One of my other hobbies is ham radio. A popular ham site is eh am.net and one of their most popular sections is their review section. Any registered user can add a review and over time it has become the authoritative source for checking out gear that one might be considering. I've seen nothing like it for mandolins or instruments in general.
Musical instruments are basically covered in shopping advise or collectors corner or even building set up and repair. How about music reviews? or venue reviews? I sort of saw Chris Thile and Michael Davies the other day at The Great American Music Hall in SF. The instrumental work was terrific the singing was so so (I could get into "How come instrumentalists with obvious super high standards with their instrumentation don't have the same super high standards with vocals? If you can't sing as well as you can play why not get a singer who can?) but the hall really sucked! They have this cattle herding system to get you in and once in there is nothing to do but stand. If you are not a Norseman or a Watusi or willing to beat your way with a club to the front you can't see a thing. Either the acoustics in the room or the sound system is not state of the art so that now that you can't see your not really hearing all that well either. I'd be better off at home with a record. I didn't pay for the tickets so at least there was that but given that there are a bunch of really good venues in the Bay Area where you can see from wherever you are and the sound quality is crystal clear I believe I'll be giving that place a miss from now on.
Well in my example of eham reviews are aggregated by model and an overall rating (1-5 stars) is assigned for the model. There is also a summary that tells whether the model is current and the approximate price. It makes it easy to compare two pieces of gear with similar functions and price points. If we were to convert this to "mandolinese" we might see a Kentucky KM-1000 with an overall rating of say 4.8 and a rating of 4.0 for a Loar LM-700. It would take a while to build this database but it would be useful. Joe