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Sep 20, 2013 01:46 PM

For those of us who use Chowhound for real research in a new city, THIS NEEDS TO BE IMPLEMENTED

When I visit a new city, I always head first to Chowhound.

But, when I visit a new local board, I don't know the reputations of the posters or how well their opinions mesh with mine. In these cases, I collect aggregate data, in order to try to get a pulse on the local Chowhound cognoscenti.

In other words, I basically do the scan-and-tally system. I look for repeated mentions of a restaurant, and if it comes up often enough, I take notice. The idea is that I'm using the collective Chowhound brain to make decisions, rather than rely on individual strangers' opinions.

So I continue to scan more and more posts, and when I see multiple mentions of a place, I'll jot it down in my notes. I'll then look deeper, to find recommended dishes. I'll do this for perhaps 5, 10, sometimes fifteen places, depending on where and how long I'll be staying.

But here's the problem. That's a really messy system. I'm basically counting on anonymous Chowhounds vouching for other anonymous Chowhounds, with no really efficient way to track what I've been reading. By the time I've sifted through hundreds of posts, I may have missed that that those 6 recommendations I've seen for "Le Grand Petit Choux" are all from the same poster. Or, the seconded recommendation came from someone that raved about grilled roadkill in another post that I brushed off.

It occurred to me that it would be an incredibly useful thing to have a Chowhound personal (and searchable) "researchpad" for just such an occasion. In other words, when I'm searching for Chinese food in Flushing, I could open a new researchpad (which would be saved to my profile) titled "Upcoming trip, Dec 10, 2013, Flushing Chinese". To use it, I'd find a post that interests me, let's say it's from "POSTERGUY11". So, first I click on his name, which would transfer immediately to the researchpad (perhaps a vertical whitepad column in the right) along with the time and date of his original post. I would then then click-and-drag text within his post, which would instantly transfer over to my researchpad.

When I find another interesting post on Flushing Chinese, let's say it's from CHINESEYUM66, I click on his name, click and drag the relevant lines from his post, which would transfer instantly to a new entry under his name in my researchpad.

But here's the important part. If I ever unknowingly circled back to some new comments from POSTERGUY11 (without realizing or remembering it was him), a new line will be automatically entered under his main researchpad entry (again, date and time stamped so that I can see how often he posts, and how his opinions have changed over the years-- that can be really important too). This way, I can now see at-a-glance that he actually recommended "Eggrolls-A-Gogo", 5 out of the 6 times I saw it mentioned on Chowhound.

These researchpad entries should be archived for return trips (every time I go to Vegas, for example, I have to re-research the dishes I liked at Lotus of Siam. I would LOVE to have a Vegas researchpad that I can go back to without having to redo the work every time). You should provide the option of making them sharable.

This would be an insanely useful upgrade for traveling Chowhounds like me, who do our due diligence, and will make the volumes of data here that much more manageable to work with.

Mr Taster

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  1. That's a lot to ask for free. It's like the restaurant equivalent of Angie's List, which is available to paid subscribers.

    1. Wow. Just wow. I don't put 1/100th of the effort @Mr Taster does into my research. I'm either a real slacker or @Mr Taster is an over achiever.

      1. Wow! I thought I was asking a lot that CHs say the last time they ate at a recommended (or not) place :) What's the old saw? If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Maybe CH will hire you to implement that. Great ideas.

        1. That's a pretty ambitious request for CH. You probably need to use another program that will help you save and organize links and cut and paste text.

          Evernote, is available free (at least a sample version, that I know of) and works across computers and smart phones. If you are Microsoft Office user OneNote is kind of the same idea.

          You save your links, notes, photos, etc. and organize them however you want.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pamf

            I use Evernote & even Evernote Food and they both work out well for saving anything on this site.

          2. I would also like Chowhound to give out the weekly winning Powerball numbers to the most active poster.

            3 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                For anyone who wants next weeks Powerball winning numbers, I'll mail them out. Please send $5 for postage and handling in advance. I also have a great deal in Nigeria to offer.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I get mine from a fortune cookie :-D