to score or not score, that is the question...

56 Replies
Angrboda said

You know, guys, it just struck me. Everywhere you have some sort of ability to review stuff, like things you buy on amazon, or books you’ve read on Goodreads and similar, or restaurants you’ve visited on yelp, even reviews of things in papers and such, there’s always some sort of rating involved. But I’ve never ever seen this be a problem anywhere else than on Steepster. Nobody has ever tried to tell me I shouldn’t give a book a one star rating on Goodreads when I didn’t like the story because the ‘author might get hurt’ or ‘why did I keep reading if I didn’t like it?’

The only difference I can see is that Steepster has a much wider scale, but rating books or restaurants or kitchen appliences or what have you is still every bit as subjective as rating tea. It’s about your personal experience of the product or service. Why is it suddenly a problem when it’s tea?

This, I do not understand.

JustJames said

this was my point! though i didn’t put it precisely that way. however, i’m a live and let live fellow… everyone has their own method. =0)

OMGsrsly said

I’ve seen authors react poorly to 1 star reviews on Goodreads. It doesn’t happen frequently (thank goodness!), but maybe because it’s a much larger forum those reactions are a bit more diluted.

But yes, I do agree with you. Ratings of books and teas are based on opinions, and everyone will have a different rubric for judging, with different criteria, and give each a different weight.

Angrboda said

Yeah, but I mean other ordinary users don’t go around telling people how they can or cannot rate. I wasn’t taking author tantrums into consideration here. Besides, those authors would probably still have thrown a tantrum even if it had been a poor review with only text and no rating anyway.

Uniquity said

I think the thing for me is that high ratings can help a vendor sell their teas BUT I am unwilling to rate something highly if I found it poor. It may not be fair to the company but it is fair to me as a customer to say that a tea (or sometimes even a company) doesn’t meet my expectations. It may be very cruel, but not all companies really need to exist. Options are great but not everyone will succeed. I worked for an indie bookstore that went under as a result of loss of sales to larger chains and online shopping/ebooks. It really REALLY sucked to lose the place I loved to work at and be in, but it hardly would have been fair to all the others out there if customers somehow artifically boosted our reputation to try to keep us going when the need wasn’t there.

I am not out to destroy anyone’s business but I won’t lie about the good or the bad. Maybe that is the best thing to say.

JustJames said

Uniquity: well said. i’ll always be civilized… but i won’t pull punches. this forum is all about personal preference. i don’t like david’s, i find them unsafe. i do like verdant and butiki, as businesses they are transparent and IN MY OPINION they build great products. della terra i would love to love, but i find them very hit or miss and teavana i have simply grown beyond. that doesn’t mean i like every product of the businesses i like…. it means that overall i find them very good and because of their determination and hard work i much enjoy their creations.

there is wisdom to be gained by negative feedback… i have owned my own businesses and worked in customer service for years. if you don’t listen to the ’meh’s’ then you’ll never get to the ‘cue gospel choir’. you have to hear it all to be really good.

i bet lily and david duckler got some when they first started, same with stacy lim.

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Bonnie said

This is my last note here. The point for me was never about having the ‘right’ to score (which everyone does), but about being kinder and thoughtful in how and why the score is used. That this offends people troubles me. I must have misjudged the character of so many Steepster people. If I’m an old fool, I’ll remain so.

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I should probably let this thread continue burying itself, but I couldn’t help it. This whole rating thing has been giving me anxiety (yes, I have insane ocd issues that border on requiring professional help. lol)

I’ve been thinking a lot about the way I rate teas. Many times I have caught myself giving a tea a higher rating than I’d like because I am afraid to offend the company or because I see that so many others like it. I’ve also been bold and gave it my opinion regardless of offending anyone. I need consistency with everything that I do. It needs to be as logical as possible, so I’d like to share my personal revised rating “rules” (I also put this disclaimer on my profile):

If I try a tea and I can recognize that it may have quality or appeal to someone else, I will leave it unrated. However, there will be many teas that I would never personally recommend to anyone and I will rate them as such, yet they may have a high review from someone else on Steepster. In summary, my ratings are best translated as “would I serve this to a guest?” If it has a number, then that is based on my taste for it, if it doesn’t then it is one that I would recommend to some people, but not to myself". I hope this makes sense!!

This way, I can still use the rating system as a way to sort teas that I personally like and dislike since I can delete the rating of a tea and the tea will remain in the rated teas list (I hope this feature doesn’t ever change!!). As long as I know that no rating, means no like for me, thats perfect!

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Sometimes I have to try a tea again before giving it a score. I’ll usually write my first thoughts. Then go back and write a second note, having brewed the tea differently (usually iced), and use the scoring then.

oh sure, I’ve done that a few times too. Even at this moment I have one unrated tea awaiting different brewing parameters. Usually, though, I give them an initial rating and then I’ll change it later if/when I get back to that tea. If I didn’t do this, then my method above wouldn’t work so well and I’d get all the teas mixed up :p

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