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Somebody get this sysadmin a sandwich

a
axesbowledaslove Sep 19, 2006 07:40 AM

Okay, I reply to this post over on the California board. The poster is planning a trip from LA to Seattle, has five days to make the trip, and wants suggestions for interesting and tasty eating along the way.

I reply with a few things I have run across in California. Next thing I know, this post appears:

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

If you read the link above, as I did, perhaps one of the things that would pop into your mind is "Okay, so what if I recommend stops in LA, the central valley, San Francisco, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Washington?"

Must one so carefully phrase questions on this board that one must anticipate the answer before it is given? Must one so carefully answer as to avoid the slightest hint of crossing a county line or municipal boundary?

This has got to be one of the dumbest "do be carefuls" I have ever run across in all of my long days.

Folks, sysadmins, readers, and writers; the world does not array itself perfectly for us, geographically or syntactically. Some posts are not going to fit perfectly into the well-organized cnet bin.

Listen.

Grossly off-topic posts and replies are easily moderated.

But

Road trips gotta start somewhere and end somewhere, and they may not take straight lines. Juking some dude around for failing to cross post across 4 possible boards,(LA, San Fran, Cal, PNW) and possibly more, depending on how you classify Idaho, strikes me as very, very, dull. I am new here. Please tell me this is not the norm. If I have to argue with the Presbyter every time I want to talk about a road trip, or inquire of those of others then please, please, tell me now.

  1. j
    Jwsel Sep 19, 2006 07:56 AM

    You probably won't make a lot of friends by titling your post like that.

    One of the long-held traditions of Chowhound has been to keep boards separate by geography and topic (i.e., when people post recipes in region or city threads, the moderators usually jump on that and refer people to Home Cooking). If you really think about it, it makes sense. First, if the road-trip discussion on the California thread veers into discussion of Washington and Oregon chow, that is going to annoy the users who focus on California. Moreover, the responses will be useless to people in Oregon and Washington who might want reccs between Portland and Seattle, but wouldn't get that information from a California board. It really isn't the end of the world to post on multiple boards. It actually is pretty common for posters going from San Diego to San Francisco to post on three different boards -- California, Los Angeles, and Bay Area -- for the relevant leg of each trip.

    1. a
      axesbowledaslove Sep 19, 2006 08:48 AM

      Thanks for the reply, Jwsel. How would I craft a post requesting the best possible eats for a road trip from San Diego, California, to Matawaska, Maine?

      I am a long distance motorcycle rider who likes to eat, let's say. And I want to choose my route depending upon the expertise of this board, chowhoundwise. I can take the 10 all the way across the South and work my way up the seaboard from JAX, or I could duck up through Arizona and Nevada and eventually migrate into Canada if the eats are right. I could take the 40 and hit the breadbasket or stick to the 80 for the straight shot across.

      How many boards must I cross-post this request to?

      Do you see the problem here?

      And finally, yes, if the culture here is so strict as to prohibit the asking and answering of reasonable questions reasonably, and if people are going to get angry because I suggest that someone get the sysadmin a sandwich, then it is better for all of us that I know this now.

      I will point you, as a last comment, to the FAQ of this board:

      "What is a Chowhound?
      A Chowhound is someone who spends nearly every waking moment planning her or his next meal. Whether eating in a white-tablecloth restaurant or grabbing takeout on the way to work, Chowhounds hate to ingest anything undelicious. They won't hesitate to go far, far out of their way for even slightly better."

      "Far, far out of their way"

      Well, which way, Jwsel? Which way, sysadmin who needs a sandwich?

      1 Reply
      1. re: axesbowledaslove
        Robert Lauriston Sep 19, 2006 08:23 PM

        If you're trying to choose a route from city X to city Y and pick route that will have the best food along the way, seems like that would be a topic for the General board.

      2. The Chowhound Team Sep 19, 2006 01:15 PM

        We agree, Chowhound isn't best configured for a discussion of road trips that span multiple areas. But we're not a trip planning site, so we're OK with that.

        If you want good chow tips, you'll configure your query as we suggest. Hounds on the California board aren't clued in to the best chow in Seattle. Or Arizona, or Jacksonville. There isn't one board you can post to that's going to give you all the best tips for all the areas you plan to visit.

        Yes, you're going to have to do some more work and break your query up onto multiple boards. Maybe your best option, before you even post, is to browse the millions of postings that already exist on our site to give you some basic idea of how to plan your trip. You'll certainly find enough info to help you decide which route will yield the best chow, and then you can post to the relevant boards for specific inquiries.

        Please do feel free to send us the best sandwiches you find along the way. Anything with pork is especially welcome.

        1. Woodside Al Sep 19, 2006 07:33 PM

          Yes, but the question remains: where's the harm in a thread of this type? It's not truly a "trip planning" thread, so not actually off-topic, but a food inquiry post about areas with which the original poster may be unfamiliar. The thread will almost certainly contain chowish information potentially of interest to those who live in those areas, as well as those who travel through them. So, while it may violate the letter of Chowhound law, it certainly doesn't seem to violate the spirit, and to quash it with a "beware" message because it might cross some arbitrary geographic line (which has nothing to do with food) just seems unduly petty, harsh, and over-reactive.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Woodside Al
            Bob Martinez Sep 19, 2006 07:43 PM

            If you write a post recommending a restaurant that's covered by another board then it's very likely that the people who live in that area will never see it. That's the harm.

            If you posted a link on the original board to the detailed posts on the local board then the OP would be able to find it as well as regular readers.

            As the mods said, the board isn't really optimized to handle trip recommendations. Then again, if I was traveling through territory covered by 3 different boards I would want to post my request in 3 different spots. That would give me the best chance of getting knowledgeable replies. If I was taking a road trip from Chicago to New Orleans the odds would be a lot better on getting good tips on the New Orleans board than having a single thread on the Chicago board.

            1. re: Woodside Al
              Robert Lauriston Sep 19, 2006 08:19 PM

              I've seen posts that said something like "I'm going from Los Angeles to Sacramento and would like recommendations along the way. Please post to the Los Angeles, San Francisco, or California board as appropriate." The moderators don't seem to have any problem with that.

              I still think we should have an Airports board, as the people who know the best food at airports are mostly people passing through, not locals.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                spigot Oct 22, 2006 07:04 PM

                Ooooh, an airports board, what a great idea. In the absence of one though, I go here - http://www.airlinequality.com/main/fo...

                It's good user-generated info/reviews, but you have to really dig to find out anything about the food :-/

            2. k
              KatMom Sep 23, 2006 02:52 PM

              Maybe a board for Roadtrips, where you could start with the subject of where you are going and where you are going to land? It would probably get too cumbersome and confusing.

              I drove from CA to Florida and back in the past year, with a couple of cats and my Beloved (dog), and would try to find free wireless places to look up Chowhound-reviewed places for the next big town I saw on the map. No time to question and read replies. The cats went crazy for tamales in Albuquerque. Not so good Memphis bbq, but it was late and rainy.

              I recommend traveling with a wireless-enabled laptop, and buying a months worth of Flying J internet. You can also pull into the parking lot of motels that advertise free wireless and see if you can pirate a signal, but I guess that isn't entirely legal.

              1. hatless Oct 23, 2006 02:44 AM

                This seems like yet another example of why boards as we know them should work more like "tags", so that power users can mark a post or reply or whatever as belonging to more than one bin, yet remains simple enough that casual users can continue to use the site as it is.

                Conversely, some of the current boards could be reconfigured in sensible ways: users could look at "California" (the whole state plus maybe Tijuana, Mexico) or just "Southern California" or maybe, over time, just "Orange County through Santa Barbara". Tagging something precisely would land it in all the bigger bins that contain it.

                I don't necessarily mean that users should feel like they're always tagging their posts, but rather that the tags occur naturally based on what "board" or subsection of a board is being posted to.

                A roadtrip post could this way be made to appear in all the states or other geographic areas the trip will cover.

                2 Replies
                1. re: hatless
                  Joseph Nov 21, 2006 04:42 AM

                  This is an excellent idea!

                  As a stickler and a perfectionist, I sympathize with the moderators at times. But I also find the current regional boards rather frustrating. It would be great to be able to break off San Diego from the California board... but as you mentioned, Baja del norte might as well be a part of San Diego.

                  A tag-based solution would solve these problems. The user could mark each post with one or more local tags, and these would automatically include the larger region; Carlsbad > North County San Diego > Metro San Diego > Southern California / Baja > California and so on. And if one post touched on multiple areas, the user could add more than one tag, within reasonable limits.

                  A report about Cheesecake Factory in San Francisco? Tag it "Reviews, Chains, American, San Francisco (Bay Area, California could be added on automatically).

                  Likewise, readers could chose to limit themselves to posts about Brooklyn, Manhattan and Long Island one day, or they could browse all of the Tri-State region the next. The geographical boundaries would not need to be set in stone by the constraints of the site. And non-geographical criteria could apply as well, such as tags for "Pizza" or "Laotian".

                  Any arguments against this idea, Chowhound Team? I'm looking forward to browsing posts focused just on my southern half of San Diego county... plus Tijuana.

                  1. re: Joseph
                    t
                    travelmad478 Nov 23, 2006 11:14 AM

                    This is a GREAT idea and I'm just sorry I'm not the one who thought of it!!! Tags would be an amazing way of sorting posts on this site, which even after the re-design is still often very clunky to use. I would love to be able to search for things via tags. Perhaps then for once and all, we could get rid of that perpetual "where's the best Chinese in Chinatown" question???

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