Review Nazis!

I was layin’ in the tub last night — yes, I had a bath and it was nice and relaxing and it smelled and felt great, even without the big clawfoot tub I was craving — and, as often happens when surrounded by bubbles, I let my mind wander.

It wandered, of course, in the direction of work. Sort of.  It wandered to reviews and what makes a good one, actually.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about lowered standards or too high standards or…  what have you.  Which always sort of makes me frown.

See, I think a review being good or bad is mostly a personal thing.  Barring horrible grammar and spelling, which makes any written accounting of anything mostly horrible, a review is always going to be useful to some and not so useful to others.

I’ve been writing product reviews for, what?  Almost three years now?  Two and a half years?  I try to follow the “code”.  You know –  include all the pertinent info, say personal stuff, don’t forget the warnings, describe every aspect of the toy, etc.  But, honestly?  As “useful” as my reviews might technically be, having all that info in them, that doesn’t mean they are useful to everyone.  Or, more to the point, that a review without all that info is NOT useful.

Because, you know what?  It can be.

I can read a review that has next to no material info other than the basics, no cleaning info, no care info, no size info, no safety into and still find it useful to me. Very useful.  I don’t necessarily need someone to list every ingredient in a tub of bath salts or every minute detail about a corset in order to appreciate and find their review of it useful.

As a matter of fact, some of the most “useful” reviews out there read like a droning television ad.  They’re dry.  They’re fucking boring, man.  You have no idea how many times I’ve voted a review “extremely useful” on Eden Fantasys because it did contain all the info but, in reality, wanted to check the “meh, boring” button.  (Er, okay, we don’t have one. Maybe we should)  And you know what else?

A boring review isn’t all that useful to me.  It is NO MORE useful than looking at product specs. And yet, this is the standard we hold other, newer reviewers to.

We expect them to conform and to be boring.  To cover every stinking detail about a product in triplicate and god forbid they miss the diameter of a dick (cuz we couldn’t possibly find that in the product specs) or don’t mention the way a body lotion tasted.  Really?  YOU EAT BODY LOTION?

Me either.  I don’t much give a shit how lotion tastes.  Is it a nice touch to add that a lotion meant for erotic massage may not taste the best when you kiss the skin? Sure.  Is it over kill to say a review isn’t useful because someone didn’t say how a foot cream tastes?  Fuck yes.

Is it slightly obsessive to gauge the usefulness of a review with some sort of anal retentive checklist?  To take off points for any slightest missed information?

I think so.

It’s a review, not a fucking thesis.

I was in the tub last night and I started laughing uproariously thinking about a restaurant or movie review held to the same standards as a sex toy review.

Can you imagine it?  Someone writing in to a food critic to let them know that their review was shite because, god damn it, they forgot to mention the length and circumference of the leaf lettuce or the material the napkins were made of?

Or how about phoning Siskel and Ebert (so what if one of them is dead? NO EXCUSES) to complain that their last movie review lacked details about how the popcorn tasted or how large the font in the credits was?

Right. No. You cannot imagine that. Because it’s ridonkulous.

So is docking points from a sex toy review because the person didn’t try a non anal toy anally.  Or because the font on their blog sucks.  Or because they didn’t reiterate information that is in the product specs.

Or, maybe those repetitious facts are what make a review useful to you. That’s cool. But not everyone holds the same standards.  Which means they?  May find your review painfully dry, boring and repetitious.  They have the same right to think less of your reviewing style as you do of theirs.

Every fact you can think of to include does NOT make your review useful to everyone. Some folks may find the info they are looking for so buried in technical bullshit that it’s actually not at all useful to them.

What’s my point?

It’s really  not to hate on anyone but to, perhaps, stop the insanity.

If you’re reading a review on a jelly dong you would never, in your life, consider purchasing and don’t like how it was written – not that it’s god awful, missing everything and has poor grammar, but just that it’s missing a few of the details you think should be in a review, maybe you should stop a minute and really think about true usefulness as opposed to checklists.  Maybe you shouldn’t have read it in the first place – since no review on a stinking jelly dong is ever going to really be useful to a person who wouldn’t buy one anyhow.

I dunno.  I have standards.  I expect a review to have basic info but to, primarily, give me the info I cannot find in site specs.  To tell me how something feels, to be a review of their use, not some dry ass information that is copied from the specs page.  But my standards?  Are not the same as those of the review nazis, for sure.  I find technical overload to the the single thing that kills my desire to try a toy.

A soliloquy of cleaning info and anal warnings is just so much hot air when what I want to know is how good a SEX TOY works.

/end rant

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15 Responses so far.

  1. Laurel says:

    Dude, you totally stole this rant from my side of the brain we share!

    Stole it!

    Quite obviously I agree with you. Reviews for every other product and service on the planet seem to be about one’s opinion of said product or service. Why do dildo reviews have to have a higher purpose and educated the world?

    If YOU wanna educated the world… have at it. But don’t call my reviews shit if I don’t.

  2. Ashly Star says:

    I love this post. I want to stand up and give you a round of applause, even if I’m the only one clapping.

    I get so annoyed by watching other reviewers snarkily (I know it’s not a real word but whatever, lol) try to tear down other people’s reviews just because it doesn’t fit into their standard of what is proper, useful and right. And yeah, pretty much everything you said, I agree with. I want to hug you right now, lol.

    Awesome post.
    .-= Ashly Star´s last blog ..Through Their Eyes: The Drinker =-.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by CarrieAnn , AlwaysLaurel and Big Bob, Ashly Star. Ashly Star said: Go read this post, now. RT @CarrieAnn_: Review Nazis! | A View from the Floor – […]

  4. You are so right. So very right. There have been many reviews that I have read over that contain all of the specs, sizes, how to clean, etc. and I find myself wondering, “But how does it FEEL? Do you LIKE it?” I mean let’s get personal here! If he or she sticks something up their butt, I’m probably going to as well, and I kind of want to know some opinions about it instead of just facts. I’m not talking a play-by-play, either!

    For the record, I love your reviews. When I am considering purchasing something or curious about something I always search through the other reviews to see if you have already written one. I don’t feel like I’m reading the back of a package with warnings and ingredients when I read your reviews. So thank you for that.

  5. adriana says:

    I agree that not every minute detail needs to be described and I know I’ve been guilty of that at times. Other times, I skip the minute stuff. I usually say no more than 5 words about cleaning because it’s just pretty lame.

    However, I’m just a picky person and that spans all aspects of my life – whether I’m writing or reading a review.
    .-= adriana´s last blog ..Aurora Vibratror in Wine =-.

  6. I’ve always always agreed with this and you know that.

    The whole practice of listing of specs that are ALREADY RIGHT THERE is fuckin stupid. EF is one of the few retailers that go above and beyond when it comes to giving a description of the toy. So when I want to read about opinions….reviews…i want Opinions! I need to know if that woman likes X or Y or Z toy but this one didn’t work for her and why not? How else am I going to choose to buy that toy for myself? I started doing reviews because of this. Because I was trying to find decent, detailed experience/opinion based reviews on a few certain toys because I just couldn’t tell otherwise if it was even going to work for me. And for those poor saps who have to BUY all their toys? It gets expensive, man. I remember.

    While I know that what one woman finds to be a pleasurable vibration might not get off the woman next to her….if I can take the collective opinions and read their other opinions to figure out if they’re like me….then I can make an informed decision.

    EF is the only company that lets other reviewers rate reviews, and I would personally like to see this aspect done away with. I don’t see ANY good reason for it, and I don’t see why it’s encouraged to crank out bland boring fact-spewing diatribes that are not, in fact, “reviews”.
    .-= DangerousLilly´s last blog ..Hesitation =-.

  7. You definitely have a point and it’s not fair on the reviewer to have to stress to make sure they do get every single point in there. I think DangerousLilly has a point about getting rid of the rating system – which I know is how a reviewer is ranked and all but maybe they could figure out another way to have the reviewers ranked to be able to move up in the toy ranks. If at all, the mentor program should hopefully help out some when it comes to writing reviews. Who knows.

    I feel like I have to stress on the details now just to make sure it covers everything for everyone. In the beginning, if I left out the certain aspects and someone commented telling me so my first thought was “The website has a description of the toy, why do I need to include every single bit of it in my review? The toy worked for me or it didn’t work – shouldn’t that be the important thing?”
    .-= Sea of Neptune´s last blog ..Non-piercing Belly Button Jewerly (2 sets of Crystal Jewelry) =-.

  8. viemoira says:

    Iyt is all about perceptIon, isn’t it?

  9. Von Kelso says:

    I really, _really_ needed to see someone go off tonight after I had the privilege of spending 4 hours walking someone through their convoluted pity trap. Thank you for a delightfully articulate – and salient – rant! Er, I meant critique. Yeah. };-)


  10. Nadine says:

    I read a lot of reviews as by BF is an online reviewer for a popular website, reviewing toys with my assistance. I don’t trust the company specs on toys anymore than I trust cast lists on movies so I expect them in a review. Knowing how big a dildo is lets me gauge how well it will work for “me” since few sex bloggers are willing to describe themselves in detail, leaving out if they are size queens or not.

    I like to know what kind of batteries a toy uses since I’ve been stuck with so many needing short-lived, hard to find types that aren’t carried locally. If there is anything about how long they last, I even bookmark their site since it is so rare. I really like an executive summary at the end of a review so I can just see the highlights if I’m not in the mood for a longer review.

    What I hate are the reviewers that seem paid by the adjective, adding flowery descriptions with details that might as well go write copy for the companies instead of reviews. I also hate reviewers that review toys or movies they clearly had no intention of liking, such as those who hate jelly or refuse to put something in perspective with toys of a similar class because they play favorites with companies or materials. I also hate it when someone tries to be too clever, either writing solely to an established crowd or just acting like they have a chip on their shoulder.

    Balance out the objective and subjective, leave the laundry lists at home, and pretend like the rest of the world doesn’t get free toys so we want a reasoned discussion on value.

  11. Jenn says:

    I know I’m a little late on this, but A-FUCKING-MEN.
    .-= Jenn´s last blog ..Down boy! =-.

  12. Don Houston says:

    Howdy! Nadine asked me to look at her comment, the two of us pretty well known for our work at Xcritic, DVDTalk, and elsewhere. Eden’s policy of having other reviewers rate each other is a bit of a novelty in my thinking because everyone is writing to a different audience, at least from what I’ve seen.
    Like Nadine, I have learned to mistrust product spec’s listed on most websites so any review failing to provide them loses points with me. I want anything claimed by the advertising checked, such as waterproofing, and some subjective analysis provided. A review focusing more on the writer than the device loses me too, many established toy reviewers taking this approach.
    .-= Don Houston´s last blog ..Not Mash XXX, Sophia Lynn Returns and Chanel Preston Wow’s | Porn News Wire =-.

  13. […] a dark force know as the Momma Nazi. You see while separate now it is only matter before the Review Nazi and the Mommy Blogger merge and into one hybrid horror. This unstoppable force will write ten page […]

  14. Sexperts says:

    You are so right. I hate how people get all negative about reviews. You may not find it useful, but others will.

    On a sidenote, I saw above you have a banner for Eden’s Fantasy. I do some reviews for them, and found their exhaustive review format to be a bit TOO specific for my tastes. It makes the reviews far too long and complex. What are your thoughts?

  15. Boxxy says:

    NYUUUUUU You are WRONG! I DISAGREE! FONT MATTERS!!! FONNNNNTT MATTTTERRRRSSSSSSSS everyone know that and anyone who doesn’t likes to can their farts, make them from gas to liquid, and drink them with their tea.

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