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Feedback on your local 'Read This First'

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We're working on adding Read This First posts to more of our local boards, and while we've started them out with fairly generic templates, we'd like to add more specific, local details. For that, we need your help.

Check out the new Read This First stickied to the top of your local regional board when it arrives, and let us know if you have any tips to add:

1. What are the most repetitive questions that get asked? Are there specific events or attractions people are always asking for recommendations near? Specific restaurants that have been discussed in great detail? We're not trying to totally eliminate these questions, just help people to find the information that already exists.

2. Any board specific vocabulary, abbreviations or habits that people should know? On the multi-state boards, this might be the habit of using airport codes in titles to note the town, locally it might be that putting the airport code in the title means you want to eat near the airport. On Manhattan, we mentioned that prices there are generally higher than average so people should try to use clear cost descriptions if they have budget limits.

3. Are there any off board chowdown lists/groups that people should be aware of? How can they sign up?

Thanks!
-- Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

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  1. HI...why is it that when I post a new topic there is not the NEW icon next to the posting?

    1 Reply
    1. re: sailon

      The 'new' icon is an indication of whether you've read the thread or not.

      Since you posted the thread, you've read it, and it's not marked as new to you. It will be for other people.

    2. I would be more than happy to write an FAQ for the Québec board. Gosh knows we need one to deal with all the recurring tourist questions and hit and run posters.

      And, best of all, I would only charge $0.20 a word for it.

      4 Replies
      1. re: SnackHappy

        We've had a Quebec-board FAQ for a while: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/711531

        The last post in that thread says that if you have suggestions for improvements, you can leave them here. Unfortunately, even though FAQs exist, the trick is getting people to read them. ;-)

        1. re: kpzoo

          I actually keep a bit of an eye on how many people read the Read This First threads, and a surprisingly high number do. I have no way of knowing how many of them read the whole thing from start to finish, but about 500 people opened the Quebec thread last month. So if you've got suggestions for improvements, they are worth making, as a significant number of people will see them.

          1. re: Jacquilynne

            Also, they are great for locals let visitors know that info is there.

            Don't do it fin a helpful way such as, "a great thread that will answer many of your questions is the "Reat This First" post at the top of the board.

            Don't do it in a snarky way such as "it's obvious you haven't read the post at the top of the board".

            It has been a real help on the SF board where you get tired of answering the same question for the zillionth time ... helpful to San Franciscans and visitors.

        2. re: SnackHappy

          >And, best of all, I would only charge $0.20 a word for it.

          That's $0.20 more than this site will pay for that sort of work, as far as I know. If anyone knows that to be false, please speak up!

        3. I just tried using ChowHound again after being fed up several months ago. Once again I searched for "Delray" in the Florida blog and a list of "seemingly relevant" topics appears, but when I go to those threads I read recommendations for restaurants that have been closed for years. Am I doing something wrong? I find this sight extremely frustrating.

          4 Replies
          1. re: NewToDelray

            Since this site is a "user generated" content site the information about what restaurants have closed need to be noted by the local board users, (such as yourself). If you discover a restaurant that has been closed (or more than one in this case) and they have Place Links in the CH data base you can mark them as closed. Even if no place link exists you can still do a post that updates the places which are no longer open. Just one note of caution in making sure you have your "closed facts" straight. We all try not to do any further harm to restaurants that are already struggling in our current economy.

            1. re: NewToDelray

              >> when I go to those threads I read recommendations for restaurants that have been closed for years.

              Are these recommendations in recent posts, or old posts? If someone is mistakenly under the impression that a restaurant is still open, it's okay to point out that a place has closed. If it's in an old post, in a topic that has been updated recently for something else, well that happens because people are adding information to topics that have been around a while and are still of sufficient importance to keep up to date. The default date on searches is to limit it to topics that have been updated within the past 12 months, but it's possible for those topics to also contain older posts. You just have to do your search, and realize that search results are sometimes going to contain stuff that's not what you're looking for. That's just the way searches work, on any site, not just here.

              1. re: nsxtasy

                I guess this is the problem that I am having is...
                "The default date on searches is to limit it to topics that have been updated within the past 12 months, but it's possible for those topics to also contain older posts."
                I have never experienced a search where you limit the criteria to the last 12 months and still posts from 2, 3,4, years ago come up. You say it is common - I say it makes using this site extrordinarily frustrating.

                1. re: NewToDelray

                  >> I have never experienced a search where you limit the criteria to the last 12 months and still posts from 2, 3,4, years ago come up.

                  You probably have, without even realizing it. For example, if you searched the Florida forum for "Delray" using the default search parameters, including 12 months as the time limit - I assume this is what you have been doing - the third topic in the search results is this one:

                  What are the best restaurants in Delray Beach and its environs? - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/367479

                  The topic was created in February 2007, and many of the replies are from that month. There are also replies from January-February 2008, June 2010, and most recently in August 2010. This is how topics can get kept up to date, so that people can still refer to valid information that's already been posted, while adding to it as well as noting what is no longer accurate. That's exactly what happened in August 2010. Poster jfb130 recommended a dozen different restaurants in his/her post. Poster smartie replied that one of those restaurants had recently closed. I don't see why it's frustrating when people post updates to what's already been posted; it's a way of not having to start all over again when there's already some great information available.

            2. Hi

              I have tried to post 2 new questions and I can't seem to find them anywhere using my exact words in the search. I did read the "read this first" posts. I was looking for some advice rather quickly so maybe there is something I am missing in the procedure.

              Thanks for your help!

              3 Replies
              1. re: tah1234

                Other than this one, we don't see any posts you've made either yesterday or today, so it looks like they didn't go through. Could you please try again?

                What board are you posting on? Did your post look like it went through when you made it?

                1. re: The Chowhound Team

                  HI

                  I tried to post the same (almost) question twice on the Quebec/Montreal board this morning and still don't see it. I don't know what indications are that a post goes through so I can't comment on that. I will try again now.

                  Thanks

                  1. re: tah1234

                    OK, let us know if you have any further problems. If the post goes through, you'll see it appear immediately on the board. It'll turn yellow temporarily, and the little red circle will stop spinning.

              2. As far as the South American, or any other international board I'm guessing, it would be helpful to add to the "Still have questions" section

                Which days of the week you're interested in -- lots of restaurants close Mondays, for example. Some markets only take place once a week.

                - What month will you be visiting. Some months have special fairs, holidays or events.

                Holidays are good to know about. When I hit Costa Rica, I did so on Independance Day and spent a lot of time and money waiting in a cab while stuck in traffic waiting for a local marathone to finish. Some restaurants were closed.

                In Guatemala, anyone visiting on All Sain'ts Day, I'd suggest checking out the fiambre, a cold chopped salad with up to 50 different ingredients. It's the Gautemalan equivalent of Thanksgiving dinner. . In December there are a number of religious holidays outside of Christmas that have special food. Coffee plantatin tours are better Nov-March when the coffee is being harvested ... etc. Date matters.

                2 Replies
                1. re: rworange

                  ditto RWOs suggestions about days of week and month visiting for European / International countries generally

                  It would be useful for threading, searching linking and reporting to suggest that people travelling to multiple destinations (countries, cities) start a thread for each. Everything gets muddled if multiple destinations are addressed on one thread.

                  it might make sense to mention the linking and review/Restaurant page feature in the sticky.

                  first the functionality of the Restaurant page how to access it and to search. given the entry page many people would see with only US destinations, its understandable that international participants would think its not for them.

                  Second, how linking works - dont know if Intel participants current or new have any way of knowing that linking is possible or how it occurs.how to do it and use it should be described on each board.

                  finally reviews - Except for locaks, the way Reviews would normally be generated internationally is by travellers making "trip reports" However, it is awkward to use the Review feature when multiple restaurants are being reported on. In order to beef up the number of reviews Internationally it would be helpful if people could be encouraged to post their "trip reports" in a series of individual posts, or better, replies to a single post. That way, there is a report generated for each restaurant. Otherwise, people posting un multiple restaurants wind up not activating the Review feature.

                  there is some kind of a type on the Europe sticky at the beginning of WHERE IS THAT.

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    PS thank you Jacquilynne for the effort of putting up these stickys.
                    The Italy one is quite clear and appropriate.

                2. My local board is New Jersey......I would appreciate it if you actually followed your own guidelines to follow NJ Chow .....and not New York.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: fourunder

                    I'm not sure what you mean, can you clarify?

                    1. re: Jacquilynne

                      There are many times an OP, or user, will ask for suggestions or recommendations for the Northern NJ area.....there's one character who almost always chimes in that there is nothing good and suggests places in New York State, Manhattan and the Outer Burroughs.... clearly against this guideline/policy:

                      This board is focused on discussing chow in New Jersey, other than towns in Southern New Jersey which are suburbs of Philadelphia and discussed here: http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/80

                      I can recall participating in a thread looking for lobster recommendations in Manhattan when I first started on this site. I gave some recommendations, but I also suggested the OP consider jumping on the PATH Train and visit Newark ......I was promptly deleted and I received a message from a moderator indicating since it was the Manhattan board, it was removed for that sole reason.

                      Given the recent interest in Moderator actions/non-action......If the moderators do not follow and respect the guidelines when suspected violations or inappropriate content is reported.....why should you think the users should follow the rules if they can continue to get away with the violations. In the past I have responded directly to the comments, but then I am accused of being inflammatory, and or critical, and promptly suspended. I know you cannot act on everything that is reported....but this specific concern I bring attention to is really easy to take action on in fairness to all users, and especially to the OP who wants to support businesses in the area s/he seeks.

                      1. re: fourunder

                        What we've been doing the last few years with out of area recommendations is leaving them in place as long as they're meant to be helpful. If they then prompt a significant discussion of an out of area restaurant, we'll split that to its proper board. That is a change from what we used to do, so there may be a disconnect between what we've sent you in the past and what we're doing now.

                        It sounds like the poster you're referring to might be a problem if they take a bashing NJ approach rather than a helping the user find things nearby approach. It can be difficult for us to accurately see long term patterns of just below the radar troubles, so if you can send us a few recent examples of the problem to moderators@chowhound.com, we'll take another look. But please don't try to correct other people's posting behaviour publicly -- it's always off-topic and we'd rather you bring problems to our attention than try to handle them yourself.

                        1. re: Jacquilynne

                          and we'd rather you bring problems to our attention than try to handle them yourself.
                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                          My point is I do and You don't......

                          1. re: fourunder

                            >> please don't try to correct other people's posting behaviour publicly -- it's always off-topic and we'd rather you bring problems to our attention than try to handle them yourself.

                            In addition to sending recent examples via e-mail (which will let them see if there's a pattern by one specific poster), the best way to get a specific post looked at quickly by the moderators is to click on the Report button at the bottom of it, and explain why the post is inappropriate. (I apologize if you're already aware of this, but it wasn't explicitly mentioned here.)

                            1. re: nsxtasy

                              Thank you....

                  2. have u guys considered "stickies" recently?
                    orlando,florida is a big time question area in the florida boards...

                    or at least a better break down of how to ask the question about the Orlando/disney area..
                    are u staying at a disney hotel?which one?
                    on or near Idrive?
                    near universal?
                    seaworld?
                    downtown orlando?
                    kissimmee?

                    will u have a car?

                    first time visitors dont know/realize how big the area is..how far away from everything disney actually is....

                    almost every week theres the same question..."am coming to disney/orlando/seaworld/universal ..staying near Idrive.....or on disney property...or kissimmee...with not much else in the way of details...

                    Yosemite sam has several posts/threads about what to eat/ where to eat in each area...i usually point people in the direction of his posts.
                    usually after asking most of the questions i mentioned above...

                    and kathyn in the new york/manhattan boards has some great posts as well...
                    im sure theres probably somebody in each major area that has some that could be stickied...

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: srsone

                      We don't sticky individual threads or recommendations -- we don't want to officially endorse any person's opinions, and information changes too fast in the restaurant world for specific threads to remain accurate long term.

                      That said, I would be happy to add more information on how to search for information and ask for tips about Disney to our Florida sticky so that people who ask the questions get the right information. I'll work on it soon, so if you've got any other tips on what details you'd like to suggest people add, please note them here.

                      1. re: Jacquilynne

                        ill see what i can come up with...

                    2. Why can't I (paste) a website http info in my comments anymore?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: twinwillow

                        Is this true for any website URL you want to paste in? Or just some select ones? What happens if you try and enter the address "manually" (in other words just type in letter by letter www.whateveraddress.com) and then hit the "post my reply" button?

                      2. I think it would be a good idea if, on the Southeast board, there were a bit about local independents tending to close on Sundays in the FAQs. There's currently a very brief aside in some other, non-obvious section. This is a big issue and apparently a major difference with other parts of the US. A note stating that barbecue places in particular tend to be closed on Sundays would be good, too.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Naco

                          I added a Local Info section to the Southeast sticky to note that. I didn't put them in the regional boards by default because they cover such a wide area that local info can be pretty variable, but if that's a general southern thing, happy to add it.

                          1. re: Jacquilynne

                            Looks good to me. Now it stands out quite a bit more.

                        2. Can a category be added for gluten-free? Or maybe allergen-friendly? My family cannot have gluten, so I would like to focus my discussions related to gluten-free food, restaurants, etc.

                          1. Our Miami Ft Lauderdale board needs renaming. Please. The region which you have geographically encompassed is from West Palm Beach to South Beach which we call South Florida or the Tri-County Area. My suggestion would be to add The Keys too and call it South Florida and The Keys or alternatively return to just a Florida board.. The problem also is that there is a Florida board too and lots of people confused by the current name post in the Florida Board which relies on we locals to also read that board and remind posters to re-post in the daftly named Miami Board.

                            The current Miami-Ft.Laud board covers over a hundred miles along I-95. The name does not make sense to us nor to tourists.

                            1. The problem with this board is it caters to visitors and does not help those of us who live here find the best local eateries far away from the glitz.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: mucho gordo

                                We (the posters) are "this board" (in your and my case the Los Angeles board) and are totally responsible for finding and disseminating the "...best local eateries far away from the glitz." Any failure do that is squarely on our own heads.

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  Good to hear from you, Servorg. I recently moved from the North Hollywood area to Las Vegas. Both prior to and after the move, I started topics asking for recs in the Summerlin area; not one response. That never happened in the L.A.

                                  1. re: mucho gordo

                                    Didn't realize you decamped for the Neon Desert. Looks like you'll have to do some Summer School work and find out what Summerlin has to offer... ;-D> (I see a buffet in your future!)

                                    ADD: Had you seen this little thread from last year? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/802911

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      No, I hadn't seen it. Thanks. Yes, there will be buffets in my future but, if I overdo it, I'll gain back the weight I lost.
                                      Yeah, it was time to move away from there. 22 years in that area near the Thai temple was more than enough.You know the area. The house we had was built in the 50's.It was small and never upgraded. We're both retired now and our son and grandkids live here so we get to see them more than once a year now. For little more than what we paid for that hovel 22 years ago, we now have what I would consider a small mansion in comparison. Probably around 1mil there. If you ever get up this way, by all means, please let me know and we'll put out the welcome mat for you.

                                      1. re: mucho gordo

                                        I'm just afraid that if I moved to LV my weight would soar and my savings would plummet...but I suppose that just means it would all be balanced out in the end. ;-D>

                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          That's exactly my fear. I've already put back 10-15 lbs. I need to nip it in the bud now. Don't you ever get away for a few days R&R?

                              2. Our Miami Ft Lauderdale board needs renaming. Please. The region which you have geographically encompassed is from West Palm Beach to South Beach which we call South Florida or the Tri-County Area. My suggestion would be to add The Keys too and call it South Florida and The Keys. The problem also is that there is a Florida board too and lots of people confused by the current name post in the Florida Board which relies on us locals to also read that board and remind posters to re-post in the incorrectly named Miami Board.

                                The current Miami-Ft.Laud board covers over a hundred miles along I-95. The name does not make sense to us or to tourists.

                                More appropriately, the board should probably be named Miami-West Palm Beach.

                                1. How do I 'save' a board? With the new system I have to click to All Boards and then scroll down to my favorite board as my favorite isn't on the most used drop down list. There must be a way to 'save' a board but it isn't easy to figure out how to do that, I would say I go to that board 95 per cent of the time. The old system had the whole list of boards at the top. I am sorry this feature was removed but if there is a way to include an individual's favorite board on the drop down list that would be most appreciated. Thanks.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: williej

                                    You can save boards by clicking the star next to the board name, on any board or thread page. For example, you can click the star next to "Site Talk" at the top of this page, and you'll have saved the Site Talk board. Once you do this, and assuming you're logged in, you'll see your Saved Boards in the new dropdown menu at the top of every page on the site.

                                    Hope this helps!

                                  2. FYI for Miami/Fort Lauderdale: that "title" so to speak is geographically incorrect based on what is discussed on that board.

                                    South Florida is a much more inclusive geographical tag, because it includes everything from The Florida Keys up through the Treasure Coast, which is Jupiter, etc.

                                    Right now, saying Miami and Fort Lauderdale, you are leaving out the Palm Beaches, which are frequently discussed on that board, and the Keys (I posted a Keys-related question on the Florida board and was redirected by commenters to the Miami/Ft Lauderdale board.

                                    You should just name it South Florida, which is infinitely more accurate.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: HabaneroJane

                                      Or, more specifically, South East Florida. Definitely not Mia-FLL.

                                      1. re: HabaneroJane

                                        Or, better yet, Miami-Palm Beach.

                                        1. re: Alfred G

                                          Is there some way of adding a flash to the UK board which says 'please search through the threads first' or equivalent....basically every day there's an American visiting who posts 'I'm visiting London, any tips?' It's the equivalent to posting 'I'm visiting New York, any tips?'

                                          It annoys the locals, and it means the poster won't get any advice - of which there is a plethora on the board, if they can just search.

                                          If people have searched, and come up with some ideas, and then want some more advice, then of course everyone's happy to help. Otherwise we're just typing out the same places and linking to previous threads.

                                          Maybe you could do a cover post which links to some of the best threads on visiting London/fine dining/visiting London with kids/ethnic eats/cheap eats etc?

                                          1. re: helen b

                                            I added a bit to hopefully make that more clear in the UK Read This First, but it's an issue common to every board and most of the Read This First post is meant to address it.

                                      2. The great plains board could really use a FAQ or sticky about KC bbq. People will often post something like, what are the best bbq places in KC and sometimes get very little response because it is often discussed.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: pollymerase

                                          I called this out separately in the FAQ section of the read this first, so hopefully that'll help a little.