Wine Talk

Snooth User: Philip James

Potential feature: 'Discuss this wine'

Posted by Philip James, Mar 12, 2008.

Following on from Rodolphe's comment on Dan's blog post today (, Snooth doesnt offer the user an easy way to initiate a conversation with the rest of us on a certain wine.

Would this feature be useful?

Description: Button on each wine page, that if clicked would start a forum topic on that wine. We'd throw in the basic details and the user would be able to ask their starting question (anything they liked for example "is it really worth that?" or "i have been aging a case, but am too scared to open any in case its not ready. Does anyone have news?").

Wine's that have ever been 'discussed' would have a megaphone icon, so you could know they are being talked about. Click the megaphone and read/continue the thread.

That means that you could stumble across a wine that you have an opinion about, see a megaphone icon you can dive right into the conversation and not have to worry about making duplicate posts, or not understand any background to that wine, that may have already been discussed.

Let me know your thoughts, how it should work and what's missing etc.


Reply by Philip James, Mar 12, 2008.

Free megaphone ( for the best answer! OK, just kidding...

Reply by Chris Carpita, Mar 12, 2008.

That sounds like a really awesome way to better link up wine pages to talk posts. If only you had somebody to program this for you, hmm....

Reply by gr, Mar 12, 2008.

I like this idea a lot, but I think the UI should be given a few mockups and test runs before making it public. I just ran through a couple of obvious ways to do it, and I'm not so sure any of them work very well within the existing Talk framework.

That is, your homebrew forums, as they exist now, permit perusal, which would just be nonsensical for this category. Not that there isn't plenty of prior art that makes this same mistake (two I frequently find myself frustrated over: and -- neither is usefully readable in their native format, only RSS subscription makes them somewhat manageable).

Important questions to ask yourselves:

Should we be able to find these discussions without going through the page for the item under discussion? (I think that they should.)

Should we be able to discuss any object that Snooth inventories (ie, not just wines, but wineries, regions, vintages, styles, et cetera)? (I think that we should.)

Should we be able to find our way back from a discussion to the object from which it sprung and, where appropriate, related objects? (Think other wines from that region, of that year, so forth.)

I don't think that any of those questions are technically difficult (the first exists, the second just wants more bullhorns here and there, and the third is just a search string), but I think finding the Right UI for each is a Hard Problem.

Reply by Philip James, Mar 13, 2008.

Gr - the much vaulted group pages (there will be lots and lots and lots of these) will address #2 with style. #1 and 3 are a bit harder to develop the UI.

Keep your eye on what we introduce over the coming month (ish), i really think it addresses a lot of this stuff.

Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Mar 13, 2008.

I think the idea is correct - Snooth needs to encourage talk about particular wines, vintages, regions, etc.

The challenge is how to display these discussions so that people who are interested in reading or even contributing to the conversation can find it, while other less interested parties don't have to wade through a giant message board of topics.

Reply by Harobed Nospmas, Mar 15, 2008.

Wonderful idea! It's just what our "Snooth" needs! Will help when shopping for wine varieties & such. I enjoy reading wine reviews, respecting opinions, putting the personal 'touch' on things...

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Mar 18, 2008.

RBoulanger -- I think there's a great opportunity for pulling this content into the relevant pages. We've been talking it over and have some good improvements planned.
Harobed -- Great to hear it will be useful. Let us know if you have any other ideas of what would be useful for you.

Reply by Chris Carpita, Mar 19, 2008.

I agree the user-interface is sort of a challenge, and getting from the wine detail page to the discussion topics is a little bit difficult, because you have to consider the empty state, how many topics to connect, what the priority criterion are, and graphical elements.

It would be possible to go the other way "easily", by tagging a wine by name from a post, and linking to the detail page. And, like Philip said, the group pages would take us to other discussing topics. Of course, you also don't want a post getting filled with links, since that might give talk pages a cheesy blog quality, so we might find some other tasteful way of doing it (graphical side-bar?). Suggestions welcome!

Reply by gr, Mar 19, 2008.

@ccarpita, while your easy way to get back makes sense, it's not enough for what I want. I want the discussion page to automatically point up wines that are similar (not necessarily using Snooth algorithms, just "from the same region", "from the same winery", that sort of thing). And the interface for *that*, given how prolific some regions/vintners/etc are and how prolific others aren't, is way harder than the backend for it. I'm thinking precisely of what you throw in paranthetically there (a sidebar).

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