3) Reviews to this forum are completely worthless, period. One man's junk is another man's treasure. There are infinite variables to each and every persons thoughts on a specific peace of equipment. Reviews (or feedback) to a company alone is/can be beneficial, thus part of the role of the "Design Team".
4) Kind of unrelated to the actual topic at hand, but internet forums have just gotten out of hand.
3) So how are riders supposed to decide what boards to buy? Specs alone? Magazine tests (because they're so objective!!!!)?
4) Have just? They've always been out of hand, nothing new!
As to who reviews cater too i will respectfully disagree. In my thought, an experienced rider will not rely on a review to make a purchasing decisions. A casual snowboarder doing their research is going to hold a review to a much higher regard. If i had to take a bet i would say that reviews get much more
traffic from the casual rider who doesn't have an account and who found the review by typing into google.
I am a 21 year veteran rider who used to compete, and I still make decisions with help from forum reviews. In fact I hold these in much higher regard than most other sources of information. As long as you read the reviews carefully, knowing who wrote them, what they were riding on, what their experience level is... Reviews ARE valuable.
Here's an "initial thoughts" review I did on a new board I bought. Not a full review but I even measured the boards and posted specs, what type of snow I was on, pros, cons, etc. http://www.snowboardingforum.com/boa...-thoughts.html
I'm sure most people on internet forums fall into the "casual rider" category who enjoy talking gear to scratch their itch. Again, nothing wrong with that at all, i mean hell that why we all come here isn't it , too geek out a bit! And there is nothing wrong with typing into goolge for a review, we all do it for various things!
I think we actually have a fairly wide range here. Lots and lots of first timers or nearly first timers. Some 10 day a year people, and a good dose of 50 day a year people too...
I think we all know a review is subjective, but if you've narrowed down your choices to a couple boards based on specs alone, then look for reviews as the potential decision maker, I think that's just healthy shopping.