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#1
(This post was last modified: 04-06-2016, 07:22 PM by grim.)
I’ve been reading shaving soap/cream reviews for quite some time trying to crowd source, opinions on the best in technical terms/scent profiles. If enough people rave about a product, and the herd mentality is not in play (i.e., the sources are independent across multiple websites), then there is something going on indicating a product might be good.

However, the one thing I noticed over and over again, is that frankly NOBODY say anything negative, or much negative, about anything.  It’s rare. Almost every product is highly rated, highly regarded, etc. etc. etc.  That is not real life. If everything you encounter is perfect or near perfect, then chances are you haven’t tried enough products or your bar is set low. I've tried some products that were pretty bad. I've bought small appliances that were bad. I've bought lots of consumer products that fell apart or were junk. If only I had known. Rolleyes LOTS for stuff I have bought in my life have been junk (sad to say). Soaps/Creams are not different. I've had some actually start to dry on one side of my face while working the other or they literally stunk (to me). Or stuff where there was about little residual glide (and I'm too lazy to relather constantly). I know there were complaints about difficulty in lathering some products but that's a hard water issue (I think).

So what is going on here? Is this a case of “If you have nothing good to say then say nothing”?  I am not talking about reviews on websites actually selling products. I expect nothing from those. I mean blogs, forums, youtube, wherever …

The latest Sharpologist podcast discusses this very issue http://sharpologist.com/wp-content/uploa...462015.mp3 where they talk about if you say something negative, then that’s a “bad thing”.  Start at 7:20.  If this happened in other industries, consumers would never know what products to avoid. Consumer Reports would not exist. You would not know which cars years to avoid because of problems. Safety reports would not be sent to governments, etc.

So what’s the deal? I have stumbled across exactly one blog where the person ranking things actually had low rankings of products – One. I find that very strange and bad for the consumer and the seller. If the consumer only sees “excellent” reviews, then he doesn’t know what to avoid. If the producer of a product only sees “excellent” reviews, the he/she doesn’t know what needs to improve. That’s bad for everyone. Sure, there are threads ranking top 3, top 5, top 50, etc. but that doesn't tell you much of anything if the difference between 1 and 50 is minimal.

What’s going on here? Huh

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#2
(This post was last modified: 04-06-2016, 07:39 PM by NeoXerxes.)
Excellent points mate. I can only speak for myself on this, but I have a few reasons why I focus my reviews on the best products that would rate highly:

1. Selection bias. It is often more interesting to write on products that inspire a review.
2. Demand. Generally speaking, people want to hear about what works more than what doesn't, since these reviews aid in purchasing decisions.
3. Fear of artificial mobs. Because of my lukewarm comments on one soap in particular, I've been attacked, defamed, banned, cursed at, and so forth. A lot of reviewers won't be able to endure that kind of response.

My experience isn't limited to the excellent products that I choose to review most often. I've tried plenty of mediocre and even downright inferior products, but don't do that many negative reviews for the above reasons. If there were more demand - people directly asking for negative reviews or reviews of certain inferior products - I'd certainly be doing more.

I plan on including a "what products to avoid" section of my luxury soaps/creams roundup. And when I do, I expect folks such as yourself to defend me from the hordes of fake accounts that will inevitably be targeting me for a lynching.

SCShaver, Elver Gun, D_SM and 8 others like this post
#3
You know, this is a good topic to bring up grim . I always embrace criticism of products. I suppose I'm pretty new here so I didn't want to start just bashing things I haven't preferred but if someone wanted to start a thread about "worst soaps you've tried" or "Worst aftershaves" I would happily contribute. I've made my thoughts clear here on a few things I wasn't a fan of, from a performance standpoing (PAA Soaps, CRSW Aftershave), but I suppose I've never done a thread where my intentions were critical.

Its funny, because I can't remember a lot of things that I have tried recently that I wasn't a fan of. Maybe Myrsol AS for not moisturizing and in my opinion, underperforming for a 31$ aftershave? I'm trying to think. Usually I do not like a product because of a scent that I do not care for, or because of any irritation I experience from it, which is very subjective you know?

Matsilainen, SharpSpine and NeoXerxes like this post
#4
(04-06-2016, 07:38 PM)NeoXerxes Wrote: Excellent points mate. I can only speak for myself on this, but I have a few reasons why I focus my reviews on the best products that would rate highly:

1. Selection bias. It is often more interesting to write on products that inspire a review.
2. Demand. Generally speaking, people want to hear about what works more than what doesn't, since these reviews aid in purchasing decisions.
3. Fear of artificial mobs. Because of my lukewarm comments on one soap in particular, I've been attacked, defamed, banned, cursed at, and so forth. A lot of reviewers won't be able to endure that kind of response.

My experience isn't limited to the excellent products that I choose to review most often. I've tried plenty of mediocre and even downright inferior products, but don't do that many negative reviews for the above reasons. If there were more demand - people directly asking for negative reviews or reviews of certain inferior products - I'd certainly be doing more.

I plan on including a "what products to avoid" section of my luxury soaps/creams roundup. And when I do, I expect folks such as yourself to defend me from the hordes of fake accounts that will inevitably be targeting me for a lynching.

I witnessed NeoXerxes lukewarm reaction to a soap on another forum and he was trolled incessantly for it. I can see where he is coming from.

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#5
(This post was last modified: 04-06-2016, 07:43 PM by NeoXerxes.)
You also have some great points SCShaver. I suspect that these threads aren't popular because of the #3 tendency that I mention.

Edit: SCShaver mate, you missed how I was followed here and defamed by a particular admin lol. But yes, I think that many reviewers, when faced with that kind of aggressive behavior, are likely to shut down and simply toss negative reviews in the bin.

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#6
(04-06-2016, 07:40 PM)NeoXerxes Wrote: You also have some great points SCShaver. I suspect that these threads aren't popular because of the #3 tendency that I mention.

Edit: SCShaver mate, you missed how I was followed here and defamed by a particular admin lol. But yes, I think that many reviewers, when faced with that kind of aggressive behavior, are likely to shut down and simply toss negative reviews in the bin.

Wow really?  I'm not surprised honestly.  I'm blown away by how seriously people take some of this crap bud.  There are fanboys and then there are FANBOYZZZZZZZZ and they wreak havoc I tell ya.  

grim if you have a thread you want to start with some criticisms on soaps/AS/products go nuts, I'll support it.  You have a point that people do need to know about customer service issues, performance issues, heck even if something isn't worth the $$$.  Let her rip.

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#7
And grim, your point on all the great stuff being rated as essentially perfect is a fair criticism. I tried to account for this (which is not yet done) by doing a roundup of my own reviews whereby I compare the best of the best in comparative fashion. This sort of ranking exercise is useful.

SCShaver likes this post
#8

Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
Another thing to consider is that the products we use for wet shaving are such a YMMV thing.  For example, I am not a fan of Mitchell's Wool Fat Shaving Soap.  I found it very difficult to build a lather and the scent is just "meh", at best.  This is just me, though.  MWF has been around for years and gets generally favorable reviews.  However, because I have so many great choices, I don't have to keep trying to make that particular shaving soap what it isn't for me.  I think the same would be true for most hardware and software in our little hobby.

What I would not feel I should do is comment on a product, either positively or negatively, that I have not tried.  Obviously, reviews might help there but ultimately I would still be taking a chance when deciding to purchase.  It all comes down to what will work for me.  Reviews, in and of themselves, are no guarantee.

wyze0ne, SCShaver, ask4Edge and 2 others like this post
#9
I like that you brought this up.

The issue here, seems to me, is that this is an interactive community forum and as soon as you post an opinion, people are gonna challenge you - some because they are "fan boys," some because they just like stiring the pot, some because they legitimately see flaws in your analysis, etc. One way to get to where you are wanting to go is to also have some sort of anonymous but standardized numerical ranking format for shaving software and hardware across a small number of generally accepted variables for each product category. This would allow the large group of folks who just want the general opinion trend info--not debates and argument--to find at a glance what they need to make an informed acquisition decision. Folks could still create separate posts inviting opinions and argument as is the norm here. As it is now, if all you want is the know how a product is trending here in the community, youhave to read thru pages of opinions and argument and debates and then try to roughly size up a collective opinion trend based on that, which is not always that easy and can be time consuming. Since it would be anonymous, no one would be ganged up on or essentially compelled to justify their opinions to others who disagree. Over time and with enuf ratings, perhaps something of a bell curve of community opinion on products might emerge, which itself can give rise to more debate for the folks who wish to engage in such, but in separate posts of course. I would think also that the artisans too might like to have this sort of info at their disposal (at least I would if I were one).

Anyway, just a thought--back to work.

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Unless you are the lead dog, the view never changes...
#10
True Freddy. I'm comfortable offering a negative review of a product that didn't work for me, however I always preface my reviews (in the form of an introduction post) with a YMMV statement. Reviews are indeed personal opinions based on individual preferences. That said, I'd still offer a negative review, particularly when a product is especially bad, or when there is hype surrounding a product that was unjustified by its performance.

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