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Utterly Annoying Tasting Notes!

77 Replies
PeteG said

Checking in fm Haiti:
WoW! What a string…
Drink some Tea: Make some friends…sometimes we don’t agree but in the long run…we are f a m i l y!
Peace and all good! Especially in a Tea Cup!

:)

Stay Safe!
Bless you!

Carolyn said

I hope you are doing well in Haiti! Please do stay safe. We all admire your generosity of spirit.

I’d love to hear about your experience in Haiti when you get back. Puts everything in perspective :)

PeteG said

One drop in the ocean of many droplets…many hearts are joining to confer as much as we can humanly do…to reach out and help in a time of need. Many are generous as well as the local population assisting in the location & recovery of lost persons, feeding, and cleaning up and just plain being as patient as possible for aid and assistance…it is slow coming…people are giving & generous as I understand there was a star studded telethon…but the logistics is the issue here.

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Jason admin said

I feel I should mention something else. While we do have the largest database of teas (that we’re aware of) at the core of our site and all of the features we include is the community and the people that make up that community. We put a lot of time and effort into developing aspects of the site to create a nurturing environment to foster and develop relationships between members of the Steepster community.

While we’ve been compared to Amazon or Yelp, we don’t necessarily agree with or like that comparison. Yes, we have lots of tasting notes which, for many people, serve as reviews. However, we believe that with most things, especially tea, you need to understand the context of the review in order for the review to be truly helpful. And in order to understand that context you need to understand the reviewer and their individual tastes.

We hope that through Steepster you can get to know people by following and interacting with them in a number of settings (tasting notes, comments, discussions, private messages, Select, etc.) so that you truly understand their unique perspective on tea. Therefore, when you see one of their tasting notes you can understand how it actually relates to your own tea preferences.

At the same time, we also strive to make Steepster a valuable reference point for people who come and look for something that’s closer to a “one time review” (again “different strokes for different folks” :). This hasn’t been our primary focus, but with features like the ones I mentioned in the early reply in this thread, we will hopefully surface relevant tasting notes for them as well. In addition to these features, it’s our belief that over time, these relevant tasting notes will also surface naturally as more people join the site and log their tea adventures.

jennlea said

My favorite thing about Steepster is the community! While I find value in the other features, I honestly think what makes this site so exciting and fun is getting to know other tea drinkers, finding ones who have similar tastes, exploring teas and people who don’t share your tastes, etc.

Individual tea experiences are unique but also can bring people together. Having one central place to share all that is such a treat.

Cofftea said

Amen jennlea:)

IdentiTEA said

I agree, Jennlea. The closest physical person to me that shares the same passion for tea as I do is 3-4 hours away. If I desire to interact with other tea drinkers, I must go online.

I joined Steepster back when it was just a tiny twinkle in the Overlords’ eyes… and then I forgot about it. I stumbled upon Steepster (again) a few days ago and discovered this place is booming! It has blossomed into a fantastic community with some pretty sweet features.

As of right now, I am not planning to relocate the rock I was under. ;-)

Cofftea said

My daily “Sara Mae Schneider is drinking…” statuses on FB wasn’t enough to remind you? LOL!:) I’ve been wondering where the heck you were in terms of steepster lol.

jennlea – I totally agree! I love the community aspect too! Through Steepster, I have already done 2 tea swaps and joined the traveling tea box.

Cait select said

I really love being a part of a site with a philosophy like this at its base. Thank you!

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Jillian said

As someone who has occaisionally written one-liner posts, sometimes when you drink a lot of one tea you run out of relevant things to say about it eventually. But at the same time I want to record what I’m drinking, if only so I can go back later and look at trends and remind myself of what worked and what didn’t.

true dat!

This is a great point – while we have a number of people on our staff who we sit around with and discuss the teas we drink – we don’t post unless we have something to contribute. But then again, when we post, we post our review as the aggregate of anywhere of 2-5 people commenting on the tea. Our reviews are posted as a tea business so we want to be exact, descriptive and a useful guide for purchase (we don’t like posting reviews on our own website, we have other things to do over there.) After a few of us get together an enjoy a tea, we put together the knowledge and commentary into a review here.

We could log every tea we drink (and I’ve thought of passing out our Steepster password to all of our staff members in order to pile up the reviews, but then I’ll lose editorial control, and what we do has to fit the message of our business). We have a guideline for our Steepster review because we are a business but using it the way you do, Jillian, is something useful for you and it gives me perspective on how flexible the system can be.

Pete

Angrboda said

The thing is though that the VAST majority of people using Steepster are private people drinking tea that they bought for their own money. It’s cool that a company can use it the way that you do, as a sort of site blog, but mostly it seems to be primarily aimed towards the rest of us.

Cofftea said

Yeah, I don’t like the idea of reading communal tasting notes unless they are all separate and marked as such. People’s tastes in tea vary too much and combining someone’s opinion w/ another makes it substatially less usefull.

You make a good point Cofftea, but it comes back to the flexibility that Steepster offers. Steepster does something that review blogs don’t do, it allows a more “corporate” review to be read, and compared right next to everybody else’s.

The other side of it is, Steepster has captured the tea review market – no other review site comes close to the potential that Jason and Co. will generate here. There is little that I could, or would, want to do to compete with Steepster in reviews. The end result, is to use Steepster and integrate my business into the community (my personal opinion is that the established review blogs that don’t come along into Steepster will loose credibility among newer drinkers – which is also the market with the most potential). If our reviews add value to readers here, then we help our brand, we help the Steepster brand and we help the users of Steepster and those who choose to follow us.

As far as your concerns with communal tasting notes; there is the advantage of us being able to “flatten out” subjective differences between drinkers. In the cases we’ve had when there was too much variation and disagreement between our drinkers, we opted not to post a review.

Our opinion – and this is certainly up for argument – is that when a small group of drinkers come to a consensus about a tea, it creates a validation in the description of that tea. It, therefore, reduces the amount of subjectivity present in the report about the tea and the end result is a more consistent review, and one that we feel is more useful.

Of course, our opinion basically proves what you said because, as I mentioned, we do intentionally avoid reviews when the tastings show too much variety.

Pete

Jason admin said

@Leafbox Tea (Pete): Thanks so much for the kind words and support for all our hard work. However, I do want to call out that it is very much a group effort. In addition to the fans, enthusiasts and tea drinkers everywhere, my partners, Mike and Jack, deserve a huge amount of credit. Even though I am often the public face of Steepster (since I’m not bogged down with development and design) and can understand why some might think this is a “Jason & Co.” operation, I want everyone to know how just how much Jack and Mike make Steepster what it is today. Every single day they are pushing us forward with innovative, thoughtful, creative and basically kick ass ideas I would never have even considered without them. They put so many hours into this project each day and I hope everyone understands Mike and Jack’s dedication and effort into making Steepster possible.

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fcmonroe said

I guess I’m confused. I’ve read almost all of this thread, I skimmed some, but I need to know: Is a tealog supposed to be a review? I thought it was just that. A log. Maybe Steepster needs to have both logs and reviews? Honestly, when I’m looking for an in depth review, I don’t look here. I go to one of the sites specifically geared to reviews.

Is there a difference between a log, a tasting note, and a review? I’m not trying to be hostile or defensive. I’m new enough to this site that I’m just feeling plain old confused at this point.

S said

Well, I know that some people use the site as a record of every single time they drink tea, hence certain tasting notes that just say “backlogged” or have only a sentence like “I like this tea.” Others only log new teas. Some only log when they discover something new about a tea, a steep time, a temperature, whatever. It’s basically up to the user how and with what frequency they log, and there’s no “right” or “wrong” way of logging (hence all the defensive comments on this post). I log my teas so that 1) other people can see a “review” of sorts, 2) I can keep track of what steeping times and temps work, and which ones don’t, or if I suddenly discover a new taste to the tea, 3) get feedback and recommendations from others via comments on my logs, and 4) read about other teas that people have tried and like. And if I don’t like a certain person’s log style, then I don’t follow them. Simple as that.

Cofftea said

My personal definitions of the 3… log: “such-and-such user drank such and such tea by such-and-such company”, no commentary, no parameters, tasting note: specific to that cuppa (includes parameters and/or commentary), review: over all review of a certain tea, often the 1st tasting note a person logs of that tea. (again why I think it’s important for us to be able to individually rate each tasting note in addition to giving the tea 1 over all rating.) So IMO steepster already has all 3.

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It’s tea! By drinking it and talking about it, we belong to this group. That’s all that is required. Every other personality quirk is incidental to the love of tea.
So even if my personal reaction to the original post is to dismiss it as pointless whining and to send back a flaming rebuttal; full of wit and sarcastic venom, I have to acknowledge that even nay-saying, fun-policing miserable killjoys have their place on this site. Just perhaps not on the list of people I follow.
Having said that, Steepster has it right. Let’s not see change for the sake of change. Let’s all just have a cup of tea instead.

Cofftea said

I agree… except I don’t think killjoys belong here. They ruin it for everyone else. People don’t have to continue to be here once they sign up. They can leave. And if they aren’t having fun here, why make not only everyone else but also themselves miserable? I’ve been on forums where I’ve left because of other people, I don’t want steepster to be one of them.

And meeting your good self in a virtual sense has been one of the highlights of Steepster, so please stick with it

Cofftea said

Awww! Life sucks right now and that was exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks. It’s good to feel appreciated and valued… especially from someone who’s pretty much a stranger.

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DavidT said

I posted this in the “Which new features do you want the most?” thread, but since this was the inspiration, I figure I’d put it here too and see what people thought of the suggestion.

“Someone might have already suggested something similar to this, but I had an idea while reading through the ‘Utterly Annoying Tasting Notes’ thread.

Give a new option on each persons Dashboard to select any tea they have previously logged a tasting note for, or perhaps added it into their Cupboard, and designate it as “Currently Sipping” or some such thing. This way, if the user has no new comments to add to their log, but still want to actually take note that they drank that cup and when, there is an easy way to record it. This information could still show up on followers Dashboards, but have a different designation. This way, those that are interested can observe, and others don’t have to worry about looking at “utterly annoying tasting notes”. Maybe even offer filter options on the Dashboard to customize how much info one sees from other users?"

teaplz said

Just a comment: I’m pretty sure that if you log a tea without any text, or just assign it a rating without any text, it doesn’t show up on anyone’s dashboard. That way you can “log” that you drank it, without filling everyone’s dashboards up with lots repeat logs.

Jason admin said

@teaplz: Correct you are :)

Cofftea said

Ditto already done.

IdentiTEA said

teaplz, Jason – Awesome! I didn’t know you could do that!

S said

That’s my favorite feature (logging without any text)…I do sometimes wish people used it more often, though! It can be a bit frustrating when your dashboard is filled up with one person’s tasting notes, all of which just say “backlogged”.

Cofftea said

I don’t think it’s right to say people use steepster too much. After all, if people didn’t use it, there wouldn’t be a steepster. If you happen to disagree w/ me (which is fine) then just don’t follow the people you’re sick of seeing.

S said

Take your drama elsewhere—I never complained that people “use steepster too much,” or suggested that these people not be on Steepster. I said that I personally find it frustrating when my entire dashboard is filled up with one person’s “backlogged” posts. I do not follow users that do that, unless I like their other posts. But please don’t twist my words and make it seem like I’m trying to oust them from Steepster, or that pushing Jason to change something. If you look at my comment, I was actually commending Steepster for having options so that people can log however often as they like without filling up other people’s dashboards with posts that don’t really mean anything to anyone else but are important to the logger.

Cofftea said

Shanti, I’m sorry you find my opinon as drama. I was not in fact twisting your words. I know you are not trying to oust them from steepster or are getting Jason to change something. I was simply stating that I think it’s wrong to tell a person how to use steepster or even to think that they are using it wrong or should change the way they use it. I was giving a solution that would keep you happy w/o forcing someone to change because you don’t like their steepster habits.

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Cofftea said

What’s utterly annoying is when you type a tasting note and it mysteriously repeats on you! And I can’t even fix it cuz when I click “edit” it looks fine.

Jason admin said

Is that happening a lot? We’ve never seen anything like that before. Private message me if it is.

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I haven’t started posting steepster tea notes yet. But oops sometimes I write very short tea notes on my blog, with “me like, mo not like” only (with photos though). If I may speak for some (not all though) people who write short tea notes… First of all, not everyone is a good writer. I myself have great difficulty using more than a few adjectives to describe one thing – I’m taking writing class now and working on it. But man it’s hard! Besides, there are so many tastes in tea that can’t be described or compared to other flavors.

fcmonroe said

Gingko, thank you! And by discouraging those who don’t write well, we would be taking away the opportunity to learn to write reviews. I know from writing some book reviews for my live social bookshelf that the more you practice writing reviews the easier it gets to write more than a sentence or two. I don’t know that I’ll ever reach the point where I can write paragraphs, but I do know that without practicing my short almost pointless reviews I’m even more unlikely to get there!

S said

Gingko keep writing! Sometimes short notes can say a lot more about a tea than a wordy, page long review! I said this earlier in the thread, but I like to read all kinds of logs – short ones, long ones, silly ones, serious ones. The only thing I don’t like is when people log a tea “for themselves” and only write ONE WORD, like “backlogged” or “drinking” something….in those cases, I think it’s better if people just leave it blank, since that way 1) it will show up in their own logs as a tea they drank, and 2) it won’t show up on everyone else’s dashboard.

Ricky admin said

I’m with you. I hate writing, but I have a tendency to babble on excessively. But we can’t see a rating unless someone states “backlogged” or “drinking.” Personally, those notes don’t bother me, seeing as I can read it in a second.

Cofftea said

Excellent point Ricky.

S said

Ricky, I see your point, but do people usually just write “backlogging” or “drinking” when they change the rating of the tea? I’ve noticed that when people change the rating but don’t have anything else to say, they usually just type one line like “Not as good as I remember” or “Really yummy this time.” Which is completely fine with me, as I like to see those kinds of changing tastes. But writing nothing but “backlogged” and then a rating change 1) doesn’t alert anyone to the fact that the rating has changed so you’re not even looking for anything, and 2) no one knows how (or even why) they changed their rating (since all of the individual logs for that tea reflect the new rating, not just the one log).

Also, they bother me because usually it’s just one or two people, and they’ll log like 5 teas at once, clogging up my dashboard. If you’re even on a slower connection, that’s hell. If you’re not, it’s annoying. And yes, I will unfollow most of these people, but what about when it’s people who I want to follow and read about except for those posts? That’s what I’m talking about when I say I just wish people would use that feature more.

Ricky admin said

And I see your point Shantea =P. Yeah, I don’t believe people change their ratings when they backlog. Excessive backlogging doesn’t bother me because it acts as a reminder (whether I should try it or drink it from my cupboard). If my internet connection was slow it’d bother me for sure. I guess this is where every Steepster member is unique in their own way =P.

Thanks! I am working hard on it. I dream of writing about tea better, and that’s the very reason why I signed up for that writing class.

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