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New Restaurants Section has Launched

We are happy to announce that we have launched our new restaurants section. This builds on the previous “Places” section to create a more useful and comprehensive database, and to make it much easier for new and old users alike to discover the wealth of chowhound discussions about specific restaurants.
Highlights of the new section:
- 750,000 new restaurants & bars added to the database- incorporating all of the valuable information contributed by users to the old ‘Places’ database
- Search by cuisine, neighborhood, features (kid-friendly, etc).
- Enhanced restaurant information: menu, neighborhood, features like kid-friendly, romantic, Open Table reservations links
- Ability to rate restaurants and post ‘quick reviews’ on restaurants pages
- Ability to rate and mark Chowhound threads as a review
- Improved photo upload tool
Thanks to all of the users who participated in our early focus groups and beta test of the product. We are very excited about these new features, but we are aware that, as with any launch, we will need to make refinements, fixes, and add new features over the coming months. To to that end, we really welcome your feedback and suggestions. Please send them to redesign@chow.com, or post to this thread.

Thanks,

The CHOW Team

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  1. Reviews outside of the context of Chowhound discussions? Star ratings?

    Welcome to CBS Interactive's Yelp knockoff. I think this is the end of Chowhound as we know it.

    44 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      At least Yelp allows you to edit your review.

      About the stars, the review section is optional. You can drop stars and run. Especially useful for restaurants upping their ratings. No fuss, no muss. You and your friends don't even have to leave a self-promoting comment. Click stars and you are five star restaurant. No one is the wiser.

      Could you please explain how this works? What could be tested was really limited and I really don't want to play in the live database. I'm not sure if what I see is an error or meant to be.

      1. There was talk when a quick review was posted on Places it would also appear on the Chouwhound boards. Has that been abandoned?

      2. What happens when you check the review box on Chowhound? Where is this supposed to appear on Places. I've been checking that box when I could in the past few weeks and they don't appear to be showing up in Places.

      3. What exactly is the old Link to a Restaurant/Bar supposed to do in terms of appearing on Places?

      I'm more than happy to start an error thread on Techinical Help, but I'm not sure if these are errors.

      1. re: rworange

        Thanks for your feedback. A few replies:
        1. Ratings & Quick reviews are being moderated in the same way that the boards are moderated, so we will know if it is a restaurant has come in to rate themselves, and we will remove those ratings. Also, an individual user's ratings only count once, so if you review a place the first time as 3 stars, and then revise your review to 2 stars later, only the 2 star review will count.

        2. We are still planning to move towards closer integration of the quick reviews and the boards. For this first release, we wanted to get a sense of how many quick reviews we would get, to determine the best way to integrate that content into the boards without overwhelming them with dozens of quick restaurant comments. We will be watching this carefully, and welcome your feedback and ideas over the next several weeks.

        3. When you check the review box on chowhound and complete it with a restaurant name, that post should appear on the restaurant detail page, under the "reviews' section. We'll check to confirm that that is happening as it should be.

        4. If you link to a restaurant/bar with the 'link to a place' button, it will appear in the lower section of the page under "Dig Deeper", and it will appear as a link on the thread page, within the post and in the upper right hand corner.

        Thanks again for your feedback, it's fine to submit errors here, on TH, or to redesign@chow.com.

      2. re: Robert Lauriston

        my first thought as well. RATING?? wth? And, if the rating will not be shown, then why collect the data? to sell advertising?

        yikes and yuck.

        The chowhound restaurant posts are better than reviews--they're discussions. Let's keep it that way.

        Or has Big Advertising won out?

        1. re: toodie jane

          If the forums continue and as posters we are able to keep the standards up, personally I'm for anything that pays the bills and allows Chowhound to continue.

          What worries me is that the way it is currently set up, it would be real easy to divorce the forums from Chow and either sell them off or shut them down.

          The way it seems to be set up, the Chow place reviews are direct competition with the Chowhound forums.

          The bonus added and what really drives people to Chow/Chowhound are the discussions. I like Places. However, if all there was on this site was the Places review, there would be no reason for me to visit Chow. Yelp does that particular format a lot better.

          1. re: rworange

            Right. It seems to me that the people who give star ratings and post "quick reviews" could very well end up being entirely separate from those who frequent the forums and actually bring something to the table.

            The big problem with ratings and quick reviews, such as those on Yelp, is that there's no accountability. Fine, you keep the restaurant owners themselves from pumping up their ratings, but a fairly large number of the reviews on Yelp are from people who give a restaurant 5 stars because it has free wi-fi or who give it 1 star because they felt like their waiter looked at them askance. Yes, you give an accompanying "review," but there's no real need for you to justify your rating and nothing to ensure that your rating is proportionate to your experience. Heck, on Yelp, there are people who post ratings and reviews who haven't even BEEN to the restaurant in question. And yet these ratings carry no less weight than any other in determining a restaurant's overall "score"...which ultimately can make or break a business.

            I don't mean to be elitist or a snob. Of course there's a place for something like Yelp. But once you open up a ratings system to the masses, I really do think that something is lost. In the forums, if you post something about a place (positive or negative) that seems to be completely off or is just without basis, folks here will call you out on it--and a debate, often heated, may ensue. I understand how some might find that intimidating (woe to the poor newbie who posts, "Olive Garden has the best pasta in the city!"), but that's what makes this site unique and valuable. And with these changes, many visitors to the site--the new, casual users that the new format is intended to attract--will probably never make it past the star ratings and the quick reviews. They're never going to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to click on a link that will take them "deeper."

            If it's about money, then fine, I understand that. But if many of the long-term, faithful users of Chowhound feel the same way I do, then I feel like the site organizers should really take that feedback into consideration.

              1. re: abstractpoet

                I agree with much of what you have said and these issues concern me as well. We haven't been able to make members post accurately and adequately before and I don't see how we will be able to now. Perhaps if it works as a credit card or bank transaction, where all critical fields must be filled in? Fine. That doesn't mean that the information will be any better than before, unless there are things like "spell check" and Google involved to verify that a place exists and is being entered correctly.
                Still, how do we do adequate linkages and searches without some formality on the site?
                I would disagree in one area, as I have alluded to already: There has never been anything preventing anyone from posting false data, just like on Yelp. There is the dissent and discussion here, but that doesn't mean the exact same thing can't happen here as the examples you gave for Yelp.
                Perhaps if we were to get more sophisticated we could have statistics or ratings for members to tell whether they were in the norm or whether they were a wierdo and inconsistent with their reviews and ratings. You could compare Chowhound X with Chowhound Y... Now, we have to read every word posted and get to know Chowhounds and then decide whether to believe them. That is very difficult and time consuming. I don't have a clear answer. This is a challenging task to amass good data on the internet, when anyone can contribute.

                1. re: Scargod

                  But I would argue that "dissent and discussion" are precisely what define Chowhound and set it apart from Yelp and other sites. If someone posts inaccurate or blatantly false information here, people will be all over it. And if a guest to the site clicks on that thread, it will be very easy for him or her to see that this one isolated opinion is an anomaly. It takes some time to figure out which Chowhounds' tastes align with yours, sure. But that is how you get good information.

                  What I dislike particularly is the function that lets you sort by highest rated, etc. I understand that this is very convenient and user-friendly. But it's precisely the sort of thing that assigns WAY more weight to the opinions of, once again, the "masses" than ought to be the case. And, as mentioned, I'd hate to think that this would be what could really make or break a restaurant.

                  1. re: abstractpoet

                    Valuable information takes some diligent digging (as you note). Chowhound is important exactly because it's not like Yelp or City Search or Zagat. Without the idiosyncratic posters that populate this place I would have lost interest in it years ago. Let's not aspire to being like all the other sites...

                  2. re: Scargod

                    You can click on the poster's name to get to the My Chow report which shows how active the poster is. Quite frankly I am starting to discredit anyone on Yelp that is elite and has hundreds of posts. Restaurants court these people inviting them to pre-opening events and plying them with free food. I would hope there is never a review total on any part of Chow/Chowhound.

                    For all the eloquent arguments, the reality is that the star rating isn't going anywhere. Yes, every site in the world has it. One would hope that this doesn't become too much like every other food review site because there are already way too many.

                    That is not to say that the bells and whistles such as maps, being able to now see other nearby restaurants in the area and a central restaurant record that hooks everything toghter and is a central repository of info such as hours, features, etc are not a good thing.

                    However in the revision for easily scannable quick reviews and moving away from talmudic discussions, there needs to be thought given that this doesn't become another the equivalent pf a fast food review site, so to speak. Pleasing to the masses with no flavor or substance.

                    The one thing that still really, really bugs me is the ability to add stars with no reviews along with the reasons for that. As someone who takes time to be thoughtful and give useful information, it really seems to strike at the soul of Chowhound.

                    While it doesn't prevent me from posting, catering to people who promise to maybe stop lurking and start posting if they can just enter stars is just offensive.

                    1. re: rworange

                      Agreed. I'm not a fan of "elite" Yelp-dom as a sort of status symbol, nor do I want to encourage people to start posting hundreds of reviews just so that they can appear creditable. My point is just that if there is going to be a rating system at all, I don't think people who don't contribute to the boards at all should be allowed to rate. Random people who just wander in after googling the name of a restaurant shouldn't be allowed to give a rating--not if that rating is meant to be anything more than a measure of how popular and well-known a restaurant is.

                      Chowhound has always been open to anyone who wants to participate, but requiring that people put in a minimum amount of effort to have their opinions heard doesn't strike me as unreasonable. And, for God's sake, people who don't even bother to write a "quick review" should definitely, definitely not be allowed to give a rating.

                      But I, for one, don't think that just because every other site in the world has a star rating system means we have to have one here. I see no reason to view that as an inevitability.

                      1. re: abstractpoet

                        You have to pick your issues.

                        Intuitively, I knew from the minute there was the first hint of adding stars this was a done deal. It is something the management of this site isn't going to take away or be talked out of.

                        There have been some things they have worked with the community about which have made the restaurant database a whole lot more useable.

                        So one needs to do a little Chow serenety prayer ...

                        Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to request changes that might be possible. , and the wisdom to know the difference

                        Star ratings falls into the first category.

                        Star ratings with a required review, hopefully the second category.. Even on Yelp and opentable it ticks me off when someone does that. Since I've yapped about that way to much, I'm working on the wisdom to shut up finally and hope somewhere along the line my prayer is answered. .

                      2. re: rworange

                        There's no reviews count per se on chowhound, but you can see who posts a lot by looking at the number of pages at the bottom of a person's "recent posts" page. Though if you spend any time at all browsing a board you'll know who the usual suspects are anyway.

                      3. re: Scargod

                        "There has never been anything preventing anyone from posting false data, just like on Yelp. There is the dissent and discussion here, but that doesn't mean the exact same thing can't happen here as the examples you gave for Yelp."

                        That's exactly right. I'd say that about 30% of the information on CH is flat out wrong, either factually so or the evaluation of a restaurant by a particular poster is so off base that you have to question their basic credibility.

                        If you're a long time reader of the site and you're familiar with the restaurant being discussed you can put those inaccurate reviews in the proper context. But many people are relatively new to CH. When they read those inaccurate reviews they come away thinking opinion is "mixed" and have often said so.

                        Yes, a ratings system is subject to abuse but all it does is formalize the system we have now. Ultimately the reader is responsible for doing the follow up work and reading actual reviews.

                        A positive point of the rating system is that the ratings will be the results of *multiple* threads. That would tend to dilute the effect of 2 or 3 unreliable reviewers who pop up on individual threads and post misinformation. The casual reader, who hasn't seen the 25 other threads on the same restaurant doesn't know those posts are outliers. This way the effect of those unreliable posts will be properly diluted.

                        In the end the person reading the reviews needs to drill down and read the actual threads on which the ratings are based. Even on Yelp that's the case.

                        I'd like to thank the CH team for developing this feature. It finally overcomes the problem of multiple threads on the same restaurant where information is scattered all over the place. Finally there's a way of pulling it all together. I've been waiting for this for years.

                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                          I hope that no matter how Chowhounds feel about star ratings that they will use them.

                          I' thought this would do no harm, but I'm really taken aback on some of the first reviews that are not connected to the boards. Absoulely mediocre, awful food is getting five stars.

                          Restaurants so bad that every other food site is giving them three stars or under ... even Yelp.

                          Folks, there are other stars one can click on besides five. Of course, this is like the pastor giving a sermon about people who don't show up for services. The people doing this aren't reading this.

                          Looking at some of those reviews, they aren't first time posters and seem to post infrequently over the years.

                          Perhaps the disccussion format has been putting them off for all these years.

                          No wonder. Some of these opinions would have been questioned on the forum.

                          The bottom line is that unless Chowhounds balance the reviews with their own star ratings, people reading this site are going to get skewed opinions from these chirpy overly positive reviews and for someone not familiar with the site may get the impression that Chowhound is endorsing mediocre restaurants.

                          Everyone using the ratings is the only way to balance things.

                          Suddenly I'm a fan of adding stars without a review. I've been able to put in some .... opposing stars, so to speak ... so the ratings are more in line with the actuality. .

                          I'd question the accuracy of your estimated number, Bob. Different taste is not the same as flat out wrong.

                          Also, I like scattered reviews. My eyes glaze over when there are more than 20 posts for a restaurant not only here but.on every other site in the world, yelp, egullet, etc, etc. Scattered smaller posts are easier to digest. That's a personal thing though. Some people like graing and eating little scattered meals while others like one big heavy main meal ... to use an allegory.

                          1. re: rworange

                            "I'd question the accuracy of your estimated numbers. Different taste is not the same as flat out wrong."

                            It's a personal estimate based on traffic on the New York boards. I regularly see occasional highly negative posts about restaurants I know well, places that have performed consistently for years. Often the reviewer is someone who just joined the board a few weeks ago. From their review, I hardly recognize the place. They rip the food, the decor, the service, the list goes on and on. It's a review from BizzarroWorld. At least those are pretty easy to spot because they're so over the top.

                            The really insidious ones have a surface plausibility. Again, they're written about places I know well and they pick out all sorts of faults. The net effect is that they've noticed the place is slipping. Often I've visited the restaurant a couple of times over the past few months and I can do a reality check - the restaurant is the same good place as it always was.

                            Because I'm a suspicious type I click on the name of the negative poster and often I find that those negative reviews are theme for them. They specialize in take-downs of popular places, implying that their taste is so sophisticated that they notice failings that the masses miss. They're playing a game with us. Often, because their reviews have a surface plausibility, they get others to chime in, eager to be the among the first to notice that a popular place is slipping.

                            Keep in mind that I'm talking about a minority of posters. The problem is that on any given thread they can sow a lot of confusion and misinformation. In the aggregate, their effect is diluted. The problem is that if a new poster reading along isn't aware of all those other threads they give too much emphasis to those false negative reviews.

                            Your experience seems to be better than mine. It may be that the SF boards have a higher percentage of experienced and reliable posters. Even on the NY boards the substantial majority of posts are well intentioned and honest. Reliability is something I assess individually. Like you, I've been around a long time and I've gotten to know a lot of posters who I respect enormously. I may disagree with them from time to time but I always take what they have to say very seriously.

                            My hope is that the rating system will dilute the effect of the overly negative (and overly positive) posts. I've got to discipline myself to start using it.

                            RW, it's always a pleasure to talk to you.

                            1. re: rworange

                              "Suddenly I'm a fan of adding stars without a review. I've been able to put in some .... opposing stars, so to speak ... so the ratings are more in line with the actuality."

                              Look, I understand what you're saying, but the idea that now regular posters on the site now need to monitor the ratings of specific restaurants to make sure they don't get too low or high--well, let's just say that's precisely why I have such a problem with having the ratings system to begin with. And if the new changes are at all successful, meaning they draw lots of new traffic to the site, then it really doesn't matter that much if the hardcore Chowhounds end up inputting their own ratings.

                              How do you do battle against the entire Internet? ANYBODY can put in a rating! Right now, when there are only two or three inaccurate votes, your rating will substantively change the restaurant's overall ranking. But once there are fifty? A hundred?

                              I've read The Tipping Point too, Bob ((whether or not you were making a conscious allusion), but I don't think the "wisdom of crowds" applies in this case . I mean, if it did, then something like Zagat would be the MOST accurate source of information on restaurants, but we all know that's not the case.

                              My point is that one inaccurate thread can only do so much harm. But an inaccurate (or, in any case, of limited usefulness) overall star rating can certainly do a lot to affect a restaurant's reputation and ability to do business.

                              If someone reads all the threads and decides not to go to a restaurant because it has "mixed" reviews, even if I think the place is perfect, I can live with that. I really can. You'd rather someone base their decision on a star rating?

                              1. re: abstractpoet

                                >>> You'd rather someone base their decision on a star rating?

                                No. But anyone who does that gets what they deserve ... and that might mean missing a terrific spot because it has two stars for dumb stuff.

                                I WOULD like to see some sort of description when searching though since now ALL the decision is made on is the unreliable rating.

                                I have no plans to moniter places. However, it is just a Yelp habit. Sometimes I'll rate a restaurant higher than it deserves because some yahoo trashed it. My favorite was the vegan who gave a Brazilian restaurant serving almost exclusinvely meat a one star rating because he was told they didn't serve vegan food.

                                1. re: rworange

                                  They would, indeed, get what they deserve. But I'm more concerned about the effect that this has from the restaurant owner's perspective--the owner of the restaurant with an unjustifiably low rating. It just seems like a matter of justice to me (without being too hyperbolic about it, I hope).

                                  And, secondarily, I dislike what it does to the overall site ethos. As you said earlier, I don't feel as good being an active member of a website that promotes overrated (but popular) restaurants--at the expense of the hidden gems or restaurants where there are just one or two spectacular items that make them worthwhile.

                                2. re: abstractpoet

                                  @Abstractpoet - "I've read The Tipping Point too, Bob ((whether or not you were making a conscious allusion), but I don't think the "wisdom of crowds" applies in this case . I mean, if it did, then something like Zagat would be the MOST accurate source of information on restaurants, but we all know that's not the case."

                                  Chowhound is exactly like Zagat with the exception that you can post full reviews. That remains the same. If someone chooses to skim along and pick restaurants purely on a star rating rather than drill down and read the full reviews then they are lazy at best, and fools at the worst. They need to use the stars to dig down and read the reviews behind them.

                                  The star system isn't perfect but it's a hell of a lot better than the chaotic jumble we've got now.

                                  As someone said upthread, there's a reason other sites haven't chosen to emulate the "zillion threads on one restaurant" model. It's not because they fail to see it's brilliance, it's because it doesn't work.

                                  As I've said many times before, CH is a tremendous information resource but it only works if you can find that information. The star system and related links will make that work.

                                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                                    The "zillion threads on one restaurant" is precisely what I like about Chowhound, and the reason is because many of the threads are so specific: where to find the best x or y in the Bay Area, or an in-depth discussion of one particular dish or one particular happy hour special at a certain restaurant. I can go to the thread that's pertinent to what interests me without having to wade through dozens of posts that just talk about the restaurant in general.

                                    Would improved search capabilities make this easier? Of course. But does the star rating system or having all the reviews in one place? In my opinion, not really.

                                    I think Zagat is fundamentally different from Chowhound, at least Chowhound as a discussion board driven site (which it will hopefully continue to be).

                                    The type of person who will participate in that type of discussion format is self-selecting, and while the information may not be perfect, a Chowhound is, generally speaking, going to be a different species of cat than the person filling out a Zagat survey. I'd argue that the fact that it's a smaller and less inclusive set of people is what makes the information found here more, not less, reliable.

                          2. re: abstractpoet

                            Here's a random idea (one that I, admittedly, haven't really thought through): What if only users who had made at least X number of posts in the discussion boards were allowed to post ratings and quick reviews?

                            I still wouldn't like it, but I think I'd like it more than just letting anyone off the Internet give a rating.

                            1. re: abstractpoet

                              They have that rule (15 posts needed) for posting on one 'exclusive' forum at Mozillazine. Sadly it leads to "Yeah!" or "Thanks!" posts.

                            2. re: abstractpoet

                              You can lead a horse to water...

                              Anyone who chooses a restaurant by visiting CH and then just looking at a rating is the same person who thinks Zagats is a good source. It takes time and effort to do a proper research job and if someone takes 5 minutes then caveat emptor (sic).

                              Those who spend the time to read the forums will learn more, probably come back more often and then start contributing. Those who come, read a rating and leave, adios. Even with the forums, you need to separate the good from the bad.

                              And the Yelpers in jfood's area actually gave a 5* rating to a place because he passed out in the bathroom and when he woke up the next morning he thought it was clean. Other areas have better inputters. There as well you need to try to throw out the crap and try to find the posters who have similar tastes to you.

                              If it was easy, everyone would do it.

                              1. re: abstractpoet

                                Here's an example showing how easily the new feature becomes a parallel discussion site.
                                http://www.chow.com/restaurants/6185/...

                                "Quick reviews (2 Reviews)
                                » Please tell me where you would walk to?
                                please? (by JustineR, updated September 9, 2009

                                )

                                » Walk a few more feet, get a better burrito
                                Walk a few more feet, get a better burrito (by itsapeugeot, updated September 9, 2009)"

                                Is the La Cumbre page where we want to host discussions of other taquerias?

                                1. re: Melanie Wong

                                  I agree that's a problem but it's been a problem for years. Discussions of other restaurants often creep into threads dedicated to other restaurants.

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                    They are not even reviews and I guess there is no process for getting them removed since there is no report button?

                                    We are increasing our ability to have more garbage on the site, with these expanding member information input areas in the places/restaurants-bars area and elsewhere. Is no one minding the store?
                                    An example of contamination is that there is a drink recipe in the Mexican food recipes and people can post total BS in the comments areas for recipes, stories, videos, etc. There is no report feature.

                                    1. re: Scargod

                                      chowhound.com (redirects to chowhound.chow.com) is still just boards.

                                      I don't think of Chow as the same site. It's more of a parasite.

                                      1. re: Scargod

                                        Please email moderators@chowhound.com if you have an issue with a Restaurant review for now.

                                        Those reviews were actually just from beta test, so I've removed them.

                                        1. re: Jacquilynne

                                          I hate to be a troublemaker and thorn in your side. I'm just not in on all that's going on and am puzzled by some of what I see. I used to be "Big Daddy". Now I am just a jerk on the sidelines.

                                          1. re: Scargod

                                            Sorry -- I didn't mean to give you the impression that I was unhappy with something. Unfortunately, we don't have great moderation tools on the new restaurants section yet, so that's a good question, and it was good to get that information out there.

                                  2. re: rworange

                                    "What worries me is that the way it is currently set up, it would be real easy to divorce the forums from Chow and either sell them off or shut them down."

                                    this is "the money" I was alluding to.

                                    1. re: toodie jane

                                      I don't think CBS has any incentive to sell off chowhound.com. The net cost should be low and they use the site's popularity to promote their other sites.

                                      They could probably make it a cash cow if they had properly targeted advertising from restaurants, but from things Jim Leff said when he sold it to CNET that might be prohibited by the terms of sale.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        You haven't noticed the restaurant ads on the site?

                                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                                          Not so far. Where have you seen them and which restaurants?

                                          Looking around at the moment, I see ads for cars, credit cards, other CBS Web sites, and for CBS TV shows.

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            They're typically under Sponsored Links on the right, beneath the tabs with "latest posts" etc. Right now I see an ad for Rhodes W1 and Milsoms Restaurant.

                                            1. re: limster

                                              Some may recall that from the moment we added Google ads, we had a helluva time blocking ones rolling in for restaurants. Because of my pledge, we played whack-a-mole, blocking each restaurant as it appeared in the feed. Not fun.

                                              CNET assured me there'd be no restaurant advertising, but they, understandably, had no desire to spend 24/7 whacking off restaurant ads randomly floating in on the google ad feed (i.e. those "Sponsored Links" on the right). And, anyway, I think most would agree that such ads don't constitute a conflict of interest, since they're coming in "blind" on the google feed, and it's not like CBS has an ad rep out there shmoozing restaurants. We're certainly not beholden to advertisers floating in on Google ad syndication.

                                              There are a lot of ways this site COULD be a "cash cow", though. I had lots of ideas, all ignored. Understandable, from the standpoint that I myself was never able to get any revenue out of the site... though less understandable given that I was holding the whole thing together for nearly a decade via my adrenal glands, so there was no time/energy/money left over to implement my (pretty creative) monetizing schemes. I'll be writing up those ideas in my Slog this Fall, if anyone's curious.

                                              As for the new Places feature, I'm vehemently against ratings for Chowhound for reasons delineated here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6153...
                                              ....but CNET/CBS must profit if this is to continue. It's a miracle the site still exists at all after all these years, so we probably all ought to take stuff like this in stride.

                                              1. re: Jim Leff

                                                And yet, at times, there have been full-color, paid ads on the top banner and upper right corners for both fast-food restaurants and for Roy's, the upscale chain.

                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                    That was the fast food i referred to in my post.

                                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  Thanks for your feedback. As you know, there is no better source for restaurant information on the web than Chowhound. But we also know that many people want to make use of that information and are either intimidated or bewildered by the message board format. So we wanted to try to make information from the Chowhound community more accessible to casual users. That’s the motivation behind the redesign of the restaurants pages and the city hubs. Not only do the restaurant pages offer information at a glance about specific locations (with the import of over 700,000 restaurant listings) as well as links to relevant Chowhound threads, but we’ve inaugurated much-debated features: quick reviews and restaurant ratings.

                                  In some ways, restaurant ratings are counter to the collaborative, nuanced, Talmudic nature of Chowhound information. But there’s a reason just about every restaurant guide in the world uses them: they’re shorthand and easily scannable.

                                  So we’ve included a five-star rating. We hope you’ll post your ratings and your quick reviews to the restaurant pages. The more robust those pages are, the more helpful they will be to new users who arrive via search not knowing anything about the Chowhound community. And those who wish to dig deeper can. The value of Chowhound has always been in the cumulative observations of an informed and intelligent community; they all boil down to a much more helpful view of a place. We want that information to be as accessible as possible to every user. So we hope that our quick reviews will be helpful and that people who have had experiences with restaurants will share them not just in the boards but in this format.

                                  And, please rest assured that we will continue to moderate the site, including the restaurant ratings & reviews, with great care- so restaurant owners and shills will not be able to pump up their ratings or add reviews without being detected.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    "I think this is the end of Chowhound as we know it."

                                    Boy, I wonder how many times that phrase has been posted over the course of Chowhound's operation.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      They added the stuff on the right - who cares?
                                      They changed the look (500 negative posts against) - who cares?
                                      They added lousy recipes - who cares?
                                      They added basic how to's- who cares?
                                      They have a full week of increased error messages - who cares?

                                      Results - usage is up.

                                      Chicken Littles keep walking around with signs that have zero predictable value.

                                    2. Just noticed the changes and as a quick impression, I am excited and fairly impressed. The hours, prices, etc. on the right side of the restaurant info view are not responding for me. Some words do not show up in Google Chrome; like "edit" inthe same area on the right.
                                      I don't have an issue with you having the five star rating system. The ability to use the search feature and choose between child friendly, cost, etc. is a big step in the right direction! Congrats!

                                      1. For this first release of the new restaurants section, we have limited access to editing of restaurant/bar pages (cuisine, neighborhood, features, etc) - if you are interested in editing these pages, please reply to this post:

                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/655867

                                        and we will provide that access. Thanks.

                                        1. I haven't played with your new feature yet, but was excited to see the new checkbox when I posted a comment on a regional board tonight. I look forward to learning more, but...

                                          Gotta say, I've been having trouble clocking on this site ever since I turned it on earlier this evening to look up a recipe, and I have to wonder, GEE, is this the price we're paying for the cool, new functionality? I hope it's just a weird coincidence, but thought I'd point it out.

                                          For kicks, "Link to a Restaurant/Bar" is not working for me here. I thought I'd try it just for fun since we're discussing how the new playthings work, but it doesn't work...not here and not for me, anyway.

                                          24 Replies
                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                            An couple of hours ago I was having trouble getting anywhere. Nothing was working at one point.

                                            1. re: Scargod

                                              Exactly! The whole site seemed to be down for a while earlier tonight.

                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                There seems to be major slowdown and link breakages every time there's a big upgrade of some kind.

                                            2. re: kattyeyes

                                              >>> For kicks, "Link to a Restaurant/Bar" is not working for me here. I thought I'd try it just for fun since we're discussing how the new playthings work, but it doesn't work...not here and not for me, anyway.

                                              What board where you trying to link from? Which restaurant?

                                              It works, but a little differently ... except on some boards.

                                              I put in two phony restaurant records to illustrate that but I learned that the restaurant has to match the board.

                                              I have a phony restaurant called Le Test Restaurant in Paris, France. I was going to add it here to show it could be added ... except this isn't the board for France.
                                              http://www.chow.com/restaurants/85781...

                                              The only reason I did that was because I found out there are some kinks adding foreign addresses. A test restaurant I wanted for Mexico City, Mexico was assigned as
                                              Test Restaurant
                                              Mexico, Me
                                              http://www.chow.com/restaurants/85781...

                                              I guess there is a Mexico, Maine.

                                              The only place that restaurant can be accessed is from whatever board Maine is located on.

                                              ANYWAY ...

                                              Say I am on the SF Bay Area board and I want to link to Zuni restaurant in SF.

                                              1. Click on Link to a Restaurant/Bar
                                              2. Enter Zuni as the name
                                              3. Select Zuni from drop down menu
                                              4. Click on Add a link

                                              If the restaurant name is entered incorrectly or if it is not in the database, there is only a blank box and no way to add it from the post ... which avoids duplicates ... but then you have to go and add the restaurant before you can link it to the post.

                                              Then there is the different way this all works if you flag the restaurant as review of a specific restaurant.

                                              1. re: rworange

                                                Not in the database? Whos?
                                                I guess Chow's database doesn't know whether you spell a restaurant name correctly or not. Like you, I found this to be a real problem in the past where restaurant names were entered incorrectly; searches on Chow were futile. Also (in the past), if you didn't know where the restaurant was (say tristate versus outer boroughs), you couldn't go anywhere with your search. I've seen dual entries because of minor discrepancies. I hope we can go in and fix errors and get a duplicate listing (with errors), deleted. I try to post correct information on a thread when I see names butchered. I hate it when the restaurant's name is wrong in a thread's title...
                                                Perhaps I'm seen as a jerk, but people are not getting the principle of "garbage in garbage out". This is not Google, where it can suggest the correct spelling or location for you. Hey, can we tie into their computers?

                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                  I'm sorry. I have no clue what you are posting about. My post was about the change to linking.

                                                  The only referenece to things not being in the database is that despite the new pre-loaded info, there still remain restaurants that are not in the Chow restaurant/bar database.

                                                  The issue you have is what?

                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                    The only thing specifically addressed to you was whether you meant Chow's database (or some other, like Google's, that exists on the internet). After I read it again, it's obvious that I misread it. You were referring to the one we are creating here, from our own input. Sorry.

                                                    The rest is just my expanding on what I think the difficult issues are with having a good database and how it is difficult to "link" if you don't. That's my issue.

                                                  2. re: Scargod

                                                    You will see a "mark as duplicate" link in the upper right corner of the restaurant detail page. The prompt will ask you to note the ID of the listing that is being duplicated, and when you enter that and hit save, it will merge the data from the two listings and eliminate the duplicate.

                                                    1. re: CHOW HQ

                                                      I don't have a Mark as Duplicate link.

                                                      I do have a Mark as Closed link, but because I can't edit due to the the record hanging, clicking on the closed link doesn't work either which is too bad since I have a list of about 25 restaurants that have closed since August.

                                                      1. re: rworange

                                                        We're unable to replicate the saving/editing problem here- can you let us know what OS/Browser you're using?

                                                        1. re: CHOW HQ

                                                          Internet Explorer 8.0 using windows on a pc

                                                          1. re: CHOW HQ

                                                            Same problem on an old Mac (OS X 10.3.9, Firefox 2.0.0.20). I hit save and it just hangs.

                                                            I'm also not seeing a Mark as Duplicate link; only Mark as Closed.

                                                          2. re: rworange

                                                            Editing has been fixed- you should be able to edit and mark as closed.
                                                            Please let us know if you have any further problems with this. Thanks.

                                                            1. re: CHOW HQ

                                                              Excellent - thanks! Just tried one and it worked.

                                                              Still not seeing a Mark as Duplicate link, though. And the redesign has introduced duplicates. An example: http://search.chow.com/search?query=w...

                                                              1. re: CHOW HQ

                                                                It's fixed, but I had to log out and clear my cache for Firefox to work.

                                                                1. re: CHOW HQ

                                                                  I am puzzled about what is happening. I really don't want to clear out my cache just for CH, just so I can do you the favor of filling in restaurant info. A fellow Chowhounder told me this morning that in IE7 their box was getting smaller and smaller as they tried to add a comment. IE8 on my PC, doesn't show any edit options. Google Chrome does and I can edit just fine.
                                                                  Plus, I'm still getting quite a few "Houston we have a problem" messages and very slow response times.

                                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                                    Edit on the reviews or edit on the business info?

                                                                    I'm just asking because on IE8 without clearing cache, I have always seen edit on the business info. They fixed the other problems and all is well from me.

                                                                    I'm just curious if there is an edit on the review I'm not seeing if you enter it from the restaurant page rather than the boards

                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                      They were speaking of the "Good to Know" box.
                                                                      I just did a review of Crave and I could not go back in and edit the review (Google Chrome). I checked IE8 and Firefox and none will let me edit the review I just did. BTW, Firefox looks different still in the edit info area.
                                                                      I have not asked to do a review from a board post.

                                                              2. re: CHOW HQ

                                                                I'm running Windows XP SP3. I don't see a "mark as duplicate" link.

                                                                In MSIE 7.0, I see "mark as closed" and "edit info."

                                                                In Firefox 3.5.3, I see neither of those.

                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                  I have heard it suggested that you should upgrade IE 7 to 8. Not that it will change the way things look, but I understand it has less vulnerabilities.

                                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                                    I only use MSIE when Firefox doesn't render a page properly.

                                                                    Based on my recent experiences with upgrading MS apps, I'm in no hurry.

                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                      Hah! I only use those when Chrome doesn't work!

                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                        What browser(s) allow editing and display both the duplicate and closed options?

                                                                        Just curiours, Is there an edit link in some browser I've never been able to see? During testing people didn't seem to know what I was talking about so maybe there is an edit option that just isn't displayed on my browser.

                                                                        I know the review can be edited withing the two hour limit if entered from the Chowhound board, But if entered directly on the Restaurant record I don't see any edit link or report.

                                                          3. The link to a place is vastly improved. Kudos for that.

                                                            1. It's confusing that Read / Reply is two links for quick reviews but one link for topics. I think for quick reviews it should be Expand Review / Read Discussion.

                                                            2. The quick reviews should include the title of the topic formatted as a link.

                                                            2. The Read link should take you to the "quick review" post, not the top of the topic. Finding the post in context could be very difficult when there are 50+ posts.