Rating tea on websites


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Rating tea on websites

Postby mcrdotcom » Nov 16th, '13, 13:04

Hey there!

This is related to steepster and any tea vendor site with a rating system! So if this is misplaced please let me know XD

I wanted to see what people think of number/star rating systems? Personally, I think they are a good idea when they are used correctly. What sparked this thread was something I read on the adagio store site. Someone had rated a tea with 2 stars, simply because the new harvest didn't taste like the old one. The comment the person made was that it used to be her favorite tea, but the new harvest was missing certain flavors and tones that the previous harvest had, and adagio had even changed the description of tea. So, she rated what appears to be a very nice tea (I haven't tried it though) with a low score, not because the quality was bad, but because she was upset about the development in taste from one harvest to the next. Absolutely nonsensical in my opinion.

Anybody who knows anything about tea will know that the flavor can change per harvest, and the time of year of the harvest etc... Adagio even updated the description, which proves that they do pay attention to the tea they sell and they don't lie about it.

So basically, what I'm saying is, we should rate our teas based on leaf quality, liquor quality, and with regard to taste, basic quality (forgiving or unforgiving, harsh or pleasant, strong or weak) and not on the specific flavors! Someone who doesn't like the taste of black tea, shouldn't be giving them a low rating because of that!

So I'd be interested to hear what others think of this, and should vendors rid their sites of number/star ratings and just allow people to comment on them instead?
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Re: Rating tea on websites

Postby Chip » Nov 16th, '13, 17:06

Some vendors will virtually never allow anything under a top star or number rating. They may contact the rater and give some song and dance, smoke and mirrors as to why their rating is not justified and remove it. Often this is unjustified, IMHO ... though there are obviously times when a vendor may be dealing with someone who simply has an axe to grind ... or is just a super negative person.

I have to applaud vendors who generally do not follow censoring practices except in the rare cases as I mentioned. This takes ... credibility and transparency to a higher level.

Then there are sites that have a built in "curve" to their rating. I do not want to backstab Steepster, but I had heard this had been the practice with their ratings. Hopefully they have abolished the curve system.

There was an interesting topic a while back on this subject ... I will have to take a look for it or perhaps someone will beat me to it! :idea:
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Re: Rating tea on websites

Postby Chip » Nov 16th, '13, 17:07

... hmmm, then often returning/loyal customers feel obliged to top rate products or fear some retaliation from a vendor.

(There has even been pressure but certain vendor(s) to only post on TeaChat positively about their products or face dire retribution)

Ratings and reviews are sooo ... complicated. :?
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Re: Rating tea on websites

Postby tst » Nov 16th, '13, 17:28

I'm not sure that I agree.

I think ratings/reviews are subjective by nature and should include the rater's personal opinions. Even if a tea has great leaf quality, if I don't find the tea pleasant to drink because of the taste, why would I give it a good rating?

However, I feel the onus is on the rater to explain why he/she gave the rating. For example, if I generally don't like black teas (but am rating/reviewing a black tea), it should be my responsibility to explain that in my review and mention that this factored into my rating.
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Re: Rating tea on websites

Postby Chip » Nov 16th, '13, 18:07

tst wrote:I'm not sure that I agree.

With what exactly?

tst wrote:I think ratings/reviews are subjective by nature and should include the rater's personal opinions. Even if a tea has great leaf quality, if I don't find the tea pleasant to drink because of the taste, why would I give it a good rating?

Of course. If a vendor is willing to take the risk of asking, they should also have thick skin.

Other sites such as Steepster, this is not so much of an issue, but I can imagine if I was a vendor and was reading reviews/ratings on my products on other sites. For instance, I know for a fact numerous vendors read TeaChat reviews/ratings of their products, possibly after doing a google search of their product(s).

tst wrote:However, I feel the onus is on the rater to explain why he/she gave the rating. For example, if I generally don't like black teas (but am rating/reviewing a black tea), it should be my responsibility to explain that in my review and mention that this factored into my rating.

This is generally doable, but some vendor sites for instance only offer a cumulative rating on products ... I do not remember what steepster does offhand.
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Re: Rating tea on websites

Postby amaranto » Nov 16th, '13, 19:32

However, I feel the onus is on the rater to explain why he/she gave the rating. For example, if I generally don't like black teas (but am rating/reviewing a black tea), it should be my responsibility to explain that in my review and mention that this factored into my rating.


Yes, that seems to be a more transparent way of rating than some systems. I have found a lot of ratings here on TeaChat very helpful when selecting new teas, particularly because a lot of the members here get excited about a tea they like and describe why in detail. Steepster seems all over the place to me, so I generally stay away. That's just me, though.
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