Site Not Enough Advocacy

Discussion in 'Support & Suggestions' started by youbrewidrink, Jun 13, 2013.

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  1. youbrewidrink

    youbrewidrink Initiate (0) Apr 9, 2009 Vermont
    Beer Trader

    In the past, members of this site would passionately report on beer happenings in their neck of the woods, new beers, new resturants & local happenings.. There are still a few of us out here wondering why the "advocate" part has become neglected by so many members.

    I used to use "places" frequently when I traveled, there are so many great spots that many of you go to and NEVER review. This website is a go to for many people when they are out of their home base.

    Please contribute more information to help you BA bretheren.

    And don't forget the local taproom or hole in the wall, when people do review, it just appears to be the "cool places", review places that you like to hang out at and take your friends to.
  2. leedorham

    leedorham Defender (698) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    I would venture a guess that <.1% of site members are responsible for >90% of place additions on the site. This is nothing new. Doesn't mean everyone who hasn't added a place is a bad person. Chill out.
  3. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Crusader (736) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    To the OP: I get your point but personally, I prefer to find and research places myself and make a determination based on what a bar or restaurant lists on their website beer list. If they don't have a beer list on their website, chances are they will not get a visit from me. It usually means they don't have a great selection of craft.
    The cream rises to the top and whatever gems are out there will be found. This whole craft beer thing started with personal discovery and I for one get a great deal of personal satisfaction finding a great store or bar when I travel.
    Jacurdy60 likes this.
  4. lvldweller

    lvldweller Initiate (167) Apr 3, 2013 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    i agree with this. i haven't even begun to add reviews of beers yet...but i'm doing my part in getting most of my friends excited about different beers, ALWAYS share new beers that i'm trying, including my 'whales' with them if i ever land any, my three closest friends all got to have some CBS, and some of all 3 westvleterens. I take them to events and whatnot. If that isn't advocacy, I don't know what is.
    kemoarps and nsheehan like this.
  5. Lorianneb

    Lorianneb Disciple (319) Apr 27, 2012 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I don't travel much, so my advocacy is through beer reviews and giving the best extras I can when trading.
    RBassSFHOPit2ME likes this.
  6. frazbri

    frazbri Crusader (733) Oct 29, 2003 Ohio

    Part of the problem isn't a problem at all. Good beer places used to be rare. A place with 8 taps and a few nice bottles was worthy of praise. Now a beer bar with fewer than 35 taps is just another place. Likewise, a single new brewery in a region sparked interest in the whole region. Now, opening a brewery only sparks interest in it's neighborhood. I still try to keep my area up to date, but I don't go check out every new place that's supposed to have good beer like I used to do.

    BA is still a good resource, but it's not the only good resource.
  7. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Site Editor (5,921) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I certainly add places (and review places) when I visit new ones but I do not travel nearly what I used to and tend to stop by the same places which I have already reviewed.
    frazbri likes this.
  8. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (1,582) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Get out of my mind! But seriously, this is the bigger lesson: Craft Beer is now a definite and proven market segment which has shaken-things up at on-sale (bar/restaurant) in the last ten years. In Minneapolis we've seen a doubling of +/- 30 tap eateries dedicated to food and beer/wine pairings. More broadly, Craft Beer is seen as a component of the Foodie movement -- make of that what you will.

    To my mind BeerAdvocate continues to be one of the better and more comprehensive resources, so in that sense I agree with the OP: for each new establishment I submit to the local queue I see fewer reviews, and more posts to the general (e.g. Midwest) forum asking really basic questions, rather than folks using the search function here or just pinging the database. This might be an issue pertaining to mobile device use?

    Just my two cents. :sunglasses:
    hardy008, grantcty and frazbri like this.
  9. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,408) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Is the PNW forum an anomaly? I just assumed every regional forum was riddled with countless redundant "where should I go in [X city]" threads. That's where I'd likely go if I wanted current info on the beer scene at a given locale.

    As to the main question, I don't review places because I'm not really sure what I'd say. Most of my reviews would probably be some variation of: "Enclosed space. Has a variety of good beer on tap. Kid friendly."
    hit728, pmarlowe, oregone and 4 others like this.
  10. Kinsman

    Kinsman Champion (863) Aug 26, 2009 California

    Something I've started noticing these last few months/year is more and more people trying to protect their secret store/bar stashes. It's not really a problem so far but I foresee this becoming more of an issue as craft beer continues to grow and all the old-timers wax poetic about back in the day when they could buy a whole case of KBS at their local store. No one is doing the store or bar any favors by keeping their great beer selection secret. It's selfish and anti-advocacy. It's like skiers trying to protect their secret powder stash... get off your high horse and share the love.
  11. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Site Editor (5,921) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Certainly the Mid-Atlantic is filled with those threads, especially about NYC... All of the places that get recommended every time are already in the Places database with reviews, people just do not seem to want to either trust them or read them.

    I know I have occasionally posted a thread along those lines but it is often more of a question of what places that are decent are near to the highway as I will be driving through the following area...and my wife only has so much tolerance for going out of the way for beer :relaxed:.
  12. smakawhat

    smakawhat Poo-Bah (5,936) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    The problem isn't people saying things, it's that 90% of the people who come to this site are friggin lazy.

    What's the best IPA out there?
    How Do I get into sour beer?
    What's the best bottle shop in X area?
    Where do I go in NYC... DC...
    Recommend me some brews in Canada... or in X..

    There is a whole website that has all this information IF YOU SPEND SOME TIME and READ it's contents and make up your own opinion.

    Specific questions are fine, but the bulk of stuff that you are looking for is on this site. If you want to be an advocate then also contribute and add reviews, instead of writing or posting this beer is amazing or it sucks.

    So in the end this is why people are also not responding or talking about places, because of todays 5 second soundbite generation everything is dissposable.
  13. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,408) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I'm sure you're right, but I don't find this surprising. My impression is that, especially in the East Coast, Midwest, and Great Lakes regions there's a real "feeding frenzy" mentality (which hopefully won't spread). So especially for new BAs they might think this is the way it's always been. When demand exceeds supply I think this is the kind of behavior one would expect.

    This just makes me more thankful for where I live. I think the PNW forum has been great for providing me good information about the more sought-after beers. If I had to jump through any more hoops than I already do to get the beer I want I would probably just give up.
    Bung and Beerandraiderfan like this.
  14. JrGtr

    JrGtr Disciple (393) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    The New England forum is full of them too. To be honest, seeing more, "where should I go in Boston" threads is getting kind of old... a couple quick searches will kind a good couple dozen of the same threads.
    I'm not a big reviewer either. Partially because I don't go out all that often these days (why go out when I can get better beer in my basement) and also because most of the places I go have been reviewed to death.
    I'll occasionally take a look t the reviews for a given area I'm going to if I find that I'll have the time to go out anywhere, be it bars / restaaurants or stores. I was in New Jersey a couple years ago and looked in the places section for a good store nearby that I could get stuff not available here, and ditto for Northern 'burbs of Chicago for when I was out there a couple times lately.
  15. youbrewidrink

    youbrewidrink Initiate (0) Apr 9, 2009 Vermont
    Beer Trader

    This is about what I expected.

    Thanks to those of you who either emailed or offerd constuctive advice. Positive input always welcome, but all of the whining is expected.
    Providence likes this.
  16. Kinsman

    Kinsman Champion (863) Aug 26, 2009 California

    Thankfully, I live in a relatively rural part of New England that relies heavily on tourism so I'm always recommending my local places to people passing through the area, but I agree that it seems to be more common in the cities/suburbs of the East and Mid-west. Densely populated areas with only so much beer to go around... it's bound to happen. Can't blame people entirely either when you hear about people chasing down delivery trucks and driving for hours just to get a certain beer. I just hope it doesn't bring about a downfall in whats always been a pretty friendly community of sharing favorite places and breweries.
    draheim likes this.
  17. BobConner

    BobConner Initiate (0) Jun 12, 2013 New York

    Im a new guy and just feeling my way around, but I shall endeavor to run a few reviews about places here on Long Island.
  18. joeebbs

    joeebbs Initiate (0) Apr 29, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I've reviewed more places than I have beers. That being said like beer reviews there could already be a TON of reviews for a place and you might not have anything new to say about it. If a place hasn't been reviewed since 2008 then I'm sure it's due for a more current review.
    BostonHops likes this.
  19. mychalg9

    mychalg9 Champion (845) Apr 8, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I agree with the OP, y'all are lazy (not me though).
  20. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,408) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I would only remind you that alcohol is a depressant, and many of us drink beer to relax. It's supposed to make us lazy and help us slow down a little. I don't want to have to work at beer, I just want to enjoy it (and I already review every new beer I drink). This ain't CoffeeAdvocate.
    mychalg9 likes this.
  21. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,426) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Subscriber

    Places (aka "BeerFly" back in the day) has always been less used vs. the rest of the site. Part of this, based on feedback, is that many find it daunting due to a higher word count minimum. There's numerous other non-website factors too.

    On top of this, changes to the site last year impacted usage, wherein the focus shifted heavily towards Beers and Forums resulting in the number of Place reviews dropping considerably.

    2013 = 5,204 (as of this post)
    2012 = 9,340
    2011 = 18,955
    2010 = 16,266
    2009 = 16,238

    We've also failed to push Places as much as we could, and invest in updates, but our plan going forward is to put more focus on Places with the site redesign, introduce it to the mobile app and include features that many have asked for over the years; map integration, locate by radius/current location, upload pics easier, etc.

    Once revamped, we're confident that Places will become much more of a resource.

    In the meantime, it's still there and works. I'd encourage everyone (myself included) to take some time this month and review some local Places.
    Psychmusic, atomic, mborden and 10 others like this.
  22. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

    Places are the one thing I do review here....I find that WAY easier than trying to explain what nuances I am tasting in some barrel aged brew. Plus whereas a place may have one or two reviews, a beer may have hundreds, so I feel more place reviews are needed so I try to help that.
  23. JamesShoemaker

    JamesShoemaker Initiate (0) Sep 21, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Yeah, I don't know. Place reviews are by far the most helpful aspect of this site for me, followed closely by the regional forums to see whether or not Beer X has hit the shelves in my area. The easiest thing to do on here is Hads, which are unhelpful in their assistance to other BAs but still valuable for those of us who like to keep track of the beers we try personally. The advocacy aspect of this site is definitely lost on the things that people engage with the most (reviews, Hads, and endless pandering on whether or not Beer X has fallen off in recent years).

    I +1 everyone who has suggested reviewing more places, frequenting lesser known bars and stores and giving their thoughts, and, perhaps most importantly, sticking a lot of local extras in a box. It's very easy to grab a bottle of Captain Lawrence for $5 to send to someone out west. Spread the love.
  24. KBrennan1000

    KBrennan1000 Initiate (0) Sep 20, 2010 Massachusetts

    I think places warrant more reviews over time than beers do. A lot of bars and stores come under new management with some regularity and will change more drastically than a beer will from batch to batch. I'll admit I've been slacking a bit on reviewing places.
  25. smakawhat

    smakawhat Poo-Bah (5,936) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    As someone mentioned the place reviews are by far the most useful thing on this site. When I am travelling, I want to know where some of the best shops and bars are, and this site has been invaluable for that.

    Having a list of highly rated beers (in someones opinion) is one thing, but if there's no resource on where to find our get them well it's kind of pointless. Thus place reviews need to be emphasized.
    Bung likes this.
  26. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Site Editor (5,921) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I did my part and finally wrote up 5 place reviews today on places I had visited recently and took some notes about...
    Chaz and 7clutch like this.
  27. TMoney2591

    TMoney2591 Poo-Bah (6,693) Apr 21, 2009 Illinois

    It seems to be a function of people wanting to get more out of the site than they're willing to put into it (call this laziness if you want, but I think there are even stronger words for it). Rather than search for things (be it beer reviews, places, repeated threads, or anything else), they take to the forums and add more clutter to the echo and din chambers. Moreover, rather than both tracking their own progress and lending insight (however minimal) through full reviews, they utilize Hads, which help no one but themselves and dilute the site both physically (visually) and spiritually.

    When more members are willing to actually make worthwhile contributions, the sense of advocacy will be seen to be surging once again.
    Tballz420 likes this.
  28. BostonHops

    BostonHops Initiate (0) Sep 21, 2011 Massachusetts

    Agreed. I used to review beers much more prolifically, but started to feel that, with hundreds or in some cases thousands of reviews already, what more am I really adding? (Also I started to feel that reviewing a beer could sometimes be a distraction - the whole analytical dynamic in a sense taking away from just siting back and enjoying it.) I've started to gravitate toward rating as a Had, with the occasional full review if I'm in the mood for it. But with places, like you say there are often a handful (or fewer) of dated place reviews. Definitely think my reviews carry more impact in this arena.
  29. 7clutch

    7clutch Aspirant (210) Sep 14, 2012 Florida
    Beer Trader

    This is awesome.
    Bung and Beerandraiderfan like this.
  30. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (1,582) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    I've made a habit of re-visiting certain spots in order to better edit my old reviews when appropriate (and often enough simply to make sure that a place that I submitted is still kicking -- there has been much in the way of change in the time that I first started using the site!)
  31. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Site Editor (5,921) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Definitely, I cannot argue with that... I only started writing reviews for places about 2 years ago but I used to look for places to visit when traveling based on the reviews on the site.
    Chaz likes this.
  32. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Defender (602) Feb 6, 2013 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Maybe it's because I spend my regional forum viewing in the "Midwest" section, but there always seems to be a thread talking about what's going on in Minneapolis/St. I guess it's just everyone else that needs to get with it.
    Chaz likes this.
  33. frazbri

    frazbri Crusader (733) Oct 29, 2003 Ohio

    Pretty good, but the Canada group should be "which branch of the LCBO or Beer Store has Cantillion in stock?"
  34. starrdogg

    starrdogg Champion (822) Jun 21, 2010 District of Columbia
    Beer Trader

    I've tried to start a "Things Going on in DC" thread several times and they always get shut down by the Bros. If they're going to make it difficult to be an advocate, I'm not going to put in the effort.
  35. Jacurdy60

    Jacurdy60 Initiate (0) Jan 23, 2013 Massachusetts

    I seek out my own beer joints and my own beers. All of you can go to hell. Just kidding.
    otispdriftwood likes this.
  36. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,408) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    They should sell beer at Tim Hortons, eh?
    2beerdogs, frazbri and youbrewidrink like this.
  37. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Site Editor (5,921) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    That happened in the MidAtlantic forum for NJ as well - someone started a BM that included most of the regular posters to deal with the same type of information.

    FATKIDREVOLUTION Initiate (175) May 16, 2011 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    If ever in Chicago.
    Revolution Brewery: Tap Room or Original in Logan Square (food is outstanding)
    Half Acre has a fantastic Tap room in Logan Square.
    Map Room and HopHause just to name a couple tap bars.
    Chi town is good to the Craft community. Pipe works, Spiteful, 8th street, Metropolitan, Finch jsut to drop a few other names.
  39. smakawhat

    smakawhat Poo-Bah (5,936) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    The what's going on threads probably come off as advertising I am guessing, and while it might look like an offer to cheer for the home team it probably would be best to just do it through beermail(BM), which often happens from time to time.

    Getting back to the entire place thing, I think what would really be useful (and I just so wonderfuly thought of this cause it's so ingenious I have to tell you....)... is

    is what if there were a list of top "Places" on the site just like the beers?

    You could have top store in the State
    top brewery (for people who write reviews about their experience visiting there [not exclusively the quality of the beers] )
    top bar, eatery

    What about a top list of rated sections for the regional areas?
    break it down by COUNTRY

    break down the place categories, store, bar, homebrew shop etc...

    It's all do-able coding and database wise but yeah it's time of course... but it would highly promote another part of this site in terms of advocacy.

    By gosh that's a great idea.

    now my consulting fee is about $200 an hour for further specs, or I could possibly be paid in really good beer... work with me on this...

    you heard it here first :wink:
  40. 7clutch

    7clutch Aspirant (210) Sep 14, 2012 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Well this inspired me to write a few reviews for some local places. I was shocked to see how places like Oblivion Taproom in Orlando had so few reviews (only 1 review before mine and this for arguably the second most popular craft beer bar in the area after Redlight Redlight).
    Chaz likes this.
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