There's a new feature on the boards that I hope you like. We're calling it Places.
Often there's a discussion about a place and somewhere down the thread somebody asks, "Where is this place anyway?" Now there's an easy way to explain.
Here's how it works: When you write a post, you'll notice a button at the bottom that says "Link to a Place". So if you've mentioned a particular restaurant (or shop or bar) in your post, you can then type in the name and as much of the address as you know, click Search, and some choices of listings will come up. Choose the right one, and then click “Add a Place.”
What happens then is kind of magical: the name of the place comes up below your post and on the right side of the page on which the post appears, and that name is linked to a page about that place that's been automatically created-- a stub page, in the language of wikis. (You’ll need to refresh the page to see the links.)
And it is, in fact, a wiki. Anyone can edit the information on that page. We hope that you'll continue to update the page with information about hours, atmosphere, favorite dishes-- anything that will help the Chowhounds find and learn about the places you're discussing. The page will include links back to the threads that mention the place. For example, I started a thread http://www.chow.com/topics/417322 asking where to buy Spanish wine in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I linked to the two places I knew.
One of those places is K&L Wine Merchants. I followed the K&L link to its stub page http://www.chow.com/places/9 and then added some information there about the place.
How is the content of these Places pages different than a topic? Well, discussion is, of course, opinion. We'd like to keep the wikis to an NPOV http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedi... as Wikipedia puts it-- that is, a neutral point of view. This is the spot for information about what's on the menu, who's in the kitchen, tips on where to park-- any information that will enhance others' experience.
Ultimately, we hope that we'll develop the most comprehensive database on the Web of places to find deliciousness. (Or places to avoid.) The particular expertise of Chowhounds means that the information here will likely be informed, up to date, and helpful. At least that's the idea. And then the information about various places can be easily grouped and organized, much the way the Digest now summarizes posts.
Of course, whether this feature is useful depends on your interest. We hope that you'll find it promising enough to spend the time inputting information about the places you discuss. And the feature, labeled Beta, truly is in Beta form. The stub pages will grow and change. We're waiting to hear your thoughts, including what information you’d like to see added to the Places pages. We’ve got a thread started at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/41758....
And for more information, please check out the FAQ: http://www.chowhound.com/faq#linkmean