11 February 2012

Where's the validation? An Opinionated Observation...

January is never easy for me to find field time, in fact the first month of each new quarter is always very busy at work. This one was especially bad in light of an unexpected promotion which is intensifying the amount of time my focus is required for work.

When this happens and I find little opportunity to get out I turn to others, those who spend time outside, to live a bit vicariously through them. I appreciate the ability to do this, especially when there's actual field time that validates opinions, which brings me to my point.

Look around, it'll become glaringly obvious as to which 'opinion' is worth hearing or reading. I've got nothing against opinions, I do find it comical however, when there are hundreds of reviews of outdoorsy products and zero validation of said opinions through actual use. I know others have written about it before but it's now at a fever pitch. If you're going to review products, espouse opinions, do your readers a favor, at least get outside from time to time and validate your opinions.

You might be able to turn a phrase, and take a nice picture from time to time, but if you're formulating your opinion from behind your desk, you're just a poser. Where are the trip reports? Where's the field time needed to validate the experience or the opinion? Five minutes outside with a product you are reviewing does not constitute real field time.

I'm not saying you can't formulate an assumption based on prior experience, I am saying don't hand it down like gospel unless you have actually done it.

The end goal is the experience of a thing. The overall experience of an endeavor is what we're all after, an experience is either bad, okay, or good. Experiences become memories. How we choose to do something can be just as important as the doing in and of itself. Opinions vary as to what's practical and what isn't practical, largely those opinions are based upon having done it. When one hasn't done it, the opinion as to whether or not something is practical is an opinion without merit.

Did this need to be said? Maybe, maybe not, after having spent the last several weeks getting my 'field time' by way of reading about others, for some it stood out like a sore thumb. There are doers and there are posers. If you're going to speak as if you're an expert on something, you should at least be able to show your 'expertise' in the field. Everything else is just hot air and wasted digital bandwidth.

Yes, that's the opinion of this Grouch.