Brace yourselves, one-star candle reviews are spiking again

Originally published at: Brace yourselves, one-star candle reviews are spiking again | Boing Boing


:musical_score: And it seems to me, they lived their lives, like a candle in the wind :notes:


This year’s one-star candle reviews can’t hold a candle to last year’s one-star candle reviews.


:star: :star: :star: :star: :star:


So if I buy something that’s supposed to smell and it doesn’t, I ask my wife if it smells, if she says it does, I go smell other things, if those things don’t smell I call my doctor.

If I buy something that is supposed to smell and me and the wife don’t smell anything I ask my neighbor if it smells. If he says it does I call our doctor.

If he says it does not and we all can smell the flower’s in our yard I contact the seller of the smelly thing.

If it wouldn’t take so long to figure out I’d pull out MS Office or LibreOffice and make a flow chart.

In other words if those reviews are accurate, the people leaving them have very poor problem solving skills.

I recently had to put together a flat pack pantry for my mom, I downloaded the manual and read the reviews before heading over. Almost all of the one star reviews were upset because it was too small. The dimensions were very clear in the description.

The first thing my mom said after I assembled it was, it’s too small. I bit my tongue, but with my mask on I was able to move my lips without her seeing.

In other words again, Amazon reviewers aren’t always the best people to judge the quality of a product.


The followup seems a little more meaningful of a measure:



That’s not the intention here, but unless the number of people with poor problem solving kills change, it is a good proxy for Covid. Not everyone who can’t smell the candle will complain, but a reasonably fixed fraction will.


Just like when pizza orders spike at the Pentagon.

Shit’s going down.


Be careful when making leaps like this. This is an assumption, and is not backed by the candle data presented above. You’ve formulated a new hypothesis, one that may deserve its own study.

Do we really know that the percent of reviewed products hasn’t climbed dramatically during the pandemic? Are there more review trolls or griefers these days? Do subjective reviews have enough reliability to accurately reflect a product’s quality?

You were right to begin with the qualification of “That’s not the intention here”. Grabbing a study and trying to read other results from the data is cherry picking, not research.

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What’s all the stink about?


This is actually a good thing to remember. It makes me think of the time a few years back that someone noticed the great comedy potential in a Twitter search for the words “smell” and “colon.” It very quickly became difficult to tell which of the new tweets were genuine and which were people jumping on the meme train.

Something-something observer effect…

Wait what… I don’t smell anything!?


Many decades ago, my Junior Achievement team made and hopefully sold floating scented candles. At their best, they deserved a one-star rating. Stay away from candles, kids - and shoplifting is a lousy alternative. Life is tough.

Instructions unclear, neighbor now has covid



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