View RSS Feed

Way Off Scenter

A Reviewer's Rant (or Check Your Facts Before You Mock)

Rate this Entry

I usually steer clear of the discussion boards, as I A.) seem to be a human lightning rod for flame wars, and B.) have a weakness for getting sucked into the most uncivil exchanges. However, a current thread (certainly not the first, nor the most mean-spirited,) bemoaning the apparent elitism and bias toward obscure niche scents at Basenotes caught my attention. I was particularly struck with one sarcastic remark made in the context of innocent teens receiving recommendations for astronomically priced niche scents or vintage rarities. One wit chimed in with “I recommend Mario Vaentino’s Ocean Rain.” The quip might be funny, were it not for the fact that Ocean Rain is readily available online, and at relatively reasonable prices. ($38.50 US for a 1.7 oz. bottle on Amazon, for anyone who’s interested.) The same holds true for Rochas's superb Globe and Jacomo’s Anthracite pour Homme. The fact is, that aside from some vintage Guerlains, vintage Patou pour Homme and Yohji Homme, and Feu d’Issey, there are still plenty of relatively affordable discontinued gems out there, ripe for the picking. (Bowling Green, anybody?) Check your facts, people, before you mock.

I have to say, I’m puzzled at the complaints about esoteric fragrance discussions at Basenotes. If you don’t want to be able to read about interesting and unusual fragrances, what are you doing on Basenotes to begin with? If not Basenotes where else? There are plenty of places to discuss fragrance on the internet. There are relatively few that are friendly to aficionados and connoisseurs. (I number myself only among the former, by the way. I leave connoisseurship to better-educated noses.) What bothers me most about these periodically recurring bash-the-reviewer/bash-the-forums/bash-Basenotes discussions is the intolerant, mean-spirited tone that seems almost inevitably to overtake the conversation.*

The Basenotes Directory is vast, and includes thousands upon thousands of reviews of both designer and niche fragrances, offered from a diverse array of perspectives. The forum is equally wide-ranging, and contains a tremendous wealth of historical wisdom. Even a cursory glance back through the various forums will reveal numerous, extended discussions of designer releases, as well as niche and independent offerings. The idea that either niche or designer fragrances have an exclusive claim to value is ridiculous to maintain in such an environment. I find it hard to believe that in this same environment, there is not room for simultaneous discussion of all sorts of fragrances, in a civil and respectful manner. It’s one thing to be lazy. It’s quite another to be mean or intolerant. Again I say, check your facts before you sling that fistful of mud.

There. Now I'm done ranting and will crawl back into my hole.

*One of the reasons, incidentally, for my withdrawal from Basenotes a couple of years back.

Updated 31st July 2014 at 08:29 PM by Way Off Scenter

Categories
Uncategorized

Comments

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
  1. deadidol's Avatar
    I share your concern, but the tone of some of the instigating comments in that thread should tell you everything you need to know about what that thread is aiming to accomplish.

    And don't take any of it personally. I've had this kind of thing launched at me several times now despite my vocal praise of $15 Lush scents alongside the pricier stuff.
    Updated 1st August 2014 at 12:37 AM by deadidol
  2. socalwoman's Avatar
    Hear, hear!
  3. Way Off Scenter's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by deadidol
    I share your concern, but the tone of some of the instigating comments in that thread should tell you everything you need to know about what that thread is aiming to accomplish.

    And don't take any of it personally. I've had this kind of thing launched at me several times now despite my vocal praise of $15 Lush scents alongside the pricier stuff.
    Agreed on all counts. I try to avoid taking any of this stuff personally, no matter how barbed the comments. In this case I am - for a change - uninvolved. It just saddens me to see these old patterns play out again in the community. Luckily, most Basenoters are civil, considerate souls, and some of the more thoughtful responses to that particular thread are very heartening.
  4. teardrop's Avatar
    l think the "old patterns" will probably continue to play out ad infinitum, but l think the positivity on basenotes still far outweighs the negativity, especially compared to other sites. You know that a great many of us are very happy to see you back here, so please don't let any of that stuff cause you to leave us again!
  5. ClaireV's Avatar
    I'm relatively new here, so I don't know what kind of flame-attracting you did back in the day, although, God knows, it must have been fierce bad for you to disappear, yank your reviews, and change your name....

    But after weeks of reading your wonderful reviews, I admit to being puzzled by your bashfulness. The measured tone and sane logic you just displayed in this blog post was just the kind of intervention I think that thread was crying out for yesterday.

    I thought the original poster was deliberately going for rude and provocative, but instead of calling him out on it and telling him to f%^* right off, everyone wrote in with their carefully measured thoughts, as if he was really interested in having a genuine discussion (which he obviously wasn't, judging by his dismissive come-backs). What we needed was for 'teacher' to step in and be the calm voice of reason ...... that's you, by the way. Every tribe needs its elders to step in every now and then, and re-right the balance.

    Hope you don't think I am calling you old, by the way - I have no idea what age you are. For all I know, you could be a twenty-five year old gym instructor by the name of Barbara. But in Basenotes terms, you know what I mean - you have authority, you have experience, the respect of everyone here - so please, for my sake, do use your voice.
  6. Way Off Scenter's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by teardrop
    l think the "old patterns" will probably continue to play out ad infinitum, but l think the positivity on basenotes still far outweighs the negativity, especially compared to other sites. You know that a great many of us are very happy to see you back here, so please don't let any of that stuff cause you to leave us again!
    I agree that Basenotes is fundamentally a very positive environment. That's probably why any rude or negative behavior stands out so much when it occurs.

    I don't think I'll be decamping again - there was quite a bit more than some abrasive postings going on in my life when I left Basenotes, and I don't think - certainly hope - that those particular conditions will recur.
  7. Way Off Scenter's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ClaireV
    I'm relatively new here, so I don't know what kind of flame-attracting you did back in the day, although, God knows, it must have been fierce bad for you to disappear, yank your reviews, and change your name....

    But after weeks of reading your wonderful reviews, I admit to being puzzled by your bashfulness. The measured tone and sane logic you just displayed in this blog post was just the kind of intervention I think that thread was crying out for yesterday.

    I thought the original poster was deliberately going for rude and provocative, but instead of calling him out on it and telling him to f%^* right off, everyone wrote in with their carefully measured thoughts, as if he was really interested in having a genuine discussion (which he obviously wasn't, judging by his dismissive come-backs). What we needed was for 'teacher' to step in and be the calm voice of reason ...... that's you, by the way. Every tribe needs its elders to step in every now and then, and re-right the balance.

    Hope you don't think I am calling you old, by the way - I have no idea what age you are. For all I know, you could be a twenty-five year old gym instructor by the name of Barbara. But in Basenotes terms, you know what I mean - you have authority, you have experience, the respect of everyone here - so please, for my sake, do use your voice.

    Given that I call myself "Old Dog" in my avatar tag, I'm not going to be sensitive about my age. (50, by the way.) I'm probably also "middle aged" by Basenotes standards. I lurked for a year or two before joining in 2006 or 2007, and began writing fragrance reviews for the directory, as a lark, shortly thereafter. As for respect, that has been mixed, as might reasonably be expected when anybody publicly expresses strong opinions. Those who disagree with me are of course welcome to their own opinions, as long as they abide by the Basenotes Code of Conduct.

    My departure from Basenotes a couple of years ago was prompted mostly by conditions having nothing to do with the community itself, and the imbroglios that I was involved with in the forums were a relatively small factor in my decision to leave. As for my resolve to avoid the forums going forward, I have taken to heart the advice I once received from a very prolific, respected, and wise Basenotes reviewer: if one posts over a thousand opinionated fragrance reviews in the directory, one can reasonably expect to be a focus of controversy on the discussion boards. That being the case, the most viable options are to cultivate a teflon-coated hide or to refrain from participating. My temperament is fundamentally shy, retiring, and (overly?) sensitive, and so I choose to refrain from participating. In fact, I resolved to make staying off of the forums a condition of my remaining on Basenotes. Some would call it cowardice. I think of it as a sanity-preserving measure.

    Happily, Basenotes is a fundamentally good-spirited place these days, and rude, provocative behavior is the exception, rather than the rule. My blessings to the many thoughtful Basenoters and hardworking moderators who help keep it that way!
    Updated 7th August 2014 at 03:46 AM by Way Off Scenter
  8. lpp's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ClaireV
    I'm relatively new here, so I don't know what kind of flame-attracting you did back in the day, although, God knows, it must have been fierce bad for you to disappear, yank your reviews, and change your name....

    But after weeks of reading your wonderful reviews, I admit to being puzzled by your bashfulness. The measured tone and sane logic you just displayed in this blog post was just the kind of intervention I think that thread was crying out for yesterday.

    I thought the original poster was deliberately going for rude and provocative, but instead of calling him out on it and telling him to f%^* right off, everyone wrote in with their carefully measured thoughts, as if he was really interested in having a genuine discussion (which he obviously wasn't, judging by his dismissive come-backs). What we needed was for 'teacher' to step in and be the calm voice of reason ...... that's you, by the way. Every tribe needs its elders to step in every now and then, and re-right the balance.

    Hope you don't think I am calling you old, by the way - I have no idea what age you are. For all I know, you could be a twenty-five year old gym instructor by the name of Barbara. But in Basenotes terms, you know what I mean - you have authority, you have experience, the respect of everyone here - so please, for my sake, do use your voice.
    Members know better than to tell others to *off
    We should be proud that our community members are able stay above that.
  9. ClaireV's Avatar
    Hi Ipp, you're right, of course - sorry for the language.
  10. mumsy's Avatar
    Even though we may not express it. There are many more of us that silently value your contributions. Far more than those that vociferously don't.
  11. Francop's Avatar
    Great to see you back "Off Scenter" !

    We we're worried about You...

    We Love your Reviews! Keep writing :-)
  12. Way Off Scenter's Avatar
    Thank you for the kind thoughts! It's OK if some Basenoters don't like what others have to say. In fact, in a community of this size and diversity, it's probably inevitable. My concern is that we remain civil and respectful in our disagreements. Happily, that's usually the case.
  13. Dimitrios's Avatar
    its just good to see you back my friend ....
  14. Sugandaraja's Avatar
    It's good to see you back, to be sure.

    I've been at best intermittent on these forums in the past two years ( majority of my more in-depth fragrance discussions have moved on to FB ), but Basenotes is ( or was ) one of the few places more experienced perfumistas can mingle with newer faces fruitfully.

    With a diverse group comes tension and conflict, and sometimes a little carelessness. Tact is a navigation aid through threads here. There would be nothing wrong with responding to the Ocean Rain comment with current pricing, in my eyes.
  15. Way Off Scenter's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dimitrios
    its just good to see you back my friend ....
    Thanks! It's been fun writing a few new reviews.
  16. Way Off Scenter's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sugandaraja
    It's good to see you back, to be sure.

    I've been at best intermittent on these forums in the past two years ( majority of my more in-depth fragrance discussions have moved on to FB ), but Basenotes is ( or was ) one of the few places more experienced perfumistas can mingle with newer faces fruitfully.

    With a diverse group comes tension and conflict, and sometimes a little carelessness. Tact is a navigation aid through threads here. There would be nothing wrong with responding to the Ocean Rain comment with current pricing, in my eyes.
    All true enough! Though even if I were inclined to speak up on the boards, I'd prefer to let that particular thread die off quietly than bump it up with any kind of reply.
  17. silveretta's Avatar
    I am mainly a 'lurker'... Been a member for years but rarely participate in the discussion boards. I agree with your 'rant' completely! And I have enjoyed and appreciated your reviews over the years...thank you! I'm glad you have returned.
  18. Way Off Scenter's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by silveretta
    I am mainly a 'lurker'... Been a member for years but rarely participate in the discussion boards. I agree with your 'rant' completely! And I have enjoyed and appreciated your reviews over the years...thank you! I'm glad you have returned.
    Thank you! It's good to hear from what I sometimes suspect is a "silent majority" of lurkers. (I often wonder if a majority of Basenotes users - even of members - don't post often, or at all.) I'm all for participating in Basenotes in whatever capacity - even if it's solely as a "listener."
  19. Duke Hunt's Avatar
    Perfume. Serious business.
  20. Rüssel's Avatar
    Perfume appeals to all sorts of different people for different reasons so I'm not surprised that sometimes there is a little friction. If BN wasn't quite as strict when it comes to discussing politics, religion and other such topics, it probably would kick off even more often.
    I'd say that some of the reasons for heated, emotional discussions about Creed/niche prices, perfume snobbery, etc, are these underlying differences between people from dissimilar backgrounds and lifestyles surfacing.
    Updated 11th August 2014 at 06:32 PM by Rüssel
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Trackbacks

Total Trackbacks 0
Trackback URL: