Which new features do you want the most?
Did someone talk about having a Like button for comments? And by comments, I mean on these threads not reviews of teas :)
Seems like there have been a lot of fun suggestions lately that would eat up processing power and slow down the site as is. Steepster is a free site, hosted as a side passion-project by Disrupto. Clearly, paying customers come first. If these more complex things are ever to be implemented, either money or time (ie: also money) needs to somehow magically appear.
But I think there’s no reason you Steepster guys shouldn’t see some income from running and maintaining such a great place. Some kind of minimal advertisement would be the way to go, but what kind so as not to clutter-up Steepster and make it less impartial?
You might have luck if you give all tea companies the option of adding that little Buy Now button to their teas. Tea companies could pay a per month subscription per each tea, and then all tea companies would have the chance to have a buy now button, instead of just the ones that have been part of Steepster Select, If you still wanted to gift the buy now button to those that helped you out with that program, then you could give them a free couple of months for that tea, or just a permanent freebie for that one.
I think this could actually make the site more user-friendly, more impartial (since almost all companies would opt for this, so the Buy Now button would be there for almost everything instead of scatted here and there), plus it would reward you guys in a clean, unobtrusive way for all the work you’ve done.
I’d like to be able to add another photo or 2 to my account…especially to show a tea occasion or “how to” on a tea (a picture is worth a thousand words). Would add to the personality of this site. I regularly have tea with my grandsons and would like to post a photo (encourage young guys to have tea too!).
Maybe a thread for green teas, a thread for black teas, white, herbal…
Just a thought.
I know that it’s mentioned before but the ratings must be though a bit more, especially when Steepster is quite rating-centered.
1. There is no proper rules to rate so most people rate 90+ on everything
Something like Appearance 20, Flavor 20, Fragrance 20, Extra 20 etc…
2. I thing there shouldn’t be plain rating without notes
3. Thing for consideration could be the race of the rater, because Asian-grown people rate much differently than people from Europe, that is if there aren’t going to be proper rules
I agree with you on point #2, which I’ve also mentioned in this thread previously.
As for point #1, I’m not sure where you’re getting that impression. Take a look at a cross-section of the most recent tasting notes and you’ll see that most people do not rate everything 90+.
What I’m really curious about though, is the third point you mention: “Asian-grown people rate much differently than people from Europe”. I’ve never heard that before. Do you have any references for this information? This kind of idea is strange to me, and I want to know more about any studies and data behind this assertion. It interests me because I used to date an American-born woman who was partly of Filipino ancestry and partly of Norwegian ancestry, and I know that she would find this kind of idea quite offensive. For my part, I’m not interested in arguing the point; I’d just like some more information to understand where this idea is coming from.
Point #3 sounds like nonsense and could you please clarify. I just meant if you clarify your point, I could make some sense of what you are trying to say. No offense intended.
Scott, judging my thoughts as nonsense is not very nice.
Regardless, people from China rating 90/100 is not the same as people from France, Greece etc.
Geoffrey, I meant when someone likes a tea, sorry for not being very specific. When a rater likes the tea he just gives it something like 90+, I’ve seen many people going like 100 which is crazy…Crazy if you want your rating to mean something of course
@DukeGus – In any case, it’s hard to imagine normalizing a rating system across many, many thousands of users. The array of people using Steepster come from dramatically different levels of experience with tea, as well as different preferences with regard to taste, different physiology affecting their experiences of taste and aroma, different ways of preparing the tea, different water-quality available in their area, as well as different ideas about relative quality and value. The result is that everyone more or less defines their own system for rating teas. It just means that you have to take a given person’s ratings in the context of their experience, preferences and relative rating averages.
Some people do indeed give almost everything they log 100, but from what I’ve seen they’re in the minority. There’s probably less insight for others to gain from people who rate that way, but some users aren’t necessarily here to provide insight for other people – but rather, to keep a personal tea journal for themselves. To get insight from the ratings of others you have to look at the larger picture of how they rate and describe things over time, and it takes more work. But I think it’s worthwhile to put in the effort if your aim to find great teas.
Anyway, I doubt a perfect system could ever be devised for it. There are too many different variables. Especially on the experience side, consider someone who has tried 5 bagged teas vs. someone who has tried hundreds of artisan whole-leaf teas. To truly normalize ratings with hard and fast rules you’d potentially have to exclude the less-experienced taster until they’ve gotten up to speed with other more experienced tasters. I don’t think that’s what this community was created for. Do you see what I mean?
Also, I’m still interested (as I indicated in my last reply) in seeing some references or further clarification regarding what you said about the race thing. Where is this information coming from?
I know the issue of rating teas has been hashed, and rehashed, but, why not hash it again? : – }
The way I see it, any rating system is going to be imperfect. As Geffory posted (or implied), there is no way to get around the fact that the values of the person rating the tea will impact how they rate any one particular tea, or teas in general. And, like it or not, all of our values differ (some, obviously, vary dramatically), which will affect what we all think a particular tea needs to have to deserve a rating in the 90’s, 80’s etc. There are so many examples that I feel could be given here to emphasise this, so I thought I’d give a few: how much money do you have to make—or how much do you have to own, or whatever—to be considered, middle-class? How old do you have to be to be considered middle-aged? How much is too much to pay for any given tea? It’s all subjective. And from my understanding of the way overall ratings are determined, I don’t think any one person can really skew the ratings that much, anyway (usually outliers are thrown out of the more complex rating sytstems, as I think is the case with this one).
I’ve looked at many a person’s profile to see how they rate teas as compared with me, and I judge that I am tougher than most (the tea has to deliver quite a bit before I even give it 80 or higher, for example). I sometimes feel a little guilty when I rate, say, one of Verdant’s teas or Franks teas, based on my own system, and everyone else seems to have rated it higher. But when I look at the effect my rating had on the overall rating, I noticed it doesn’t affect it by much. Anyway, I put much more emphasis on qualitative information (objective description using as many details and data as possible, mixed in with my own feelings, observations and judgements) rather than on quantitative information (overall numbers) in my reviews.
For these and other reasons when I look at a tea I don’t give that much weight to the numeric rating outside of a meaningful context. One number, for example, I judge helps to give context to the rating is how many ratings/reviews there are. For example, a tea rated as a 72 with 50 different ratings has more clout with me than a tea with an 85 that has only 5 ratings. The way I see it, there has to be something notable about a tea many different people felt a need to write a review for and/or give a numerical rating to.
And as Geoffry mentioned, I totally agree with the importance of looking at the reviewer’s overall record, so-to-speak (on their ratings of teas). For example, I like to look at how many teas they have rated, how often to they rate them ‘high’ (over 80, or 90, or whatever you think ‘high’ is), what their preferences tend to be, how objective and detailed they are (especialy in mentioning data rather than simply stating, “This tea tastes good!”), etc.
Of course, some chose to focus more on the numbers. That’s OK, too. I think the system is designed to honor both. Either way I trust that in the end the teas that need to get the attention, will. : – )
Point 1, can’t be done. Everybody rates based on how their own personal experience with the tea in question was and according to their own personal tastes. It WILL be biased, and as we can not see through other people’s eyes, smell through their noses and taste with their tongues, we can’t say that they are not honest about the number of points they have chosen to give. Some people, I do this, will automatically rate a favourite type high. For me it’s Fujian black. A plain Fujian black has be mixed with something extremely unpleasant for me to not start thinking of a rating of at least 85. This is because I love Fujian blacks. It’s bias. I can’t change that. What it seems to me like you’re basically saying with your wish for a standardised rating system is that if I love something that the majority find boring or unpleasant, I have to give it a mediocre rating? I would rather forego rating at all.
Some people draw up a scale of how they rate and post it in their side bar info. I suggest you look for one of those when you read someone’s post and compare their given rating to that.
Point 2, you can. Just don’t write anything and hit post on the popup. On your own account it will show up that you gave this tea this many points, but it won’t show up on the tea’s page or the recent posts page or on people’s dashboards. (It will probably show up in recent activity, I’m not sure. I don’t use that feature)
Point 3. I find this statement problematic and for some, potentially offensive. I should like some clarification and elaboration on this. Right now I’m reading it like the idea that black people are more musical because they have ‘rhythm’, which frankly is a load of toss. I distance myself strongly from the idea that some people have certain qualities more than others based on their race.
Angboda don’t find my 3rd point offensive. My 3rd point has nothing to do with DNA or something genetic.
It’s the way people are raised, they are taught how to rate and what the scale 0→100 means. As I write on my first post about this “Asian-grown people”(which I meant people grown in Asia…) and while I clarify that again after Scott’s msg I’m amazed that you mention this again.
P.e. for most people from China if something doesn’t get 90/100 it’s almost no good while in France if something get’s 16/20(80/100) it’s pretty good…
I’m thinking the ratings again and again because when you judge a homebrewed beer, the rules are very helpful and they can
1. educate you(senses, mind) with every new rating so you become better rater
2. they have a pretty objective way to judge beer, leaving all personal thoughts to yourself and concentrating on the organoleptic properties of the beer you have in front of you
While I understand all the difficult stuff that Geoffrey mainly pointed out and which are all the way correct, having some rules and having every tea judged a certain way, will help people don’t just write post like
“omg, amazing tea, my absolute favorite for this week” 100
but making them think about appearance, aroma, taste, aftertaste etc.
One amazing site for judging beers(ratebeer.com) that is not very strict about anything is a way to see that stuff like that can work, if you are willing to concentrate and make the ratings much better, and especially if you are so rating-centered web site like Steepster it would really help everyone.
One other way is not to have numbers as a rating but just the smiley faces or something…and I guess I and you too, can think of many ways for the rating system to get better regardless the difficulties :)
One other point to consider.. folks use Steepster for different things. Some people rate teas only for themselves, based on how much they liked it at a particular moment. Tey don’t care who sees their ratings or how their rating impacts the tea’s overall “score,” because the ratings are just for thier own personal reference. They are using Steepster as a personal journal.
Also, some people (like me) may only log on and rate a tea on Steepster when they’ve found it fantastic. It takes me a long time to write reviews, so I’m not going to invest that time reviewing a tea when it was only “meh.” I drink at least five different kinds of tea every day, but I don’t have time to log them all- instead, I only log a tea a few times a month. Looking at my rating log gives the impression that I am free and easy with high scores. On the contrary, I would just rather not talk about a tea that wasn’t good (unless it was particularly bad) because I don’t feel that that’s a helpful thing to share with someone.
That’s the kind of place steepster is. Is a community of users who all review based on their own standards. There are tea review places that are more strict (for example http://www.teaviews.com/ ), but those places only allow moderators to review for pretty obvious reasons.
You’re very correct that any community rating system is going to have tons of biases and weirdo rating swings and flaws, but I at least am okay with that. Yes, I have some super favorite teas, and yes, I am sad when others didn’t love it as much as I did, but what can I do about that? Nothing.. just keep drinking the tea and enjoying it myself.
As they say- that’s life!
Truly, the rating system is very strange. One has to orient themselves around a scale that only has slight suggestions of what “this rating” means or what “that rating” means. I don’t really like it, and I think a x/100 scale is too precise. And if it still had to be that precise, then being able to know the exact number of your rating would help.
I’m new here and really enjoying the website, but I’ll admit that I haven’t read all 30 pages of suggestions. One thing I think would be a great addition to the tasting notes are optional additives – milk, sugar, honey, lemon, etc… I would love to see how other people take their tea and which teas lend themselves better to what.
On ratings. Its really not that different on any site that allows ratings. I may purchase a movie, or a electric tool on Amazon and love it where as someone else may find fault with the tool, it may break on day three due to their misuse which they fail to mention, the movie is very subjective to one’s taste, etc. Ratings are simply a guideline, not gospel. I do agree that leaving comments is important because at least then we can see the perspective of the person rating. I need to get better with this myself. However I think one thing that would be great is if we could get an added feature – which would be to check how much experience one has with teas. Myself, I am new to loose teas so I fear my ratings are not going to be as astute, complete, or complex as others. I also fear that over time, with more experience, I may revisit some teas and either like them more, or less, depending on how my own taste evolves and what I learn. I would like to easily have the ability to notate with my ratings and reviews that I am a newbie so that maybe others can understand where my point of view comes from. Then again I suppose people may feel they are more or less experienced than they are – then we are back yet again to everything being in perspective.
Good points, Azzrian.
And I like your idea of adding a feature to ‘qualify’ the rating a person makes about a tea by their experience, but that’s subjective, too. I’ve been drinking tea and writing reviews for about 8 months now, but some peeps are brand new to this site and write much more in-depth reviews that I do (for a myriad of reasons). So I wouldn’t to use time as a factor, for example, of ‘experience’.
I am with you on this: “Myself, I am new to loose teas so I fear my ratings are not going to be as astute, complete, or complex as others.” Still, my reviews have evolved in the time I began writing them, and I hope they will continue to evolve. One interesting thing to do is to look at a person whom has been around awhile (maybe, like, at least a year) and look at some of their recent reviews and compare them to their earliest reviews. On some, I can clearly see a difference. And, with regards to your own reviews, you can always opt to add another tasting note at any time to add any new information, experiences etc. that have changed about a tea you already wrote a review for.
I sometimes note that I am a newbie on a particular class of tea, or type of tea, but that’s up the the person reading my review to look for that. I base my opinion on a tea much more on the written parts, and on how many reviews have been written about a tea (there’s got to be something to a tea that has 50+ reviews, wouldn’t you say?). Anyway, just my thoughts. :)
Hello all! I am loving this community so much and wanted to throw out a few suggests. One, could there be an improvement for mobile devices (Specifically iOS) on rating a tea? the slider bars for steep time and temp are very very difficult to accurately maneuver. Second, it would be nice to have an eye candy thread, there we could post pictures.. of delicious tea and I know some of us have beautifully designed tea accessories. Lastly, sometimes I wish I could search for a specific type of tea (like Dragon well) and have it list by highest rated.
In response to the “qualify” idea, I think the thought behind this is wonderful, we all know some ratings are more informative than others. It would be kind of nice to upvote or downvote a rating to make the communities most informative submissions towards the top.
The blue colour of the threads with unread replies in them is very very pale, I think. I find it difficult to get a quick idea of which are blue and which are white at a glance, especially if there isn’t a white coloured thread nearby to compare with. I would greatly appreaciate it if that blue colour could be slightly darker so that it was easier to see a difference.
And while I’m at it, some sort of little marker or something to indicate which replies to a forum post are new since last time we looked would be nice as well. Especially when the threads grow into several pages, it would be quicker to find the new replies.
I second this first point!
A slightly darker blue would be very helpful. :)
I couldn’t agree more with the second! Sometimes I spend 10 minutes looking for replies on really long threads (like the swap thread) and a marker would be so helpful!