This has been a long time coming.
To be fair, when HEMA was a smaller community, grassroots / bootstrap reviews sufficed for the most part. New products weren’t hitting the market at a fast pace, competition was fairly low, and the community thought itself a fairly good at policing it’s vendors.
Sadly, however, that’s not exactly true.
While the vast majority of vendors are fantastic and honest, some simply take advantage of an ignorant audience. Starved for new products, we as a community rush to purchase anything that so much as smells like a game changer, rewarding poor design or shoddy craftsmanship, simply because a product seems cool.
Even worse, in the excitement of the ‘new & shiny,’ we rush out first impression reviews, sometimes minutes after we received the product. Follow up rarely occurs, so often times a shit product comes up as roses to those who need honest, reliable feedback about if a product will actually fucking work for them.
This needs to end - we’re in a period now where competition is rising in the marketplace, and sadly our vendors are rushing products to market without much research and development. People will spend hard earned money on shoddy products, or even worse, on products that will hurt someone.
Enter Measure & Weigh.
Who are you?
I'm Jayson. While I'm currently the president of the HEMA Alliance, I've also been writing reviews for HEMA products for some time, mostly over at hemareviews.com, which Meg Floyd runs. I've done reviews on Comfort Fencing, Destroyer Modz, and Gajardoni.
- No first impressions. First impressions are too often ‘feel good’ and don’t provide an accurate portrayal of a product a month after it was purchased, let alone a year after.
- Vendor relationships declared. Any relationship to the vendor that the reviewer has will be declared, both in type and length of time. For instance, Keith of wild geese fencing has been a dear friend for years now.
- Products will have gone through either at least 1 tournament or two months of intense sparring. We need to understand how a product will perform in high-intensity situations.
- Customer service will be a factor. Great products don’t mean much if it takes two years to get after you gave a vendor your hard earned money.
- Vendors will be blind to the review process. We will inform a vendor of the review in the process of being published and they will have advanced knowledge of the general theme of the review, but we will not use any leverage (“hey we’re a review site, give me this for free!”) to obtain products for the sake of review.
- Samples will be reviewed, but heavily qualified. Occasionally a vendor may ask us to review a product, and we will oblige. However, this will be declared throughout the review, and since customer service cannot be a factor in this situation, any past experience with the vendor or any feedback from the community will be published to offset. Vendors must also accept that the review will not be biased by the product - we will reject any request, implied or otherwise, to offer a favorable review.
- Design, build quality, and performance will all be factors.
What will you review first?
In the coming weeks, you'll see reviews on the PBT 800N pants, the comfort fencing training longsword, and the mythical Danelli entry level feder.
Why are you writing an announcement article without reviewing anything?
This is simple to answer; because fuck you.