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Sep 13, 2013 11:24 AM

Opinions on geography skipping?

As we all know, Chowhound is pretty strict about geographic boundaries with discussions. Of course there is sometimes blurring, but this is allowed more as a slight variation within a reply than as a premise.

Recently, someone started a thread (I'm being vague about where, since I'd like a broader discussion, and besides I think I'm not permitted to write here directing to a specific other thread) on a geographic board specifically asking for recommendations for outside that geographic area. The OP wants the opinions of people from his area, not from the area(s) where he's considering eating.

What do you all think about this? Should it be okay? To be fair, the OP wants responses about a broader geographic area than any one board would embrace. To me, that means several inquiries on several boards--not exactly a hardship!

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  1. My personal take on this is that discussions should live in the place that best fits where the food will be eaten.

    So, let's imagine I'm going to Philadelphia on vacation next week, but I don't want advice from people there, I just want advice from people who live in Dallas who regularly go to Philadelphia. Should I start my discussion on the Dallas board?

    I think the answer should be 'no'. The discussion is appropriate for the Philadelphia Board, because it's about food in Philadelphia. Even if none of the people who respond to my question are in Philadelphia, it's still about food in Philadelphia.

    I realize this is a somewhat extreme (and unlikely) example, but I think it can be applied to less-extreme examples too. If I had a good reason to be seeking out the opinions of people in Dallas, I think it would be OK to put a pointer thread on the Dallas board, letting people know about the discussion over on Philadelphia. That way, people in Dallas know that I am looking for their opinions, but the discussion of Philadelphia food stays on the Philadelphia board, where everyone can find it.

    This kind of pointer thread is also a good idea in cases where you're asking questions that cover multiple geographic areas. The main time this comes up is in Metropolitan areas like New York or SF Bay Area, where people may travel in areas covered by multiple boards (for example, a person who visits both White Plains and Manhattan, or a person who visits both Santa Cruz and San Francisco). In these cases, I think it's okay for a poster to choose a single board where they would like their discussion to live, and then use pointer threads (if they wish) on other boards. If a discussion focuses purely on Santa Cruz, we'd keep it on the California Board, and if it's focused purely on San Francisco, we'd keep it on the SF Bay Area board. But it's okay if an occasional discussion covers both, and sometimes because of the way we have divided up geography, things just won't fit anywhere cleanly, and then it's okay to have them on whatever board makes the most sense.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dave MP

      I did this last week I was visiting Rhode Island and threw an inquiry on the Southern New England board for suggestions.

    2. So if a person in Chicago wants insight on food in Italy and Mexico but only from people from Chicago ? I know I am stretching the point but maybe I'm not.
      My response is, whatever. Asking for and getting poor advise is the poster's problem, not ChowHound's

      4 Replies
      1. re: genoO

        rightly or wrongly, Chowhound will redirect these threads to the geographic board to which the inquiry relates.

        Chowhound does not acknowledge or really foster the creation of local communities or pockets of expertise. This has always been the case here,rightly or wrongly.

        So it does not really permit us to address inquiries to the folks whose opinions we are most likely to know and trust (on our local boards). It works the other way too - if you ask a general question about an italian dish or food item on the Italy board (knowing that there are knowledgeable local experts there) its likely to get kicked over to general topics or home cooking.

        1. re: jen kalb

          Well...that's not entirely what's going on in this particular case. And it's a tough judgement call for everyone. I'll leave it at that.

          Thus...I'm interested in opinions. What do you think it, separately from what you think CH might do? Would you participate in such a thread?

          1. re: Elisa515

            If somebody asked on my local board for recommendations for another location I might respond - but I would always refer them to the more appropriate board where they are more likely to get fuller info.. And I would expect the thread to be moved if it comes to anyone's attention. People want to form connections with other people - they get to know their opinions. Its perfectly natural to want to ask these same people when heading out of the geography, for example folks from Toronto coming to NYC. But thats not the way the site is operated, for logically understandable reasons..

            ps this seems mostly like behaviour from people who arent that familiar with the site and how it operates.

            1. re: jen kalb

              FWIW, I agree with you.

              And I've found a lot of great chow when asking (or even just reading) on boards away from my area.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. I could see a Road Trip! board for those driving across several regions, but it probably wouldn't be cost effective and the OP would be better off just making and watching a few posts on a few boards (and get better responses)