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Member Challenge



I’ve not done one of these for a while, but occasionally we have a ‘challenge’ which gives you an opportunity to try something new and also to give us feedback on how you enjoy it, or whether something is working.

If you fancy it, try this and let me know what you think.


BY default, when you arrive in the community you see the full list of Latest comments, with the most recent comment at the top.

Did you know you could also see a list of all the categories?

You can always click on the ‘Categories’ in the menu above to get this alternative list:

If you like this, you can make this your default Homepage for all future visits.


Here is the challenge for the next week or so. Go to your preferences, and navigate to ‘Interface’ and change the default homepage to ‘Categories’ and see how this works for you.

This is useful if you really like to read specific content, such as #chat:finewine or #life:travel and want to find it more easily, but it still shows you the most recent topics on the right.

If you do this, please do come back and let us know what you thought of it and whether this is a better or worse experience than before. You can switch at any time.

Cheers and thank you


I followed these instructions and like this lay out. Thanks.


I’ve changed it as above but I don’t see any advantage

I think there are too many categories, and I struggle to see the difference between
Home & Lifestyle and Good Times

Home & Lifestyle is about
the the people and places that make it,

Places? So not just Home then? What if you’re having good times with people in places?

Good Times
. Many times the best drinking occasions are when we are out with friends
But people and places are discussed in Home & Lifestyle

Do we need these two at all, why not use Drinks Chat?


I would agree that there are a lot of categories, but there are reasons for it.

The main reason to try to separate content into these distinct categories is to give members a chance to filter the content they see by clicking on one category and not another.

One the one hand, lots of general wine conversation in the same place is great. It is exciting, varied and shows lots of activity. If you like this, stick with ‘Latest’

On the other hand, if you are looking for something specific, it makes it harder to find, so try ‘Categories’

I’ve had feedback that if you are a member who is only really interested in talking about Fine Wines from a limited number of regions, then the broader ‘Drinks Chat’, plus all the more social content like food matching, can put you off.

As for the new category of Home & Lifestyle, we have not yet finished re-writing the explanations, but I hope to use them for different types of content


This completely relies on people posting in the category you intend.

But if there was a general catch all category – such as Drinks Chat - which most posts would go into plus a few very specific categories then people could choose which threads in the general category they want to read from the post titles…

What sort of ‘different content’ is expected in Home and Lifestyle that wouldn’t be just as suitable in Drinks Chat

Looking at the long running UK Wine Forunm they have a
general Wine Forum
and specific forums for
Vin-Xchange (selling/exchanging wine)
Beer Forum
Spirit Forum
Commercial Notice board - for businesses to announce events

The very long running US Win eLovers Discussion Group has
a general Wine Forum
a Food Forum
and a non-wine discussion board

IMHO - too many categories here are confusing


Ah, but those places are the type of online space that attracts a very specific type of participant (of which you and I are good archetypes) and are well known to be places that other types of wine consumers find intimidating, boring, irrelevant and off-putting. They serve their niche well, but they do not necessarily match well with the full range of Society members.

My goal here is to make this a space that wine geeks can come to wax lyrical, as well as to have wine novices come to seek not just wine advice, but learn more about the culture of wine and why it matters so much to people like you and me.

For that, I need a broader range of categories that a) encourage new content and b) allow different members to find it.

I am not saying we’ve got it right yet, but that is what we are trying. You may be right, and we need to cut the list down, but let’s try it for now.



I’ve done it too !


Tried it,but didn’t like it and have now have changed back to Latest


Thanks for trying it - I think I prefer Latest too, but learning more about how the site works by trying something different

By the way, have you ever met our friendly training ‘bot’ @cellarhand? He’s a great friend to have!


Hi! To find out what I can do, say @cellarhand display help.


It was a month ago I issued this challenge. Does anyone who took part have any thoughts on this alternative interface for the community?

I have my own thoughts but would like to hear yours before I post them.

Did you like it? Was there a benefit? Did it change the way you experienced the content of the site, or the people you were interacting with?

What were the positives?
What were the negatives?

Please do let me know - the site is always evolving and it is your experience that counts



I switched to the category default, and now I’m used to it, I quite like it.

It is important to click into and expand each category in turn from your home page, otherwise you could easily miss large chunks of conversations inadvertently, but on the plus side, accessing the threads this way means you don’t miss the semi hidden threads like the sports chats.


I think it also depends pn how you feequent the community… There are people who read everything (wpnder who these might be), to these people it does not matter what the view is, allegedly.