Community Founders on Lunch A Lunch Community for Lunch Community Founders. <![CDATA[Why Post Reviews in Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]> Thu, 12 Sep 2013 14:09:35 +0000 <![CDATA[ An intimate and revealing look at the coldest, driest, windiest, and most isolated continent on Eart]]> It is not very often that a photograph on a dust jacket entices me to read a book.  In fact I can only recall a handful of times in my life that this has happened.  The other day I was perusing the "recent arrivals" at my local public library when I spotted a stunning photograph of a desolate yet indescribably beautiful place.  The landscape was like nothing I had ever seen before in my life.  When I discovered the subject matter I simply could not resist.  Gabrielle Walker writes about science for a living and has visited Antarctica on a number of occasions.  Ms. Walker has chronicled her first-hand experiences and observations in an eye-opening new book "Antarctica:  An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent".  I suspect that this is one of the most comprehensive looks at a place that very few of us have ever thought very much about.  I must confess that I had a very hard time putting this one down.

Throughout the pages of "Antarctica:  An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent" Gabrielle Walker offers up something akin to a guided tour of this vast and truly amazing place.  For someone who writes about science for a living the author demonstrates a terrific command of the language as she describes in great detail the myriad people, places and events that she encounters in her extensive travels.  Truth be told, there are probably very few people on earth who have had the opportunity to visit as many parts of Antarctica as Ms. Walker has.  One of the things that immediately jumped out at me were the bizarre names of some of the places on the map including Desolation Island, Cape Disappointment, Terror Point, Exasperation Inlet and Deception Island.  Obviously, Antarctica is a place fraught with danger at just about every turn and is not a place for the faint of heart.  The author quotes a young British explorer named Belgrave Ninnis who observed a century ago;  " It really looks as if there must have been a large surplus of bad weather left over after all the land had been formed at the Creation, a surplus that appears to have been dumped down in this small area of Antarctica."  While the author is obviously captivated by her surroundings her main purpose in being here is to observe the science.  It seems that there are all manner of cutting-edge scientific experiments going on here.

Although I am hardly the scientific sort, I was very interested in learning about the wide variety of scientific experimentation being done on Antarctica these days.  Gabrielle Walker takes her readers to the South Pole where there is a lot more going on than you might expect.  She visits the Atmospheric Research Observatory (ARO), a facility run by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) whose purpose is to measure long-term changes in the air.  Did you know that scientists have been measuring the air at the South Pole since 1957?  Meanwhile, important work is also being done at SPRESSO (South Pole Remote Earth Science and Seismological Observatory) which has the ability to measure earthquakes all over the world.  The author spent about four weeks at the South Pole where the temperature hovered at around -58F!  Ms. Walker also takes us to a place called Concordia where scientists drill down into the ice caps and extract cores containing air that is older than the human race.  Imagine that!  Many of these ice cores are retrieved from a depth of some 10000 feet and are estimated to be 800,000 years old.  Towards the end of the book the author takes us to the Antarctic Peninsula which is located on the northernmost part of the continent.  Most people consider this to be the most beautiful place in Antarctica.  Unlike most other areas of the continent this is a place with an abundance of life.  You will learn why scientists living and working on the Antarctic Peninsula are extremely concerned about the rising temperatures there and the implications it is going to have on both the landscape and the creatures who call this place home.  Finally, I would be remiss if I failed to mention some of the fascinating wildlife that Gabrielle encountered along the way.  She describes several varieties of penguins including the cute little Adelies and the much larger emperors. As for birds she was fortunate enough to see skuas which evidently look like seagulls but are larger and brown.  They earn their living by stealing penguin eggs for food.  Then there are the snow petrels that are pure white and live in this harsh environment for 40 years or more.  I was curious so I looked them up on Wikipedia.  They are breathtakingly beautiful! Finally, the author talks of sea spiders the size of dinner plates, giant worms twice as long as the average human being is tall and fish that literally have antifreeze circulating in their bodies.  Unbelievable!

One of the main reasons I decided to read "Antarctica:  An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent" was that this was a subject that I knew very little about.  Gabrielle Walker taught me an awful lot and I appreciate that.  I applaud the author for going to the extremes she did to gleen this information for us.  At the end of the book there is a timeline of Antarctic history and a glossary of terms that also proved to be very helpful. I only wish that this book included some photographs.  Nevertheless, I am pleased to report that this is a well-written, informative and very entertaining book.  Highly recommended!

]]> Wed, 30 Jan 2013 22:55:01 +0000
<![CDATA[ Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Sat, 10 Nov 2012 01:21:16 +0000 <![CDATA[ Slowly withering on the vine.]]> I have finally come to the realization that the high hopes that I had for this site are probably never going to be realized. The clarion call to "Feed Your Curiosity" is what attracted me to the site in the first place.   The prospect of engaging other members in writing and reading about a potpurri of interesting topics held great appeal for me.  I relished the idea of learning about all kinds of new things from people who were passionate about them.  Likewise, in addition to reviewing books and CD's as I had done for so many years on I was intrigued by the idea of being able to review almost anything here on Lunch.  Over the years I have written reviews about interesting people, public policy issues and some innovative new products.  Clearly, the ability to review virtually anything was what seperated Lunch from any other site I had ever encountered before.   It always seemed to me that the basic concept behind Lunch was a very noble and sound one.  But as is so often the case the problems arose in the implementation. 

When I was invited to join Lunch back in the Fall of 2008 I took a look at the site and was extremely impressed.  The only reservation that I had was that the site had the potential to turn into just another pop culture site.  If I was going to invest my time and energy into this project I was bound and determined to post content that would be of interest to a wider spectrum of potential members.  And so that is what I attempted to do.  Everyone at the Lunch office was very supportive.  There were times when I really believed that the site was on the precipice of breaking through.   New members came and went but I thought the site was really beginning to take off in early 2010.  But one thing troubled me all along the way.  It seemed to me that Lunch was being dominated by a handful of topics.  This totally frustrated me not only because I had absolutely no interest in most of this stuff personally but also because I felt it discouraged lots of potential new members with wider-ranging interests from hanging around.  Frankly, I found the subject matter to be rather depressing.  For the life of me I simply cannot understand the fascination with death and darkness, vampires and zombies, Satan and evil.  I expressed my concerns to the Lunch staff from time to time but wondered how they could go about correcting the problem.  Perhaps they did not view this as a problem at all.  In any event, to this very day I honestly believe that more than anything else this is what has held the site back.   Furthermore, it has always boggled my mind that from the get-go there has been relatively little interest in music, sports, politics and notable people on the site.  How can that be?  I have always found this to be rather bizarre.  As a result there is very little content on Lunch anymore that even remotely interests me.

And so at the end of the day I believe that what we have wound up with is a site that is dying a slow but sure death.  To some degree it has evolved into  the pop culture site that I feared it would.  There are far fewer people contributing to than there were a year ago.  Furthermore,  I have noticed that Lunch founder J.R. Johnson has not been around at least five or six monthsand that the staff has dwindled in number.  This speaks volumes to me.  Frankly, I just don't know how you fix it at this point.  It appears that lots of good reviewers who had something to say have given up and left the site.  It was such a marvelous idea!  It is really too bad.]]> Wed, 14 Dec 2011 00:59:08 +0000
<![CDATA[Reviews on Lunch Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]>
While I usually stick with movie and comic book reviews, I've found myself interested in reviewing other stuff because of the influences of other marvelous people in the site. I have left amazon (despite being a former top 250+ reviewer) and have tried other formats in Epinions. (while I liked Epinions since they helped me further hone my reviewing 'skills', the freedom of adding topics wasn't there)

However, such awesomeness in review format can have its setbacks, adding topics and monitoring accuracy can be such a chore for the staff (so let's help them out by using accurate tags and info). Not every review site/format is perfect, since all of them can be abused by people and freedom in reviewing does come with a price; but the site do try to do its best to make sure it is different from others. They are trying to practice awesomeness in reviewing format!

]]> Thu, 8 Dec 2011 01:09:55 +0000
<![CDATA[ Biting the Hand that Feeds Me Lunch]]>
As you can probably tell from my rating, I generally like One of the site owners found my work on and asked me to drop in and give a quick whirl, even offering a little bit of payment as an incentive. With swirling ominously around the suckage drain at the moment, I shrugged and said "Well, why not?" And did I mention paid me to do so? (Really, I felt very honored by the fact that, out of thousands of reviewers on Epinions, someone noticed my work and asked me to come over.)

I am not the most popular reviewer on Epinions, but my work was strong enough for me to be offered a reviewer spot on the independent video game website Netjak, and when Netjak went south, The Examiner came calling. I was very proud to place my work among the pantheon of talented reviewers with Netjak, but The Examiner proved to be a real hellhole. So when it came time for new exposure, my setting up shop on Lunch proved to be a good move when I saw that my reviews were getting over 100 hits within hours on bad days. On Epinions, for me to get 100 hits took months. I was especially impressed when my review of the movie Dark City reeled in 14,000 in about 12 hours. It even gets tweeted a lot these days. Even Netjak didn't expose me that much!

I'm very fond of the quick tips section because it lets me write a quick blurb about any subject that I can't review in depth. It also allows me a lot of extra exposure. The profile on Lunch is awesome because I'm allowed to link up other websites to it. Lunch doesn't have a big problem with me creating links to other websites in my reviews either, so if I need to prove something, hey, just link it right up! Or use a photograph, which is also allowed!

The REALLY great thing about Lunch is that I'm allowed to review literally anything. I've written reviews about walking, bicycling, community gardening, and a couple of musical artists. Not just their work, but the artists themselves, which really allows me to open up with my criticism whenever I believe it truly necessary. On Epinions, you're given the impression that you can review anything, but typing it into the search bar gives you about a 50/50 chance of finding it. Even if Epinions does have what I'm looking for, I'm frequently forced to visit Google and type "(blank) reviews Epinions" in order to find it, and even then, they might provide links to the products on Amazon or Ebay but not allow you to review it themselves. Even worse, if you ARE able to review it, they might not actually have it sectioned, which means no one will be able to ever find it. I wrote a review of Phantasy Star IV on Epinions which sat unread for close to a week because it wasn't placed anywhere!

I should note that on the downside, the search feature on Lunch can sometimes turn up more than one result for a very specific product you're looking to review. I searched for The Simpsons recently, and got three results all for the single, lone TV show that exists! This is called overkill, but I will acknowledge that I would rather have way too many results than too few.

While I do appreciate the automatic importer from Epinions, this is where I think Lunch seriously faulters. I've taken to simple copying and pasting from Epinions to Lunch in the traditional way because Lunch will import anything even if you've already got it posted! There's no limiting what can be imported or what can't - when you import from Epinions, everything Lunch is capable of taking gets taken.

It's entirely possible that I'm missing something here, but it seems like I'm always looking for substitute communities to place reviews in if one of the communities I belong to doesn't quite fit the mold. I've written a lot about actors, but always placed them in the movies section. Well, Nathan Fillion is TECHNICALLY a movie actor, but I don't think that guy from Waiting is the first character people think of when they think of Nathan Fillion. Even his best-known movie character, Malcolm Reynolds from Serenity, was a TV character first. Here's my point: If there's a way to get a product into a community or section that fits it better than any of my communities, I haven't found it.

Otherwise, I've been with Lunch for about six or seven months now, and I'm loving it.]]> Wed, 22 Jun 2011 15:32:23 +0000
<![CDATA[ Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Fri, 6 May 2011 04:06:45 +0000 <![CDATA[ The Gift]]> For many of us, reading is a lot easier than writing. Reading is also a lot more enjoyable. Think! We read almost everyday, anything... be it the newspaper, the magazines, the books, the reports at work, emails and possibly even menu (yes, some of us love to go through an entire menu before ordering our food!). 

As for writing, not many of us do. And those of us who do, we do it even less well. That's why some are able to make a living out of writing, though not many, while no one quite make a living out of reading. Correct me if I'm wrong!
For us here on Lunch, those who dwell here day by day are actually doing more writing than reading. True, some of Lunch members do reading better than writing, but I think it's quite safe to say those of us who logs in day after day are doing mostly writing.
When you think about it, a writer is only as good as the readers he/she is getting. Without a good number of readers, the writer lose his/her incentive and motivation to write. Most of us are socially conditioned and live our lives to produce work (does not matter if you like doing it or not) and be rewarded financially, if we do it well enough.  Yet, for many writers here on Lunch, we are not being paid to write. We are doing it either because we like doing the works (not me) or we do it to kill time (which I do quite a bit) or we do it to feel productive (sometimes). We do it for many reasons although I haven't hear anyone say that he/she is doing it because it's his/her calling! Other than the staff, I suppose I can safely say we don't get paid for it financially (unless I'm wrong about that, which I may well be). In any case, that's not the argument for writing and it's not what this review is focussing on.

Having said all that, the only incentive we get is to know we are writing and sharing things that readers find useful and hopefully interesting. And having asked for page views to be revealed (although it's only partially now, known only to the writers) I find it a consolation if not the prize that at least some people are reading and I haven't spent my time in vain. Yet, something is bugging at me. Perhaps some of you are getting lots of feedback (as in comments and ratings, which I truly doubt) but I'm not getting nearly enough (yeah, I'm greedy)! Members, though not many, and hence who are also writers themselves, must find it in your heart to leave some feedback to your fellow members! Comments are good and ratings are even better! I try my best to leave comments and ratings for those pages I do visit. I know, it's not as many as I'd have liked as I am finding time a rare commodity since I've more to write and share. But I try my best. Some members rate my pages without leaving a comment, some leave a comment without rating. I'm not complaining, I'm thankful that they did come by visiting. Yet, I do know we all may have many visited and read but not leave anything behind. That I feel should not be the way to act in a community site. 

You the reader can make a difference by sharing your voice across the world wide web. As successful as Facebook and Twitter are, we know everyone has a voice, even if it's noises. Since it's about reading I'm writing about, which is an activity that requires less time and effort than writing, I highly urge you to read as many as you can with your available time. After reading, do leave traces (and by that, I do mean you too, JR!). Yes, we are humans who will leave traces in this world. Don't go by the world not leaving even a single trace of yourself! That's like being invisible to the world. 

Read about
The Power of Us
written on Businessweek some 6 years ago
about sharing  & collaboration.

This is the story of Skype.

Lunch provides a chance for writers to share, but it also gives a excellent chance for others to read and share simultaneously. If reading is your forte, then do what you're comfortable doing and leave something for the writer (who needs some cheering occassionally...). Until the day you are ready to express your own thoughts on the matter (or topic), comments and ratings are mostly appreciated by the writers. We don't live in a vacuum. Considering the huge number of readers we have here on Lunch, it'd be safe to say that your participation is highly encouraged!
There was a director who once said that he'd produce a film even if there's only 4 movie-goers who'd appreciate the film. I'd say I'll continue writing even if there is only a reader who truly appreciates and reads what I'm writing (despite the fact that I'm not into writing as some of you are; I'd never ever call it a calling! God forbids!). I believe it has come to a point in time when I feel like I might vanish from this world in no time and I'd like to have witnesses to my existence! What are we really, if not what we're reading, thinking and writing? So, write we must! And read we must too... we the readers are people who make writers great (not forgetting, vice versa)!!! ;-)
]]> Fri, 6 May 2011 03:48:58 +0000
<![CDATA[Pageviews of Reviews on Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> motivation to writers and contributors on Lunch. I don't know about others, but for me, it's a consolation if not the prize for expressing my thoughts and experiences on a certain topics. It would have been great if it's also revealed to the public instead of merely to the writers! So far, I've got some 30,000+ views for a recent article, that may not be much to many but that's quite something when one is merely getting a comment or two here and there!]]> Fri, 6 May 2011 03:16:08 +0000 <![CDATA[ Star Light, Star Bright]]> not useful BUT welcoming. As a writer (despite the fact that I don't write for a living nor do I write for the fun of it; i'm on my way there though, LOL, so, stop bugging at me for these), getting feedback from readers is a motivating (& for many, powerful) force. It not only acts as a feedback of what readers and society (or in Lunch case, community) focus their attentions on, it serves as a rewarding "prize" to the members who take the time and effort to share his thoughts and beliefs on the matter.

We all feel differently about giving ratings to a piece of work or review, in this case. Some feels it should be based on its merits while others feel they give to one based on how useful it is to the readers themselves. Then again, there are others who give a rating based on their friendships. To them, the motivating force for being in a community is not to judge but rather to make friends and foster those relationships. For many, it's all of the above. No one is right or wrong, no matter how they rate. As long as they are not rating "deviously" or out to hurt another person.

Whatever the motivations are, one must remember a reader has a role to play and the writer has his/her respective standpoint and perspective. 

So, how do I rate? I err on the generous side, I hope. I do not think it's a competition between the writers and hence, rating a subject is based on my own personal liking for that topic, experiences with it and also how I concur with the writer. Yes, one can object and be different. However, as we all know in everyday psychology, people do not take well to criticism and judgement (me included!). Rather, we respond well to encouragements and friendship. So, based on that and also my past experiences on, rating to me is not a pointless affair. it is necessary to keep a member going, to help him/her share his/her thoughts and interactions with others in the community. It is essential. No doubt about that. it doesn't always imply how good a person is as a writer or how proficient he/she is on the subject matter. Instead, it does reflect on his/her interaction with the community at large. It fosters relationships. And relationships, my friends, are most important in this world we live in. We are here, all of us, in this world for relationships. Whether one tries to foster it in one's environment or online is subject to one's preference. Nonetheless, we are here to spread the good tidings...

Although some of us may not be here to form friendships or relationships, we are nonetheless here to find like-minded people. Yes, I do not believe others are out to look for someone to argue with. I do believe we are out to look for supportive relationships. Especially on, it is based on similarity and not on differences, is it not?

Now, back to ratings, if I feel differently from the writer, I normally just leave without reading it or simply rate without giving one on Helpfulness. That way, I do not offend people (I hate that, although sometimes it can't be help, people does get offended easily and for reasons unknown ;-)) and I can return in future to read other subject matters written by the same person. I do not find it productive to argue with others either as I believe it takes out too much out of me and it makes me feel the site is not a place where i'd want to be thereafter. Yes, I had seen others done this on another site and ultimately they just deleted everything and end up leaving for good! That I do not hope to accomplish nor do I want someone to leave because of me!

Having said all these, there are room for improvement when it comes to ratings. I saw what Huffington Post is doing... why not rate it with these in mind as additions to the current rating system?

To the credit of Huffington Post, an article can be:
  • Amazing
  • Inspiring
  • Funny
  • Scary
  • Crazy
  • Weird
  • Hot
  • Important
  • Life changing (I made this one up)

What do you think, ladies and gentleman? I hope Lunch will consider fine-tuning the system. 

]]> Sun, 1 May 2011 06:26:44 +0000
<![CDATA[Custom Badges in Communities on Lunch Quick Tip by Penelope11]]> This is a question...Are you planning on adding new badges for picture books on Easter like we had for Christmas and Thanksgiving? I've got 4 books in review on the subject coming up.
]]> Tue, 5 Apr 2011 01:45:44 +0000
<![CDATA[Cenobite7 Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]> Fri, 7 Jan 2011 20:21:19 +0000 <![CDATA[ Old Friends, New Friends, And A Few People You'd LIke To Forget]]>
I believed that those few select people (six friends total), would be my entire world on Facebook. Soon enough, however, I started getting friend requests from people I hadn't seen since high school or college. Knowing them, I decided to approve their friendship and quickly found myself chatting with them about their new families, their new homes, and their new careers.

In a very short amount of time I accumulated around seventy or so friends. All of them (excepting the original six) were people that I knew from my real, blood and bones life.

It was after these seventy people that things started getting weird. I began "liking" pages on Facebook that pertained to my interests such as science fiction, movies, and the New Orleans Saints. All of a sudden, complete strangers started wanting to be my friend supposedly due to sharing my interests. A few of them were obviously spammers hoping to attract me to their website because they all had similar canned friendship messages attached to their request. They also usually included a profile photo of a scantily clad girl who looked to be somewhere in her late teens (Why don't they ever use a photo of a scantily clad late 20's/early 30's woman? That's more interesting to a guy my age. Oh well, I guess that belongs in another review!).

Anyway, after sifting through and denying all of the nineteen year old hotties wanting to be my friend, I was usually left with a bunch of people who I knew absolutely nothing about. Some of them had public profiles with access to tons of personal information about them. It scared me to be quite honest with you. Needless to say, I denied all of them as well.

As time progressed, friendship requests started to slow down. I picked up a few new friends here and their after befriending them in real life, and thanks to Facebook's security features, I can actually block a few of the friends that I don't know that well from seeing certain parts of my profile, especially pictures of me and my family.

Ironically, many people who wouldn't say two words to me in high school or college seem to want to be my friend now. This is a very strange phenomena to me. One of my old bullies tried to friend me as well, but I simply denied his request. Sure, he might have changed and matured with time, but one thing I've learned is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. In other words, once a meathead, always a meathead!

I've also found that I tend to talk more with the friends I've made in the past five years and rarely talk to old friends from high school. I can only guess that the reason this is is due to the fact that I have more in common with them than my old high school pals.

As a rule, I only accept friend requests and do not usually send them to anyone. Maybe that's strange, but I look at it this way: If a person wants to be my friend or reunite from days gone by, they'll get in touch with me. Perhaps it is due to the fact that I'm not a big fan of being turned down for friendship requests, but have no problem denying others!

Overall, Facebook can be a very useful tool to get back in touch with people you've lost contact with. It can also help you keep up with your current friends and plan times to get together. And if you're into science fiction conventions like I am, Facebook can help you get in touch with people in the know in that community.

I like Facebook. I use it almost everyday. I never thought that I would, but it has become a key part of my life. Besides, Facebooking someone sounds a lot cooler than "tweeting" them!]]> Sun, 7 Nov 2010 02:27:14 +0000
<![CDATA[ A guideline, to follow or not on your writing quest.]]>
Seeing an outline helping define what to write and getting some ideas can help bring your ideas together and help bring up things that you might have forgotten.

Guidelines are not in concrete and can be ignored and it's good to remind the reviewer that but it doesn't hurt to have the guidelines in as suggestions to help the reviewer along.  There have been a few times where I'd be writing and I might have forgotten something and a guidline helped me remember.

Set them up and give them a try in the communtiy.  I've seen a few people do it in my own and it I can see where things get brought up that might be ignored.]]> Tue, 26 Oct 2010 06:05:52 +0000
<![CDATA[Review Prompts in Communities on Lunch Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Tue, 26 Oct 2010 05:57:52 +0000 <![CDATA[ Welcoming Members in Communities on Lunch: Because It's Nice to Say Hello]]>

If you've seen me hopping around the site over the past couple of years, you'll know that my preferred method of welcoming is by simply leaving a short and sweet greeting on a member's profile page, whether they've just joined Lunch in general, or a Community on Lunch specifically.  Not only is it a casual and laid-back welcome, but it's simple for the member to post a response to and it also acts as advertisement for your community if other Lunchers stumble upon that member's profile page.
As the Community Manager of Lunch who has left many a welcome comment, as well as received much feedback from new members about them, here are a few of my tips on how to leave a great welcome comment:
  • Keep it short and sweet.  Being succinct is key here.  Assume that the new member has a short attention span.  They're just getting to know Lunch, so you definitely do not want to give them information overload.  This is also more efficient for large communities that are getting large numbers of new members constantly.  Don't underestimate how far a simple hello from a friendly face can go!
  • Keep links to a minimum.  Again, you don't want your welcome comment to be information overload.  When adding links, try to link to content more than anything else, be it lists and reviews.  You might know of a review that the members might be interested in based on their reviews and profile, and that would be the best content to link to because it's relevant.  It gives the member something engaging to sink their teeth into straight away.
  • You can link to other Lunchers, too.  If you know of another Luncher who the new member might like, then by all means, make an introduction!  Extra tip: you can link to other members by simply adding the "@" symbol in front of their screen name.  The @-reply will trigger the screen name to automatically link, like @devora.  Try it!
  • Try to customize your comments.  Make it cater specifically to the member who you are welcoming.  I realize that this may be time consuming to do sometimes, but the results can be well worth it.  Again, the comments don't have to be long.  Short and sweet is what to aim for.  You don't have to super customize everything.  You can actually make a few templates that work for you and you can switch the links, names and wording around as needed.
  • Offer a helping hand.  Let the member know that they can reach out to you if they have any questions or feedback.  Or if you have a moderator who specifically handles such things, direct the member to that moderator.
  • Be genuine, sincere and human.  Because you are!  Nobody wants to be welcomed by a generic, robotic comment.  The stock comments are less likely to receive responses than the genuine, customized ones.  Furthermore, the stock comments often times come off as spam-like and are less likely to get the new member engaged.  In fact, it might have the opposite effect and turn off the member.
  • Try to refer to the member by name.  That is, if you can find it on their profile or it's in their screen name.  It definitely adds a nice, personal touch.  Hearing their name from someone from the community is like music to their ears.  Or erm, eyes, since it's online.  Well, you know what I mean!
  • Get some help from your moderators.  If you have a very large community that's growing at a rapid pace, or you simply don't have the time to welcome all of your members by yourself, you can always employ the aid of a .  Perhaps you can even have several who switch off days or weeks on when to greet new members.
  • Follow the member or send them a friend request.  This is an optional bonus step.  It's nice to follow members or send them a friend request after you welcomed them just to make them feel even more extra welcomed.  Whether you choose to receive email notifications or not is up to you (when you follow a Luncher, the notifications are automatically off, you would have to check the box to turn them on yourself).
  • Easter Egg: This is a super bonus tip.  There currently is no official way to sort members by newest membership to oldest, but... there is an Easter Egg to remedy this, which will make your search for new members to welcome a whole lot easier!  You can do this by manipulating the URL of your community's member page by changing the last number in the URL to the number 5.  You can access the members page on any community by just clicking on "Members" in the blue bar at the top.

    For example:
    Original URL:
    Altered URL:

Here are a couple of sample welcome comments:
  • Hey John, welcome to Lunch and thanks for joining my Awesomeness community!  I noticed on your profile that you're into video games, so I thought you might appreciate my review of Pac-Man.  I'm the community founder, so please feel free to let me know if you have any questions and I look forward to reading your awesome reviews! :)
  • Welcome to Lunch, John, and thanks for joining my Gourmand community!  I noticed that you rated the hot dog a +5, so you might be able to give some input on my question about great hot dog toppings.  I'm the community founder, so please feel free to let me know if you have any questions and I look forward to reading your tasty reviews! :)

Note: These comments are totally me though.  Make yours sound like you, which shouldn't be too hard because you're, well, you ;)

When your number of responses, follows and friend requests increase, and better yet, you have members contributing to your community, then you know you've been doing a good job :)  And to the community members reading this, feel free to welcome your fellow community members as well!

If you have any suggestions or feedback of your own, please do share in the comments.  We'd love to hear them!  And if you need a hand with your welcome comments, or a critique, please feel free to ask as well!]]> Thu, 7 Oct 2010 22:42:52 +0000
<![CDATA[ A list of those things I love. Or hate.]]>
Put together in a similar fashion.  We all have our own Top 10 this or Bottom 10 that and to get them out to share why is best done with the list.  I'm always thinking "what are my favorite this and that" and putting it out on paper (or screen) for all to see and put it in stone is a great way for me to remember what is what in my list of topics.

Even when I am indecisive about what order something comes in, I just try to remember to put "in no particular order" at the top.  It's at least better then having those choices floating around in my head and having to really stop and think about the question.

Making a list is easy.  Favorite food?  Movie?  Book?  Get it on a list.  Careful though when linking the topic and that it's already connected to a review and not a duplicate topic though.]]> Mon, 27 Sep 2010 05:10:44 +0000
<![CDATA[Lists in Communities on Lunch Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Mon, 27 Sep 2010 04:46:36 +0000 <![CDATA[ Get a thought out, review it later]]>
There is plenty on the site that I am interested in talking about.  I may only have a thought or two if I come across a certain topic and get back to it later but that thought I had when I first SAW the topic could at least be recorded so that when I do write the review later, I'll remember what I was thinking and I have something to base the review on.

Quick Tips are just that, they're quick, and a tip.  Get some thoughts out and then a review!]]> Mon, 27 Sep 2010 04:43:04 +0000
<![CDATA[ Rate things by group in rapid succession]]>
Polls can be about whatever you want.  Your favorite foods, least favorite books, or even just a collection of various topics that you want to talk about.

Want to get your creative energies going, visit a poll and see whats listed there.]]> Sun, 26 Sep 2010 21:49:57 +0000
<![CDATA[ "See how many laps you can run today. Try and beat it tommorrow!"]]>
It was easy at first, review a movie or a TV show for Star Trek.  Trek has 11 movies and 6 TV shows.  How about making more badges for reviewing more of those items?  Sure why not?  Then I thought about characters which Trek is in no small supply of, review those, get your opinions out there and get some more badges created for the interest in activity.

Creating your own badges is a great way to set those challenges up for yourself andothers to encourage the reviewing of certain topics.  Getting back to my own community there isn't always the drive to want to talk about something or someone but for the reward of the badge it makes you put some effort out for a reward and contribute something to the site.]]> Sun, 26 Sep 2010 04:35:06 +0000
<![CDATA[Wikipedia Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Sat, 25 Sep 2010 18:20:54 +0000 <![CDATA[ Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Sat, 25 Sep 2010 18:06:43 +0000 <![CDATA[ "Why? Cause is that open ended site that includes talk from favorite sodas to the news."]]> has been a good place to go.

There are many review sites for things like food, toys, so on and so forth and fan sites usually don't cut it, especially fanboy sites where they think everything is great.  The official site and most wiki's don't give opinions often other then citing criticisms of other professional critics.

What if your looking for something obscure or small or in the mainstream and the popular I have found that it is that has it and this is one of the best ways to attract new members.  When you have a site that has that ability to make things workable for adding topics and finding those topics your looking for that someone has talked about, it makes it an easy choice to bring others aboard as that best marketable trait, that thing that people will come to the site for and that other sites don't offer it.

As an example from my own reviewing here, I have talked about things from famous Hollywood movies to even the kind of burgers you can get at fast food restaurants.  Personal electronics can be talked about, cereal, artists, historical figures and more can be talked about.

So, "Why post reviews in" 

1.  It's a fun way to be informative and let people know what you think in relation to what someones perceived notions of something might be.

2.  This is the big one....It's fun.]]> Wed, 22 Sep 2010 07:02:32 +0000
<![CDATA[Why Post Reviews in Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Wed, 22 Sep 2010 05:58:43 +0000 <![CDATA[Wikipedia Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Wed, 22 Sep 2010 05:57:46 +0000 <![CDATA[Curating Communities on Lunch Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Wed, 22 Sep 2010 05:56:26 +0000 <![CDATA[Reviews on Lunch Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Wed, 22 Sep 2010 05:55:38 +0000 <![CDATA[Reviews in Communities on Lunch Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Wed, 22 Sep 2010 05:55:09 +0000 <![CDATA[Communities on Lunch Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Wed, 22 Sep 2010 05:54:17 +0000 <![CDATA[Badges in Communities on Lunch Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Wed, 22 Sep 2010 05:53:35 +0000 <![CDATA[Custom Badges in Communities on Lunch Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Wed, 22 Sep 2010 05:52:42 +0000 <![CDATA[Polls in Communities on Lunch Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Wed, 22 Sep 2010 05:52:13 +0000 <![CDATA[Quick Tips in Communities on Lunch Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Wed, 22 Sep 2010 05:51:38 +0000 <![CDATA[Facebook Quick Tip by tracybb]]> Fri, 17 Sep 2010 16:34:16 +0000 <![CDATA[Quick Tips on Lunch Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]>

                   ]]> Tue, 7 Sep 2010 03:36:48 +0000
<![CDATA[Finding New Members for Communities on Lunch Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]>
Treat your members with sincerity, respect and utmost care and they will be supportive as one can ever hope! encourage them to become the community and not be in a community! Be yourself!]]> Fri, 3 Sep 2010 03:48:09 +0000
<![CDATA[Custom Badges in Communities on Lunch Quick Tip by MichaelN]]> Tue, 10 Aug 2010 13:36:59 +0000 <![CDATA[ Nearly Unbeatable Reviewing Format...'Nuff Said.]]> and (for items that I get sent for free so I can review). No site is perfect; each one has its flaws. I began reviewing here since December of 2008.

Onward with some background music:

So why am I still posting reviews in Lunch and made most of them “exclusives“? Well, let’s break down the facts. I will not say any negative things about other sites (each one has their pros and cons) but I will just express why I find the reviewing format in Lunch more…shall we say ‘friendly’ that I became used to it. Most of my reviews since 2010 are exclusives to the site; thought maybe you would like to know why I did so…

1) Freedom to Create “Topics”
This is an invaluable tool for me since I usually delve into the most obscure film that no one has heard about. The less time I need to spend online to post a review the better it is for me! I work more than 40 hours a week so I do not have time to keep checking if the topic I need has been created or to message someone to create the topic. I want to create the point, post the review and then go offline. Having the ability to create topics is a huge plus for me. You can review almost anything, as long as it doesn’t violate their “Mission Statement”.

2) Ease of Posting Reviews
Besides the rare occasion if the site freezes (before) or they are doing maintenance, my reviews go through without a hitch or a hassle. I understand there are those who experience some glitches but the staff is pretty supportive and willing to help. The speed and the procedure that my reviews go through is a huge advantage that I don’t have to worry about certain words getting flagged. I do practice my own sense of self-censorship that I do not say any offensive words so I don’t need to worry about a Japanese name such as “Konishita” or a Chinese name such Li-Ching Shi getting flagged that my review cannot be posted. I was real frustrated when I tried to submit a review on the graphic novel or the movie “Kick Ass” and it wouldn’t go through because the word ‘ass’ kept on getting flagged. This is just plain silly. Reviewing at makes it easy and quick for me to post my reviews and I don't have to worry about silly unnecessary site safety features.


3) Visual Appeal
This is actually the feature that I became excited about. The site evolves and tries to be better with the presentation of a review. One can add movie screenshots, photos of food, and even embed a video relevant to the review. Hey, some may not even bother with this feature, but I find it very useful. Makes my review doesn’t appear too long and makes them look (ahem) professional.


4) Reasonable Rating System
I have been ‘trolled’ before in amazon and it took a lot of effort on my part to reverse those ugly ‘troll votes’. Here each review is rated with 4 categories with a maximum point of 3 for each (a total of 12). So if someone gives you a rare negative thumb, then it will only count as a tiny bit since if you have 9 positives, it will only reduce it to 8. Negatives aren’t exactly visible unless you click on the drop down. Sometimes I get a three on ‘fun’ and ‘organized’ and a 2 on ‘helpful’- it all depends on how the reader feels. The site also allows “Lists” and “Quick Tips” to be rated that actually also evolved from its early days. I don’t think they carry as much impact on your rank than a full review though.


5) Messaging
The site gives you the ability to monitor your ratings, comments and replies through a stream-lined messaging system. You can get notifications through your inbox so you can easily reply to the comments under your review. One can also choose to get email notifications but this can easily be turned off. This is a valuable tool to establish a more friendly ‘cyber-community’. Good-spirited discussion is encouraged but mean-spirited ones are not. 


6) Freedom to Create and Manage your own Sub-Communities
I actually still believe that this should be limited to folks who have already posted a fair amount of quality reviews in the site but I can see why this is. This is an attempt so that your reviews will not be ’buried’ underneath tons of other review on other topics. We have our own “Movie Hype” and “AsianFlix ‘n’ AnimeFix” communities that I founded where people with similar tastes and interests can be under one area (aside from my two, I am currently posting reviews for 13-14 other great communities). Whatever your goals are, whether you’re a real community guy or just need a ‘filing system’ for your reviews, this is quite useful.

7) Support Staff is There For the Community
I don’t like to complain, but I do have a lot of ideas. These ideas are usually taken into consideration. I hope they are still working on making the ‘featured reviews and topics in a community’ automatically rotate. But I can say that the site is willing to listen, our requests may not be possible yet, but I do feel that they have at least taken it to consideration for the site‘s improvement.

I understand that no site is perfect, and every site has its weaknesses that can be exploited, but at least, does make the effort to make things better. It does have its flaws, and these are my observations on the technical side and why I now made about 98.9% of my reviews exclusive to the site. Hey, even my contacts in movie distribution likes the communities I am on; I have received some more free copies of movies because of the site.

Keep in mind, is a community meant for entertainment. It is a place where novice reviewers, those who take reviewing serious and those who just want to have fun can have a spot.
You have to admit, the site’s reviewing format is almost unbeatable. I say “almost” because I don’t want them to get “cocky”. Hee-hee.

Now what is up with the color ‘green’ in its theme/logo? LOL! (just kidding, me like the color green)
 ]]> Sun, 8 Aug 2010 18:28:23 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Art of the Blurb]]>
Recently I tried a little experiment with Quick Tips.  One that actually seemed to prove quite successful.  If you go to some of my movie reviews, you'll find a Quick Tip from me that's actually just a pulled quote from the review.  The reason I started doing this was because "Quick Tips," made me consider what "Micro Review" only made me consider briefly... that sometimes people who come by to read about a specific topic... just don't have time to read an entire review.  They don't have time to sit down and read my entire Inception review, for instance.  It's lengthy, and I know it's lengthy.  Almost all of my reviews are.  When I considered that people want to learn from reviews, it dawned on me that sometimes people just want to know whether it's good or not.  I only touched on this briefly in my previous review

So, looking at a couple of reviews, here is how I figured out a good way to do Quick Tips for those who are curious.  If you want to have both a review and a quick tip... this is perfect for you.  When the idea of Quick Tips was first introduced I was weary.  I didn't like the idea of writing a Quick Tip because I don't like to do things quickly.  I like to be detailed and give people an idea of how I'm thinking.  In short, I'm almost incapable of writing Quick Tips because, well, I'm just not a very brief person. 

When I began to consider Quick Tips my only thought was, "There has to be a way that I can have a Quick Tip and a review while having the Quick Tip able to express what the actual review expresses."  Put simple, I believe a Quick Tip should give people the gist.  If a movie, TV show, Video game etc. is good... you need a quick tip that's going to be able to give them a quick run down.  You don't have to dive into the "Why?" so much as to get the basic idea of what you're review is going to say.

If you're a good writer, then at some point (usually near the beginning or the end, but rarely in the middle) there is a statement you'll make that more or less sums up your feelings on the topic you're reviewing.  By this ONE statement alone, people should be able to tell whether or not you liked it.  You don't have to say, "I liked it."  To say JUST that is boring.  And if you're really REALLY good, then that one statement you put in your review gives people an idea of why you gave the particular topic the rating you did.  There's your quick tip.  Easily.  For example, my review of Inception is a rather glowing review.  It should have a rather glowing Quick Tip to accompany it.  And if we're going by the idea of pulling a quote from the review, then that particular quote should be able to express that.  You can call this lazy if you want, but I don't think it's lazy.  It's not work either (you've already done the work; you wrote the review), but the point of a pulled quote is to give people the gist so that they don't HAVE to read the review if they don't want to (but it does serve as a nice advertisement).

Turns out for Inception my Quick Tip was in the very first paragraph.  The Quick Tip reads as follows:

After the wild success of The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan reached the ranks of movie making freedom that so few directors reach. So what did Christopher Nolan do with his golden key? Made a movie he'd been wanting to make for ten years. Inception. A movie where your mind is the scene of the crime. It's big, it's complex, it's beautiful... and it's absolutely amazing.

It's not the best quick tip (readers of the full review will note that this is the VERY FIRST SENTENCE OF THE REVIEW).  But it works.  As I said, a Quick Tip needs to be a QUICK Tip.  You're now allowed up to 500 characters.  ANYONE can find something in their review that can express the gist of what you say now.  Since you can have more than 140 characters, it means you've got more than enough room to pull something from your review that sums it up for those who don't have time to read the full review.  Those who want to dig into why or an analysis... they can do so.  But those who don't aren't being robbed of anything for not doing so.

The review for SALT takes on a different approach.  The opening paragraph sentence didn't work.  But the beginning of the conclusion does.  With that I was able to make the following Quick Tip:

In a nutshell, SALT is a fun movie if you're the type that likes action and likes to have fun. Because if you're willing to disregard the story SALT really IS fun. If this is what they were going for then my hat goes off to them. On the other hand, it's really REALLY hard to forgive the shoddy script. SALT isn't really a bad movie, it's just an incoherent one.

Expressions such as "in a nutshell," bug the hell out of me (I can't help, though, sometimes you have to accept you're just an ordinary sinner) but the Quick Tip itself actually isn't so bad.  The whole gist of the review was to express that the story in Salt isn't really great... but that the action still makes it fun.  You don't get the full analysis but the point isn't to give you a full analysis in a Quick Tip.  It's to give you the gist of what the review was saying.  For Inception you should get the idea that I loved it.  With SALT you should get the idea that there are problems, but I had fun. 

So what about one where I'm disappointed?  Same deal.  If you're review is written well enough, the Quick Tip writes itself.  The gist is there.  Here's the Quick Tip for my review of Shrek Forever After:

The story is pretty simple and the movie is pretty short, but you get the feeling after watching it that the light bulb must be flickering just before it goes out. The heart and soul of what made the Shrek movies so good is almost completely gone.. To keep the franchise going at this point would be like forcing a kid with a broken leg to walk. It just seems cruel. Shrek had a decade of making us laugh, and we salute him for it. Which is why perhaps it's time to send the big green ogre off to a well deserved retirement before they kill the magic completely.

Again, for those who actually read the review... it's pulled directly from it.  I'm not the best at summing the gist for a negative review (the hardest is actually a mixed review) but if I can find it and it works, then I will most likely use it.  If it gets the basic idea of what the review is trying to say.  With Shrek Forever After the idea was to express that I was disappointed and that it doesn't do right by Shrek, a franchise that used to be worth going to the theater to see.

Sometimes I can do it.  And it's not just movies.  This technique works for books, video games, even my Facebook review I was able to make a good Quick Tip by using an excerpt from the review.  If you need a metaphor to see what it is I'm doing, just visit Rotten Tomatoes or something like that.  They use pulled quotes from reviews all the time for those who don't want to follow the link and read them.

Does it work all the time?  That depends on the kind of writer you are.  The simple answer is no.  Sometimes you can't find a pulled quote that serves you well for a Quick Tip.  I've got dozens more reviews where a Quick Tip is hardly possible than I do where a Quick Tip is possible.  But the practice of using pulled quotes for a Quick Tip can be liberating.  It's also easy.  You've already done the work on the review as it is.  And while it doesn't take long to write a quick tip at all if you don't do the pulled quote method, you may find that what you've written in the review just serves you well for a quick tip because it's very definitive. 

The best thing about this method is that your Quick Tip becomes something to accompany your review.  Now, if I write a review, it's tempting to see if there's something I can pull for a Quick Tip.  I always reserve Quick Tips for after the review is done.  Never before I've written the review.  Once I have my thoughts down it's easy to find the one that best illustrates my feelings.  I've already uncovered it and don't have to dig.  It's just my method.  It doesn't work for everyone (it seems like everyone on Lunch has an easier time with Quick Tips than I do, I actually find writing something that short to be extremely difficult).  Some may find this to be easier.  The difficulty for some who may attempt this method might be finding the right passage to use.  As I said, you'll usually find it near the beginning or near the end.

I like this method.  It gives me a chance to have my Quick tips not only be a companion to the review... but an excerpt.  If people like what they find in the Quick Tip... it just might influence them to read the full review later (or just simply be of help).  And if it DOES inspire them to read the full review later, then it's a win win situation.  The reader is able to explore more of the writers thinking while the writer gets the satisfaction of knowing he or she is appreciated. 

Try it.  The technique may help in those pinches where thinking a Quick Tip just isn't easy.]]> Sat, 7 Aug 2010 03:37:47 +0000
<![CDATA[Facebook Quick Tip by Sean_Rhodes]]> Mon, 19 Jul 2010 21:07:30 +0000 <![CDATA[ Achievements]]> does to try to get you involved.  There's rankings, those thumbs for helpfulness and quick tips to name a few.  But nothing seems quite as perplexing as the badges.  It's good for motivation, but at times it sort of feels like a dangling carrot held out in front of you while you're there running on a treadmill.

As many of you know, I am a gamer.  Let's take a look at the XBOX360 for a minute.  When you buy a game each one comes with its own set of achievements.  Every game.  When you do a specific task in a video game, you get an achievement for it.  It gets displayed in your profile for everyone to see if they click on that specific game.  And gamers can compare and contrast their achievements.  Some gamers ignore achievements.  Others take achievements a bit too seriously.  Not for the sake of competition, mind you, but for the sake of a reward, bragging rights and 100% completion.  The Playstation 3 has its own variation of achievements.  They're simply called trophies.  It's the same basic concept.  You complete certain tasks or meet certain requirements and you get a trophy.  Each trophy and achievement has its own name.  For example, in Resident Evil 5 if you manage to blow an enemy's head off while he's in mid air you get an achievement/trophy called "Lead Aspirin," in which the requirement will state, "Shoot a Majini in the head while he is in mid air."

This is EXACTLY how the Lunch Badges operate.  If you rate more than 100 items you unlock the badge "Raters of the Lost Ark."  It's cheesy and kind of silly, but that's how achievements work too, mind you ("Lead Aspirin" is a joke in and of itself... and if I have to explain it to you, you're already lost).  The badges on Lunch certainly aren't as interesting as the achievements you might find for a specific video game title like Uncharted 2 or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.  That doesn't mean they don't have their own charm.  The badges are there as a means of motivating people to review. 

If there's one thing EVERYONE likes, it's reward.  The reward doesn't have to be specific or even big.  There's no benefit to achieving an achievement in an XBOX game anymore than there's a big benefit to those badges.  But some people like to earn them because it means there's some form of recognition for what you've done.  And if you figure out how to earn another badge, you just might be motivated to grab it. 

On a personal level, I don't care much for the badges.  It's a good way to motivate people, but if you love to write reviews as it is... it's really all the motivation you need.  But I can sympathize as to why we've got them.  If you want to get people involved in an online community, there needs to be something to give them a little push.  Badges can work out just fine.  Unlock say... ranks which require you to keep pushing forward, Badges give you instant credit for what you've done.  The same could be said of those thumbs.  You can write a review and wait for the reward (someone complimenting your review as helpful, thought-provoking, fun to read or well organized) but sometimes it just doesn't come.  Again, those badges are instant.  The moment you meet the requirement, it's awarded to you.  Likewise, you can earn badges for every community whether you're a part of the community or not.  This means you can get that Chime in badge (posting a comment on someone else's review) several times. 

The motivation from this is nice.  As I said, however, as someone who loves to review... I don't need it.  And unless a badge pops up I have a tendency to forget that they're there.  If you love to review you've probably encountered this as well.  It's nice to see it pop up, but I've never been motivated to review for the sake of garnering a badge.  I admit that I was quite curious at first.  It may just be a personal belief on my part.  I've believed that if you love something... you do it and there doesn't have to be anything to keep pushing you to do it.  Not everyone shares that sentiment.  That's fine.  Some people do need that push or to have their efforts rewarded for them to keep going.  There's nothing wrong with this.  Besides, with Lunch now letting community founders make custom badges there's a lot more fun for community founders to have with them.  I've earned custom badges too.  They're a lot more interesting because the founder sets the stipulations for them and can choose at what window they can be awarded.  The Custom Badges has its own topic which we'll dive more in depth with later.  Again, though, it's another thing that can help motivate people to contribute.  And if it gets people contributing you'll get no argument from me here. 

There's not really a lot to say about badges as a whole.  The motivating factor is nice for those who may need a little push.  And custom badges are more or less another motivation for founders to try to reach out to their communities.]]> Tue, 13 Jul 2010 21:26:02 +0000
<![CDATA[Facebook Quick Tip by sama89]]> Sat, 3 Jul 2010 14:52:21 +0000 <![CDATA[ Getting to the Top]]>
There are, of course, bad things to ranking as well.  And we'll get to that later on.  Let's talk about the positive stuff.  Ranking, of course, is based in two ways.  The first is how much you contribute to a particular community.  The second is how many thumbs up you get.  Particularly for writing a helpful review.  You've no doubt seen those thumbies at the bottom of every review. 

Here's how rankings can be a good thing.  They give you an idea of how good of a job you're doing.  Sometimes it's helpful because it gives you a sense of how well you're able to write or, at the very least, connect with people.  As of writing this, I've got several high ranks in a few communities and under a few tags.  For those who helped me get there... thanks a ton, you will not be forgotten.  On the other hand, it can also serve as a motivating means to better your writing.  This is a double-edged sword of course.  Sometimes the reason you're not raking in a lot of helpful votes or what have you comes more from the fact that your review either gets buried or you're just not that well known from the outset.  You're apt to garner more helpful votes and feedback if you start rating and commenting other peoples work.  Typically when you do, many of those whom you supported will return the favor. 

On the other hand, for some it just MIGHT be motivation to do better.  Or to get more involved on the site.  It can either be like a pay raise (for looking at it in a positive light) or as a dangling carrot to a horse on a tread mill (for a more negative light).  Either way, sometimes it's motivating.  And sometimes it's what you have to do to get people to want to do better and get involved.  I'm actually quite serious.  If you look at it from this point of view, someone who logs in and sees that he's rank 140 when he or she knows he or she is a better writer than the guy at rank 50... it just might help.  That sounds terrible to say.  In some respects it IS terrible, but it's motivating nonetheless.  Other times it isn't even like that.  Other times rising in the ranks only serves for the reviewer to reaffirm that they really CAN do it when they may or may not have been so sure that they could in the first place. 

In the long run, of course, ranking doesn't mean much of anything.  If you love to review... you do it.  Regardless of what your ranking means.  Ranking doesn't even mean whether or not you're actually good at it or not.  This is where I get a little miffed by Lunch's "Top Contributor" system.  It's not exactly about being "good" all the time.  It's also about how fast you can pump out reviews.  This has caused some members of any particular community to take the rankings a bit too seriously.  Because why worry about the quality of your review to get high in the rankings when you could easily just write 400 or so quick reviews and get yourself up there?  This is where the small problem with rankings comes in.  When people take the rankings too seriously and get too competitive they forget that we're ALL contributors and we're ALL working to build the communities and the site as a whole. 

When I write a review... I like to give it my all.  I like to put in as much effort as I can possibly put into what it is I provide for my audience.  As far as I'm concerned, it takes a lot of work and effort to write a good review.  The quality of that particular review will always be voted on by you.  So far I've written some pretty good things according to the community (The Art of Reviewing, Avatar, Toy Story 3) but I've also written reviews that I think are fine reviews that may only have one vote.  Either effort is fine with me, but I'm not particularly comfortable with this idea that members who take the rankings too seriously decide to game the system by going the "Quantity equals quality," route. 

It's hard to tell what has a bigger impact on your ranking.  The number of reviews you write, or how many helpful votes you get.  I've written less than 300 reviews but have garnered over 2600 helpful votes.  That's a lot of work and a lot of contributions.  But someone with fewer votes but twice as many reviews might rank higher.  It's just hard to tell what you're being given more credit for... and how the system is balancing these two things. 

There are two types of people in the world.  Qualitative and Quantitative people.  Qualitative people (such as myself) are much more concerned about the quality of your work.  It's why I like Lunch's thumb system.  Because you can give more or fewer thumbs based on how helpful the review was or not.  Quantitative people typically tend to be more concerned with how MUCH you can do... not exactly how well.  I don't dislike the Quantitative approach.  I just don't like the idea that those who work hard on their reviews are overshadowed because someone just happened to be able to pump out MORE reviews.  More doesn't always mean that the review is an awesome review.  And yes, you WILL get votes.  Of course, you will.  It's pretty standard stuff.  The more you review the more apt someone is to read it.  You'll eventually garner votes because someone has to stumble on your writing eventually.  That's how most of us became known around the site to begin with.  Again, it says little about how well the review was written.  So yes, you do have members who move up not because they did good... but because they were able to pump out more.

In some ways I can understand this approach.  We are, after all, talking about contributing.  Not "Who is the one who can get the most votes."  It's not that sort of thing.  And that's why I can deal with it.  I just think that if you're going to rank contributions it's got to be about making an effort on those contributions rather than simply contributing.  I could easily write 800 reviews... all of them four words long.  I'm confident enough that doing something like that wouldn't fare well on the site (likewise, if it were just four words... they'd be better suited for quick tips) but you can sort of see the animosity I have toward this, "If you can pump out a ton of reviews you'll be rewarded for it." 

There are problems with the Qualitative approach too, however.  That being that what one person deems to be "remarkably" helpful or what one deems to be real thought provoking may not exactly be seen the same way by another member.  On the other hand, the biggest problem with the Qualitative approach is also that, for the most part, people rate your review based on whether or not they agree with you more so than the helpfulness of that particular review.  On Lunch it's not really all that bad.  But I have had a moment or two where someone decided I deserved a thumbs down not because what I wrote was bad... but because what I wrote was something they didn't agree with.  It happens.  I still think that's better than pumping a billion reviews to game the system, but it's only to say that the voting aspect is less problematic than the, "If I write 450 reviews I'll rank in the top 5 for sure!"

I do enjoy the ranking system.  Obviously rankings aren't that important.  If only because they still don't say a lot about the quality of what you do.  It's nice, however, because it gives you an idea of how well you're doing in some cases.  Because that qualitative part does actually come out.  If you've got 700 reviews and only 1300 votes for example... well, you might be high up because of how much you've produced, but someone with only 100 reviews and over 2000 votes will still rank higher, for the most part.  As I said... the problem isn't actually that you can get higher through writing a billion reviews... it's actually more based on the fact that the balance is unknown.  It actually is about both.  I don't want to keep sounding like it isn't.  I'm just unsure which is more important in the long run to your ranking.  It can be a good motivating tool... it's just a wonder as to what respect you'll be motivated.]]> Sat, 3 Jul 2010 06:56:05 +0000
<![CDATA[Links in Communities on Lunch Quick Tip by devora]]> Wed, 23 Jun 2010 19:08:41 +0000 <![CDATA[Founder Messaging in Communities on Lunch Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> Wed, 2 Jun 2010 18:30:42 +0000 <![CDATA[Weekly Community Updates in Communities on Lunch Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> Wed, 2 Jun 2010 18:29:12 +0000 <![CDATA[Facebook Connect on Lunch Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> Wed, 2 Jun 2010 01:14:55 +0000 <![CDATA[ Remember Me]]>
In 2005, a guy in a college dorm named Mark Zuckerberg created a website he called Facebook.  This was shortly after a place like Myspace was already incredibly popular and snatching headlines.  At first when Facebook was established it was a way for the student body of his college to keep tabs on everyone.  To figure out what was going on around campus.  Shortly after that the site expanded to being open to primarily college students.  Upon first joining Facebook in 2005 my first thought was more along the lines of, "What's the big deal?"  It seemed exactly the same as Myspace back then.  Albeit it was a little neater and I didn't have to worry about someone putting so much crap on their page that it would freeze my computer.  At first it was easy to dismiss Facebook.  After all, in 2005 it didn't have all the same features it has now.  Now Facebook is a huge global phenomenon.  With over 500 million members, Facebook is easily one of the fastest ways to connect to the world outside of your core friends that you'd see in real life.

In 2006, Facebook's first big expansion was that it started allowing High School students to join.  This move, like so many others Facebook would make in the future, caused controversy.  For example, there were college students whining that it was their hangout spot (oddly enough THAT seems like a whining high school student's complaint) and that they had no business being there.  Looking back on it now, that just seems silly that there were ever any complaints at all.  Other complaints surfaced when the site opened up to allow everyone to join.  Facebook was suddenly more public than it had ever been.  And in his early 20's Mark Zuckerberg became a billionaire.  He went from someone making a website in a dorm, to being CEO of a giant social networking corporation.  Facebook is now one of the most visited and busiest websites on the internet.  Most of you here have a Facebook profile.  And I bet if given the time and energy, I could find most of you.  And ALL of you could probably find me without problems.

The process of signing up has changed from when I first joined in 2005, but I have an idea.  When you first join, Facebook waste no time in getting you connected with other friends.  When you register an email you can go right into things and figure out who else actually has a facebook page.  Because it goes into your email and suggests people based on this.  Those who already have a Facebook will come up instantly.  Afterwards you can invite other people in your box and then you can actually start browsing the site looking for people.

Of course, looking for people is no fun if you don't fill your profile with such things as maybe your hometown... perhaps even some of your favorite books, movies and musicians.  Facebook can go a little far in asking you what you want to place on your profile, however.  Listing off your favorite books and even your hometown is fine... but the site also has an option for you to display your phone number, your AIM ID or MSN Messenger ID (along with any other messengers)... and even your home address.  The last of this all seems like it's asking for a bit much.  Facebook has always been running into criticisms involving privacy.  When you register, for example, your account is public by default.  This wouldn't be such a problem if Facebook didn't insist on making the navigation through your privacy settings so tedious and annoying.  It's not horrible, but considering how easy it is to do everything else on Facebook, it's strange that the privacy settings, of all things, actually requires work on your part.  And much of what you find in them are pretty vague.  You can, at least, preview your profile from an outside view.  That doesn't make it any less annoying when trying to go about your privacy settings.

According to Zuckerberg, the point of Facebook is to be more open anyway.  And Facebook has always been pushing for that.  In 2007 Facebook introduced the News Feed option.  At first it got a lot of people protesting.  At the time, however, Facebook only had ten million members and a good portion of them were upset that now just about every action they did was broadcast to their friends.  In spite of everything, not seeing your friends status updates now seems like something you couldn't live without.  The News Feed, in spite of a lukewarm reception, became something many users appreciated because they now no longer had to go to each friend's profile individually.  Likewise, users are able to choose which updates show up on their newsfeed... and if you do something that you don't want people to see, you can remove it.  The News Feed actually didn't turn out to be so bad at all.  "What people want isn't complete privacy," Zuckerberg told TIME Magazine, "It's that they want control over what they share and what they don't."  And Zuckerberg is right.  There are some people who will hold nothing back on Facebook.  They'll post as many pictures as they can find.  Put anything in their status update.

When people post on their wall or something on the news feed comes up, you're able to "Like" that person's status activity.  This is really awesome to give your friends some recognition, but for the most part it can be annoying if it's someone who has a lot of friends.  The moment you comment on someone's status or "Like" it, you will get a notification any time someone else comments on said status or likes it.  This is fine when there aren't that many people.  But when someone has say... 1,000 friends it can be annoying that you simply "Liked" someone's status but then you have to hear what 200 other people are saying about it.

There are also many many MANY different pages on Facebook for anything.  There are standard likes such as liking "Video Games" or liking a specific movie or celebrity.  To the strange pages such as, "I Bet This Pickle Can Get More Fans Than Nickelback" (oh it's a real page) to the downright bizarre.  Groups that are, more or less, simple statements such as, "People Who Sleep Because They Go to Bed Late for No Reason."  This is all crazy stuff.  And there are literally millions of these pages with anywhere from hundreds to millions of people liking them.  And they all operate as your own profile does, only someone has to monitor them and update them regularly.

There are also plenty of applications on Facebook that will get your profile information to work.  Things such as figuring out which crazy author you are, or what color your soul is.  Usually little stupid quizzes that are there for the sake of fun.  There are other more daring applications as well.  Not to mention games... such as Mafia Wars or (ugh...) Farmville.  And people take these games quite seriously.

And everything you do on ALL of these things can be displayed on your own profile page.

It begs the question just whether or not we've ever truly experienced privacy before Facebook.  What I mean by that is before it's not like you had the option to tell the world anything and everything.  Privacy was... well... a default thing.  It wasn't that your life was private... it was actually that you just couldn't get it out there.  Facebook has definitely changed that the line between what's appropriate to share and what isn't becomes blurred to some users.  And yes, businesses and such will now take time to look at your Facebook profile to see what it is you've done.  So will the police.  Underage and you're caught in a photo with a beer in your hand?  That's enough for the police to charge you with underage drinking.  Likewise, you could probably lose your job or lose consideration for a job thanks to things you put on Facebook (or the internet as a whole... if they find it).  It's not that people don't like their privacy, it's that those of us who were prone to being open in the first place, just never had that expressive outlet without, you know, being famous.  And yes, people can post a little too much on Facebook now, and things are a little too open for certain people.

The expansion of Facebook has made it's way into changing the internet as a whole.  Go to just about any webpage now and you have the option of connecting to Facebook or sharing certain things on Facebook.  Many websites let you connect with Facebook and log in that way as opposed to logging in with a different username at so many different sites.  You can connect with your Facebook profile and do it that way.  This means on some websites you don't even have to go through the hassle of registering.  Not when you can just use Facebook Connect.  You should all know what Facebook Connect is. uses it too. 

It goes even further, though.  Everyone, of course, knows about "liking" something.  This has also expanded to several different websites.  Go to a website like the IMDB and go to any movie and you can choose to "Like" said movie and it'll show up on your page telling all your friends you like it.  You can "Like" a whole website, if you so choose.  And, of course, you can share what you find.  Almost every website, every youtube video gives you the option to share what you've found with others and it somehow pops up on your page.  You no longer have to go through the hassle of embedding videos from youtube.  You can simply choose to share it now.  The same is also true of certain news stories from websites and even when you leave comments on a webpage.  Some of you have no doubt noticed that when you leave a comment or review on Lunch you're given to option to put it on your Facebook page as well (assuming you're connected).  

How well does this work for Facebook?  Very well.  Thanks to this word about many things can travel fast.  Let's take a simple example.  Many of you have probably seen people post status updates like, "Facebook will start charging," or joining groups that say something like "Facebook will start charging you ten dollars beginning in ___________"  The blank is left for you to insert a month or a date.  It should be pretty obvious it's a hoax, but people believe it constantly.  Facebook doesn't have to charge members in order to generate revenue.  Because even their ads are designed to cater toward... well... you.  Facebook does what's called "suggestions."  It uses your profile information, your likes and your friends (yes, your friends) to decipher just what it should advertise to you.  I, for example am a big gamer, a big Stephen King fan and a big movie fan.  I decided to like Video Games.  Suddenly my page was flooded with advertisements for video games.  I decided to like Stephen King and now I get ads for his books, or group suggestions for his books.  Oh, but it goes deeper.  If a certain number of friends "like" somethig the website just might suggest that YOU like it too.  Because if you and your friends share similar interests... then perhaps you just might like what they like too.  In short, Facebook charging you would be a bit risky for their revenue if suddenly people stopped coming to the site because they started charging.  The same rumor pops up on Myspace all the time (and I'm guessing Twitter, but I don't tweet).  Facebook works out because it happens to go beyond just Facebook.  When you can go to different websites and log in with what is essentially a universal ID (your Facebook profile) and when you can put ANYTHING on your Facebook page from ANY website, then it's easy to see just how Facebook became such a huge juggernaut.  Very few websites can do it.  And when they do, they can't do it the way Facebook does. 

This is another reason why it's so easy to be interconnected.  For some Facebook is a shortcut.  Not to get to knowing friends, but in terms of connecting with the rest of the interweb without having to explore it extensively.  Why search for a specific Youtube video your friend told you about when you can easily find it posted on their profile?  It's easily one of the best things about Facebook.  Just that there's so much you can do with it. 

This does cause some controversy, however because it brings about the question just what exactly your profile information is being used for.  Creating personalized ads isn't really so new.  Google does the same thing, creating ads that cater toward what you might've searched for in the past.  With Facebook, however, it means that what you've posted on your page is being used... but not exactly with your permission.  As I've said before, Facebook has had a lot of controversy concerning privacy.  Not just because you run into people who post a little too much about themselves, but because there have been times when Facebook has gone too far in using your profile information for the sake of getting advertisements catered toward you.  Sometimes the applications you use will also pass along some of the info in your profile to advertisers. 

If there's anything about Facebook that might urk me, it would be that there's no really definitive blogging feature on the site.  You can post "notes" that will be hidden in the corner of your profile page.  And unless you decided to tag a billion people (who aren't even in it) no one will read it.  Your friends can't really subscribe to your notes like they would a blog either.  You simply have to hope that they pick it up from your news feed or something.  It's just not as user-friendly as the blog feature on sites such as Blogger, Livejournal or even Myspace.  With all the incredible things Facebook can do... giving you an easy to use blog is surprisingly, not one of them.  It seems to be making steps in that direction, at least.

Likewise, Facebook isn't free from Spam or Viruses or anything like that.  It's not uncommon to get friend requests from fake profiles or for a friend's account to start sending you bizarre Spam such as an invite to receive a free iPad (or Macbook, Wii, Laptop--whatever!).  It happens.  Facebook is not immune to the horrors of the internet.  You're gonna get the good and the bad. 

The last thing about Facebook that's interesting is the chat mechanism.  Thanks to this little thing you can chat with friends who happen to be logged onto Facebook at the same time as you.  The problem is that it's as basic as it gets.  There are also some issues with it.  Sometimes your friends will get an IM from you but won't be online (because they didn't log out but perhaps closed the webpage and are browsing around elsewhere... or YOUR Facebook account doesn't realize they've logged out).  It's a great way to connect and talk to people who may not be directly around you... but unfortunately IM programs such as AIM, MSN Messenger, Yahoo, Google Chat are far far better about this than Facebook ever will be.  And with programs such as Trillian able to connect to your Facebook account, it's just a lot easier to use one of these applications than it is to use the Facebook chat directly on Facebook itself. 

In the end Facebook is actually not so bad because of how it can be utilized.  It's much more expansive than most social networking sites.  Yes, you'll find people who have an absurd number of friends (and if you join you're apt to get many a friend request by people you either don't know or had one conversation with a long time ago) and you can sit there saying, "No one REALLY has THAT many friends," but at the very least it is nice to connect with other people.  Of course, you still have to be careful with people who do things like create false profiles, post pictures of people that aren't them, etc, but it comes with the territory of any social networking site.  At least Facebook goes beyond simply Facebook.  Even if you don't enjoy connecting with people, you can still get something out of it thanks to the things they share.  There's something for just about everyone.  You just have to be careful about what you put up there.  It's your profile, your privacy and you're in control.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to check on my own Facebook status. ]]> Wed, 26 May 2010 22:14:15 +0000
<![CDATA[Lunch & Ning Infographic Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> since I love the user-friendly format and the creative freedom here, but what is ning?]]> Wed, 19 May 2010 16:49:36 +0000