Head-fi, a place where audio enthusiasts get to talk with each other and compare what our ears hear (or as a matter of fact don’t hear)
I used to once think that Head-fi was a great place to be, to talk, to express ones true opinions, and a place where I could feel at “home” in a community I once loved. That all changed very quickly, in 2012, where my account got permanently banned, as I was “out of line” too many times. For the record here’s my Head-fi account – Totally Dubbed – On this account, I had over 450 pictures, over 20,000 (probably more) words of reviews, several friends I had met and kept contact with on there (via PM’s), and more so had posted close to 4,500 times on that site. I thus wasn’t exactly a noob, and by that I don’t mean a self proclaimed “audiophile” (I’m far from being one, I’m just one that loves to listen to music), I mean a person who just joined, and rage quit – I was quite the opposite. Unlike most of the community over there (and by this I don’t mean to offend any of you), I actually contributed BACK to the community. All the reviews I have on my site, were all on Head-fi, I in fact had 32 separate product reviews, and more so, several threads (which I myself found useful -> even one of them getting re-tweeted by Jude, the maker/creator of Head-fi) – Thus what I’m saying is, I wasn’t posting useless lines (unlike some admins might think – see below comments ;)) and gaining post count.
Link to Twitter post
I was actually contributing back to the community, constantly; This however quickly changed, once I started getting a little “hot-headed” about certain topics (like Apple fanboys and people treating the Sennheiser IE7/8’s like they were something out of bloody heaven), I was getting into trouble with the admins. Now some might say, that the head-fi admins were protecting their sponsors, and in all honesty, I did see it happening quite a few times. I do understand the principle of forums, freedom of speech, and businesses. The thing which strikes me is that Head-fi, unlike some other websites seems to be increasingly money driven. The admins will only really care about people, who sponsors them. I can’t remember the last time I saw head-fi admins really pushing and raving about any unknown brands/products. This responsibility, seems to be tied mainly by the user, and by jolly, is that right – but I personally feel it would be nice to praise, advertise, and promote brands that weren’t sponsored. A very simple example, which doesn’t even relate to products or manufacturers themselves, is reviews. Why aren’t admins looking at their own forums, and promoting threads that provide useful information about certain things? Sure that feature started getting implemented later on, but still, the updates on the homepage come every month, 2 months, 3 months? I don’t know the precise day count, but it simply isn’t frequent enough. XDA developers for example has a portal, where news gets published, extremely quick (at times I can’t even find an article I read 2 days ago!). If Head-fi, as an admin said, has “over 1 million visitors per day” (more on that later), then why wouldn’t you care to update the homepage more than once every 1-3months?
Anyway, I’m digressing from the point here, but I’m trying to make a point, and to make a point, you provide some evidence and some examples – here, I’m trying to explain to you, that head-fi is just “too stuck up” in their old ways, and doesn’t seem to listen or encourage users to write more.
Now, back to getting banned every now and then. I in fact got banned several times, and out of the 3 times (I think it was, could have been possibly 4?) in reasonably quick succession, I felt only one was truly justified. Funny word that, “justified” – now let me take you through getting banned on Head-fi:
-You get no warning
-Oh no sorry, yes you do get a PM…
-Oh wait, there’s the catch (always is one, in this world!) -> You can’t access PM’s whilst banned!
-But wait for it, here will come an admin saying “you will receive an email”
-Well unfortunately, I feel that I know head-fi more than the makers (now I’m not being arrogant, just truthful) -> You have the option to switch off PM email notifications on Head-fi (well when I was there, that was an option)
-So here’s the thing: I switched off email notifications: Why Totally Dubbed? Why would you switch off notifications? What if you get banned…(I’m kidding, who gets banned from head-fi?) – if you didn’t catch on already, that’s my English sarcasm at its very worst there. So – if you, like me, switch off email notifications (and that’s because I was getting flooded in my email box of PMs), then you might get the nasty surprise of being completely locked out of head-fi.
-Thus I didn’t get any email notifications of being banned
-Which resulted in, me having no clue why I was banned, and with no time frame (was it for a day or forever?)
Now that you’re banned – what happens?
Well you’re stuck from any type of contact with the admins. Your best bet is to actually fill out the feedback form – Now you’de think that at least you’ll get a reply from here?
Wrong! You don’t, and if you do, that’s just good fortune! I only got one reply, from Jude himself, but that was left at a loose end.
Long story short, you’de think a place with “over 1 million visitors per day” would have at least their feedback form, for starters easy to find (yes it’s impossible to find; I’ll give a virtual cookies to the people that can actually find it), and secondly, response on the other end, by the admins – like a ping-back on a PC, that you never receive…check the network connection is usually the key to this, but in Head-fi’s case it’s – check if the admins care at all.
So, you feel shut off, uncared about and pretty much ignored. Thus their system is not able to cope, or the emails are being ignored (most probably the latter). In reality it should be a right for anyone to know their mistakes and why they were put out. For example being put to jail for no reason, and no explanation. Of course, I’m not saying I’m completely innocent, but I’m saying why wasn’t it proven to me?
Now two other things to draw upon here:
1. The amount of visitors
2. Reasons for being banned
The amount of visitors, really surprised me, I never knew that there were that many visitors per day on the site, but I accept that it is one of the, or even the biggest audio forum in the world. What got me here, is getting told off for having: “World number 1 video maker for ROM’s of the Samsung Galaxy S” and a link to my website and YouTube in my signature.
Jude told me off for being too “salesman-esk” of course I removed it immediately (in fear), and replaced it by my notable threads I had on Head-fi (which now are either deleted by Jude or contain no info in them, because I edited it out, before being banned). Now this really seemed to me really childish of Jude to say such a thing. Of course as Jude put it: “Would you think it would be appropriate for everyone to have it in their signatures?” and the answer, even from me is: “Of course not!” however, when you have a person, that is clearly making a contribution to YOUR OWN community, and has been part of it for a few years, what’s the problem? it’s not like my non-profit, completely independent, non-sponsored website, or even YouTube make any sort of money, or advertise ANYTHING. I’de understand if I was working for a company and advertising it in my signature….but what wrong was I doing here? Dragging some people to see what they can already see on Head-fi? (as all my reviews I had for earphones and headphones were on Head-fi, well before they were ported by myself to my website, here), seeing some ROM flashing videos or a review on a Sony HX9 camera? Seriously? So what was it? Still to this day, I’m not totally sure, but from what I understand, I can take a stab at it – he wanted people to stay on HIS FORUMS, (I stress his, rather than the “community’s” forums), rather to go on a website, to see the review. Understandable to some extent, but I’ve since become quite a senior member of a highly respected android forum, DarkyROM, and become a Recognised Contributor on the BIGGEST phone forum in the world, XDA Developers, and thus can related and compare Head-fi to these sites. Did the creators, senior admins, or users have problems with me linking my website, YouTube or even my “salesman-like” pitch? No, none of them did – And here comes the reasoning that comes behind it. These two forums, that I’m part of, neither of them have sponsors. XDA runs off donations, and adverts. DarkyROM runs off adverts, but started off more as a “project” anyway. What is Head-fi running off? Sponsors is pretty much their only and/or their biggest form of money income.
So the ONLY logical explanation behind the telling off, comes down to money. Protecting sponsors interests, and keeping the “stay on time” on the website high, rather than being re-directed to another website. If Jude reads this, he will just start raging at the screen and telling me that this isn’t the case – but like with any business, money is a driving factor, and can be even without you knowing or intending to say it.
Finally, on this point, I should note that there were quite a few others, that had their website linked in their signatures, but they didn’t get any telling off, did they…;)
Just admins being anal and wanting to suppress whatever I could do on THEIR site. I should also point out, in the final few weeks of me being there, i did link my website a lot on the forums themselves, which was only fair, considering I wasn’t allowed yo put it in my signature. Of course I got told off for that too, but my nature of “I want to help people” was frowned upon by the admins, so instead I PM’ed people giving them instructions. I know this might seem a little odd, but when there’s a damsel in distress, I help out, and don’t turn a blind eye, unlike again the Head-fi admin Currawong, who didn’t help me at all, nor replied to any of the questions I asked about modding my Denon AH-D2000’s. He actually had one of the Denon’s and modded them himself with new cups (from what I understood), but never chose to help me.
Well you know what, Amos? I learnt great things on my own, and from the USERS themselves (correctly referenced & credited in my guides), and created a guide myself that was deemed “very good” by the actual professionals – and by that I mean, Lawton Audio and so on. In short, would it have been so hard to have just posted a one line reply on what to do? I help people on a daily basis, replying to comments, questions, even if they have been covered already by my guides, it doesn’t trouble me, but obviously for some it really does. So how much do the admins really care about their users? Well from what I experienced, and mind my French here, but fuck all. They only care about their income, revenue, and their sponsors, nothing more. If there was a greater care for Head-fi users, then at least you’de get admins at least understanding why you have a link to your site for SGS1 guides…
Now unto my other point, of being (temporarily) banned. The reasons were again, a little fickle/poor.
Here’s an example:
A user was asking for recommendations for earphones to wear, on the bike, whilst cycling, and that had a good bas impact.
Another user, was recommending earphones that I couldn’t agree on: TF10’s, which is possibly the WORST earphones to ever wear whilst cycling (I cycle quite a bit myself), due to the lovely draft that you will catch, if anything it might slow you down from all the drag LOL – and then the CKS77’s because the user believed in the “hype” around Head-fi (which in itself, should be another article), however had never tried them on, ever (ironic that no? Typical Head-fi, people recommending earphones they DO NOT own, and funnily enough when people recommend earphones they do own, they then get a PM by admins asking them if they own the company – I’ll expand that in just a bit hahaha – almost forgot that story!), and let me point out the CKS77’s are brilliant earphones, but they have such a bad microphonics (cable noise) that it’s unbearable to walk with them, let alone CYCLE…anyway – I decided not to reply there any more, as I was getting frustrated (and didn’t want to get banned again), and confused as to why I my suggestion of the MG7’s was going unnoticed.
Regardless, I Pm’ed the person that was searching for earphones, and maintained a conversation via PM, and then later via emails after I got banned. I even offered the gent the CKS77’s and MG7’s to loan off me, as I had both in my procession (yes I’m that type of guy, as I found it increasingly hard to choose between earphones, and realised the best way was to try them all, and make my own mind about them).
Few weeks later the user bought a set of earphones, and was happy with them, although they weren’t basshead earphones, nor had a large impact. But they corresponded with his needs; fair enough as the English say
The user that was suggesting the TF10’s and CKS77’s quoted me, if I’m not mistaken, and made a remark towards the situation. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, but what frame of mind do you have to be in, to not only be wrong in recommending earphones you don’t own, and then thinking you’re on top by making a remark? I mean seriously? Anyway, that’s just personal beef-steak.
So, in my reply, congratulated the user who was searching for earphones on his purchase, but was confused on his choice, as they didn’t seem to fit the bill from his OP…anyway, I also said to the user that was recommending the wrong earphones “huss up boy” – And yes, you guessed it, I got banned for that too. Seems all petty and stupid doesn’t it?
I know that might not be the best move on my behalf, but seriously, getting banned for saying huss up boy? Is a little over-the-top. A warning, or possibly a deleted post would have been enough, but a 1 week ban is just too much, for such a silly “offence” more over…in that whole conversation, I was the only one HELPING the user, instead of suggesting MG6 PRO’s for example. Hopefully by now you get where I’m coming from.
Just expanding on that story of being warned of recommending earphones you own, came from the famous Currawong again! It was in fact me recommending TFTA 1XB’s to people in threads, where people wanted a good bass or mid-bass response. I do understand that sometimes I wasn’t really giving an explanation behind my recommendation, but at least it would bring it to the opening poster’s mind to look into them. After owning many more earphones, and having a set of earphones that cost 4x more than the TFTA 1XB’s I still stand behind what I said before – they are the mid-bass gods, nothing rumbles your head like the TFTA 1XB’s do. Too much for some, but at the time, when I had them, they were simply epic. As Denzel Washington once said: “Blue Magic, that’s a brand name, like Pepsi, that’s a brand name. I stand behind it, I guarantee it. They know that, even though they don’t know me, any more than the Chairman at General Mills” my man.
Now as for the permanent ban – this one was quite interesting, as this was by far the one without any justice or any explanation (as explained before about the explanation of the ban coming via PM – Yup I didn’t get that email either!)
The permanent ban came from, what I think, was by me removing my posts, and editing each one out with just “removed”; that said, the reason might also be that I edited “removed as I had enough of these forums” on 2 of my biggest threads I created over there. Which again, I’de have preferred if they removed the thread, rather ban me, permanently. I guess they had other ideas.
Anyway, the ban came from Jude PM’ing me – the contents of the PM can be found here: Click here – This is a download link to the word doc.
Where he told me: “I’m tired of the PM exchanges with you. I’m tired of the whining. I’m tired of you complaining about having been banned in the forums.” The thing he never saw, is that the reason I was being banned, was me getting frustrated or admins not really looking at the situation (Got banned once for replying to a poster, who slandered 5 head-fi members -> which I later found out was his way of replying sarcastically, but regardless, instead of him being warned, or me being told this; Yes, you’re getting it by now, I got banned! haha) – so I got banned permanently by Jude (I presume), after he just had enough of me. He didn’t give an explanation, but I presume the catalyst was, me removing all my reviews, and the threads by editing them – and I did this AFTER he sent me the PM, but BEFORE I replied anything back to him. Simply because I didn’t want my content to be “gained” by a forum that would be banning me for no reason, now, or in the not too distant future. Ironically, it came within 1 hour after I edited them. Again no warning, no explanation, only me guessing why I got banned, thus this article.
All-in-all, the main thing I miss on head-fi is certain people I had contact with, and the sales forums. I would say I like helping people and chatting about certain aspects of audio, but in fact, in the last few months, before I got banned, I grew and even got it plugged into my head that, that was the wrong thing to do, as that was the reason I was getting into trouble. So there you have it, me getting banned, for helping users, getting frustrated at offensive, or useless posters on Head-fi (and I really stand behind that) – if there was other reasons I missed, I’m sure an admin or someone will come-along and post it here, but I’m quite honest with everything I say, and never hide things, be it in a relationship, or a silly ban.
I in fact, even remember getting “hot headed” about people recommending IE8’s and raving about it back 2yrs ago! I even got warned for it, back then haha!
For those that said I didn’t help, and for those that said I was offensive – as they say, and drill into you, on Head-fi, that’s quite subjective, problem though, I have evidence showing the objective, and not being subjective. (Oh what’s that? You didn’t see that coming? haha – I’m honestly having too much fun writing this article, it does bring me joy in thinking how stupid and childish the ban was, in the end)
I won’t need to explain what I do, or how I do it. If people don’t like me that’s fine, but I’m not a troll, nor someone who has nothing better to do in life than sit around replying to people asking if burn-in exists or not. Heck, if there’s something wrong with what I do, I actually encourage people to tell me – what did I do right, what did I do wrong? Life’s like a (box of chocolates? Got you again, didn’t I? :D!) frequency curve, that’s very treble centric. You start off with no bass, and move up constantly, learning life lessons, and learning new things, which end up with ear piercing highs (Now I come to think of it, is that what Sony had in mind with their EX700? haha). I can definitely say I learnt a few things, especially in the way I improved reviewing, but that’s mainly due to users, rather than the forums itself.
What I took away from head-fi is this & here’s my advice to you, as a user:
-Don’t screw with any admins, just suck up to them, and act like a pet dog; you never know you might get a title for it later…
-When you post, try remembering that others have opinions, no matter how wrong they are, try accepting it deep down and NOT replying. I feel counter-arguments leads you into trouble – ie. if burn-in exists or not
-The reviews you put on Head-fi, are meaningless, and that if anything happens to you, or your reviews as a matter of fact; you just won’t be appreciated, unless you sucked up to admins beforehand. At least that’s how I felt 😉
-Posting reviews under the product reviews, is close to useless as no one reads them. I think whilst I was there I created several categories and added a heck load of pictures for each of the products I owned.
-Finally, asking for a member, like myself to get un-banned, will lead you, into getting a warning via a PM, and having your thread deleted:
Big thanks to delladood for creating a “Unban TotallydubbedHD petition” thread on Head-fi.
Many thanks to all that supported me, before it got locked, and deleted, by the admins. This actually brought a smile to my face and gave me a nice fuzzy feeling in my heart, as I knew some cared, and actually went to the trouble in trying to get me back. I really appreciate these small things.
Thus, that thread and the action behind it, just went to show, admins have total control on what you say, it’s not freedom of speech, and if you devalue them, in their decisions, or even their sponsors (lol) they will quickly take action against you. Just goes to show, if I was that “useless”, a thread wouldn’t be posted with several posters, asking for me to be un-banned. Sorry Head-fi admins, but you really shot yourself in the foot, by banning me. Here’s an article of it, there’s the evidence behind it, and people who knew me, by at least what I wrote on there, knew that the banning was unfair, unlawful, and unjustified. More so that the person you banned actually cared about the community and contributed towards it.
I should also mention before I leave you from this article, that I created an account “1337 Gamer” via my mobile phone, on HSDPA, but still got banned. No idea how, nor do I really know how IP tracking works, but regardless I got banned. This is me stating it, before someone comes and says: “it says in the rules that you shouldn’t create a second account” I know that, I read the rules several times. That said, after I got banned, I knew I wasn’t getting un-banned any time soon, so I thought why not – I should also say that having: Totally Dubbed aka: 1337 Gamer is utterly epic haha! I know I’m a gamer, but no need to call me 1337 Jude! You’ll make me blush 😛
Might I also add, no rule has been said for discussing bans – but clearly that is against the rules, and even gets you re-banned/warned for it. So, as Jude once said to me, about me wanting to remove my reviews from the site: “that’s your provocative” to decide what to think of it.
A picture I took, when I reached 1,337 posts a while ago, when I was not-banned on Head-fi – Ironic right :D?
I hope you enjoyed this article, it sure gave me pleasure writing it.
I also don’t regret saying any of it – this is my honest opinion, and the truth. Friends that know me in real life, know that I’m too honest sometimes for my own good – unfortunately, that’s me. Believe what you want, and read what you want. This is my story, 4,300 words later, Totally Dubbed on Head-fi/Ban-fi/Admin-fi, wishing you a good day and hoping you got a better understanding behind my ban, and more so, how Head-fi is actually operated! 🙂
I should finally add, that my login has been since revoked, and thus I’m unable to login and furthermore my profile, was edited and all links to my website, and what not have been removed.
FYI: Most of the comments down below, till the 17th of July, where posted before this article was fully constructed, and written. But I’ll leave the comments down below, so you can laugh at some of the admin replies -> There’s no north Korean censorship here! (something I joked about when I first wrote the draft of this mini, now huge article) haha!