A critical look at reviews and human behaviour

You can read the following here, the backfround for why I publish this comes after the listing:

Background on why I started this website

Ca. 2007 I became annoyed with the poor reviews of equipment in Dutch and German cycling magazines (esp. those about bicycle lighting and mini pumps), and also on the net about various cycling equipment, which was the reason that in 2008 I started my website with my tests of hand pumps and of dynamo lighting. At first it was just as I didn't review enough, an example (to e.g. magazine writers) on how matters should be dealt with, in a scientific way as far as possible. Note that 'scientific' doesn't necessarily mean measurements, it means doing things in a critical way, examining all aspects and putting them in perspective. Measurements are not a review. Measurements are only interesting/useful in a supportive role. So proper reviews don't necessarily require expensive equipment. Even with limited resources one can do things a lot better than were done, and still done as of 2014, in magazines. If the people working on magazines want to improve this situation then for complex subjects such as bicycle lighting they should enlist the help of experts, rather than do a poor review that doesn't give good or even misleading information.

An early version of the page with saddle experiences was on another section of my website long before my pump and lighting tests, which I later expanded to include almost all leather saddles I could get my hands on as I could hardly find any reviews but especially not comparisons of leather saddles.

My tests are usually much more thorough than most other tests and this is part of the reason that my conclusions can differ from others. Some people think that because my conclusions for some products differ from those of most other reviews that I am biased. That is amusing but wrong, because the whole point of why I started my reviews is that most reviews are poorly done, therefore obviously my reviews do not always agree... More on this subject and how irrational people behave when they read my reviews you can find in these sections:

How people behave when reading my reviews or others that contradict their beliefs

Advertising is a very strong influence to most people (not to me). Most people buy into marketing, you can see it on e.g. the TV programme Braingames on NGC where a reason was given: People are essentially lazy thinkers... (again, this does not apply to me, I will give some examples in another section on the lighting page about how I think and how I can play back in my mind situations that happened, etc.). The result is that most people don't question what they think are 'facts'. What is also clear to me from some data I have is that I could sell far more by not doing any reviews at all. This is no joke, and it shows that most people just don't care about the facts or about making things better (by supporting those who try to make such improvements, which is most of all me, as almost no one else was, and still is, interested in explaining and figuring out what needs to improve in bicycle lighting that I concentrated on the last few years, but I've also given saddle manufacturers suggestions and I have other ideas...). The reason for this not-caring is again advertising but to understand it fully you need to take into account the contradiction of beliefs. Basically people want what they feel is 'cool', 'desireable' and that "what they want is the right choice" becomes a belief. They don't want to be told "This watch looks nice but it's rubbish, that much cheaper watch is better", no, if you want to sell as much as possible, what you need to do is offer anything people will buy, and only name positive features of each of those products. So don't say "That watch sucks because the paint comes off after a short while, I have a better option for you", no, you should sell such bad watches and say "that watch you want is nice, but this other watch has a cool new design!", etc. This is not how I want to do my business, nor do I want this aspect of the negative impact of reviews on sales to influence my reviews, but it does mean I must at this time make changes and choices of what to do in future. If too many people are willing only to believe in fairy tales, then there is no point continuing...

For further consideration on how people react and how they even think that someone like Peter White (who doesn't really know what he's talking about as you can see from his comment about taillamps needing no optics and his inane comment to me that tightening the skewer would remove vibrations from the SON28), is a reputable source of information, the following pages explain more on how people believe things that are not true and in various cases can't be convinced of anything else, and often give bogus arguments.

Summary of problems to look out for in other people's behaviour

For more detail on this see the section: Discussions on forums and newsgroups: What's the point?. I list a lot of possibilities that you may encounter, and another example from bicycling, from Linkedin, from long ago.

Examples of bad reviews

To conclude I will present some specific examples of bad reviews and how reviews or a collective of reviews from a particular source/site/magazine becomes worthless (or even worse than worthless):

Problems with forums, and moderators (esp. autists!), e.g. candlepowerforums (cpf)

Have a look here, you may find it amusing: Moderators on candlepowerforums

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