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Oct 1, 2008 07:08 PM

New Feature: CHOW Lists

We’re happy to announce that we’re launching CHOW Lists as a beta feature. CHOW Lists will allow users to create lists of places that will appear on one page, with a map and with descriptions of what the list is and of each item on the list.

For instance, users can create a list of places they want to go on their vacation in Oregon, or their 10 favorite pizza places in New York, of favorite brunch places in Los Angeles, etc. and set those lists as private or make them public and share them with everyone.

The lists will be promoted on the boards, restaurants&bars pages, and in the navigation bar under My Chow and under Restaurants&Bars.

The home page is

You can find a FAQ about this new feature at

We’re really excited about releasing this, but please keep in mind it is in beta, so we’re likely to encounter some problems, and there are a number of improvements planned for the next release.

Please take a look, give it a try and let us know here if you have any feedback.

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    I just made my first list but I am outside [San Diego] of the available regions on the side of the page - how will it be found?

    2 Replies
    1. re: kare_raisu

      I clicked the link for see all and got Most Recent and Regions, but that was it.
      I did find your list by going to your profile and clicking the "lists" link at the top of the page.
      That is the only place I could see it.
      "See All" should list all public lists the same as "See All Member Recipes" lists every member recipe submitted.

      1. re: kare_raisu

        Well, the existing See All options aren't very useful, just big unsorted lists.
        By rep I know to go to kare_raisu's profile where I'll find some good lists. Easy as pie.

        Yes, for now we need an 'Other' region.
        Regions are a difficult abstraction to quantify and implement, hopefully the CH Design team will consider alternatives in the future.

      2. I love this feature. I made a list which has 26 places, and when I tried to add another (i.e., the 27th), I got a message that one can only have 25 items on a list.

        Also, 'Outer Boroughs' is spelled incorrectly here:

        Thanks for adding this feature - I can see it being useful in so many ways.

        1. Yes, I'm a Lists Fanboy. So far, I'm really liking it and its possibilities.

          - Lists by Region - should be Very Useful, a keeper - maybe drill down by City?
          - Search for text in Lists - how? - need to add 'Find A List' and add as subcategory to regular search

          - On the public Chow Lists page, showing My Lists is completely UNnecessary - it takes up too much space at the top - I can already see them under MyChow.
          - Featured List - meh. The CH equivalent of 'Chefs Choice'.
          - Recently Added Lists - Useless - just as Place Region 'Latest Updated Places' map is. Design Team - please take a hint :).

          Not to be greedy :-) but if CH can come up with a feature that PRINTS A) the selected map area 1/2 or full page and/or B) the list of places with addresses and descriptions I'll be REAL happy.

          Assuming some of these features are added, Lists will take off like a Monster. CH should consider combining Lists with Places (a.k.a. R & B) main page (Lists and Places) and poll us (danger Will Robinson) on what parts of each existing page are unnecessary.

          Been waiting a long time for this. Big Thumbs Up, CH!

          BTW shouldn't this topic be under Site Talk, it is Beta and under development.

          2 Replies
          1. re: DiveFan

            Yes - I agree with your printing suggestions - would be wonderful.

            1. re: DiveFan

              OK, after a few days and about 10 lists

              .>>>> On the public Chow Lists page, showing My Lists is completely UNnecessary - it takes up too much space at the top - I can already see them under MyChow.

              Totally agree. Just leave the link "See all my lists".

              After four lists, you have to click on that anyway. They are listed by date. A year from now, looking at my first four lists does nothing for me. Actually,having more than four lists, I don't care about these anyway.

              >>>>> - Featured List

              What is the selection criteria for these? Is it just the most clicks or are staff actually going in like for Chow Digest and actually cherry picking the best lists?

              If it is the first, maybe adding a ... sigh ... vote feature would be a good idea ... "Was this list useful?" and a yes/no counter.

              The featured list is one of those things that set the tone for this section. Even yelp has backed off somewhat recently on the 'attitude' and going for content. They now have a review snapshot section that features snippets of actual information. That could possible change the tone of Yelp, making it more useful. If featured lists are just selected by clicks, some really stupid lists could be selected because they have an in-your-face title, vague title (what's that all about? let me click on it). or ... well, lots of stuff creates clicks. Doesn't make it good or useful.

            2. Nice feature, but it's helpful only when users explain why they've listed their places - e.g. or

              Lists that omit that information - no links, no rationale, no other comment - are just lists, and difficult for the rest of us to assess.

              9 Replies
              1. re: squid kun

                I'm of two minds about that. I see the lists as a useful tool, and I agree that a quick descriptive comment is good, but I wouldn't want the lists to displace the boards. My thought was that people would look at the list, click on places, and go to the threads where the places are discussed for more information. But, to that end, I'm still hopelessly confused about how I continue to create duplicates:


                I know that in each instance I chose the top place that came up, assuming it matched what I was looking for, and yet I have created 7 duplicates. Any insights you have into avoiding that would be greatly appreciated, because I certainly think these duplicates are diluting the usefulness of Places.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Huh - I went back to my list, deleted the duplicate for Despana, went to add the right one using 'Despaña', and it didn't get added. Since I had 25 items on the list, I removed Ceci-Cela (another duplicate), and tried twice again to add Despaña, but it didn't work and I did not get any error message.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    And, I just realized, when I search for 'Despaña', nothing comes up, so I'm sure I just created another duplicate. I'd actually be in favor of not using accents etc. in places, because it seems to cause problems both in adding places and searching for them. And, to be honest, I don't even know how to add the tilde myself, and I imagine that's the case with many other users. I'm generally all for using accents properly, but think it's a barrier here.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      The accent bug is frustrating. I've tended to include accents when adding places, but maybe I should stop since they don't play well with other site features (search, link to a place, and now lists).

                      Then again, maybe they'll fix the bug, so we don't have to enter incorrect place names as a workaround - and then have to correct them later once the thing works properly. That would be the best outcome. But I'm not holding my breath.

                  2. re: MMRuth

                    >>> Any insights you have into avoiding that would be greatly appreciated, because I certainly think these duplicates are diluting the usefulness of Places.

                    Until this is fixed, enter the least information possible for the name.

                    This is similar but a little different from the current problem with places. If too much info is entered, the place record isn't found.

                    For example, "Traktir-Skazka Restaurant" is in the Places database as "Traktir-Skazka"

                    When I had the word "restaurnt" in the name, it didn't match with a Place record and created a duplicate

                    When I dropped the word 'restaurant' from the search, it found the Place record.

                    Occasionaly a mismatch between the Place name and List search results will cause lists to refuse to enter a record ... without a message. It just doesn't add it.

                    "Renata's Bakery & Cafe" is in the Place database as "Renata's Bakery"

                    The List search result was 'Renata's Bakery & Cafe", yet clicking "done" created nothing.

                    It wasn't till I just entered "Renata's" in the name and did a search that the Place record was found and the record FINALLY added to the list

                  3. re: squid kun

                    My feeling is if a list is devoid of much in the way of information (though even just a title might be enough info, if the title is something like 'My favorite places for brunch in Park Slope') it should probably be a private list. It's quite likely that people will create lists for their own benefit that aren't meant to have value or meaning to the larger community, but that's what 'private' is there for.

                    1. re: Jacquilynne

                      I was suggest that "private" be the default setting. Then most lists would be private unless the user made an effort to make it public.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        If private isn't the default, this should be changed from a check box to two radio buttons where one must be selected.

                    2. re: squid kun

                      squid kun, have you noticed that the new Places entries created via the Chow List feature omit a phone number? This is a HUGE bug. When I first noticed it, I thought it was due to users entering the address info and no phone contact. But I've tried creating a new Place record and 1) no phone number is included and 2) the address field adds commas. I hope the commas don't mess up searching, as there are already so many other punctuation-related problems with Places.

                      The Engineering teams should fix this one before too many more Place records are created. Or else devote a staff member or two to typing in phone numbers,correcting regional selection where it has defaulted incorrectly to "other" . . .

                      By region, I'm not referring to the list region. I mean the region for the Place record which assigns it to a hub. Better yet, why not have zip codes in the address and then map the region selection automatically.

                    3. There needs to be a serious change in the way that lists are created and changed. First, it's not intuitive how to change the name of the list to something other than "Please enter the name of your list" -- why is that text there in the first place? Can't there just be an empty box where you have to type in a name before you can go to the next screen? Second, as soon as you click on "Create a new list now" a list gets created, whether you do anything or not -- I went into the lists to see what it was about, saw the strange formatting, didn't add anything, didn't click save, and now there's a list by me called Please enter the name of your list with nothing added to it, which is obviously not what I intended, and there's no way to delete it. I don't understand why it's set up like this, but it just means that there are going to be a lot of useless lists.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: JasmineG

                        I don't know if it's in the FAQ, but Any list YOU create is under MyChow - Lists. Looks pretty intuitive to me.

                        If you want, click Delete to the right of the list name.
                        Click Edit to change the Title and Short Description.

                        I agree, they could choose better words for the default text.

                        Don't get freaked out by the ugly Lists main page. Everyone else is figuring this out too :).

                        1. re: DiveFan

                          I think that it's pretty non intuitive, given that there are a whole lot of empty lists with Please enter the name of your list as a title, and no delete button on the list -- I tried to go back into the list and delete it, and there wasn't a way. It's nice that if you go into My Chow and then Lists, you can delete it, but that's not where someone would think to look, particularly since this is a brand new feature, and that's an extra unnecessary step, especially since you can edit when you're on the list. There should be a delete button on the list itself, and it should not automatically save, especially if there has been no text typed in.

                          1. re: DiveFan

                            You're kind of making my other points posted elsewhere in this topic.

                            There are TWO pages with lists - the one under R&B and the one under MyChow.
                            - they look similar and have the SAME title - CHOW LISTS. Poor 'Design'.
                            - they both have My Lists at the TOP - VERY confusing. Both have Delete buttons.
                            - the one under R&B has the unhelpful and confusing 'Recently Added Lists' list BELOW the Featured List map. There are no Delete buttons there - it is ALL R.A.L., not just yours and mine.

                            Said another way, Lists and Recipes are 'owned' by you, are listed under your profile (MyChow) and can be edited or removed by you. OTOH Places are not 'owned' by individuals but may be edited by anyone.

                            We both agree that the text for the default Title and Short Description are confusing, right? Hopefully someone from the Design Team will Speak Up soon.

                            1. re: DiveFan

                              That entire paragraph confused me. There are two pages with lists? What's the point?

                              1. re: JasmineG

                                I think she's referring to Your myCHOW list page, which has just your lists, similar to your myCHOW favorites, recipes, etc, and the main lists page, which includes your lists at the top, but is also the main portal to everyone else's lists.

                          2. re: JasmineG

                            My powers of written description don't seem to be working well. Therefore, I've attached some markups of both pages with editorial commentary :-). Warning - non artist at work.
                            Hope this helps.

                            1. re: JasmineG

                              Update - if you can't read the pictures in the above post, the original images are here:
                              Chow Lists -
                              My Lists -