Which new features do you want the most?
I’d like to be able to see the numbers listed underneath the rating bar so that I know exactly what percentage I’m awarding a tea before actually selecting/posting it.
I’d really love a mobile version… it would make easier remebering to update my tealog :)
Also, something I do with other social network mobile websites, is a Chrome app I keep opened all the time on my pc desktop. It starts with Windows and I make it so it’s about the size of… a messenger roster :D looks like an app, and it really helps me remembering to update. A mobile version of Steepster would be really nice. I could make my own Steepster Chrome app :D
I’m new to tea and steepster (and I didn’t read all 29 pages :-( ). Would it be possible to include a price for these teas? A tea mght be really good, but I don’t have/want to pay $25 for 2 oz. It would be nice to sort teas/subtypes by price range
Good idea! It might be hard for all of the prices to stay updated to the dollar and cents amount, but even a general price range would be helpful.
Nice, but $ for me may be $$$$ for you, and $$ for one kind of tea may be $ for another and $$$$$$!!! for another kind.
$15 is in absolute terms may be a large amount of money for an ounce of tea, but for a fine DanCong it’s quite affordable, and for rooibos, it’s highway robbery!
..etc could be nice. But then again, a good chunk of folks who use Steepster are international ($‘s mean little), and many tea stores have 2 or 4 oz minimums, or you have to buy the whole brick of pu’er.
Interesting things to think about, for sure.
I think that’s a great idea, and I’m even amenable to having it just in US$. Clearly I don’t use the greenback on a daily basis being an Australian, but I think currency conversion is so readily available these days it wouldn’t be too much of an issue. As long as it was clearly stated at the top of the page/homepage.
A similar issue is the amounts. I think this should definitely be in metric. Most of the world uses metric now. I have no idea how much an ounce/pound is, and always have to convert it whenever I come across it (I can usually remember the dollar conversion, it’s on the news every night after all!).
TassieTeaGirl: I hear you on the belief that the tea amounts should be in metric. I’m an American, and I do feel a little embarrassed that we Americans still haven’t embraced the metric system (I remember my high school science teacher telling me we will eventually go metric. That was over 20 years ago. : – } ). I personally still think in the ‘old ways’ (in English measurements), but I can do most of the conversions to Metric pretty easily (I’m one of those math nerds). At least many of our food products and drinks now have both measurements on them (I don’t think they did when I was younger, but I can’t remember for sure). They teach both ways in the grade schools here in the states. It’s funny too, that we haven’t converted yet, because a base 10 system makes so much more sense than memorizing things like: 3 tsp = 1 tbsp, 2 tbsp = 1 oz, 16 oz = 1 lb, etc. Unfortunately I don’t think we will ever completely make the switch in my lifetime, though. Sad.
Including prices for the tea would be great, but it’s somewhat problematic, as Spoonvonstup wrote above. I personally include a description of the price in most of my tea reviews, sometimes simply based on my perspective of how expensive it is—which is, of course, subjective— but if it’s readily available, I try to include the data, too—which, of course, can change over time.
Now including that data so we can search on it means a change to the interface and to the underlying database. Cool idea, but it would take some work on our illustrious overlords’ end.
Simplicitea – I’ve not really noticed a huge change in tea prices over time for the companies I usually purchase from, more the accessories that change prices. I’m sure there must be a way around that though!
I know it’s been mentioned a few times, but I have not seen any instances of “we’re working on this” or “we’ve already discussed this and decided not to”.
What’s the word on the iPhone/Android/Smart Phone app ideas?
I don’t yet have an iPhone or anything, but if Steepster were on it, I would actually be much more likely to get one relatively soon instead of waiting a year for my contract to end. I would love to be able to review a tea or tea location on the go.
On a separate note, I think it would be fun to have the ability to add a photo of a tea to a logging experience. It would likely be as a small thumbnail that can be clicked to be viewed larger.
I agree. I’d love to be able to log my experiences away from my pc…. but most importantly, when I’m out and about and I see a new tea, I’d love to have an app just to see the tea ratings before I buy it. I would easily settle for a mobile version of the website too.
The problem with the photos is the site’s bandwidth. :[
I use this website 99% of the time from an iOS device, and I can tell you its almost mirror to a non-mobile browser, not slow to load, an does not eat up all my data. The only difference I have found is the slider bars are more difficult to maneuver in the tea rating window.
I’d like to see a new variable added to the tasting notes. The option to add the “Price Paid”. This would open up a lot of doors for new useful features such as filtering the teas by average price paid. To really push it over the edge, if a steepster phone app were to ever come into play, all of us could check the average paid price right there on the steepster app before they ever get into the checkout line.
Another feature that would be really cool is geotagging teas with the stores. It’s irrelevant for me here in east texas, but lets say I’m visiting dallas and I’m on a random street down-town. Look up the vicinity (probably by zipcode) on my steepster app ;) or on my phone the old fashion way, and then see what steepsters have bought in the area, and from where. With geotagging and a price variable, you could easily find out who sells what and at what price you should expect to pay at that location. Seems extreme, but when you consider steepster currently has 90516 tasting notes to date…. it’d all build up quite nicely in the long run.
This idea is fantastic. I particularly like the geotagging. While the price paid option would be helpful, the geotagging would be my first vote. :)
Great ideas! I suspect implementing these would be difficult, though. Still, it’s always great to dream, and give voice to those dreams!
It wouldn’t be hard to implement at all. Obviously the price option could be added to the site (globally) within minutes. The geotagging option would also be extremely easy since the base has already been introduced to the site (via tea lounge directory), but this would just work off of that idea. Allowing steepster members to add store locations on their own time will eventually build up a MASSIVE database across the globe. If a store is already added, then it won’t need to be re-added later… steepster members would just start building a database of the teas at that specific location as they buy them there. In the end it’s a simple design that depends solely on the users to build it from scratch.
Wonks: I know it may sound easy on the surface, but as a programmer/developer in a past lifetime, it is my experience that often-times (not always, mind you) these things can be much harder to implement than it seems, unless I truly understand the underlying technology, that is. And usually with complex systems such as software that rely on a database, a user interface, etc. no one person understands it all: there usually are a group of people who do. And getting them all on that same page is also not an easy task. Anyway, this is my vocalizing my mixed feelings about technology: it’s great when it works, but the more complex it is, the harder it is to manage. At least, that’s from my experience being on both a user’s end and a developer’s end.
Have you ever read, ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance?’ Sometimes simplicity is the best option. : – )
I have fairly extensive experience in web design with xml (but it was only 1.0). I am jumping to conclusions when I say that it should be a very simple task, but it SHOULD be a simple task. I’m not sure what kind of programming you have experience in, but all html is very straight forward and xhtml is no different imo. I think that a cluttered code and directories can make things a super big pain (which would make it a not simple task). However, Disrupto is a wonderful team of 7 web designers that have done big projects for companies like Samsung, BET, Madison Square Garden, and even NY Rangers. So I doubt that it’s less of “they don’t want to spend the time adding a price option” and more of “they’re super busy with payed contracts”.
Wonks: Wow, interesting information about Disrupto, and impressive. My experience is more on the back end (programming/database), with very little on the front end (GUI). I hear you on the SHOULD. There are many things that SHOULD be simple (or seem like it on the surface, even to those with experience, myself included), that in reality, aren’t. For example, adding a new field to a database, and any associated keys, and what-not (admittedly this is going back many years for me), is not necessarily a simple very task (from what I remember). And yes, if the system is designed with flexibility in mind, then adding a field that we can do a search on SHOULD be a simple task, but I have found that software systems rarely seem to be very well designed, especially when it comes to flexibility.
Anyway, my responses here are about my own personal disillusionment with technology and its purported benefits and ease of use, and not about you or anyone elses technical capabilities; I have found that the benefits of technology always come with a cost, which almost always involves greater complexity.
And I hear you on your last comment. Again, I have rubbed elbows with some pretty competent, intelligent, educated, and experienced technicians and software programmer/designers (I do not place myself in that category, btw), and too often I remember hearing casual comments from the best of them like, “To do < that > all we need to do is < this >,” only to find out (not always) we all discover it is not as easy as it first seemed on the surface. That is why I got out of the business of technology (what I sometimes refer to as my ‘former life’). Personally, I’d rather deal with people than technology. I find people to be more predictable, more reliable, easier and more pleasant to work with, and even more understanding and forgiving than technology (It may not sound rational, but I personally find it to be true).
Ah, well. The rantings of a former programmer. Take it for what it’s worth.
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.