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Administrative Announcement - New Dining Guide Format - Feedback Needed (Important)

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On 7/13/2018 at 1:53 PM, DonRocks said:

Sigh. Sometimes I think there's no conspiracy; the other times I'm awake.

On 7/13/2018 at 2:09 PM, Rovers2000 said:

What a joke.  They won't be, but Eater and the City Paper should be embarrassed.

I have a question: Am I paranoid? Jeez.

I don't think I'm going to be able to rest silent much longer - there's a fine line between being deliberately optimistic (which I always have  been), and ignorant: I am most certainly not the latter, never have been.

Request to all members here: Please continue leading by example. When possible, find the original source (no need to examine government documents), and quote in the form:

Jul 17, 2018 - "Nice Guys Finish Last, or Do They?" by Ben Dover on DiceyDining.com

Or, if you don't want to break up your writing, you can put it in your text like this. <--- Warning, NSFW!

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On 7/4/2018 at 8:47 AM, DonRocks said:

The website is back online after several days when a simple backup request by me wasn't being answered - I kept trying and trying to get an answer, and took the website down because I didn't want any members to lose their new posts (not everyone reads these Administrative Announcements); however, I heard from the President of Invision last night, and everything is going to be fine.

Bottom line for everyone: The "Unread Posts" feature for people is going to be reset to where it was as of June 23rd. I could have it reset to June 27th, but that will cost me $150, and I don't see that being much of an advantage. So, in a couple of days, you may notice that your "Unread Posts" will be reset to everything written here since June 23rd - you can easily solve this problem by clicking on "Mark Everything Read," but then there's the opposite problem: Everything on the website will be marked as having been read. The only "correct" way to do this will be to go in and churn through the posts individually. I hope this doesn't inconvenience anyone for more than a few minutes (they're sorted in reverse-chronological order, so the new ones will be at the top).

Happy July 4th everyone - it's nice to have you back, and I hope you enjoy the holiday!

My backup request still isn't being addressed. Something is very, very wrong, and I have a feeling I know what it is.

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Anyone going to London in the near future?

Andy Hayler is the greatest fine-dining critic in the world - more experienced, and every bit as talented, or better, than I could ever hope to be - even if given unlimited resources.

Why should we trust anything less than Andy?

We shouldn't. This guy has my total respect.

Are there any volunteers out there who will help me make this a better world for American diners traveling to London?

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If you're the best in the world at your sub-specialty, write me here, and we'll work out something where we'll link to your website for all the threads we have in your area of expertise. It'll be a win-win-win-win for you-us-readers-diners. Anyone out there the best in the world at your specialty? donrockwell@donrockwell.com is the email address you seek for a ton of PR and web traffic to your website.

Burghound? Want to do Burgundy?

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Would everyone like me to do with DC what Andy Hayler is doing with London? I'm painfully aware that we had an "On Demand" review section here, which I simply couldn't fulfill - not because I didn't dine at the restaurants (I did, multiple times), but because I was simply too badly injured to be writing restaurant reviews (if y'all only knew what I've suffered through over the past ten years, you'd understand, but I doubt that anyone will truly ever know). Anyway, I'm perfect capable to write "dcdining.com" - style reviews for what are supposedly the most important openings in the DC area - we could do this by vote, or I could use my judgment - either way is okay with me. Please chime in here and let me know - don't worry about the costs: Dining costs are my burden, and the only reliable reviews are ones written by someone who pays their own way. 

I'm at your service, my brothers and sisters.

Kind regards,
Rocks

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8 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Would everyone like me to do with DC what Andy Hayler is doing with London? I'm painfully aware that we had an "On Demand" review section here, which I simply couldn't fulfill - not because I didn't dine at the restaurants (I did, multiple times), but because I was simply too badly injured to be writing restaurant reviews (if y'all only knew what I've suffered through over the past ten years, you'd understand, but I doubt that anyone will truly ever know). Anyway, I'm perfect capable to write "dcdining.com" - style reviews for what are supposedly the most important openings in the DC area - we could do this by vote, or I could use my judgment - either way is okay with me. Please chime in here and let me know - don't worry about the costs: Dining costs are my burden, and the only reliable reviews are ones written by someone who pays their own way. 

I'm at your service, my brothers and sisters.

Kind regards,
Rocks

YES, please!!

 These reviews, IMO, are the most trusted. They are not paid for, and enlist more objectivity which translate in trust. 

Bring back your reviews, as I do enjoy reading them and will use them as a beacon for visiting spots in the DMV.

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A request to all our posters, which will make everyone think I have Tourette's (or equivalent):

1) Please try not to leave blank lines at the end of your post. Just hit FWD-DEL and hold it down to eliminate blank lines. Same thing when using quoted text - one double-space is great, but please don't leave too many blank lines.

2) Please try not to leave "naked links" such as this: http://nationalgeographic.com, and put them inside of words like this: National Geographic Website

Thank you! This will make my life much easier.
Rocks

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3 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

A request to all our posters, which will make everyone think I have Tourette's (or equivalent):

1) Please try not to leave blank lines at the end of your post. Just hit FWD-DEL and hold it down to eliminate blank lines. Same thing when using quoted text - one double-space is great, but please don't leave too many blank lines.

2) Please try not to leave "naked links" such as this: http://nationalgeographic.com, and put them inside of words like this: National Geographic Website

Thank you! This will make my life much easier.
Rocks



Here's an example of the above with both problems: http://washingtonpost.com

 

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3 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

A request to all our posters, which will make everyone think I have Tourette's (or equivalent):

1) Please try not to leave blank lines at the end of your post. Just hit FWD-DEL and hold it down to eliminate blank lines. Same thing when using quoted text - one double-space is great, but please don't leave too many blank lines.

2) Please try not to leave "naked links" such as this: http://nationalgeographic.com, and put them inside of words like this: National Geographic Website

Thank you! This will make my life much easier.
Rocks

Here's an example of the above with neither problem. Washington Post Website

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7 minutes ago, Bob Wells said:

I had not heard of Takumi until it came up in a Yelp search this very afternoon.

And now you know why this website may not be around a year from now.

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On 3/2/2019 at 8:52 PM, DonRocks said:

And now you know why this website may not be around a year from now.

Hope that's not the case. DR.com is one of the first sites I go to when I turn on my laptop in the morning. Not sure how I've missed the excellent Takumi thread.

Regarding Yelp, the key is that it's an app. When I am on the go and on my phone, I used mostly apps to conduct business. Yelp to find a restaurant (and it got me to the right place in this case; you don't see people mocking Yelp much these days); Fooducate to find out deets on a new food at Costco; MyFitnessPal to find out the calorie hit for something I'm thinking about ordering, Amazon to get reviews and prices on something like an unusual chocolate bar that I'm considering, etc etc. That's how my world works now.

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2 hours ago, Bob Wells said:

Regarding Yelp, the key is that it's an app. When I am on the go and on my phone, I used mostly apps to conduct business. 

The dining guides are easy to add as a one-touch, home-screen bookmark (which isn't an app, but it's quick and easy to use).

1) Bring up the second post (make sure it's the second post) in the VA dining guide on your cell phone: 

https:// www.donrockwell.com /topic/2342-virginia-restaurant-guide-best-restaurants-in-virginia/?do=findComment&comment=342444

2) Click the bottom-center icon (the square with the up-arrow), then click on "Add to Home Screen." IMG_0577.PNG

3) Title it whatever you wish (in this case, "VA Dining Guide.") IMG_0578.PNG
4) You'll now have an icon on your home screen. IMG_0579.PNG

I have all three local dining guides (DC, MD, VA) clustered in one folder. IMG_0581.PNG

You'll have thousands of restaurants, all ranked within neighborhood, that you can access within a few seconds - threads, websites, Twitter and Instagram pages, and a Google map for navigation.

Can't beat the price. :)

---

If someone wants to turn this into an app, get in touch with me - I can sketch out the logic for you, but I don't know the programming language.

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Don -

 Here's a suggestion for the Dining Guide.  Can you just list the geographical areas without the restaurants below them?  In other words, instead of having the heading of Penn Quarter and then having 15 restaurants below that, and then a Chinatown heading and 20 restaurants, etc, you would just have:

Penn Quarter

Chinatown

Federal Triangle

etc.

The problem I'm trying to solve by suggesting this is the endless scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.  Especially on a phone.   I sometime burst out laughing at how many restaurants there are and how much scrolling I do.  Often only to find out there there's a "page 2" that I have to start scrolling through!!  ;-)

I see the value in having the geographical headings and all the restaurants listed below them because that would eliminate one click.  (You wouldn't have to hit Chinatown and then Bantam King.  You'd just click on Bantam King).  But only have to scroll through 20 geographical areas instead of 2000 restaurants is appealing as well. 

Any way you can do both? 

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23 minutes ago, Bart said:

Don -

 Here's a suggestion for the Dining Guide.  Can you just list the geographical areas without the restaurants below them?  In other words, instead of having the heading of Penn Quarter and then having 15 restaurants below that, and then a Chinatown heading and 20 restaurants, etc, you would just have:

Penn Quarter

Chinatown

Federal Triangle

etc.

The problem I'm trying to solve by suggesting this is the endless scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.  Especially on a phone.   I sometime burst out laughing at how many restaurants there are and how much scrolling I do.  Often only to find out there there's a "page 2" that I have to start scrolling through!!  😉

I see the value in having the geographical headings and all the restaurants listed below them because that would eliminate one click.  (You wouldn't have to hit Chinatown and then Bantam King.  You'd just click on Bantam King).  But only have to scroll through 20 geographical areas instead of 2000 restaurants is appealing as well. 

Any way you can do both? 

I know what you're talking about: an index to an index. It might be extremely clumsy and slow, because a separate post would need to be made for each neighborhood - still, that might be better.

I could also put closed restaurants in a separate area, which would condense the sheer size of it.

(Even in the best of circumstances, it won't happen in March, but I won't forget this.)

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46 minutes ago, astrid said:

Quick note to everyone, given that this website is designed for the long, long, *long*, *Long*, *LONG*, *LONG* term: If you would, will you please make a screenshot of whatever link you link to, and upload it as a screen shot? For example, this:

Screenshot 2019-03-18 at 22.37.31.png

... because one day, it will no longer be on these other websites such as Amazon. :)

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Sorry - the domain name expired at midnight on Friday, and I've been out of town this weekend for Matt's senior recital. There wasn't much I could do about it once it happened, but I'll make sure it doesn't happen going forward.

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Folks, most people here probably don't know that the Dining Guide - in its current format - has outgrown Invision's capabilities, i.e., it's just too big, and there are just too many links, for it to be reliably updated. (Whenever I update it (which is often), I save it, and wait, and wait, and wait, until I get an error message - despite the error message, all the changes are accepted, but this is no way to be living.)

So, instead of formatting the Washington, DC (and other) Dining Guides like regular posts, I got a consultant to use a built-in Invision feature. She has given it a first cut, and there are several things about it I don't like (it will be obvious when you see it). Nevertheless, absent spending $10K on gigantic custom programming, this appears to be about the only quick-and-relatively-inexpensive way to tackle things.

As an example, Esther (our consultant) took the Los Angeles Dining Guide, and put an alpha version here at donrockwell.com/dining-guide

Please don't say how feeble it looks; I *know* how feeble it looks. What I'm looking for are ideas to make it workable. For example, we can have photographs and Google maps for every restaurant (obviously, it will take a great deal of time to get all the photographs, but we have to start with the capability to do it). 

I don't like the "subforum look," and I'm not sure what can be done to improve it. However, this at least *works*, and hopefully Esther can chime in here and reply to your suggestions and questions (she'll be monitoring this thread). There's no rush, but we have to get this done, eventually, so if you could please leave your feedback here, it will be greatly appreciated. This will eventually be "The Format" for every single dining guide, but there's no reason that things can't be sorted by "type of cuisine," e.g., instead of neighborhood. 

I'm still not certain what is possible and what isn't, because I don't understand how this Invision feature works, but we have to start somewhere, so ... please have at it.

Use your imagination, and ask yourselves how you'd do this if you could do anything you wish.

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Question- So under DC- we would have all the neighborhoods listed like you do here, correct?  Could we do a subforum that is in that list for all non-neighborhood things- like for example in LA the Cuban subforum there?  I don't think it is so bad.  I assume then we would break out- DC, MD, VA, Multiple Locations (or are we deleting multiple locations?) and each of these would be like the main forum with the sub-forum neighborhoods below?

The thing I will miss the most, and maybe we can include it somehow- is the list of all the restaurants and what neighborhood they are in- sometimes I just scroll that to get ideas.  Maybe we could have after the forum- the first subforum be:  Neighborhood List Guide- which would just have a list of all the restaurants in each neighborhood for that forum and their current rating?  

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43 minutes ago, ktmoomau said:

Question- So under DC- we would have all the neighborhoods listed like you do here, correct?  Could we do a subforum that is in that list for all non-neighborhood things- like for example in LA the Cuban subforum there?  I don't think it is so bad.  I assume then we would break out- DC, MD, VA, Multiple Locations (or are we deleting multiple locations?) and each of these would be like the main forum with the sub-forum neighborhoods below?

The thing I will miss the most, and maybe we can include it somehow- is the list of all the restaurants and what neighborhood they are in- sometimes I just scroll that to get ideas.  Maybe we could have after the forum- the first subforum be:  Neighborhood List Guide- which would just have a list of all the restaurants in each neighborhood for that forum and their current rating?  

I'll need Esther to field questions about what is, and isn't, possible, but listing the neighborhoods is currently the way it works.

One shortcoming I see is that the way we have it now, we can go into the dining guide, and do a "Find" on any restaurant in Washington, by name; that is lost in this new scheme, and we've got to get around that somehow.

But in addition to that, this new method can have things listed by, I think, "Thai," for example, so I think you may be able to cluster all Thai restaurants in DC (although I'm not sure).

Yes, we'll have one of these for DC, one for MD, one for Baltimore, one for Multiple Locations, etc. Things like Shopping and Cooking will have their own version, but they won't be quite like this - Esther will need to customize how those are formatted as well. I do know that this problem only happens in the DMV (whose Dining Guides are *much* bigger than any other city's) - still, if this website is going to continue growing, we'll eventually have this problem with every city.

If I could just figure out *why* the current Dining Guide format is causing the system to "break," we wouldn't need to do this at all, but nobody can tell me why this is happening, other than that "the entries are too big." I don't know *what* is too big - is it too many links? Too many bytes? I don't know, and nobody at Invision can tell me.

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Whenever I find myself searching, it is by location first, then i can see what is nearby and what I am in the mood for... if neighborhood or area listings are lost, I don’t see it being as useful for me.

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Don't use Invision for the dining guides. Code them as HTML pages and link to them from the board (they can still have the root donrockwell.com). You can link to them from the board a number of different ways. The best looking may be as a sidebar on the home page, with a graphic link for each city.

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2 hours ago, RWBooneJr said:

Don't use Invision for the dining guides. Code them as HTML pages and link to them from the board (they can still have the root donrockwell.com). You can link to them from the board a number of different ways. The best looking may be as a sidebar on the home page, with a graphic link for each city.

Talk to Esther, please.

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What would be really awesome?  A google maps overlay with filtering based on category tags in the existing restaurant threads.  This would probably require some serious work to get the address data synced to the threads, and the tagging probably isn't nearly consistent enough, but it would be great to pull up a map, zoom in on a general area and check "ramen" or "DR Highly Recommended" or "great cocktails".  Once the framework is set up it should be easy to update the feed with new data.

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