The difference between bad and different.
Let’s take a look at a random ink.
Why are people buying it? I’m not that “artistic”, and I don’t own any crazy flex nib pens or anything like that, so I often just look until I find a ink that has a colour I like combined with ink properties I think is important.
It all comes down to the most important thing: what is the most important? For me it is a balance between great colour and short dry time. While others might not care at all about dry time, they just want a ink with all kinds of crazy colour shading voodoo going on when they use a flex nib or even a paint brush. And some care more than anything else about the ink being permanent.
I have some very strong opinions about what makes a good ink, but they are limited to how I use pens and ink and the properties I think is important.
This doesn’t mean that inks that don’t match up with mine or your use cases and priorities are bad, it just means that they aren’t for you.
Does this mean that there are no bad inks? No, of course. not. When you use something, and don’t like it, you either think it is just bad, or you conclude that it isn’t for you. For example Rhodia products and the Lamy Safari. I think both of them are excellent products, while I at the same time know that they aren’t for me. The same goes for the Moleskine.
The difference comes down to when you see the reason for what you don’t like. For example, the reason I don’t like Rhodia is that the ink takes forever to dry, but I understand why it is like that. I call something bad when I don’t see a positive gain from something I don’t like. For example the Lamy black ink, the colour isn’t great, and the dry time is just as bad. That is just bad.