Recent Changes on TeaChat

I thought this would be a safe place to discuss some of the recent events that are happening on TeaChat, such as most recently the removal of Chip as Admin/Mod and the beginning of censoring some threads and posts. I know a lot of us use both Steepster and TeaChat. I’ve lurked on both websites for a while and only recently started posting, yet even for me the drama was surprising. I’ve heard that TeaChat used to be much more active than it is now, and that this really might fade the website into the past.

17 Replies
tperez said

Interesting, I hadn’t heard about that. I’ve never been particularly involved on TeaChat, but I’ve lurked there for a long time. It indeed used to be more active, until a year (maybe two) ago there was a really bad format update that nearly killed it off. After lots of complaints they updated to the current format.

For a long time I wondered if Adagio was purposefully trying to kill off TeaChat; there’s not much discussion of Adagio products there, mostly higher end teas and pu’erh.

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Streak said

Shine Magical, I’ve just now discovered this myself. I remember the problems with the format update from awhile back (a year or 2, or 3, ago) but it seemed like they had more or less recovered from that. I do remember how much slower the forum seemed when I stopped in shortly after the changes were made, but TeaChat rallied, even if it never returned to its pre-update activity levels.

tperez, I also wondered if maybe Adagio was purposely trying to kill off TeaChat since the discussion wasn’t centered on Adagio products. And I too have been a lurker, for the most part. But I loved the atmosphere there and the amount of knowledge and information shared is just amazing. I wish there were a way to archive all of it. It will be tragic if all that information is lost. I’m angry at myself for taking all of that for granted now.

Shine Magical, what is the other forum you’re referring to? (You said you post in “both places”. Do you mean here, on steepster?)

PS — I just registered at the new forum created by “steanze” (hope I’m spelling that correctly). I’m still holding out hope that Adagio will reinstate Chip and leave well enough alone, and that TeaChat will somehow remain as-is, but I know that’s unlikely at this point.

If the active, core members decide on some other place (other than steanze’s forum) to call home, I hope someone will post a link a here.

>>Shine Magical, what is the other forum you’re referring to? (You said you post in “both places”. Do you mean here, on steepster?)

Yes, I was saying that a lot of tea drinkers post both on Steepster and on TeaChat.

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Teaotic said

It’s where I discovered quality online tea vendors, 10 years ago. 200,000+ posts.

For posterity, this is a (not-final) draft of what I posted late last night, in Chip’s recent thread, that was deleted sometime the past 24 hours:

“The ‘specialty’ tea industry is not a zero sum game. Adagio was wise to permit a mostly autonomous Teachat, which surely assisted the rapid growth of the ‘specialty’ C sinensis industry- at least in the US, where previously there wasn’t much of one- by providing a forum for ‘early adopters’/influencers/enthusiasts to share tea experience and knowledge.

Clearly, current activity on Teachat is a sliver of what it was.

Adagio’s goal going forward may understandably be to convert more hits to Adagio customers, nothing wrong with that. I certainly hope that relatively scrupulous mainstream specialty tea companies like Adagio (Harney, TeaSource, etc) fill the Teavana-shaped void.

But, Teachat’s 200,000+ searchable posts can never be forced into ‘consistent messaging’ with the rest of Adagio’s web presence or marketing strategy, without deleting most of said posts.

So instead of pruning 10+ years of Teachat content to reduce positive mentions of other vendors- most of whom are niche/specialist, not and never were Adagio’s competition anyway- imho Adagio’s best course would be to acknowledge the public good of Tea knowledge and experience that are Teachat’s ten years of content, by 1) creating a distinct Adagio-focused forum, on message with Adagio marketing, and 2) spinning off/selling/donating the non-Adagio, historical Teachat content, for public reference, on a nonprofit domain. Hosting costs for a static html archive would be negligible, and this act would benefit the specialty tea industry, including Adagio. The tool the site admins could use to create a static archive is here:

Teachat is 100% Adagio’s content, so this course of action is unlikely. But it doesn’t hurt to suggest.

Much thanks to Chip, all the long-gone members, and the few holdouts. I doubt I’ll post here going forward, it’s getting weirder than it was with no mods at all. But it was nice to return now and then over the years. Cheers!"

Streak said

Thanks for posting this. It’s so sad to see this happening, but I hope this can be the beginning of something better: a place to share information, (re)build the knowledge base, and establish the same camaraderie without any worries of the censorship and restriction inherent in a “branded” forum.

I agree that Adagio’s best course of action, if they insist on making this change, would be to archive (not delete) the current threads, so the vast knowledge there is preserved and remains searchable, while creating a new forum that meets their new demands and has clearly spelled out rules going forward. But as you’ve pointed out, this is unlikely.

Do you happen to know of any method or programs that would allow readers (as opposed to site admins) to archive the information there?

mrmopar said

I frequent both sites. This is my main venue but I check TeaChat daily as well.

andresito said

you bring up a valid point “Teachat is 100% Adagio’s content, so this course of action is unlikely. But it doesn’t hurt to suggest.”, no different than all this content is Steepster’s content. Its only a matter of time (years, decades?) that Steepster pulls the plug too…right?

Teaotic said

andresito, the difference is, steepster is not owned by a tea vendor, teachat is- and used to be relatively autonomous, for a decade, until recently. I don’t know how steepster makes $ to cover costs, I haven’t been very active here.

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VoirenTea said

I mentioned it in the now-deleted thread, but has multiple snapshots of it has taken on various dates. More frequently a couple of years ago, a handful from this year and 2016.

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Streak said

VoirenTea, good to know. I’m a sporadic visitor over there so I didn’t see the deleted thread, and I also missed much of the drama the first time around.

To echo what someone else said, I don’t intend to leave Tea Chat in a huff. And I agree with the people who have pointed out, over there and here in this thread, that Adagio was generous in allowing the forum to carry on for so long despite the fact that their own products weren’t discussed or promoted there.

I hope (somewhat desperately, since it was my go-to resource for everything from vendors to equipment to brewing parameters) that they archive the current forum or simply leave it unchanged, but I’ll likely keep checking in for awhile even if there’s a major overhaul. For what it’s worth, although it’s a different format and serves a different purpose, I’m glad to have discovered Steepster now too. Thanks for posting this link over there, Shine Magical.

It’s sad to see this happen to such a great community but I’m optimistic that the core members who have left will create something lovely in its own right. Maybe — fingers crossed — it will become the thriving community Tea Chat was in its heyday.

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Shae said

I saw this at the top of the discussion posts and thought perhaps someone bumped it, as it seems relevant now. I guess it was coincidence though that a spammer chose this particular post since I don’t see any new comments. I hadn’t heard about this controversy with Teachat/Adagio until AJ brought it up earlier, but now it seems to be popping up unexpectedly.

AJ said

I did bring it up, yes, and was even thinking of bumping this particular thread because it was relevant, but it looks like someone beat me to it and then deleted their post. Or by complete coincidence a bot revived it before being removed. That seems like a stretch.

Shae said

That would be quite the coincidence. :)

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Streak said

Shae, I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t been back much in the 3 years since posting to this thread. I had to check the rest of the forum to see what you were talking about, and I couldn’t be more disappointed in the decision to hand Steepster to Adagio (who, incidentally, had also originally insisted they’d be leaving TeaChat alone.) Perhaps things will be different this time around, but I don’t trust them.

The core members at TC did create a new group:

I couldn’t let go of TeaChat at first and you might still have plenty of time to enjoy Steepster before Adagio does whatever it’s going to do, but I hope everyone will at least stop over at and see if they might enjoy participating. It’s independently run and your contributions and reviews there will never be deleted out of loyalty to a vendor.

Shae said

I’m trying to be hopeful, but yesterday I was admittedly so upset. I love the community here and am hoping for the best outcome. You’re right – I’m not ready to let go. It’s still early though and they won’t officially be taking over until next week, so we’ll see what changes they start making then. I did go over to just now to register. Can’t have too many places to talk tea! I’ll definitely be checking it out over the next few days to see what it’s features are like. I’ve also been dipping my toes into Reddit recently to see what that’s about, but my heart is still here at Steepster.

AJ said

Honestly, thank you for popping up again anyhow and providing input. I briefly mentioned in the other thread, but posting it here adds context to how things ‘ended’.

Shae said

Yes, thank you! I did a little online research to learn more about it, but it’s good to hear from people who were actually there experiencing it.

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