Tuesday, September 28, 2010

wikiCHA - A Wiki for Tea

Since I'm a huge fan of Wikipedia, and Wikipedia already has extensive information on tea, you might be wondering...why is this guy advocating for yet another wiki? And why for yet another informational tea site when he runs a tea site himself, RateTea? Will this not cause duplication of information?

Yes, wikiCHA is yet another wiki--specifically focused on tea, and yes, there will be some duplication of information. But I think there is a place for all these websites, as they have different standards and serve different purposes--they are complements. I also think that, given how much duplication of misinformation (especially on spammy blogs and the occasional carelessly written commercial website) there is out there on the web, having several more legitimate websites with more accurate information will certainly not hurt.

wikiCHA is run by Brandon of Wrong Fu Cha, but, like wikipedia, it's freely open to the public for editing.

Differences Between Wikipedia and wikiCHA:

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and appropriately has rather strict standards for the sourcing of material. (I find these standards, by the way, to be outstanding guidelines for quality scholarship.) Per Wikipedia's guidelines, all information is required to be verifiable in reliable sources, and a topic is only considered to be notable enough to warrant inclusion if significant coverage can be found in multiple independent sources. Although guidelines have some degree of flexibility, in general, company websites are not acceptable sources, as they are self-published. Similarly, blogs and other self-published sites are also not acceptable sources.

In the world of tea, this becomes slightly problematic, as tea companies are one of the main sources of information, and blogs can be another main one. Another problem is that a lot of the most relevant qualities of tea, such as flavor and aroma, can be rather subjective and are not exactly encyclopedic in nature.

wikiCHA is a valuable contribution to the "wikisphere" in that it is offers a bit more of a "free form" wiki. Although it may not be as rigorous as wikipedia, it provides a vehicle for adding and working with material that may not be suitable for inclusion on wikipedia, or that would be difficult to adequately source. Although it is still young and many parts of it are not thoroughly developed, I would encourage others to participate in it. When sites like this, which are democratic and controlled in a decentralized fashion, grow, it ultimately enriches the total body of information out there pertaining to tea.


  1. I agree that something like this can become a valuable resource for tea drinkers in time, however, it isn't a new idea. Tea Geek has been running a Tea Wiki for years.


    Originally, it was an open wiki and grew fast, overtime, he realized that there were so many inaccuracies in it that it was difficult to keep up and the wiki itself became unreliable as an information source. He eventually made it into a paid resource, available for members only. This has since renewed the accuracy and credibility of the wiki.

  2. Yes! I'm aware of this, and that it is much more extensive. I do think that there is a value to both public and private resources. I am hoping that wikiCHA can maintain a higher standard of accuracy while remaining public--it would be a shame to duplicate the exact type of resource.

  3. Alex, you are doing a great job introducing these resources! Teadrunk, wikicha, teaview forum, these are all very good tea sites which I think are being under-used. The more people participating, the more informative these sites can be!

    Talking about accuracy of tea information - I really think it's impossible for the web master of a site to maintain the accuracy for tea. It's not a physical science and there are so many unknown territories. Recently I've been thinking about all my frustration in puerh. Basically all the sellers, manufacturers, experts and "masters" are telling us all different, and often contradicting, things. What can you do? Not much, except drinking the tea you like.

  4. Alex, I have used wikiCha several times and thought it was quite useful. I am always glad to see new things pertaining to tea. Over time, some may not be useable, but then we don't need to use them anymore. Tea drinkers are not all the same and it is so helpful to have different sites pointed out for us to see what really is useful and what is not.