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a question by Dec 8, 2010
If you could make changes to Lunch.com, what would you change? What would you keep the same?
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answered:    February 01, 2011
I'm actually thinking it's time Lunch move in the direction of giving people a comprehensive blog.  Reviewing is great and all, but imagine if you could perhaps write an article to go along with the content?  Right now The Oscars is getting a lot of buzz for example... and I like to write about it... but how Can I rate say... "Best Picture Nominations," as a topic when it's not really a review but an overview?  There's no real rating to really give there.  But once could easily write an article for it.  So we're not talking blog like, "Hey, come write about your day!" but rather writing pieces that don't really need a rating attached.  They can be opinion if need be. 

Take for example that I'd really like to do a piece on the Console Wars.  But when I thought about it, I quickly realized what I'd be writing wouldn't be a review.  And I can't imagine giving something like a +5 or something to that.  It could be an opinion piece but what it would be more so would be an informative piece.  I've been working on a write up for a while about "Gamers," but don't like the idea that I have to rate it to post it because it's not much of a review.  It's an editorial piece.

Mostly I think the site has to work on its diversity.  When we see trending topics, for example, they tend to be about big events or something like that.  Most times, however, they tend to exclude a lot of things.  The launch of the XBOX Kinect, for example, was a big deal.  Sure we've got community, but it's actually hard to find the front door to get to most of them.  A lot of websites have a side tab where you can go down the list and click on a specific section and go there.  Lunch.com doesn't really have this and it's a shame they don't.  Especially with how many communities there are. 

Back to the trending topics and whatnot, though, with only five topics on there that's a lot that's being disincluded from that list.  As I said, they seem to know exactly what they want from it, but it shrinks the appeal.  I talked about that KINECT... but the Oscar Nominations were kind of a big deal too... and they were ignored until just a day or so ago, but the day the nominations were announced they didn't even make a mention of it.  And lately they've left things on there that aren't really trending or big topics anymore.  The State of the Union Address?  It's done it's over with... no one is talk about it anymore (keep in mind the DATE on this answer for future readers).  Piers Morgan Tonight?  It had it's big premiere, time to move on to something else. 

Another big thing that has to change is how to figure out which reviews should be featured.  You tend to get a lot of traffic to your review if you review one of those trending topics (you increase your chances of getting "featured")  but otherwise it's pretty much a game based on luck.  If you write reviews for video games, for example, your chances of that gaming review getting featured are next to nothing.  If you write a review for the latest movie playing in theaters, however?  You have a significantly larger chance of being featured because Movies seem to appeal to everyone on the site.  Gaming and literature doesn't.  Unless it's a HUGE game like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 or unless it's a HUGE book like Harry Potter.  Beyond that stuff your review is likely to be lost in the abyss.  But there is a decidedly odd thing when you are willing to promote reviews for films and your trending topics... but little beyond that that clearly shows you just had something you wanted to pick out from the mob.  I don't mind WHO gets featured nearly as much as I mind what KIND of reviews get featured. 

Let's put it this way... Adrianna's Cafe Libri community is the BIGGEST community on the site.  Over 1,500 members and well over 70,000 reviews.  SEVENTY THOUSAND reviews!  But very few reviews are featured from Cafe Libri... very few trending topics that appear on the front page are for Cafe Libri etc.. 

So I suppose what I'm saying is that I'd like to see a bit more diversity in topics that get featured or that become trending topics.  There are times when they make a push for movies (mostly during the summer) but they don't make a huge push for a lot of topics beyond that sometimes.  This is one of those questions where we could look all day for stuff to say, but I'll leave with that for now before I get to talking too much and repeating myself too much.
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answered:    December 08, 2010
Hmmm ... where to start? That's not a gripe, it's just an honest observation that I think Lunch could use minor tweaking or, at least, a "second helping" (hahaha ... get the pun?). Anyhoo, what I'd do primarily I had shared once before, and that's that I'd have a box on the main page that posts a Lunch question of the day ... it could be topical, newsworthy, entertainment ... almost anything that would prompt the regular participants to sound off on the topic of the day. I'm not too sure what to make of the submissions that are exclusive to Lunch.com b/c -- to be blunt -- it doesn't seem as if all that many people seriously read here. It seems that there's a small handful who utilize Lunch to its greatest benefits, and I can't blame them ... my exposure over at Amazon.com, for example, garners me tons of private messages as well as free merchandise from companies seeking my input on their books, products, DVDs, etc. So there's something to be strongly said for participating in other sites while Lunch largely seems to be driven out of the love for writing. Again, not a bad thing, but I think I get greater mileage out of what I write elsewhere. Also, Lunch seems to gravitate fairly heavily toward entertainment subjects. Again, not a bad thing per se, but I think that's caused many many many items (such as films, books, TV shows) to get multiple listings in the database. For example, I think I've come across the latest Harry Potter film under several of the same headings. Some of this results in folks not fully knowing how to access the database OR it's done by folks specifically who want to draw attention solely to their contributions and not fully appreciating the collectivity premise behind Lunch. However, I think this lends itself to an awful lot of 'housekeeping' that will eventually need to be done in order to elevate Lunch to the level of some other more professional sites. Additionally, when I've contributed to other sites, I'm occasionally contacted by folks who manage the site and offered the chance to post exclusive content under a very specific "exclusive content" banner, and this draws attention to the fact that I'm not just a regular or routine contributor ... it carries with it a certain 'clout' that goes hand-in-hand with being an exclusive contributor, not just writing something exclusive to a specific website. Also, those websites have linked their content out to other websites on some kind of pay-arrangement (not that I received any money but that the site I contributed to did in hit counts), and that broadens the appeal of my writing. (It's kind of the age-old truth that writers -- at the end of the day -- seek to be READ first, paid second. I don't feel that much I've written has drawn much notice from Lunch.com, but I do know firsthand that I'm getting read at other websites.) As a suggestion, I'd encourage Lunch to consider adding some kind of forums section. It's a minor suggestion, but I think it might help kickstart dialogue around some limited subjects instead of having all of the multiple topic submissions. But, seriously, why can't Lunch.com mgmt get together and select a handful of regular contributors to be a bullpen of regulars, and why can't that carry some nametag with it? As I do over at some sports websites I contribute to (such as Bleacher Report), I'd encourage several of the regulars here to be granted some kind of 'citizen journalist' role. Lunch.com has some terrific experts, and -- like Examiner.com does -- why not capitalize on the talents of those folks and officially credit someone as "Lunch.com's Official Foreign Films Contributor" or "Lunch.com's Official Fashion Correspondent"? I mean ... who wouldn't want to have that li'l recognition attached to his or her work? It just seems like such an easy idea to pursue, and it costs absolutely nothing OTHER than taking the time to make such a simple investment. Also as a suggestion, I've read a fair number of contributions (or quick blurbs) that I think are mildly inappropriate to the subject matter. This tends to happen with topics that are more political in nature when heated discussion of subject matter lends itself to saying something like "Sarah Palin should die." I reported the blurb, and I believe it was removed, but I'd think that it would be helpful for whatever action taken to get reported back to the person who reported it because that would only further underscore that your voice is actually being HEARD as a contributor toward making Lunch.com a greater vehicle for credible writing, not chatboard gibberish. Seriously, like any of us, I could probably go on and on and on for hours on such a topic, and that's because -- like most of you who've taken the time to read this -- writers take what they pen very seriously. It's as much from the heart as it is from the mind, and I only want to know that I'm being read but some kind of recognition -- even more benign badges and perhaps site-specific mentions -- would go a long way toward my contributing more work here. I like coming here, and I very much enjoy the exchanges I've had, even with people I disagree with politically or socially ... I'm just thinking that the site only appears to be one grand idea realized but not much tinkered with. Now, if these Lunch.com Awards are genuine, then I certainly hope that Lunch.com can capitalize on some awesome contributions and draw greater emphasis to the site by piggybacking that phenom onto something bigger. Until then, I'm not sure what more any of us can do to make Lunch.com a major hotspot for any daily surfer.
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answered:    December 09, 2010
And another thing ... why not give rewards or props or badges for regular visits? I mean I can think of a solid handful of daily contributors here, and I think that would be worthy of some recognition. There are a lot of places one can go on the web; why not gives props to our own who frequent Lunch.com?
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answered:    January 10, 2011
I'd like to see counters that would count number of hits on each review. I'd keep the overall model the same, except make reviews prominent rather than activity prominent.
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answered:    March 29, 2011
I somehow missed this invitation to gripe. :-)

1. Change the advanced editor to handle images, add headings, etc. Basically lift the one from WordPress.

2. Need an easier way to find the content on the site - it often miss really great reviews that I find several months later.

3. Fix the SEO. Lunch's content doesn't seem to feature well in search engines, even though it's way better than content farms and article sites.

Otherwise it's all good! 
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answered:    January 12, 2011
well, I need to know which direction they're headed now since there has been major changes. Then maybe I can make a more informed answer. I will however state that I don't like the new community home pages because it looks so busy and cluttered; I don't like the main activity feed showing up in the first look. I want more reviews featured and less lists featured. I like the expanded featured topics section though.
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