Does anybody read reviews?

I spend lots of time (and occasionally money) on AudiogoN. I very much enjoy the threads and have read or started lots of them. I even wrote a review last week, but for the most part I don't read them unless it's about a piece of equipment I own. Part of the problem is the credibility of the writer. There are several people whose reviews I would read but I don't know most of the writers. Obviously that doesn't make their review less valid.
The review I wrote had two responses and they were both from people who have the piece of equipment I was reviewing.
I don't know if it's laziness or time constraints but I don't read most of the reviews and I was wondering if anyone else has the same experience.
I was also wondering if AudiogoN is trying to build up a data base of reviews for people to eventually peruse when they are looking to buy something down the road.
What do you think?
I do think A'gon has indicated they are intending to do something like what you suggest in your last sentence. I too have mostly read reviews of equipment I either own or am interested in, but I think this is only natural. Also like you, I haven't read a whole of them in total; I think this is mostly due to the lack of previous knowledge of the reviewing writers, the lack of a format like that of where one can scan several reveiws of any item of interest without having to open many individual web pages, and also to there not having been a high percentage of good quality work on display in the reviews I've read here so far IMHO.
I wish they would put the reviews and the systems in their own catagory list. I tend to inadvertantly ignore them when they are mixed in with the discussion threads

Or I think it is a question on a particular product by mistake.

I try to read most of them, and I've commented on a few. I agree that the quality of most of them is not real high. I also agree with Sugarbrie that they should have their own section. I don't know what use could be made of some of these reviews, but there are several which are good, and comprehensive, that could be of benefit to the members.
Definitely agree with the previous posts, but at the same time I'm grateful that AgoN is putting so much effort into this site and our beloved hobby. I think so far, the best reviews have been contained in the forum discussions.
I hate to be critical in this forum - but I read three reviews and now pointedly ignore them. Each review read like a very poor ripoff of a trade magazine review, and each one stated that the piece of equipment in question was definitively the best that each of the "reviewers" had ever heard. I have no interest in a review that includes only glowing commentary. Every piece of equipment available has limitations and trade offs - so include them in the review, or be prepared to be taken less than seriously. Too often, these reviews are just somebody's way of advertising that they have bought a new piece of equipment.

I hate to sound bitter, but I really wish that the 'Gon would create a format for reviews and keep them separate from the discussion threads.
The topic of the influx of reviews came up a couple of weeks ago. I suggested at that time that A'gon should place the reviews in a seperate category or, indeed an entirely seperate forum for reviews which could then be broken down by category (much like the classified section).

I'm pleased to see that so many of you are in agreement. Although this will not resolve the associated problems as noted above (i.e., advertising one's recent purchases; including only glowing comments; not providing system details, etc) it will most certinly provide a better sense of structure and will ease the navigation chore considerably.
What is with the attitudes lately?
First off the reviews are in there own category, secondly no one is forced to read them. How is it that your acting like they are infringing on your forums?
As far as the quality, well some have been good, some not so. I don't believe the people (including myself) who have taken the time and effort to write reviews in the hope of helping people thinking about new equipment deserve the comments above. First it takes a lot to try and write an honest review. Secondly if it some how bothers you that people love there equipment I'm sorry for you. I have tried in my reviews to explain the selection process and the equipment I tried while making the selection. I have praise for the equipment I selected because it was the best of what I tried. So should I say it's bad just to get your approval?
Frankly I'm sickened by the feeling expressed above and can only pray that you're a very small few who have such a problems with the others on this site and there desire to share there systems with others.
Please I beg of the above posters, DO NOT READ REVIEWS. You may learn something, God forbid that happens, and you get exposed to systems you would otherwise never have experience with.
Jadem6, I fear that you misapprehend the thrust of these reservations. Let me say right away (and as I have posted in the past about your contributions) that if all the work contributed to the A'gon reviews was as thorough, thoughtful, and well-written as for instance your own article about your Plinius amp was, I don't for a moment think that I or the others would be spending our time on a thread like this one right now.

Unfortunately, many of the "reviews" I have read can literally teach the reader *nothing* at all. No one here is suggesting that a positive review is automatically invalid. What we are saying is that "reviews" that contain no critical commentary whatsoever - or no context, no specific examples, no comparisions, no detailed descriptions, or are just not communicative or interesting - do not make for particularly worthwhile bedtime reading; no effort and/or ability = no value. No one is making blanket statements about *all* of the reviews; I am surprised that you would even suspect that your own writing might be lumped in with the lackadaisical toss-offs that you undoubtedly must have also seen littering the reviews as of late. You have no reason to take ummbrage, believe me.

Frankly, it seems to me that it is precisely the folks such as yourself who will suffer the most from such "reviews" diluting the overall quality of the work archived, because your obvious hard work will become overlooked, swamped in a sea of mediocrity that discourages interested parties from digging further. I just *know* that you don't mean to defend those quickie slobs who simply submit a scribble stating that their Symphonic Bombast Mega-Sonic X-15 Rev. 2 is absolutely the greatest thing they've ever heard, and how much they really, really love it the most, period the end! I for one hope that you will truly stand up for yourself, not by taking offense where none is intended, but by joining us in trying to offer some much-needed constructive criticism on the subject, in an attempt to protect the integrity and usefulness of the genuinely valuable reviews like yours. I can only try my best to ensure that when I submit my first formal review under the new format (I've done similar posts in the past, before the catagory existed), my own work will be up to the standards set by your excellent example, but in the meantime, let's all encourage everybody to try their absolute best when they post a review. IMHO, to give any less is insulting to the readers, and damaging to the whole enterprise.
Zaikesman - great response! I was tempted to take exception to the previous response till I went and read his reviews. The cable review was well written and informative. It was what I wish many others were. There was no intention on my part to insult anyone who has written an informative review. I have read reviews of pieces I own when the writer made claims about the quality of the piece which were foolish. I am happy with my amp but when someone says it is as good as amps I have heard and which I know to be better that review serves no purpose to anyone. I just wish I could learn something from most of the reviews but it seems that the good reviews come from the informative thread posters.
I am glad AudiogoN is doing the reviews I wish all of the reviewers were up to the standard of jadem6, twl, or sean. But I will use what I can and forget the ones which are of no help.
Come on you guys, I know there are some more people here who could do *great* reviews, lets see 'em!
Thank-you Zaikesman and Nrchy for taking me out of the general direction of this thread. Maybe we could spend time offering thoughts to make the reviews better and more useful. I do agree that there is a lot of "junk" being written right now, but I would hope people would look into some of the better written material. I have done this by bringing up the reviews of people I believe have offered great suggestions on the forums, people I respect. I read your review Nrchy when it came out and found it helpful. The fact that Audiogon is running a contest where they simply draw names from a hat of those who have written reviews has allowed for some poor results. I assume Audiogon knows that now, but for the present we are stuck. I am hopeful that once this contest passes the "non-reviews" will be deleted. I do know that Audiogon hopes to build a library of reviews on not only new equipment but some of the older "classic" to see how they have held up over time. I think there will be some real eye openers when that starts. What Audiogon is looking for right now are members with the ability and interest to write reviews. I believe they would like to use that pool of people to write future reviews. I can not get into details in that I am not an employee of affiliated but I can say I have spent many hours talking with Arnie at Audiogon and the review idea is simply the tip of the iceberg. Arnie has spent a huge amount of time and money making this the greatest site on the Internet, we have a great future ahead.
I encourage anyone who has the time and ability to write a review to take this opportunity and try to put one together. I have had Arnie critique my reviews trying to build a model for others to follow. I have first tried to explain how my system got to where it is. Secondly tried to show the components I auditioned and lastly tried to compare the equipment I did settle on to that of my past and the equipment I auditioned. I hope my reviews came across showing the strengths but also where other equipment was similar or better. (One thing I am continuing to work on is shortening my reviews, the magazine model is not right for the Internet. I hope we eventually will be able to have printer friendly versions should we want to file some reviews for future use) If the above posters would try to contribute by writing some reviews too, the entire site will benefit, and you may be surprised at what you'll find at the end of the road. I am now in the process of reviewing a pair of Cary 300 mono blocks that are about three years old. This is a serious departure from the direction my system has gone, there are some real surprises I'll write about.
Zaikesman, you have always been a guy I respect on this site, so I thank-you for your words. I believe you are one who could write a very good review if you have the time.

In a backward sense, you just proved my point - your excellent efforts in writing a review will go completely to waste if audiogon does not come up with a system for proper composition/format. Your review on the Plinius was well thought out and informative - so much so that I will probably take more time to read your other reviews. BUT, that doesn't change the fact that most of the reviews are much less well written. In fairness, it is possible that with this being a new thrust (and with prizes available) that many people are getting a little carried away with the review writing.

Next, no piece of audio gear is perfect. It's just not possible. I would not expect anyone to make negative comments simply to gain favour with others, nor would I reasonably expect people to buy gear they don't like. This is not my point. What I am trying to say is that even though I very much like the sound of my system, I would never claim it to be the ultimate, and I would be careful to point out some of it's realistic shortcomings. I feel that this would be much more helpful to individuals who are prospective buyers of gear.

I like this site a lot - visiting it has taught me a great deal and I enjoy coming away feeling a little better informed. But that will only continue to occur with input from thoughtful individuals like yourself - not from anyone proclaiming the infinite audiophile magic and majesty produced by a piece of gear simply not capable of that kind of sound.
Esoxhntr, I agree that your point has been reinforced by my comments. The review today will go un-noticed, but I'm looking further out. If people find one of my reviews worth reading, then maybe they will read the other reviews to establish my taste and basis for writing. For my personal taste the system I have now is better than anything I've heard, ever! I'm sure there is a better set of components available that could improve the weaknesses, but I have not found that combination. So my efforts are to help others find out what the past six years has yielded for me. If digital, natural, very neutral is the type of sound your looking for and if you listen to vocal, acoustic, jazz and rock than my reviews will help. If most of your time is with heavy metal, punk, opera or vinyl I can't say how my system will work.
At any rate, over time I'm hoping people will find the reviews they are looking for. If they are not written they are guaranteed to look to another source than Audiogon for there exposure to other equipment. I personally see no benefit in the scenario in that I believe we have a great sight and some extremely knowledgeable members to pull from.
Through reading equipment reviews I have discovered a lot of great music, e.g. th Sterophile ML SL3 review used a CD called "Suerte" - wondeful music.