Hints about posting to Recommendations
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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.
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:
- What's the last day of school for Berkeley Public Schools?
- How can I reset my iPod?
- How much does a haircut cost at Kiddie Kuts?
- What's Dr. Brown's phone number?
- What are the ingredients in Tom's toothpaste?
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.)
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:
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:
- Be specific, but not too specific.
Questions that are too general don't get responses. Example of being too general: "Does anyone know a good doctor in the Berkeley area?" Almost everyone who has recommended their doctor thinks he/she is a good doctor, so this usually isn't specific enough.
On the other hand, don't be too specific. Asking
about a specific doctor with a specialty that
isn't commonly needed by parents of young children is probably not going to
- Don't ask for doctor recommendations within a specific insurance plan.
Most parents on the list do not know which health insurance plans
their doctor accepts, other than their own,
so you will get reviews of doctors that do not
accept your insurance. If you can only visit doctors on your insurance
plan, find out which doctors are available to you before posting your question.
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".
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:
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:
- How old do I want my child to be when he or she starts preschool?
- What location is preferred?
- Do I want a part time or full time program? What hours do I need?
- Do I want to join a co-op?
- How much can I afford?
- What kind of program do I want for my child?
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"
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!
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
this page was last updated: Nov 28, 2011
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