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The Theory of Vital Test Sessions

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2/26/2015 12:42 PM

This sub forum does not receive a lot of traffic, but it seems the most relevant place to post this since it is "About Vital MTB."

Vital has been conducting the Vital Test Sessions for three years now: 2013, 2014, and 2015. I am a big fan and click into every Test Session article, even if I read nothing more than The Bottom Line, check the rating, and look at the pretty pictures. If I am even remotely interested in the bike, or if the rating/The Bottom Line does not align with my internet impression, my eyes cross every word from beginning to end. In that case, I always finish the article and conclude "okay, I can see why they rated it the way they did. Cool." The user comments seemed to follow a similar trend in the 2013 and 2014 Test Sessions where most responses were "great review...," which implies other readers reacted the same as I did. However, my impression of the 2015 Test Sessions is that responses went south.

In multiple reviews, commenters essentially said "this review is invalid because..." (Foxy, Slash, Strive, Stereo). What the heck happened? When did we become ungrateful a-holes?

It wasn't until the Alpine review where a commenter defended his criticism by saying "there's no substance there," referring to the bike's ride/performance qualities. Okay, maybe he's got a point. Another commenter said something similar in the Slash review. So I start reading back through past Test Sessions, and for the life on me, I cannot detect a difference between the number of words spent describing past bikes' qualities compared to 2015 reviews. The paragraphs that cover each bike's ride qualities are comprehensive enough for me to formulate an impression, and I can't imagine how more words would make it more clear.

So my real question for Vital readers and the point of this thread is to ask this: What changed for 2015 Test Session reviews? Why have the positive praises been replaced with criticism in the comments sections for the 2015 Test Sessions? Or is my perception just plain wrong?

TL;DR -- The 2015 Vital Test Session reviews seem like they have received more criticism than years past. Is my perception correct? If so, why is that?


2/27/2015 3:54 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/27/2015 3:58 PM

Thanks for starting this topic, Nicholast. We'll move it to the main forum so it can get a little more attention.

The nature of our reviews and how to improve them is something always at the forefront of our minds, especially around Test Sessions time. We're interested in hearing any feedback.