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OPINION: Review Units Hurt the Audio Community - Page 4  

post #46 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post

I don't have a settled opinion about this yet but since you mention it, those numbers don't provide overwhelming support for your conclusion: at least 43% of the products are your sponsors'. Maybe that's unavoidable in the buying guide, but I've experienced the effect it has on moderation and it's evident on the front page. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

 

Claritas, as I said in my previous post: for that, or for any other reason, you can choose to completely disregard my reviews. Like anyone else who posts them, I know there are people who trust me, and those who don't.

 

Regarding the homepage, I'm doing a cursory look at it now, and this is what I see featured:

 

  • OPPO HA-1 (OPPO is a sponsor)
  • Westerville, Ohio Meet Covergae
  • Rock It Sounds R-50M (I don't believe they are a sponsor)
  • HiFiMAN HE-560 images by noluckboi (HiFiMAN is a sponsor, noluckboi posted those images and, to the best of my knowledge, he is not affiliated with HiFiMAN)
  • Grado PS1000 and PS1000e (not a sponsor)
  • HDtracks (HDtracks is a sponsor)
  • Grado "e series" loaner program: Grado is not a sponsor, TTVJ (conducting the loaner program) is
  • V-Sonic VSD3S vs Havi B3 Pro 1 (I don't believe either are sponsors)
  • Astrotec AX-35 (I don't believe they are a sponsor)
  • Schiit Happeend (Schiit is a sponsor, but that one is not specifically about their products, but Jason's online book)
  • MHDT Labs Stockholm v2 (I don't believe they are a sponsor)
  • Meridian Prime (not a sponsor)
  • Audiofly AF180 (not a sponsor)
  • Singapore Meet coverage
  • HiFiMAN HE-400i (HiFiMAN is a sponsor)
  • NuForce Primo 8 (NuForce is a sponsor)
  • Chicago Meet coverage
  • Custom Art Music One (I do not believe they are a sponsor)
  • OPPO PM-1 (OPPO is a sponsor)

 

Again, if it bothers you that the gift guide covers the gear of both sponsors and non-sponsors, then don't read it--it will always be that way.

 

And if that homepage balance bothers you, then don't start your visits to Head-Fi on the homepage, go right to the forums. Here's a link:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/f/

post #47 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post

As I already conceded that, I'll suppose that you concede the rest.

"Maybe" is a concession? Not really.
post #48 of 149
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post

They're aware of the idea, the owners of this site don't want to go that route. This isn't a democracy, it never has been, beating this very dead horse won't change that. Why? The mob is fickle, one month they love you and want to fund your hopes and dreams, the next they're focused on something else. It's the reason why pure democracy is such a bad idea. Want to drum up financial support for a film? Sure. An ongoing series? No. It's about consistency and steady revenues, and crowdsourcing hasn't proven that it's a viable model in that capacity. It's similar to the reason why cable and satellite companies haven't gone a la carte with their programming, and won't be for the foreseeable future.

So that means you balance sponsors and members. I know for a fact the admins here have swatted vendors who have stepped out of line, they've even kicked a few to the curb, much like they don't tolerate members who refuse to follow the rules and/or can't find tactful ways of getting their point across. If you don't want to respect their wishes and want to continue trying to push them in a direction they aren't interested in going, then you could find that your posts get removed, and ultimately be shown the door. I assume you don't go to other people's homes and hassle them about how they run their homes, well, a web site is much the same. It's their property and you're their guest.

 

Sure it might not work. It's never really been tried. But that makes talking about it as a general concept forbidden and worthy of censure? I never argued that Head Fi is a democracy, but that does not mean that I can't complain about that and offer suggestions for change. And of course they have a right to moderate me and of course I can always exercise the option to leave if I don't like it, and I will.

 

Of course, people will call me a crybaby or a whiner or a socialist or a drama queen or any number of personal attacks. And of course making an emotional video about it looks bad in many ways. But in the end all I wanted to do was suggest a way of improving things, and have it openly discussed, and in the end I care about this industry and I care about how this works. Go ahead and tell me I also have bad breath and stupid hair. That doesn't change anything about what I said.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

@a_recording http://head-fi.org/a/moderation-faq point #6.

 

Simply pointing to a bunch of words and repeating that you are not biased does not make you unbiased. Doctors say that they are not influenced by little pens that say viagra on them. And then they worked out that they were, and then they stopped.

 

Quote:
Dana coauthored a 2003 article in JAMA outlining the social science research that indicates that the former drug representatives and other critics are missing the point. The problem is not unethical behavior but rather an unconscious, self-serving bias that distorts the judgments of doctors and anybody else who is offered a gift, he said. Experiments show that most people are unaware that they constantly use this bias and have little control over it. So when physicians say they don’t think gifts influence them, they may well be telling the truth as they see it. 

 

We don't have a study on Head Fi, but really, we don't really need one. People respond to incentives. I am sure that all you sober serious businessmen here can at least concede that that is true.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jude View Post
 

I am Jude Mansilla, and I happen to be the founder and owner of this website.

 

The organisation reflects the leadership. I don't think you think you are doing things unethically, but you are. I would like to see Head Fi improve and I sincerely hope you review the opinions of Head Fi from people outside Head Fi with an open mind. When this name calling and drama is over, think about why people might say the things they do.

 

Anyway, I said my piece. Bye!


Edited by a_recording - 7/1/14 at 12:38am
post #49 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_recording View Post

The organisation reflects the leadership. I don't think you think you are doing things unethically, but you are. I would like to see Head Fi improve and I sincerely hope you review the opinions of Head Fi from people outside Head Fi with an open mind. When this name calling and drama is over, think about why people might say the things they do.

Anyway, I said my piece. Bye!

 

I'm sorry you feel that way, Lachlan. But if you feel me unethical, I can understand why you're leaving for good. Bye.

post #50 of 149
Adios a_rec, your self righteous crap, laced with passive aggressive insinuations and insults, won't be missed by me.
post #51 of 149
Jude, I understand that you're in a delicate position.

I don't agree with Lachlan that you shouldn't write reviews. That's unreasonable.

The rest of your post confirms what I previously wrote. The ratio is very similar.

There's a dissonance between being the president and also being a client and it seems to require considerable internal buffering and that's part of the challenge.
post #52 of 149

I appreciate Jude and Lachlan, but I'm afraid I can't support Lachlan and his point of view on this all.

Wouldn't it be better to just lock this thread? I don't see much good coming out of it besides people not agreeing ;)

post #53 of 149

I'm with Lachlan on this. Crowdfunding is absolutely a viable model here as it is in almost every market and situation and history will prove that to be the case as it continues to grow in popularity and prove itself. In fact, crowd-sourced funding is particularly suited for situations where corporate sponsorship is seen as a potential conflict of interest and that certainly applies here. Crowdfunding is the future and head-fi will eventually change its stance on this. Lachlan is simply "ahead of the times" compared to the owners and operators of this forum. He has shown himself to be someone who thinks "outside-the-box" and who has a strong understanding of the "real" concerns we have in this industry (i.e. the customer's concerns as opposed to manufacturer's concerns).

 

So what if people spam requests for funding? Even without strict moderation a properly empowered community could handle this small issue with ease. Someone with little clout in this community and little legitimate reason to request crowdsourced funding will simply be rejected by the community and/or censored by the moderators in extreme cases. In other words, business as usual. At the same time, long-time committed members of this forum would provide funding requests in the same respectful manner that has garnered them respect over years of posting here and some of the many people who respect that reviewer's opinion will gladly pitch in. It would likely be no more than a single sentence at the end of reviews or in user's signatures-- "Like my reviews? Support me here:". Its entirely plausible, "do-able", and maintainable, yet it seems there has been an attempt in this thread to discredit this idea altogether and to discredit Lachlan personally for proposing it. The proper response would have been to research this with an open mind and provide constructive feedback and/or to point out that head-fi is simply exercising its right to choose to not allow crowdfunding for reasons it would rather not attempt to explain or disclose. But claiming that crowdsourcing simply "won't work" will do nothing more than make you look daft in hind sight.

 

In the short time I have been following Lachlan I have learned more and been more entertained than by any other single member of head-fi. Losing Lachlan is a bad thing for head-fi and it saddens me that certain people can't see that or refuse to. In my humble opinion, he does not deserve the disrespect that's been shown him here in this thread. Obviously he himself has been confrontational as well but I understand his frustration and honestly I'm surprised that members here have managed to push him to the point of angry bickering.

 

No one person is to blame but some people here have the power to change things for the head-fi community as a whole and the rest of us do not. To me, this whole debacle has been a sad and needless thing that reflects very poorly on head-fi in general.

 

Look around the internet. The quality of online communities is almost always directly related to their ability to decide for themselves what and who they are. I feel this situation shows an example of head-fi attempting to improve itself by restricting its user's ability to make this community all that it could be. Such an approach will eventually prove itself to be a lose-lose situation.

 

These are my humble but strongly held opinions regarding this matter. I hope I've presented them respectfully.

 

Cheers,

Devin


Edited by devhen - 7/1/14 at 3:17am
post #54 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by jude View Post
 

 

This is your opinion, and I'm sure some agree with you; but I'm just as sure many do not.

 

And that's what I'm saying: this community is full of people who can individually decide for themselves whether or not I am to be trusted.

 

If you think I'm the only forum owner who posts reviews, you're wrong. I don't lie in reviews for anyone, but you can choose not to believe that.

 

Perhaps that you feel I reflect badly on the forum as a whole is the reason you said goodbye (and then hello again). Whether you stay or go is your choice. We're a community of people who can make up our minds on those and related matters.

 

I don't hide who I am. I am Jude Mansilla, and I happen to be the founder and owner of this website. Like most of the websites I visit (certainly ones this size or bigger), this website is mostly ad-supported. I sometimes write reviews, and I sometimes post videos. Some of those will be about products made by sponsors, and some will be of products not made by sponsors. If you want to discount all of my opinions about sponsor products, you are free to. If you want to discount all of my opinions, period, you can do that, too.

^

Not trying to make light of this situation/ discussion but just thought that this old post i came across is damn funny/ fitting is alls. : P

 

"Personal attacks will be a flying. But it's okay since Jude is an administrator. XD
Jude will be Jude. Random $123984709347 product thrown out into the world; of course gives positive overall remarks."

 

Too prophetic and sarcasm is ova' 9000000000000000 boi!!! :bigsmile_face:

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by a_recording View Post
 

 

You keep repeating this, but this does not actually address the point. I agree that pitching a crowdfunding campaign is no different from direct solicitation.

 

I am saying that my original post was not direct solicitation. Because you disagreed, I offered to edit the post so that it was even less direct solicitation and more a conversation about crowdfunding in general. That was not satisfactory. You seem to be suggesting that even saying the word crowdfunding as a general idea is not permitted on this website. Which is absurd, especially given that sponsors that people get to talk about crowdfunding for many other kinds of products here.

 

Whether or not you have individual products in your buying guide or your sponsor videos which are not from sponsors, there is clearly a conflict of interest when you endorse any products (if they are sponsors and arguably even if they are not) in an official Head Fi publication. The adminstrator of the forum, who is being paid by manufacturers, is telling the members what they think is good and what they might want to buy. I am not saying you are doing anything sinister. I am saying there are severe ethical issues with doing this, and they reflect badly on the forum as a whole.

^

i think the arguments by everyone so far all have some validity to it, and that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Judes concern over the possible exploitation of crowdfunding threads/ spammer pitches for money etc is justified and i for one would not want to see such threads here at head-fi.

 

But a spirited discussion regarding crowdfunding as a possible solution for this "Review Units" issue WITHOUT any plugs for personal crowdfunding endeavors seems to be pretty harmless in my opinion. Just look at kickstarter, isn't that one of the most popular crowdfunding mediums around these days??? Head-fiers are allowed to freely discuss and link kickstarter projects here without any censorship so i don't see why we can't even discuss the topic of crowdfunding as long as it is not advertising for someones personal campaign.

 

Case in point, just look at the "geek out" kickstarter project. As many of you may know there are many discussion threads for their products and head-fiers are free to link their projects despite they are crowdfunded and that some backers of their campaign has grown to view their practices as somewhat shady and questionable. Yet another site that is massively popular for group price drops can't even be mentioned here despite that they are very well trusted and have a very good track record of fulfilling orders.  Guess what i am trying to say is that there could be more consistency??? Wait where am i going with this again??? :blink: Oh right, "can we all get along?" And just have fun with this hobby???  :ksc75smile:


Edited by sfwalcer - 7/1/14 at 11:21am
post #55 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_recording View Post
 

 

For all the insinuations that I am some kind of socialist or communist, I am neither. I think capitalism is wonderful. I love people being rewarded based on the merit of their work and not for lobbying the right people or giving out the right bribes. The latter is crony capitalism, and I hate it. The proposal I made - the proposal that I was forbidden to talk about on this forum - is what I think is a logical market based mechanism for letting reviewers do their work while removing perverse incentives for reviewers and manufacturers to concentrate on PR.

 

I know that you are not a socialist. But I noticed liberal inclinations in your thoughts on Economics ( which is one of your favorite topics) and on almost everything. I'm not against liberalism per se but I've noticed that liberals are those who usually go against the grain. I noticed that you follow radical or controversial directions on many subjects be it art, music, cinema, gender behavior etc. I checked some Economics books which you were excited about and found them to be of sensational quality. By the way I'm not blaming you in your tastes ( though I don't find them appealing) but I want to show people what drives your ideas. 

 

You believe that you are not just a regular "philistine" reviewer but your ambition is that you think about yourself as a more global thinker. And that is where misunderstanding comes from. People don't notice that you are ideological and liberally inclined driven with progressive ideas. Your inclinations are sincere. But in my opinion your conclusions are more theoretical and idealistic rather than practical. Your ideals: reviewers should serve consumers not manufacturers. Nice idea, altruistic bit it sounds unrealistic. I also don't buy into your conclusion that positive reviews hurt manufacturers ( I don't think so, decisions of companies are based on other factors), I don't think that the factor of bias has such a power on community as you describe it. 

 

You want to present crowdfunding idea as a model and not as a personal private opportunity. The reason why you do it is because you think about yourself as a big ideas theorist not just a regular reviewer. Conflict arises from your ambition which is not based on reality. Crowdfunding can't be a consistent and groundbreaking model as you believe it can become ( maybe in some distant future when specific technology matures). It can work for some and in some cases though.


Edited by mutabor - 7/1/14 at 5:17am
post #56 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by jude View Post

This is your opinion, and I'm sure some agree with you; but I'm just as sure many do not.

And that's what I'm saying: this community is full of people who can individually decide for themselves whether or not I am to be trusted.

If you think I'm the only forum owner who posts reviews, you're wrong. I don't lie in reviews for anyone, but you can choose not to believe that.

Perhaps that you feel I reflect badly on the forum as a whole is the reason you said goodbye (and then hello again). Whether you stay or go is your choice. We're a community of people who can make up our minds on those and related matters.

I don't hide who I am. I am Jude Mansilla, and I happen to be the founder and owner of this website. Like most of the websites I visit (certainly ones this size or bigger), this website is mostly ad-supported. I sometimes write reviews, and I sometimes post videos. Some of those will be about products made by sponsors, and some will be of products not made by sponsors. If you want to discount all of my opinions about sponsor products, you are free to. If you want to discount all of my opinions, period, you can do that, too.

Jude,

A solution might be disclosure. I have enjoyed yours and other administrator's reviews but I have often wondered which manufacturers are sponsors so that a casual reader like me can make an informed decision regarding your review and any possible bias.

As an analogy, the US Security and Exchange Commission requires analysts to disclose if such analyst has a position in the stock or company he or she is discussing to avoid just this problem about perceived bias.

On Head-Fi it would be quite easy for you or any administrator to state somewhere at the beginning or end of a video or written review whether the product being discussed is manufactured by a sponsor of Head-Fi. That way the reader is supplied with the information needed to make an informed decision.

Steve aka Spook76
Edited by spook76 - 7/1/14 at 5:41am
post #57 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by mutabor View Post

 

I know that you are not a socialist. But I noticed liberal inclinations in your thoughts on Economics ( which is one of your favorite topics) and on almost everything. I'm not against liberalism per se but I've noticed that liberals are those who usually go against the grain. I noticed that you follow radical or controversial directions on many subjects be it art, music, cinema, gender behavior etc. I checked some Economics books which you were excited about and found them to be of sensational quality. By the way I'm not blaming you in your tastes ( though I don't find them appealing) but I want to show people what drives your ideas. 

 

You believe that you are not just a regular "philistine" reviewer but your ambition is that you think about yourself as a more global thinker. And that is where misunderstanding comes from. People don't notice that you are ideological and liberally inclined driven with progressive ideas. Your inclinations are sincere. But in my opinion your conclusions are more theoretical and idealistic rather than practical. Your ideals: reviewers should serve consumers not manufacturers. Nice idea, altruistic bit it sounds unrealistic. I also don't buy into your conclusion that positive reviews hurt manufacturers ( I don't think so, decisions of companies are based on other factors), I don't think that the factor of bias has such a power on community as you describe it. 

 

You want to present crowdfunding idea as a model and not as a personal private opportunity. The reason why you do it is because you think about yourself as a big ideas theorist not just a regular reviewer. Conflict arises from your ambition which is not based on reality. Crowdfunding can't be a consistent and groundbreaking model as you believe it can become ( maybe in some distant future when specific technology matures). It can work for some and in some cases though.

 

If you think there's something inherently wrong with being a socialist you're in sorry need of some objective research into the topic.

 

Neither Lachlan's ideas nor anyone else's can be discredited based on whether they align with "liberalism". If anyone's comments need a disclaimer I'm afraid its yours. None of what you have posted here is valid as an argument against Lachlan's positions. A great idea is a great idea no matter what ideological world view you feel it aligns with. Crowdfunding is indeed a great idea. It is indeed doing great things that the old model of corporate sponsorship could never do. You don't have to wait for the "distant future", its happening now. There is no technology that needs to mature in order to enable this. The technology is there and has been there for many years. All that needs to happen is for people to realize that thinking about a problem in a completely new way is not a bad thing. It is a requirement for progress.

 

I've been watching Lachlan's videos and reading his posts for months and never have I noticed any sort of "liberalism" at all. Rather, I've seen a person passionate about audio and technology and generally very inquisitive and smart, sharing his experiences in a very productive and helpful way. He should be under no obligation to answer to the question of whether his world view leans "liberal" or "conservative". That you would even bring that up baffles me. It has nothing to do with the topic at hand and it does nothing to discredit Lachlan in any way, shape, or form.


Edited by devhen - 7/1/14 at 6:04am
post #58 of 149
Quote:
 Of course, people will call me a crybaby or a whiner or a socialist or a drama queen or any number of personal attacks.

 

@a_recording Lachlan, let me ask you this: Is this fun? How about we swap? I'll take your 11k subscriber Youtube channel of fans, and you can have my job dealing with spammers and scammers, and asking people nicely to not be abusive, in return for which I regularly get abused, including all those outright lies and abusive comments posted about myself and other people in the comments under your video.
I decided a while ago that meeting fellow Head-Fiers, including manufacturers at meets, chatting, trying gear, having dinner and drinks and a good time and sharing the enthusiasm was far better than sitting around hating everything, which is self destructive. Funnily enough, manufacturers are owned and staffed by real people, not devils, and almost all of them are genuine enthusiasts like us.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jude View Post

Regarding the gift guide, in addition to what I said above, I have been accused of this since the very first one, and I responded in the past, too:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/618255/check-out-the-head-fi-summer-2012-buying-guide#post_8527169

I don't have a settled opinion about this yet but since you mention it, those numbers don't provide overwhelming support for your conclusion: at least 43% of the products are your sponsors'. Maybe that's unavoidable in the buying guide, but I've experienced the effect it has on moderation and it's evident on the front page. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

 

Something worth noting: Quite a few sponsors became such after their products became popular on Head-Fi. Pre-Huddler, it was expected that popular companies here gave back to the community in this way. Right now there are a few dozen sponsors, so it is rather inevitable that their products will end up in the buying guide. If anything, there are many sponsors who have products that wont end up in there because we have never used them, like there are hundreds, if not thousands of products from dozens of companies we wont have time to use and get impressions on either.

post #59 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by devhen View Post
 

 

 A great idea is a great idea no matter what ideological world view you feel it aligns with. Crowdfunding is indeed a great idea. It is indeed doing great things that the old model of corporate sponsorship could never do. You don't have to wait for the "distant future", its happening now. There is no technology that needs to mature in order to enable this. The technology is there and has been there for many years. 

 

In the world where I live crowdfunding is non existent. And there are no signs of it in near future.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by devhen View Post
 

I've been watching Lachlan's videos and reading his posts for months and never have I noticed any sort of "liberalism" at all. Rather, I've seen a person passionate about audio and technology.

 

I've read his opinions on Economics, art and on social subjects not related to audio and technology. There were clear signs of alternative thinking undermining current condition and views. I'm not blaming his views but I'm explaining how he came to his current confrontation with Head-Fi. 


Edited by mutabor - 7/1/14 at 6:19am
post #60 of 149
For arguments sake to assume there is current need for reviewers to circumvent receiving product directly from manufacturers due to perceived review bias happening consciously or subconsciously (devils advocate) - instead of "crowdfunding" why not loan whatever new product that Jude is loaned/gifted/whatever, to someone like Lachlan and vice versa, for a second opinion if you will.

This concept is by no means to suggest that Jude is bias in his reviews or Lachlan is some kind of white knight of self righteousness, or the other way around, but just simply a second opinion on a product by two respected reviewers.

Lachlan would be a good candidate for a second opinion reviewer IMO, as he is like Jude - a well regarded reviewer, high profile and widely trusted. Of course some will have opposite opinions to both Jude and Lachlan, so by having these two reviewers, it may satisfy a wider audience.

Maybe this could be trailed for a period of time to see how it's received?

Personally, I enjoy watching both Jude's Head-Fi TV and Lachlans channel and both come across as natural presenters and offer clear and concise opinions in reviews that I've never thought as been potentially bias in favour of whatever product is under review - I'd have thought that both Jude and Lachlans reputation, respect , virtues and honour be enough safeguard to chance giving manufacturer bias reviews, as it would inevitably backfire if bias product turned out to be of little reflection made by reviewers?

Edit: just watched Lachlans YT video - hmm...I think his heart is in the right place, but his approach is not very well executed to result in a saddening video where he appears at times to be nearly in tears - poor guy, but I also think that he may be committing his reviewer status suicide in polarising himself.

Lachlan makes comment that head-fi moderators are paid for their services? I'm sure he is wrong there as I was always under the impression that moderators were unpaîd volunteers, and for administrators, though I don't know for sure.

I admire his obvious courage of his convictions, regardless whether I agree with him or not, but just a shame for his head-fi departure to be so aggrieved frown.gif

I wish him well.
Edited by cb3723 - 7/1/14 at 7:53am
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