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How would the members like their reviews?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

While Epic does have a review section, we are not utilizing it to its fullest and would like to do so in the future. In the meantime there are reviews being posted here in various manners from individual reviews where a product has its own thread to a segment review where there are multiple products reviewed in the same thread. The former way allows discussion on that particular product where the latter allows discussion over a few products but sometimes a particular product might get buried and not be seen since it is not in the title. 

 

We are in the process of upgrading/updating the official review section and these thread reviews will see an evolution. In the meantime, how would you like to see the reviews since we are seeing a mix? 

post #2 of 29

If you are after honest opinions, I suspect that most people probably just look on the forums for review info. I don't think that a separate review section on the site will ever draw as much attention, simply due to the fact that on a website like this, the forums are the main attraction. A site like Kealty's RealSkiers is the opposite. People don't go there to participate in the forum community, they go there for the reviews only.

 

I always found the reviews from folks like Dawgcatching and Sierrajim to be the gold standard here. They are usually very comprehensive and informative and the added bonus is you know you are getting the straight scoop from skiers experienced enough to relay accurate information. The info comes from skiers who have a very good idea of what they are doing and they know how to evaluate a ski. For example, if they say the ski carves well and leaves RR tracks, you know this really means carve and not someones idea of what they think they are doing on the ski.

 

That's not to say you won't find good information in reviews by others whom you trust, but most product reviews are of the "Wow, what a ski" variety. Which brings up the question, what else is someone going to say after they laid out a grand for a new set of sticks? .Admit they purchased a ski without a demo and it turned out to be way over their head or less than what they expected? Most all comments therefore, will usually always be glowing, if anything just to justify the purchase in the reviewers mind.

 

I don't mean to be negative. I am just being realistic and I am always direct. I assume you are after honest opinions.  I suspect a good number of others would probably agree with this assessment. So, my honest thoughts are, the reviews here are interesting to read, but as far as actually using most of them as a source to gain realistic information, I find them highly suspect and trust them about as far as I could shake a stick.

 

 

 

post #3 of 29

I second the previous opinion, formalizing the reviews will likely cheapen the information; it is almost like someone assigning a 5 star rating to a product.  What does that really mean?  I think the proper technique is to search the forum read the opinions, and try to trace the history of the poster.  The only way to get around it is to set up some sort of a web-of-trust situation, where people could rate the reviews and the reviewers, so the contributions of guys like Jim and Scott would be weighted more.    I do find that I value details in the review more than the overall impression, as it is not enough to hear that the ski is great, the scientist in me always likes to hear why, that's why I tend to like (and to write;-) longer reviews  

post #4 of 29

Scrambled, wheat toast-no butter.

Coffee?  Please.

post #5 of 29

I agree that the current mix while sometimes inefficient, gets the job done.  I am not sure how you could make it better without making other things worse.

 

One possible suggestion would be to have a sticky note at the top of the forum that describes what a helpful ski review looks like.  It might be helpful to people who are new to the site that skier information, size, ability, ski length etc are important.  As it is, most people have figured that out and most reviews have that in place.

post #6 of 29

Phil,

 

I would do it two ways.  First, provide a list of all the skis (it isn't that hard) plus an add-on list for the "exotic" ones we likely never heard of.  Then all a reviewer has to do is click on the ski (e.g., "Rossignol Strato") and review it. It is his review and no one else can tamper with it.  This will completely stop anyone with a chip on his shoulder for a particular company from hijacking the thread. This is similar to what is in place now, but with a complete menu by year, brand and ski.

 

 The second way is to just having someone post reviews like we do now, and invite all the Q & A and debate.  For example, Dawg recently posted some great reviews, which should be left alone for comparison purposes and Q&A.  The individual reviews could be cut and pasted into special ski review category (where there will be no other comments except from others that separately review the same ski), which can be easily found by anyone.

 

For example, I can type "Nordica Enforcer" in the search box and a ton of threads will come up.  If I simply went into a list of all skis, clicked on "2011 Nordica" and then "Enforcer," I could more easily find complete reviews of the ski.

post #7 of 29

I like my reviews like my skiing.  I'll take it any way I can get it.  smile.gif

 

It's nice to find a review of a particular ski, but it's also nice to have a direct back to back comparison essay.

post #8 of 29

The reviews section of the website would make it easier to find a review on a specific ski, if all reviews ended up here.  However, the information contained in the review threads, the back and forth, the discussion, the follow up questions, etc. can often be much more valuable than the initial review itself.  I would absolutely not want to see the review threads go away.

post #9 of 29

To be serious,  it seems fine.  I would think it boring if the forum was formulaic.

After an initial review or reviews, the give and take afterwards, with questions

and answers can be more revealing about the reviewers preferences.

Sure, sometimes it might be a little harder to find some quote or insight

that one might want to revisit, as reviews might spill over into yet another thread.

but it is worth it. 

  With reviewers SJ and dawgcatching,  i fall in between them weightwise,

so i interpret their information and adjust.  A burly skis for dawgcatching (lighter)

and a noodle for SJ (heavier) that they might both want to like or feel that it has

some nice strengths could end up on my radar.

   Formatting reviews would not help, letting the reviews unfold from the individuals

perspective is better.

   A frustration is a reviewer leaving out their size info and where they ski alot.

Knowing what flex boot (generally) is useful,  someone talking about getting

bucked  to the tails on a ski--- then you find out they weigh 130 and use

a racebeast stiffmother locked tight with a quadruple power strap.

post #10 of 29

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MojoMan View Post

For example, if they say the ski carves well and leaves RR tracks, you know this really means carve and not someones idea of what they think they are doing on the ski.

 

Excellent example. Encouraging a photo or (even better) video of the person skiing would be helpful in this regard. Too bad most of us are too busy trying to make the most of precious ski hours to be bothered with what often turn out to be pathetic attempts at photography. Offender number one right here.

 

Also, "How many different skis from the past five model years have you skied in the past five years?" For many people reviewing skis, the answer is "two" or something like that. It doesn't mean the reviewer is not a good skier, but it probably means s/he doesn't have a good sense of the cross section of modern skis and their behaviors.

post #11 of 29

I just wish more of the people who start or contribute to threads about the skis would go the extra mile and put it in the reviews section.  

post #12 of 29

I have always most valued the discussions - and even drift - that occurs after the reviews in Gear Reviews. Would hate to see that lost if reviews were more routinized. Possible model:

 

New reviews stay where they are, form they now have. But a new "Gear Reviews" becomes foregrounded box in opening page, organized by links titled with brand and model. Something like TGR's reviews sticky (which they've stopped maintaining) or Skinet's design (but with real reviews instead of numbers). Then actual review thread, drift, arguments and all, opens up when you hit the link. Problem is that it's a lot of work to break up reviews such as SJ's or Dawg's into discrete models, each with its own link. Maybe we should be like that observatory that's enlisting amateurs to study star photos; assign a small task to each volunteer supporter. 

 

You have a bigger (related) problem, which is that our search engine truly sucks. I tried typing in "G Power" the other night and came up with posts about googles, fat skis, you name it. I usually search by post, but this time I read entire threads, page after page, to see if I could find the term that got the search engine's attention. Over half of the time, nada. And yep, I tried changing "relevance" (oxymoron) to posting date. Far inferior functionality to other sites with traditional "search this thread" buttons, even though the next page in  - search by keyword etc - seems very similar. Whoever sold admin guys the software should be required to correct every post of BushwackerinPA for spelling and syntax...

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Whoever sold admin guys the software should be required to correct every post of BushwackerinPA for spelling and syntax...

roflmao.gif
post #14 of 29

After spending quite a bit of time on this site reading reviews and follow-up commentary before posting my first review, I think it would be very helpful to at least encourage ski reviewers to minimally include their height, weight, self rated ski level (1-9), # of years skiing, etc.  Secondly where they ski'd, what the snow conditions were that day, etc. would also be useful.

 

For example, if I see a reviewer who is 5'7" tall and weighs 155lbs reviewing a line-up of skis and tending to prefer the softer ski over a stiffer one, I can take that with a bit of a grain of salt since I'm an athletic/aggressive skier at 6'3" tall and 230lbs and I tend to overpower soft skis quite easily so I generally need/prefer stiffer skis.  The single most important piece of information for me in a review, is what the skier's size/weight is, because a ski that they love because of its softness and forgiveness I might not like at all.

 

For that matter, I wouldn't mind seeing a dedicated "big guy" ski review section with tests of skis by skiers 6', 200+ lbs. and over.

 

Additionally, comparisons to other similar skis are invaluable and of course, so is the follow-up commentary by other skiers.  

 

post #15 of 29

Some of this could be addressed by filling in a template once & then stamping it into the review -- even if it is beyond normal profile info... I try to provide context if I comment on gear (even if not a review) - but it can get tedious. 

post #16 of 29

A really slick solution might be to have people enter the review into a template, create a summary review/rating under the specific ski model (so if you want to see what the consensus opinion of a particular ski is, you can look it up in one place), and also automatically create a forum post for the review (so people can comment on it, they can add more detail if they want, etc.)

 

I don't know if it might be more useful to have commentary per ski model than per individual review.  Right now the focus is on individual reviews.

 

'Roundup' reviews are tough to fit into a model focused on reviews of specific skis, and have elements that are very helpful if people don't already know which ski they're interested in.  I'd have to think about that some more.

 

Fixing/improving forum search might indirectly help with some of this, as noted above.

post #17 of 29

I've written a few reviews and I generally get the feeling that it's a black hole.  I'd like to know if people read them and agree with them.  In some sense, reviews would be better if they were more like threads, but I don't like the idea of having them hijacked.  Perhaps just allow voting along the lines of: useful, agree, disagree.

 

There's so much content in forums that's basically reviews.  We should have lots of links to these threads from the review section, on a product or category basis.

 

This situation is likely analogous to the Wiki versus Forum separation as well.

post #18 of 29

 

 

Quote:
 First, provide a list of all the skis (it isn't that hard) plus an add-on list for the "exotic" ones we likely never heard of.  Then all a reviewer has to do is click on the ski (e.g., "Rossignol Strato") and review it. It is his review and no one else can tamper with it.  This will completely stop anyone with a chip on his shoulder for a particular company from hijacking the thread. This is similar to what is in place now, but with a complete menu by year, brand and ski.

 

We have been working on getting the catalog we have cleaned up, with the model year the first piece of info, and getting all the skis represented. I am interested in your parenthetical about it not being hard to provide a list of all the skis--doesn't someone have to gather that list from the various sources, or is there a central list of all the skis we can tap into? I'd love to automate this process--as it is I have to compare photos to figure out the year of past models in the system. I think it's important that the past models be represented here because we don't all upgrade the quiver as frequently as we'd like. Anyway, I haven't found this process to be exactly "easy" and I'd love your guidance to help make it so.

post #19 of 29


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

 

 

Quote:
 First, provide a list of all the skis (it isn't that hard) plus an add-on list for the "exotic" ones we likely never heard of.  Then all a reviewer has to do is click on the ski (e.g., "Rossignol Strato") and review it. It is his review and no one else can tamper with it.  This will completely stop anyone with a chip on his shoulder for a particular company from hijacking the thread. This is similar to what is in place now, but with a complete menu by year, brand and ski.

 

We have been working on getting the catalog we have cleaned up, with the model year the first piece of info, and getting all the skis represented. I am interested in your parenthetical about it not being hard to provide a list of all the skis--doesn't someone have to gather that list from the various sources, or is there a central list of all the skis we can tap into? I'd love to automate this process--as it is I have to compare photos to figure out the year of past models in the system. I think it's important that the past models be represented here because we don't all upgrade the quiver as frequently as we'd like. Anyway, I haven't found this process to be exactly "easy" and I'd love your guidance to help make it so.

 

I would think the vast majority of the list could be obtained by just going to the websites of the major ski manufacturers (at least for the current model year.)  I don't know of a centralized database of older models, but you could probably just go back through the reviews forum and pick out all the models for the last few years that have been reviewed more than once or twice in a few hours.

 

You could probably cover the corner cases (indie manufacturers, etc.) by adding other skis as people want to review them.  Have some kind of "review a ski that's not on the list" option, and then someone can just add it to the database.

post #20 of 29

This really is a tough question. As a new participant on Epic, I gotta say that I really like the way the reviews and the site is structured. I like the way you have related items, forum comments (What People are Saying) and other materials (details, descriptions, etc) organized around the review.  Two things to think about.  First, I agree it would be nice to get more skier information included in the review (height, weight, etc) and ski conditions.  Probably just add the fields for that to the review template.  Second, the Wiki seems to be very under utilized and sorta clutters up the bottom of the review pages.  You might consider eliminating that from the review section.  Other than that, I can't think of anything that would improve the way things are presented.  Nice job organizing a huge amount of information.

post #21 of 29

Oh yeah--please, check our work! Just go to the link Alpine Skis

post #22 of 29

That's what we're doing, Matthias. It's not a bad job, it's just when you have to do them ALL, it's kind of daunting. 

 

Hi GearGuide, thanks for the compliments. As for the wiki, I would like to put Expert or Official reviews (those by Dawg and SJ are the gold standard) in that area, so people can get a man on the hill's perspective and compare with a professional's review to get a good rundown on a ski (or other ski equipment, we're just kind of focused on skis because they are things we can demo). 

post #23 of 29

Well, one item that is confusing me.  I looked at the 2009 Apache Outlaw and although the picture might be right, the reviews are clearly for other years.  Maybe 2009 shouldn't be in the title, but should be somehow selectable?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

Oh yeah--please, check our work! Just go to the link Alpine Skis

post #24 of 29

That's an error. Thanks for pointing it out, sibhusky. 

post #25 of 29

I also find the comparison reviews by dawgcatching and others to be the most valuable.  While the review by the owner of a ski can be valuable, you have little idea how many different skis he has been on and what he is comparing things to.   The comments by someone who has been on a lot of skis and can make comparisons is much more useful to me. 

post #26 of 29

While knowing that the review comes from an experienced skier is important, every skier, no matter how good they are, has their own particular skiing style, personal preferences and whatnot.  A bigger, heavier, more aggressive skier may require a stiffer ski whereas another lighter smaller skier of the same aggressiveness and ability might prefer a softer, shorter or just different ski.  

 

Two expert skiers who consider themselves "all-mountain" skiers might have completely differing opinions of what an ideal one-ski quiver is depending entirely on the region they tend to ski. 

 

So I find it just as valuable to know as much about the particular skier giving the review, as to whether or not they have skied on hundreds of skis.  Yes, that's very valuable input also, but just part of the equation.  

 

 

 

post #27 of 29

 

Here's what I'd like to see supplementing the ski reviews:  info that allows us to tell when a model is really (on the inside) the same as last year's, versus when it's been changed.

 

We've all learned that sometimes a manufacturer changes the name and look of a ski but leaves its construction the same.  Other times they change the ski substantially, but the look and name stay the same.

 

For example, the deep green Zen-patterned Head Monster 82's of 2009 are the same ski as the original bright green pop-art 82's of 2007.  Then for model year 2010 when Head detuned their older brother, the Monster 88's, that internal change was made clear with a complete change to the design and name (Peak 88).  Judging from the outside the 82 seemed changed as well, but inside it actually remained the good ole super-damp crud-buster of '07.

 

I'm cognizant that knowing when there's a change in construction is not as good as knowing when there's a change in performance, which is what really counts.  But knowing when there ISN'T a change can be very useful.

 

For example, if you liked the 2011 Blitzen XB-99's that you demo'ed, knowing that the construction hasn't been changed gives you the confidence to buy the 2010's on eBay.

 

And knowing that the construction of the 2011 Schnelitzer is the same as it was for the 2010 model that Dawg praised allows you to go to a shop and buy the 2011 with assurance.

 

I follow the year-to-year changes in the few models of skis that interest me by assiduous reading of the reviews, but for most readers that's not practical.

 

The best place for this information would probably be in the the "Alpine Skis" portion Epic's "GEAR, RESORTS & MORE" tab.

 

Adding this info would be a lot of work for our various volunteers, but if there is a template that has a slot for "what's changed on the inside" or "construction changed Y/N?", we'd gradually accumulate the data.

 

It would also be helpful to have images-- sometimes close-up detail shots.  E.g., it's hard to tell the '08 Elan 888 from the 2009.  And when considering an e-Bay purchase, the seller often doesn't know the model year.

 

Currently such a compendium of ski images can be found at realskiers.com.  Over the years they've built up an aggregation of pdf's of the major lines of skis, so one can, for example, look back and see what the 2005 Gotama looked like and what the dimensions are.  But there's no info about the insides.

 

Thinking even bigger, I suppose that with unlimited resources we'd all love to have an ISDb (internet ski database), the ski equivalent of film's authoritative and essential IMDb.  Yikes!

post #28 of 29
Right now my biggest beef with the reviews and discussions on "what ski do I buy?" is that too often I am seeing somone saying they are from the east, primarily ski the east, maybe one week a year out west, and the reccomendations are a bunch of soft snow skis that can survive but not thrive on hard snow conditions, and stiffer hard snow skiis are put down because they won't float in 12+" of pow. Note: He is skiing in the EAST! He doesn't need flotation, he needs edge hold.

Perhaps it is time to splt the reviews for skiers who primarily ski in the west from those that prmarily ski the east. An all mountain eastern ski such as my much loved AC30 is merely a front side carver out west which does that ski a disservice for those looking for an all around hard snow performer that can still handle some softer snow. The same for those wider rockered 100+ skis that are all the rave out west for all mountain performance but will be all over the place on the boilerplate we eastern skiers call hard pack or eastern powder.

The needs of an eastern skier is decidedly different than those of a western skier. If you haven't skied the east and the conditions we endure, you western skiers will not understand. The mainstreem magazines are partly to blame as most of their testing is done out west where the eastern flavored skiis don't perform as well as their softer and wider cousins. Do the same test at Whiteface and the results would be different.

So please when you are making ski reccomendations or reviews, state where you ski most of the time.

Cheers!

Rick G

PS Love this forum!
post #29 of 29

 ^^^  +1

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