Tea Info Access

The other day, an issue came up related to having access to tea info online. Someone was challenging a tea vendor’s claim that a particular tea garden was actually in the Darjeeling area of India and therefore able to claim legitimately that their teas were in the Darjeeling category of Indian teas. I innocently asked that the person making this challenge furnish a link to the information he was using to justify it. He responded that the information sat on his site and that it required people to sign in.

Something seems amiss when someone posts a comment online challenging a tea company’s honesty but the “proof” is hidden and to see it you have to register your email address with the site it’s on. Not quite “kosher,” as the saying goes.

It brings to mind the following questions: How accessible should tea information be online? That is, should you have to sign in to a site to see the information? Tricky questions. I am all for free choice. If someone wants to set up his site so people have to sign in, fine. But don’t use the information to attack a tea vendor, since the proof of the assertion is not available to all.

I responded to him by furnishing several links showing that the tea garden was indeed in Darjeeling. His reply was caustic and boiled down to sneeringly accusing me of simply going to Wikipedia and pulling off some links. (So, he wasn’t just someone who was hiding information from people, he was a bit elitist as well.) As for Wikipedia, it has a very damaged reputation, with numerous instances of people purposely posting the information they want there and removing anything they want hidden. So I almost never link to them as a source of information.

This person was trying to redirect attention away from his actions while still using “hidden” information to challenge that tea vendor’s veracity. Again, not “kosher.” Sigh!

As for the tea vendor in question, I know he is honest and that if he says a tea garden is in Darjeeling, I believe him or know that his mistake (should it prove to be that) is an honest one. (He lives there, so I am even more sure that he knows which tea gardens are true Darjeeling and which are not.)

As for the person making the challenge, I say that he should provide open access to the data used to support it.

Meanwhile, back to tea, listening to hubby on the piano, and a peaceful existence.


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