ProductWiki FAQ

by Omar Apr 3, 2007 fileunderFound in Home

General Information
- What is ProductWiki?
- How does it work?
- Why should I help?
- How can I help?
- What makes you different from Epinions or Amazon?

- What is ProSCORE?
- What is a review?
- What is a helpful review?
- How do I become an Approved Reviewer?

Adding and improving product information
- What is a product?
- What is not a product?
- What makes a good product title?
- What information should go inside of a product description?
- What are the product's key features?
- Where can I add my opinions?
- Where can I get images?
- How can I edit a product entry?

Product Taxonomy
- What is taxonomy?
- What is a faceted taxonomy?
- What kind of facets/meta data are available?
- Putting it all together

- What kind of articles should I write?
- What kind of discussions should I start?
- What kind of external links should I add?
- How can I delete products, links or comments?
- How do I change an article, link or discussion's thumbnail picture?

- How do I look for products?
- Why do some products have a lot of information, while others have almost none?

User Information
- How do I change my user information (password, avatar, etc)?
- What is OpenID?
- How do I become a featured user?
- What happens if I forget my password?


General Information

What is ProductWiki?

ProductWiki is a website that focuses on consumer product information. We don't sell anything. We don't make anything. We focus on providing accurate, unbiased and comprehensive research information about products that everyday people can buy. See more on the about page.

How does ProductWiki work?

All the information is contributed and collaborated on by people just like you. Almost everybody that contributes to ProductWiki is passionate about products and sharing their information and expertise with the world. With enough people we'll make ProductWiki a useful product research tool for everybody, see our vision.

Why should I help ProductWiki?

Because it will make the world a better place. Seriously. Wikipedia has shown that when people work together to make a community based information resource, the whole is much greater and more special than the sum of its parts.

Having a comprehensive, in-depth product information resource that is FREE and community driven will have a large impact on the online consumer world. You won't have to wade through spam, 50 different product variations, or bias shills to get the essential and useful information that you need.

Furthermore, it's a consistent and clean source of information, the product pages all follow the same standard and will eventually reach a high level of quality. This allows people doing product research to come to ProductWiki and they'll be able to find accurate information that's easy to find and read on anything they're interested in. No more going to site X for cars, and then site Y for games, and site Z for dishwashers. It doesn't make sense!

Most people who have done serious product research recognize the current problems with the web. ProductWiki solves a lot of those problems. It's not easy though, and will take a while, but with your help this can happen, and this can be something really great. So get started and be bold!

You mean I can add products, improve product information, contribute to the collaborative review, and a whole host of other things?

YES, exactly! The more people that contribute to ProductWiki will make the site better, as long as you're adhering to proper practices. As Wikipedia has shown, if people come together and share what knowledge they have, then the end result is something incredible that is a major benefit for the world. Having accurate, useful, unbiased and easy to read product information is definitely something that is needed on the Internet. And together we can make that happen.

How can I help?

There are many ways you can help make the site improve and grow the community. Here's a pretty comprehensive list of how you can help, this list is ordered from the easiest to most advanced

  • vote on a collaborative review statement
  • submit a new pro or con in the collaborative review
  • tap a product
  • comment on a product
  • reply to a discussion topic
  • improve a product's description
  • improve a product's title, key features and category
  • improve an article, external link or discussion
  • start a new article, external link, or discussion
  • Help us find and remove spam and products with questionable merrit
  • add a new product category
  • move a product category
  • add a new category property

This may seem like a lot, and it is, but that's because everything on the site is editable. If you're new then start off with simple tasks and work your way up as you get more comfortable with the site and the community. There will always be community members to answer any questions you have as you start working with the site.

What's the number one thing I should remember?

Be friendly! The Internet is a cold and harsh place, we strive to make ProductWiki an enjoyable site to visit where people are treated with respect and kindness.

What makes you different from Epinions?

Epinions is a great resource for user reviews, however they deal ONLY with reviews. ProductWiki aims to be a resource for high quality product information, starting point when you want to learn what the product is about, and what it has to offer. Epinions is a resource that is linked to from PW product pages to get more user opinions and feedback.

What makes you different from Amazon?

Amazon has a lot of information, and user reviews, and user discussions, etc. However, Amazon's number one priority is to sell you a product. That's what they're focusing on. ProductWiki is all about the product information, that's the focus. Furthermore, Amazon owns all the information on the site, while they do provide an API there are severe restrictions around the use of the data. ProductWiki is open and free. Nobody and everybody owns the information. Take it, modify it, make money off of it any way you want, just credit the source and that's it.



What is the ProSCORE?

The ProSCORE is our Product Rating system that is the ratio of each Approved Reviewers' Pros and Cons. The scale is between 0 and 100, with 0 being the worst, and 100 being the best.

What is a review?

A review is a single person's collection of: Pros, Cons, Competitor votes and Comments about an individual product. The Pros/Cons are the portion of the review that affects the ProSCORE. The other information helps other people reading your review see where your pros and cons have come from.

What is a helpful review?

A review is considered helpful when at least 3 people have vetted the review (marked it as helpful/not helpful) and over 60% of them find it helpful. This review then becomes "trusted" and gets priority when shown in the review list. The number of helpful reviews a person has extends to more than just that product itself as it affects the reviewers status on the site as a whole.

How do I become an Approved Reviewer?

Everybody starts off as an approved reviewer, and is a status that you can lose if you submit unhelpful reviews. If enough people find a review unhelpful it'll get buried down to the bottom of the review list and with enough unhelpful reviews you will lose your Approved status. You can gain it back by submitting helpful reviews.


Adding and improving product information

What is a product?

A product is any tangible object that the public can purchase from a store, or direct from the maker. In the strictest definition this would mean different bundles and slight variations on the same product are completely separate; however, for practical reasons it's best to group products from the same manufacturer where the similarities far outweigh the differences. Cars are a good example of this (Honda Civic with different trims) and Xbox 360 is another example as the Core, Premium, and Elite variants are part of ONE product.

In general: it's better to err on the side of FEWER products. If you're unsure then just add one "master" product and give a brief summary of the variations inside the product description.

What is NOT a product?

A product is NOT:

  • a category of products (e.g. spearguns are a KIND of product)
  • a place or store
  • a person
  • a manufacturer
  • a service

In general if you want to pluralize the product title, then it's not a product.

What makes a good product title?

In one sentence: a good product title is the minimum number of words necessary to identify a product.

There are such things as good and bad product titles, and it's important that the titles are good because they are the main way people identify individual products. A lot of times products have a lot of extraneous information in their titles that isn't useful or necessary and end up making the product MORE difficult to identify.

Key properties of a good product title

  • no trademark or registered symbols
  • little to no specification information
  • proper capitalization
  • usually contains the manufacturer's name

Each category has its own quirks for product titles that revolve around these basic principles. For example cars have the model year as the first part of the title.

What information should go inside of a product description?

The description is used to provide unbiased, objective, and accurate information about the product. The purpose of the description isn't to list EVERYTHING there is to know about the product, but instead to provide the essential information about the product for somebody that has no prior experience or knowledge. Please don't copy and paste information from other websites - while that's better than putting no description at all, the preferred way is to summarize the information in your own words. In general, high quality product information is what will benefit people in doing their research.

Product descriptions are also from a neutral point of view and are unbiased, they are NOT reviews. This means that first-person words such as "I" "we" etc don't belong in the description. Subjective adjectives such as "great" "innovative" etc generally don't belong there as well, since everyone may not agree that a particular feature or aspect is "great". In general, don't editorialize, and be factual. Opinions and commentary should be placed in the Collaborative Review or the comments sections of the product.

What are the product's key features?

These are structured meta information about the product that are used for describing the product, and also used for organizing the product inside the ProductWiki information database so that it's easy to find.

What is this Collaborative Review thing?

Our unique way to review products and build a consensus, find more information here.

Where can I add my opinions?

The collaborative review and comments are the areas for your opinions. Or you can write an article or start a discussion. The description is objective information. You can refer to this product page diagram for more information.

Where can I get product images from?

Manufacturer websites are a good source for images, or you can do a Google image search to find pictures of the product. Of course your own pictures are more than welcome.

How do I edit a product entry?

At the top of the product page there is a link to "edit this page", click on that and the various options will appear on what you can edit and improve. Click on the corresponding link to improve the description, title, key features or change the product's category.


Product Taxonomy

What is taxonomy?

A taxonomy is information structured in a hierarchical relationship. We use taxonomies everyday in our lives and they're one of the fundamental building blocks of information organization. The way it works is that you start at the "top" with one general category (in this case ALL products), and then have subcategories that become more and more specific. So for products there's the top-level, and then directly below you have Electronics, Fashion, etc. Then each one of THOSE categories can be further divided.

With ProductWiki the categories can be edited by changing their titles, and changing what category they fall under. You can also add new categories to subdivide a particular category if it's growing too large.

What is a faceted taxonomy?

A faceted taxonomy adds some extra meta information that makes classifying the products a million times more useful. With a normal taxonomy if you want to see something like "Sony Digital Cameras" you'd have to create a subcategory (under Digital Cameras) that is specifically sony cameras. Now extend this to Sony televisions, DVD players etc, and then extend that to all the manufacturers and you quickly find that the number of categories gets into the millions.

Faceted taxonomies allow for the meta attribute "Sony" to be specified independently of the category. So each facet is a type of metadata. Again, we deal with metadata everyday in our lives, they're just ways to describe things. A simple example is with a person: they have - height, weight, name, salary, place of birth, etc. All of these things DESCRIBE a particular person. With products its the same. You have the standard properties such as: price, manufacturer, release date, and product line. These properties apply to ALL products. Then there are more specific properties that apply to only specific product categories, such as with television you have the display size, with cars you have the fuel consumption.

Going back to the Sony example, we have the normal taxonomy of just digital cameras, and then specific products, under the manufacturer property Sony is specified. Automatically you can now see things that have Sony as the manufacturer, and can see any Sony television, digital cameras, etc without having to explicitly create those combined categories. It all happens automatically.

ProductWiki is a fully editable faceted taxonomy. You can add new properties to any category that are automatically inherited by the subcategories. When a new property is added, the corresponding Key Feature entry shows up on every product page that applies.

What kind of facets/meta data are available?

ProductWiki supports two kind of facets: Numeric Specifications and Text Properties. Both specs and properties are found under a product's Key Features.

Numeric Specifications are a single number. Examples include: Display Size for televisions, City Fuel Consumption for Cars, and storage capacity for hard drives. A numeric spec may or may not have a unit associated with it, though many do. The unit is simply a piece of text that appears before or after the numbered specification: i.e. 33 MPG. When looking for products the numeric specifications are automatically grouped into ranges that match the list of products that you're looking for.

A product can have multiple attributes, which are values associated with a text property. Examples of Text Properties are things like Manufacturer, Genre for media, Author for books, etc. For each Text property for a particular product, zero or more values (attributes) can be specified. These attributes exist independently of one another, so for Genre I can specify Fiction, and Drama as both applying to one book, and then I can look at all books that have the Fiction attribute, or the Drama attribute, or both.

Putting it all together

Products, product taxonomy, facets, what does it all REALLY mean?

Most people will use the system like this:

Add a product, which involves choosing which category applies.

The chosen category then determines which properties and specifications apply.

Fill in the key features with the relevant information that applies to THAT particular product.

The product is now fully classified and can be easily found by researchers by clicking on more specific subcategories, and applying attribute/specification filters.



What kind of articles should I write?

As the scope of ProductWiki is broad there is some ambiguity to this question. Almost any kind of article, as long as it's related to products in some way is relevant. And those that aren't related at all can just be labeled as "Off-topic". That being said there are some articles that are more useful than others. News releases, buying guides, how-to guides, in depth product reviews are all extremely useful to the community. You can also write articles that are an aggregate of outside sources (car review example), or embed one or more videos for convenient viewing.

What kind of discussions should I start?

Discussions are a good way to ask questions and solicit the thoughts of community members. Again, there's no strict rule on what should be a discussion and what shouldn't be, but if you really want to know what other members of the community think, then a discussion is probably the most applicable thing.

What kind of external links should I add?

General external links aren't recommended. ProductWiki isn't a directory of any kind. Links should be added only to products directly and should supplement the information contained on the product page. These can be links to expert reviews, specification sheets, user manuals, etc. Links to generic retailers, blogs or anywhere where the information found exists on the article and/or a million and one other sites on the net will be considered spam and promptly deleted.

How can I delete products, links or comments?

At the present time only administrators can delete products, links and comments. This doesn't mean you can't help fight spam, vandalism or products that don't belong on ProductWiki however. Read our deletion policies, and then find out how you can help bring these issues to the foreground on the site.

How do I change an article, link or discussion's thumbnail picture?

Go to the item in question, then click on "edit", scroll to the bottom and choose a new image.



How do I look for products?

There are two main ways to look for products:

1. search
2. browse and filter using the navigation links on the right.

You can also find links to products inside other product pages, and especially the "Similar products" section.

Why do some products have a lot of information, while others have almost none?

ProductWiki is still early and this is a project that will take time to grow. Products with little to no information are known as stubs and are an opportunity for interested individuals to improve and expand upon to make their mark on the site.


User information

How do I change my user information (password, avatar, etc)?

Go to your user profile (click on your name at the top of the page) and then click on settings and change everything from there.

What is OpenID?

OpenID is a unified login system, so you only have to manage one username and password, then use your OpenID to login to various sites around the net. Find out more at Wikipedia.

How do I become a featured user?

Featured users are the people in the community who stand out and make people feel welcome, contribute great information and play a large role in making ProductWiki a useful resource. More details can be found here.

What happens if I forget my password?

Click on the sign-in link at the top of every page, then click on "forgot password". There you can enter in your e-mail address where we'll generate a new password for you and e-mail it to you. You need a valid e-mail address for this to work.


1.  avatar cdpage said:

Hey guys, i have a request.

Icons, and what they mean.

Heart - Love it
PacMan - Want it
Hand - Have it
Tag - ...

yellow orange meeter - ...?
yellow orange meeter + ...?
Blue Thumb up - positive review?
Green Thumb up
text bubble - Commented on

Approved Reviewer -

perhaps make them click-able to take to a page that lists what they mean, and add a roll over that describes the one you are pointing at.

Anything to keep this site fresh, and growing. I like this site far more then gdgt or the like.

Keep up the great work here. and i'll keep telling people about it. :)
Dec 30, 2009 10:55am
2.  avatar cdpage said:

Another minor Site change suggestion/request

The speaker section is growing. It almost 650 items now. Perhaps sub categories. (no pun intended

There are many categories that people may not recognize so easily... so perhaps starting with Just separating Sub-woofers for now?

Here is a list of other Categories i would consider, but i might not use all of them as that may thin out the list too much... at least till you break 1000 speakers.

Floor Standing
Bookshelf (Large, Small)
In-wall (in-ceiling, in-floor)
outdoor (wall-mountable)

...maybe electrostatic?
Dec 30, 2009 11:37am
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