Data-suck, n., a condition whereby more data or information leads, paradoxically, to less knowledge, clarity, or understanding.
In shopping, it's when a shopper has gotten too much secondhand information (reviews, friends' opinions, specifications, test results, manufacturers' literature, etc.) and not enough firsthand experience, such that more "research" actually leads to greater indecision or confusion rather than less. The data-suck illusion is the belief that more secondhand information will help a dilemma resolve, e.g., if one has read nine reviews, and is in a state of confusion, reading a tenth will settle everything.
Actually, of course, the only cure for data-suck is more "real" or firsthand data—trying something for oneself, doing one's own tests, or seeing, hearing, touching, or experiencing one or more examples of the product category firsthand—or just doing something and moving on.
(I'm just sayin')
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Featured Comment by Gordon Lewis: "Are you speaking from firsthand experience, Mike? (Heh, heh....)
"Part of what makes 'data suck' such a growing problem these days is that cameras are more complicated while also being harder to examine first-hand. Local retailers are declining in number. Inventories are shrinking in size and diversity. Salespeople at big-box stores are barely knowledgeable. Buyers think they can find the information they're looking for on the Internet and in various fora. Instead, they find verbal fistfights. One side argues 'That camera sucks!' The other side argues, 'Does not!' The predictable counterargument is 'Does too!' And on and on it goes...."
Featured Comment by Erez: "I know this term as "Analysis Paralysis". Very easy to get sucked into this in the internet age...."
Mike replies: I agree. The reason I find myself chuckling over the term "data-suck" is its implication that what is promising to add to your store of knowledge is actually depleting it.
A related problem is "Connoisseurship Paralysis." That's when you know so much that no available solution hits the elusive, exacting target of your over-refined desires.
Featured Comment by David Dyer-Bennet: "This is a major contributing factor to my observation that the first time you buy something in a new-to-you category, you're very likely to get it wrong (first digital camera, first SLR, first guitar, first cell phone, etc.). You don't know the questions to ask or where to look for the answers or how to interpret the language of the discussion."
Mike replies: Quite possible, but it's also because you don't know how your needs intersect with the conventional needs of the "set of all consumers." I just mentioned connoisseurship paralysis, which is the far extreme, but at the other end—the near extreme—you do need some connoisseurship in order to make a suitable choice. What's good for the majority might not be what's best for you, so you need some experience to get to know yourself as well.