When Tim made the recommendation, it made sense to me. Web 2.0 (and Tim's Wine 2.0) is all about displaying information in new and interesting ways, and having standards is paramount to that. Bloggers will continue to grow as a source for wine reviews, and having a way to share those reviews with little effort would be great.
Imagine if every review that comes from every blogger, every publication, everything, ended up on Snooth (with appropriate credit of course). Wouldn't it be amazing to have a portal where you could see everything anyone had ever written about a wine, condensed down to a single page of information? Scores would be aggregated (maybe weighted on trustworthiness) and presented as the world's collective opinion on a wine. Reviews would be piled high giving you a single stop to read what your trusted critic, favorite blogger, and your next door neighbor all had to say about the wine. Sure that's a little scary if you are a producer making second rate wine, but for the consumer, it is an incredible resource.
That's an amazing vision, and one that I hope Snooth (or another wine site) is able to realize. The problem is, how do you standardize a review. How do you take an opinion of value, quality, reputation, and uniqueness and boil it down to a standard that everyone can work inside? At the time Tim made his proposal to the blogosphere I commented:
The inherent problem I see with a standard scoring process, is that it leaves out the uniqueness of each reviewers system. For instance, I may want to include some sort
of a value quotient and a score. With this system I can’t do that.
When I wrote that, I hadn't even considered the possibility of unconventional reviews. Then today I saw two posts from Fermentation and Winehiker about Chateau Petrogasm. This is a novel and thought provoking new way to review a wine. Images that represent a wine, it borders on genius. I especially like this one. If a picture was ever worth a thousand words, it's this one.
I'm torn though, because I can't figure out how to quantify it. If wine reviews become standardized, then what happens to reviews like this? Where is their home? The IT industry has long argued that standards stifle innovation. Anybody whose idea doesn't fit inside the standard shrivels and dies. Would the wine community lose innovative new ideas like this if we were standardized?
I applaud Tim for his standard. Heck I more than applaud it, I use it. I think it is a bold step in the right direction for creating an invaluable resource for consumers. I just hope that someone smarter than myself can figure out a way to fit fringe creativity like Chateau Petrogasm into a standardized mold. After all, while the Internet is all about providing better, faster, bigger information, it thrives because it is full of creative people.