By now many of you who are regular readers of my blog are aware of my past contemplations on the subject of wine scoring. While I realize that wine scoring definitely serves a purpose, and that maybe we all score wines in one way or another, I still have misgivings about the systems that we use to quantify the wine experience. Given my feelings on the subject, I was really excited when I read about a project on Paul Mabray's blog that is being headed up by several different bloggers to use a new system to score wines. Enter, the badge system.
The idea of using badges as rewards is right in line with the zeitgeist of social media and Web 2.0. Perhaps the most well known example these days is in the mobile app Foursquare. Users are awarded badges based on activity. These badges can be shared with others, giving users a way to publicize their accomplishments within the "game". The badges being used by reviewers like Steve Paulo of Notes From the Cellar, Mark De Vere MW, and Ward Kadell (Dr. Xeno) of Vinopanion make a great graphical representation of what the reviewer thinks about the wine, and they give people viewing the content a cue to what type of wine they are looking at. They also avoid all of the messy issues with quantification, focusing instead on a simple recommendation or classification of the wine. These badges can also be proudly displayed on winery sites, etc.
I really like seeing innovative thinking like this, and I think we will be seeing a proliferation of this concept in the near future. I also don't think that we have completely tapped the potential of this idea, and I see it growing into something more than what it is right now. The groundwork has been laid, and now the building will begin.
What do you think about the badge idea? Any thoughts about how this idea could be used or grown?