musings from: RocketPuppy
hen I began DIY, I fell for it all. I don’t mean I fell for mixing, which I did. I mean I fell for all the hogwash that gets perpetuated daily from the DIY experts. You know who they are. They’re the ones who have thousands of posts and chime in condescendingly every time you question their methods or have the audacity to ask a question. The most pitiful part is that I became just like them and spouted some of the same nonsense, not because it was based on factual data but because I was stupid.
Opinions masked by pseudo-facts; Nicotine (Nic) degrades at temperatures that exceed 120° F/45° C, an ultrasonic cleaner is the best method for steeping, 20% flavouring is standard, taste is subjective…the bullshit is strong with DIY-ers, so let’s stifle these baseless clichés.
First up…taste is subjective/IMO/YMMV. Have you ever been asked what your favourite colour is? If you’ve ever been four, or five, or six, you’ve probably answered it a few times, but I doubt you prefaced or concluded the answer by stating IMO. Within the first day of participating in the DIY sub-forums, I was annoyed with how frequently people responded to questions about how subjective taste is. For someone asking for insight, a response with how subjective taste is, is not only an overtly obvious statement but one that offers nothing. If someone asks for people’s views, isn’t it evident that they’re looking for opinions? I’ve never seen such a need to validate one’s thoughts by underscoring how subjective their opinions are, as though not pointing this out would somehow make the response factual.
Since I didn’t understand why people perpetuated this obvious phrase, I asked people why they felt the need to include it. Responders purported that if they didn’t, those who pursued their suggestions and were unhappy would be annihilated with contempt. By explicitly stating that it was their viewpoint, they were no longer accountable if someone took their advice. Why would taking someone’s suggestion be a reason to hold them liable for your taste?
The main reason as to why the phrase is so distasteful IMO is because there is beneficial knowledge in other people’s impressions. As an example, I relish food (and no, me adoring food is not the example). Reviews as to which restaurant serves the best enchiladas will not yield an answer perfect for my palette, but from other people’s opinions, I can gather information and make logical conclusions as to whether I should frequent one establishment over another. If one place uses chicken that tastes frozen or barely uses sauce, I would know that these are not optimal choices for me. By reading reviews, I extract necessary information. I want my enchiladas swimming in sauce with fresh chicken shredded from the bone, and without any input, I wouldn’t know what I was getting. While I may have different tastes than someone else, opinions can lead to relevant information. Our opinions on whether one thing is a good representation of what is considered standard can also be very helpful to a DIY-er.
When someone asks what brand makes the best strawberry concentrate, saying that I like Capella or FlavourArt is pointless, just like saying that taste is subjective. However, if I go on to say why one flavor is more reminiscent of a ripe strawberry, one tastes freshly picked, or another takes like Twizzlers Cherry Nibs, it will help guide which flavor will best suit the needs of the questioner. The judgements of others can help us find whether one is a good representation for what we are searching. Opinions and reviews are what help facilitate interest in something. Opinions can be meaningless, but like a hypothesis, they can also be informative and help guide us to answers. Opinions are an integral part of the decision-making process, and just because they are not based in fact, they can still be relevant and far more useful than going it alone. Just don’t disguise those opinions as something else.