When a Reviewer "likes" something

... what does that mean in your opinion. I read in one of the last Stereophile mags a comment from Mr. Atkinson where he wrote about the differences in "opinions" in forums or in printed mags. After all he ended with the argument, a component is good when a reviewer likes it.
Isn't is more helpful, when a reviewer knows something about a real tone reproduction? Or is it ok, when he used every month another CD or LP he got for free, a kind of music nearly no one wants to listen to?
Harry Pearson used in the 90's always the same records for his reviews but that was an exception I think.
What is it worth for you when - for example - Mr. Dudley/Fremer/Valin/HP .... "likes" something? Do you have the same "taste" they have?
I know it is possible to like a Turntable even when that unit can't hold the proper speed, or is extremely sensitive to any influences, there are endless recommendations written about such units...what is it worth for you?
Atkinson for example measures units, some have top datas but they can sound very boring, far away from the real thing, some have no top datas, some "tests" are shortened because a unit can reach a area which can be pretty dangerous (see one of the latest Agostino units, just as an example) but they are rated Class A in recommendations anyway....
When someone "knows" what is right or not, then his "liking" is only a personal opinion which is more or less uninteresting or?
Most customers (not all of course) would prefer to know what a unit is really able to do sonically, or not? Would knowledge destroy the joy of Hardware rolling? Or is there a reason why reviewers use low efficiency speakers when they have a tube amp for review (for example Lamm ML2.1/ML2.2 with Magico Speakers)? Is the matching "expensive + expensive" the proper way to show competence?
Zenblaster makes a very important point. Audio mags are a business model. Reviews are there to get you to see advertising and ultimately buy stuff. At lest it works that way for U.S. pubs.

Gave up TAS ten years ago after 16 or 17 years reading it and gave up S-phile before that.

Take reviews with a grain of salt for many reasons. Like the OP said, reviewers can have odd system matches depending on "Loaner" equipment. They can also go through so much equipment that I wonder if they have a basic sound identified all that well. Another gem is when an expensive unit is reviewed and they have nothing comparable on hand. And if you have decent level of room treatment, how much detail do you want to believe from a reviewer that has not addressed that basic issue. One could go on...

And that says nothing about if you have tubes but the reviewer has all/mostly soliid state or the other way around. If the readers speaker are vastly different that the reviewers, e.g. horn vs panel, its hard to interprate.

Jmcgrogan2 had a point as well, are some of these reviewers flat out dishonest?

Maybe I am being too harsh, I have picked up usefull info from reviews but you have to be aware of the caveats imo.
Go one-on-one with with a highly qualified independant tech (the one I use has 50 years in the game), and you will lose respect for nearly the entire industry.

$40,000+ amps, that due to their design, blow their transformers on a regular basis, and too many horror stories to even begin to tell. But with 50 years at it, you will soon get the idea, that many designers really don't know what they are doing, and worse, don't care.

It's very disconcerting, but that is the current state of affairs.

There are, of course, many very knowledgeable designers, but there are enough that only care about profits, to make the situation disgusting, especially with the exorbitant current prices of supposedly SOTA equipment.

This says a lot about the equipment reviews. They must be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.

Although many folks don't trust magazine reviews, I do want to give them credits as to keeping us informed of all the latest and high quality equipment in the market. Remember the old days when both TAS and Stereophile were in those smaller size format (underground???). I then just started this hobby and didn't know a thing abou it. They indeed did a great job introducing me into the world of stereo. Over time I found that review is a review and I still need to audition it myself and trust my ears.

As of today, some components I own do sound like the reviewers described in their reviews. Of course, there are some bad sounding equipment that sound totally different from the review.

Review magazine is not a charity that we all know. They need to bring in revenue to survive. It is totally up to you to trust it or not.
Audiolui - Oh the good old days. Came across TAS 1984-85 and it was amazing to find it. A big reason why I am still in the hobby. HP was still explaining on a regular basis why TAS has to go the advertising model!!!

Stereophile rose up from a distant second, from a serious audio mag point of view, to be interesting. I subscribed to both in the 90s.

TAS even going from a no ad mag to a full on advertising model was never able figure it out a business stand pointly which cought up with them later, TAS went down and was later rescued. TAS content suffered in the processa and was never the same again. (I welcome any old TAS experts to join and fill in blanks)

Stereophile came up strong only to be sold to a "roll up" company with a bunch of other mags in the late 90s. A "roll up" in the 90s was when scammers would buy a number of small companies and roll them up into a bigger entity that would later do an IPO on the stock market. I would have to take some time to look up details but it did not work out well. Stereophile the mag survived but it suffered too.

Point is, this has nothing to do with talking aout "charity". Both have been through tough times and they exist because there is a business model that works.

These are not your dads "underground" mags these days.
Are there any really good "no advertising, underground" type mags or web sites worth checking into. And btw, I reiterate that I have found many A'gon member comments and suggestion very helpful. I decline to mention names (handles) so as not to embarrass anyone, but A'gon is fortunate to have quite a few "EE" tech members whose posts I consider to be terrific.