I think this is especially difficult for new members who haven't had the opportunity to get to know the people who are posting. How long does it take for someone to sort out who skis where, and what and with what kind of style.
I know (for instance) that Beyond relates to Dawgcatching's reviews and Likes/Dislikes better than most other reviewers on this site. That gives me some insight into what he likes to get out of a ski which may/may not relate to me and my needs.
That's one example of how we sort out who is most likely to recommend something that sings to us.
The question is, how long does it take a new poster to sort this out? I think less than one page if we're true to our spirit here.
I think this is a great question (in bold). Because any reader may fall into one of two camps. The first camp is reading reviews based on scores and impressions within a ski type. The second camp is reading reviews to better understand trends in skis in order to perhaps challenge conventional thinking in selecting ski type, which is generally more important than the ski selection within type.
IMO, the most useful thing a ski review can do is help somebody overcome the ever present FUD of switching ski type, and that is not really the intent of most reviews nor an outcome of knowing your reviewer. It would come from comparing skis across types to assess how far each has managed to make it into the other's core competency without trading down on its own DNA.
Epic is really pretty good at this at the community level if you can filter out the noise, but how long does that take a newcomer to sort out? 10,000 pages ?
Another question is, what's the difference between a newcomer who is here to read reviews and a newcomer who is here to ask for a recommendation?
Sometimes someone asking for a recommendation, who also has a couple choices in his/her OP probably knows what he/she wants but is looking for validation. We see that quite a bit.
If someone comes in to ask for advice with no ski choices listed, you can bet that the OP is looking for some real advice. That's when the newcomer is going to have to be on his/her toes to sort out who to listen to.
Someone looking at reviews is a different story. Hopefully the reviewer has done a good job of describing his/her skiing type in the review process.
It is very common for newcomers to join Epic and ask "What _____ should I get?" and it is a fill in the blank because is it not only just an all mountain ski or a carver but it is also a specific brand they are asking and for some reason it is a specific brand like What Volkl or Kastle should I buy? What is the collective hive's thoughts on this process, what can we do different to help these folks make better decisions besides telling them to "Use the search button, JONG!"