We are working on a new online whisky profiling system over at http://www.smwdb.com we would like to know which of our planned features has highest priority in the eyes of its potential users. Please help us decide what to develop next.
(and add any ideas you would like to see us develop!)
many thanks in advance
Thanks for your idea. We have been thinking long and hard about what to do with scores of whiskies. We never actually thought of voting 1 person 1 favourite, and I like the idea!
Here's what we thought of so far:
When you profile a whisky you will be able to add a personal score. This score will be personal and will never be shown in the user average or publicaly on the whisky information page.
Your score you give a whisky will only be shown to you personally and will show up in your 'MyShelf' space. This does not mean that you won't be able to let others see your scores. As part of the 'MyShelf' space we are also going to include 'MyBuddies' (working title) . That will be a list of member who's you have invited to link with you through the system. your buddies will be able to view your shelf and compare what their profiles with yours.
In your user setting you will aslo be able to decide if you want to use scores or not.
This descision was based on the fact that I do not want to alienate any part of the whisky community, including the distilleries. I personally feel it is unfair on distilleries to show scores on a public information site. If most people like a smoky flavour in a whisky in doesn't mean that a non smoky whisky should get a lower value... which people may think indicates a worse whisky. I also believe that scores are also likely to follow trends not influenced by the flavour.
Personally I enjoy all whiskies and my ideal is that the SMWDB becomes a celebration of the differences between the flavours and an opertunity to discover the uniquness of every expression.
I know that the community is divided on the subject of scores and I want to try to accomodate everyone if possible.
Maybe I should start onother simple poll on the subject.
Tim & the smwdb team
We could disable the scoring until the rating sections have been filled in in some configuration.
At the moment you can shoose how to rate. Traditionally by just adding text for Body-nose-pallete and finish .. or by using our slider & keyword averaging system. Or any combination of both.
I guess the best way would be to say a user must have filled in 'either / or' for each section before the score bar would be shown.
bamber wrote:I like the idea of making scores anonymous. In fact I would go so far as to make them unavailable, even to buddies. You could go even further and not allow people to score a whisky, unless they have already rated it.
People are massively influenced by peer pressure.
Sorry I meant: You could go even further and not allow people to SEE THE SCORE of a score whisky, unless they have already rated it.
that makes sense to me!
One thing I would say is that the bottlings are pretty limited and don't include very many that I would immediately look for. Nor do I really want to be bothered with sending mails around asking for ones to be added.
Maybe you should consider an easier interface that lets people add bottles themselves, with pictures if necessary.
Funny you should say that. I know that data collection is one of the biggest hurdles we are faced with currently, and I am trying to avoid bothereing the distilleries with this for now. I do have an 'Upload you own expression' form (it will appear as a little button next to the expressioin name) that we are testing right now. I used it last night for example but it is still a bit buggy and causes errors on the back end if you dont give details in all section.
It will be fixed very shortly and I will let you know when you can test it for us.
Whiskies requested will have to be checked before they are made available to the public so expect a short delay on any expression you upload before you see it on the site.
With regards data entry I think you can cut corners:
I think it is possible to extract expression descriptions from online retailers websites, parse the html produced and pipe it straight into your database.
The Vintage House's website is ideal for this. Naughty I know.
And some form of search feature, so I can find all the Nutty Nose / Floral Palate whiskies...
Another essential feature would be a link to this forum / wm.com
bamber wrote:I think it is possible to extract expression descriptions from online retailers websites, parse the html produced and pipe it straight into your database.
Ummmm, breach of copyright / IP comes to mind, someone has spent a lot of time and money developing their own sites and it's not nice when someone steals all that hard work. Thats why the A-Z maps include phantom streets that don't exist, can you find the Phantom whiskies on wm.com
I would hassle the distilleries for info, at least you know it is correct and they will be happy to help if you are promoting their products
I would like to see ALL bottlings that you don't have scores or profiles for removed. It is so annoying to click around on a site and find nothing, people tend to then give up and you will have problems getting them back to your site
Matt, I understand your frustration at not seeing much useful content on the site at the moment and agree this may tend to put people off.
It leaves me with a choice to make... is it better to remove the empty expressions and have people request them? or put the expressions there ready for people to use when they want to profile one?
It will take time to start getting people to fill in the profiles and join to the site and I only open the doors on the beta site 2 weeks ago.
I personally would like put the first profile on every expression but alas my wife and wallet won't allow it!
I have invited all the whisky groups I could find to start testing with it and the more people that start using the system the better the information will be.
Very shortly deep linking will be implemented which means you will be able to profile a whisky and then share that profile with the world via a simple link. So you could even come to the WM forum and say "see what I think of glengonyne 17 by clicking here' which will link straight to your profile of GG17.
We are also making web widgets for you to use eg. a small banner that shows your personal top ten which you can place on your site... like hey these are the whiskies on myshelf check them out by clicking here!
you guys are helping loads by just talking about it on this forum and taking time to check it out.
We at the team will do our best to give you the users what you want. However our resources are limited in that as this is a non commercial project and its funded by me personally.
I like the idea of linking it to the WM site somehow, even if it is just a simple HTML link, I think this is a good idea and separate from what the forum already offers
I will try to send a message to The guys here at WM to see if they think its a good idea.
We are certainly looking into putting up a forum but only really for help with the system as I certainly don't want to compete.
As we are using the latests flash technology on the site it is possible for us to make a direct chat channel within the site for direct live discussion. This is the avenue that we will be steering towards.
Matt Page wrote:someone has spent a lot of time and money developing their own sites and it's not nice when someone steals all that hard work. Thats why the A-Z maps include phantom streets that don't exist.
I lived on a phantom street in London for four years - the bit I lived on was real enough, but the other half in the A-Z was really a park. It made it a real hassle getting taxis.
I have finished the deep linking component to allow people to share thier tasting profiles and if this works the image below should link to my profile of that whisky.. so here goes!
if you register you can get your own links from your 'MyShelf' area.
I just have to edit them for BBcode![/img]
'comprehensive search feature'
Personally I think this should be one of your main goals because as you post up more and more data people need an easy way to track down the bottle they want to find or that nugget of information that may be hiding in the depts
I will not bother the people on this forum anymore with what is happening on the SMWDB but I will link to this post from the home page as I find this poll very useful.
Thanks for all your replies and opinions so far. We will do our best to get in there what you want.
One thing that I think might be interesting would be to not only see the average score but the standard deviation as well. This would be particularly useful for whiskies with average scores in the high 70's/low 80's so you could get an idea of whether it's just an "average whisky" or if it's a "love it or hate it" whisky.
For example, say a whisky has a pretty decent score like 80. If the standard deviation is very low, then you know that most people scored it very close to 80 and that it's a pretty safe, average dram. But if the standard deviation is very high, then you know that it recieved some scores in the low 70s and some in the high 80's and 90's which indicates that it's not for everyone, but those who like it, love it.
On your site instead of tobaccoey and that stuff you should have peatey or something so that I know which heavily peaty flavoured malts to stay away from
It was a very difficult descision on which flavour categories to use and I consulted some of the best noses in the buisness. We decided that as we only wanted 10 flavour categories (so there was a little less work to do per profile) peaty would be part of the smokey flavour descriptors as they go hand in hand.
I like the idea of scores
Here's where I stand on scores. Scores for whiskies will never be publicly available on smwdb. Personally I really do not like the idea of scoring a whisky. I sit firmly in the camp of appreciating the complex flavours to be found in all expressions.
What we are trying to do is get an average opinion of how much of a certain flavour is in the whisky, so if a person preffers a sherry flavour they will be able to determin how much of a sherry flavour is present in an expression. That does not mean that a less complex whisky or one with less sherry would score less... a score is a personal prefference that doesn't effect how much flavour is in the whisky.
I also feel that scores would follw popular trends and could be influenced by motives outside the flavour arena.
Having said all that.. smwdb is a tool for you guys and I am aware that people like to give whiskies scores. (I personally also find one whisky preferable to another). To that end Scores will be included in the peersonal space 'MyShelf' so you will be able to score your own tasting notes and use that score as a means of organising your profiles.
This score will never be public, and never be averaged, but could be shared with someone specifically on your friends list. We have though long and hard about scoring and I know there are two camps out there. Hopefully our system will be fully adequate for all.
I agree with previous comments that having a db with a lot of profile-less whiskies is frustrating. It's like an online store where half the items are not in stock! Any way you can visually differentiate between those with or without profiles, or provide a check box to allow users to filter on only those with profiles. I think all the whiskies should be there, just without having to click in to each one to see if it's got info about it.
One thought for the db (apologies if it already does it) is as a tool to find similar whiskies. A question oft asked on here is "I like 12YO xxxx what should I try next that has a similar mouth feel but is less peaty" or whatever.
At it's crudest it could be a "people who like this whisky also like..." where people simply tick which whiskies they "like" and you find the most popular connections.
Or just get people to recommend which whiskies are similar but with some way of designating how the whisky differs (i.e. less peat, more fruit).
Or provide some complex taste profile matching algorythm to find other whiskies with similar shaped profiles.
As we are non comercial we have no budget for advertising etc so we are really relying on the good nature of guys and gals like you here on this forum to help us out and start profiling/adding your whiskies.
There was a request for more personal info for each expression and we are looking into this right now to make the MyShelf area much more useful for collectors.
It is a good idea to somehow mark the whiskies that have profiles attached and I will look into the possibility of this on monday in our next development meeting..though I am thinking that the query for that and the amount of information the client has to initially recieve may make it difficult to pull off.
As for the find a similar whisky. This is deffinately on the cards, and we will deffinately be going the algorythm way to find whiskies with similar amounts of flavour according to the average user profile. it will be part of the search function when it arrives and similar whiskies shown with links to them in the whisky page by each expression.
Thanks for your feedback.
If any readers are irritated that I am answering these sorts of questions on this forum let me know and I will try to deal with these post with private msg or something. For now I will keep posting in the actual forum in case it makes interesting reading.
I agree with previous comments that having a db with a lot of profile-less whiskies is frustrating. It's like an online store where half the items are not in stock! Any way you can visually differentiate between those with or without profiles
Thanks to you guys for suggesting this one. It turned out there was a fairly easy solution to the problem and now we have implemented it on the site.
In the dropdown lists after the distillery name or expression name you will see in brackets the amount of profiles submitted for that distillery / expression.
In the next day or 2 we are adding contexural help and also a links area to link to [creep] great sites like this one [/creep].
Let me know if you want a link to your own site on the smwdb.
Oh and look out for us on myspace
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