[Updated 14 November 2015] As interest in traditional wet shaving has grown over the past few years, so have the sources of information like forums and blogs. But with that growth it’s become more and more difficult to keep track of the latest discussions–kind of like trying to drink water from a fire hose. Today Sharpologist launches a new feature to address that problem, making it more like taking a refreshing drink from a garden hose.
The Problems Of Noise, Choice, And Information Overload
Years ago there were a handful of shaving forums and blogs, all tightly-focused with a relatively low volume of daily content (in fact, I was able to write a weekly email summary of forum/blog traffic for a wet shaving vendor in under 30 minutes). Those days are long-gone.
Now there are forum sites with over 60,000 members, a wide variety of blogs (from the simple “shave of the day” to the scientific), and hundreds (thousands?) of postings every day. To make matters worse the “noise” of non-shaving topics (photography, tea, pens, etc.)–particularly on some of the “shaving” forums–can make it difficult to find those “golden nuggets” of shaving information.
Then there are the inevitable disagreements and personality conflicts that spawn additional sites. Several popular forums were created by someone becoming dissatisfied by (or getting kicked out of) another forum. Wet Shaving Times recently had a pretty good article going into wet shaving community “personalities.”
All of these problems make it difficult (or at least very time-consuming) for me to keep track of the latest shaving-related content. So I started using some internet tools to make it a little easier for me. Then I realized, hey, maybe others would benefit from this idea too. So I expanded my idea using several (paid) data aggregation and filtering tools, tweaked it with the help a few intrepid Sharpologist pilot testers, and finally have it to the point where I think it’s ready for debut. Read the information below then check out the New Discussions feature (found at the top-of-page menu)!
The intent of this new feature is to show wet shaving discussions from the past day or so in various discussion forums and blogs. This way I can see a once-daily view of new blog and forum topics. Initially I have divided the topics into five broad categories:
- General Discussion: new topics that have appeared in shaving blogs, shaving forums that do not have sub sections (e.g. Reddit), and the catch-all sub-forum of the high-traffic shaving forums. Depending on your feedback I may further separate this into blogs and forums.
- Razors: subforums specifically oriented to double-edge (DE) and single-edge (SE) razors and blades (though cartridge razors may be represented as well).
- [Coming Soon] Straight Razors: including razors, scales, hones, strops, etc.
- Creams and Soaps: shave “software.”
- Shave Brushes: of all different types.
To keep a balance between information and page size I list just the title of the post and the first few words (when available) so you can get an idea if the content is something you want to continue reading about. Clicking on the title takes you to the original site and message.
Where does all the content come from? These are some the current data feeds:
- 365 Shaves
- Badger and Blade
- Damn Fine Shave
- Grooming Lounge
- Male Grooming Review
- Original Safety Too
- Paste-and-Cut (AU)
- Razor and Stone
- Reddit (shaving-related subreddits)
- Shave Canada
- Shave Den
- Shave Like Grandad
- Shave My Face
- Shave Nook
- Shavesoaps (WordPress)
- Shaving Room (UK)
- Straight Razor Place
- Wetshaving Times
As you might expect from a “version 1.5” product, there are some limitations to this new feature:
The feed I get from a specific source is only as good as the source provides. Each source can configure their feed in a number of different ways. I have tried to standardize the different formats for display purposes, but it’s not perfect.
In a few cases the feed is “broken” or mis-configured in some way: I’ve notified several blogs and forum managers but correcting their feed is either low on their list of things to do or they just don’t know how to fix it. I have compensated as best I can but you may see posts that do not appear to “belong” to a particular category or a specific site may not be represented in all lists.
Feeds are transmitted from their sources and different intervals. The tools I use look for feeds at other intervals and–seperately–update the output at still other intervals. So the list you see here may not look quite like you see straight from the source, depending on when you look. But if you make a habit of stopping by once per day you will get a solid view of new topics.
This new feature does not work well if you are searching for a particular topic (say, a product review). So I have also added a search function (hat tip to Google for their Custom Search feature, though it has some quirks too) to the “gateway” page.
Give It A Try!
So without more teasing, give the “New Discussions” feature a try by visiting the gateway page! From there you can always bookmark the page(s) you’re most interested in if you wish.
Comments, questions, and suggestions for making this new feature are welcome! Be sure to leave your thoughts below.