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How To Navigate The Snark Infested Waters Of Shaving Discussions

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When I first started my old school shaving ‘hobby’ in 2002 there was almost no information about it on the internet.  And even fewer discussions about it.  When I did find a couple discussions groups it was a friendly little club.

Now there are multiple forum sites and various social media platforms.  That friendly little club has become a lot larger, a lot noisier, and in some cases not as friendly.  What can you do to avoid the “snark?”

The Survey

I recently asked readers of Sharpologist’s Shaving Information email list, “Which platform do you find the most drama and ‘snark‘ about shaving?” and asked then to select from this list:

  • Facebook groups
  • Reddit subreddits
  • Youtube
  • Twitter
  • B&B
  • TSN
  • TSD
  • DFS
  • Somewhere else

Of the responses, Facebook groups, Youtube, and B&B tied for the most votes, followed by Reddit.  Votes for the other sites were “in the noise.”

Some comments from readers:

“I do not use any social media. Two reasons – they are hotbeds for slander and bad behavior, and they are springboards for identity theft.”

“[S]ome people just have to put themselves out there as knowledgeable “experts” on things such as razors, blades, brushes, soaps and creams, technique, etc.. In reality I doubt that they are and secondly there are very very few people who are “expert” unless they have carried out rigorous and extensive comparisons.”

“With some success, and they’ve learned a lot. They’re acting ethically and in an open, honest way but there are a few folks who just can’t let it go yet.”

As I grow older, my goal has been to reduce both professional as well as personal drama. I intentionally don’t experience drama in forum discussion as I limit my viewing and information gathering to quality people on You Tube…”

Different Types Of Snark Attacks

Also among the responses it became apparent that there are actually two kinds of content that contribute to the problem–business and personal.


Business-related controversies have swirled around a number of issues:

  • Vendors removing negative reviews on their site
  • Vendors using “growth hacks” for low cost (or no cost) promotion of their business
  • Attacks on the technical end of the business (domain squatting and poaching, denial-of-service attacks, reputation assaults) for business (vs. personal) reasons.


The more common “drama” in shaving discussions boils down to differences of opinion.  Unfortunately a “simple” disagreement can devolve into something much more ugly depending on the personalities of those involved.

5 Ways To Reduce Drama

So what can you do to reduce drama in shaving discussions?  Here are some strategies.

1. Switch From Large Discussion Sites With Many People To Smaller Sites.

As a platform grows it naturally becomes more difficult to be “heard” as an individual.  This tends to create “troll” users who are looking more for recognition (for good or ill) rather than contributing useful information.  A random viewing of comments on very large social platforms (Facebook, Reddit, Youtube, etc.) will show numerous examples.

Switching to a similar-but-smaller platform may provide a better experience with less “noise.”

2. Switch From Discussion Forums To Blogs And Podcasts

Discussion forums by their very nature can be a freewheeling, vibrant experience…or a cliquish “echo chamber.” Switching to niche’ blogs and podcasts can supply much of the same diverse information with fewer of the anonymous, trouble-making users of forums.

3. Switch From Un-moderated (Or Over-moderated!) Sites To Curated Sites

Then there are the sites who either do nothing to police their users…or have so many rules in their Terms Of Use or Terms Of Service that it stifles discussion.  For example, one popular forum does not permit off-site links in many cases: while this encourages users to stay on-site it also may prevent them from getting the whole picture of a topic.

Instead try searching by topic instead of site.  Sharpologist’s Discussions feature is one great way of doing that!  Another site, Shavefan, takes a similar but more “curated” approach.

4. Switch From Text-Based Discussions To Image-Based Discussions (i.e. Instagram, Pinterest, And–Maybe–Youtube)

Forums encourage written content with formatting options.  Image-based sites such as Instagram and Pinterest are usually more focused on tighter discussion about an image itself rather than a general topic that may devolve into something else.

Even Youtube can be useful here, depending on how many subscribers a channel has and how the channel owner polices their comments.

5. Disengage!

The biggest, most-obvious strategy–and for some the most difficult to implement–is simply to disengage.  If you see a shaving discussion devolve into snark and drama…stop reading it.  Resist the temptation to put your own two cents in (unless, perhaps, if you have first-hand knowledge that would be relevant to the main topic of the discussion).


It’s nice belonging to a group who share the same interest.  But sometimes discussions of that interest gets “noisy” and too personal.  You can often get the same information, and enjoy it more, by taking a step back and finding another platform.

Do you have any suggestions on how to reduce drama in shaving discussions?  Leave a comment below!



Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

9 thoughts on “How To Navigate The Snark Infested Waters Of Shaving Discussions”

  1. As you know I was quite active in groups and still have one on Facebook called Today’s Shave. That’s aligning with the Today’s Shave Podcast I want to ramp up. Anyways, I have really put a lot of thought into coming back into the fold but not being active in the groups. I’m not really interested in giving advice to other wet shavers, I am more about contacting those who create the products as they are all so interesting. I like knowing the backstories of them just like I know backstories of Bands or Singer/Songwriters. I am happy just to interact as a writer looking into learning about people and all products they make. That makes for better subject matter to me.

  2. I used to enjoy the shave forums, but I feel that many pander to elitist shavers. If you don’t talk about the “approved” gear, you will feel ostracized. I agree about disengaging.

  3. I have always been met with courtesy on all the shaving sites I visit. I’ve made comments and asked questions and never been treated rudely. The groups I have joined have been exceedingly kind and helpful. Treat people as you would like to be treated.

  4. I only use the forums and sites for “research”, anymore. For example, if I want to find out about a particular blade, razor, or technique, I drop in, find what I want, and exit.

    It’s part of my “media distancing” that has me (a lot) happier now.

    I don’t need their approval.

  5. Something that I learned long ago with social media is to not say anything that you wouldn’t say aloud in church and you’ll be good. I avoid the political even on the big platforms, and stick with the things that bring me joy (shaving, my grandson, movies).

  6. My needs are simple, Sharpologist and Shaving Later On. All the shaving data anybody needs are contained therein.

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