My plan for the next major feature addition to The Beer Cellar is to tackle beer trading. While support for marking cellar entries as For Trade (FT) or In Search Of (ISO) has been there from the beginning, I'd like to implement a more robust way to manage separate lists of beers on offer and beers you're looking for, as well as provide an easy interface for matching up with other users to propose trades.
Development of these features is in the early stages, and I wanted to solicit some feedback on what's important to users who would utilize trading before moving too far forward. I'm interested in hearing about the following:
- How should For Trade lists be organized?
I'm pretty sure that the new trade lists, both for FT and ISO beers, should be separated from the main cellar management interface. This will reduce complexity, allow trading-specific features to be displayed only where contextually appropriate, and provide the opportunity for users to link directly to trade lists, rather than their full cellar, when desired. But some issues I'm undecided on are whether there should be one list each for FT and ISO beers, or multiple per; whether lists should be directly linked to current cellar contents, meaning completing a trade would automatically remove FT beers and add received beers to your inventory; and whether there should still be some indication of FT/ISO beers reflected in your main cellar.
- What sort of feedback mechanisms should be in place?
While The Beer Cellar will make it clear that you trade at your own risk, some sort of feedback and rating mechanism seems necessary in the world of trading. While 99% of traders are great, it's never fun to be bit by the 1% of bad actors out there. I'm hopeful that the nature of this site, and the time investment necessary to get a big cellar input and organized, will provide a higher than usual barrier to entry for would-be malicious traders, but a public profile of past trades can help weed out any that do make it through. With that in mind, what kinds of feedback and ratings systems do folks find most helpful? Should I also provide a means of linking to reputation profiles on other sites? Etc.
- How to handle trades with non-Beer Cellar users?
While trades between users on the site will be more straightforward in terms of communication, I suspect a large number of trades will be conducted with folks who are not account holders here. I'm wondering what kinds of feedback non-users should be able to leave for users they complete trades with (or whether any would-be commenters should be required to create an account to leave feedback), and what sort of access non-users should have to FT/ISO lists and the searchable database of outstanding beers on offer?