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Jul 10, 2006 05:42 AM

Custom PM System

How about the implementation of a PM (Personal Message) system specially tuned to the unique needs of the Chowhound community? Such an implementation would include an open policy such that each message would be "reviewed" by the Chowhound Team to insure that it is not depriving the public boards of their rightful access to chow. Plus, there could be a limit on the number of replies to (1) make it easier for the Chowhound Team to manage, and (2) serve to discourage the use of the system for "chit chat". The PM system that I envision would be focused mainly on passing along special "Thank you" (and other semi-private) messages, setting up chowhound get-togethers and trading e-mail addresses for all the rest.

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  1. I think many of those things can already be done through email (especially through accounts on hotmail or yahoo etc... that aren't one's main personal email account to maintain privacy), without the need for the creation of a PM system. Many hounds have been posting their email addresses under myChow, typically in under Top 5 restaurants.

    Moreover, I'm not particularly in favour of having the chowhound team review personal communication -- more work for the team, less privacy for the users.

    3 Replies
    1. re: limster

      All of your e-mail benefits could obviously continue. People would still be free to post whatever e-mail account they wished on their my Chow page.

      Privacy would not be a concern since it would be understood that the PM system would only be a semi-private channel. Again, the focus would be 3 part: (1) taking some of the load off the board as far as "Thank you" (and other semi-private) messages would be concerned, (2) offering a way to invite a fellow 'hound (or 'hounds) to a chowfest, and (3) providing a semi-private channel to swap (fully) private e-mail addresses for all the rest. For people such as yourself with privacy concerns, your PM would need never contain anything more than a free web-mail address of your own choosing. It would be up to the recipient of your PM to respond. Poof! Privacy concern gone. :-)

      Some people will never post an e-mail address on their my Chow page either due to privacy concerns, lack of technical facility or, as in my case, a strong desire to keep my life simple, and free of "throwaway" e-mail addresses and the extra resources they require to maintain. Many of these people will never know what they are missing until shown. A hybrid PM system such as I have described would provide a safe way for these users to "connect" to the community in an extra way and then move forward at their own speed. This PM system would also benefit all those, like yourself, who prefer using their free web-mail (thank you very much) by giving them access to this large pool of people who, again, will never post an e-mail address to their my Chow page.

      As far as the increased workload on the Chowhound Team concern, keep in mind that this would serve to reduce certain types of frivolous posts to the boards. So it could conceivably serve to *reduce* their workload there. So, depending on how much work was required to monitor the PM system, the net result could be negligible. Or who knows? Maybe even less!

      1. re: limster

        I agree limster. Even though people can put email under myChow Top 5 restaurants, I would like a separate email box on that page to make it clear with the ability to click on the email.

        1. re: theotherhalfofdh

          I'd love to have a clickable email too! Hopefully the engineering team will get to it soon. But for now, "Top 5 restaurants" is a decent band-aid.

      2. I think I'd feel even more strongly than limster that monitoring of PM's would be counterproductive at best.

        At the very least, I'd like an e-mail field, preferably a hotlink, in the profile section. But I think a PM system (optional, of course) would be a good addition, too.

        1. I am not very savvy about the workings of websites, but several of my favourites have the option of writing to another individual in a private message and it seems to work very well for the occasional personal comment about one thing or another. Emailing is very easy, too. Maybe I've just gotten lazy with old age.

          1. I am also in favor of a "private" message or "personal" message system to give people the flexibility to say "thank you" or to organize off-board chow gatherings. As I mentioned in this thread,
            I am wary of providing my "real" e-mail address in my public profile page for privacy reasons. I am also loathe to create a "throw away" e-mail address because I imagine I would forget to check it, whereas an incoming "private message" within the Chowhound system would wait patiently for me next time I logged into Chowhound, which I would eventually do anyway.

            I would also advocate that the PM feature enable individual users who do not wish to use it to turn the feature off, as well as giving individual users the opportunity to "block" specific other posters who they don't wish to hear from or who have been abusive towards them in the past.

            I wouldn't expect the moderators would spend any time reviewing private messages.

            As an alternative, I am in favor of adding a new Board specifically for the purposes of organizing off-Board chowdowns. This doesn't address the issue of saying "thank you," though. Unless you said it in person at a chowdown, I guess. ;-



            2 Replies
            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              I would be more in favour of a board for organizing chowdowns, mainly because it's more inclusive.

              1. re: limster

                I agree with you limster.

                Perhaps we could have

                1) a (private message) PM feature for those who wish to say "thank you" yet keep their e-mail address out of the public realm,

                2) an optional link to your e-mail address in your profile for those who want their e-mail addresses to be easily accessible, and

                3) a new Chowhound Board for the express purpose of organizing chowdowns.


            2. Chowhound Team, are there plans for a PM system or not?

              Summing up the pro pm comments: I'm too lazy to create my own free e-mail account, add that on my profile and check that account from time to time. I would like to chat about non-food topics.

              Summing up the con arguments: cliques, loss of information on the board, another responsibility for the moderators to add to keeping the boards honest.

              IMO, the only reason for a pm system would be for the Chowhound Team to contact posters. Some people will not use the account they create to register on Chowhound. It is their loss and no different than the old software. If there is no way to contact someone, that person loses information about why their post was deleted and communication with other Chowhounds.