It's Time to Embrace Ratings

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by Todd, Jan 10, 2022.

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  1. barneyrubble

    barneyrubble Maven (1,259) Aug 21, 2020 Colorado

    I think this is a great idea. :+1:

    As for ratings, they are meaningless to me. Ratings without words is numbers without a reference point; at least give me a few words.

    As a newbie a few years ago, I relied heavily on the long term reviewing members to help me find my likes and dislikes. It is not too much different than filtering stereo equipment reviews for those why may be audiophiles. I review that stuff and try to communicate my tastes, preferences, etc.

    As for uptapped, as a newbie, but not an untapped registered peep I would search a beer and invariably, all I get is somebody taking a pic of a beer at a bar with some stars, no words, no reviews, etc. BA on the contrary is way for a non BA member to find lots of impressions for beer.

    I have been getting less verbose on my recent reviews but almost all of my "ratings" are reviews. If it helps someone, great, but it is there as my database and it helps me.
    Bitterbill, Rug, Singlefinpin and 8 others like this.
  2. DVMin98

    DVMin98 Grand Pooh-Bah (4,219) Nov 1, 2010 North Carolina
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    If you add a beer, you need to either have it in possession or rate it when you add it. So, click Got or rate it
  3. UrbanCaveman

    UrbanCaveman Pooh-Bah (1,866) Sep 30, 2014 Ohio
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    That is basically everything I would say, especially as one of the rare non-hopheads about.

    I don't rate on here without a review that includes some specifics about my palate and what I experienced from a beer. I do the same thing on Untappd as well, but obviously with less detail, given the constraints. That way my reviews serve as a good reference for me later, can be interesting when I revisit a beer after some time has passed as far as whether my palate has evolved or remained constant regarding it, and have an off chance of being vaguely useful for someone browsing reviews.

    Untappd ratings are entirely sans value for me save for a handful of other people who include at least some attempt at notes. My overall rDev indicates I'm also not exactly aligned with the overall tastes here either, and so the notes help.

    If your goal is more ratings, cool. I'll just keep doing what I'm doing, ignoring them, and scanning review notes.

    For some potential constructive feedback, I'd agree that a streamlined "rate a beer" function right on the front / every page, with the option for an abbreviated single-number Overall score, would help.
  4. Singlefinpin

    Singlefinpin Pooh-Bah (2,108) Jul 17, 2018 North Carolina
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I review each and every new beer I try usually while I am drinking it.
    Sometimes people are annoyed by this, I explain to them that this is my hobby, reviewing beers, then, they always say, "that's cool!"
    It doesn't take that long once you understand the styles and how to write the review.
    My tastes are simple and I'm not at all nuanced to all the many different flavors in beer, I am not a great writer, but I certainly enjoy reviewing.
    That being said, in my humble opinion reviewing beer is the best way to learn to truly appreciate the styles and what I am drinking. And that is why I think more people should review, it really is it's own reward as far as learning more about beer and that is the main reason I am here.
    I love our hobby my BA Brethren and feel lucky to have discovered BA and to learn from all of you.
    Bitterbill, Rug, barneyrubble and 9 others like this.
  5. FBarber

    FBarber Grand High Pooh-Bah (6,989) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I joined BA in large part to review beers. Its something I generally thoroughly enjoy doing although I have gone through times of needing to take a break from it since it is a more time intensive way to track the beers one has had. I also use reviews when shopping - especially of users whose tastes mirror mine (or whose tastes I know enough to know how it relates to mine) and whose reviews are concise but descriptive. I tend to ignore the ratings since they tend to not give me the information that I want.

    That being said - if you have enough ratings on a beer the aggregate can serve some purpose. This is why I personally find that if there are enough ratings, I will put some stock in what that number is telling me (i.e. whether its worth picking up or not). So I think there is a lot of merit to trying to increase the number of ratings on BA.

    With the most obvious solution aside (an App), I think the best way to do this is to simplify how one rates a beer on BA. While I'm not personally bothered by the 5 drop down lists of numbers, I can see that being far more tedious than rating a beer on untappd. One slider, move the button and done. Even if you want to keep the 5 categories, making the actual method of selecting the number for each easier might help.

    The other thing that I think could encourage people to rate is to rethink how karma works on the site. If you had attainable, known goals I think people would get into it. Now, we all know you get some level of karma from rating and a bit more karma from reviewing. But what if you got a special karma boost for hitting certain milestones - like 30 ratings in a month, or every 100 ratings, or rating a beer in every style, etc - essentially to some extent mimicking how much more fleshed out the untappd badges are, and thus giving people more ownership and thus more of a vested interest in earning karma.

    If this were the case, it would only serve to exacerbate the ongoing issue of missing beers on BA compared to Untappd. The primary goal should always be expanding the universe of beers listed on BA.
    emerge077, Bitterbill, Rug and 14 others like this.
  6. mikeinportc

    mikeinportc Grand Pooh-Bah (3,139) Nov 4, 2015 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Ratings are fine. I give them a quick glance , & if it's ~universally good, or bad, will pay attention, but mostly ignore them. Use em, if you will. *shrug*

    (As I've said before) . When looking at an unknown beer, I look at the reviews, then check the reviewer(s)' s other beers that I know. Of those, if any, where the reviewer's estimation of the beers in common match mine , I'm more likely to take that person's word on the untried beer. What I'm looking for is the description of the experience of the beer. Then I'll decide if I'm likely to enjoy that.
    Ex :
    Good beer , but I won't get it again. If I had known the strength of clove flavor in it, probably would have skipped it.
  7. Luscious_Malfoy

    Luscious_Malfoy Grand Pooh-Bah (5,107) Oct 5, 2016 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    we live in a fast paced, short attention span society (for better or worse). i know i’ve found my self in public / social situations drinking a beer i’ve never had before and wanting to rate it (without being one of those people that snaps a pic and “checks it in” - don’t even get me started). unfortunately, in those situations it’s hard to write a thoughtful review. that’s just how it is. for others, it may just be the process of articulating taste / smell/ etc sensations into words. at any rate, that doesn’t discount their rating. or it shouldn’t anyway. the way i look at it: the only ratings on this sight that matter are my own (meaning, you have to try the beer for yourself and make up your own mind about it). so whether you do that in the form of a review or simply a rating, you’re still drinking the beer in a critical and thoughtful way and that’s respecting beer.

    side note: i will often find myself rating a beer and then if i do get to try it again, going back and reviewing it if i can. sometimes the inspiration (derived from the beer itself) just isn’t there. way she goes.
    sulldaddy, Bitterbill, RMW66 and 7 others like this.
  8. HighwayChile

    HighwayChile Zealot (509) Jan 3, 2021 Kansas

    I joined this site just over a year ago; shortly after the time I finally began to branch out and try different beers beyond the mass produced fare.
    I've learned a lot by reading reviews here, but am not yet comfortable doing my own reviews.
    I have rated virtually every beer I've tried during this time, and for me it's been very helpful and enjoyable to track my new adventures.
    Yes, I'm even the guy who consults BA when perusing a selection of beers I have yet to sample. I can typically get good info here that informs me as to whether or not to pull the trigger on a particular brew.
  9. micada

    micada Grand Pooh-Bah (3,034) Jul 13, 2015 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I find myself rating when it’s been more than a couple days after drinking a beer. It reminds me that I indeed tried it, and a general score whether I liked it or not.

    I usually review when I have a new beer, inclination to type on my phone, and want to have a more comprehensive reminder if I were to revisit it in the future.

    Stupid expensive beers always need a review. Going to drop $3+/oz and not put some words to it? That’d be stupider.
    Bitterbill, Rug, Singlefinpin and 6 others like this.
  10. Sammy

    Sammy Grand High Pooh-Bah (6,988) Dec 1, 2003 Canada (ON)
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    bonus for minimal words (less for lousy beer), bigger bonus for fuller review. Nothing for those who rate with an War & Peace length review which discourages.
  11. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,210) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Not even getting into the issue of the same beer being entered multiple times on UT. UT really needs to clean their list up.
    Rug, Singlefinpin, 2beerdogs and 4 others like this.
  12. jvgoor3786

    jvgoor3786 Grand Pooh-Bah (4,164) May 28, 2015 Arkansas
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Yes, I find it strange (and annoying) when I go to add a beer from a small local brewery where there's no way anyone has had it only to find some dude in Seattle or New York added it, presumably from searching the Internet for new beers.

    Ok, I'm done. I'll probably be fine. But still....
  13. jvgoor3786

    jvgoor3786 Grand Pooh-Bah (4,164) May 28, 2015 Arkansas
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I've reviewed about a third of the beers I've rated. I'm lazy in the other 2/3. But I don't feel bad about it, although I know it annoys some people. Plus, I give the same number for look, smell, taste, mouthfeel, and overall when rating or reviewing even though when I review they get their own description. It's just the way I've decided to do it. Sometimes I just don't want to think that much about what I'm drinking or take the time. Plus, the OCDish side of my is really annoyed by the .01 changes. .25 increments is enough.
    RMW66, Singlefinpin, Prager62 and 2 others like this.
  14. Beer-A-Lot

    Beer-A-Lot Initiate (0) Oct 4, 2012 Virginia

    When I check to see feedback on a beer I've not had before, I prefer to see a review rather than a simple rating. But we all get lazy. I kind of like the old format with no minimum characters or much lower minimum characters required. Maybe just a line or two should be required--regarding what you like the most.
    Singlefinpin likes this.
  15. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Pooh-Bah (1,559) Aug 24, 2020 California

    The freakin' Karma thing deserves its own serious discussion thread and rethink. The idea of awarding points for criteria that is not elucidated and always changing, other than some cryptic reference to a some nebulous relationship to what is, at that time, valued by BA is, IMO, really dumb. Points come and go without explanation, apparently to humor those who control them.
  16. DefenCorps

    DefenCorps Grand Pooh-Bah (4,362) Jan 18, 2007 Oregon
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    When this happens, can we please NOT have meads and hard seltzer included? I'd hate to see the top beers list go from having Storm King when I started here to Smooj

    I've been reviewing on here for about 14 years. I admit, it's not easy, and I don't know a way around it. I need to go beyond "do I like it?" to "why do I like it?". It's also hard to do on social settings (and granted, rating on Untappd is hard too, outside of when you're with a bunch of beer people).
    Bitterbill, Rug and Singlefinpin like this.
  17. Todd

    Todd Founder (13,172) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

  18. FBarber

    FBarber Grand High Pooh-Bah (6,989) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Yea they've got some issues too, but its easy to merge a duplicate beer. Its all to easy to lose a possible rating because someone doesn't want to go through the trouble of adding a beer while they're drinking it at the bar.
  19. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,210) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Ask the bartender for a piece of paper and scribble a few quick notes? I carry a small note book, and I can get 3-4 beers notes on a page. Brewery name, beer name, ABV, type of glass. Then a few shorthand notes on the 5 aspects. Quick, easy, and I can carry on a conversation with friends while I do it.
  20. thebeers

    thebeers Grand Pooh-Bah (5,151) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Is that something actively in the works? Any guess on timeframe? (No hurry here, just curious.)
    Singlefinpin and 2beerdogs like this.
  21. Todd

    Todd Founder (13,172) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    We've done some matching for the Untappd sidebar widget, but it's not actively in the works. I hope we'll see some progress this year and will definitely keep everyone posted.
    Bitterbill, Rug, Singlefinpin and 6 others like this.
  22. FBarber

    FBarber Grand High Pooh-Bah (6,989) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Oh I know, but I feel like most people wouldn't do that.
  23. mactrail

    mactrail Grand High Pooh-Bah (6,843) Mar 24, 2009 Washington
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    As one who has apparently floated a lot of Beer Karma by adding beers to BA, I have mixed feelings. Perhaps you can consider some new ways for people to contribute to the BA resources...
  24. Todd

    Todd Founder (13,172) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I wouldn't worry about it right now. It's not happening any time soon, it hasn't been mapped out yet, and people will still need to add beers.
    Bitterbill, Rug, Singlefinpin and 3 others like this.
  25. bret27

    bret27 Pooh-Bah (2,818) Mar 10, 2009 California
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Since this is becoming a more general discussion on reviews I would like to share a little hack I did for a while when I reviewed everything.
    This may not be that interesting, but if it helps someone then it’s worth it...
    I usually copy my template of previous reviews of similar styles, then just change specific info. For example:

    Bottle courtesy of _____.
    October 2019, roughly 10 months old.
    L: black with dark mocha head.
    S: vanilla, chocolate, bourbon.
    T: chocolate, oak, vanilla, maple, caramelized sugar. Pancakes.
    F: fairly thick, bourbon/boozy burn.
    Overall: solid bba stout. Fair amount of heat.

    This way I can do a decent review without taking forever pecking away on my phone (like I am now)
  26. rex_4539

    rex_4539 Grand Pooh-Bah (3,006) Dec 20, 2014 Greece

    @Todd For me, it's all about game theory and incentives.

    During the last couple of years I had more beer (and better beer!) than previous years, yet I didn't even rate them.

    And it is pretty clear to me why I didn't do it. I had no incentive. Nothing to strive for.

    I prefer to just enjoy the beer with friends, rather than focus on my phone for several minutes trying to review while everyone's having fun.

    I don't see myself rating or reviewing another beer, ever. I don't see the point anymore.

    Now, given some incentive to rate or review, I would definitely take the time to do it :slight_smile:
    AlcahueteJ, Coronaeus and FBarber like this.
  27. bubseymour

    bubseymour Grand Pooh-Bah (4,374) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    - merge Untappd beer database so BA users don’t have to enter new beers. I estimate I’m over 50% having to enter a new beer and that alone is starting to cause me to miss some of my ratings and reviews more than in the past

    - Eliminate the minimum character count on reviews all together. Reading 10 peoples One sentence reviews can be more useful than 1 persons 2 page narrative. Show all review notes.

    - For Poobah status, consider eliminating the need to rate inthe 5 attribute rating system for speed of entry but all rating to the 100th of a percent as historically set up on here. After years of rating beers, now When I drink a beer I generally have a ballpark idea of where my overall score should fall in relation to other beers across styles and also within the style. I end up tinkering with the 5 attribute ratings to ensure Iget that beer in the range where I think it belongs. Overall, I know it’s not desired rating process we should follow , but just being honest for constructive feedback.
  28. BEERchitect

    BEERchitect Grand Pooh-Bah (4,951) Feb 9, 2005 Kentucky

    Thank you @cavedave, I certainly do like reviewing beers, but I don't think that this site has to have more reviewers/reviews in order to grow in relevancy or importance to the beer community. Ticking, tracking and rating are vastly more important to most of today's beer fans and there's credibility in that as well. I'm a little surprised (pleasantly so) that these numbers reflect that. I do, however think that if folks want to review beers then try to put some extra though into it and add information about the beer's character that might help others rather than simply going through the motions just to satisfy a website's request. The language of beer and beer writing was important to me from the beginning, but I don't expect it to be as important to everyone. It may surprise some folks that my least interesting part reviewing is assigning a score. -Just my two cents anyway, Cheers Brother!
    Bitterbill, RMW66, Rug and 12 others like this.
  29. paulish

    paulish Pooh-Bah (2,878) Feb 2, 2014 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    2021 (Pandemic Limbo)
    Total Ratings: 270,169

    Interesting numeral. It means that daily average Ratings are 740 and it is also means that daily average activity users are 300-400. I thought that the communinity capacity are more.
    Rug, Singlefinpin and BigIronH like this.
  30. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,470) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Please NO… it used to work this way and was changed about 10 years ago.

    I like to be able to add beers to the database when I’m sitting at home perusing the brewery website and planning a visit (with the larger format laptop or tablet), then having them in place to rate when I actually make the visit. This way I am able to research all of the details about the beers (ABV, description, etc).

    I see more and more comments over the years about not rating/reviewing them because the beer does not exist on BA (but is there on Untappd). Making the bar to entry higher likely defeating the goal of getting more users to rate.
    emerge077, Bitterbill, Rug and 17 others like this.
  31. Luscious_Malfoy

    Luscious_Malfoy Grand Pooh-Bah (5,107) Oct 5, 2016 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    this seems off topic but i agree. i’ve seen people bitch before about people adding a beer that they’re never going to try… to me it’s like this: 1) i know i’ll add it correctly (can’t tell you how many times the style is wrong or no notes are left - lazy!, 2) if it saves someone a few minutes when they’re drinking it and can skip straight to rating / reviewing, where’s the harm in that, and 3) who knows, i may end up trying it at some point.
  32. rgordon

    rgordon Pooh-Bah (2,605) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I appreciate the desire to add content to grow a business. I do hope this effort has positive results. As for me, beer is fun; the folks around here are smart, mostly very nice, from everywhere (even Kiribati), and generally get along well. So, the camaraderie, humor, information about beers and places are the most important factors for me. I do enjoy NBS/Weekend and WBAYDN, but rarely plumb old reviews for my beer purchasing. Beer is not really a discipline, a religion, a science (though it can be), or the most important thing in my life. I was a beer professional for decades and it is now fun and people. And this place has allowed for that quite nicely.
  33. cavedave

    cavedave Grand Pooh-Bah (4,083) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Wow thanks for chiming in! Also for giving me guidance over the years for my purchases, and inspiration to review.

    I am totally in favor of folks adding and using ratings, if for no other reason than they may decide to add reviews at a later date. I guess there are fewer and fewer folks who feel the need to use reviews, even though, logically, there is more need of them, as there are more styles and brands than ever. I hope the effort to increase the participation in rating beers, to which our voices in this thread now are added, is successful.

    Cheers, Brother!
  34. REVZEB

    REVZEB Grand High Pooh-Bah (6,705) Mar 28, 2013 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Society

    I know people are sick of hearing it, but until there is an app I feel like the ratings discussion is putting the cart before the horse. I would love to rate on an app and review later when in front of a computer, whereas now I have a backlog of notes because I haven’t gotten around to writing up reviews
    In the meantime, I would rather us fix up some of the styles like making saison not a catch all for most farmhouse ales #splitupsaison
    Rug, Singlefinpin, ChicagoJ and 5 others like this.
  35. Luscious_Malfoy

    Luscious_Malfoy Grand Pooh-Bah (5,107) Oct 5, 2016 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    we have too many styles on this sight as is
  36. Todd

    Todd Founder (13,172) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    The community is much bigger than that, because not everyone who logs into the site are rating/reviewing beers or on a daily basis. Many just use the forums, some use places, a ton of people are just looking up beers, and many are lurking/reading like the millions of unique visitors each month do.
    sulldaddy, Bitterbill, Rug and 6 others like this.
  37. CTHomer

    CTHomer Pooh-Bah (2,916) May 23, 2014 Connecticut
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    When I started reviewing beers on BA, I was very insecure about my base of knowledge. What I found was that the process of reviewing a beer made me think a little harder about what I was seeing, smelling, and tasting. That increased my knowledge and made me a more confident reviewer. I love having a record of what beers I've had and what I thought of them. To those who are nervous about reviewing, just jump in.
    Bitterbill, Rug, Singlefinpin and 5 others like this.
  38. Luscious_Malfoy

    Luscious_Malfoy Grand Pooh-Bah (5,107) Oct 5, 2016 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    great points here. 100% on board with the “keeping a record of things” concept (whether it be rating or reviewing). that’s what it’s all about for me. if it helps someone else out along the way, great, but ultimately no one but you can decide what you think of a beer.
    Singlefinpin and Harrison8 like this.
  39. FBarber

    FBarber Grand High Pooh-Bah (6,989) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Sir this is a Wendys.

    Rug, 2beerdogs, cavedave and 3 others like this.
  40. seakayak

    seakayak Maven (1,295) May 20, 2007 Massachusetts

    I write for a living, and writing about beer is too much like work for me - but I'm certainly grateful that so many of you here can do it! :beers:

    For example, making my verbal descriptions of each attribute accurately reflect the numerical ratings was just not fun. In technical, consumer-research types of studies, the words used to describe a 3.75 in Mouthfeel, had better be consistently distinguishable from a 3.25, even without the numerical rating, or you shouldn't be using them. If they're not, the statistics will show that you skewed the data. Over-thinking is our business. :nerd:

    I love doing ratings though, and I put sincere effort into them. :beer:
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