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DonRocks

I Want Our Community Back

64 posts in this topic

Thanks folks!

There's obviously a lot that goes over my head in here! I thought Don was upset that no one posted in this thread since Aug and as you know I didn't know who was the familiar face.

If anyone from Notting Hill(s)(?) is reading this, the website needs work. Most times it's called Notting Hill, but it's also called Notting Hills. The menu has no prices, the drink menu doesn't exist and it seems like there should be some text on the "About" page. Also, if I didn't know better, I'd assume the place was already open. The pictures looked very nice however and I'm interested to try this place. I'm going to be at Vermillion tomorrow night so I'll swing by and check it out.

Here are some photos of the place through the window. Tables are set, lights are dimmed, but there's no information on when they are opening.

Hey Bart,

[sorry, I was just lamenting the general situation that sometimes I have to tweet to "call out to our members," so to speak; I wish people would dial into this channel as a daily routine, without being prompted, sort of like coming home from work and watching Walter Cronkite every night. But that's my problem and no one else's. This website has gone from being a Third Place to being primarily an informational resource over the years, and I think I largely have Facebook to thank for my woes - it pains me greatly, but what am I to do? If you (or anyone else) can think of ways to strengthen the sense of community here, I'm all ears, and am willing to make changes. I want to always put our members first.]

Your second picture looks like a publicity shot. Tablecloths! Yes! Praise the Lord!

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I visit this site daily, even when I'm in Sicily. Right now I'm having dinner at the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento by myself! My family members weren't hungry - which never stopped me from eating.

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I visit this site daily, even when I'm in Sicily. Right now I'm having dinner at the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento by myself! My family members weren't hungry - which never stopped me from eating.

Eric, I know some people think you're a bit "direct," but if members of this website were half as engaged as you are, this would be a vibrant community once again. The optimist in me still thinks it will happen - I'm just going to keep plugging ahead and hope people come back from Facebook and come over from Yelp (*all* Yelpers are more than welcome here, and I'm certain this environment would bring out their best).

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I'm on here daily, too, just not posting often because I'm not part of the core group of posters/old timers. But It's 8:30am on a Saturday, I'm in Sarasota, FL and as usual, I want to see what's happening here. Cheers! ;) -Stephenie

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I am on every day! but since I am not in DC all the time, I don't post as much as I'd like. But the site is a primary way I stay connected to DC, and I enjoy it very much.

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I'm on here daily, too, just not posting often because I'm not part of the core group of posters/old timers. But It's 8:30am on a Saturday, I'm in Sarasota, FL and as usual, I want to see what's happening here. Cheers! ;) -Stephenie

Ah, Stephenie, I wonder if you're onto something. Your readership is *much* appreciated, and your presence here is such that I'm surprised that you only have 36 posts.

The "core group" of posters/old timers consisted of only about 10-20 people, and that group scattered over five years ago. Most are back, as individuals, but there are no cliques here (and I've tried for there never to be any). It's just me, you, and a bunch of other people on their own, and I hope people aren't scared off because they aren't "old timers." That would be the worst thing that could happen to this community.

I've thought about reaching out to new members personally, urging them to share their thoughts. I feel an immense responsibility to curate our members' writings going forward to infinity - I honestly believe that on many review sites and forums, all the hard work people put in will be entirely gone in 10, 20 years; whereas I'm taking proactive steps on donrockwell.com for the website to go on in perpetuity.

One day I dream of having everyone here use real names, but the reason I allowed member names back in 2005 was because a few of our female members requested privacy, and I wanted to respect that. I do think that real-name communities (like Facebook) have the potential for more camaraderie, although some people will disagree with this. I won't be making any Draconian changes in this regard, however, so much as perhaps asking people to voluntarily do it one day - some people have legitimate reasons for wanting to remain anonymous.

I also want a charity as a rallying point. In another post on this forum, I expressed a strong, personal desire to help the elderly (who could possibly not want to help the elderly who are sick, hungry, lonely, or depressed?), but perhaps a hunger-related charity makes more sense - I'm open for suggestions. Whatever it will take to get people together again (and a shout-out to DanielK for all his efforts with DC Central Kitchen).

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I'm a new member, circa this year. I found the forum by accident, started reading and find it fascinating. Interesting threads, tremendous expertise on various topics, lively disagreements, some spectacular writing on the topics of local restaurants, food, and associated and non associated topics. More than anything its the wonderful writing, expertise, and interesting comments on topics I find interesting that keeps me here.

Needless to say I can't comment on the "old community".

I have been a very active member of other forums on totally different topics. The time span is roughly similar to when this forum was started. In general since that time period most forums have lost active membership, stimulating interaction, and the loss of key commentators within communities. The changes across the board are probably a function of all the changing natures of communicating across the web. With regard to food and restaurants, Yelp has changed things since the mid 2000's. Facebook has changed things. Twitter changes things. I see changes coming out of google+ People communicate differently and new technologies keep changing things. Finally to the extent that forums rely on a thin body of critical commentators when a couple of critical folks drop out for whatever private reasons they have, it can seriously reduce overall activity and the community.

Don: Its to your credit you work so hard on this forum and have kept it alive with the interesting commentary of so many people. Its clearly difficult to do so in light of all the changes in technology and opportunities to communicate in different environments.

Off the top of my head there is one technilogical element that could help to bring in more folks let alone spur more types of debate and discussion. Of course it could be brutally time consuming.

Things like google alerts and methods that track commentary in various social media enable one to follow and track all sorts of communications across the board. You could probably track all the references on twitter and facebook with regard to a restaurant or type of cooking or on some topic. Then you could comment on all that and draw folks here.

Damn that would be extensive and time consuming. Big businesses can afford to pay people to do this. Businesses that work on their public awareness all the time do this. OTOH monopolies like cable companies couldn't give a rats ass and have the worst reputations around. But what do they care. They are monopolies. :D

In lieu of personalized responses since it could take incredible time maybe you could have template responses to topics you see in social media and send them out while inserting a link to a relevant thread here. Just a suggestion. Probably wouldn't work in Yelp or maybe not facebook but it might grab tweeters.

Just a $0.02 suggestion. Meanwhile thanks for all the great writing. Very lively interesting and stimulating.

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Gang, *everyone* who has posted on this thread is awesome. I'd love it if you could recruit some fresh meat! :)

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I still recruit anyone who hasn't heard of the site. I'm like, DUDE, I am so funny and awesome, imagine if you could read my words ANY TIME I ACTUALLY POST THEM, which means don't follow my blog, because I'm very lazy. But I post on DR when it's not being blocked by Chrome (still is!) or being hellaciously slow at work (it's not the only site that does that at work so I blame our Bluecoat Proxy).

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I am on this site at least once a day. I dont post as often as I could and should, hopefully that will change. As my focus has gone from eating to eating, fitness and wine this site is still very good to me.

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I still recruit anyone who hasn't heard of the site. I'm like, DUDE, I am so funny and awesome, imagine if you could read my words ANY TIME I ACTUALLY POST THEM, which means don't follow my blog, because I'm very lazy. But I post on DR when it's not being blocked by Chrome (still is!) or being hellaciously slow at work (it's not the only site that does that at work so I blame our Bluecoat Proxy).

SeanMike, if you reset your browser's cookies, things will be fine on Chrome!

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I check in daily, if you want us to recruit, does that make us old meat? (it doesn't bother me). I hope everyone (new & old members) had a peaceful holiday break & are looking forward to a new year...

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I check in daily, if you want us to recruit, does that make us old meat? (it doesn't bother me). I hope everyone (new & old members) had a peaceful holiday break & are looking forward to a new year...

Aged, like a fine claret.

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I m on the site at least daily, sometimes more often, popping in to catch up on a topic between projects at work. As far as recruitment, I try by linking to specific posts or topics to folks who express curiosity or an interest in whatever that may be. I think coming here and reading is the best hook to get folks to sign up for themselves. I wonder if new members wonder if their comments/reviews on established restaurants are worth posting? I try to at least briefly remark on any non-fast-food place that I've been to even if it is extensively reviewed by the DR community, because I think consistency and continuity of a restaurant's efforts should also be noted. As for conversation, nothing brings in comments on a message board than a crisis of a poster or an argument between posters....or a give-away of some kind. Maybe we can create a "Celebrity Chef Death Match" online battle....?

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As for conversation, nothing brings in comments on a message board than a . . . argument between posters...

I was thinking the same thing the other day when revisiting my controversial Medium Rare business model post.

If Seitsema criticizes Range for an overly broad menu, maybe I'll bring out the hypocrisy paddle, for the good of donrockwell.com :-D

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I'm loving this. I'm watching the Redskins, on top of all the posts coming in, and man, this has been a great weekend for the website. THANK YOU everyone! I can handle ten times this capacity in terms of organizing and moderating - please keep it coming! In the meantime, I'm going through and grooming the Dining Guides to make sure they're current and in line with recent posts.

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I have to join the chorus of those who are on here almost daily- including while on vacation. I don't always add to the conversation - -particularly if I don't have anything of note to say- but I always want to see what others are posting. On a couple of occasions Don has personally encouraged me to post more often and while he shouldn't have to do this- it has served as a reminder for me to do so. I am making it one of my New Year's resolutions to join the conversation more often!

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I'm a member of another site with a more modern forum software, with thinks like likes, status points and such using the http://xenforo.com/ forum system.

I have to say adding some interactivity and recognition for posts and comments is a huge motivator to be active in the site. The site: http://milepoint.com/forums/ allows people to "like" your posts and you get a nice stats. You also get alerts when someone quotes your post! Another nice feature is to be able to "subscribe" to a thread, via alerts or email - your choice.

red_alerts.jpg

stats.jpg

Note that the account shown is a secondary account with no activity, I feel much better about the 2,600 likes on my primary account - but I did not have any active alerts on that account right now.

The site also has membership levels, and actually gives out prizes (shirts, Starbucks gift cards) to high point based members. (Keep in mind this is business, not a hobby site, from someone who founded an earlier forum based miles/point site, successfully sold it and restarted the same type of business after his non-compete ran out.)

To me the likes are highly motivating to post – just like other sites it feels good as people recognize your contribution.

So if you want to play or look at Xenforo they do have a converter for your forum software: http://xenforo.com/help/importing/

Also it looks like IP.Board also has the likes functionality:

http://community.invisionpower.com/blog/1174/entry-5844-ipboard-320-new-reputation-mode-like/

Turning that on and getting someone to help make the "likes" very visiable to the user would help get people more active.

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SeanMike, if you reset your browser's cookies, things will be fine on Chrome!

I've done that twice!

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