Ben Yagoda, writing about why reviewers are often so off base:

Here’s the heart of the problem: The set of critics’ and audiences’ interests do not perfectly overlap but rather form a Venn diagram. In the audience circle, the pressing question is, “Should I spend some number of the dollars I have to my name and the hours I have left on Earth on this thing?” Critics get in for free and by definition have to read or watch or listen to whatever’s next up. So their circle is filled with relativistic questions about craft and originality and wallet quality and the often unhelpfully general “Is it good?” (Some of them even have an idea of what they mean by “good”; the rest are winging it.)

I loved this article because in my head it’s the crux of the problem with most review sites. I try very hard to answer the questions I would want to know about something before I bought it, which is why eschew bullshit like scoring. The above also perfectly encapsulates why sites like The Verge, or Carryology fail so miserably at writing helpful reviews. I’ve sent more backpacks back to companies than I care to think about because they are bad, and rather than contort myself to talk about the x thing that bag gets right, I move on. I am, however, by no means perfect.

Posted by Ben Brooks