Keyboard Vendor Rating System Reveal


This is a good idea, but I worry about how well it will be maintained over time. It’s almost like a permanent “trade industry group” needs to be established.


I only listened to 20 minutes. An hour-long un-commented unedited video is a bit of an ask. :wink:

I’ve thought about this problem privately a lot: what about requiring escrow services or requiring vendors to provide insurance registration or underwriting services. Only vendors in the “basically no risk category” can go into triple-A rating or whatever you’d like to call it.

I disagree with the video saying “what is typically an indicator of impending failure is ghosting people” ; that step is already step 2 of “actual failure”. Launching group buys to snowball cashflow between separate projects, basically setting up a way for undelivered projects to pay for other undelivered projects is step 1. Any way that provides insight into how financially spread thin a vendor currently is would actually address what I have noticed over the years is one of the main problems.

Edit: For years I have avoided Noxary products. The moment that did it for me was when Ryan announced The Heavy Grail, and immediately Noxary announced the Evija. That announcement was particularly rushed, it was a bog-standard render of a 60% keyboard, with bold promises that anyone who has tried to create an HHKB housing can glance at and know it’s not close to what an actual aluminium HHKB ought to be. Then suddenly a month later orders were open. There was a vibe of sniping customers from another vendor, without actually putting effort into the product, that was very “off” for me. I hope that any centralized reputation management should allow for a private channel to raise warnings or qualms.

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I can see what people are getting at with some of their criticisms, but this is just a start & done by people on their own time for the community too. I think it’s a great start & something that can be refined over time. As it stands it’ll at least give newbies & people who are out of the loop something to reference. Instead of going into a GB blind.

Huge thanks to everyone who put this together. I’m hoping to watch the full video & go over everything this weekend. If there is a way I can help I sure will!


I’ve seen a lot of people worried that new and upcoming makers are disadvantaged. Well, that’s always been the case. I like the transparency a lot. I want to know when it is a 1 man operation. No one is saying they can’t proceed to run a group buy. They apply for rating and get an ‘N.’ You are now aware that there is a higher risk. Simply makes the “caveat emptor” more weighty

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Yes 100% this is just an initial voluntary effort that hopefully improves with time and more community feedback!

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I think people need to understand that any vendor B and above is currently considered low-risk and in my opinion the climb from N->B doesn’t seem all that difficult (nor an unreasonable ask)


I think this would be an ideal for customers, but I just don’t see a world where vendors agree to this. The bigger vendors who are already considered low-risk by the community don’t even really need advertising services on reddit and other forums so I’m not sure they want to go through the added overhead of third party verifications.

I do agree with your point, but I think what rmendis was trying to get at was that with this system in place, step 1 would be (hopefully) harder to achieve given the limited advertising some of these higher-risk vendors would get. Given how hard (most likely impossible) it will be to get all vendors to agree to third-party involvement as mentioned in your first point, I don’t think there is currently a solution to fix step 1 and the next best thing the admin team came up with was to just give as much objective historical information to customers.

At the end of page 11 on, they do apply the proposed system to some of the recent failed vendors for some clarification.


100%, this really wont change anything as far somone getting started as a vendor. Also like you said we can now see who is running stuff by themselves or with a crew of people. Which for would highly influence my buying decisions. Honestly with the boom of new people into the hobby during lockdown, something like is definitely overdue.

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That a group of volunteers have initiated a rating system is fantastic! It’s a great start with an important mission. Thank you!

I don’t know where you’re at with this now. It would be helpful to get the system out and available for general use, keeping in mind that newbies should be able to easily find it. Newbies are not often banging away on discussion boards. It should also be in a production format, one that enables us to quickly find our vendor of interest. Links for details could be embedded. Maybe this is already done and I haven’t found it.

Once it is out there you will also get more feedback that might help you to improve the system.

A few criteria that I did not see, but I fee are important.

  1. Inclusion and quality of build guides. I’ve had personal experience, as a newbie, with poor build guides and videos that are missing crucial steps. This can, and if discussion boards are an indicator, does lead to disappointment. There is a sense that I get from the experienced KB enthusiasts that reminds me of the protagonist in the documentary River Runner. At the beginning of his career he is hardcore and has the attitude - if you can’t keep up, you are left behind. Experienced KB enthusiasts leave comments like, “yeah, did that once too. You’ll learn”. Later in his career he finds himself in the latter position. Fortunately for him kayaking has changed and there is a more helpful, community approach. The new experts take him along and help him out. In other words, we should be holding the vendors accountable for providing guides that don’t leave gaps. We spend a lot of money for a keyboard. The guide should guide us perfectly to a working keyboard. This guide, in my view, should be part of the rating system.
  2. Build quality as advertised. Delivering a KB is important. But the keyboard delivered should be as advertised and should note transparently any limitations. I’ve received keyboards with known design issues that were not noted in the product description. At least one of these is not a minor annoyance.
  3. Availability of spare PCBs and plates. If a PCB is blown, the keyboard is dead. Try to get a spare PCB from vendors. No spares, no AAA rating in my opinion.

Again, thank you for undertaking this work. It’s great! I actually see this as part of a wider initiative that has a mission: making keyboards fun and accessible to everyone. It would organize, consolidate (or include links) to much of the very helpful tutorials and advice that is scattered about the web.

While I’m here, I’d like to thank Taeha. I think I’ve watched his lubing video seven or eight times, and would have been lost without it. We definitely need a high quality video for newbies about how to plug in JST cables correctly.