Traditional shaving internet forums

I have done a lot of research and put a lot of work into producing this article. Everything in it is purely my opinion and should not be taken as fact. Also that opinion will change over time, so this is just a snapshot. Do your own research and find what suits you, your opinion may well differ. Forums have the potential to be a useful way of trading information, they are also excellent for trading shaving kit, in fact this latter are what they are mostly suited for. However often they are, largely, nasty places and here’s why:

  • People are mostly anonymous and often behave in genuinely nasty ways that they would never do if their name was attached. There is some truly sociopathic behaviour out there that people should be ashamed of. If they walked into a bar or pub and behaved like this they would be in trouble very quickly.
  • The forum moderators can have serious power complexes. Rather than encouraging a community to work they are often over officious bullies who wield their power badly. Banning people who they disagree with is often the norm.
  • Inevitably cliques form and then go to war on non members of their little fraternity. They really do behave like troupes of monkeys. To make things worse the moderators are often clique members.
  • Forums have a very poor signal to noise ratio. You often have to read a lot of rubbish to get anything of value.
  • Huge discrepancy in knowledge levels. Nearly every week, for instance,  some newbie starts a thread about the numbers 1-4 on a double edged razor blade without first searching the archive. This sort of inane behaviour can really clutter a place up.

The history of these forums is just like the history of Christianity, schism is rife. People get banned or get fed up with the forum they are on and so set up one of their own. There is a lot of history and bad feeling here. But it does mean that there are quite a few forums and that they have different characteristics. I will divide them into two kinds, those that I think are badly flawed and that should in my opinion be avoided and those that are good and worth spending some time on.

Firstly the ones I think that you should avoid:

  • Badger & Blade. Probably busier than all the other forums put together. Very aggressively moderated, a lot of the key people in the industry are banned which devalues the content. I don’t like the way they take money off some vendors and ban others, it amazes me that they can accuse others of shilling (usually falsely in my opinion) when they do this. And I don’t like the way that some of the most important things in traditional shaving are censored out, iKon razors for instance. And I personally wouldn’t believe anything that a moderator there says.
  • Shave my Face. Just like B&B but 95% quieter. There is no reason to visit here.
  • The Shaving Room. The nastiest of the forums. Lots of off topic banter within the clique. Moderators allow appalling, shameful behaviour. If you are a genuinely objectionable person join here.

Now the good ones:

  • Damn Fine Shave. Liberal, minimal and intelligent moderation makes this a real community and a nice place. One slight downside is that threads can ramble off topic a bit at times, but that is the price for the ethos here. It could do with more activity and I am sure that this will come.
  • The Shave Den. Perhaps the most authoritative forum of them all, there are huge amounts of great information here.
  • Straight Razor Place. Whilst they have double edged razor discussion this is primarily targeted at an eponymous niche. However it is very well informed and well worth a visit. If you use a cut throat then obviously this place is perfect.

If you want knowledge then the shaving blogs are probably far better than the forums and I have listed some of these in a separate article. They have a far, far better signal to noise ratio and don’t suffer from bad behaviour. If you are using blogs and forums then please use the search function within them to find what you are looking for, there are many thousands of articles and hundreds of thousands of posts out there which contain just about the total sum of knowledge of traditional shaving.

Once again this is all in my humble opinion and your opinion may well differ, this is a fundamental aspect of the human condition.

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71 Comments


  1. Bruce, as I said to you recently, it really is best simply to ignore people who you feel have wronged you. By responding in kind to unpleasant critics you box yourself in to even tighter corners. Your present path will lead you to decide to set up your own shaving forum. That could be a lonely place.


  2. Hi Peter.
    A big part of blogging is opinion pieces like this. Readers of my blog are entitled to know my opinion (even if it is wrong) about relevant matters and for traditional shaving the online side is very important because there is very little support in the offline world.

    I am not responding in kind to unpleasant critics. I am not abusive of individuals. Unlike the everyday behaviour of some. Certainly I am not boxing myself into a corner as I have nothing to gain or lose from these people. They are irrelevant.

    As to starting a forum myself, this has been suggested to me before. I have already set up and still run Artforums.co.uk which suffers none of the ills that afflict some shaving forums. Any forum I set up would not be a lonely place, I can canvas the 2,500 members of Artforums.co.uk and the thousands who visit this blog. More importantly there are a lot of people out there who are disaffected with some of the current offerings.

    However it would be a lot of work with no return. Damn Fine Shave and The Shave Den already do a great job. And I already have this blog, which is a lot of work.


  3. As I understand it only one person has ever been banned from The Shaving Room, you.

    The reason there was a backlash is that you annoyed the existing membership with your in your face style, stating opinions as fact and refusing to listen to the opinions of others. To add to this you criticized the way it was run, volume of traffic and suggested that you were doing the place a favour and making it busier.

    As a long time user of numerous forums I find TSR to be very friendly and less cliquey than most. Publicly describing the members as objectionable suggests that the moderators there were right to remove you, I’m afraid it smacks of sour grapes.


  4. @Jelts
    You make my points for me. There are several TSR members who should be disciplined for their behaviour but aren’t. Ad hominem attacks are very common there.

    As for my ban, that was the result of the collective actions of the clique and is a badge of honour. Several members contacted me to warn me about the behaviour of these people.


  5. I think your opinion of the place is rather skewed, maybe readers of your blog should join and judge for themselves.


  6. @Jeltz
    In the article it says other opinions may differ.

    However TSR is the only shaving forum that allows ad hominem attacks against others. For instance SiR-ed8 has just (very rightly) been disciplined on both DFS and TSD for his personal vitriol yet TSR does absolutely nothing against his awful behaviour against others on their forum.


  7. Hilarious! Don’t visit the forums you have been banned from, and do visit those where you have not yet been banned! I love it. Most entertaining. Do try to keep this up.


  8. “Perhaps I should point out that LG was not banned, he was invited to no longer participate, he agreed, and his account has been inactivated”

    Last week I got some spam that had been harvested from my email address on my profile at SMF. I tried to log in to edit it to something like ‘Zach at CSI dot com” but found that I could not, that my account was inactivated, and that I had to contact the administrator if I wanted to discuss it.
    Perhaps I should point out that I was not banned from SMF, nor did I ever discuss anything with anyone.
    The last time I logged on there was this spring, to respond to a PM that I received.

    SMF is home to the finest men who share our hobby; the smartest, the most experienced, the most willing to share…
    And also to General Urko.


  9. “Certainly I am not boxing myself into a corner as I have nothing to gain or lose from these people. They are irrelevant.”

    Then why the diatribe?


  10. @Tommynick
    To inform my readers. Obvious really.


  11. I agree with Peter’s point: don’t spend energy on people who have wronged you; it gives them more strength. And yet I don’t take this advice, I’m spending energy right now not taking this sound advice.

    Why?
    So that others might learn from history (your point Bruce). It’s an ongoing forum, and it would be so convenient for people who don’t take the high road to have all their impropriety absolved through obliteration (the deletion of offending posts).

    OK; taking Peter’s advice now.
    For now.


  12. I cannot agree with your comments about Badger and Blade. I’m a member there and find it to be a very useful and informed source.


  13. Wow that might be a world record for being banned from that many shaving sites.
    Its hard row when the world is against you.


  14. Bruce you are truly a legend in your own mind. Of course this is your house and you can say anything you want. It’s sad that you are not man enough to admit that your behavior has gotten you banned at B&B as well as SMF. These are two of the finer shave forums on the world weird web. So be it. Rule your little blogosphere as you wish. You are not missed at any forum. Your opinions don’t matter.


  15. @Roy Fernley
    iKon are one of the best razors in the world, start a discussion about them in the razor section of B&B and see what happens.
    Frank Shaving make probably the best value badger shaving brushes. Start a discussion about these and see what happens.

    So on B&B you don’t have free speech and some of the most important stuff about shaving is censored from you. It is a bit like the North Korea of traditional shaving. If you think that this makes it informed then enjoy it.


  16. @Francis
    Three of the forums are very friendly and welcoming. Three are well and truly up their own. I went and did the research so you would know which were which.


  17. @Austin.
    That is the B&B attitude. The opinions of their members don’t matter. All the many key people in the industry who are banned aren’t missed.
    B&B is definitely not one of the finest shave forums in the web.


  18. That’s it, Bruce, you’re gone from my RSS feed. It would have been much more helpful if you described the shortcomings of the forums, along with their considerable benefits. But frankly, it’s blowhards like you who bring the forums down a notch from where they could be. I can now understand why you’ve been banned from several, and you can now add that you’ve gotten the boot from my blog reader. See ya.


  19. @Jack
    Nice insult from a position of anonymity there. You must be proud of yourself.

    I have described the benefits of the ones worth the time of day.
    Also, in many links, the dysfunctional nature of other forums has been proven. It is not just me saying it.

    And as I have said, being banned from these places puts me on the side of the good. Because you would be amazed just how many people have been banned with no good reason. Which totally devalues the places that do this.


  20. Bruce, I appreciate the way you “call it like you see it”, and I enjoy your blog.

    I was banned myself from B&B during the silly Frank Shaving brush controversy. I had never made a rude or inaccurate post, so the experience made me curious enough to do a little fact-checking. All I can say is “You were right”.

    To the rest of you, I say “Follow the money”. If the behavior of some B&B mods seems too immature and petty to be credible to you, that’s because it is. You should feel good about yourself for not having a mind that works that way. But if you’re interested enough to do a little digging, follow the money and it’ll become clear that they are shamelessly BS’ing their membership because they stand to personally gain from it.


  21. Also beware. If you do give any money to B&B they have the PayPal set up so it is a subscription and automatically repeats the payment every year.
    B&B do not cancel this when they ban you!!!


  22. Thanks for the links to the DFS threads on dysfunctional forums.

    Hang on, isn’t TSD supposed to be one of your ‘good forums’?


  23. As a recent DE convert and a resident of the UK, I have been trawling the interweb for information and forums where I might glean information and advice about shaving. As such, I have spent an awful lot of time either looking at blogs such as this, browsing forums and – in the case of some forums – actually signing up and actively participating in them.

    As such, I think that I have a reasonable idea of what some of these forums are like. I notice that you too feel that being a member of a forum for a few weeks is reasonable time to pronounce sentence on them, so – by your rationale – I too am every bit as qualified to do so. (Admittedly, I have never set up my own forums, something that I understand that you have done so in the past, though my interests do not stretch quite as far as yours). However, in my reasonably long career in magazine publishing (videogames) I have had to run and moderate a reasonable amount of websites and forums as part of my job.)

    So, here we go:

    I can see your point about B&B – it does seem to have a heavy-handed approach to moderating, and I have noticed a number of people commenting on the fact that certain comments on certain things are verboten. This seems a little harsh, but I guess the owners of the site set the rules and, arguably, what they say goes. However, I think that the reviews aspect of the site is excellent, and I have enjoyed looking at the comments/reviews by users of the site on the bewildering amount of products you can buy. For that alone, I would recommend visiting the site rather than actually joining the forum – especially if you are not prepared to abide by their rules.

    SMF – Your comment on this forum seems a little wishy-washy – perhaps it is a fair comment, but I’m not sure what qualifies you to make such a remark and expect people to just take it as gospel. I suspect that you might have been banned from this forum, under The ‘Richard I Clause’ – if you persist in posting in a fashion contrary to the expectations of a gentlemen’s forum you will be banned without notice. For example, even one instance of ‘Rick rolling’ that links to malware will get you banned instantly and permanently, and posting defamatory remarks about SMF, its members and management elsewhere will be viewed similarly.

    I am just guessing, mind. I have not spent enough time there to comment on it, so I will leave it at that. I would say that the forum rules are plain to see, mind.

    Which brings me to TSR. Now, as a UK resident, it was my first port of call. And whilst I appreciate that the US forums have their strengths and weaknesses, such things as time differences and talking about products that I may not be able to get hold of, etc. puts me off spending much time on them. I don’t think that’s unreasonable. As such, I have spent a lot of time on that forum, which is why I am truly baffled by your comment on it.

    “The Shaving Room. The nastiest of the forums. Lots of off topic banter within the clique. Moderators allow appalling, shameful behaviour. If you are a genuinely objectionable person join here.”

    Again, it appears to lack balance. For a man who seems to want to spearhead what you regard as a renaissance in traditional shaving, I expect – nay demand – an unbiased view. And that’s not what you have provided here, is it?

    I have spent a good deal of time on this forum, which – according to you – makes me an “objectionable person”. I’m not entirely convinced I am, but your pronouncement has made me question whether I should spend time reading the information that you have largely pooled from others in order to make this a “go-to” site for “converts to the cause”. I came here to read information, not to be insulted.

    Moreover, I have found the guys at TSR to be a friendly bunch. I might have asked the odd dumb question or stuck my nose in where I shouldn’t have, but any “clique” that exists has certainly not made itself known to me – in fact, within a week or so of joining I got involved in a group buy where a guy who lives in France bought some items for those that wanted them and arranged for them to be delivered – by way of another UK member – to other forum members. Hardly the actions of a “clique”, wouldn’t you say?

    I have found that particular forum really useful and friendly. Of course there are people that are more established and “know” each other better, but that’s to be expected – I have yet to come across any issues with the site, so I find it strange that you would castigate it so. It just seems a friendly, relaxed and user-friendly site. No-one’s profiting from it, as I understand and it has helped me enormously *and* saved me money. That’s as good a reason to join as any, no?

    So, of the three sites that you have criticised, I find that 2 of them you have been banned from (with you being the first person *ever* to be banned from TSR) and the third you have either been banned from or will automatically be banned from by criticising it in your piece. Bit of a trend, there… One might suggest that you have an axe to grind and are using your “blog” to do so – again, you have a history of doing so, do you not?

    The real disappointment for me (apart from the the personal insult) is what appears to be a lack of balance. I believe that your aims are entirely laudable, but in this instance you are trying to use what you see as your power to lash out at forums that you have problems with. If you and this blog/resource are to have any credibility then you should never let your personal feelings get in the way… Otherwise you are just ranting, make yourself look foolish and discredit/undermine the good work you have done.

    Yours,

    An Objectionable Person.


  24. @Lipsy

    You totally miss the point that ad hominem is common on TSR and is unmoderated.
    Maybe you think that this is acceptable.
    Personally I think that the anonymous perpetrators are cowards.


  25. And you side-stepped mine. Totally.

    If by “ad hominem” you mean that they belittled you, then perhaps making comments like this didn’t really help:

    BruceOnSaving wrote:
    Chinese shaving brushes are brilliant and economical. I find that they don’t always whip up a lather, but it doesn’t really matter as they are so cheap!

    I can sort of see why, because it suggests that it’s worth buying something that doesn’t work properly… Anyway, I digress.

    All you had to do – as a service to your readers – was point out your favourite forums (the ones that haven’t banned you, obviously) and leave it at that. Otherwise, you look like you have an axe to grind by making snide remarks about forums that you have been banned from.

    You let yourself and the blog you have created down, AND you dragged yourself down to the level that you feel those forums are at.

    You should have done better, but it appears that you are unable to see that.

    Shame.


  26. I don’t remember writing that.
    Chinese shaving brushes have never failed to whip up a lather for me as readers of this blog will know.

    And my readers here deserved more than just being told about the good forums, they need to be told about the bad ones as well and why they are bad.


  27. Well, you wrote it – I have no reason to misquote you. And you continue to side-step and side-step and side-step…

    Point out and recommend the good; ignore the rubbish…

    Simples. In doing so, your readers will know… Unless the information you provide is unbiased, mature and insightful.

    And you failed in your overall aims. What you did, in fact, was criticise forums that didn’t let you play ball. It was childish and unbalanced. Again, I expected more.


  28. I am pretty sure that I didn’t write it. It would go against everything I have written everywhere else, as everyone can easily see.

    I think you have been caught out by someone quoting my post in a thread and maliciously editing it to change the meaning of it. Which would be about par for TSR.

    I didn’t just criticise the forums that wouldn’t let me play ball. I joined all the forums in an experiment to see what they are like. Hence what I have written is unbiased, mature and insightful.

    My experiment is over with the writing of this article and I will now only use the forums at a far lower level of activity. It makes far more sense for me to write here instead.


  29. Yeah, okay… So people misquoted you… Okay… Yeah… That’s what they did. Misquoted you. Yeah… Okay… NASTY PEOPLE.

    It just so happens that the forums that you slate are the ones that you were banned from – and that’s coincidence? I think not.

    It’s also a coincidence that people have taken time out of their lives to point out that you are wrong… Coincidence? No.

    This is the kind of thing that – historically – you do. The internet is littered with comments from people about the things that you have said and done. Heck – there’s even a Facebook page devoted to your deeds in a past life. Coincidence? No.

    I refer you to you own words – not a chance that anyone could misquote you (or whatever):

    “The Shaving Room. The nastiest of the forums. Lots of off topic banter within the clique. Moderators allow appalling, shameful behaviour. If you are a genuinely objectionable person join here.”

    Can you point out which bits are insightful, mature and unbiased, please?

    It’s interesting that another blogger, Peter/Fido, has the same view of B&B as you do. He too feels that his banning was petty (my reading of his words), but he was man enough (and transparent enough) to admit his own part in it: “I admitted to multiple registrations to get round my ban as many others have done. I regret that now, but there are other welcoming forums to which I contribute.”

    Quite apart from the fact that he produces his blog as a blog (save for the reviews or comments from others), his honesty and transparency sets his blog apart from yours.

    You presented your views without being honest enough to inform your readers that you had been banned from those sites and – crucially – why. Therefore it totally diminishes any credibility that you might have had, leading to suspicions that you are using this platform to – shall we say – throw your toys out of the pram.

    Again, a shame. I was looking for more and I found the cupboard empty.


  30. @Lipsy
    I think you are pretty much proving my points for me now.
    Enjoy TSR.


  31. Lipsy, can you offer a link to where Bruce said “Chinese shaving brushes are brilliant and economical. I find that they don’t always whip up a lather, but it doesn’t really matter as they are so cheap!”? The actual post, not somewhere where it’s quoted? It doesn’t make much sense for him to have said that, as he says the opposite on this blog. I bought a Frank Shaving brush on his recommendation, and it certainly does ‘whip up a lather’.

    I’ve not been involved with the forums in question so I’ve no idea what went on there, but if Bruce wanted to cover the fact he was banned, he could’ve edited or not approved the comments that made this point.


  32. Regarding the review section of forums.
    Most of the reviews seem to be written by newbies giving 9 out of 10 for their first bit of kit that they have just bought. The signal to noise ratio is terrible.


  33. Unfortunately it appears that you crossed a line and got the boot on one or more of these fine forums. B&B is the goliath that it is because it is chock full of the finest gentlemen the web has to offer. The only people who aren’t welcome are those who can’t abide by the most basic and simple moral expectations. Hang in there. See you at TSD, that is until they get wise and ban you as well.


  34. @DE Lover
    It seems to me that lots of the finest gentlemen and ladies are not welcome at B&B. And this is not for failing to abide by the most basic and simple moral expectations.

    Anyone who has followed the article, these comments and the links provided will be well aware of this.

    Also B&B is no goliath. In internet forum terms it is quite small. If it were run better it would be much larger. Just look at all the good people who have been banned.


  35. There has been an additional development at Badger & Blade. They’ve severely curtailed the number of posts that members can post on their “Marketplace” forum – for selling/buying/trading. Basically, members can only “post one (buy/sell/trade) “want to sell” or “want to trade” thread per calendar month.

    Part of the attraction of that forum was that it was a good source of almost new products from guys who were acquiring them and finding them not for them.

    This is supposedly to curtail fraud. But to be honest, I never saw that as a major problem. They’d already instituted a rule that a seller had to have 50 posts under his belt before he could sell. Shaving stuff is also inherently inexpensive – there’s a limit to how much you can defraud someone – why go to all the trouble of swindling someone out of $30 for a tub of cream. I know, some people pay hundreds of dollars for vintage razors or for highest-end brushes, etc., but those are really the exception. If one is going to send of a few hundred dollars to someone, you should be careful.

    I wonder if down the line, contributors to their site will be exempt from the new rules as an “encouragement” for people to become contributors.


  36. Bruce,

    I could not agree more with your assessment of the current situation. I wrote a similar piece earlier this year (http://cutthroat.templeofhate.com/blog/iron-fist/2010/06/09/170-recommended-straight-shaving-related-sites-internet), and came to exactly the same conclusions.

    The main problems are power-crazed forum leaders (or teams); a healthy disrespect for scientific research and analysis; corruption and collusion (run users and reviews through an intelligence analysis tool, and you will soon realise what I mean); and, of course, a combination of various mental problems (ranging from proudly sported acquisition disorders through passive aggressive personality structures).

    So you think Bruce’s post is a diatribe? Then you have not been following the forums he uses in his examples closely. I could add at least three more that suffer from the same – or worse – problems. But at the end of the day, it is always the tone at the top that leads to these problems.

    Thank you, Bruce, for this well written article.

    Regards,
    Robin


  37. The Shave Den is one of “the best” forums?. perhaps for some good archival information on vintage Gillettes but otherwise that place is literally policed (and ruled with an iron fist) by JoAna, “Queen of Blades”. She might have worked for the Stasi in another life considering her snooping of member PM’s . TSD is no more than an echo chamber for her mentholated toadies who dote on their queen’s ho hum product line.

    No reason to visit SMF?, is there any metal left on that ax you continue to grind Bruce?. Well this is your sandbox, have it your way because it’s obviously the only way in your eyes.


  38. I agree with your perspective Bruce. I guess we all could keep our mouths shut in this anomynous web but it is nice to be able to offer an honest opinion. Many fine folks are at all the shave forums and there are of course many rotten eggs as well.

    Each forum attracts a certain niche and some folks just dont fall into certain ones. I lurk through SMF but find that I dont quite fit into the group. I will offer suggestions or comments when needed though. I was banned from B&B because I started a thread on voting lines in Atlanta,GA. http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php?t=62912&highlight=voting+lines.

    Banned with no explanation. BTW…the avatar was put there by Jay-Ouch. Quite a gentlemanly gesture from a mod heh? I have become a member again there and of course been banned again. Yes I know B&B’ers. Against policy so I deserved it…… The pm’s and emails I got from the mods at B&B were quite immature, scathing, threatening, and down right vulgar in character. If the shaving public could actually see all the GOOD members that have been banned and the reason they would be shocked. If you dont fit in they push you right out. As Bruce mentioned also…..they will continue to charge you though paypal.

    Rant over:) Keep speaking your mind Bruce and I enjoy your blog. I look forward to more great and “honest” articles.


  39. Please remove the links to DFS that you have posted.

    Thanks, Kevin


  40. Very nice article that is all to true. I’ve certainly experienced the cliques, crude behavior and disrespect over what are in the final analysis trivial matters. A perfect example are the personal attacks in the comments section after this article. I’m sure these are the same persons who display those behaviors on the very forums you cited.
    SRP is where I go and have made many friends over the two years I’ve been a member. I seldom if ever hear any heated arguments unlike those forums you mentioned. Thank you for an insightful article.


  41. I’ve never been banned by any of the shaving forums, yet agree with your remarks, specifically those about B&B where I did spend vast amounts of time and saw the political machinations first-hand for several years. In the shaving world there is perhaps no more a gentleman than Leisureguy, not to mention his astonishing depth of knowledge and expertise about things DE. Yet, I witnessed line-for-line his expulsion and was absolutely astonished at how heavy-handed, and totalitarian it was.

    I pretty much stay away from all forums these days and prefer individual blogs. And IMHO, you’re free to say whatever you wish on your blog. The reaction you’ve received to this post is more diagnostic than anything else. There’s a lot of strange people out there!


  42. I was robbed by badger and blade by $120. Had an argument with one of their moderators about the censorship. At that time i was contributing $20 dollars, but during the argument i decided to contribute another $100, because our dispute was not about money(i am not a vendor), but about principals. They blocked my membership 3 minutes after i donated the $100. and didn’t want to return the money. Paypal was unable to help me. Anyway, they still have my user name over there, but they don’t show that I have contributed the $100, only the firs $20. Wining and dining on my money is a good thing for them , but I wonder does IRS know about this money?
    They have banned a number of great vendors and bloggers. Lets make a list of this valuable people – Bruce, iKon, Razor Emporium, a reputable vendor in UK(forgot the name), US based soap maker(also forgot the name),Leisure guy… Also bloggers like Fido and Mantic don’t participate or rarely participate in the discussions over there. if more wet shavers are aware about the banned valuable people of our community, B&B IMHO would be pushed to behave in a civilized way or another forum will take over many of it’s members.


  43. @Dock
    Take care. B&B doesn’t tend to take contributions, it tends to take subscriptions.
    So they will take $120 off you every year even though you are banned!!!!
    You need to go into your PayPal account and cancel the subscriptions.


  44. Thanks, Bruce! I already canceled it. During our dispute(I opened a case with Paypal) they claimed that it was a contribution and I was unable to get my nomey back.


  45. Hello Bruce,

    I ran into your name once on Badger and Blade, it was someone dismissing your opinion on something or other. I found your blog after I resigned from Badger and Blade. You’ve got a nice source of information here.

    I had been a member there for only a few months, and had never been sanctioned or warned for anything. I did see a few disturbing trends there, but chalked them up to their way of running things.

    Here is a quote of the post I made in their feedback section to resign on October 21st:

    “In consideration of recent developments, please deactivate my account, if you will. There is nothing to be gained from my further membership on these forums.

    As a sort of exit interview, here are the main reasons:

    On several occasions, I have seen demonstrated how the site management forgets who this site exists to serve. I’ve seen junior members’ opinions dismissed because of their juniority. As another example of this, take the banned vendor policy. There are slices of the wet shaving world that are simply unavailable to the membership here as a result.

    The latest changes to the buy-sell-trade forum, reveal yet another example of moderator preferentialism. Austin has three new sales up since the announcement of the new rules. A section of which instructs us all to behave as if those rules are in effect immediately. [note: The new rules limit posts to one per calendar month in their Buy Sell Trade forum] Unless you’re a moderator, that is. Clearly, there are different classes of member here.

    This demonstrates policy being made not for the good of the membership, but for the good of the moderators’ workload.

    Finally, this adjective we see bandied about, “gentlemanly”, is used to great effect by the moderator team. Very often to mean, “agree with what we say”. I’ve seen time and again how the mod team here handles disagreements, even when the disagreements are being discussed within the rules of this forum. They simply close the thread.

    While I’ve met some very interesting people here, and will miss your company, I cannot continue to contribute to a forum where I have to walk on so many eggshells.”

    I think I hit too close to home for the moderator team there. A day later, all of the 300 posts I had made there had been deleted. Again, none of these posts were in violation of their forum rules. I can only attribute that to petty vindictiveness.

    Obviously they get to do as they please there. Fine. That doesn’t mean for a moment that I have to tolerate such hamfisted moderation. Their login screen now reports to me that I am banned per my request, and that ban will never be lifted.

    I’ve since signed up to other forums that are shaving related. Time may show some of these forums to be unacceptable, too. And if this proves the case, I’ll resign from them as well. There are too many places that are run well to have to tolerate those that are not.


  46. Hello Bruce and all,

    Assessment of each forum is obviously subjective. It is in our nature to prefer something over another. The same applies to ALL people who run forums. They just prefer you or that guy over other guys. Why? Because you deserved it – with nice look, with your donations, with your articles about his/her products, whatever… And they act correspondingly, but not as a moderator, but as a person. Moderator’s actions are 99% not a subject of discussion. The rest 1% is “we’ll call you later and let you know”. They never call back 🙂

    There is no such things as moderation. And this is the main problem of all forums. It is just a matter of time you got banned if you are not like these guys, who keep being fascinated with products that are welcome on forum and rising forum members in every other post, but are a curious enough to search for truth.


  47. @Bruce

    Why has is the reference to The Shave Den crossed trough, I haven’t noticed much change since your initial assessment of the place? Certainly its is as authoritative as ever with a good volume of posts?


  48. @Jeltz
    see @tony above
    Plus an obsession with menthol and trying to see their stuff.

    I continue to meet and talk to people in traditional shaving who are really fed up with these amateur and un-gentlemanly forums. To the point where one company are seriously contemplating doing it properly.


  49. Actually it would be a very good idea if a company did run an unbiased but highly regulated forum.

    Having moderated a board for a Charity there is a totally different approach to those kinds of boards, as opposed to those which are basically run by owner and their friends.

    The latter is more like the local pub and if someone starts to upset the regulars they end up getting barred. With the former there tend to be set sequences of events and need for proof etc before a ban is enacted.

    Of course the use of the word properly is subjective as many members of those forums which are run like the local pub would say that they are properly run and if someone doesn’t fit in they shouldn’t be there winding up the core membership. But that argument has been done to death above.

    In an ideal world both kinds of forum would exist and I am all in favour of choice.


  50. I must say that since I wrote this article my opinion of these forums has gone down substantially. To me they are amateur, badly run and serve the traditional shaving community very badly indeed.


  51. Wow look at this.
    I got banned from Badger &Blade for saying that I had received 2 free shaving brushes from Ian Tang. Even though I had already paid for 3 brushes from him and was totally open about it.

    Well, here is another member who received 3 free Rooney brushes and who wrote about them yet did not get banned. How hypocritical is this: http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php?t=60

    And a member who received a free Kimson brush: http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php?t=69410&highlight=kimson


  52. 1. The sound you hear when you crack your knuckles is actually the sound of nitrogen gas bubbles bursting.

    2. Human hair and fingernails continue to grow after death.

    3. It takes about 20 seconds for a red blood cell to circle the whole body.

    4. The plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets.

    5. Most soccer players run 7 miles in a game.


  53. Bruce, why did you change your mind about Damn Fine Shave?


  54. @dock
    In my opinion Special K’s can be overbearing and throws his weight around with no good reason to a point that harms the value of the community.
    All IMHO and YMMV of course.


  55. It’s really to bad. I’m a noob/becoming novice to wetshaving and a fairly new member of b&b. I’m afraid to make my first ‘newbie check in post’. I’d like to mention authors/products/books that led me to their forum in the first place. But fear being banned. (what?!) They have nice exclusive group buys and whatnot. Wouldn’t want to miss out. I work in the music business and have worked hard to root out the people that have this kind of behavior out of my life. I consider it toxic. So…part of me wants to post anyway out of defiance just to see what happens(no big loss to me I have other hobbies too)/ and part of me wants to stay in the shadows and just be a taker and ‘not’ a contributor. I’m glad I live in a country that’s mostly a ‘green zone’ (USA) of speech and other non-criminal activity. But, there real and virtual ‘yellow and red zones’ here. N. Korea is a ‘red zone’.


  56. Be advised that B&B is moderated by petty despots. I was just blackballed from their buying/selling/trading forums after being falsely accused of reselling B&B items on eBay, which I actually never did. But they apparently don’t care about truth or justice or even due process. Boom – false accusation and you’re out.


  57. Bravo, Bruce, for having the cajones to speak the truth and take the punches. We enjoy your blog very much.


  58. In my opinion behaviour like this: http://www.theshavingroom.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5494 and this http://www.theshavingroom.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5497 is an utter disgrace.
    Do these people behave this badly in the real world or is it cowardice born of anonymity?

    If you cared to take the time you would know that was banter between 2 freinds(good freinds who have actually met up face to face to share and talk about shaving gear,its called banter cock,grow a pair and stop being a bitter man..


  59. Must admit i fully agree with you about little ‘Groups” forming in Forums and trying to control everyone . Forum mafias . The keyboard has allowed so many to venture into forums with different attitudes that they would have in real life. Those that wish to “suck up” to the owner are the worst
    the worst case of that must be the Anal watch forum “TZ”
    so much ass licking its untrue….

    Good luck with your forum .


  60. Ok, Seems to work now. I agree with Toney regarding the Shave Den. I joined a few monthe ago and everything seemed to be going just fine till all of a sudden I received a note I didn’t “fit in”. No specifics were given or what posts were in error, but it was sugested I move on. To bad really as I really like the members there and received a lot of help and instruction. We shall what ends up delevoping, hope this blog doesn’t end my membership their, but just letting others to step lightly on thin ice while their.


  61. I think that the description of forums should be broken down a bit more, as there is a lot more to say about a forum other than if it is “good” or “bad.” I have been a member of B&B for several years, and I’ve found that their BST forum is the single best place to get good deals on vintage razors. It’s also a great place to quickly resell gear you don’t want anymore. There are also great tips on topics like getting a good lather from a hard soap. I have found some of the educational topics on this forum invaluable. On the other hand, there is a definite animus against certain vendors going on there, almost to the point that I would consider it slander. I think people need to realize that everyone who runs a web forum has an agenda, and to take everything you read there with a grain of salt.


  62. I myself am a paid member of B&B and I do like the site. I totally do not in any way understand their “banned vendors” and “do not mention this vendor” policies. I’ve seen Razor Emporium listed as “I got my SS replated at the vendor we shall never mention and love it”.

    I own a nice little collection of razors from various manufacturers. Two Gillettes, a Feather AS, Three Merkurs (including a “Mer”gress and Futur), a Muhle R89, A weber DLC, and two iKons (S3S and OSS). If I had to give up all razors except on “brand” I would without hesitation keep the iKons and send the others off to new homes. iKon makes great razors, but he is not allowed to participate on B&B, apparently because he chose to talk about his razors there and not pay the “vendor fee”.

    It’s a nice resource, but there are some “quirks” to the forums that is for sure.

    I would like to add The Shave Nook (shavenook.com) as a recommended site. You should take a gander over there. Membership is slowly growing and I’ve found it to be very friendly.


  63. Very nice post Bruce, and all accurate too! I could not agree more. This B&B site is nothing more than a hoard of rude & disrespectful vultures who are constantly on the prowl for the next decent member to block. Disagree with Joel, and you’ll get the boot. If you don’t fit in the clique, you’re ass is banned for life.
    Thanks for this useful blog post. Hopefully many decnet folk will learn from your mistakes and avoid these forums all together.


  64. I got kicked off Badger and Blade when I had the temerity to speak in a less than fawning manner to a long-time B&B member. The moderators are primarily pretentious pricks, IMHO.


  65. Most of the B&B moderators are very pretentious and on totally pathetic power trips. Joel, Ouch and Luc are very good examples…neither of these clowns are gentlemen at all and they constantly look for any little reason to ban people. Also, half the time you ask a moderator a legit question about the site they don’t even respond.

    Honestly the best quality of B&B is the BST…you can find some excellent deals there. But the rest of the forum is second-rate and nothing special.


  66. TSN (The Shave Nook)Is a great shaving related forum.

    Speaking of B&B. I have had a ridiculous encounter with a moderator over a fund raising thread I had started in support of Movember. It got deleted because it was apparently against B&B policy to ask for donations even though the year before I did the same thing and there was no problem with it and a few of the other moderators thought it was a great idea at the time and started their own fundraising threads as well. (With a donation it entered to you win a specific shaving related prize)

    Can’t say that I blame B&B for over moderation though, considering the enormous volume of users. I do tend to just frequent B&B specifically for the B/S/T anymore. TSN is my main go-to as far as forum participation.

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