Unhelpful Reviews

Like many modern consumers faced with a variety of possibly arbitrary choices, I find it useful to consult with others who have purchased similar items.  The Internet brings with it a plethora of unbiased and helpful product reviews, collected and categorized by retailers, bloggers, and, well, fake sites set up to sell stuff.  The Internet also brings with it reviews for which I fail to understand the motivation entirely; reviews that are so intensely unhelpful, they actually damage other reviews by being averaged into the ratings.

My journey started when it was time to replace our snow blower.  I don’t know what it is about snow blower reviews that attracts retards, but these are a sample of reviews that people felt the need to take their time and write:

1.0 out of 5 stars WORX SNOWBLOWER, March 4, 2011


Well, you haven’t helped me select a snowblower, but you have announced to the world that you’re kind of a jerk. Was your original plan to use it for the snow, then return it?

There were equally helpful positive reviews to balance this out:

5.0 out of 5 stars snow blower, December 17, 2010
I can tell you that it not long after I ordered it, it arrived. However, I guess purchasing it was a bit of insurance. No snow as of yet, but I am ready when it does.

You ordered it, and it arrived? I guess if you’re impressed by this, it may call for a review, but this is slightly less helpful to people than reviewing the box it came in based on color choice.

Later, I noticed it’s possible to review a product that’s still in the box, based on your unshakable belief in the brand:

5.0 out of 5 stars still in the box, haven’t even checked it out yet, November 1, 2010
to this day i still have not taken my rangefinder out of it’s box, but real soon, i’m sure i will enjoy what it can do for my hunting, it’s Nikon, i have several more Nikon products and that is why i ordered this rangefinder, if i didn’t beleive in the Nikon name then rest knowing i would have already had it out and checking it, i have not to this day ever had trouble or returned any Nikon product

I guess that’s about as good as a review asking you to rate your religion, but you posted this as the review for a product. Then again, a product that can make you feel this good without even opening the box probably deserves five stars.

Amazingly, this is actually a step up from this review:

3.0 out of 5 stars
Sounds like just what I need., February 18, 2011
I haven’t bought this yet but it sounds perfect for my needs because splitting the stereo into right and left channels is what I want.

Putting aside the fact that you’re reviewing it sight unseen, if it’s perfect for your needs, wouldn’t that be 5 out of 5 stars? Did some voice in your head say, well, I shouldn’t give it a bad review just because I don’t have one, and it shouldn’t get a good review because I don’t have one yet, I’d better just split the difference?

And yet, that still seems better than a review that does nothing but convey your level of extreme incompetence:

2.0 out of 5 stars Flimsy Firepit, January 21, 2011
I put this together and it fell apart cmpletely WITH A FIRE IN IT. Later I picked up the pieces and read the manual I noticed that I was supposed to attach nuts to the screws on the inside where you can’t even see them. This should have been in VERY BIG LETTERS in the instructions but all there was was a little diagram and a small note.