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May 2, 2005 12:42 AM

Mild Rant - why are posters so take-take?

  • g

I love the chowhound site and go to it everyday, but, the majority of the posts are about, "What, where, help me." stuff instead of sharing (which takes work, writing and editingg to structure the story).

Wake up people, we aren't your nannies, buy into the discussion by sharing something about yourself and what you know about your own place and what you can bring to the (internet) table.

Just my HO.

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  1. Your complaint is not unique; I think a lot of people find aspects of the postings annoying. Check out the Site Talk board, where complaints like yours normally get vented. I just learned to rein in my annoyance (my personal pet peeve is when people don't bother to search, so that their exact same question is three postings down) and not read the ones that threaten to annoy me.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pupster

      I think we each have our own particular peeves where postings are concerned. Mine is people who post on a regional board either in search of a restaurant or reporting about a place and don't list the city/state in the subject line.

      1. re: Pupster

        to extend that, people who ask a question answered three posts down in VERY GENERALIZED TERMS. Like, "I want some resto reccomendations for London". Aside from the fact that every other post is about London, it helps when people say, "I am looking for tunisian restos in London" or, "a hole-in-the-wall lunch place in Covent Garden". But I suspect these are people who are new to chowhound; they're googling around, find the board, and post something without bothering to ctrl+F their destination first. Doesn't make it much less irritating, though.

      2. You don't want most people offering tips. Trust me. Most people like Olive Garden.

        And each question, each self-centered demand for delicious this-or-that elicits rainstorms of tips. New people cough up new info, and old information is updated. We don't think for a minute that the flurry of tips is primarily intended to help the questioner. You, me, and the rest of us just enjoy the data trove created in the process. The questions are just excuse to jog tips from people's minds.

        All that said, you're right. This site would be 900 billion times better if every user, every poster, every lurker just coughed up some favorite this or that in their corner of the universe right now. The best muffin on their block. The little place that makes Greek lemon chicken soup that's maybe not world class but makes you really happy. The bakery where everything's crap but one certain cookie. The places so close to heart and so out of the spotlight that people forget to share them. That's what we want to hear about, rather than the 16,000th assessment of Lupa or Babbo.

        But you can make this happen. The more you report "from my corner of the universe" over time, and the more others do likewise, the more it will grow virally. You'll get nowhere at all by trying to change how people use the site. But you can add another stream. You can create tremendous waves by setting an example and priming the pump. The site's what you make of it. You have the power to drastically affect the programming by setting an example (and - this is important! - by engaging with those who do likewise).

        Don't get frustrated with what you don't like. Put out there what you do like, and encourage kindred spirits. You'll be amazed at the results.


        4 Replies
        1. re: Jim Leff

          I find it amusing that because of your mention of Olive Garden, Google has two advertising offers for coupons at that abomination at the top of my version of the webpage.

          Reminds me of the old saying that all publicity is good publicity.


          1. re: e.d.

            That IS funny.

            Everyone sees different ads. Next time you spot a restaurant advertiser (good or bad) coming in via google, please grab the URL the ad leads to and send to so we can add them to the ban list and I can fulfill my promise not to allow restaurant ads.


            1. re: Jim Leff

              just don't ban the Funny Tabasco T-Shirts ad.

              1. re: Jim Leff
                Head Gazelle

                There's a group of 4 restaurant ads floating around on this thread. I'll send the URLs along.

          2. Keep the cat away from your Cheerios.

            1. Speaking for myself, I hesitate posting more often because I see many of the places I like get disparaged for one reason or another and therefore aren't perfect. Places which I don't think are necessarily the best ever but I think have some redeeming value and are acceptable for what they are. I see them get put down for various reasons and the inference is there are better options so why bother going there. And you see other people react to that sentiment by including apologies in their reviews to the effect that they had no other choice but to go there and would never go there ever by themselves.

              On a similar note, I also see complaints about the lack of detail in the taste of food. I'm one of those people who have a hard time articulating what I liked about a specific dish. I can tell you that I liked the complexity or layers but would be hard pressed to explain exactly what was in each layer.

              I do agree with Mr. Leff that a host of OG reviews and/or just saying the food is yummy and that's it would be detrimental. And yes it is a hard balance to strike between being accepting of all opinions and being overrun with useless reccomendations.

              I also agree that it is annoying to see repeated queries from someone that obviously didn't bother searching.

              So what's my point? I guess I really didn't have one, just expressing my thoughts.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Jase


                Yeah, me too. Part of the general trend toward the "foodie" and away from the Chowhound.

                1. re: Jase

                  "I hesitate posting more often because I see many of the places I like get disparaged for one reason or another and therefore aren't perfect. Places which I don't think are necessarily the best ever but I think have some redeeming value and are acceptable for what they are."

                  All the more reason to post your own opinions! I always try to say I like a place if I like it, especially if others are putting it down. Because if I like it, maybe other people will like it and shouldn't be discouraged from trying a place because they hear bad reviews from some people. I mean, I must be REALLY easy to please because some people will go off on a place for the tiniest reason. It takes a lot for me to hate a place. Maybe because I went to Montessori school-everyone starts out with an A.

                2. I'm a lurker, not really a poster. And when I post, I usually ask questions. The reason is because there have been many times I have poured my heart out posting about this fantastic place or this great thing or whatever I know about such and such -- and I've been ignored. It makes me feel like an idiot. So I figure I save face by just asking questions.

                  I hope this post urges people to be more responsive to posts. I feel that there is a cliquish element on some boards here. This isn't high school anymore.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Anonymous

                    Sorry if I sound unsympathetic, but it's very unlikely you've been ignored. Your post was probably read and enjoyed by many people, some of whom may have even visited the place you loved and enjoyed it as much as you did, but figured they couldn't add anything new since your post pretty much said it all. Or they were lazy. Or they meant to but ran out of time. The lack of responses really has no correlation to whether or not your post was useful to the Chowhound community.

                    No, it's not enouraged around here to have a lot of chatty "hey that was a great post, thanks!" messages, so if you're looking for that, no, Chowhound isn't for you. And I agree with that- with this software, if I had to click just to see a lot of "thank you" posts, it would get really annoying quickly. I rarely get feedback on my most detailed posts. It doesn't bother me, though, because I know that there are people out there that have read them and hopefully been steered towards (or away from!) a great meal as a result.

                    I don't really understand your comment about "saving face" or cliques, but then I don't really see Chowhound as a social club, just someplace where I get and give chow info.

                      1. re: Anonymous

                        I'm sorry that you've felt ignored in the past; that's never a good feeling. And I agree that this is not high school anymore, which also means that you are an adult and that you can choose to NOT feel idiotic, shamed, or excluded. And if you stop posting or hold back your true opinions, then I'm afraid the online resource will prove even less useful to you and your perception of cliques will grow stronger. I do agree w/ Jim Leff when he has said that the site is what you make it...

                        FWIW, I've written long posts only to have no response, then maybe one or two trickle in over a couple of weeks. It's def. nice to get a response and have some affirmation that someone's listening, but I never count on it and that way I'm never too disappointed or hurt. Given the high traffic on these boards, it's safe to assume that a number of people have read it and have nothing more to add or inquire about b/c they haven't been or my report was so thorough or [insert ego-preserving rationalization of choice here]. It's like planting a seed; you don't always see the results right away.

                        The way that I look at it: I love writing about my eating and cooking experiences b/c it helps me to process and appreciate them more, and it's great when I can share my own obsession or find. Chowhound is a forum that allows me to air my opinions, ask my questions, and have a voice as long as I respect their parameters. I have found that the more I stay true to my experiences and opinions, the more I get back from others and the site as a whole.

                        And when people do respond, it's the icing on the cake. It helps me to learn and to broaden, which ultimately, keeps me coming back for more. Responses are certainly key to keep me motivated, but can take some time to germinate and sometimes don't match up w/ what I am looking for or want to then I deal and move on. I hope this was of some help to you.

                        1. re: Carb Lover

                          Yes, thank you for your thoughtful response.

                        2. re: Anonymous

                          Can't say it better than Krys or Carb Lover, but will add that (like many hounds) I keep a list of places to check out, gleaned from postings I never respond to (nothing to say if I haven't been there, and it can be an awful long time before I actually go). Some of my best tips have come from frequent posters, others from very occasional posters. You're being read. Keep posting.

                          1. re: Anonymous

                            Keep posting, the more familiar the poster's name, the more likely I am to read the post!

                            (So you don't feel you've wasted time, just do a concise one paragraph review :)

                            1. re: Anonymous

                              Well there are worse things than being of the first times I posted I wrote a ( what I thought was entertaining) post ( which others perceived as inane , too chatty, and misguided ) about a great slice of apple pie at a local deli/trendy restaurant. The responses ranged from"so what is your POINT?" to "I never go there because it's not a REAL deli", to other challanges to my chowhoundness...and really it was just a heads up for a good slice of pie...

                              1. re: Ciaolette

                                Well, there's a balance. We're not looking for an exclusively affirmative site where no one ever contradicts anyone (that'd mean a useless site). Though, ideally, people would put on silk gloves before contradicting :)

                                But at least you didn't feel ignored. It gives newbies a throat lump when they muster the courage to join the fray, post something ambitious, and not a word is said. THAT'S what I'm hoping to stave off. Even negative, wise-ass reply is still engagement, and keeps people from feeling shunned.


                                1. re: Jim Leff

                                  Oh , I have pretty thick skin after all those crits in art school.. so I stumble on making my own opinionated posts!
                                  and I think the ironic differences of opinion here on
                                  Chowhound reflect a healthy community,
                                  you say tomaytoes I say tomaatoes...