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Thread: Randomness Guide to London

  1. #1
    Pub researcher (unpaid) rpadam's Avatar
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    Default Randomness Guide to London

    It's good to see that Kake has joined these forums, and may I recommend the Randomness Guide to London (http://london.randomness.org.uk/) that she is involved with (and especially the pubs section, of course...)?

  2. #2
    Spritzer Swallower
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    Aw, blush, thank you And thanks again to Roger for telling me where everyone had gone to!

    When I get a chance, I'll start adding Pubs Galore links on the RGL pages. I may have to automate it in some way, since we have an awful lot of pubs...

  3. #3
    Former Pubs Galore Coder
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    Hi Kake,

    Welcome to PuG, it sounds like you already know quite a few people here. Myself and Dave M are the admins of the forum and the main site, so if you have any problems, queries or suggestions do please feel free to ask us.

    Just had a quick look at the Randomness Guide and it is really impressive, always nice to see someone using geography features well. We would obviously love to be linked from there, so if there is anything we can do to help do let us know (we can probably automate an output from our end relatively easily).

    Glad to have you here, and hope you enjoy your stay.

  4. #4
    Spritzer Swallower
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    Thank you for the welcome, and for the kind words about RGL! Getting a CSV or something from you would be great. Would you be wanting to link back to us as well?

    I'll have a chat with a couple of the others and see what they think about which PuG pages we should pick up for linking. Have you got an About Us page or something I could show them? I did have a browse around the site looking for one, but no luck. I figured out that PuG is part of something called the Galore Network, but I can't find any information on that either.

  5. #5
    Former Pubs Galore Coder
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    We would be happy to link back to you.

    All our links need to be submitted by a source, if we can sort out that CSV we can just submit all the RGL pages to the matched pub pages on your behalf and approve them though. Alternatively if you have appropriate area pages you can get links off our area pages. Regardless I believe Dave is going to add the RGL site to our links page, as it really is an excellent site, I am looking at it and coveting some of your work, I wish the toilet, cash machines and bus route links you had at the bottom were nationwide, but we may have to examine adding them where we know they exist.

    The nearest thing we have to an about us page is the front page of Pubs Galore, with the "Welcome to Pubs Galore" bit at the top, you will need to click show if you are logged in. It is one of those things which just keeps getting lost as we keep on prioritising other stuff on the site. When we originally came up with the site it was intended to be the first of a chain of sites, with for instance Restaurants Galore and others coming out later, I am not sure if they will ever appear now though. With this plan to have more than 1 site we wanted a central login and Galore Network was the hub site, I think in future this may disappear in favour of other solutions but goodness knows when.

    I'll keep you informed on the progress of that CSV, we initially need to grab all your pub data to try and match it to our pubs, but hopefully should show some progress this week.

  6. #6
    Spritzer Swallower
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    Great, thanks. I think probably we'd like to link to pages where you have at least three reviews, with at least one of them being within the past year. Does that sound plausible? I don't know how your data is organised, so I don't know how hard that would be for you to extract. Hopefully we could run this check every six months or so, and pull in any extra ones that now meet the criteria.

    We have a database dump available at http://london.randomness.org.uk/dbdump/ if that's easier for you than parsing our pub index page, or there's an RDF version at http://london.randomness.org.uk/wiki.cgi ?action=index;index_type=category;index_value=pubs ;format=rdf (I've broken that in half deliberately since it's fairly resource-intensive to produce and we don't need more spiders hammering it!)

    I just had a thought — re pub closures, it may be worth your while following the RSS feed of our "Now Closed" category — http://london.randomness.org.uk/wiki...y=now%20closed — not everything in there is a pub, but that feed should carry all pub closures we know of, as we're notified of them.

    I guess the main thing about PuG that I'd like to be able to tell my collaborators is who's behind the site — it's all a bit mysterious. With RGL we try to make it clear that this is a noncommercial hobby thing run by a small group of friends, and that it will stay that way (we may or may not be succeeding at making this as clear as we'd like; it's hard to tell from the inside!) The code that runs RGL is open-source and there are in fact a few other similar sites around the country and worldwide (the Oxford Guide at http://oxford.openguides.org/ is perhaps the most well-developed one). From what I've seen of it, it looks like PuG is a similar sort of thing, set up by a couple of friends because they wanted it to exist, rather than because they want to use it as an income stream (i.e. original-BITE-style rather than Qype-style), but I can't tell if I've got the right impression there or not.

  7. #7
    Former Pubs Galore Coder
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    Just grabbed that database and will have a glance at it this afternoon and see how hard it will be for me to match it to our index. It is no problem to provide you with a review count and the date of the latest review for any of our pubs, and I can filter that or leave you to, also once the lists are married updates to that are easy enough.

    Thanks a lot for the closed rss feed, I have just tagged that into my reader and will monitor it.

    I'm embarrassed to admit that we are commercial. The site has been set up with the intention that it makes us a few pounds one day (although I have my doubts it ever will ). Whilst we would listen to offers for the site, it does have a huge sentimental value for us so our valuation of it is completely out of proportion to what it is actually worth. I think to be honest it would be hard to run a non-commercial site on a commercial property (pubs) allowing open reviews, it would need the patience of angels from the editorial team (an interesting question). We do attempt to keep the site enjoyable though, the next bit is the bit where I try and convince you that we are alright really - even though we are commercial.

    Our philosophy is that we want this site to always be the best it can be for pubs, we never want to charge users to use our site, and this includes issues like blasting you with advertising to the extent that affects the site enjoyment. At some point we hope to start charging pubs to have an enhanced listing on the site, current thinking behind this is that the listing will:

    • obviously be sponsored, so will show that the pub is helping us run the site
    • control which pictures are shown on the main pub page
    • maybe the ability to control which reviews are shown on the main pub page, but not the ability to remove reviews
    • control the links on their page, so they could remove links they don't think should be there
    • able to lock the map, so once they have set their pubs location no one else could move it
    • show their phone number on the listing

    We don't plan to ever start charging for things we offer for free, so we will never start charging to show a link on the page. The reason we don't show phone numbers is that when we started we did, and it was the biggest single source of complaints with people threatening litigation because people were calling the residential numbers we were wrongly displaying. We don't have the ability to properly deal with that, so we just stopped showing the numbers, if pubs were paying though we hope they would get their number right.

    I like to believe we are positive about the site and trying to keep the community involved to build something they enjoy using, and I truly hope we never break that trust.

    Having said all that just to add a plea to the end - we do believe we are better behaved than most of our commercial competitors, particularly BITE (who personally I deplore for the way they currently run the site). If we are ever to fully compete with them we do need the sort of promotion their sites receive.

  8. #8
    Former Pubs Galore Coder
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    Just to keep you up to date, we have got the data onto our server and I understand well enough how to interpret it. When I get 5 minutes I will do some passes of the data to try and see how much joy I can get with things like simple postcode matches and then see how well that has panned out.

    Thanks for pointing out the data output, very interesting stuff.

  9. #9
    Spritzer Swallower
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    Thanks for the update, and for the extra info about PuG! Looking forward to seeing how you do with the data matching — you can send the CSV to me at kake@earth.li

    I think we'll probably want to link directly to the user comments rather than to the front page, so there's obvious content "above the fold" as it were — e.g. we'd link to http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubreviews/24690/ rather than http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/24690/ This is what we try to do with other UGC sites too e.g. Qype, BITE.

  10. #10
    Former Pubs Galore Coder
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    Well just got a basic pass going, looks very good, hopefully I will have something sendable in the next couple of days.

    We would be happy to get any links , the suggestion of the review page makes a lot of sense, most of the other data we have is already on your pages and we don't anticipate the review page ever being altered by any form of subscription/sponsorship.

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