What are we going to do with Places?

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by Todd, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,895) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    This deserves its own thread...
    Indeed. It's always been this way, but in recent years the activity has dropped significantly. To the point that it's impact the section's usefulness as it stands now. So any lists based on ratings is definitely going to reflect this.

    Number of Place Ratings:
    2019 = 12,600 (so far)
    2018 = 18,300
    2017 = 22,100
    2016 = 31,200
    2015 = 52,900

    We're currently reviewing the section, but my gut tells me that we'll probably turn off rating Places, archive reviews, and focus our efforts on new ideas.
     
  2. SLeffler27

    SLeffler27 Poo-Bah (2,166) Feb 24, 2008 New York
    Society Trader

    Wow! That’s huge and rapid. Ranking places might help boost ratings. A lot of work for an experiment though.

    Do you expect to allow new places to be added, and updated?
     
    chrismattlin likes this.
  3. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,895) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    Yes. We'd still allow new places to be added, but we'd look at other ways to integrate them. We never wanted to be Yelp.
     
  4. SLeffler27

    SLeffler27 Poo-Bah (2,166) Feb 24, 2008 New York
    Society Trader

    This makes good sense. After all the beer is generally the real attraction.

    I have been to many remote places where the quality of the place was remarkably better than expectations. So... Maybe, instead of collecting user ratings just an option for user comments. Still your point about not being Yelp raises concerns for how a simple comments field can be misused.
     
    cjgiant likes this.
  5. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,895) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    Yeah. The comments tend to be an issue and subject to abuse by those looking to review everything but the beer.

    I'm thinking a simple thumbs up (or down) rating could be useful, and existing ratings could easily be converted after being archived.
     
  6. socon67

    socon67 Poo-Bah (1,845) Jun 18, 2010 New York

    As someone who uses the Places section and the reviews, I would ask that if the Place Ratings were scrapped, that we still have the ability to give a review and maybe a check-in feature. Places and the Forums are the main reasons I like BA over Untappd.
     
  7. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,895) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    I'm open to ideas. No decisions have been made yet.
     
  8. socon67

    socon67 Poo-Bah (1,845) Jun 18, 2010 New York

    I'd suggest leaving the current process for Places but eliminate the rating, and instead allow a check-in feature. This way, you can track places you have been to, and even leave a review if you want. But it would scrap the perhaps antiquated and underutilized rating system for Places.
     
  9. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,099) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    It seems like maybe having place ratings/reviews only for breweries/tasting rooms and creating a top 250 breweries list might streamline things and gin up some interest for the places tab. In my experience there are some areas where the places list is super useful but for the most part I find just posting in the appropriate regional forum to be a better way to get an accurate and current read on where the good bars/stores are in an area
     
  10. Tilley4

    Tilley4 Poo-Bah (2,154) Nov 13, 2007 Tennessee
    Society Trader

    I have noticed the same thing about the places section... when I do open that up to look for new locations or get info about a city, all of the information is always a couple of years old.
     
  11. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (3,746) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    Reviewing places is difficult, since two of the categories are open to interpretation and personal preference. Vibe and Quality can both vary widely depending on the person. Quality leaves a lot of room for interpretation too. What is quality? Perhaps fine craftsmanship went into the bar top (i.e. quality), but the experience wasn't quality.

    Vibe is important too, but is too subjective. For this reason, I spend nearly 3/4 of all my place reviews describing the vibe so users can determine if this does or does not work for them. I can see why others would shy away from this question.

    I'd love to see place reviews stay, but simplify them. Perhaps just: Selection & Service.

    Lastly, allowing instant review of a place after adding may be helpful. The place could still be verified by site staff before the posting goes live, but it allows the user to share his/her thoughts on the establishment without having to periodically check on the status of the place approval. I tend to use my business trips to find and try new places. My intent is always to review them, at least for my own memory's sake, but with the delay process in adding a place - that habit has fallen away. It may take several weeks before a place gets approved and now I have to review via notes/memory. It makes me wonder if there are others skipping adding places for the same reason.

    Beer reviews are definitely the focal point, but I think the places section of Beer Advocate sets it apart from other beer and review sites. I don't care what a random user on Google/Yelp has to say about a beer place - I want to know what a beer-centric forum member has to say.
     
  12. tone77

    tone77 Poo-Bah (5,734) May 20, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I enjoy the place reviews and use this section whenever I travel. I would hate to see it gone.
     
  13. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,895) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    It's not going away. It simply needs to evolve and become useful in new ways.
     
    pat61, TheDoctor, bbtkd and 5 others like this.
  14. wingedeel

    wingedeel Zealot (535) Nov 17, 2005 Indiana
    Trader

    I still try and keep my neck of the woods updated when new breweries open up, and use places as a tool when I visit areas I am less familiar. As for the actual reviews, I guess I might skim over them, but I doubt many of them actually get read.
     
    TheDoctor, russpowell and PapaGoose03 like this.
  15. socon67

    socon67 Poo-Bah (1,845) Jun 18, 2010 New York

    I travel a ton for work, and use the Places and the local forums for recon. Not only do I read place reviews, I try to leave a quick review myself on the Places to play it forward. Without the BA resources for where to go, I'd have missed a bunch of great beer spots.
     
    jmdrpi, bubseymour, ktr5010 and 12 others like this.
  16. sulldaddy

    sulldaddy Poo-Bah (3,519) Apr 6, 2003 Connecticut
    Society Trader

    I like to use the places feature to find places. I will definitely add places if I find something not in the BA system. When I do add somewhere I try to do a review and comments as part of my add. For some reason it feels like I need to put more effort into reviewing a place than a beer, even though process and form here is almost identical.

    A more streamlined check in method may increase inputs of new places and with new brewerries popping up so frequently, this could help with updating and keeping up to date. Which in turn would help improve the mapping of "nearby" in the places option.

    any streamline should still have an option for comments and text input to provide more in depth insights on a spot.

    Ill think on this some more, as I do value the places option here on BA.
     
    tobelerone, Lucular, roan22 and 4 others like this.
  17. emerge077

    emerge077 Poo-Bah (11,016) Apr 16, 2005 Illinois
    Trader

    The Places section is one of the most useful resources on BA, despite it's minor flaws. Updating and integrating the Nearby function would improve usage for sure. Gearing it more towards travel, adding a radius function and a check-in option would also be useful upgrades.
     
    jmdrpi, Jaycase, champ103 and 11 others like this.
  18. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (5,193) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Trader

    I agree with this. I find Places very useful when traveling. I try to add/review as many as i can. I always search breweries and stores closet to the hotel,and decide from written reviews as to what is of interest Written reviews are the best as what is one person 's like is not necessarily an others. .
     
  19. elNopalero

    elNopalero Poo-Bah (3,630) Oct 14, 2009 Texas
    Society Trader

    I use Places, and add when I can. I have a backlog of ratings and reviews to post. Knowing this might make an impact will motivate me! While they’re useful when I’m local I especially value the places reviews when traveling or planning to travel ... or daydreaming about traveling!
     
  20. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,352) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    Thanks, I know it's dated but is still useful for seeking out top beer stores when traveling.
     
  21. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (394) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society

    You also need something to give an idea of what to expect. I visited a place in a converted warehouse; concrete walls & floor, four TV's, lots of people. Good selection and service, but I left after one beer because it was so noisy
    :+1:
     
  22. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (5,193) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Trader

    useful information on places when traveling or local (these are just a few)
    Breweries:
    Kid and/or dog friendly
    In house eatery or food trucks
    Full service bar
    crowd demographics (young /old)
    Beer to go/ Hours of operation (some are closed M.Tu,Wed).
    Its valuable information when traveling and you only have time to stop at 2 places. Also having a link to the website can answer many question you might have.
     
  23. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (3,746) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    100% agree. A comfortable setting is paramount for a good experience, and can influence whether I order one or several beers even more so than a tap list selection.

    The two ways to help improve place review traffic - easier user interface (simplified ratings, rating guide, etc.) and instant reviews.

    As far as the rating guide, there is a How to Review a Beer linked underneath the text box for any given beer review. The 'guide' underneath the place review text box is more of a general guide, BeerAdvocate Ratings Explained. To me, this suggests place reviews as an afterthought, with no encouragement or explanation for providing place reviews. Admittedly, the place section is much more interpretative, but providing a basic list of descriptors and suggestions could go a long way in simplifying the thought process behind providing place reviews.
     
  24. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Poo-Bah (8,520) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Moderator Society Trader

    Maybe something more like a Tag Cloud for the Vibe rather than a score???
     
    darktronica and Harrison8 like this.
  25. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Poo-Bah (8,520) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Moderator Society Trader

    Agree with updating the Nearby function... Also allow for searching based on a location and a radius would be great when planning for trips with the results available on a map.
     
  26. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (5,193) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Trader

    LOL. We are already Yelp for beer.
     
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  27. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (5,193) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Trader

    Lets not complicate or generate this. Its a place information for members to buy and or drink beer and or food.
     
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  28. NickSMpls

    NickSMpls Meyvn (1,168) Nov 11, 2012 Washington
    Society Trader

    I agree. It'd be a net loss if Places were dropped entirely. I'd do a thumbs up / middl'n / thumbs down and leave it at that. We do use search on BA for Places in more remote towns, not in big cities.
     
    officerbill likes this.
  29. scream

    scream Meyvn (1,218) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin
    Society

    I went back and edited my review of a place earlier today because I saw this. The place had changed hands and the availability of beers had imo suffered
     
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  30. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,099) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I wonder about switching from ratings of places to something like airbnb 'features' , is it family friendly? do they serve food? dogs ok? outdoor seating? etc... ? Still want a place for written comments it seems but I definitely agree that moving toward something more informative of what to expect and less about assigning a rating (not as if you can rate to style at a brewpub) would be helpful.
    Of course this gets us further away from the request for 'best breweries' list that kicked off this discussion...
     
  31. WhiteHart

    WhiteHart Initiate (36) Apr 16, 2018 North Carolina

    Isn't this actually the case even with beer reviews? Don't most people just look for a scale number?
     
    beertunes likes this.
  32. russpowell

    russpowell Poo-Bah (9,330) May 24, 2005 Arkansas
    Trader

    Agreed beer stores have been the best bang for the buck for me for Places
     
  33. roan22

    roan22 Crusader (725) Jun 30, 2004 New Jersey
    Society

    Nooo I really enjoy rating Places!!
     
  34. roan22

    roan22 Crusader (725) Jun 30, 2004 New Jersey
    Society

    I ONLY use Beer Advocate to figure out where to go in an unfamiliar area, c'mon Todd we cant get rid of places!
     
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  35. roan22

    roan22 Crusader (725) Jun 30, 2004 New Jersey
    Society

    If you add a place you should definitely review it, that's what I do. I am so excited to add places too.
     
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  36. roan22

    roan22 Crusader (725) Jun 30, 2004 New Jersey
    Society

    No I disagree. Beer and good food that I want to eat should be allowed to be discussed.
     
  37. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,099) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I 100% agree with this sentiment. Do you find that questions about where to eat/drink in a given area you're visiting is better addressed in the 'places' tab or in the regional forum?
     
    roan22 likes this.
  38. roan22

    roan22 Crusader (725) Jun 30, 2004 New Jersey
    Society

    Places. Forum is too annoying to search.
     
  39. roan22

    roan22 Crusader (725) Jun 30, 2004 New Jersey
    Society

    You can search by the exact town name in the directory,..and find out exactly how many eateries there are.
     
    unlikelyspiderperson likes this.
  40. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,099) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    With this though, if I'm not visiting a suburban or rural location but rather am going to be in a metropolitan area that I'm not familiar with the places feature becomes harder to use. I just post a thread in the regional area saying 'I'm staying around here, what're the places I need to visit nearby?' and that yields me pretty awesome answers.
    And honestly, google maps works better than the places tab here if I'm just in some random motel 6 on a long road trip for finding what's nearby.
    I think I would be sad if BA lost the feature of brewery reviews. I like that there is a resource for the beer stores in locals. I haven't had nearly as much usefulness in finding restaurants but I might be able to use the system better, I also think that's getting into what todd was talking about with not being yelp. To me, breweries and beer stores is what I come to this site to find out about when traveling. The additional stuff in the 'places' tab just kinda dilutes it all from my view
     
    bluejacket74 likes this.