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Question for Shopping and Cooking Members


DonRocks
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Given that we're branching out, restaurant-wise, to other parts of the country, I'm thinking of reorganizing the forums to give New York and Philadelphia a little more visibility.

Ideally, we'd have a "Shopping and Cooking" forum for each city, but especially since "Cooking" is such a universal thing, it's not as easy as it sounds. Plus, if we were to do that, we'd have an incredibly populated DC Shopping and Cooking forum, and empty forums from other cities - it would be throat-clearingly uncomfortable looking.

So I'm thinking of making Shopping and Cooking into a more national-level forum, welcoming people from New York and Philadelphia to post here, rather than in their own Ghost Town. If their participation ever gets high enough, we can split them off into individual cities, but I suspect that will be a ways into the future. The downside of doing this, of course, is that you might have to see some posts that don't apply to the DC area at all (if someone started a thread, for example, about D'Agostino's). Do you mind this?

Farms and Farmer's Markets is a similar problem, and I'm open to suggestions. To me, this "feels" like it should be tethered to individual cities, but I'm not sure how to start from scratch in the new cities and get any worthwhile participation. (The answer, of course, is funding and PR, but we don't have that.)

News and Media is no problem making national. Professionals and Businesses already is. Beer, Wine, and Cocktails essentially already is. Events and Gatherings is no problem having on a national level since the entire website is invited to every event, so co-mingling events isn't an issue.

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How about an out-of-town Shopping sub-forum like the current Farmer's Market one?  Grouping them together until there is critical mass for dedicated NYC/Philly sub-forums could keep the volume at a respectable level while not diluting the DC-centric nature of the main forum.

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How about an out-of-town Shopping sub-forum like the current Farmer's Market one?  Grouping them together until there is critical mass for dedicated NYC/Philly sub-forums could keep the volume at a respectable level while not diluting the DC-centric nature of the main forum.

I guess I'm not convinced that we're going to get a huge amount of out-of-town posts, and if we did, we could split them up. But I'm listening ...

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I'm not sure there is much point.  A number of people in the DC area on this site visit NYC and Philly fairly often, so those aren't exactly foreign cities. Cooking is cooking, no matter where you are. Even I, who hasn't been to NYC in over 30 years, knows about Zabar's. Looking for ingredients is more localized, but there isn't much you can't find on Amazon.

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I'm not sure there is much point.  A number of people in the DC area on this site visit NYC and Philly fairly often, so those aren't exactly foreign cities. Cooking is cooking, no matter where you are. Even I, who hasn't been to NYC in over 30 years, knows about Zabar's. Looking for ingredients is more localized, but there isn't much you can't find on Amazon.

This is my feeling too, but I didn't want to open the floodgates (even though I think there's only going to be a trickle) without asking people first.

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I don't mind having those posts in the intrepid traveler under the area in which they are because often when people report back about markets it's in a big trip report.  But for the places where we now have forums that might be harder...

I would be interested in where to shop in say NYC...  and that would be harder to have in intrepid traveler now.  Perhaps in the Shopping Index there could just be a sub-category labelled Shopping in Foreign Places, that have threads labelled say- shopping in NYC and Shopping in Philly, that could hold all the posts talking about markets or stores selling any food related stuff?

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Why not split the site into three?  DC, Philly, and NYC.  Then you can search or post in the area of interest.

If I was starting all over again, with mega-funding, I'd have a "sub-site" in every city like you propose, but this has grown organically, and there's *so* much DC content, that we have to preserve it, i.e., we can't really do Philly and New York on an equal footing with DC since they're lagging so far behind.

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I guess I'm not convinced that we're going to get a huge amount of out-of-town posts, and if we did, we could split them up. But I'm listening ...

If they were interspersed with the main forum, could we flag them such that non-DC posts were easier to spot (link color? icon?)  I have family in both of the cities under consideration, but my main use for the Shopping forum is to find products that are available closer than a long drive up 95.

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If they were interspersed with the main forum, could we flag them such that non-DC posts were easier to spot (link color? icon?)  I have family in both of the cities under consideration, but my main use for the Shopping forum is to find products that are available closer than a long drive up 95.

Yes, we can do something like that, but I really do see this as a trickle, not a flood. I wouldn't let a huge co-mingling occur without splitting things up.

Sometimes it's hard to predict things - I think it's best to make structural changes during a slow period (which this is, at least in terms of posting - we have a lot of views, but not so many posts that I can't handle them). I want to change the basic skeleton so we can go national without losing local, if that makes any sense (it does to me).

I can *easily* handle all aspects of the restaurant side of things; it's the non-restaurant sides that I need guidance with (cuz in case you guys haven't figured it out yet, I've been winging this whole thing since day one, and I don't even know how to boil an egg).

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Have you looked at the way Mouthfuls does it?  I'm not the super most regular reader-poster there, but they balance being NY-centric with having members in other places.  Just throwing this out without checking anything to see if I'm on base or not.

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Have you looked at the way Mouthfuls does it?  I'm not the super most regular reader-poster there, but they balance being NY-centric with having members in other places.  Just throwing this out without checking anything to see if I'm on base or not.

No, and I'm not going to. Honestly, outside of it being a fairly popular New York restaurant forum, I don't even really know what Mouthfuls is, and I'd prefer for it to remain that way (if someone told me what it was like to begin a website back in 2005, I never would have). Not once did I look at Chowhound when I was forum host of eGullet.

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No, and I'm not going to. Honestly, outside of it being a fairly popular New York restaurant forum, I don't even really know what Mouthfuls is, and I'd prefer for it to remain that way (if someone told me what it was like to begin a website back in 2005, I never would have). Not once did I look at Chowhound when I was forum host of eGullet.

PLEASE NOTE:  It's Mouthfulsfood.com.  If you leave off the "food" part, it will take you to a porn site (as I found to my chagrin all those many moons ago when we were all transitioning from eGullet and before DR.com was instituted).

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PLEASE NOTE:  It's Mouthfulsfood.com.  If you leave off the "food" part, it will take you to a porn site (as I found to my chagrin all those many moons ago when we were all transitioning from eGullet and before DR.com was instituted).

That's hilarious.  It reminds me of when we first got the internet at work back in 94 or 95.  This was before I had it at home, and before they had all these ways to block inappropriate sites.  I didn't know what to seach for so I typed in whitehouse.com, just to see what was on the President's website.  Well, as you probably guessed it was a porn site.  I needed the .gov to get to the right place.

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No, and I'm not going to. Honestly, outside of it being a fairly popular New York restaurant forum, I don't even really know what Mouthfuls is, and I'd prefer for it to remain that way (if someone told me what it was like to begin a website back in 2005, I never would have). Not once did I look at Chowhound when I was forum host of eGullet.

I'm not sure what the point is of ignoring other sites that are similar. You look at yelp, which is actually in some ways less similar.  I went back to mouthfuls and checked the shopping and cooking.  It's just divided into two dedicated subforums, one for buying/the shops and the other for cooking/the kitchen.  Most of the shops seem at a glance to be either New York based or Amazon/mail order-type.  They're not specifically labeled as to location (except for, say, a thread on greenmarkets, which we have a separate forum for), so it's hard to for me to be sure.

Since threads here can be tagged, there's no reason a Philadelphia or Fort Worth shop can't be listed alongside DC/MD/VA but have a tag locating it in another region.  Once the "Philadelphia" tag has hit a certain saturation point, then it could have it's own sub-forum for shopping.  And some of these shops also ship outside their home area.

The only place I can see it getting confusing is with people looking for/discussing ingredients in a thread that's titled with an ingredient name, but until there's a critical mass of people from outside of DC trying to find an item, most people looking for specific ingredients will be in the DC area.  We just had a little bit of that with KMango talking about Hatch chiles, which were available to her earlier and more easily than they are here.

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I'm not sure what the point is of ignoring other sites that are similar. You look at yelp, which is actually in some ways less similar.  I went back to mouthfuls and checked the shopping and cooking.  It's just divided into two dedicated subforums, one for buying/the shops and the other for cooking/the kitchen.  Most of the shops seem at a glance to be either New York based or Amazon/mail order-type.  They're not specifically labeled as to location (except for, say, a thread on greenmarkets, which we have a separate forum for), so it's hard to for me to be sure.

Since threads here can be tagged, there's no reason a Philadelphia or Fort Worth shop can't be listed alongside DC/MD/VA but have a tag locating it in another region.  Once the "Philadelphia" tag has hit a certain saturation point, then it could have it's own sub-forum for shopping.  And some of these shops also ship outside their home area.

The only place I can see it getting confusing is with people looking for/discussing ingredients in a thread that's titled with an ingredient name, but until there's a critical mass of people from outside of DC trying to find an item, most people looking for specific ingredients will be in the DC area.  We just had a little bit of that with KMango talking about Hatch chiles, which were available to her earlier and more easily than they are here.

Trust me when I say I don't look at Yelp other than to find a restaurant's address.

I'm waiting for the day when Invision develops a Boolean "And" for the tags (and I'm certain they'll need to implement that feature at some point). For example, you'd click on "Greek" and get a bunch of things, including Greek restaurants, Athens, etc.; then, within that list, you'd click on "Yogurt" and *only* get threads pertaining to Greek Yogurt. That's just a hypothetical example, but you get the picture.

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