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Hints about posting to Recommendations

Berkeley Parents Network > Help & Frequently Asked Questions > Hints about posting to Recommendations


There are a number of questions that are asked over and over, many of them already with numerous reviews on the website. In order to keep the Recommendations newsletter at a manageable size, we ask that you you do a bit of checking first before you post one of these.

Guidelines:


Facts vs. Recommendations

BPN is intended as way to get a range of advice from other parents, not as a resource for getting the correct answer to a question. Therefore, please don't post questions to a BPN newsletter that can be answered with a little bit of research on your part, such as a phone call, a quick look in the phone book or by googling.

Examples that we don't accept:


Doctor, Dentist, and Therapist Recommendations

The BPN website contains hundreds of reviews about medical professionals submitted by local parents over the past 10 years, and we receive new requests every week. So that we don't all become overwhelmed with doctor requests, we ask everyone to first do a little homework, and also take advantage of the archived reviews on the website.

1) First, find out which doctors in your health plan are accepting new patients by checking the website for your health plan. Narrow your list down by whatever your criteria are (location, office size, gender, etc.)

Some examples:


2) Next, check the BPN website! The medical reviews are updated frequently, but even older recommendations are still very useful. After all, a doctor that was great three years ago is still a great doctor. Here are links to the most frequently-asked-for recommendations:

  Dentists   Kaiser   Midwives   ObGyns   Pediatricians   Primary/Family   Therapists   More Medical

3) Sometimes a popular practice will have openings that the health plan doesn't know about yet. If you found a practice on the website that sounds good, call their office to find out which of their doctors are accepting new patients.

4) If you still didn't find what you are looking for, and your question hasn't been posted in the past year, then you can post a new question. Be sure to mention that you've already checked the website so the moderator won't refer you back to this page. Some general guidelines for posting a new question:


Accountants, Bookkeepers, Financial Planners/Advisors

Please check the recommendations first before posting a new question! You are unlikely to get a useful response to a general question such as "Seeking a Financial Advisor". In the past year, many requests have been posted for planners, accountants, etc., and few of them have received more than one response. The one or two recommendations that we do receive are often repeats of previous reviews by the same person, or they are posted by a friend or family member of the person being reviewed. You are much more likely to find useful information in the archives on the website. See Legal and Financial Services for the index. There is a lot of overlap, so you should check on more than one page. For example, if you are seeking tax advice, you'll want to check "Accountants", "Bookkeepers", "Financial Advisors", Tax Preparers", and "Tax Attorneys".


Preschools & Schools

Folks often come to the parents network with very general questions about schools. A question like this is unlikely to get many responses:
"I'm beginning a search for a new preschool - anyone have suggestions?"

People don't know where to begin to answer a general question like that. There are over 100 preschools in the East Bay, and hundreds of people on the list have children in pre-school, so you will either get too many replies, or not enough. To get a useful response, it's best to define what it is you are looking for, and do a little research ahead of time.

The first thing to do is start with our webpage here: /recommend/preschool/

We have hundreds of preschools recommended for our served areas. Recommendations are grouped by topic (co-ops, Montessori, etc.) as well as listed alphabetically.

From the reviews, you can get a sense of the wide variety of schools in the East Bay.

There are also some more general discussions on the website about when to start preschool, what to look for, and how to find a good one. See Advice about Preschool

You should then ask yourself a few questions:

After you've done this initial work, you can look again at the preschool list on the BPN website and read the reviews. Even reviews that are a few years old are still useful because preschools tend not to change a lot from year to year.

Then, armed with this information, post to the Berkeley Parents Network using the Schools & Preschools form. Make sure to note in your post that you've consulted the website. It's best to ask about a specific schools, or for specific requests like "Play Based Preschool in North Berkeley" or "Part Time Preschool near Rockridge"


Recipes

There are much better places than the BPN to get suggestions for recipes -- try a google search! A favorite website is Recipe Source www.recipesource.com, which was started by a student at UC Berkeley and was originally know as SOAR ("Searchable Online Archive of Recipes"). Check it out!

Travel Questions

For out of area recommendations we try to restrict postings to those that are family and parenting related (i.e., visiting London with kids). More general questions about travel arrangements can be answered more readily and fully using other resources. There are a number of websites that can give you much better information than the Berkeley Parents Network about flights, hotels, and other travel arrangements. We ask that you please use one of these websites rather than posting a question to the Recommendations newsletter.

Reviews of hotels, restaurants, and sightseeing

Price checks and bookings - flights & hotels

For other recommendations, see these pages on the website before posting:


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this page was last updated: Nov 28, 2011


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