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A Community Resource System For Reviews and Articles

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by vtac, Jul 22, 2015.

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  1. vtac

    vtac vapor junkie Staff Member

    FC R&D
    Hey FC! :wave: First off I need to apologize for not being active lately. FC means the world to me and there’s so much that I’m excited for in the future. This is something that’s been percolating for a long time.

    Why a Resource Section?
    Around 2006 I remember being wide-eyed and excited reading through a vaporizer review website. Everyone was talking about the high-priced Super Vapezilla, detailing how it handily outperformed each of the other popular vaporizers on the market. The company behind the Vapezilla had created a convincing facade. It was the first instance of astroturfing that I remember encountering.

    Since then, the vaporizer market has grown dramatically and there are hundreds of models to choose from. While there’s more information available today, figuring out where to look and what to believe still isn’t easy, especially for a newcomer. Making a well-informed decision and choosing a vaporizer suited to one’s needs and preferences can be a challenge even for those in the know.

    The vast majority of self-styled vaporizer review sites are far more focused on selling the reader than providing advice or information. The products that provide the biggest affiliate kickback always seem to be the top picks, and it’s clear from speaking to people in the industry that top affiliates cut deals, exchanging rave reviews for higher commissions. It’s the way the world works, but it’s not great for the consumer.

    Of the small percentage of newcomers who do find their way here to fc, not all are willing or able to do the research required to obtain a solid understanding of the basics. The helpful reviews and guides posted throughout the forum can be difficult to find, even for veteran community members who want to reference them. pakalolo’s hand-picked Best Of project has helped and now it’s time to take another step forward.

    Many folks here have been suggesting that we figure out a more dedicated review system for quite some time. It’s a good idea, and doing it right has always been a top priority. Unfortunately I’ve held up progress for too long and the time has come to get it done. While it may not be perfect, I think that we can put together something entirely worthwhile.

    What’s In a Review Format?
    Performance: 7, taste: 10, portability: 5. To a beginner, this seems helpful, and most of the aforementioned review sites use a similar format. In reality, many of the categories are highly subjective and there’s no simple one-size-fits-all approach to evaluating vaporizers. I think it’s fair to say that vaporizers can have unique personalities, and many are reliant on the operator’s skill level. Providing the reader with a helpful understanding of a vaporizer takes more than plugging numbers into a cookie-cutter template with a “buy now” link.

    With our review section I think we can address this by encouraging community members to structure reviews as they see fit, with the goal of best conveying the information they consider important. Some general blueprints may take shape, but there will be no requirements other than being honest and respecting the forum rules.

    The review system will be integrated into the forum, but contained in its own area, and should feel familiar to someone who’s used to posting in the forum. While the system is not designed specifically for reviews, I think we can make good use of it and try something a bit unorthodox: Reverse ratings. Simply put, the system’s inbuilt rating system will be used to rate the reviews themselves.

    When it comes to product reviews, quality tends to be more important than quantity. Sites like Amazon use “was this review helpful?” buttons to assist in pushing helpful reviews to the forefront, and our system will expand on this concept. Review authors can use any type of rating scheme they like to grade a product-- stars, letters, golden GonGs. The software, however, will enable our community to vote with its collective experience and knowledge to help determine which reviews are the most helpful and informative.

    More Than Reviews
    Reviews aren’t the only type of helpful content that can get lost in the forum over time. We can have sections in the new system for more types of helpful, vapor related content such as introductory guides for beginners, tutorials, references, and overviews. Maybe an oft-requested comparison of two popular models, a personal top 3 portables list, or your favorite vapes under $100. All content will be open to peer review by our community with the goal of encouraging quality content and making it easily accessible.

    Recognition and Collaboration
    Helpful content is sure to benefit many people and I'm sure that we can to put together some nice giveaways and contests for authors. It's also an opportunity to collaborate with companies in the industry. One thought is that retailers and manufacturers interested in having their products honestly reviewed would have a place to easily find folks recognized by the community for their ability to put out unbiased, informative reviews. This could lead to an evaluation group which manufacturers could look to for feedback on beta products.

    Companies would of course have to agree to terms making it clear that there will be no preferential treatment, and authors would note that they received a product for review in accordance with a code of ethics.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015
    Gort, kalijennifer, Nesta and 32 others like this.
  2. vtac

    vtac vapor junkie Staff Member

    FC R&D
    Review Rules
    Above all else is integrity. It’s been a cornerstone of this site since the beginning and it’s especially important here. The objective with a review should never be to promote or condemn the product, rather to communicate an honest, impartial, and thorough report from the author’s perspective and experience. Good companies want to know what customers think and how they can improve their products, so please be candid. Withholding information hurts consumers and the industry.

    The forum rules will be in effect and affiliate links will not be allowed. The review section is not a marketing tool. Intentional misrepresentation or astroturfing will not be tolerated, nor will reviews created for the explicit purpose of harming or blackmailing a company. As usual, if you suspect foul play please use the report feature.

    General Guidelines and Ideas
    While authors will have the freedom to use any format they desire, there are some common elements and general practices that should be of help to both authors and readers. A vaporizer review can be dependent on its author’s experience, and I think that noting things such as the following would provide a helpful frame of reference.

    Experience with the product
    Getting to know the ins and outs of a vaporizer takes time, as does gauging how a product will hold up over time. Providing a first look at a highly anticipated new vaporizer is helpful as well. In any case I think it makes sense for the author to note how long they’ve had the product and how much they’ve used it. It may be worth considering categories or tags for specific time periods such as “First Impressions”.

    Experience with vaporizing in general
    How long have you been using vaporizers? Which models do you have hands-on experience with? What are your typical usage preferences, patterns, and biases? Listing this type of information should help readers get a better idea of how they might feel about a product based on an author’s opinions. Since it could be a lot of information to add, we could create an area for members to list theirs in detail and link to when needed.

    General evaluation criteria ideas
    The Eight dimensions of quality may be helpful to consider as a general rubric. Criteria such as usability, value, or company reputation could be worth examining. Run time or discreetness might be significant with a portable. It’s up to the author to decide, while bearing in mind that some aspects are subjective, relative, and or difficult to quantify.

    Repurposing Content
    Using content from elsewhere is fine as long as it’s yours to use. If you’ve already posted a review in a model discussion thread for example you can use it as a starting point for a review in the new system.

    Rating Content In The System
    It’s critical for community members to be thoughtful when rating reviews and articles in the system. After reading through a review or article in its entirety, ask yourself: Did the author accomplish what they set out to do and communicate their thoughts effectively? Was the review or article informative? What constructive criticism could you offer?

    When leaving a rating a constructive comment will be required, and authors will be able to respond to them. The feedback should help authors and minimize unwarranted ratings. Please remember our Be Nice rules and that leaving a rating is not required.

    Let’s Get Started
    The time has come to stop delaying and get this going. I had planned on adding some example reviews and tips on how to use the system, but I’m sure that we can figure things out as we go. With that being said please keep in mind that revisions and adjustments are a certainty. A thank you goes to pakalolo for adding some of his articles into the system to get things going.


    We're launching a review and article section which will use a reverse rating system - a peer review by the community. Please read the posts above in full before using the system.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
    EconMan, Gort, kalijennifer and 30 others like this.
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