Right, I understand that. But I don't think mentioning a specific model to someone based on the opinions of others should be as big of a deal as some people are trying to make it out to be. I would never tell someone "Buy the V-Moda M100. It is exactly what you need." But I see no harm in telling someone they should look into it, if it is someone new to Head-Fi that had their Beats stolen and want to replace them with something else, chances are they only know Beats, Sony, and Skullcandy headphones exist in the world.
It is a big deal when people are spending a lot of money. The main thing is - why would you even tell someone to look into something you haven't tried yourself? Ultimately it doesn't matter what you think you know, what you've read, what you've been told, if you haven't heard the headphones yourself. We can argue about specific examples all day and night, but as a general rule, it seems to me to be fair to ask new members not to give their opinion on something they've never heard before - simply because it's just not their opinion to begin with.
Why would you enter a thread and reply recommending something you have no experience with in the first place? What is so hard about simply not replying, and letting someone with actual experience reply instead?
That's also true.
In most fields of research, 95% of what is said and disseminated is not via first hand experience. When I tell you about the orbits of the planets, I didn't observe it myself. I read it in a book. When I tell you about the after-effects of the Indonesian tsunami, I didn't visit the devastation for myself. I read news articles and saw video.
It gets really knotty when, for example, one reads 50 reviews of a product that all say X (for example, headphone A is bassy) but then someone listened to them and says Y (that A has no bass). I, being someone who saw the pile of reviews, am likely to go "but all these people said X" and the response as per the OP here would be for me to shut up because I'm speaking on something I have no experience with. However, my statement isn't uninformed, the opposite is true. I've pooled together the experience of others and am (from my perspective) weighing what I heard first-hand from THESE people against what I'm hearing first-hand from THIS person. This is a perfectly valid way of discussing.
Even if someone has never heard the VModa M100 I think they have a dang good idea who to recommend them to. Even if you've never heard a Grado you know not to recommend them to bassheads. It is ENTIRELY valid to pass on information gleaned through sources other than personal experience. Heck, who's to say you (or I) know what we're talking about anyway? I might listen to something and come up with a totally asinine opinion of them based on flaws in my listening or who knows what else.
Nobody is going to pay for planets' orbits or Indonesian tsunamis. We are talking about discussing products and giving recommendations for people to spend their hard earned cash, not to deliberate philosophical topics...
Your second paragraph is different entirely. In a discussion, you're welcome to say "many of the reviews I've read said X headphone had Y characteristic". But this is a discussion, not a recommendation. It's different than going into a thread where some user asks whether or not he should buy X or Y headphone, and you chiming in to say "well according to all the reviews I've read, Y headphone is better". As you said so yourself previously, reviews are subjective, and it doesn't matter what you've read, because your opinion could be very different had you any kind of experience with said gear. This is exactly why you shouldn't recommend things you haven't heard, or discuss about a product stating things as "matter of fact" when you have no experience with said product.
Of course nobody's opinion is going to be perfect, but what comes closest to it is ACTUAL EXPERIENCE. This is the whole point here. Nobody cares or can judge how many reviews you've read or how much actual knowledge you have about any piece of gear, which is exactly why you shouldn't post about them without prior experience, because at the very least, whoever reads your posts will know that you have your own experience to base your opinion on.
Edited by elmoe - 6/14/14 at 9:59am