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Creating a SF Bay Sticky -- Your feedback

We've been trying out a new sticky format on the Manhattan Board for awhile now, and while it hasn't completely eliminated 'Coming to town for the weekend, where should I eat?', it also hasn't caused any problems, so we're going to go ahead and start working on these stickies for some others of the boards, beginning with our most active regional boards. This thread is for feedback on what should go into the sticky for the San Francisco Bay Area.

Check out the sticky on the Manhattan board ( http://www.chowhound.com/topics/444453 ) for an example, and then let us know:

1. What are the most repetitive (yet generally on topic) questions that get asked? Are there specific events or attractions people are always asking for recommendations near? Specific restaurants that have been discussed in great detail? We're not trying to totally eliminate these questions, just help people to find the information that already exists. The really general 'Coming to town for the weekend, where should I eat?' questions that are an issue on every board are a given for this list--you don't need to suggest them here.

2. Any board specific vocabulary, abbreviations or habits that people should know? On the multi-state boards, this might be the habit of using airport codes in titles to note the town, locally it might be that putting the airport code in the title means you want to eat near the airport. On Manhattan, we mentioned that prices there are generally higher than average so people should try to use clear cost descriptions if they have budget limits.

3. Are there any off board chowdown lists/groups that people should be aware of? How can they sign up?

If you've got any other feedback about the stickies, let us know that, too.

We probably won't be able to use everything that gets suggested, but we will try to incorporate as much feedback as possible while still keeping the stickies manageable.

-- Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

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    1. Yes, by all means. It will save seeing the same question all the time.

      1. Thank you thank you thank you. I've noticed a significant drop-off in the number of requests for bachelorette party and sweet sixteen recs on the Manhattan Board, and overall percentage of quality posts is starting to rise. I don't think the regulars have read the sticky, though - when they respond to general questions, they're still typing out the whole "what's your price range, what kind of cusine", etc, instead of just linking to the sticky.

        For general "where to eat in SF" - key questions to help board members give useful tips:
        1) Where are you from? What are your favorite restaurants?
        2) What kind of cuisine are you looking for? (A gentle nudge towards "Places" would be good here, just so they can see the range of cuisines that's represented out here)
        3) What is your price range? Dollar amount, before tax, tip, and beverages.
        4) Will you have a car?
        5) If you're public transportation dependent, will you be willing to travel to the East Bay and/or the Peninsula by BART?

        Commonly asked questions:

        Where do I eat near Union Square? Search: Union Square, Financial District, Chinatown, Tenderloin, Belden Alley
        Where do I eat near the Moscone Center? Search: Moscone Center, SOMA, Westfield Shopping Center
        Where do I eat near the Curran Theater? Search: Union Square, Tenderloin
        What's the best dim sum/pizza/taco/burrito in SF? Search each term.
        Which wineries should I go to in Napa/Sonoma? For Napa, also search Calistoga, St. Helena, Yountville, Silverado Trail. For Sonoma, also search Healdsburg, Russian River Valley. Link to SF Chronicle Wine Country guide.
        Where are the best soup dumplings? Search: XLB, xiao long bao
        What are the best cheap eats in SF? Search: cheap eats, Chinatown, Mission, Richmond. Link to Places, and the food section of SF Weekly.
        Where are the best cupcakes? Search: cannele, morning buns, dan tat. No one cares about cupcakes. Ok I kid, I kid. I don't personally care for cupcakes, but will admit there's quite a good thread going on it right now.
        Where can I get NY style Chinese/pizza/bagels? Search: orbitz.com, travelocity.com

        Plus all of the special event-type questions covered on the Manhattan Sticky.

        Specific to SF/Bay Area
        1 You'll need to define "SF Bay Area" vs. "California", as this distinction is not as clear cut as Manhattan vs. Outer Boroughs.
        2. Remind people to write the name of the city they're inquiring about in the thread title(SF, not SFO, unless they specifically want recs around the airport).

        I'd consider adding links to SF Chronicle Top 100, SF Chronicle Wine Country Guide, East Bay Express restaurant page, SF Weekly restaurant page, BART and MUNI pages.

        8 Replies
        1. re: daveena

          **Where are the best cupcakes? Search: cannele, morning buns, dan tat. No one cares about cupcakes.**
          **Where can I get NY style Chinese/pizza/bagels? Search: orbitz.com, travelocity.com**

          LOL! I couldn't agree more about both of those! You and I were posting at the same time, so we covered a lot of the same points, but you did it better!

          1. re: daveena

            "Where can I get NY style Chinese/pizza/bagels? Search: orbitz.com, travelocity.com"

            Very, very funny... oh I really hope we can get this incuded in the sticky...

            1. re: daveena

              I agree that it's important to differentiate between SF Bay Area and California. From what I can tell from using the board over the past year, SF Bay Area includes the following counties (a very large area!):

              San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Marin.

              I think it makes sense for all other counties in Northern California (most notably Sacramento, Mendocino and Monterey) to be part of the general California Board.

              1. re: Dave MP

                I believe it actually says somewhere that for the purposes of this board the SF Bay Area comprises the counties officially designated as the Nine Bay Area Counties, e.g., the ones you listed, minus Santa Cruz County. At any rate, that's always been the official guideline for the board.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  That makes sense. I wasn't sure about Santa Cruz....I came up with my list by just looking at a map - didn't know about the Nine Bay Area Counties.

                  1. re: Dave MP

                    I think I read here once that they are so designated because those counties all touch the bay (? the only one I am not sure does touch the bay is Napa)

                    1. re: susancinsf

                      You're right, they all do touch the bay. When you get up into the delta it gets weird; some towns are on the Bay Area board, others just a few miles away are on the California board.

              2. re: daveena

                I don't think i've seen this here yet, but a perennial question is "How can you actually get a reservation for the French Laundry" -- it has been the best-known US restaurant. There are past threads here. They, and many of the newspaper articles they link to, all cite an independent advice page on the subject (I think it was set up by a local family unconnected to the restaurant):

                http://www.thesandersens.com/res/fren...

              3. Here are a few off the top of my head:

                1. variation on the "coming to town" question: "where to eat around Union Square"; best dim sum; where to eat before the symphony/opera/ballet/Herbst theater; best burrito; NY-style bagels, NY-style pizza

                2. SFO means the airport; SF means San Francisco; xlb are xiao long bao aka soup dumplings; TFL means The French Laundry; when asking about the wine country specify Napa or Sonoma and when asking about "Napa" or "Sonoma" specify whether you mean the towns of Napa and Sonoma or the Napa Valley and Sonoma County; the East Bay and the South Bay are big places, be as specific as possible; Santa Cruz, Monterey and Mendocino are on the California board;

                3. There are four lists (SF, East Bay, Silicon Valley, North Bay) for organizing chowdowns on yahoo groups, this post has links to three of them: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/31694...

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  It's not mentioned in the post Ruth linked to....the North Bay chowdown group is at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nbchowdown

                2. The only topical things I have to add to Daveena and Ruth's excellent suggestions would be Fisherman's Wharf and dining with a view (not). TFL would be a marquee restaurant, and maybe a link to how to get a reservation and explaining that it's a three-hour round trip from the City.

                  It seems to me that those who are posting these types of repetitive questions don't know how to search, do it badly, or are confused by the search field at the top of the page (vs. search this board). There've been many posts from puzzled readers who have tried searching and then say that nothing came up or was too old. Wouldn't it be better to provide links for the most common type of searches, and once there, explain how to vary the search term.

                  I'd like to see the Places database invoked more. The SF Bay Area board has the largest number of entries. I've put "wine country" in the neighborhood field for every entry I've made for Napa and Sonoma counties so that it can become a guide resident on this site.
                  http://www.chow.com/search?search%5Bq...

                  For San Francisco Chinatown, I entered every spot I can remember being mentioned on the board (so that a discussion thread should be associated with each). I'm sure I've missed some, but here's the result so far,
                  http://www.chow.com/search?search%5Bq...

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I concur with the nudge to places; we regulars could probably use the reminder to follow that advice also...

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      What do people think about posting results to searches that include specific restaurants in the search terms? Meaning, instead suggesting that someone do a general search for "seafood", post a link to the results for a search on "seafood Bar Crudo Ame Tadich", and instead of the general search for "Italian", to give the results for a search on "Italian Incanto A16 Delfina Ciccia". The major advantage would be that it would winnow down the number of results to the highest yield ones - the disadvantages are that it would 1) reflect the biases of whoever chose the search terms and 2) could become outdated. I don't know. I was thinking about it earlier but am not sure if it would be better or worse to do it this way.

                      1. re: daveena

                        I think they would get outdated too quickly, and also tend to "favor" places like the ones named. Yeah, those are all favorites, but I can think of quite a few more in either category that would be similarly deserving. The end result would be to come dangerously close to the "featured picks" on other sites.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          I was thinking that those search terms would be the most likely to bring up the most comprehensive discussions, but the disadvantages are significant.

                          Is there another way to keep people from getting overwhelmed by the sheer number of threads that come up when you search, even if they limit it to "Search this Board?" Telling them to target the threads with the most posts helps somewhat, but sometimes there are threads with just 4 or 5 good quality posts that are higher yield than the monster threads. Oh well. I guess you can only do so much hand-holding.