VegGuide.org Help

How do I add or edit an entry?

Anyone can add new entries and reviews. You can also suggest changes to existing entries. Simply click on any of the edit buttons on the page to start.

To add new entries or edit existing data, you must be a registered user. Once you have an account, you will be able to add new entries, comments/reviews, and suggest changes to existing entries.

Adding an entry is done via the Add entry button, which is visible as you browse regions. This link is only offered for regions which don't contain other regions, so you won't be able to add a new entry to Europe, instead you'll have to find the specific city.

Note that the add entry link will not be visible when you are looking at a list of entries that is a result of searching by address or name.

To edit an existing entry, simply go to that entry's page, and use the appropriate "Edit" button. The editing links are located near the thing you're editing, so the "Edit" link right under the hours listing lets you edit the hours.

To add a review, simply click on the Write your review button for an entry.

You can also add comments to a region, via the Add comment button. If you have something useful to say about a region as a whole, as opposed to a specific entry, that's the place to do it.

What are the guidelines for new entries?

If a vendor has more than one location, please enter each location individually.

If you don't do this, we can't record phone numbers, hours, and so on for each entry. Additionally, the map links will not work unless each entry has one address. This is really important, because it helps people actually find places nearby.

Cloning

In order to make handling of vendors with multiple locations easier, we have a "clone" feature. Cloning an entry lets you easily copy data from an existing entry into a new entry. The cloned entry starts off identical to the original, except that you must enter new address and phone information and hours.

Grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.

Please use correct capitalization, grammar, and punctuation when entering names, addresses, and descriptions, etc. Please do not type in ALL CAPS! TEXT THAT IS ALL CAPITALIZED IS REALLY HARD TO READ ;)

Required data

When entering a new entry, the following data is required:

  • Category - restaurant, grocer, coffee shop, etc.
  • Name
  • Short description - a quick blurb about the entry
  • Level of veg friendliness - vegan, vegetarian, etc.

If you don't know the information for a particular field, please leave it blank. Don't put in "unknown" or "I don't know" or anything like that.

For all other data fields, you can simply accept the defaults. However, there are good reasons to fill in more data. Since the guide can filter listings based on things like non-smoking, wheelchair accessibility, and so on, adding more info increases the quality of search results. Similarly, the guide can search for entries that are currently open, but only if you enter the hours for an entry. Adding address info for entries allows us to generate map links.

Do not use the same text in both the long and short description fields. If you cannot think of something for the "Long Description" field, it is okay to just leave it blank.

Is a given entry appropriate?

We're pretty flexible. If an entry is likely to be of interest to other vegetarians or vegans, you should add it. The one thing we do not want to see is entries added for the sole purpose of saying they're not veg-friendly. If everyone did that, the system would consist almost entirely of entries telling you not to go somewhere, which wouldn't be very useful to anyone.

What are the guidelines for reviews?

There are only a few things that are unacceptable in reviews. First of all, don't insult other reviewers. It's fine to reference another review in your own, and to specifically disagree with it, but don't get personal. Similarly, no personal attacks against anyone at the place you are reviewing. It's okay to say a server was rude or weird, but keep it above the belt.

Second, even if you are not 100% vegetarian, you're still very welcome to write a review, but please only talk about the vegetarian items you had. If you really liked some non-vegetarian food you had, don't mention it here.

Reviews should be about your experience with the restaurant or store in question, not about some other issue you have with them. The review should focus on your personal experience with the vendor, not hearsay or a larger problem you feel that the vendor has.

The last guideline is for restaurant owners. The review section is not a forum for discussion. Please do not respond to other reviews by writing a "review" (which isn't a review).

Reviews that don't follow these guidelines may be edited or deleted.

What do the categories for entries mean?

The categories which can be assigned are detailed below. Remember, an entry can have more than one category, so please choose all the ones that are appropriate. The categories are primarily distinguished by what things the vendor sells.

  • Restaurant - any vendor that focuses on serving food (fast food included) and has its own tables is considered a restaurant.
  • Coffee/Tea/Juice - a vendor that focuses on serving non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Bar - a vendor that focuses on serving alcoholic drinks.
  • Food Court or Street Vendor - a vendor at a food court or on a street. The difference between this and a restaurant is that a food court vendor probably doesn't have their own tables or any sort of table service. Obviously, there's some overlap between this and a restaurant. Use your best judgement.
  • Grocery/Bakery/Deli - a vendor that focuses on selling food ingredients for people to prepare themselves, or bakery/deli goods.
  • Caterer - a vendor that provides complete meals for people or groups of people. Note that a "personal chef" service would be considered a caterer as well.
  • General Store - use this category for vendors that sell non-food products, like clothing, shoes, household products, etc.
  • Organization - use this for activist and social groups.
  • Other - use this category for vendors that don't fit elsewhere. In particular, this is intended for services like salons, cleaning services, nutritionists, etc.

How do I add a new region?

There is an "Add Region" button on most regions. Click on this to add a new region under the region you're in. In other words, to add a new city in Arkansas, go the Arkansas region and click on "Add Region".

What countries are supported for address searches?

In theory, all countries that Google Maps has data for are supported.

Note that for searches in countries that don't use the Roman alphabet (for example Japan and Taiwan), the address must be in the native language, not a romanized version.

How do weighted ratings work?

When we say that ratings are weighted we mean that the average rating displayed for an entry reflects more than the "simple" average of all its ratings. In this case, we also incorporate the number of ratings it has received into the average which is displayed.

In practice, this means that when an entry only has a few ratings, the average rating we calculate tends be more average. Or in other words, the fewer ratings an entry has, ther close its weighted rating is to the average of all ratings in the system (currently 3.8778).

Here's a few simple examples. If an entry receives just one rating of 5 stars, its weighted rating is 4.3. If an entry has ten ratings, nine 5 star ratings and one 1 star, then its weighted rating is 4.7.

If an entry receives just one rating of 1 star, its weighted rating is 2.9. If an entry has ten ratings, nine 1 star ratings and one 5 star, then its weighted rating is 1.8.

This means that entries with more ratings tend to end up with both higher and lower weighted ratings, while entries with few ratings end nearer the system-wide average rating.

The rationale behind this is that more ratings means more accuracy. If many people love or hate a place, it's probably really good or really bad. But if just one or two people feel strongly about a place, that's probably no reason to think it's exceptional.

For the mathematically minded, the algorithm used for weighting is the same one used by IMDB (as of October, 2007):

weighted rating (WR) = (v ÷ (v+m)) × R + (m ÷ (v+m)) × C

 where:
  R = average for the entry (mean) = (Rating)
  v = number of ratings for the entry = (votes)
  m = an arbitrary number of ratings (currently 2)
  C = the mean vote across the whole system (currently 3.8778)

Ok, m isn't really an arbitrary number. IMDB uses a system where a movie needs a minimum number of votes to have a weighted rating at all. With the guide, this isn't really practical, so we just picked a pretty low number. In practice, a low value of m means that the amount that weighting "tweaks" the average is relatively minimal.

How does the guide handle entries for regions that use non-English languages?

When adding or editing an entry in some locations, the guide also allows you to enter information in other writing systems. This is used for things like Chinese, where we want to have both a Romanized name (like "Hao Fan") and a name in Chinese characters. Similarly, having the address in both forms is quite useful.

In the future, the guide may implement a more complete localization system that allows all the data to be stored in multiple languages, but this is a far more complex problem to solve.

How do I add formatted text (headers, bold, lists, etc.) to my entries and reviews?

An entry's long description, as well as user reviews and location comments, are all formatted with standard Wiki formatting. Please use this sparingly, as too much formatting looks ridiculous.

This formatting works as follows:

A regular plain old paragraph.

'''Triple-quoted text is bold.'''

''Double-quoted text is italicized.''

The quotes are single quotes(').

[http://www.vegguide.org/] - a bare link

[http://www.vegguide.org/|VegGuide] - a link with a title. The link and title are separated by a vertical bar (|).

    * An unordered list item
    * Another unordered list item

    1. An ordered list item
    2. Another ordered list item

Note that list items must indented at least 4 spaces.

----
Four or more hyphens make a line

Here's what it looks like when formatted:

A regular plain old paragraph.

Triple-quoted text is bold.

Double-quoted text is italicized.

http://www.vegguide.org/ - a bare link

VegGuide - a link with a title

  • An unordered list item
  • Another unordered list item
  1. An ordered list item
  2. Another ordered list item

Note that list items must indented at least 4 spaces.


Four or more hyphens make a line

How are suggestions handled?

When a user makes a suggestion for an entry, that suggestion is saved in the system. It is reviewed by the system admins and/or the region maintainer(s). They can approve or reject the suggestion.

When you make a suggestion, you have the option to ask for an email notifying you when the selection has been accepted or rejected. By default, no email is sent.

Your entries for [region X] stinks, what are you going to do about it?

Nothing. But you should feel free to add new entries and suggest changes to existing ones. Also, if you're really motivated, you can become a powerful and awe-inspiring region maintainer. If that interests you, let us know.

I love/hate the guide. Where can I discuss that with other users?

The place for this is the VegGuide community email list.

Can I use your database content for my website/leaflet/etc.?

Yes. Please respect our license.

We're very interested in finding partners who want to use our data in interesting ways. If you have a cool idea, but need some help from us, please contact us.

Do you have any nice images to use when linking?

Not right now, we need to make some from the current logo.

Will you add [some restaurant, store, whatever]?

No. We're very, very lazy, and creating the site itself has completely exhausted us. That's why we've made it possible for anyone to sign up and start adding new entries immediately.

Will you add feature X?

Probably. Please see our todo list first. If you want to discuss potential features with other users please join the VegGuide community email list.

Who can edit what?

There are three levels of access to the Guide:

  • System admin
  • Region maintainers
  • Regular users

System admins can edit or delete anything on the system. Regular users are able to add new entries, edit entries which they submitted originally, and edit or delete their own comments and reviews.

Finally, region maintainers are given extra privileges to administer certain regions in the guide. For those regions, they are able to edit any entry or region comment, but not reviews. They can also approve or reject changes suggested by regular users.

If you are interested in being a region maintainer for an area, please let us know.

How are "vegan", "vegetarian", etc. defined on this site?

The definitions are as follows ...

Vegan

For the purposes of VegGuide.org, a restaurant is considered vegan if it is possible to randomly order anything on the menu and still have it be vegan. For example, if everything on the menu is vegan but the restaurant offers cheese for pasta dishes on request, then it should still be considered a vegan restaurant. Honey is not considered vegan.

The point of defining a restaurant as vegan is to assure any vegan that they can go in and order anything they want without asking questions about the ingredients.

If you're not sure, use your best judgement. Remember, the purpose of this guide is to make the lives of vegetarians and vegans easier and more pleasant, not to enforce strict standards of vegan purity on restaurants.

Vegetarian

For the purposes of this VegGuide.org, a restaurant is considered vegetarian if it does not serve animal flesh in any form. Please note that sea creatures and chicken are animals, so seafood and chicken meat are not vegetarian.

Vegan-friendly

This categorization is far more flexible than the others, and should be influenced by the restaurants's locale. For example, in places like New York City or San Francisco, which have many vegan and vegetarian restaurants, a restaurant offering a single vegan entree would not be considered vegan-friendly. On the other hand, in a small town vegan-friendly may mean a restaurant that is willing to make pasta with marinara sauce.

Particularly in regions with limited selections for vegans, even minimal vegan-friendliness is worth noting.

Vegetarian-friendly

Like vegan-friendly, the definition of this term varies by locale. A restaurant need not be vegetarian-friendly to be added to the guide, though there should be some other compelling reason for adding it if it isn't vegetarian-friendly. For example, if a restaurant has a few veg options and serves a cuisine unique for its area, feel free to add it.

Who pays for this site?

Our hosting and bandwidth are provided for free by Tela. We do spend money on advertising and promotion, so donations are appreciated.

If you want to help out, feel free to make a donation to Compassionate Action for Animals.

Why does this site look terrible in my browser?

This site was primarily designed to look good in modern browsers: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer (version 7 or newer). Because the site is standards-compliant, it should also be usable in text-only browsers.

If you are using an older version of Internet Explorer or Firefox, the site layout may look pretty strange. We recommend upgrading to the latest version of Firefox available, or at least to IE7 if you cannot use Firefox.

You said you have localized content, so why don't I see any?

You have to have your browser set to accept the language for the localized content. For example, if you look at the Singapore entries, you'll need to have your browser set to accept Chinese to see the localized data.

For Firefox, go to Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Languages and click on "Choose".

If you're stuck using that horrid thing Microsoft pretends is a web browser, then we suggest upgrading to Firefox. If you don't want to upgrade, then Windows users of Internet Explorer should go to Tools or View or Extras -> Internet Options -> (General) Languages, and Mac users should go to Edit -> Preferences -> Web Browser -> Language/Fonts.

Opera users, all three of you, should go to File -> Preferences -> Languages.

And finally, for the Safari users, language settings are determined by your overall system settings, so go to System preferences -> International -> Language.

Of course, if you don't have the proper fonts installed for the locale in question, you'll probably just see funny box-shaped characters everywhere.

Why are you competing with [site X]?

There's a number of answers to this question. Some of our reasons for starting this site include:

We wanted a site that was easily maintained by a large group of contributors. Many other sites make it ridiculously hard to add new entries, suggest changes, or write reviews.

We wanted a guide that helped people become and stay veg. Some other sites place restrictions on what can be entered.

We wanted to offer a completely non-commercial site. We wanted to offer really cool features.

We believe in free software and free content (free as in freedom). The source for this site is available via the Source Code link in the page footer. Our content is freely reusable and re-distributable.

For an even longer explanation, you can read about the philosophy of VegGuide.org.

How can I contact someone about this site?

This site is community-maintained. Anyone can make an account and add new entries or suggest changes to existing ones. Please do this instead of writing us email telling us a piece of data is out of date.

If you want to ask for some sort of link exchange, please don't. Instead, just add your site to the Internet "region" listings.

It is our editorial policy not to remove negative reviews submitted by our users unless we find them offensive or inappropriate. We reserve the right to publicly repost any threatening correspondence related to negative reviews, which will prove significantly worse for your reputation than the reviews in question.

Please email us at guide@vegguide.org if you have any questions, or are having a technical problem with the site.