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The Rampant Inaccuracy Of Fountain Pen Reviews


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#21 RocketRyan

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 21:20

To be fair I would mark anything down that needed work done on it for more than personal preference.

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#22 ShortRound131

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 21:26

I don't not trust anyone's review of anything on the internet wholeheartedly.

 

Too many variables (and some I don't know about) at play. 



#23 praxim

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 21:34

My expectations from reviews are low. The reviewer usually offers something distorted by their over all impression of the pen or the brand, the halo effect. Unless I have read their work extensively to say otherwise, I can presume they are unsystematic. Too many reviews try to treat the pen in isolation rather than using specific comparisons as they go.

As other people have already said, it is necessary to read the review for information you can link to something known, or to understand why a reviewer gave a particular view, or how a fact fits with your own preferences rather than the reviewer's.

All of that said, of course I read reviews of pens and other products with interest both here and on the general internet. We know or learn how to pick up common or consistent threads of information, and when someone is off their trolley because they personally had a problem which is otherwise uncommon. And as someone else here already said, reading reviews can be fun. So, I am not going to beat up the reviewers, even on the occasion I think little of their reviews. Few claim to be professional reviewers rather than interested people sharing opinions, which is the best I can claim as well.
Anyone owning three or more working pens is in no position to disparage choices by others.

#24 Bluey

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 21:56

Just read as many reviews as possible. Eventually a clearer and more realistic picture of the pen emerges.


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#25 J_MM

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 22:08

What you want is long-term reviews -- we all do, Most reviews, as already stated, are initial impressions. Most reviewers state that also so this is not an inaccuracy at all.

 

Personally, I'm very grateful to the people that do reviews on FPN and elsewhere. Helps me spend my money and time wisely.



#26 pajaro

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 23:10

As far as nib adjustments on new pens are concerned, people have varying degrees of sensitivity to nib alignment.  I am fairly insensitive to it, and alignment must be far off before I would even consider it.  Others are more sensitive to it.


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#27 Ron Z

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 23:37

An experienced user can get a feel for the quality of a pen early on.  But how well you  like a pen - yeh, that new pen glow gets in the way.  Perhaps the suggestion be made that you own and use a pen for at least a month before you write a review, two weeks minimum.  For me the acid tests are journal entries and note taking at church.  If I really like a pen doing both, then the pen is likely to stay.  Get bothered and change pens, not so likely.  If a pen stays inked and in rotation for a month, it's a keeper...  at least until I get distracted by another pen.

 

 I've often thought that reviews should be done by pen repair people.   Because we see so many pens, and failures, we generally have a good idea what is going to hold up, and what is going to break, what is repairable and what isn't.  You want to know how good a car is?  Talk to the guys in the dealership PARTS department first, service department second, and salesmen never.  The parts guys can spot a trend very quickly.  The same is true I think for pen repair people.


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#28 EricTheRed

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 23:44

My two cents here: reading pen reviews is free and in life you generally get what you pay for :lol:. That being said, I personally find the reviews very entertaining and they do give me some real insight into the owner's subjective opinion of the writing instrument being reviewed.  Calling them "dishonest" is unnecessarily insulting, over the top, and frankly groundless. Although, I must give the thread initiator due credit for starting an interesting topic.  Finally, thanks to all the reviewers who selflessly provide the reviews for the Fountain Pen community, especially those with great photos!  Please keep them coming...



#29 s_t_e_v_e

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 00:18

Review are highly subjective and depend on the reviewers perspective, current collection focus, writing preferences etc. I think I have never relied on one review to make a decision. And I have been in situations where I feel that the pen that everyone raves about is just not working for me because my expectations are different and the scale on which I rate smoothness, flow etc. is slightly different.

 

What I get out of reviews is a general idea about what the pen looks and feels in the hand, the quality of the brand (most brands use the same nibs on different pen models, so reviews of different models gives an idea of how the brand performs).

 

It is true that reviewers can be overly excited about a pen that they have just acquired and their opinion might change completely after a few weeks of use. Some reviewers have gained popularity over the years but they're humans like everyone and by no means are an authoritative voice about the quality of a fountain pen. To me what they feel about the pen really doesn't matter, at times, something they dislike about the pen is an essential feature to me. Also generalizing in the fountain pen world isn't a good idea because each pen is different and each person's expectation is different. We can only hope that what we hear is what we get.

 

I am totally with the OP that the prime purpose of a pen is to write and if it does not do that well then not matter how much a random youtuber raves about it, I don't care. But the point is that they are not forcing anyone to buy something, they are just expressing their opinion while having their preferences and expectations from a pen. It goes both ways for me - sometimes they love it, I hate it and they hate it, I love it! For the most part I've been lucky with my decisions after watching reviews.

 

The question about a reviewer's honesty isn't fair because they are expressing their opinions about a product. Sometimes they have paid for it themselves, sometimes they have been provided a product for review. There is a possibility for conflict of interest but I think that is up to the viewer to decide. I personally don't pay much attention to that.



#30 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 00:28

Then there is the hurry to be first.


German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

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#31 praxim

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 00:38

You want to know how good a car is?  Talk to the guys in the dealership PARTS department first, service department second, and salesmen never.  The parts guys can spot a trend very quickly.  The same is true I think for pen repair people.

I fully apprehend what you are saying, but I think the last person I would consult about a car would be the bloke from parts :D. I want to drive the b*** thing and maybe look at it, so I will consult reviewers who drive like I do. Uh-oh, personal preferences again :rolleyes: :)

Post Script: having driven a 1970s Alfa Romeo for seven years, I feel fully qualified to make these impractical comments. :thumbup:
Anyone owning three or more working pens is in no position to disparage choices by others.

#32 Uncial

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 00:43

I think I understand what the OP is saying. If I buy a pen and the nib has baby bottom or the tines are misaligned, I send it back. It's a different story though if I buy a used or vintage pen. I think I can also tell fairly quickly if there are aspects of a pen that will irritate me in the long term. Overall though I think in terms of new pens, there are mercifully few that are truly terrible or just plain bad. Most of the pens I haven't liked that I've bought new have been down to personal preference more than anything else. Things about reviews that do irritate me are often what isn't there, like whether a pen posts, or what flow is like or balance or if it has a step or sharp threads. I find it quite annoying too that sometimes one persons understanding of 'butter smooth' is another persons version of sandpaper.

#33 TheRealMikeDr

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 01:08

I watch a lot of reviews - mostly for entertainment - because I'm a bit round the bend with this pen thing.

 

Video reviews are great as you get to see lots of real-world shots of the pen - not a marketing shot taken in perfect lighting then photoshopped to perfection.

 

That said - I don't use a reviewers opinion of a pen for my purchase decision. I do appreciate, however, when they show the pen next to many common pens - this is a great way to get a feel for the real size of the pen etc.

 

All that said - reviews taken in toto can yield valuable information. For example if 5 people review a Visconti Van Gogh and all 5 go on about how wet the nib is - the odds are good you're going to get a wet writer. Very helpful (as a side note - anybody want to buy a Visconti Van Gogh that writes too wet :) ) if you listen that is.



#34 danrodcard

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 01:15

Imagine buying a pen from a single look at a store. Or just the photo on eBay or Andersonpens.

I am deep in the rabbit hole because FPN, matt and sbrebrown.

#35 Pickwick

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 01:15

Then there is the hurry to be first.

 

There lies the problem, therefore an objective review of a fountain pen can never be undertaken straight from the packaging.


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#36 woleizihan

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 01:15

I almost agree with the OP for the existence of overly positive reviews/comments after reviews. IMO it's understandable because if I don't like a pen, I would not even bother to write a review. I'll return it or simply ignore it. I would not call the reviewers dishonest because there is no way I could possibly tell if they are honest and I simply don't care whether they are being honest. I tend to be more cautious about reviewers who receive pens from sponsors or are selling the pen themselves. In general, I will simply skip the parts like "this is a gorgeous, gorgeous pen", "the finish and material are perfect", "look at xxx under the light", "xxx is amazing!" and go directly to pictures/writing samples. I would also try not to let the reviewers' opinions affect me and I also find what the reviewers don't like about the pens to be much more helpful. There are many "popular" reviewers giving reviews too emotional and exaggerating for me but not informative enough. 



#37 Namo

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 01:35

I personally never expected a review to be "objective . I am with Watch_art on this one: the near fact that someone is writing about a pen and telling a story about how it behaves and about what it is made of and how gives me a lot of very useful informations. That's up to me to interpret it and try to see if that story tells me that this pen could be good for me or not. Anyway most of the reviews are talking about a singular example of a pen generally made in multiple exemplars... all this is very useful as I am generally not able to test a pen myself.

Numbers or grades are just cute, but they are not the info that one should take into account here

All this being saod, of course they are tons of biases in our reviews. Some of us are better on being objectives, but this kind of objectivity can be geoind on tons of experiences only. That's why I am so grateful to the lot of amazing and lucky people who, owning a lot of amazing pens, take some of their time to tell us about them!

Edited by Namo, 02 December 2016 - 01:36.

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#38 flipper_gv

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 01:51

People will review their pens when they receive it because it's at that moment that they are the most excited about it, and that's fine. It's not like people have the obligation to be purely objective in those reviews. It's a hobby after all, not peer reviewed science. 

Same goes for highly viewed reviewers like SBREBrown, Pen Habit, Figboot, etc... They provide entertainment (for free!) and info about pens. But, you have to consider their biases to make up your mind about the pen. It wouldn't be feasible to expect them to take 6 months to review a pen.

 

Also about nib needing adjustments. By default, all nibs could need adjustments. What I like in terms of feedback or flow is different to the guy next to me. I've adjusted perfectly working nibs because I wanted a  more generous flow than the medium flow that came with the pen. I've sligthly stubbed my m1000 nib because it was a bit too fat and round for me. The only case of a not working pen was a Omas Paragon Arco Brown that wouldn't write at all. I returned the pen, even though the price was ridiculously low.

 

I can't expect pens to be shipped to my exact specifications unless I'm very clear in a custom order.

 

 

Just read as many reviews as possible. Eventually a clearer and more realistic picture of the pen emerges.

 

The best answer in this thread.


Edited by flipper_gv, 02 December 2016 - 01:53.


#39 TSherbs

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 16:55

I just unboxed this thread. It needs some adjustment. I give it a 7/10. I will journal about it in church and let you know my thoughts in two weeks. 😜

#40 LizEF

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 19:40

I just unboxed this thread. It needs some adjustment. I give it a 7/10. I will journal about it in church and let you know my thoughts in two weeks.

 

:lticaptd:








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