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Buying Lotion on Amazon.com (chrxs.net)
97 points by cdubzzz on June 11, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 80 comments

It's important to note that at least some of this problem is the fault of traditional retail. Aveeno MAKES all these ridiculous size and quantity combinations (at least some of these multipacks are shrink wrapped together). When a store stocks them, they choose to stock only a few. But Amazon is giving you GLOBAL insight into all available options Aveeno makes from any distributor who has access to them.

It would be nice if Amazon could make the comparison easier for us. But in this case most of the problem is that it's simply exposing the underlying wholesale/distributor model directly to the consumer.

Yes, that's very true. Even in brick and mortar stores, single manufacturers may provide multiple types and the retails often provide confusing information for comparing them. E.g. an 18 oz. Aveeno bottle with a price tag that shows $0.42/oz and a two-pack of the same bottle that shows 7.99/unit - and then perhaps a "SALE" tag attached that displays a different overall price and no further information.

For largely B2B McMaster Carr seems to have solved this. I can easily select items, the sizes, quantities and prices are all obvious. Amazon should strive for this level of simplicity for more of it's items. Especially compare the Amazon supply/small parts items to McMaster options. Did like the lotion described in the article is even worse.

I think a big part of McMaster's model is to be able to put a very high price on things, knowing that for business customers the time saved by having such a well-organized inventory is more than worth it.

They also white-label almost everything so that it's hard to go directly to their suppliers.

I'm guessing that that level of curation comes at a high cost to add new SKUs to the catalog; they go as far as to commission artwork and provide CAD models. It would be really hard for Amazon to approach that while striving for minimal margins and letting 3rd parties add SKUs in huge quantities.

Having the CAD models is amazing. Being able to drop their ready made models into my projects for verification before ordering the parts is worth it.

Also amazing is that McMaster has been like this since the beginning of time. Or at least 2001 when I began ordering from them. I've been waiting 16 years for Amazon to achieve similar fidelity in their parts catalog but it has actually become significantly worse in recent years.

However, with McMaster Carr they do not show the shipping charge until it is packaged and shipped. That can lead to sometimes surprising high shipping charges.

This is a part of a big problem in consumer products - a tons of confusing or missing data. Prices are hidden. A lot of the specification isn't shown(what's the wind strength of that fan in cfm, vs noise in db ? no i don't need marketing terms like "strong"), it's hard to compare by spec, and we don't know anything about long term reliability.

On the other hand, many b2b markets have that, because the buyers there demand it, and usually only buy a product with a spec.

Maybe there's some solution to that problem. But i do wonder, if it exists, would consumers use it to purchase stuff?

I used to work in Amazon Seller Support. It's a complicated issue when you build a platform for selling things, and then let anyone in the world use it without any training whatsoever.

You got a lot of sellers coming over from sites like eBay, where your listing is your listing. You upload an item to sell, it gets a page all to itself, and you can do whatever you want with the listing quality. Then they migrate over to Amazon because reasons, and can't cope with the fact that items for sale are grouped together with everyone selling that item. This leads to tons of shenanigans like people making up their own UPCs to get their own listings, using the wrong UPCs to get onto more popular listings, and all manner of trickery.

Occasionally you could catch a case with one of these malfested ASINs, and work with the catalog to unwind the broken mess. Unfortunately, more often than not, that wasn't your job to do that. Further, doing that would take a long time, which would destroy your average case resolve time. Better quality of the catalog was not job number one, only metrics, always metrics, ever increasing and eventually impossible to satisfy metrics. As far as I could tell, quality control wasn't anyone's job, and thus it led to the Amazon catalog you have today. It's almost as if Amazon has decided that bad quality listings will lead to low sales, and the problem will eventually sort itself out, but as we can see that has not happened.

For myself, before and after the job, I always look for Shipped and Sold by Amazon. Otherwise, you literally never know what you're going to get, and it's on you as the buyer if you want to take the gamble or wade into the waters of the A to Z return guarantee. But that's a whole other mess for another thread.

Thanks for the insight. That sounds about like what I figured while thinking about this.

And yeah, I think the "fulfilled by Amazon" filtering is the key to simplify things. It won't always be the best deal (and isn't in this case) but there is a real sense of "risk" with other options - something that I don't think can be solved by the third party store pages and seller feedback.

> And yeah, I think the "fulfilled by Amazon" filtering is the key to simplify things.

This is actually different from products shipped and sold by Amazon since Amazon now stores and ships products on behalf of its third party sellers as part of its fulfillment program in order to increase the number of products available under Prime.

So it's possible to receive a product stored and shipped by Amazon at their own facilities, but sold by a third party seller. The user to whom you replied searches specially for products sold by Amazon itself. Amazon is the seller in this case.

I think it's interesting that it appears aliexpress does much better at this - possibly because they don't have any equivalent of "shipped and sold by Amazon"? They don't compete with their power users on an unfair footing.

That "unfair" footing being the brand and logistics expertise that they built from scratch and later offered portions of, generally a la carte, to other sellers on the platform?

A revealing peek behind the curtain. Thanks.

As a user I find Amazon astonishingly hostile when searching for products. Sure - the delivery, order process, support etc. is excellent, but I find it difficult to actually find products in the first place.

I appreciate they've used some kind of system to identify products and group the various options from different sellers into one listing. But I've never seen an example where this has worked well. The sizes, styles, colours and so on that are displayed are always completely mad. Like, enough to the point where I frequently abandon my attempt and just buy from somewhere with more sensible categorisation.

A lot of this is because of 3rd-party sellers. To make things easier, I usually filter by "ships from and sold by Amazon". Some of the pricing and "styles" for 3rd parties are ridiculous because they're algorithm-driven. That's likely why the $9.99/oz price happened. https://www.fastcompany.com/3060803/algorithmic-pricing-is-c... has some context on why and http://www.michaeleisen.org/blog/?p=358 talks about how . TL;DR Amazon picks (using their secret algos, ofc) which selection should be the default among the sellers. Everyone wants to be that to get more sales. Sellers then fix the price to a different item which has the price sometimes fixed to that other item, or potentially a loop with more products involved. They then proceed to algorithmically price each other far beyond normal costs for the item.

sure, it's "because" of the third-party sellers but it's still amazon's fault. If they want to provide options for third-party sellers in their product listings, it's amazon's responsibility to make sure those listings are correctly categorized.

Has anyone else been reduced to looking through hundreds of pages of results for common items like bottle openers or salt shakers? It's a nightmare, and there's often no good way to filter through them if you don't already know exactly what you're looking for and have an easy way to describe that. There's so much duplication even when the descriptions are different, and just so much junk.

Really awful user experience there, unless you have simply expressible needs or are satisfied with the first page or two of results.

Similar to the issues with categorisation and while people blame third-party sellers for a lot of the problems, one of the features that would be help would be being able to exclude third-party sellers from search results altogether.

When the Nintendo Switch and Zelda had just launched, Amazon had no stock of either but third party sellers conveniently had loads at below RRP. Call me a cynic (I didn't test the claim) but I'm doubtful I wouldn't get a S-S-S-Switch instead of the genuine article.

Currently having this problem buying baby shoes on Amazon. The four sizes are duplicated and it's hard to tell which colors are just outright sold out for the size I want. Plus I need to weed out the third parties that are either selling this for more than retail, and I just can't figure out which combination results in the cheapest price that is listed.

I will probably just give up on this and either buy whatever color I want or go in-person to a baby shop to buy them.

This is the underlying issue why Amazon is not ready to be a one-stop clothing shop.

It's called "the paradox of choice":


There is undoubtedly money to be made here (one way or another - see last reference): the supermarket chain ALDI has invested in a strategy where they provide limited choices of goods (e.g., spaghetti sauces, breads, etc.) thus reducing buyers' anxiety, store size and increasing profits. It seems to be working:

"Why I choose to have less choice":


"Why C[onvenience]-stores Should Consider the Aldi Approach":


Finally, there's a debate as to whether the paradox of choice is real or not:

"Is the Paradox of Choice Not So Paradoxical After All?"


The paradox of choice only exists between things with meaningless differences!

The difference between these is the price of a single product, there is no paradox here, the user just needs to take over an hour + programming to even get the information out of Amazon.

I moved to Norway some years ago, and the grocery stores don't have as much choice. You might have 2 or 3 choices of canned tomatoes, but one choice if you want a can of beans. Sometimes, you just get the selection that store sells, and if you want something different, you have to go to another chain in another location. One of the chains reminds me a lot of aldi, though they tend to carry name brands for many products.

This is frustrating to me at times, after being used to the stores in the states. Overall, however, it makes grocery shopping quick. And as a bonus, I can generally stop by a store on my way home from anywhere or take a short walk from home.

Interesting. Thanks for the references.

It strikes me that I have recently done this in another area as well - grocery shopping. We used to go to the largest, cheapest grocery store, less than a mile from our house. But now we much prefer a smaller, more expensive place a few miles away. A bigger part of this decision is local/organic options and pricing, but I did recently think about exactly this (the incredible amount of choice and associated anxiety) when I had occasion to get a few things at the big store again.

Hmm. I like having choice in the sense that I can choose what I prefer and someone else can seek their choice as well. An alternative is only having access to the popular product in that segment (maybe I don't like Fujis, or I prefer whole milk over skim).

I think the paradox of choice is an issue when you initially don't have prior information on something, but once you know what you prefer, there is no paradox as one is pretty much settled with one's choice.

To me the real lesson of this post is something about analysis paralysis and losing financial perspective.

The majority of the options appear somewhere around $1-$2 per oz and it appears a typical bottle is around 10oz, so the difference here in the pricing is somewhere around $10. Worrying about this problem for more than about 10 minutes loses all the money you'd "save" by ensuring you're on the cheap end of that spread.

Not everyone makes $60/hr or values their time that highly. $10 has made a difference to my life, at the right time.

Sure, one shouldn't actually spend that much time picking which lotion to buy. But perhaps one should just shop elsewhere; and I think that's the point of this post. Amazon has become so full of counterfeits, confusing options, over priced third party sellers, etc., that for something like personal care products, most people these days would likely have a much higher quality experience starting off at drugstore.com or target.

Author here - this is perfectly true. I, perhaps ineffectively, tried to cover that briefly in the conclusion - basically I am worried about dealing with this sort of thing when I become a father in a few months. Expenses will rise, my wife's salary will fall, and time for doing this sort of research will be hard to find.

If you combine your story with the stories of counterfeit items sold by third parties on Amazon, you'll pretty much just never buy certain items from Amazon ever again.

I even found reviews for _counterfeit diapers_ on top of this problem of 10000 types of packaging for the same diaper and so now I just buy all my diapers and my prenatal vitamins from Costco.

Sure, if you only bought a single item once, but when you have a shopping cart full and a repeated purchases over the year, $10 here and $10 there can easily add up over the year. The article is clearly just highlighting the wider problem using a single product as an example.

That depends entirely on your income level. Someone unemployed will be well severed by trading his time for savings.

Amazon.com also has a tendency to combine different (but related, sort of) products into the same page as different "sizes" or "styles" supposedly of the same product.

Reviews from all of these are merged, as are the Questions & Answers.

For a current example, https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0056OUTBK/ref=oh_aui_de... combines listings for computer cases in a variety of tower and rackmount sizes, server racks, drawers, and rails. Separate items all available as options on this page.

For reviews, Amazon now labels them with the "style", i.e. one review is for the "Server Rails" style, while another is for the "Server Case" style (though there are a half dozen different "Server Case" style items on the page, each with different characteristics). Questions & Answers are just a free-for-all that requires humans to sift through context and figure out which product is actually being discussed.

One of the questions on the linked product page, ironically asks, "Do I need rails to mount this in a rack?" It's a complicated question to answer because the question could have been posed about one of the many 2U or 4U cases ("yes", unless maybe one of them ships with rails) or it could have been asked about a tower case ("no, this isn't rack-mountable"), or it could have been asked about the rails or the rack themselves (as humans, we screen these possibilities out by context and logic), or about the shelves offered (not a completely unreasonable question -- maybe a shelf could be sold without rails?).

Or if we're not so observant, we click Buy after reading Q&A and reviews, only to later learn that we bought a different "style."

I really don't get on well with Amazon (uk). Finding products is hard. I mean there are things in life that you research, then there are things that aren't really worth researching. Examples: I wanted an Exercise Ball once, Or a waterproof bluetooth speaker.

These types of search yield generic cruft, and despite all the options, none of them seem to have any meaningful impact in the search.

The only other notable thing winding me up is ebay "not collection only".

> I wanted an Exercise Ball once, Or a waterproof bluetooth speaker.

If it helps, my strategy is usually to do five minutes of research through Google first and then just get the item from Amazon. The only things I discover through Amazon's search function are things that are more or less commodities, in which case I buy the cheapest that fits my constraints for whom reviews aren't horrible. I buy and have bought a LOT of stuff on Amazon and I've never experienced the choice paralysis or search issues everyone is talking about here.

I used to be like you until I discovered the thewirecutter.com. I own their recommended bluetooth speaker and it's been great. I've also bought luggage, a TV, <$20 ear buds, packing cubes and more based on their recs. I know this sounds like an advert, but it really is that awesome.

This unfortunately matches my experiences shopping for conditioner, toilet paper toothbrushes, toothpaste etc. on Amazon.

Someone on HN at some point made a web site that used to list the cheapest items in some common categories by unit price. It was called papersomethingorother, but I un-bookmarked it because it went down awhile back.

And it gets even worse when you find the typical retailer game where you list unit price for the same product in two different units (price per ounce for one size, and per gallon for another) so now have fun doing unit conversions too.

It's all just a complete mess.

Why would you buy this stuff from Amazon?

I can go to any of about four supermarkets between home and work, or two personal care stores, to buy toothbrushes, toothpaste, conditioner etc. The shops have chosen between three and ten or so lines from several manufacturers, depending which one I chose, and all the products are legitimate and meet the required quality and safety regulations. Searching online seems much harder than looking on a shelf and picking one.

(You may have fewer shops close by, but presumably there's at least one shop selling these goods.)

> Why would you buy this stuff from Amazon?

You can purchase products in larger sizes for lower $/[unit] and in many circumstances set them to be automatically purchased and shipped on a periodic basis for even greater savings all from the comfort of your couch.

You can additionally get 5% back on top of all of this if you use an Amazon Prime credit card and pay it off monthly.

The savings add up over time and it also results in a cart that is considerably less full during the weekly grocery shopping trip. Paper towels eat up a great amount of the volume in a standard US grocery store shopping cart.

The easiest way to avoid the pain many users experience is to exclusively purchase products shipped and sold by Amazon and to make use of third party sellers only when necessary.

My specific example (from the article) seems to counter some of what you suggest, though. E.g. -

- Of the 37 sizes, only three are available for subscription.

- Even the 5% subscription discount is not the best deal.

- The lower $/unit on larger quantities does not consistently hold true.

I was unaware of the additional 5% back on the Amazon Prime card, but I'm not sure that should really factor in here. My AmEx, for example, gives 6% cash back at grocery stores and I'm sure other cards have comparable offers. Also, Amazon Prime, like my AmEx card, has a yearly fee that will eat away at some of those additional savings.

If we accept that the amount of choice Amazon.com provides is a good thing (and I think it is), does the subscription model not defeat that advantage? I think it does, at least to some degree. Since the 15% discount subscription price is the best deal (on Amazon.com), why even have the other 36 "sizes"?

What you suggest as the "easiest way to avoid pain" is precisely what I fear - that Amazon.com may eventually become "shopping".

The best part is when you're switching through the various sizes, styles, etc. and you find out that some of them are actually completely different products than the one you were shopping for. How did they get lumped together? No indication is provided. So you have to be very careful when ordering these types of things to avoid buying something completely other than what you actually wanted.

This is frustratingly common. Worse is that it also lumps the reviews together. It's really easy to find a product you're interested in, see that the reviews are positive and then on further inspection realise that the reviews are for a completely different item, and that there's either no reviews or much less positive reviews for the specific item you're looking at.

It even happens in books now, and books used to be one of the few types of products where Amazon's UI was more or less bulletproof. In books that have multiple translated versions available, for instance, switching from "hardcover" to "paperback" can switch you to buying an entirely different translation. Even worse, the only indication they provide of this is that the cover art is different, which is often true for hardcover and paperback versions of the same book too. So it is very easy to buy the wrong thing.

Maybe Amazon has just given up on UI and assumes that everyone will be buying via Alexa?

I actually find the options amazingly helpful. For most items, there is a description of what the different options mean.

Would you rather have them show just a single option, which may or may not work for you? Or give you the choice of one that works for /you/ the best?

If amazon had a !#$%!#$%ing table like TFA posted then it would be fine; I was ordering something recently, and it was similar to this where the price per unit was an order of magnitude different between all the options, with the additional complexity that some options were "add-on" only (cannot buy except in orders totaling a minimum of $25).

Yes, the combination of "add on only", or "prime exclusive" makes shopping on Amazon a lot more stressful than it should be.

I agree with this to an extent. The more information, the better! But how that information is presented is equally as important as the information itself. I would be perfectly happy to have a list of 37 (or 100!) sizes if the list was actually that - different sizes. Instead, what is presented in this instance is more "listings" from other sellers that, in some cases, are outrageously overpriced.

In the past couple years, Amazon.com has been a prime example of a company getting too big; because of its size, it can get away with consumer-hostile behaviors like implementing a terrible UX, shipping counterfeit goods, or allowing sellers to game the review system and put cheap products at the top of the search results with hundreds of bought-and-paid-for 5-star reviews. If Amazon had serious competition, I don't think they could get away with this stuff.

But is there any good alternative? I buy from Target.com whenever an order includes food or health products, because I actually have some confidence in their supply chain. But of course their shipping efficiency is years behind Amazon's.

> But is there any good alternative?

They don't have a million different options like Amazon does, but Costco is an excellent option. They have an amazing customer service with a very generous return policy, high quality products, great value proposition. Plus they have B&M stores, for when you want to actually try things before purchasing, etc.

Thank you, I had no idea Costco was selling so much stuff online now.

> shipping counterfeit goods

Do you have an example of this for a product shipped and sold by Amazon rather than one stored and shipped on behalf of a third party seller as part of Amazon's fulfillment program?

No, just shipped by Amazon. And I now only buy things that are shipped and sold by Amazon, having learned the hard way. But I expect many people don't know the difference between "sold by" and "fulfilled by" in terms of commingling.

He'll also now see ads for lotions across the entire internet. To me that's the creepiest part about shopping on Amazon. I will see ads for things I searched for days afterwards.

The size and variety issues are a big problem when buying shoes. I see the following sizes on some Chuck Taylors: 9.5 Men, 9 1/2 Men, 9.5 (D M), "Womens 11.5/Mens 9.5," and some European sizes mixed in.

If I want to buy some shoes, I have to check every combination of my size and the colors to find what I am looking for. Sometimes there are multiple names for the same color, too, e.g. "gray" and "charcoal."

I think the bottom line that Amazon is letting sellers enter whatever values they want. They should make sellers choose things like shoe sizes from a dropdown that has a standardized list.

I am also increasingly leary of amazon.com since I simply feel they are getting too big. I don't really care for brick and mortar options that much but rather I simply don't feel there is enough competition to keep amazon on their toes and ensure that competition will get consumers a good deal going forward.

The main issue that Amazon have, is that they don't give a shit about data quality. Or more at least they didn't, they cared more about having everything available and figure that they could deal with the complexity of product data later. This is Amazons biggest mistake, they never considered how complex product data, and perhaps they don't need to care. Profit certainly seems to indicate that it's a minor detail.

Amazons search only work on titles, nothing else. At least that's what they tell you when using the reseller API. That's it why title on Amazon sucks and why you can't find anything specific, yet are able to find EVERYTHING. Amazon have perhaps 200.000 different HDMI cables, produced by far fewer manufactures, it's just the branding that's different. Amazon doesn't have to care though, it doesn't matter which cable you by, they get paid anyway.

If Amazon had chosen to deal with having good, high quality product data, it would have taken them many more years, and much more resources to get where they are. More importantly: They would have made it much harder for resellers to push their products feeds to Amazon, and they would have pick eBay as their main platform instead.

tldr; Amazon have shitty product data and it doesn't matter, because shopping on Amazons platform is a lot easier than trying to find the same product elsewhere.

It would be funny (not really) if the lotion that arrived was counterfeit.

Due to Amazon's "just throw it all in the same pile!" method of combining their and re-sellers stock.

> However, my biggest reason for avoiding Amazon.com is simply that it has become incredibly confusing to shop there. Searching for just about anything will yield thousands of results and it takes (me) a lot of effort to determine which one is appropriate.

On the other hand once you have figured out what to buy once, it is trivial on Amazon to buy that again when you need more.

Consider toothpaste. I use Crest, purchased at my local Walmart. They seem to stock a bazillion different kinds of Crest, emphasizing various combinations of promoting/preventing/improving/accommodating one or more of:

  • cavities
  • gingivitis
  • sensitivity
  • plaque
  • tartar
  • whitening
  • fresh breath
  • surface stains
  • acid erosion
They also come in a variety of flavors and textures (gel or paste).

I care about cavities, gingivitis, plaque, tartar, and acid erosion. I am indifferent to the rest, except for whitening. From what I've read there are at least two different ways a toothpaste can promote whitening, one of which is arguably bad for you (weakens enamel or something like that) and one of which is neutral, and so I prefer to avoid whitening products unless I'm sure they use a definitely non-bad method.

The last several times I've bought toothpaste at Walmart I checked my current tube before heading to the store and attempted to buy one that matches it, and have failed. I have no idea if I failed because Crest reshuffled the combinations or I botched the matching, but whatever the reason I end up spending 15 or 20 minutes in the toothpaste aisle trying to make a choice every damned time.

The last couple of times I've checked prices toothpaste was actually cheaper locally than via Amazon, but I'm probably going to switch to Amazon anyway just to be able to use the "buy it again" feature.

That's certainly fair.

Generally I've found that Amazon is rarely cheapest option, but I can understand paying the convenience.

In addition to my particular type of lotion, I only buy a particular type of toothpaste (because most toothpaste has SLS and that gives me canker sores). Basically my approach is to find the cheapest possible price and buy it in bulk. I have done that a few times over the past couple of years (I currently have 10 tubes, hah) and, I think, always with different retailers. That tends to work well for me, and I don't think Amazon.com's additional features are worth the extra cost, in that case.

I also found Amazon to be increasingly difficult to navigate, which is why I made nugget (http://nuggetapp.co/). nugget uses a mix of machine and human curation to pick out awesome stuff at great prices from Amazon.

Word. This looks cool

This seems like a perfect FNAC startup... an alternative Amazon interface that is curated to only display the highest real rated items in a category and lowest cost per unit. Screen-scrape and/or use an API, not hard at all. Also, can use a stronger verification (like phone number and captcha) to ensure comments are real and not some seller gamification spam. Basically, add a layer of metadata that Amazon doesn't provide and a better/alternative shopping experience. Throw in some machine learning to recommend items and some community tips which can recommend specific items.

Something like https://anom.az

I've also had a taste of amazon bullshit:

I went to buy K&R C from amazon and it costed 150€. That was too much for me, but there was a different version below it: a "used" K&R from a different publisher and different cover, that costed 30€.

The book arrived and it's just photocopies of the original, in the form of a book. Normal Photocopies on what seems to be a just a bit finer than the average photocopy paper.

I've read the book. I still don't know why the original is so expensive, and if the authors/rightholders received any of my 30€.

Seems Amazon may be creating an opening for manufacturers to sell bulk products direct, for that subset of consumers who just want no nonsense options.



I have been looking for this in some cases recently. If there is a particular product where I either know I need a certain brand or have researched options and settled on one, I try to remember to check the manufacturer's website first.

A imagine a memo from Jeff Bezos with that link attached going around on Monday (if not sooner)


Would you please stop posting unsubstantive comments to HN?

Well, I didn't see a rule against humor in the guidelines, so I foolishly assumed it was allowed...

Humour has to have a joke & be funny, references to other things with the same words is neither.

You didn't really make a joke, though. Just mentioning a pop-culture thing in reference to the topic isn't automatically funny.

BTW, regarding one of your dead posts, "You are posting too fast, please slow down" means that your post rate has been silently and permanently limited. HN is very cagey about its post quality/spam control measures, to the point of not actually telling people that they're being disciplined.

It's one of those unofficial community rules which is tragic and really funny at the same time. Like what kind of boring and ultimately cold community do you get when your community policing doesn't allow humor?

You're allowed humour. Good jokes get upvotes.



> I agree with what people have already said, but I think there's one more point to add: people usually over-estimate how funny their own comments are. We have a tendency to think, "This idea of mine is hilarious! And different! Surely this witticism is the exception." And we are usually wrong. When you have N people all doing that, there's a lot of noise.

> I try to gently point this out to people who complain when their attempt at humor has been downvoted by the community. It's not that we don't like humor. We just don't like banal attempts at humor, which becomes noise. Or, put in a less charitable fashion, "You're not as funny as you think you are."

People's standards get really skewed by Reddit, where any half-assed reference to a current meme or popular movie will usually wind up top-voted.

And since different people have completely differents ( and often incompatibles ) ideas of what a good joke is, it happen once in a blue Moon?

A very large part of comedy is knowing your audience.

Humor is allowed, but low effort memes and cultural references tend to crowd out interesting substantive discussion and are so predictable as to not add much value. Look at popular Reddit threads, you can often guess the top voted comment.

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