The Ethics of Software Tested

1. What We Do; How and Why We Do It

Software Tested is a resource on a mission to discover new software solutions, verify their claims and test their true capabilities. We are committed to experimenting, experiencing and putting to the test new and old software solutions, and sharing our findings with our readers so they can make informed decisions.

Our main criterion in choosing what to write about (and how) is our judgment of what will best serve our audiences. To fulfill our mission, we make accuracy our highest priority and we do everything in our power to publish correct information.

2. Values and Biases

Software Tested is a diverse group of writers and editors, advertising-sales and business staff, and freelancers and speakers. We don't speak with one voice—but of course we share some values.

We are not uncritical boosters of new technology, but we are disposed to think technology a powerful force for good. We believe that for any large, difficult problem, technology is at least part of the solution, and we're confident that new technologies grow prosperity and expand human possibilities.

3. Journalistic Practices

Software Tested adheres to the traditional best practices of journalism. The guiding principles are based on our responsibility to the reader to produce accurate, fair, and independent editorial.

Our standard practice is to gather information directly from those involved in creating, financing, and understanding new technologies. We work with these sources to ensure that our content is accurate and presented in its proper context.

In almost all cases, we properly and clearly identify our sources. Only in rare circumstances do we attribute information to unnamed sources, and only when there is a legitimate reason, such as protecting the safety of the source. Writers tell their editors the true identity of unnamed sources, except in extraordinary cases. We clearly explain to our readers why we are using an unnamed source.

In reporting stories with unattributed quotations, we would tell the unnamed sources that they were speaking to us “not for attribution.” If we tell sources they are speaking “off the record,” we mean that nothing we hear will be quoted, even without attribution. We always introduce ourselves as writers or editors for Software Tested. Under no circumstances would we misrepresent ourselves in order to gain information.

It is the responsibility of all our editors and writers to be accurate and honest. We rely on our professional experience, judgment, and knowledge, guided by our responsibility to help our readers understand a subject. We don't reflexively give equal weight to all sides of a discussion. In matters of controversy, we will report the arguments of both sides fairly; but our ethical obligation is not to please any interest or party to a debate, but to bear witness to the truth if we know it, or to delineate the terms of the controversy if the truth of the matter is genuinely in doubt.

Software Tested news reviews enjoy the thorough fact-checking and multiple edits. Directories, charts, graphs, and similar data-rich elements are also thoroughly fact-checked. News, news-analysis, opinions, and shorter stories receive the abbreviated fact-checking and editing common to news journalism. Our events cannot, practically, be fact-checked, although we invite only authoritative, responsible speakers. If we are told a speaker has been inaccurate, we correct the record.

Employees may not accept gifts of any kind, including samples from companies or products handed out at conferences and trade shows.

We solicit and receive electronic products to review; all such products are returned soon after the review is completed. Books, records, music, and software are treated like press releases. They can be kept by the person who reviews them or given away; they cannot be sold for personal profit. Any product reviews reflect our honest opinion of the product and are not affected by the willingness of the company to supply us with samples.

Software Tested’s editors, writers, or freelancers cannot directly own individual stocks or equities in companies we cover, nor may they sell such shares short. They may own shares in mutual funds that invest in the companies about which we write. If the spouse or partner of an editor, writer, or freelancer owned significant stock or equity in a company we cover, we would disclose the investment in a transparent way. These rules do not apply to non-editorial employees.

Last updated: April 26, 2013