New "User Reviews" section

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#1: Post by HB »

To-date, the site has formal reviews written by the moderators and many informal member-initiated reviews in the forums. Given the regular forum activity, these latter reviews are often pushed back several pages in the list of forum topics; finding them again requires searching -- and knowing what to search on.

To give member-written reviews a permanent home, I've added a new section "User Reviews". Its format is based on the forums layout, but tweaked for reviews. The review format is modeled after Amazon's reviews: Typically short write-ups, optionally complemented by a few photos or video. Each review has a 1-5 star rating and "helpful" or "not helpful" votes.

I've seeded the reviews with excerpts from the "Team HB reviews". Members can post their own reviews (and star ratings) directly below the short writeup. I plan to add more reviewed items to this list, based on member interest (e.g., popular grinders or favorite coffees?).

Please take a look and let me know what you think -- and post your own review of your favorite equipment. :D
Dan Kehn

Aida Battle: Indigo Reserve from world renowned Finca Kilimanjaro in El Salvador
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#2: Post by jbviau »

Just looking at this now.

First thought: solution in search of a problem.

Second thought (slightly less grumpy): these are not really "user reviews" if vanilla [i.e. non-HB] users like me can't create them! I know we can comment under what's already there, but, for example, the only hand grinder in this section is one I don't have (shocker!). If I want to add a different one, I have to ask a moderator? Seems like too much trouble/work.
"It's not anecdotal evidence, it's artisanal data." -Matt Yglesias

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HB (original poster)

#3: Post by HB (original poster) »

Of course, if you (or another member with a solid site history) wants to author a review for equipment you own, please do! I'd happily create a new review thread with that text as the lead, similar to the first set I did. There's a little formatting that's required, but really it only takes a few minutes to format it correctly.

In this initial implementation, it's seeded with formal HB reviews, but it's straightforward for the "top level" review to be authored by members with a solid site history. Another feature I was thinking about is the two reviews with the most "helpful" votes would be automatically promoted to the top, similar to how Amazon picks the two most helpful/most critical reviews and shows them highlighted with the main landing page.

FWIW, I find the reviews on Amazon very useful. I barely read the product descriptions and go directly to them. I figured it'd be helpful to have a K.I.S.S review system here.
Dan Kehn

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#4: Post by Auctor »

I think this is really helpful for people who are in the market for something new. I certainly would've appreciated it a few months ago. This allows lots of people to give their personal pros and cons, without getting drowned out by off topic chatter and the cheerleaders. To this day, I still don't know all the high end grinder options, or why I'd pick an EG1 vs Monolith vs Levercraft vs VersaLab vs etc etc. Same with WDT tools, baskets, or high end roasters. I have some ideas, based on some very scattered research, but it would be great to have this type of stuff compiled, shared, and updated.

That said, one of the reasons my search was so long and difficult was that I really didn't know where to begin, and I think the site could attract more people if there was an "on boarding" process for buyers. What's the difference between the Elizabeth vs Bianca, and how can I tell if it's worth the upgrade (besides the fact that I can afford one vs the other). How do I know if I'll notice the difference between a Specialita vs Ceado vs monolith? Am I better off getting a Breville Double Boiler or a Profitec 300 and why?

While there aren't "right" answers for a coffee journey, what I've found particularly challenging is that there are so many, many people here with a wealth of knowledge, but it's kinda scattered in one off threads where I'm forced to hunt and peck to understand key differences between setups, and the "why A vs B". Same with repairs and issues. I'd love to see specific sections where Brands or machines need to have their issues, repairs, etc together in one place, which helps future buyers and current owners with possible problems, or troubleshooting.

There's a lot here to unpack, so let me go back to my original point which is that I think this is a good thing for HB, and a step in the right direction to organizing info and people's experiences.

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#5: Post by baldheadracing »

Was just thinking after seeing this post: QuickMill 67 5-year report
... and the regular review topics that show up every 90 days :lol: .

Maybe change the focus of the section towards "User long-term experience?" As in, the HB Review covers items when they are new (usually), the users contribute experience over the long-haul with gear. I'm not saying that it has to be the exclusive focus, but there isn't much happening here ...

... and when/if that increases participation, bump the link to the section to the main line alongside HB Reviews so it is visible on the home page?

It would also be nice if users could put up a review on a non-listed item without having to request it ... although that might increase moderator load.

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HB (original poster)

#6: Post by HB (original poster) »

My thinking was the "Amazon like" format of the new user review section would be an open format. If it catches on (and that's a big if), I would expect most write-ups would be short and reflect a mix of short and long term experience. For long format experience reports, the forums are a good match since they cater to a discussion including Q&A versus the "one and done" format of the new user reviews section.

As for new non-listed items: I drafted up a list of equipment based on existing HB reviews, but I'm happy to add others. If a member has a long format review in the forums, that could also serve as a top-level writeup in the user reviews (i.e., similar to the ones already there that are excerpts of existing HB reviews). :D
Dan Kehn

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#7: Post by baldheadracing »

HB wrote:... If it catches on (and that's a big if) ...
It doesn't look like it will be catching on ...