[new members] Vendor participation in the forums. What about their friends, insiders, promoters, and influencers? - Page 5

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#41: Post by gophish »

HB wrote:From what I understand, you received loaner equipment from Versalab, wrote some reviews, and then promoted them in Versalab M3 Thoughts and Discovery. At a later date, John hired you to handle social media and promotion for Versalab. Based on your recent post history, moderators guessed there was an arrangement, but it wasn't confirmed until some of your posts were flagged as commercial posts and John contacted me offline to confirm you were working on his behalf.
I would love to know which posts were flagged. I do not recall ever making a "commercial" post prior to identifying myself and disclosing any relationship with Versalab, which I have done in full transparency since day 1. And, maybe the issue is that, "moderators guessed there was an arrangement," and it was confirmed when someone else contacted you - why not just ask me? I've been a member on here for a number of years, and though I read more than I post, have never acted in violation of the rules (that I was aware of).

I certainly had no idea my posts were flagged, nor was I ever contacted for clarification, question, or suggestion that I might want to provide further transparency to anything that may be interpreted as nefarious.

I get that long time, reputable members are granted more leniency, but it does seem as though if a moderator or one of those granted such leniency were in the same position as myself and/or discussing one of the more favorable topics or products on the board, it is viewed and treated in a different manner. I have no dog in this fight, nor any financial incentive to boost the sales of any product. I fully understand why the rules are present, and that it is a difficult and dynamic situation to facilitate productive but fair communication. And in the nature of the online forum where everyone wants to share their two-cents, these are mine.

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#42: Post by ira »

AssafL wrote:There used to be discussions related to progressions. Incremental understanding in improving the coffee or the process of making coffee. In taste, in coffees, in budgets. H-B was about incremental improvements

Now it is becoming more about excesses. That is the source of the noise. Lots of gear out there - and while I think the "use-upgrade - return" is good for manufacturers - it doesn't help drive the understanding forward.
And partly, the question has changed. Today making good espresso is far easier. Select any decent machine, any one of the ever growing number of far better home grinders than were available when I started, one or an assortment of the ever increasing number of self leveling tampers and distribution tools and one from the current large selection of coffees from many really good roasters, then spend a few hours researching, a week practicing and the odds have become pretty high you'll be able to pull drinkable espresso. So the focus changes to the machines and which ones will make it easier to make or consistently better. Also the number of posters with low post counts is increasing rapidly and so the level of often uninteresting questions is going up dramatically. If only I could figure out how to automatically hide all messages whose subject starts with "which is better", "what's the best ??? for $xxx" or containing "this one better than"


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#43: Post by decent_espresso »

ira wrote:I point at the closing of the original Decent thread as an example of that. For me that was about the most interesting thread on HB ever and it got closed. For me, that was a sad day on HB.
A sad day for me too, as I think the HB community can rightfully claim to have co-designed the DE1 with me. Several years of conversations on HB produced a machine that was nothing like what it would have been, had it not been for the conversations here, and I'm very thankful for that.

Yes, I was extremely late in shipping a machine, and that rightfully angered a lot of people, which unfortunately also created work for Dan & crew. My apologies for that: I was naive about the time and effort it would take to get a machine designed from scratch, and shipping.

Dan suggested that I start my own forum, which I've done (just for DE1 owners). However, I'd welcome the opportunity to re-engage in product-codesign with the HB community, if that were possible.

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#44: Post by AssafL »

ira wrote:So the focus changes to the machines and which ones will make it easier to make or consistently better. Also the number of posters with low post counts is increasing rapidly and so the level of often uninteresting questions is going up dramatically. If only I could figure out how to automatically hide all messages whose subject starts with "which is better", "what's the best ??? for $xxx" or containing "this one better than"
This is why I replied to Dan's question in the first place. It seems making coffee is easier today.

But our understanding of how percolation works is still a bit off. There were models, there are newer models and there are many gaps (such as Jim's discussion of why is there a difference in the flavor profile between similar grinders).

The reason I think it would be good to relegate the manufacturers to their own threads is that the endless "waiting for batch 12" or "Mythos XC clima owners threads" are just not interesting from an Espresso perspective.

In a manufacturer focused thread potential buyers, users, even manufacturers and support personnel can help users freely... La Marzocco is a great machine - but why does a Gaggia owner want to wade through "should I buy a Linea or GS/3" or "My boiler developed a leak..." threads.

A Decent Espresso sub forum for users to talk with John would be awesome. exchange recipes, etc. Some of us who turned their machines into profilers may participate as well...

But the key questions: To profile or not to profile, to profile flow or pressure, to stall the pull or not... Those are of interest to all. Pump, levers, gigantic syringe machine owners. Likewise improving EY, distribution, grooming, tamping, etc....

Same with grinders - A Kafatek sub-forum will be a lottery galore! A place for the winners to preen and the losers to ogle their lost piece of heaven. Denis and Chris can nitpick the merits of 68 or 73 of max or min, of the new collar or the collarless adjustments. But little of this is of interest to a VL or Mazzer owner.

However: extraction yield, particle shape, burr geometry and validating alignment are issues that we should discuss for all grinders. Jim's topic is interesting for all!

Same with roasters - there are roast profile questions - and then there are Quest M3 or Alilio operational related questions. The former are interest and maintain interest for quite some time. The latter become mods or software upgrades (or a replaced fuse) and end up as clutter....

Sure - some sub forums will be tumbleweeds - while others fanfare hot tubs. Adding the manufacturer to those threads will allow them to talk with the users, understand the pros and cons and become (hopefully) better....
Scraping away (slowly) at the tyranny of biases and dogma.

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#45: Post by Spitz.me replying to AssafL »

I agree with the idea of having manufacturer sub forums. I imagine I'm not the only one that is really interested to see topics that are specific to the machines I have. My most active topics lately are manufacturer specific and it's usually the case because I come here to mostly read about gear and experience with gear. I'm not a tester or bleeding edge thought leader on coffee. Those topics that push our thinking about coffee forward are interesting, but they're rare and not often why I'm here.

Who cares if some sub forums will be dead? I'm personally not that pleased with a very generic sub forum that sees hundreds of postings a day that can fill up and push new and actually engaging topics to 2nd and 3rd pages just because the topic goes cold for 2 hours.

As a long time forum user that isn't very actively posting I like to come back to topics I'm interested in and wading through all the "unique" recommendation requests and super-specific "needs a pro tradesmen" questions just to find what I'm interested in is somewhat tiring. Yes, you still get them in all the sub forums, but now it's more focused and there's less activity. Less activity isn't a bad thing.
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#46: Post by happycat »

In academic research, here have been some fascinating arguments about bias.

While in the quant world bias is supposedly rigorously "stomped out", in constructivist and participatory qual world bias is accepted as inherent in all activity-- bias exists in the values we hold that determine what is or is not valuable. So even if we rigorously stamp out bias, we are doing so according to a set of biased values we simply believe to be correct until we run into a life experience that makes it impossible to retain that view.

The answer from the constructivists is to force a reflection on the part of the researcher to determine values and declare bias... bias is not a bad thing in that world, it is just naming the particular distortions the author has.

In that world, some carrot & stick mechanism for bias disclosure would be the way to go vs. trying to demonize it and stamp it out. A colour coding system of threads and posts would be cool. The carrot part is some benefit for disclosing up front. The stick part is some punishment for not disclosing. The actual bias is simply a colour for people to notice and process according to their own needs.

One of HB's rules is to declare the source of your advice. I always thought that was cool... because I find it annoying how many people recommend products they don't have, fail to address issues with the recommended product, etc.
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#47: Post by HB (original poster) »

Split follow-on discussion to Noise is making useful data hard(er) to find.
Dan Kehn