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May 23, 2008 04:34 PM

Guide/tutorial for Places?

I don't think I'm getting all the features, but there doesn't seem to be any "help."

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  1. Hi Ruth - What kind of help are you after: adding new Places, editing them or searching them? I've added a bunch and can help with that part of the process, if that's what you're looking to do.

      1. When you're editing a Place, note the Formatting guide at the lower right. I wish some of these features were available when editing regular posts.

        Half seriously, I posted before that CH can write better online help but they *Have to know it is supposed to work* first! Somewhere Jacquilynne is biting her tongue....

        With the ongoing technical issues, anything might change.

        3 Replies
        1. re: DiveFan

          I guess I thought -- or maybe it was wishful thinking -- that there was a way to zoom in on an area on the map and see all the linked places. Yes? No? Obvious and I'm an idiot? The map on the places start page of the "20 most recently updated places" is a strong contender for the most useless thing on the site, since whether a places entry has been updated has no relation to anything of interest. Why can't it be the 20 most linked-to places, or the 20 newest linked places?

          1. re: DiveFan

            That's exactly what we asked for last year, and IIRC Yelp has it. I'm wondering if Y* had to do some fancy programming - Google Maps still can't show you the closest 'restaurants' in distance order using Search Nearby.

            Yes, the region map with the 'latest new places added' is pretty silly. Especially since many of them (on LA) are duplicates!

            1. re: DiveFan

              If it were "latest new places" it would be marginally more interesting, but it isn't even that. It's "most recently updated places" which includes edits/updates to existing entries.

          2. One of the suggestions for renaming "Places" instead of "Restaurants and Bars" as it now appears on the button on the header menu was "Local Restaurants and More", plus adding a tool tip= "Restaurants, Bars, Groceries, and More!" or such. What do you think?

            I also noticed that the brief instruction for add a place now says
            "Type the name and location of the place you wish to add, select a CHOW region, and click Find This Place to see if it already exists in our database."

            I think it would be clearer and prevent mis-steps if it said "city and state" instead of "location", since that's what's needed to match the database. Yes, it doesn't need to have the state, but it doesn't hurt for city names that occur in more than one place. I keep seeing bad places entries where the user has typed in the street address with no city, neighborhood (e.g., manhattan), or abbreviated the city (SJ) and creates duplicate records.

            There's also some other problem with the user interface that is causing users to click on the "create a new place" button by mistake, then go back and link a second record. This needs to be looked at redesigned or the duplicates will continue to proliferate.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I just took at look at the SF Bay Area hub. Of the 20 most recently updated place records, 10 of them are duplicate records. User error of this magnitude highlights the need for redesigning the user interface.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Another common error is the users neglecting to select a region from the menu. Right now there are a bunch of duplicate records created for SF Bay Area, Manhattan and other regions because of this. In the Chow Lists beta, the user is not given an example to type in the city as the location nor to specify a region, and duplicates are proliferating as can be viewed in Places - see all.

                "location" means city for purposes of searching the Places database, why not just say "city"?

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Users are typing in street addresses for Chow List places unnecessarily rather than using the look up function. The downside of this is that many new entries do not have a phone number attached to them, whereas if they'd been retrieved from the google database they would. Please rework the user interface for link to a place from a reply and the interface for Chow Lists.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Both are good points. I suspect that they haven't been resolved because CH Engineering has to work around the limitations of Google Maps search engine.
                    - to automatically put a Place in a 'region', the region would have to be geotechnically defined by CH somehow. Then a calculation would have to be made - is it in or out? I think we agree on the fundamentals - I don't care about region, I usually want to know 'all Chow Places within nn feet/miles of some point on a map'. As a workaround I search along (very loonngg) LA streets a lot.
                    - failed lookups (in CH Place database or Googles) are often wierd spelling issues or some odd characteristic of Google Maps (search for places in Lawndale CA sometime).
                    I imagine much howling and gnashing of teeth among CH programmers when working these issues.

                2. I'm not getting anything useful in the drop-down 'places' box at all, just a solid gray background, with the drop down 'places' menu at the bottom., with 'other' as the default setting. No boxes to add names & addresses, etc.

                  I have IE Win 02 home edition service pak 2. (not that I know what that means.) 'Places ' has worked moderately well up to the point of the new design.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: toodie jane

                    I'm having this problem as well today (10/1).