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Time for a DALLAS Board

TexasToast Aug 8, 2006 11:47 AM

I can't stand reading about Austin and Houston restaurants on the Texas Board. You wouldn't lump all of California together? Why not split up Texas (which is a massive state) just like some others are? Even if it's just N E S W, it would help!

TT

  1. m
    Mike C. Miller Feb 4, 2007 05:01 PM

    Put me down for splitting Texas at least four ways -- Dallas/Ft. Worth; Houston; Austin; Other. San Antonio may merit it's own board, although I'm less doctrinaire about that. But if you're going to split one off, Dallas or Houston ought to have gotten the nod.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mike C. Miller
      tony michaels Feb 4, 2007 06:32 PM

      It seems, from the comments in this thread by Jacquilynne of CNet, that they are in effect beta testing how splitting the board will work by taking one of the less busy areas first. If they then work out the bugs that are sure to crop up, (and probably with a lot less yowling from Texas hounds about the problems that do show up) they will then tackle the larger, more complex areas. So look at this as a firing of a few test rounds to zero in on the target before they cut loose and really nail this beast.

    2. donnaaries Jan 31, 2007 07:15 AM

      I really enjoyed having all of Texas on the same board. I think a lot of Texans are like me in that they take lots of weekend trips to other cities in the state since most of them are only 3-4 hours away. I liked reading about a new chowhound find in another Texas city (even though I reside in Dallas, I travel to Houston, San Antonio, and Austin at least once a year), so that I can make a mental note to visit that restaurant/grocery store/wine store the next time I'm in that city.

      Additionally, I agree with Scott on that having the Austin board is confusing because of all the little towns outside of Austin that have great chow. Do those go under the Texas board or the Austin board? Should Austin and San Antonio be the same board since the two areas continue to expand toward each other and people travel frequently in-between??

      1. chowaddict Jan 24, 2007 09:05 PM

        what did jim say that confirmed your worst suspicion? am i missing something? all he said was that austin is a start and to give them time.

        4 Replies
        1. re: chowaddict
          MPH Jan 25, 2007 10:23 AM

          chowaddict,

          Thanks for giving me a chance to clarify. It was Jacquilynne's post that confirmed my worst suspicions. She wrote above that "the Austin board is part experiment in creating new boards, part because of some activities that are planned around SXSW." She further claimed that there were reasons, other than popularity, "why we wanted to split Austin, specifically, out."

          About the new Austin board, Jim Leff wrote (on January 5):

          "We very badly need to make geographical fixes all around. It's the thing I've long been most ashamed of about the site - one board for the Midwest? Or for the South? Yikes!

          We recognize (oh, do we recognize) the gaps and shortfalls. The new Austin board is just a start. Give us time and have patience; we're making everything better! :)

          ciao"

          As you said, his message conveys that Austin was just a start, and that more new geographical changes were coming. I had absolutely no problem with that.

          Best,
          MPH

          1. re: MPH
            Jacquilynne Jan 25, 2007 04:39 PM

            And what Jim said is still true - there are additional board changes still coming. We first need to solve some technical issues around integrating existing and new content when we split boards apart - splitting out a single board, Austin, really highlighted those conerns to us.

            - Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

            1. re: Jacquilynne
              Knoblauch Jan 25, 2007 05:40 PM

              I don't think anyone doubted Jim's word. The concern we seem to be expressing is that rather than basing decisions on the requests or posting patterns of the 'hounds, you're making choices to fit marketing tie-ins. Marketing has its place, but happy posters are likely to attract more members than advertising would.

              1. re: Knoblauch
                Das Ubergeek Jan 27, 2007 06:51 AM

                Boy, I sure don't agree -- how many people have you told about Chowhound who have become regular posters here?

        2. Jacquilynne Jan 24, 2007 11:57 AM

          Hi, Folks,

          The Austin board is part experiment in creating new boards, part because of some activities that are planned around SXSW. We know it's not the most talked about city on the Texas board, but there were reasons why we wanted to split Austin, specifically, out.

          - Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

          9 Replies
          1. re: Jacquilynne
            s
            Scott Jan 24, 2007 12:26 PM

            Jacquilynne,

            If that's the way it is and that's the way it's going to stay, I would suggest that you clarify the bounds of the Austin board, so members know where to post and where to look for information.

            For instance, if I'm posting about Lockhart, Luling, Taylor, Elgin, Llano, San Marcos, Gonzales, Seguin, etc., would that go in the Austin forum, since some of those towns are near Austin (or at least nearer to Austin than any other major Texas city, with the exception of San Antonio for some)? Or does the board just cover Austin city limits?

            I'm not sure what you have planned for SXSW. But I will say that making decisions on how to manage the Chowhound forums based on a desire to promote CHOW editorial content (if that's what's going on) may not be the healthiest move either for Chowhound (the living, breathing community I've been a part of for several years) or CHOW (the corporate parent that's offering me video tutorials on how to dice an onion).

            Good luck with it.

            Scott

            1. re: Jacquilynne
              Scagnetti Jan 24, 2007 12:50 PM

              Well I guess Dallas will get its own board when the Nelson Classic is played in April or when the Main Street Fort Worth Art Festival starts also in April or when the Mavs win the NBA championship in June or when the largest state fair in the country opens in September. SXSW is spit in the ocean compared to these NATIONAL events all of which take place in Dallas.

              1. re: Jacquilynne
                Knoblauch Jan 24, 2007 06:20 PM

                I think I'd have been happier if there weren't reasons for the choice. After reading Jim Leff's comments on the thread below, I guessed that there was a big list of cities for expansion, and Austin came first alphabetically. Even now, it might not be too late to claim that as your story. Then say you think you'll do it by metropolitan area size from now on, and Dallas will come right after Philadelphia.

                In general, I'd prefer fewer, larger boards. Discussion of Austin was enriched by Dallas 'hounds more before the split. To keep unwanted wading to a minimum, a good future feature would be geographic tagging of posts, and a user-setting to determine the center and size of a circle in which they would be interested in seeing posts. (Test that first before sticking us with it, though.)

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/357450

                1. re: Knoblauch
                  MPH Jan 24, 2007 06:33 PM

                  You know, I originally wondered if Austin's new board might have something to do with advertising partners, but I hoped that wasn't the case. Especially after reading Jim Leff's reply that Knoblauch referenced above.

                  Thanks for confirming my worst suspicions.

                2. re: Jacquilynne
                  Scagnetti Mar 21, 2007 02:05 PM

                  SXSW has been over 3 days. Is it still necessary to run the promotion ads for this event on this site?

                  1. re: Jacquilynne
                    scrapcatb Mar 26, 2008 06:02 AM

                    Jacquilynne,

                    I understand the reasoning behind not creating a whole bunch of individual city boards at one time, but wonder if it might be possible to add a suggestion to the FAQ (or posting etiquette) that for cities with large numbers of posts, such as DFW or HOU, posters preface their subject line with "DFW:" or "HOU:". This would make sorting out those posts that are (or are NOT) of interest to readers easier. For instance, living north of San Antonio and rarely traveling to either DFW or HOU, I truly appreciate those who post and DO use some sort of identification in their subject line to notate that they are posting about DFW or HOU so I can skip those posts. When, in a state as large as Texas, someone posts looking for "a party room for a batchelor party" but does not indicate a city, I have to open and read the thread to find out where they're looking. Hope this makes sense... Just a short "tag" in the subject line would go so far in helping with larger state boards like this one.

                    1. re: scrapcatb
                      Jacquilynne Mar 26, 2008 10:47 AM

                      It's already in the Etiquette: If you're posting on a statewide or regional board, please remember to include the city you're interested in - preferably somewhere in the title of your post.

                      If someone doesn't mention the city in their title but it later becomes clear, you can 'report' the post and the moderators will edit the info into the title. We make it a policy not to edit the contents of posts (we don't want to put words in anyones mouth), but titles are considered fair since they have such an impact on whether others can find the thread.

                      The best way for board members to ensure this happens, though, is to scrupulously model the behaviour themselves -- others will follow.

                      1. re: Jacquilynne
                        bbqboy Mar 26, 2008 12:49 PM

                        You don't do that on the midwest or northwest boards. (both larger than Texas, at least geographically) You're saying that if we tell you, you'll edit "Seattle" or any of a myriad of midwest cities into the title?

                        1. re: bbqboy
                          Jacquilynne Mar 26, 2008 02:41 PM

                          If people flag the posts for us and let us know what location needs to be edited in, yes. We haven't made a big deal about it, and it's a bit of an experiment -- if it proves to be a problem in some way, we'll stop.

                          And as I said last time this came up, please don't take this as an invitation to go back and flag posts from time long past -- we don't want a zillion and 86 flags in the next few days. But if you want to flag active threads that are a problem, we'll take a look and add a city.

                  2. m
                    Mike B Jan 23, 2007 06:30 PM

                    I agree that Houston and Dallas should have their own boards. Chowhound seems to be very stingy with which cities get boards though. It is a mystery.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Mike B
                      air Jan 27, 2007 10:40 AM

                      Yeah, I find that kind of odd that Houston and Dallas don't have their own boards. They definitely deserve it!

                    2. s
                      Scott Jan 23, 2007 05:44 PM

                      Well, Austin apparently has earned its own board. (Never mind that 40% of posts with the word "Austin" are RFIs on barbecue that are met with near unanimous recommendations that the poster *leave* Austin to get better barbecue.)

                      Sorry, Dallas/Fort Worth (fifth largest metropolitan statistical area in the US), Houston (seventh largest metropolitan statistical area in the US), and San Antonio (thirtieth largest metropolitan statistical area in the US). You're just not big enough to compete with the likes of Austin (39th largest metropolitan statistical area in the US).

                      Scott

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Scott
                        MPH Jan 23, 2007 09:26 PM

                        I was surprised that any city in Texas got its own board, which I posted about on Site Talk the same day the new Austin board came into existence. But, the biggest cities don't always have the largest number of active posters. There are relatively few regular ‘hounds based in San Antonio and even Houston, just to confine the discussion to Texas.

                        I understand your frustration since there are many passionate Dallas 'hounds. You have other outlets to discuss food, however. We really don't.

                        I’ll also admit that I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see so much Austin activity since the new board was spun off. I only wish that the switchover had been more thorough. Originally, Engineering's program seemed to only move threads that started with the word "Austin." (Some out-of-state posts about restaurants named Austin’s were moved, while anything with the official AUS designation were ignored.) Posts left behind on the Texas board will have to be moved one by one.

                        At the moment, of course, there are more important issues for the Chowhound Team to contend with. After some of the many problems discussed on Site Talk, etc., are taken care of, I hope to get back to regularly posting on both the Austin and Texas boards. I hope you Dallas ‘hounds will drop in on the Austin board, too.

                        Best,
                        MPH

                        1. re: MPH
                          s
                          Scott Jan 24, 2007 05:50 AM

                          MPH,

                          I don't begrudge Austin getting its own board. But the traffic issue kind of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Austin gets spun off and immediately the board starts getting more traffic. A local board is less cumbersome and more useful than a regional board, so that's to be expected.

                          You mention that SA and Houston don't have as many regular posters right now. That's true, but it wasn't always true. Several years ago, IIRC, there were more regular posters in Houston than any other Texas city. It's hard to attract participation to a board that covers major cities that are hundreds of miles apart (not to mention the many smaller cities all over the state), when most people just want to know about good food in their neck of the woods. Once you have participation, it's hard to keep it. At times when traffic is high from Houston, Dallas, and sometimes Austin, there's a lot of filtering necessary (especially when most posts aren't clearly associated with a particular city) to find the ones you're interested in. It's chaos, so people throw up their hands and walk away, dropping it back down to a lower traffic level.

                          And if you're going to divide Texas into two boards, why make it "Austin" and "not Austin"? Why not at least divide the state roughly in two, perhaps with the Central and West Texas cities in one (e.g., Austin, SA, El Paso, LRGV) and North and East Texas cities in the other (e.g., Panhandle, DFW, Houston)? That wouldn't be any more "work" than spinning Austin into its own board. Or, better yet, divide the state in three: North Texas (anchored by DFW), Central and West (anchored by Austin, SA, El Paso, LRGV), and East and Upper Coast (anchored by Houston). I imagine within a year the cumulative traffic across three boards like that would dwarf what we've usually seen in the "Texas" board. And, if you want to make it even more versatile, allow users to combine "favorite" boards (allowing them to see posts from all of the Texas boards in one place, if they want).

                          Just ideas. I'm sure the Austin board will be successful. It just would have been nice had the "powers that be" thought through that move a little more and, perhaps, consulted the many people who've participated in the Texas board for years, so it could have been done better.

                          Scott

                          1. re: Scott
                            Scagnetti Jan 24, 2007 06:55 AM

                            As always Scott, well put.

                            The Texas board is always the first board I check and I self consciously keep my expectations low because of all of the wading through messages I have to do to find DFW posts.

                            I hope chowhound is listening to you.

                          2. re: MPH
                            Melanie Wong Jan 25, 2007 10:49 AM

                            One of the things you can do to help the one-by-one migration is to use the "report" function and just select "off topic" and type in Austin as your message to ask for it to be moved. I've been doing this when I run across older posts on other boards that have had content spun off, e.g., France topics on International or Wine on General board. The mods have moved the threads as they have time and it helps to build up the archive on the new board for future board-specific searches. Presumably you're picking up the older threads that have highest relevance and most priority.

                            1. re: Melanie Wong
                              MPH Jan 25, 2007 11:04 AM

                              I've been reporting as "off topic" all Austin-only threads that I’ve run across—or deliberately dug up—on the Texas board. The mods always move them quickly. If other 'hounds chip in and do the same, as Melanie suggested, the process will probably go much faster.

                              The moderator-moved threads were not showing up in Austin-specific board searches, however. They were somehow still tagged as being on the Texas board.

                              Just before all the sturm und drang of the re-redesign, another local 'hound had just posted about this glitch on the old "Feedback: Report Problems" board. I'm sure the very busy Chowhound Team will get around to fixing it as soon as they can.

                        2. TexasToast Aug 17, 2006 11:07 PM

                          I guess there'll be no Dallas Board anytime soon then.

                          TT

                          1. TexasToast Aug 8, 2006 11:02 PM

                            Well that makes two of us. That's "100% of those polled." Motion passes.

                            TT

                            1. u
                              Uberchowguy Aug 8, 2006 12:56 PM

                              I'm in complete agreement with TexasToast! How about a Dallas board?

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