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Creating an LA 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 Los Angeles 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. I cannot stand it. Sorry, but it doesn't eliminate the repetitive topics, and it makes random questions more important, by sticking them at the top. The sticky must go.

    1 Reply
    1. re: yogachik

      I'm confused -- how does the sticky make random questions more important?

      Apart from the relatively minor annoyance of seeing it at the top all the time, I see no harm -- and a great deal to gain -- by answering newbie questions and setting rules in an easily findable place.

    2. I've never been clear if there is a prescribed geographical boundary for the the Los Angeles Area board, so maybe this is the place to specify: Where do we go to talk about restaurants in Santa Barbara? San Diego? Palm Springs? Central Coast?

      I think it's important to encourage people not to repeat thread subjects, e.g. the endless overlapping "where's the best burger?" threads, etc.

      Oh, and very important: first use of the word "yummy" in a post gets a warning; second use results in a permanent ban. Strictly enforced (and yes, I've now used up my one).

      1 Reply
      1. re: maxzook

        Good points!

        - It would be very helpful to Declare the geographic limits of the LA region. So far it seems to be LA, Orange, Ventura counties with 'parts' of western Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Defining the eastern-most cities would be good. What do IE (Inland Empire) hounds think?

        - Repeating specific 'Best' topics is OK EXCEPT within a specific time frame. For reference could I suggest One Year (back from today)? Fortunately CH has the great heirarchal 'reply to post' feature so a big topic thread isn't completely linear.

        - Suggest a posting limit for an existing topic. I go nuts trying to follow something over, say, 100 replies.

      2. Some geographical abbreviations worth mentioning:

        BH = Beverly Hills
        SGV = San Gabriel Valley
        DTLA = Downtown LA
        SM = Santa Monica
        WeHo = West Hollywood

        There should be a sticky to the the Ultimate Restaurant List by Mr. Grub. This is for 2006: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/357211

        And maybe a link to the 99 Essential Restaurants as determined by Jonathan Gold from LA Weekly. http://www.laweekly.com/eat+drink/din...

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsedixit

          OC = Orange County
          VC = Ventura County
          SD = San Diego city/county
          SB = Santa Barbara city/county
          SFV = San Fernando Valley
          LB = Long Beach
          PS = Palm Springs
          Hwd = Hollywood

          Don't go too crazy with the initials list, though. In as large and diverse an area as this it gets confusing -- people can just type Los Feliz or Silver Lake.

        2. The most commonly asked dinner-near question that I notice is stuff near the Pantages and stuff near downtown. Personally, in addition to the Mr. Grub list and the Jonathan Gold list, there really should be a pointer to various neighborhood lists. Perhaps if, for instance, a Koreatown topic and a Santa Monica topic and a Downtown topic were all started, people could add to them as they normally do, and then the sticky would just provide links to all those topics.

          Also, there are other random topics that I've personally stickied with Favorites, stuff like Jerome's SGV topics, the Chow Gold Line topic, a few Best Of topics, and really any thread where the responses or the OP were very in depth and informative and insightful.

          The primary off-board list for the LA group has to be SCARF on the Yahoo board, but Pleasurepalate also maintains a group of her own that seems to be primarily Yelp-based. There's a lot of overlap between SCARF and Chowhound already, but getting people to cross the divide between Yelp and Chow is, let's say, not an LA-specific problem.

          4 Replies
          1. re: SauceSupreme

            the other commonly requested general dinner locations are hollywood and the beach cities [most notably SM].

            1. re: SauceSupreme

              By the way, my group is not primarily Yelp-based, although there are Yelp members who are in it. The largest cross-section of the group are members who have been dining with me for years, pre-Yelp, but there are also both SCARF members and Chowhound posters who are part of the group as well. :) In fact, I really like that I have so much diversity.

              1. re: pleasurepalate

                Would you like to provide contact details for your group and have it included in the LA sticky post?

                1. re: Jacquilynne

                  Wow, if you could do that, that would be great! People have been finding my group through my profile and my posts, but it would be nice to give people a more direct route. My group is similar to SCARF in that it's also a Yahoo Group and the link is:


                  Thanks so much!

            2. One thing I want to clarify (and I'm posting this in every thread, it's not specific to this one) is that we're not looking to elevate specific topics or answers to sticky status, or even link them within the stickies. Nor are we looking to completely eliminate repetition from the boards. Repetition is still good--it brings out new answers (whether from new posters or about new restaurants) and ensures that things are updated. A single sticky (or otherwise annointed as official) thread for a given popular topic wouldn't do that job as well.

              From the perspective of the new user, we're trying to help them find the information that's already out there, as well as help them craft a good question that will get them the information they need if they can't find it.

              From the perspective of our regulars, we're trying to cut back a moderate amount on the repetitive questions, as well as help to ensure you get the information you need, rather than having to ask a bunch of clarifying questions every time someone new comes along.

              1. If we could have a sticky telling people that you can't get "Real New York (or Chicago) Pizza" in L.A., it would save a lot of time.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Chris O

                  Amen, brother.

                  Or bagels, either.

                  1. re: maxzook

                    I don't know, I think the quest for a New York style egg roll (and what have you) is endearing, sort of like looking for a Vietnamese bun bo hue or Chinese xiao long bao. Basically it admits in a very subtle form that New York is a whole different country from Los Angeles, which is completely and entirely true.

                    1. re: SauceSupreme

                      Maybe, but it gets old real fast. And this from someone who grew up in Connecticut and went to NYU. Grow up and eat a taco, already.

                2. If we do have an LA Sticky besides the one that is already there, I really love the one you used here:

                  HAVE A QUESTION?
                  The Manhattan board is a pretty active place, and a lot of questions have been covered recently--the Chowhound archives are a great resource. Use the 'SEARCH THIS BOARD' link at the top of any page (it's next to the title of the board) to get the most recent posts from the board. It doesn't mean you can't start a new thread on the subject if you don't find the answer you're looking for,

                  as it helps to reduce some of the repetitive questions if people would look first.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kingkong5

                    This should be on EVERY board, not just metro areas!

                  2. Locals will assume that visitors will have a rental car unless they say otherwise. This is important because visitors to our city may not know how massive the Los Angeles region really is. They should let us locals know which parts of town they want to eat in.

                    Visitors should let us know how far willing they're willing to travel for their meal. An often asked question is "where's there great Chinese food on the Westside," to which we'll we'll say there isn't any. The trip from Santa Monica to the San Gabriel Valley might take 30 minutes at 3am. At dinnertime during the work week, it might take 2 hours with the rush hour traffic. Distance according to Mapquest has nothing to do with the reality of traffic (as with most places), so let us know how much time you have for your meal.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Professor Salt

                      Excellent point, professor. This should definitely go into the sticky. "Where" and "how far/how much travel time" are paramount if someone asks a question.

                    2. I guess I don't really understand the idea of the "sticky topic." If it is meant to capture the timeless greatest hits of LA eating, then that would make some sense to me, especially since it would save us the chore of responding to the steady stream of tourists who ask for recommendations. But then there is this competing reality that few "greatest hits" are timeless in LA -- what used to be great is now passe, what used to be fashionable is now trite, etc. Chefs come and go, trends come and go. So with that fact considered, it seems that it is nearly impossible to create a "greatest hits" topic. So, I am left wondering what the purpose of this sticky topic is.

                      And, personally, I don't like how the sticky topics are on top of the LA board. This makes me page down and down to find the latest postings. In other words, the board has become easier to use for the infrequent user (the visitors to LA) at the expense of the people who look at the board throughout the day, everyday. That seems unwise. It really sounds like chowhound is trying to offer a "traveller's aid," which is a noble endeavor, but it's being executed sloppily. I would prefer that more effort be invested in the search feature because it's a pretty clunky search engine that displays search results in an even more clunky fashion.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: glutton

                        The goal, as I noted above, is definitely not to offer a greatest hits of restaurants (it wouldn't work, for precisely the reasons you cite), but rather of questions. If I know what the things are that people ask about the most, I can help them search for and find that info without asking the same question one more time.

                        We try to keep the number of actual stickies on any given board limited to just a couple. what may be throwing you off is that we have a bug where anything that's been replied to in the last couple of hours shows up in the sticky section. They're not, they just look like they are. So in reality, a lot of what you might think is in the sticky section is what you're looking for -- the latest replies.

                        1. re: Jacquilynne

                          Thanks for the clarification -- that software bug was certainly skewing my opinion. However, isn't the "sticky" just a substitute for a good search engine that helps people find these oft-asked questions quickly and easily? (Of course, I am glossing over the fact that we can never convince people to "search first, post second" -- everybody just wants to throw up the "what's the best Mexican in LA?" question without taking the time to search the million comments already posted on that question.)

                          1. re: glutton

                            Certainly I'd like to see the search engine be a little more user friendly, but what you're glossing over is precisely what we're trying to help with. Neither search engine improvements, nor stickies, nor anything else will totally solve this. But I'm not a developer--I can't fix the search engine. I can fix the stickies, so that's what I'm doing to help.

                            1. re: Jacquilynne

                              How 'bout a sticky that simply says, "Search first"

                              1. re: SauceSupreme

                                How about one that says, "Don't ask, just search"?

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  "Waste five minutes trying to figure out the search engine, give up, and ask" ;)

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    that would be great. it is annoying to constantly have these messages such as "moving to LA this week, wondering where to eat." surprisingly people answer those people.

                                    the one thing i don't like about the search is that (maybe it is me?) but when i search for something it doesn't seem like i can limit it to the LA board, for ex., but it searches through all of chowhound or all of the boards.

                                    some of us don't like tacos so the search for great pizzas and its discussion, while repepitive, can prove eye-opening.

                                    1. re: epop

                                      "Search this board" which is next to the title of the board on the board index automatically limits your searches to the current board and the last year.

                                      If you use regular search, 'show options' will show you the advanced options for limiting your search to individual boards.

                                      1. re: Jacquilynne

                                        Jacquilynne , what about something in the sticky to the effect that CH is a resource of GIVE and TAKE and not a "Shell Answer Man and Woman" resource in which people drop in to pick our brain(s) never to be heard from again. We live on feedback and new and revisited recommendations by our community. So let's ask those who "drop" in to come back and give us a run down on where they ended up, what they ate and how they liked or disliked it?

                                        1. re: Jacquilynne

                                          thx for showing me this, Jacquilynne. i'd searched the latter way in the past but somehow the advanced options never filtered quite right.

                                  2. re: Jacquilynne

                                    ROFL! Maxzook, you kill me :-).

                                    Seriously, I like the 'SEARCH FIRST*' tip if a few were added, like:

                                    - Search board topics first including title:cuisine-name and title:BEST

                                    - The key to finding existing Place Links is to search for the *first word* of the establishment first. It doesn't always work, hopefully better in the future.

                                    - Alert people to possible Alternate Spellings e.g. JNJ, J&J, J & J, J and J Burger, especially in Places. BTW this sounds like a new Place attribute to me.

                                    Not search but Newbie related, reiterate that posters must BE SPECIFIC as to neighborhood/city of LA region and preferably cuisine. IMO the mods must punish folks who are Not Specific.

                                    I like the rental car tip. Also suggest MTA and other public transit for key corridors where car travel or parking really, really stink e.g. Hollywood, Downtown.

                                    In any sticky, I suggest using more bullet points and white space rather than long, wordy paragraphs.

                                    * sounds nicer than ipsedixit's version of RTFM

                            2. In answer to #1:
                              It seems like a lot of posters ask for:
                              - brunch options (especially during the summer)
                              -and for group entertaining options (i.e. holiday party, Thanksgiving meal, bachelor party, wedding receptions)
                              -For vegetarian options
                              -For fine dining/small celebratory dining

                              1. Every week at least one person is required to create a post on the following 5 topics:
                                1) Where is the best sushi in LA?
                                2) Where is the best burger in LA?
                                3) Where can I find real NYC style pizza?
                                4) Where can I find real Chicago style pizza?
                                5) The Apple Pan is overrated.

                                Every other week someone must find a topic referencing French Fries and reply with a post lamenting the loss of Benita's Frites... even though it's been closed for almost 7 years.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: creamfinger


                                  Where to eat in Hollywood?
                                  Where to eat in Downtown?
                                  Who's got the best (insert seasonal item here)?
                                  Where should I have my rehearsal dinner?
                                  24-hour options
                                  Loud and trendy
                                  Quiet and off-the-beaten-path
                                  Trendy and off-the-beaten-path
                                  Complaining about (Mozza/Craft/SushiZo)

                                  Then again, if we elimited all of those entirely, the board would consist of nothing other than eatdrinknbemerry asking for some obscure Korean dish.

                                  1. re: creamfinger

                                    And someone must immediately post the following replies:

                                    1) Urusawa (posted by someone who's never been there)
                                    2) Cassell's (posted by someone who hasn't been there in twenty years)
                                    3) Famous Ray's at Sixth Ave. and 11th St.
                                    4) Lou Malnati's
                                    5) Not only that, but Sweet Lady Jane has lousy service

                                  2. It took me ages to learn to use the search, but I think RELEVANT should always be the default. I shouldn't have to change it to relevance.

                                    1. I'd like to see links to threads for best Mexican, Italian, sushi, burger, brunch, wine bars/gastropubs, tasting menus, and steak. It would be nice if recent user reviews of popular new restaurants (Comme Ca, Mozza, Bastide, etc.) could be linked so we don't get a ton of "NEW RESTAURANT XXYY-- WORTH IT???" posts every week.

                                      1. There is a broken link in the sticky, near the end, in the LINKS section:
                                        Digest posts about LA: http://www.chow.com/digest/tag/los+an...

                                        I'm new to the boards, so I'm not sure where it should point to now ...

                                        1 Reply