I live in Santa Cruz, and work in San Mateo. It would be ideal if I could enter two search queries, "Santa Cruz" and "San Mateo", and have chowhound.com email me alerts whenever a post has been submitted with either of these phrases in it.
As it is, I have to visit the board and catch up on new topics for locales that do not interest me in the least.
Better yet, I would have "My Forums" and have it filtered by those new posts that match my arbitrary search criteria. I am much more likely to participate in a thread that to which I'm able to contribue, and this is a sure-fire way for me to be involved (without having to log in each day and check, which I'm not likely to do).