Can You Really Trust E-cig Forums?

Forums, of course, are online message boards. These are places online where people who share a common interest in certain topics hang out online. In a typical forum, people ask and answer questions. People also introduce themselves. These platforms are great for vendors, service providers and other commercial players to make a name for themselves.

In fact, Facebook groups, Facebook pages, and other platforms are really just glorified versions of old-school forums and online message boards. This is why it's a good idea to visit eCig forums if you are looking for specific information about electronic cigarettes. Whether you're into vape pens or any other nicotine delivery devices, you really are putting yourself at a serious disadvantage if you neglect or consciously overlook eCig forums. These are places where people can ask very specific questions.

Let's put it this way. If you're just going to ask general questions, chances are you will be well served by a general Google search. Don't be surprised if you get the answer that you’re looking for on page 1.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The more specific your question or the “weirder” your question, the harder it is to get a straight answer from Google. This can be very, very frustrating. I know it sounds crazy since Google has gone through several generations of machine learning and artificial intelligence. In fact, it could be said that Google software actually learns and grows exponentially year after year.

But even with all that cutting-edge software evolutionary technology, there are several questions that simply stump Google. You can't get a straight answer. At best, you can get fragments of the answer from one website so you click on one set of results. Then you go through another set.

It can get very boring very quickly. Worse yet, you don't know whether you can trust this information because you’re just piecing it all together. You're doing things by the seat of your pants, and this can get really dangerous if you have to make some sort decision based on them. This is especially problematic if you are looking for medical information. Do you see how this works?

This is why forums are so awesome. When you ask a question in a forum, there's a high chance that people who are replying actually know what they’re talking about. In the off-chance that they are completely clueless, putting on a show or just trying to impress people, others will call them out on it.

These callouts can be blatant and “in your face” or they can be subtle. Whatever the case may be, other people will step in and give you their views. The best responses are those that are backed up by facts. You remember those, right?

Facts are crucial because, let’s face it if you’re going to have an opinion, base it on something real. Don’t base it on your feelings. Don’t base it on something bad that happened to you. Don’t base it on fantasies you have of how the world should be. Instead, base it on facts. Base it on something that all of us could agree on.

That’s how you tell really great forum responses. Great forum replies are based on solid facts. Maybe they would link you to some sort of study. Perhaps they would break down some sort of statistical analysis of a survey. Maybe they would show pictures that diagram what they’re talking about. Whatever the case may be, you get facts and you get clear logic.

I’m not trying to get you all excited here. I’m not trying to pump you up only to let you down. Please understand that the quality of the answers you get can vary tremendously from forum to forum.

Some forums tend to be populated by people who talk before they think. They basically just repeat what they’ve heard in the past or they let their negative attitude get the better of them, and you get what you get. Other people are very close-minded, and no amount of facts would make them change their opinion and they produce certain types of opinions.

There is always a risk that you will run into these or variations of these. Still, when you do enough searching through forums, quality responses become quite obvious. They rise to the top.

One particular set of forums may be worth your time. These are E-cig Reddit sub-forums. They’re awesome because they have lots of material. I’m talking about thousands upon thousands of posts.

They also have very granular information. That’s a fancy word for saying that their information is very, very specific. How specific? We’re talking about specific product launches pushed out by brands. These brands are both well-known as well as upstarts and up and coming stars.

Whatever the case may be, the mere size of Reddit sub-forums enables you to enjoy a tremendous amount of choice as far as the information you can choose to believe and process. A lot of their posts have pictures and videos, and their questions on discussions are very targeted. You’re not going to get the same basic question of “Which eCig should I get?” repeated a million times over.

Instead, you get breakdowns of different questions. You also see different situations discussed. This way, if you run into some sort of weird situation or unique problem when you look at the posts made regarding that situation, you quickly realize that your situation is not as unique as you previously thought.


But are Reddit E-cig Sub-Forums All They are Cracked Up to Be?


As I’ve mentioned above, it’s very easy to get excited about Reddit eCig sub-forums. It seems that they are a great resource because of all the advantages and features I have described above. The problem is, just like any other online forum, there can be a disconnect between our expectations and what we really get. In other words, we want all sorts of things but this doesn’t necessarily mean that we will get them from one place.

However, despite all of this, I would suggest that you still start with Reddit eCig sub-forums. At the very least, you’re starting with something that is very targeted, very specific and is more likely to give you the information you're looking for. Compare this with just doing a random Google search. It may well turn out that you would get directed to Reddit eCig sub-forums anyway; but if you weren’t, you probably would be wasting a lot of time chasing down information that you could have easily found instantly on Reddit.

Despite its comparative value, these sub-forums suffer from the structural weaknesses that almost all other forums suffer from. Reddit is not immune to these forum-related problems. These problems existed in the past and caused a lot of headaches; they’re crossing a lot of problems today, and they probably will continue to be a hassle long into the future.

They are just part of the game. There’s really nothing you can do about them because whenever you have an online platform where people share information, there will always be “problematic people” entering the mix.

These range from people who are simply clueless and spouting off information that they know nothing about.

There are also people who just repeat stuff that is irrelevant just because they just want to feel smart.

Other people are very stubborn and don't want to be educated.

Other people are very negative that they always call you out and make you feel dumb.

Finally, there are scammers. These are people who are not interested in the truth. Instead, their agenda is the complete opposite. They're making money spreading lies. They're making money tearing down brands and propping up brands that are not as worthy.

You get a mix of people, and their byproducts in the form of the posts that they produce will always be there. This is not going to go away because this is part of the human condition. There's a lot of self-policing involved as I mentioned above when people call each other out but, at the end of the day, sometimes you end up a day late and a buck short.

It's a good idea to be aware of the structural weaknesses of Reddit eCig sub-forums and online message boards in general. By being prepared for these and being aware of how things could go south, you can at least salvage usable information. This way, the time you spend on these sub-forums would not be a complete and total waste.

What problems are we talking about? Why are these forums not what they appear and how do they disappoint people?

First of all, there's a lot more than meets the eye. It may seem like somebody is answering a question, but it turns out that the person has an agenda. If somebody is acting dumb and spouting up the wrong information time and time again, there's a point in time where you basically have to be suspicious and ask yourself “Is this person just really suffering from a low IQ or is this person intentional in misleading readers regarding a specific brand, a specific device or some other thing.

Also, there's a lot of conflict of interest. This is most common when it comes to reviews. When people post a review of a product, you would think that this person did your homework for you. Well, they’re not the Mother Teresa of the Internet. They're not going through all the time, effort and energy of producing a review just because they had nothing else better to do.

You can bet that they are making money off that review because it turns out that a lot of online reviews, I would say more than 50% of them, are positive. They’re positive for a reason. They’re not positive because they have actually identified a product that you should buy.

Instead, they are positive because they want people to trust the review enough and to be “educated” by the review to buy the product that they feature. Do you see the conflict here? Their primary interest is to line their pockets with affiliate commissions. They couldn’t care less about you finding the best product for your needs. Your interest is to find the right product to solve a problem.

Unfortunately, you can’t rely on these reviews because their interest is to earn a commission. If you think that’s a cause for concern, wait, it gets even worse.

Just like any other forum, there is always fraudulent activity. Now, I may not be blatant. People might not slap you with it. It’s not something that’s so obvious that you can spot it 10 miles away, but it’s always there. Either people leave out information or they invent stuff. There’s also a lot of fake activity.

It’s not unusual for a product to launch and, all of a sudden, all these random, completely new accounts keep praising this item. In many cases, you can read between the lines and you can easily tell that these comments are fake because if the product just launched, some of the commenters might say that they’ve been using it for years. How can that happen? It doesn’t make any sense. Do you see how this works?

There are definitely a lot of headaches with forums. I’m not singling out eCig sub-forums on Reddit and elsewhere, but you have to understand what could go wrong. For you to get the gold, you have to first go through the fire of the refining process. That’s how it works. If you just think that you just show up on these websites, pick up a recommendation and get the product that you deserve, you are probably going to have another thing coming.


The Ever-Present Problem of Electronic Cigarette Conflicts of Interest


Conflicts of interest are so pervasive and can be so damaging that they deserve their own discussion in this article. Electronic cigarette reviews or eCig reviews usually suffer from conflicts of interest. This is not a surprise. This is nothing new because, as I have mentioned, there are tons of product reviews on the Internet and half the time, you really cannot take them at face value because they suffer from conflicts of interest at some level or other.

Your interest, once again, is to get the very best product that solves your problems. The interest of the person who produced that review is to get a commission. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

You have to be clear about this conflict and read between the lines with this conflict in mind. That’s how you tease out the information that is actually useful to you as you try to make an informed decision about your next purchase.


Conflict of Interest Also Applies to Regular Message Boards


Please understand that this issue pretty much applies across the board. The interesting issue is all about a reviewer who’s pushing you to buy, pushing you to trust fake reviews and pushing you to read self-interested garbage like comments, replies, and whatnot. See clearly through these. There are lots of fake social signals being sent out by people who are self-interested.


Be on the Lookout for Electronic Cigarette Fraud


Just like with any other online fraud on the Internet, you have to look for fake reviews, fake products for bait-and-switch, fake eCig coupon codes, fake eCig accessories and e-juice, and fake electronic cigarette launches. That’s a lot of fake stuff.

Unfortunately, they’re all over the place. If you are not paying attention, it may be only a matter until you too get victimized. It’s not going to be pleasant. You work hard for your money and it really would be a shame for you not to get the full value of all that cash that you worked so hard for.

There are many tricks people play online. What’s particularly annoying is the bait-and-switch. It’s not unusual for top-ranked or very well-known electronic cigarette brands to be advertised for a song on certain websites or featured in certain reviews. By a song, I’m talking about almost free.

However, when you try to buy it, it turns out that you have to jump through certain hoops and you might have to buy certain things, and it turns into a headache. Welcome to the world of bait-and-switch.

If you think that’s bad enough, wait, it gets even worse.


Look for Fake Activity


Another way to tease out reviews or message board reviews that suffer from a conflict of interest is to pay attention to the activity swirling around that content. If you noticed that people are commenting with the same basic message, you should be suspicious. It may well turn out that software is “writing” those responses to try to bait into believing the main review.

Also, pay attention to the comment’s writing style. These comments may not be saying the same thing but if they look like they were written by the same person, you should sit up and pay attention. You should be suspicious.

Pay attention to which accounts make the comments. If it turns out that most of the messages are coming from one account, you can safely discount the validity of that account and what that account has to say.


The Bottom Line


The bottom line is simple. Beware of getting ripped off due to fake activities. Fake content is bad enough. Fake social signals and fake online activities can be murder on your budget.

If you’re looking for the best electronic cigarette product, you definitely have our work cut out for you. Still, online message boards for eCigs, vape pens, and any other electronic cigarette-related products are definitely great resources; however, you have to take them with a huge block of salt.

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