What are we going to do with Places?

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

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  1. craigbelly

    craigbelly Poo-Bah (1,617) Dec 31, 2015 Iowa
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    The numbers will always continue to move down because once I've reviewed a place, that's the end of it unless it changes in some way. We are not about "check-ins" like other beer sites. We are creatures of habit and inhabit the same collective breweries over and over.
    StoutElk_92 and ChicagoJ like this.
  2. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (5,329) Sep 3, 2007 Texas

    The amount of information that can be portrayed in a written review gives so much more information than that, it is not even worth going into. Its not that hard to read, and moving further away from actual experiences (ie just like giving a rating without an actual review), yes I know you can do that with places too, but just a checklist of stuff does not portray a place very well at all and is not the way I would like to see places go. Hell, I'd be down with getting rid of scores in both beer and place reviews and make it mandatory to write something, but I know I'm in the minority there :slight_smile:
    #82 champ103, Nov 20, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
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  3. officerbill

    officerbill Savant (962) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    I'm going at from the reviewer's end. It's a lot easier, while you're at the brewery, to check a few boxes (which provide most of the relevant info) than write a review. Maybe have a text box of the person wants to add additional thoughts,
  4. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (5,329) Sep 3, 2007 Texas

    Ah, ok. Completely misread on my part then. Thought you were saying getting rid of all text reviews, ha.
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  5. officerbill

    officerbill Savant (962) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    Nah, just a quick way to provide basic info, then a written review if the person wants to expand or highlight. For instance my wife rarely drinks beer so a quick way to eliminate breweries without wine or liquor, without having to read, would be useful to me.
    champ103 likes this.
  6. woodchipper

    woodchipper Meyvn (1,492) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut

    About 6-8 weeks ago I tried to launch a New Taproom Weekend thread and it died a quick death. I think people out at places are just too "in the moment" to write reviews while there and mentally on to something else when they get home. Its not the same as sitting down with a new beer with the sole purpose of reviewing it.

    If I were designing the ratings boxes from scratch I would want the following and I would make any box optional (you only need to fill in some).
    • Location
    • Facility
    • Staff
    • Beer Selection
    • Beer Quality
    • Pricing
    • Food (y/n)
    • Non-beer drinks (y/n)
    I know Todd mentioned above that BA does not want to be Yelp and that under consideration is
    a simple thumbs up or down. If that were to happen, I think I would still want to see optional "Beer Selection" and "Beer Quality" rating boxes. After all, its all about the beer.
  7. errantnight

    errantnight Savant (944) Jul 7, 2005 District of Columbia

    Thumbs up/down would only move BA into more direct competition with Yelp and would suffer accordingly.

    BA has a brand and it’s not ticking. You can tap into ticking as an avenue for growth, but if you dive into it, you’ve lost your identity and are just competing on feature parity when you’re already behind.

    I’m a broken record but there is clearly a market for place ratings, and the BA version isn’t working. Is there a version Todd and Jason can imagine that feels like BA and is different enough (solves a different need than existing apps or sites) to create a niche?

    Place ratings, but with less nuance, doesn’t seem to me like a compelling pitch.

    Being able to go thumbs up or down on certain attributes, steal from the Untappd world where creating an at least superficially complex rating with ease? Better. But still need something in addition.
    rudzud, jmdrpi, roan22 and 2 others like this.
  8. SLeffler27

    SLeffler27 Poo-Bah (2,849) Feb 24, 2008 New York
    Society Trader

    What I would like to have, vs. what will work is a classic debate of pragmatism. Mick Jagger said something similar.

    If we, as users of this site, are not using a feature than maintenance of the feature will detract from what we are using. And maybe there are other formats to collect the critical information that will make the feature more user friendly and useful.

    For these reasons, I think select criteria scores is a reasonable compromise.
  9. shadyside

    shadyside Disciple (385) Feb 27, 2011 Georgia

    I use "Places" all the time and always go to "Places" to see if anything looks interesting in an area where I may be traveling. After that, I do my own research. I do, however, enjoy reading others' comments. I appreciate people taking the time to add places. Maybe a thumbs up/thumbs down, but if a particular joint is bad, I would like to know why.
  10. bowzer4birdie

    bowzer4birdie Poo-Bah (1,905) Aug 16, 2012 Illinois

    I would want to see data points extended beyond the 30 day window provided above. I would want to see minimum 6 months data traffic based on this site's model in order to form a reasonable preliminary conclusion. Based on that data, you could then begin to understand next steps to LEAN.
    rudzud likes this.
  11. wingedeel

    wingedeel Zealot (541) Nov 17, 2005 Indiana

    To clarify my earlier post, I would like to see "places" stick around. That area comprises my biggest contributitons to this site. But if people want the function to stick around, they need to become more involved .

    I did a quick dirty count, and there are at least 20 places I have added to which the only review is mine. Yet people have taken the time to add tons of beers from said places, most of them one offs that have also never been reviewed. Also there are numerous places, some of which were added years ago, that have no reviews. On top of all that I don't recall ever getting a "like" for any of my reviews , understandable I guess as they kinda suck.

    Places, like anything else in life, will go away if there is limited participation. I would like the function to remain, as I enjoy and use it, but that doesn't seem likely the way things stand now.
  12. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,480) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    Another thought: when reading reviews, is "Less is more, and more is less" applicable here? Do people tend not to read longer reviews to get all of the details (I think 250 words is suggested to get credit for a review), and then quit using Places as a result? Maybe the 250 words suggested length for a review should be made into a maximum length? I'm guilty of typically writing around three paragraphs for my reviews, which usually is around 1,000 words. I think it would be difficult to provide a quality (comprehensive) review in 250 words or less, but if shorter reviews would increase usage of Places, I'd give it a try.

    Or perhaps going with a series of check boxes for many of the facts, and then an optional paragraph (250 words max) with subjective thoughts not covered by check boxes could complete the review.
  13. wingedeel

    wingedeel Zealot (541) Nov 17, 2005 Indiana

    I think this is a pretty good idea, maybe up the max words to 350.
    ChicagoJ, Harrison8 and PapaGoose03 like this.
  14. Mark-Leggett

    Mark-Leggett Poo-Bah (1,634) Jul 30, 2014 Missouri

    Maybe offer bonus beer karma for rating places
    Lucular, ChicagoJ, roan22 and 3 others like this.
  15. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (5,261) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
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    What if people summed up their lengthy review above their lengthy one?

    You could hit all the keys of the place, and then go more into depth on the setting, selection, etc..
    mactrail and PapaGoose03 like this.
  16. sulldaddy

    sulldaddy Poo-Bah (4,395) Apr 6, 2003 Connecticut
    Society Trader

    I like the potential of more checkboxes, but not sure about the max words limit for a comment box makes a difference. I would guess a lower minimum may encourage, but the cap would penalize folks who give details. ALthough if the check boxes are fairly comprehensive, that may provide for shorter reviews. Im honestly not sure of a way to stir up more usage.

    There used to be a limit of how many beers you could rate/review in one day until you had enough content added to the site, maybe something along the lines of not being able to do queries until you have rated XX number of locations? Just throwing that into the conversation, not even sure I like it, but want to keep this thread moving and make BA better via the outcomes.
    Harrison8 and PapaGoose03 like this.
  17. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (2,044) Apr 16, 2015 New York
    Society Trader

    I use the places ratings often when traveling. I need to get back into rating places. I feel good about the opinion of BAs and have had success following recommendations from places on here.
    roan22, ChicagoJ, HopBelT and 4 others like this.
  18. roan22

    roan22 Zealot (503) Jun 30, 2004 New Jersey

    I think I meant writing about it in a review, I guess that's not discussing it lol.
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  19. roan22

    roan22 Zealot (503) Jun 30, 2004 New Jersey

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  20. HopBelT

    HopBelT Poo-Bah (2,062) Mar 18, 2014 Belgium
    Society Trader

    I like to check out places on BA before and during travelling. It's a great feature and comes in handy quit a lot. Indeed, reviewing can differ from person to person and situation to situation, but I don't get it why this needs to evolve. I could live with thumbs up/down, but some words of explanation can be handy...
  21. emerge077

    emerge077 Poo-Bah (13,242) Apr 16, 2005 Illinois
    Society Trader

    A keyword search field for Places could be really useful.

    Just now I was searching Places for a store in LA with a good Belgian selection, and it was hard to find good info. Often times, a user would just create a forum thread “Best shop in LA for Belgians?” instead of searching Places. Granted, I could just search the forum too. Maybe a keyword search of Places could make this easier, also tagging places with keywords, based on what they specialize in.
    #101 emerge077, Nov 23, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
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  22. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,041) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    Building on this, maybe a series of tags (allows dogs, food y/n, specific beer styles) they could be flagged by each rater/reviewer as well as scores for beer quality and service to produce a number. Then space for a short written review.
    This would give you multiple sorting criteria (score, tags, business type) that would then have the written reviews to make more precise decisions.
    This seems like it makes rating a place a little more casual/mobile accessible, makes ratings with no written review more useful, and makes the search potentially more useful. Also letting someone who is adding a location input everything before approval seems like a common request that makes sense to me
    pudgym29, cjgiant, emerge077 and 2 others like this.
  23. brentk56

    brentk56 Poo-Bah (11,225) May 13, 2004 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    I haven't looked through the entire thread but the Places function is still useful to me. I travel a lot and want to find the top breweries, brewpubs and beer stores in the area where I am traveling. I don't really care about the reviews (and agree about the Yelp comment) but I would like to be able to type in the name of a city of zip code for where I am going and get the top places to drink and shop within a defined radius. I don't tick on Untappd but I find they have developed a more useful tool for when I am traveling.

    Beer bars used to be an important feature of this site 10-15 years ago when craft beer was hard to find. With craft beer widely available it is no longer particularly relevant.
    jmdrpi, sulldaddy and ChicagoJ like this.
  24. rightcoast7

    rightcoast7 Disciple (382) Apr 2, 2011 Maine

    I don’t necessarily have a solution to the Places “problem” (since I wasn’t aware there even was a problem), but I think it would be a big loss for the site if it went away or didn’t retain the features that IMO make it far better than the forums as a way to find this information.

    For one, searching forums for discussion of various spots requires that you first have a sense of what spots there are to search for, which are of course conveniently listed in Places. Second, I’ve never found the search feature to be that useful, since it will return all kinds of irrelevant mentions of the place in question. This issue is magnified now that the forum rules allow only one thread per city/brewery per year, since those threads are sprawling discussions of all sorts of topics, often over dozens of pages. Asking locals is also far from ideal, because you have to rely on someone actually responding in a timely fashion (not ideal if you are traveling and need a quick answer rather than planning a trip weeks in advance). Advice on those sorts of posts is pretty inconsistent and has a tendency to breed snarky responses such as “use the search feature”, particularly with popular locales that receive a lot of the same questions over and over (like Portland, Maine where I live).

    In short, while Places may need some tweaking, I feel that the forums are a pretty poor substitute.
    meanmutt, mactrail, emerge077 and 6 others like this.
  25. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,480) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    You've been around long enough that you probably remember when zip code and area code were search qualifiers in Places. They were dropped 7-8 years ago (I think), but those two qualifiers would also be nice to have back if Places is going to be enhanced. They have a good geographic search function in certain situations.
    sharpski, Redrover, emerge077 and 2 others like this.
  26. HopBelT

    HopBelT Poo-Bah (2,062) Mar 18, 2014 Belgium
    Society Trader

    Please bring back the quick search option for places...
    rudzud, emerge077 and ChicagoJ like this.
  27. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (8,237) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    As an avid reviewer of new beers, the places function is by the far the most useful thing on this site to me. I use it religiously to find new stores and places in areas I've traveled to that I am not familiar with to find new beers to drink and review.

    With that being said, I can understand the drop and ability to not maintain it. However, please keep the information available for us for searching. It is invaluable.

    I am guessing that the drop in place additions has more to do with the focus on a quickly changing beer style landscape, and that there are so many new places (breweries especially) and stores that have come across it's hard to keep up and verify them.
    roan22, sulldaddy, Harrison8 and 3 others like this.
  28. Steve_Studnuts

    Steve_Studnuts Defender (661) Apr 21, 2015 Pennsylvania

    Q: What are we going to do w/ places?

    A: Go to them!
    meanmutt and ChicagoJ like this.
  29. Gkruszewski

    Gkruszewski Poo-Bah (2,759) Nov 1, 2013 New York
    Society Trader

    Maybe we can have a check box on the place or brewery visited... simply check the box of visited , that way there still is a way to track the numbers of places visited
  30. VoxRationis

    VoxRationis Poo-Bah (2,931) Dec 11, 2016 New York
    Society Trader

    I'd like to think the ratings will remain. I have used them as a guide when I am somewhere unfamiliar. Perhaps there is just a bit of saturation effecting the numbers, i.e most people go local and there are so many such locales to be rated.
    ChicagoJ likes this.
  31. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,863) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    Missed this thread for a while. I’ll add my vote that the rating is somewhat unnecessary and random given what I’ve seen. The (especially newer) place ratings tend to mimic the beer hype more than an independent place rating.

    I enjoy giving a little bit of what I feel are objective thoughts on newer local places with a bit of the subjective but find hitting the somewhat ambiguous categories difficult at times. So I’m in for keeping a comment/review option and tossing the rating numbers for places.
    unlikelyspiderperson likes this.
  32. pat61

    pat61 Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2010 Minnesota

    use a check box method like the new BJCP score sheet. List the essential information of the place. Have a list of qualities down one side (half a dozen is about right) and a row from 1 to 5 across the top - Bad to good.
    unlikelyspiderperson likes this.
  33. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (8,211) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Add me to the list of BA users that regularly using the Places feature to search, and I add and rate places all the time. It's great for find good beer bars and restaurants with good beer, when traveling for work or vacation.

    It's the best resource for doing so. Google maps can be used to search for breweries, but searching for "restaurant with good beer selection" is very difficult outside of the BeerAdocate Places database. Neither Google Maps or Yelp is very helpful.

    I think getting the Nearby feature to function with the whole database (not just the historic list) would increase the usage greatly.
  34. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (8,211) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    While those are helpful information, a review and numerical rating is needed. How else do you easily sort to find the highest rated places in a city or town?
    roan22, StoutElk_92, HopBelT and 3 others like this.
  35. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (5,261) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    Compliment to site staff and moderators - places seem to be approved much faster. I've added two places and both were approved within a couple days (with one being approved within the day). It was a large frustration of mine how long the approval process used to take, and part of my lack-of-interest in contributing. So compliments to those making it happen.
  36. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,480) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    As long as this thread is being used to collect suggestions for enhancement of the Places feature, let me make this suggestion. When I rate a place I use the Quality portion of the Rating process to score the beer quality. Other aspects of a brewery could also go into this rating factor, but beer quality is foremost for me in most cases.

    When I visit a brewery I score each beer that I drink on the same 1-5 scoring mechanism that BA uses. After scoring all of the beers I calculate the overall mathematical average which typically does not fall on the quarter-point increments scale that BA uses, so I have been rounding forward or backward to the nearest quarter-point selection. I feel bad rounding backward, and for some breweries I hesitate to round forward because the beers just weren't worth that advanced score. So my suggestion is that the Quality rating factor (or all of the rating factors) be a blank slate onto which I can insert my actual number. It's all about the beer. Yeah, it seems like a very minor thing, but a suggestion is all that it is. Thanks for listening.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  37. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Poo-Bah (10,082) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Moderator Society Trader

    I think of quality as referring directly to the beers but as they can be rated individually, I use it to rate the aspects of the beer that I am served by the brewery - glassware (type/cleanliness), temperature, carbonation, head as served, etc. not the beer itself. The quarter point increments work fine for this.
  38. GrumpyGas

    GrumpyGas Poo-Bah (2,344) Apr 7, 2009 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Aww, man.
    If Places went away, no one would know I reviewed Kings and Convicts while they were still just a 'neighborhood' jernt.

    I am kidding no one. Highwood has no neighborhood.

    Seriously, Places is a valuable part of this site. May it continue.
    pudgym29, FBarber, rgordon and 6 others like this.
  39. zeff80

    zeff80 Poo-Bah (14,678) Feb 6, 2006 Missouri

    As someone that has added 77 places and reviewed 366, it's been sad to see the decline. I think the drop-off can be traced back to the time when Beer Karma disappeared and there was less incentive for Place Reviews. In my head, that era is known as the Great Depression of BA.
    sharpski, mactrail, rgordon and 10 others like this.
  40. metter98

    metter98 Poo-Bah (17,825) Aug 29, 2006 New York
    Moderator Society

    Soliciting new ideas on how to improve places is a great idea. I have always liked the place reviews and ratings on BA, but in recent years I have found it easier to use other sources to quickly identify potential beer places to visit when I am traveling. Then once I see what's nearby the area I am going to, I'll often come back to BA to read other user's reviews to get a better sense of what the place is like from a beer perspective. Then if places I visit aren't on listed BA, I'll add them afterwards and leave a review or rating.

    I think that an improved mapping feature for places could help to boost the amount of ratings. The current Nearby feature on the website is a step in the right direction, but having some more features such as the ability to search near a specific area (without having to manually pan across the country) or to use filters to only show specific types of businesses (e.g., bars, breweries, restaurants, etc.) or ratings (e.g., greater than 4.0) could help make it easier for users to find places to visit, especially when they are traveling.

    Integrating places into the mobile app could also be another way to increase ratings. It would be helpful to be able to bring up a map and see places near a user's current location and have an ability to quickly "check-in" to a place by giving it a quick rating or leaving a more detailed review.
    cjgiant, ChicagoJ, dbrauneis and 5 others like this.
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