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#51 Heather

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:09 PM

Member #25 here.

People change. Lives and circumstances change. It's inevitable in online communities that people will fall away and be replaced by others. Facebook doesn't replace a site like this, but my friends and family are there and we can share music, funny stories, pictures of kids, etc. I get to read about more of their lives than their last restaurant meal.

This started as a community site, and transformed into something more informational, a "database," that I don't have a lot to contribute to anymore. My life was completely turned upside-down 5 years ago. I don't have time as a single working parent with sole custody to cook, and don't have the time or money to frequent the kind of places that readers are interested in. No one really wants to read about my umpteeth school fundraising visit to California Tortilla, or about the ordinary meals I throw together. I still read, but don't often have anything to say.
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#52 sandynva

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:12 PM

I too check this site daily and value it greatly.
However, there was a period of time when i didn't check it for weeks, and with some recent exceptions, i've definitely cut back on my posting.

This is for two reasons--first, i've gotten into a bit of a rut, where i don't eat out nearly as much as i used to,and when i do, it tends to be the same places, and often the same dishes over and over. So, i don't know how valuable bi monthly posts saying, for example, "had dinner at mandalay again last night, the ginger salad continues to be awesome, as does the tofu with sour mustard" are.

second and third--though these are the primary reasons, i post them with some trepidation:

the whole kerfluffle over pearl dive in 2012 left a bad taste in my mouth. There was some ..not badmouthing, but casting of aspersions upon people like me who don't post under their real names and then, at least initially, there were responses that seemed to go out of their way to slam the poster in order to placate the restaurant owner. The first of these hurt my feelings a bit. The second, particularly coupled with the simultaneous re-posting of the notice saying that peoples' memberships could be revoked at any time, made it feel like anything but glowing reviews, particularly of restaurants affiliated with posters or friends of posters, were not welcome, and that perhaps people like myself, total restaurant outsiders, had second class status here.

All of this made me both reluctant to post and also, to a small extent, to wonder how valuable future reviews would be, if all posters felt constrained the way i did.

So my readership dropped off dramatically, and then, even when it returned, i am still more reluctant to post than i was, and have made sure my posts were pretty positive.

As i said, i post this with some hesitation, knowing that it may anger some people, or, of course, result in the cancellation of my membership. but because i so respect the site, and want it to be stronger, i felt that some honesty was warranted.
respectfully,
Sandy
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#53 DonRocks

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:27 PM

Member #25 here.

People change. Lives and circumstances change. It's inevitable in online communities that people will fall away and be replaced by others. Facebook doesn't replace a site like this, but my friends and family are there and we can share music, funny stories, pictures of kids, etc. I get to read about more of their lives than their last restaurant meal.

This started as a community site, and transformed into something more informational, a "database," that I don't have a lot to contribute to anymore. My life was completely turned upside-down 5 years ago. I don't have time as a single working parent with sole custody to cook, and don't have the time or money to frequent the kind of places that readers are interested in. No one really wants to read about my umpteeth school fundraising visit to California Tortilla, or about the ordinary meals I throw together. I still read, but don't often have anything to say.


I actually *do* want to read about your umpteenth meal at California Tortilla, and I read everything you write in the Dinner thread.

When I joked about "fresh meat," I wasn't really joking. People's lives do change, and active members here whose lives change - for whatever reason - usually change in a way that they need this website less-and-less - it could be because of illness, moving away, family situations, lifestyle changes, etc. That's why I want to keep new members coming in faster than we lose existing ones, and also why I want to become more than just a restaurant website. I would love to have a forum, for example, about art, or music, and certainly from a business perspective, I'd love to have one about hotels. The Intrepid Traveler has surprised me at how popular it is, and that's because people never stop traveling.

I would very much like donrockwell.com to become a more general lifestyle website. The restaurant and food aspect will *always* be here simply because I've pretty much eaten out every meal of my adult life, and that's not going to change. But darn it, I'm working on Beethoven's 25th Piano Sonata, and would love to discuss it with other people here. I love art, music, history, travel - and so do most other people. Even though I'm not a rocker, I'd love to have a forum on DC's music scene. The thing is: I've got the time, the desire, and everything else necessary to do a *lot* more than we're currently doing which is why it's irking me that the New York forum isn't catching on like I hoped it would. I do not wish for this to be a website of "pure foodies" - there is so much else to life than dining out, and I'm ready to support what people want. The organization here (which is very much of a "database" format) is extremely well done (if I do say so myself!), and it will be very easy to begin another forum on just about anything we want. We've got a huge base readership; I want that translated into a huge base of writers, whether it's food, travel, movies, theater, or what's playing at The Black Cat.
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#54 DonRocks

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:05 PM

I too check this site daily and value it greatly.
However, there was a period of time when i didn't check it for weeks, and with some recent exceptions, i've definitely cut back on my posting.

This is for two reasons--first, i've gotten into a bit of a rut, where i don't eat out nearly as much as i used to,and when i do, it tends to be the same places, and often the same dishes over and over. So, i don't know how valuable bi monthly posts saying, for example, "had dinner at mandalay again last night, the ginger salad continues to be awesome, as does the tofu with sour mustard" are.

second and third--though these are the primary reasons, i post them with some trepidation:

the whole kerfluffle over pearl dive in 2012 left a bad taste in my mouth. There was some ..not badmouthing, but casting of aspersions upon people like me who don't post under their real names and then, at least initially, there were responses that seemed to go out of their way to slam the poster in order to placate the restaurant owner. The first of these hurt my feelings a bit. The second, particularly coupled with the simultaneous re-posting of the notice saying that peoples' memberships could be revoked at any time, made it feel like anything but glowing reviews, particularly of restaurants affiliated with posters or friends of posters, were not welcome, and that perhaps people like myself, total restaurant outsiders, had second class status here.

All of this made me both reluctant to post and also, to a small extent, to wonder how valuable future reviews would be, if all posters felt constrained the way i did.

So my readership dropped off dramatically, and then, even when it returned, i am still more reluctant to post than i was, and have made sure my posts were pretty positive.

As i said, i post this with some hesitation, knowing that it may anger some people, or, of course, result in the cancellation of my membership. but because i so respect the site, and want it to be stronger, i felt that some honesty was warranted.
respectfully,
Sandy


Sandy,

First, let me say that yes, I *do* want to read your semi-monthly updates about Mandalay. I doubt you order the same dish every time, and having depth about a restaurant is extremely important. I wish you'd write about it every single time you go - by now, we would have a very good idea of what the entire menu is like, and also about the consistency of the restaurant.

Okay, here we go again about Pearl Dive. Jeff has been a member here for 5 1/2 years, and has posted 5 times. You have been a member here for 6 1/2 years and have posted 236 times. Guess whose membership I value more? That said, I try my best to treat all members equally, whether they're lurkers, newbies, or veterans with 2,000 posts.

This was a complex situation that I needed to handle quickly, in the best way I could. How can people not see that this post of mine is a PARODY? It's a parody of the way that restaurant owners write into Tom's chat and spit out a formulaic, insincere grovel when someone complains about them - how can people not see this?

From the very first sentence: "Jeff, Don Rockwell here," to the absurd request that "In the future, all I would ask is that if you have a problem, you please ask to speak with a manager *while it's happening*," to the very last line, "Give me a shout the next time you're online, and I'll make sure you're taken care of." How much more un-subtle could I have been? I wasn't being disrespectful to Jeff; I was just trying to be funny.

What you do know, or should, is what I wrote in this post on the very first day this website was in full operation:

"After a lot of thought, I decided not to make real names a requirement in posting, but having observed and learned from experience, anonymous criticism about restaurants (i.e., peoples livelihoods) will be gently discouraged, so if you don't use your real names in your postings, please be responsible in your writing."

That's pretty clear, right?

However, what you *don't* know about is the extensive private conversation I had with NoVaLawyer. I desperately, *desperately* want to reprint it in full so you can see just how hard I worked with this person, who *registered on this website under a false identity*, and refused - absolutely refused - to tell me who he or she was despite my solemn promise that the identity would remain *private*. It's okay for people to post here under a pseudonym, but *I* have to know everyone's real identity. No exceptions. None. This person was in blatant violation of the terms of this website, and although I haven't deleted any of NoVaLawyer's posts, or the membership, I made it very clear that future posts were not welcome until the identity issue was cleared up. You have no idea how hard I worked on this issue.

And Sandy, if you honestly believe I would cancel your membership because of what you wrote here? That makes me downright sad, and it tells me that you know absolutely nothing about either me, or my philosophy of running this website. It is incredible, and somewhat heartbreaking, that anyone, much less you, would imply that about me. I read it three times and still couldn't believe what I was reading. I break my back to moderate this website fairly and with kindness, and it's times like this that make me wonder why I even bother. That said, I do appreciate your honesty in bringing this up - I'd much rather you did so then to let it continue to stew silently.
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#55 sandynva

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:54 PM

I know this is a bit of a tangent to the heart of my post, but seriously, at the places i hit at least twice i month, i really do order the same thing just about every time, or at least one of two of the same things over and over. however, as requested, i'll do a post on mandalay and will try to repost as needed.

#56 darkstar965

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:17 AM

...so if you don't use your real names in your postings, please be responsible in your writing."

That's pretty clear, right?...


Hmmm. Guessing it might be a good idea to encourage posters to be responsible whether or not they're using real names. :D

Kerfuffles now past, can we unlock the Pearl Dive topic and get back to the business of discussing that and all the other restaurants openly, candidly and constructively?

#57 DonRocks

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:45 AM

Hmmm. Guessing it might be a good idea to encourage posters to be responsible whether or not they're using real names. :D

Kerfuffles now past, can we unlock the Pearl Dive topic and get back to the business of discussing that and all the other restaurants openly, candidly and constructively?


[I didn't realize it was locked. Will do.]

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#58 SeanMike

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:37 PM

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


Mysteriously, it cleared up yesterday!

http://www.scofflawsden.com/
The Scofflaw's Den, Cocktails and Cigars
It just keeps going, and going, and going...
 


#59 DonRocks

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:56 PM

I want to thank everyone here for rallying of late - postings have really picked up, and today we had 24 different topics in the Restaurants and Dining forum which is the most we've had in ... well, I don't want to think of how long.

 

I'll repeat it again, and again, and again: without our treasured members, the website is worth nothing. I have never forgotten this, and I never will. 

 

Thank you. I had a tough holiday season, and this is just what I need to get me over the hump (which is the size of Mount Everest).

 

I love you all,

Rocks


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#60 mr food

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:20 PM

I was away but I'm starting to look at the board more often. One reason for my absence was since we bought our second home in DE (RB) a few years ago, we tend to eat out more often there and cook at our home in this area; however now that our niece is attending GWU we are dining out more often. Recently, we took her to Central which we enjoyed. We also have some young friends that are into food and wine so we are meeting them fairly regularly as well.  When people say they look at yelp for restaurant guidance, I always mention this site as the best website for dining advice. 


Jay Winton


#61 dcs

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:48 PM

I must say, in the two weeks or so since this thread started, I think the activity level on the entire site is as high as I ever recall.  My OCD compels me to read every post, and I have just not been able to keep up.  I have found it quite unsettling.



#62 DonRocks

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 05:05 PM

I must say, in the two weeks or so since this thread started, I think the activity level on the entire site is as high as I ever recall.  My OCD compels me to read every post, and I have just not been able to keep up.  I have found it quite unsettling.

 

We used to regularly have over 100 posts daily, then it slowly became a rarity (while the "views" kept increasing), but this year, we've had five days over over 100 posts already. It's exciting for me as a moderator, but wow am I busy organizing (happily!)


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#63 DonRocks

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:36 PM

We used to regularly have over 100 posts daily, then it slowly became a rarity (while the "views" kept increasing), but this year, we've had five days over over 100 posts already. It's exciting for me as a moderator, but wow am I busy organizing (happily!)

 

And a single post at 6:45 PM on a Saturday, about a bagel and cream cheese at Bruegger's, has spawned off into 7 topics and 35 replies less than 24 hours later. It has been a busy day, and I've loved every minute of it.


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#64 darkstar965

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:40 PM

And a single post at 6:45 PM on a Saturday, about a bagel and cream cheese at Bruegger's, has spawned off into 7 topics and 35 replies less than 24 hours later. It has been a busy day, and I've loved every minute of it.

 

Love that you're loving it.  The metrics are really interesting.  Knew that the bagel thing had gone viral pretty fast but didn't know the specific numbers.






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