Snooth Blog

Snooth User: Mark Angelillo

Wine Quality At a Glance

Posted by Mark Angelillo, Nov 12, 2007.

When I'm shopping online, I find it useful to read customer reviews of the products I am looking to purchase. Of course, some customers will leave only a rating and not a text review. The ratings are useful as well, but unfortunately it can be overwhelming to try and get a sense for a product by looking at a list of detached ratings. What Snooth can do with all of these ratings is powerful. We can create a SnoothRank -- one number which incorporates all of the ratings for that product.

SnoothRank is a good step towards making it easier to quickly digest a group of ratings, but we knew we could do better. On Friday we quietly launched the "Ratings Overview" section of the wine details page.



Each wine has two graphs. The first is a breakdown of all the ratings posted for a wine. Here you can easily see where the community stands.

The second graph shows average rating over time. This graph can be especially useful if you are trying to decide when to drink that bottle in your cellar. If you notice that the ratings have been steadily improving over the years you may wait a bit, however if the ratings are beginning to plateau why not cook a nice meal and pop that cork!

Replies

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Reply by amour, Mar 29, 2010.

Sounds good to me!

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Reply by Mark Angelillo, Mar 29, 2010.

Wow, hard to believe this happened over two years ago. There are a lot more ratings on the site these days, so this is probably even more useful!

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Reply by amour, Mar 29, 2010.

Cool!

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Mar 29, 2010.

I'm new here, so I haven't posted a ton of reviews yet.  That said, I agree that numbers mean less than words.  To me, ratings are phony if they don't include descriptions.

Example: a reviewer may score a wine low, due to a personal preference of, say, not enough discernible oak.  As someone who dislikes anything over moderate oak, there's a good chance I'd like this wine, rendering the score, to me, pointless.

More reviews, fewer numbers!

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Mar 29, 2010.

hear hear to written reviews.

Numbers are fun, easy, and essentially useless in the absense of context.

 

 

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Reply by Mark Angelillo, Mar 29, 2010.

Hmm. Some valid views, but well, I disagree. Statistics teaches us that the only wrong thing to have is few numbers.

So I say "More numbers, more reviews", and when you reach Statistical Significance, then the numbers achieve their full potential.

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Mar 29, 2010.

The problem with that is that for most wines you'll find the central tendency to be one of very few numbers, so in effect more variables will yield fewer numerical scores as they cluster around the mean.

 

 

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Reply by dmcker, Mar 29, 2010.

Mark, then there's the problem of the data you're basing your numbers on, their clarity, validity and subjectivity, and the depth and breadth of information they represent. We're also here talking about concepts to use in your algorithms.

So I will strongly disagree with you about numbers being supreme, even if I've used them a lot in business. With something like wine, where so many variables and so much subjectivity come to play, we need a lot more info than numbers to be able to make informed decisions, even if you were to formulate the greatest algorithm on earth. Personally I *never* use Snooth numbers to inform my buying decisions. I will use some of Greg's, or a few others', descriptions I see here, though.

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Reply by dmcker, Mar 29, 2010.

That's one thing about wine that I, and perhaps some others, like about wine, even in this day and age where numbers are placed on such a supreme pedestal. Regardless of how the marketplace wants to reduce it to a formula of numbers, it resists, and provides us with a wealth of surprises and joy that bely any numbers the marketers, or winemakers, want to employ....

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Reply by dmcker, Mar 29, 2010.

And when you will be able to implement post-posting capabilities? ;-)

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Reply by Mark Angelillo, Mar 29, 2010.

I'll again place my vote for statistics. More numbers presents a better picture, and I would disagree that this will rush to the mean every time and in fact suggest that enough numbers will converge on what the community as a whole thinks*. I will disagree that numbers are meaningless. I will also disagree that I said they were supreme. I like reviews too! (And especially when there are few numbers.)

I appreciate both ratings and reviews. I have written nearly 700 wine reviews now and do not intend to stop. I read reviews written by people who have used any product in the absence of my own experience.

What makes wine so different than anything else we want to buy and enjoy? Movie ratings ala Netflix. Any product on Amazon. My appreciation of an HD television is based on a hundred different factors.

Wine is incredibly subjective, but so are a lot of things. Personally, I want more information going into a purchasing decision, and not less.

However I do respect all that you've said, and I'm not blind to it being a very heated subject as far as wine is concerned. We might have to agree to disagree on this one. I'm pretty comfortable with that.

* NB: With a 10 point system, one wine converging on a rating of 3.5 and another converging on a rating of 4 might not make a whole lot of difference, but comparing a 2 to a 4 is much more significant.

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Reply by Lucha Vino, Mar 29, 2010.

I like numbers and words together.  I am consistently dissapointed when I see a wine that has been rated with no descriptive reviews.  Numbers are powerful, but even more so when combined with the words that explain why somebody assigned their rating.

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Reply by dmcker, Mar 29, 2010.

Numbers are only one datum, and in my personal algorithm get weighted far less than the words. I can perceive much more information about both the wine and the reviewer from the words.

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Reply by Styxdvr, Mar 30, 2010.

Remember that these "numbers" are categorical data based on the descriptions of "disliked it," "neutral," "liked it" and "loved it." I've been told you're not allowed to average categorical data. The ratings and reviews work together to tell us how much you liked the wine and why. Both qualitative and quantitative data are useful tools.  

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Reply by amour, Mar 31, 2010.

amour is far too philosophical to enter this debate, but I read you all and it is something to ponder upon.....food for thought!


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