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Snooth User: dmcker

What is this WinePress channel, and how does it relate to the Articles and the Forum?

Posted by dmcker, Aug 8, 2011.

Recently, with minimal fanfare and explanation, WinePress was launched as another channel by Snooth. I never saw a full/clear explanation from anyone, whether GregDP, Mark, Chris or the current CEO about what it's aimed at, and how it interlaces with the earlier channels of the Forum and the Articles.

I've felt that recently Forum trafffic, both absolute, and that of interesting content, has been off compared to a half year, and particularly a year or more in the past. The absolute volume of articles has increased over the same interval, but has traffic as judged by comments in the threads underneath? Now I see when I look at the items in my WinePress feed (seems like a conglomeration of articles, forum posts and other bloggish dohickeys) that very few of them have any comments underneath. And when I went to publish this post in the Forum, I can't do that directly, but it goes through the WinePress function/channel/thingy.

More cannibalization and content diffusion, or...? Any thoughts from my co-users, or fuller explanations from the info architects at Snooth, or....?

 

 

Oh yeah, and when I tried to save this a few moments ago, I couldn't save, and thus preview or publish--had to reboot. Plus when I try to preview now, there's no scroll bar so I can't read down to the end of the preview. I'm on Mac 10.6.8, and Firefox 4.0.1. Count this as a bug report, too....

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Replies

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Reply by JonDerry, Aug 8, 2011.

I've had a couple of posts gobbled up by Wine Press myself, pretty frustrating indeed.  Ideally, the feed would have no effect on the forum, but can't exactly say that's been the case.

 

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Reply by Mark Angelillo, Aug 8, 2011.

Hey DM - thanks for the Wine Press thoughts. Will definitely check out that bug.

Did you see this post in the forum? http://www.snooth.com/talk/topic/wine-press/ Would love to hear more of your thoughts there.

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Reply by Mark Angelillo, Aug 8, 2011.

Hi Jon - all of your posts into the forum (those created in Wine Press as conversations) should be preserved in the current forum. If you notice otherwise, please do reach out.

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Reply by dmcker, Aug 8, 2011.

Would be interested in hearing higher level discussions on the role of the wine press, and how it won't just provide a third channel you would need to go to to see certain content. I remember having more questions after reading that earlier post of yours, mark, rather than answers. Don't seem to remember any responses underneath, either. Can't we continue the discussion here?

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Reply by gregt, Aug 8, 2011.

We've been told that it's not ideal for the conversation in the forum and the conversation happening in the articles section to be separate.

That's true and kudos to you for trying to sort that out.  No reason to have multiple and exclusive fora.

It has also been a goal of ours to make it easier for the best posts to find their way to the top of the heap . . .

The Wine Press feed is a place where all of the content will mingle together and be displayed, sortable by recency or popularity.

There's an understanding that on any forum, posts are listed from last to first.  If you're going to start sorting by popularity, I assume that will be a function of the user and not of Snooth?  If you sort by popularity, the post with the most hits will likely always be the first post, because every new user will see that first.  There are very few people who dumpster dive for ancient threads.

So IF I understand, and no guarantee of that, every forum on Snooth will be folded into the Wine Press? If so, that's a good idea.  If it's one more forum on top of everything else, that's a bad idea.

And IF you're interested in site feedback, the way Snooth shows up in every wine search is really offensive.  I actually like Snooth and post here but when I do a Google search, I now have to tell the search NOT to include anything with Snooth in it.  Maybe showing up on every search concerning wine gets the hit count up, but it creates a lot of ill-will in the larger wine community. 

Imagine you're searching for some information about a wine because you don't know much about it.  You get a Snooth link as one of your first responses. You click it. You get a message that Snooth doesn't have anything about that wine right now, wouldn't you like to post your own review?

NO DOOF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You're searching because you don't know shit about the wine in the first place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Again, I happen to like Snooth, and that really irritates the hell out of me.  Imagine what it does to people who don't frequent the site?

As a long term plan to create a warm, fuzzy feeling, it's a complete failure. When I talk to people about Snooth, they're so enraged by the fact that Snooth always clutters their search results that they refuse to have anything to do with the site.  You may have a lot of one - time hits, but you've lost an entire community of potential participants with that dumb-ass feature.   

You should re-think it.  Just code something that says if there is no information in the Snooth database about the wine, it shouldn't show up in any search engine.  Pretty simple, no? Why should I, a friend of the site, have to do extra work to eliminate Snooth from any search query results?

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Aug 8, 2011.

I agree with GregT entirely - Search engine opimisation is perfectly legitimate, but domination is annoying, even in Australia particualry when we can't buy wine from the US due to US liquor laws.

My advice is for Snooth to think like a user - do a search and react as you would if the Search result was say "Wine Advocate" rather than Snooth.

Technical genius and customer satisfaction are not always alligned!

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Reply by JonDerry, Aug 8, 2011.

To your point Greg, I completely dismissed Snooth at first glance because of that very thing.  I was looking up a wine, and Snooth came up with absolutely zero information, asking for my review. The whole thing smelled.  It wasn't until I met someone at a party who told me they had a Snooth profile that made me take a second look and found the forum. 

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Reply by dmcker, Aug 9, 2011.

All valid points, and some of us have seen (e.g.) WineBerserker trashings of this type of behavior by Snooth. However, back to the WinePress. It would seem there is content there that is not in the Forum or the Articles. WTF?! Why further disperse, when you're trying to focus effect? And why not try to build up the Forum, rather than further weaken it?

Would love to see some answers from the Snooth infodesign and content management team....

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Reply by Mark Angelillo, Aug 9, 2011.
Edited Aug 9, 2011

Isn't it funny how the Internet changes? In the past, Google's messaging to site owners had always been - give us your pages, we'll make sure the best ones are shown to users. And by and large they did a good job. In some cases they did not.

Recently, Google changed their messaging. They decided that it was too hard to rank sites properly in every case, and pushed back on site owners to do more management of their content. This was a good move for them and for their users and for the web.

Snooth doesn't control Google's rankings - it's an entirely different product. We do listen and adapt to what they tell us to do however. We recently did exactly as Greg T suggests - over the past several months Snooth has done a fair amount of work to considerably reduce its Google footprint, and it's possible we will continue to reduce our footprint further as we gather more information from the instrumentation we have in place. Again, I agree this is a good change for the web. It's not our intention to frustrate or annoy people - only to build a useful service. As we work within Google's guidelines I expect this experience will continue to improve. I'm looking forward to a better web experience, for sure.

 

DM - Wine Press is expected to become the singular channel on Snooth. It will contain and link out to the forum discussions, articles, blog posts, and Q/A posted on Snooth as well as other content from around the web. The only reason it is not this way today is that we are gathering feedback about what it needs before it feels like a home to the Snooth community. My previous post was supposed to serve as a conversation starter in that regard - somehow that message was lost.

 

Greg T - the posts in Wine Press are sorted by recency or popularity. Recency should be as you expect, with the most recently active threads at the top. Popularity is more of a special sauce ranking we're continually improving and adapting here. It's supposed to take into account the rankings the community give us (not from traffic, but from engagement metrics on and off Snooth such as positive votes, comments, Likes, Tweets, +1s etc). Popularity also includes a heavy recency bias, so you'll still see fresh content there as well. If you see something that doesn't make sense, I'm happy to take a look. We're continuing to tweak the popularity algorithm as we see new posts in the press.

The goal of Wine Press is to focus and not to splinter. We expect to send all traffic from snooth.com/articles/ and snooth.com/talk/ into Wine Press in the near future, and we are prepping it to become that new home.

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Reply by gregt, Aug 9, 2011.

So that sounds like a good idea to hook everything together.  I'm in complete agreement w D on that. Never understood the point of balkanizing the site.  And even better is reducing the useless search results. I get that Google has its secret sauce that orders search rankings, but the same thing happens in other search engines so if Snooth takes some steps, that's good.  

Jon's story is a perfect example of the problem and he took additional steps to overcome it. Most people haven't so changing whatever you can is a great idea.

BTW - I thought that Wine Press meant you linked to articles about wine in other sites.  Still think it's a good idea.  I know, it directs people away from Snooth, but if done well, it would generate conversations here.

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Reply by Mark Angelillo, Aug 9, 2011.

I think it was more organic as an evolution. First we built a forum off-site, then we rebuilt it on-site, then as we began to morph into more of a media company and Greg began writing articles, those gained a new home. We're finally pulling everything together, and that feels good. There's always plenty to do.

Wine Press does link out to articles on the web. We index RSS feeds from around 150 wine sites, and we hope to grow that number. Agree this is good for the hard working wine writers out there, and we don't worry so much about directing people away from Snooth if we're doing a good job of sending them to a good piece of content. That's why the social signals are so strong - it's humans picking the good content that humans want to read, not computers.

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Reply by Rich Tomko, Aug 9, 2011.

Hey guys, thanks for the comments on WinePress and apologize for not posting more frequently about site changes; I prefer to have GDP and/or Mark discuss the product initiatives, but happy to add my two cents to the discussion. 

As dmercker noted, we purposely didn't say much about WinePress when we launched it as we're looking to optimize the product (you've likely noticed some changes) and decide exactly how it will work within the construct of the overall site.  

This soft launch was intended to get as much feedback as possible before we made any firm decisions on the above - so thanks for helping.

Let me take a step and explain our current tech platform - we have two systems.  The Content Management System (CMS) and the Forums.  Our writers use the CMS to post content and as you would guess the features in the CMS are customized to work with the site page templates and are more robust than those in the Forum.   The Forum as you all know, is fairly straightforward and very useful for having a conversation.  

The problem - at least from our standpoint - is that these two systems are silo'ed.   In practical terms, we have our power users (you all) that are very knowledgeable about wine, posting ideas in the forums and we have another set of users that are enthusiastic about wine and generally less knowledgeable that comment on the articles.   

Our goal is to have these two systems work together to create a site experience where all the content created can be easily shared.   It’s frankly a shame that much of the great conversations that happen in the Forums are not seen by the majority of our users.

That's where Wine Press comes in.  Wine Press has three main purposes

  •  To give users, writers, and bloggers an easy way to communicate with the entire site audience.  They can do that by asking and/or answering questions, creating quizzes, starting a conversation, posting an image, posting a short thought, or posting a story.
  • To pull together all the wine content generated on the site and around the web into one activity stream where users can get a full picture of what is being discussed in the world of wine.   In many cases this will mean that we will direct a user to other wine sites.  We’ve been regularly linking off to other sites for the last eight months, albeit in a very manual way, this will allow us to do more of the same but in an automated way.
  • To be the “pipes” that populate the rest of the site sections. In the next couple of months, we are planning to modify the top-level site navigation to highlight the content on the site.  As you know, we haven’t changed our top-level navigation in almost 4 years and given the increase in editorial production the current nav doesn’t do the job it’s intended to do. More details to come on this change

I hope that helps provide some context for WinePress.  What you’re seeing today is not the end game but rather a necessary step to determining how best to use this powerful new tool.  

more thoughts?

Rich

Snooth Media, CEO

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Reply by JonDerry, Aug 9, 2011.

I think i'm understanding the purpose of wine press pretty well now, i'm just wondering if it's possible to keep the forum in the format it is now, but serving as a mirror of the wine press just in a different format.  That way, any forum post would show up in the wine press, and every wine press post would show in the forum. 

Just liking the way the forum reads now, to where you can quickly scan the last 15 subjects or so on a single page w/out having to scroll down.

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Reply by Lucha Vino, Aug 9, 2011.

I agree with Jon.  The Winepress interface is pretty overwhelming right now.  There needs to be some simple to use filtering options that allow you to easily see the content that you are most interested in.  Otherwise, there is just too much information to sift through.  I find myself giving up pretty quickly on trying to find things in Winepress that I am interested in.

I like being able to go to the Forum or to the Articles section depending on what type of information (and interaction) I want to have.  Providing filters that get me to the same content in the Winepress would be very helpfull.

 

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Reply by napagirl68, Aug 10, 2011.

I would post a new subject, but I can only reply  BECAUSE....

I am using this new publisher to try to post a new topic in discussions.  I have spent a flippin hour of my life trying to do this, and I am wondering WHY, which is another issue.

 I do not have a submit button anymore.  there is a save button that goes automatically into "saving" mode and never wakes from its coma... flatliner.  When I hit preview, it says I must save a draft... duh.  Maybe I am missing something since I am now officially sleep deprived at 12:01am when I intended to post at 11:20ish, via this crappy software.  I do have my popups UNBLOCKED btw.  

Anyone, how the heck do I post a new topic in Snoothland 2011????  Jeez-usss.

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Reply by JonDerry, Aug 10, 2011.

That's exactly what happened to a couple of my previous lost post NG.  If it doesn't automatically save at the beginning, something's off. 

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Aug 10, 2011.

Vello, check out the advanced tab at the top of winepress, it's the filter that allows you to control what you want to see in your stream.

Napagirl, when you go back to the publisher http://www.snooth.com/publisher/ do you see any drafts saved? They should be autosaved and hopefullythey're sitting there.

Jon, same for you, please let me know.

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Reply by napagirl68, Aug 10, 2011.

GDP- NO, there are no drafts saved.  That is what keeps happening.   I have tried it several times.  To start, I click "start a new topic" which takes me to what I assume is "the publisher".  I click on the tab (cant remember name- discuss or something like that- it's green I think).  I use the pull down to choose a topic (wine talk, in my case), enter a title, and begin typing the content.  While I am doing that, the save button converts to "saving", which I understand is trying to save my content as a draft so I don't lose it.  Well, it NEVER goes off "saving" mode, even when I am done typing and just sitting here getting older.  If I try to click preview, a popup says I haven't saved any drafts yet.   So basically I cannot get past that autosave function.

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Reply by Chris Carpita, Aug 10, 2011.

Napagirl - which browser are you using?  I'm having a hard time replicating your problem.  As a troubleshooting tip, you can try clearing your browser's cache

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Reply by Chris Carpita, Aug 10, 2011.

To address Vellovino's point about the talk interface, this is definitely something we're working on for Wine Press - the "overwhelmingness" can be partially addressed by clipping more of the text, making the Press posts shorter - we haven't perfected this yet.  Also we definitely want to preserve the ability of power users to scan forum topics quickly.   We certainly don't want to take away any of the advantages that the current forum provides, and we'll be making changes to Wine Press to reflect this.

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