Local STATE Boards: An unserved Okie chimes in.
An Okie chimes in:
Each State should have it's own board. The state is a fixed recognized boundary that requires little or no work on the part of the moderators, whereas a term like "Midwest" is amorphous and requires that each new user learn the geographic boundaries. Keep it simple: Any current softeware can handle 50 states. And ease of Moderator's work is key; no poster would have a reason to post outside the region.
Oklahoma is just one example, but a good one: It is not midwest, not south. Southwest?... well... so is Sante Fe, 8 hours away. Texas?... mortal enemies in football and far to go to eat.
The lack of an Oklahoma Board (or any other state) impedes us from posting restaurant reviews. And Please hear the important synergy here: Posting restaurant reviews that can be easily found means that others will read, and then others will post their own in the assurance of being found. This outlet (Chowhound), if press-released to the appropriate local media organs, means that more people will find out that:
"Chowhound is the place to go to get some real reviews."
It would be an easy task for me or other posters to pick up the phone and send followup emails that in a single hour would get Chowhound's name in every newspaper in the state. Other "neglected" states are the same.
And a second synergy: As local restaurants are reviewed, they will respond with better product and service. Thus more reviews, more conversation, more growth, more ad clicks for Chowhound.
There is a burgeoning swell of energy Within Each City to try to raise the bar of our local cuisine. The scrutiny of Easily Findable reviews will help to raise that bar.
I can assure you that there are absolutely no recent and pertinent reviews of Oklahoma restaurants here. A few good attempts, but no collective corpus to sustain it. But yet, there are plenty of FoodFolks just within my personal circle who would have posted had the Easily Retrievable State Forum been available.
Possible mechanics of software/display: Boards/"States"/then a pop down menu of the full 50. Retailers use that routinely, and the current "board" interface would remain uncluttered.
CH'ers in the presently served major metro areas would suffer a small inconvenience in this 50 state system: If I post an SF review under "California" board, then an SF resident would have to search in both the SF board AND the California board to find it. That overlap of confusion and confusion of overlap seems a small price to pay for unleashing the 50 states toward a fuller ChowPotential.
This makes SO MUCH sense.
I live in Washington, DC. Our board is a combo with Baltimore but we rarely go there and they rarely come here. The Washington Metro area is big enough for its own board.
Maybe you could do the 50 States + DC.
Major metro areas (you could use major media markets as a guideline) could have their own boards. E.g. California and then w/in CA, LA and SF (or Bay Area.) Illinois would have a board for Chicago.
I realize you could break it down until it was too detailed and everyone went nuts, but I'm not going to check, for example, the Nebraska (Omaha) board unless I live there or am planning a visit.
Craigslist adds cities constantly and I just ignore 99% of them.