like it. Or were you just signalling your approval of the iPad itself? I'm going to take it as a compliment, regardless.
9. Gruber: This is how Apple rolls (+171)
John Gruber penned a column for the magazine and website talking in detail about how Apple does product development: iteratively, starting with something simple but functional and then building it up, layer on layer.
10. Up close with the iPhone 4 (+170)
This photo gallery was from our hands-on time with the iPhone 4 when it was announced. You'll see, we got to handle a white iPhone 4, albeit briefly. History!
This excerpt from PC Advisor UK quotes security maven Eugene Kaspersky as saying that the only two operating systems guaranteed to survive past 2015 are Android and Symbian. Yeah, that went over well.
Computerworld's Preston Gralla opined that Google is on easy street, Apple is doomed, and Microsoft is somewhere in between. You know, sometimes we post these stories just so you guys know what other people are saying. We think that's healthy. I'm not saying we place bets on how many negative votes a story is going to get, but I'm not denying it either, okay?
In March, InfoWorld's Galen Gruman called everyone who had pre-ordered an iPad a fool. That wasn't received so well by the Macworld audience.
Tom Kaneshige of CIO reported on how one manufacturer was using the iPad. I have no idea why this story ended up in this list. Maybe it got linked to from some anti-iPad site?
In early January we posted this piece by PC Advisor UK (and former Macworld UK editor) Simon Jary detailing what he took to be Apple's biggest duds of the previous decade. Some people hated it. (I thought it was kind of funny, but then, I am pretty much an Anglophile. I'm surprised Simon didn't throw in a reference to Chelsea, just to make all the Man U and Arsenal supporters angry too.) And a lot of people just wanted to argue that 2009 wasn't the end of the decade, 2010 was.
Wait, if 2010 is really the end of the decade, does that mean I can run Simon's "Apple duds" story a second time?
On second thought, best if I don't.