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Jan 25, 2008 09:58 AM

We need a way to talk about Local topics beyond just restaurant reviews and "where do I find...?"s


My post about the recent 50 Best Restaurants issue of Philadelphia Magazine disappeared in 30 seconds, whisked off to the Food Media and News board, where it will get 1 or 2 responses, max, because 99% of the folks who happen to look at that Board don't live in Philadelphia and could care less (actually, there's already a post about the issue, from a day ago - 2 replies).

This doesn't make sense. There's more to talking about the local food scene than just saying "I like this place," "I hate that place," and "Where can I get a good slice of pizza?" Conversations about local food writing, for example, are totally appropriate for the regional board and make very little sense on the national food media board (which, on the other hand, is the perfect place to talk about non-place-specific things like Top Chef).

I don't understand why the moderators can't be just a little more creative in how they define the parameters of discussion for the local boards, so as to allow conversations that might be of interest to locals and that get killed off by the current rules. In the old days, if you posted a topic that was relevant to your local board but not strictly about eating food with your mouth, the mods would leave the heading up and post a re-route to the Not About Food board (or whatever), which worked fine - kept the activity off the food board but allowed the target audience to find the topic. If it's really a problem to have these conversations on the local boards, why not do something like that?

But, more basically - I don't get why it's so hard to slightly expand the variety of acceptable topics on the local board. The Pennsylvania Board can get pretty dull, since we re-cover the same three topics (where's the best burger? where's the best cheesesteak? where's the best pork sandwich?) every few days. What's the harm, exactly, in letting people talk about, just hypothetically, Philadelphia Magazine's 50 Best Restaurants issue?

  1. You are welcome to post a "heads up" on the Pennsylvania board with a link to the thread on FM&N, to bring it to the attention of local hounds.

    2 Replies
    1. re: The Chowhound Team

      Ok, that's helpful, but also very weird:

      Given that the Penn Board isn't an actual physical space (so it's not possible to "clutter it up" with too much back-and-forth under a topic heading), what difference does it make if I post a "heads up" that directs people to FM&N or we just have the discussion on the Penn Board? If people aren't interested, all they'll see is a heading, which will either read

      Philly Mag's 50 Best Restos Issue


      Philly Mag's 50 Best Restos Issue On FM&N

      Meanwhile, if they are interested, the difference is between having the discussion on the Penn Board, or clicking over to another board to do it.

      Which, I realize, is also a pretty trivial distinction. So, fine, I'll post a "heads up" - but I still don't see why discussing our local magazine's ranking of our local top restaurants isn't sufficiently "about food" to stay right at home on our local board.

      1. re: GDSwamp

        Our goal for the local boards is very narrow and specific: to share tips on where to find the best chow locally. We don't aim to use local boards to discuss all topics that may be of interest to hounds in the city/state/area covered by the board. While we understand some see this as unnecessarily restrictive, we feel that it's been a key factor in our success-- people know that they can count on our local boards for really targeted information about local chow, without wading through other discussions that do tend to get long-winded, chatty and sometimes even controversial.

        The Topical boards on our site (such as General Chowhounding Topics, Food Media and News and Home Cooking) were established to deal with those discussions that are of interest to chowish-minded people, but not related to local chow tips. Using the Topical boards for such discussions allow the discussion to develop more organically. For example, a discussion of a food reviewer in one city may easily grow to a discussion of rating systems, or the protocol professional reviewers should use in their reviewing process. While such a discussion may be very interesting to local hounds, as it gets further and further afield, it distracts from the local chow discussion. In addition, it's likely that hounds in more than one city have similar issues, and we don't want the same discussion running on multiple boards.

        We often see hounds put posts on local boards about a local reviewer's "best of" list. We don't mind such threads when they are introduced with the goal of soliciting local hounds' opinions on the restaurants on those lists. However, when the discussion turns to how the reviewer compiled the list, or the reviewer/publication in general, that's where we'd either move the discussion to Food Media and News (if possible) or delete it (our method of threading doesn't always allow us to neatly move all relevant posts.)

        Again, the best way to call attention to a discussion that would be of interest to local hounds is to place a "heads up" post on your local board, including a link to the post on the other board.

    2. GD

      Connecticut Magazine had it's "Best" Issue last month. Jfood typed the restaurants and the asked for opinions onthe Tri-State. Got some good discussions going. May want to try that as well.