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Sep 18, 2009 03:16 PM

New England threads need a City/State prompt.

Somehow the lords of Chow need to find a way to PROMPT people who start threads here to include the location of the places they're discussing. "New chef at Harry's?" just doesn't cut it in a board that's stretching over such a wide range.

C'mon, Chow Lords: if you can't break our area into appropriate sections (doesn't Portland YET deserve its own?), at least you can come up with a way to let us know if a thread references Providence or Presque Isle.

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  1. I love that new restaurant on Main Street in Springfield/Manchester/Cambridge lol!

    it gets confusing on this board!

    1. Identifying location is the responsibility of the poster, in the title. Chow Lords' job description does not include correcting third graders' homework.
      A common mix-up is with Burlington: MA or VT?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Veggo

        "Identifying location is the responsibility of the poster, in the title. Chow Lords' job description does not include correcting third graders' homework."

        I know this. I'm just suggesting that Chow should structure the new-thread entry screen to REMIND and PROMPT posters to do the right thing.

        Honestly, why not just have City/State fields default in EVERY forum? No matter where you live, a thread with a title like: "Went to Joe's Place and loved it." does no one any good.

      2. CA is 800 miles from north to south and plenty from west to east, with several large metropolitan areas and even Reno, which isn't even IN CA and we seem to struggle through okay. As Veggo says, it's the responsibility of the poster to think before posting.

        8 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          You're missing the point. California (look, I can spell out California..., though it's hard not to add cator to the end), is broken into three areas: General and San Francisco and Los Angeles.California cannot have cities and towns with the same name.
          New England is six or so states. All seemed to like naming new towns with English town names. As I have pointed out, there is a Manchester in all New England states except RI.
          People, particularly in Massachusetts, seem to think they are "New England" and that the only people on the board are from their state.
          I'm often frustrated when a bunch of people are talking about an interesting place and I cannot figure out where it is. Secret handshake required?
          Chowhound should do something to link a referenced place with an area. A zip code seems obvious.

          1. re: Scargod

            Well said! A recent "Burlington" example goes beyond even what Veggo said as there's not JUST a Burlington Mass. or Vermont, but also (much less widely known) Burlington, Connecticut. Someone from Montreal posted and said he'd be visiting Burlington (my guess is VT, but what do I know) and someone snarky on our board posted a CT recommendation. UGH.

            Manchester, Portland and Bristol are others and they've occasionally tricked me. Bristol, CT has not much by way of "chowishness" I was intrigued when someone posted about a Bristol bistro...yup, it was Rhode Island.

            I try to make it my practice to list a restaurant or store, then add (City, State) but agree it would be easier to have some sort of prompt (kinda like there is in "Link to a place") because not everyone "thinks before posting" (there's a concept!!!). ;) I think a little "forced thinking" would be very helpful on our board with a nudge to include city and state.

            1. re: kattyeyes

              Why can't we just have all the good features of YELP?

              1. re: Scargod

                I know. I don't Yelp, but can't help noticing when I've visited that site, I like how it's organized (no Groundhog Day of repeated topics) and how nicely the pictures can be displayed and captioned.

                In contrast, I love the interaction here, just wish it was organized a little differently. I know the team is working on it. Will be interesting to see how it pans out.

                1. re: kattyeyes

                  " I know the team is working on it." How's that? Any details? I want in on beta testing!

                  1. re: Scargod

                    "Do you want to participate in our restaurants redesign beta testing?"

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      NO, I saw that and was too late. I mean changes you hinted that "the team" is working on... I don't know where they said anything to that effect about revising boards or data input
                      Seems like you could be forced to enter a zip code or address or phone area code that would identify where a place is located near and the a check box for food type. Those two mandatory fields would then give us more powerful search options.

                      1. re: Scargod

                        Not every post on this site is about a specific restaurant location. In fact, I'd bet that only a third of the posts on the site mention a specific restaurant by name. If users were forced to see that zip code box every time they posted... I just think that would get really old and really annoying really fast. Plus, I know my area pretty well, but have no idea of the zip code of other towns, and even the area code is a bit dicey, since we have 3 area codes in a relatively small area.

                        "Link to a Place" seems like the solution, but it's been around for a few years now and it's not used by many people. Maybe once it's revamped it'll attract more use.

        2. It's happened again:
          Excerpt from

          "I think we have talked ourselves blue in the face about how it would be nice if people referred to their state when they post, since there are six of them in NE and since there is a lot of redundancy in names. I've never been to Portland, Maine, but I have been to Portland, Connecticut. Guilford is near us; there's also one in Maine and Vermont.
          Five of the six states have a Andover, Bristol, Lincoln or a Windsor."

          I hope Chow will fix this SOMEHOW in the near future.

          10 Replies
          1. re: Scargod

            I responded to a comment regarding this with (excerpt):
            "I am trying to make the point that those not from the specific area being discussed can be confused when there is no reference. We are discussing it here:
            One of the top Chowhounds in NE is from Middletown, CT and she lives next to Portland, CT. Portland is situated across the Connecticut River from Middletown, a medium-sized city. Together the two almost equal Portland, ME in population. Agreed, the area is not the culinary mecca Portland, ME is. There are also Middletowns in Delaware and Rhode Island.
            Think of people who are not from the area, like I was seven years ago. You get on the New England Chowhound board and it can be very confusing. I still have to Google restaurants to be sure where people are talking about, because in general, I don't know where either Portlands are or anything about them. This is an exaggeration (after seven years and some travelling in NE), but I did not know but a few major cities when I moved up here. And why should I know where P-town is? Well, it's not Portland, is it? Why do people post in such a cliquish manner when they are sharing information on a board with people from five other states? I am not trying to piss anyone off. I just wish they would be clear since (unfortunately), we are all lumped together."

            1. re: Scargod

              To some degree, New Englanders are not accustomed to breaking in immigrants from the nation of Texas, so your hurdles are higher, but you are learning the lay of the land in admirable fashion. When I moved to Texas from Boston I got directions such as 'three beers that-a-way', or 'left at the third red light'. What if some of them are green? Do I keep going? Or in East Texas, 'go right at the bottom of the hill' . East Texas is flat as a pool table, so I had to ask for a different description. And someone could have told me in a single sentence where the top 5 most notorious speed traps were. I learned the hard way, getting nailed in 4 of them in my first year. But the roadside 'Q was darn good.

              1. re: Veggo

                First impression of Connecticut: Everything is hidden from view by trees or hills! Everything is hilly and curvy. IT's super easy to get disoriented. There is no sense to it; no grids (except in the downtown areas if you are lucky). Roads are like a barrel of snakes.
                Check this one out:
                I'm still trying to find something good to eat here besides apizza....

                1. re: Scargod

                  Who wants grids? Nature abhors a straight line, and so do yankees. Curving country roads started as wagon trails weaving around majestic oak, hickory, chestnut, maple, and beech trees. Whitney Avenue from New Haven to Hamden is straight because it had the state's first trolley car, and the mansions that line it had the first gas lights.

              2. re: Scargod

                But you know that NE = Nebraska, right ;)

                Being on the Midwest board, I sympathize with your dilemma. The Midwest folks are pretty straightforward with people who ask about Jim's or where to find good pizza and then neglect to mention a city or state. And we have, I don't know how many Bloomingtons and Springfields in the midwest, and U of M poses a problem as well seeing as we have Michigan, Minnesota and Missouri.

                People aren't being cliquish. They simply know the area better and sometimes wrongly assume everyone knows to what they are referring. I've never been there but even I know where Provincetown is and if I didn't, I'd take it as a learning opportunity to understand how to sling the lingo.

                1. re: MplsM ary

                  You have 13 states in your Midwest group! Unscientifically, right now you have 28 posts of one day or less in age. Five were from one person. versus 46 for our tiny, measly six states and a few with multiple posts.
                  Yes, I'm learning about New England, but it's aggravating to have such thoughtless impediments. It may not technically be a clique, but you need to be in the know or go use Google before you can cypher it. I've seen threads with six or more posts where people go on and on and no one says where it is! They compare it to another place down the road, etc.
                  This is supposed to be about sharing chow data. People get aggravated when you haven't "done your homework" by searching. Garbage in garbage out, if there is no location, or they have bastardized the restaurant name to what the locals call it; like Bub's, when it is Bubba's Grill. Not cliquish? Then the way the Chow place/restaurant resource works you have to be exact in your description and location for it to find it. That sends you off to Google it.
                  PS: I did use NE after spelling it out and using it in a context of "New England" board. OK? Not Oklahoma...

                  1. re: Scargod

                    The Midwest board has been lightly used the past few weeks. I don't contribute much because I have little money for restaurants these days and my opinions are out of date. Anyway, Midwest probably does have less traffic than the Northeast board.

                    But when you looked at the Midwest board did you notice that almost all post titles refer to airport code, city and/or state? We have collectively deemed it necessary to include that information and have asked Midwest posters to conform. Twas not always thus. Some folks (me included) made themselves pests to ask people to include that information in the post title, and have asked Mods to insert the information when necessary.

                    Go ahead, you too can be a pest! Ask the poster to include the information you need to make the information useful. You can wear 'em down. I have faith in your abilities.

                    1. re: MplsM ary

                      Thanks, ma'am! I am trying to get people to see the benefit of good data, for now and later (when you search).
                      With other's help and the moderator's help we may be able to have a new paradigm without a site redesign.

                  2. re: MplsM ary

                    Within New England, it's sometimes a challenge to know if NE means New England or Northeast.....we don't even think about Nebraska! ;-)

              3. Note picture showing how the six New England states fit easily into Texas. There's a board for Texas, as a whole, and also one for Austin, Texas. Texas has Houston, Dallas and San Antonio that are in the top ten largest cities in the USA, yet Austin is the only one in Texas that gets its own board, when it is far smaller. Same for Boston, though Boston probably rightly deserves its own.

                The New England states get two and one's for Boston!

                12 Replies
                1. re: Scargod

                  Why can't posters simply mention city and state? I don't see why the burden of clarification resides with Chowhound rather than the poster. Zip codes would be more chaotic still. What am I missing here? And how could Chow "prompt" you while you are typing a post that is invisible until you post it?

                  1. re: Veggo

                    I agree--the burden *should* reside with the poster, but as you know from your time on the New England board, there are plenty of folks who don't bother clarifying and it gets to be a PITA at times.

                    That said, it would be nice if there was a way for Chow to prefill the subject line of the post with (City, State) as a prompt, although I suspect certain people wouldn't bother to fill *that* in, either, then you'd see posts like:

                    "New chef at Harry's (City, State)"

                    So I guess we have to scratch our heads sometimes. Bet these "welcome to my world" are the same people who put one swig of milk back in the fridge and leave the bathroom with no TP. ;)

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      I understand your concept now, but it poses problems. How could you begin a thread with "where in New England can I find..." if you have to fill in the city and state prompts? You would have to answer your own question in order to ask it? :)

                      1. re: Veggo

                        How about the (City, State) prompt could be completely erased if not applicable to the thread...but there as food for thought for the people whose thoughts need feeding? :) Kinda like Chowhound for Dummies.

                        Gio, I agree with your common sense statement except for the fact it's not so common on our board (or elsewhere in real life).

                    2. re: Veggo

                      Then you go on a mission of trying to beat some sense into the offenders! There's not rules, a FAQ, or "please do it this way" spelled out on Chowhound (that refers to standard formatting or common courtesy), regarding this, that I am aware of. You don't have to swear an oath or anything!
                      Titles are the best place to put the info, but we get things like "Best meal I ever ate" or "Crayola's-wow" and later the name of the city is down in the text (maybe). We are all supposed to know where city and Crayola's is. Somewhere in NE, for sure.

                      1. re: Veggo

                        My self-imposed clarification in the rare event I post about a restaurant or place is to also post a link to the web site, if there is one. If none is available then I'll mention the & state. It's just common sense.

                        1. re: Gio

                          I appreciate the recurring frustration. I tried to throw a little Joseph Heller style satire into the mix so scargod and kattyeyes don't break a blood vessel in their heads on a lovely Sunday morning ;)

                          1. re: Veggo

                            LOL! "Some people you just can't reach." I think Scargod and I will just have to go focus on our next meal and forget about it.

                            Actually, I wanna get going and go see "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs." I can't believe no one has posted back on my original inquiry about it--I keep hearing it's #1 at the box office. Today's the perfect day to find out. :)

                            Have a great day, all!

                            1. re: Veggo

                              Is that Joseph Heller developer of deep body tissue massage, Joseph Heller SVP Director of Risk Strategies at Fifth Third Bank, Joseph Heller
                              Owner of Heller Construction, or Joseph Heller author of Catch 22?
                              You see.... even Google goes berserk with no clarification in the post.

                          2. re: Veggo

                            I guess they're pissing on our leg.
                            You have to use the link in a response or read further down to see that they are referring to the Cape (is there only one Cape?).

                            1. re: Scargod

                              Heck no! Cape Ann is the Beautiful Cape. Cape Cod is .....well you know....
                              a traffic jam.

                              1. re: Gio

                                No! Obviously Cape Rosier, Maine.