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Aug 7, 2006 02:36 AM

Of Late, So Many Requests...So Few Reports....

Is it my imagination? Since the CH upgrade it seems that there are lots and lots of "requests" for this and that, but relatively few "reports" (esp. on the Home Cooking Board).

The reports were the highlight of the board--these contributed to the feeling of being in a 'cooking community'. I find myself losing interest in reading through an endless lists of requests...any long-time posters feeling the same?

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  1. One of my favourite reasons for hanging out on chowhound is that it's the opposite of passive programming such as TV. If I don't find the programming entirely to my taste, I can actively change it by posting. In this vein, the best way to increase the number of reports to post them.

    OTOH requests can often draw out chow info that hounds may not have previously posted about, so that's not necessarily a bad thing.

    1. I have noticed the same thing too. I have a few theories, but the best one is that I can come up with is that CH is reaching a broader audience, therefore, we have a whole new group of people who who are at the beginning stage of their CH maturity. When I was new to this site 3 years ago I was stunned that such a community existed and I remember "aha, I can now ask all those burning questions that no one else I know can answer". It is my hope, as the newbies become seasoned (pun intended) CH vets that with their newfound knowledge, they wiil be eager to report about their discoveries.

      1. One thing to keep in mind is that some people have been reporting back by appending to the original thread now that the new format allows for "bumping." So the titles will read like a request even though reports are rolling in. Sometimes I find myself conflicted about whether to append or start a fresh thread w/ a link to the old post.

        I find myself still adjusting to the new "culture" and "flavor" that the new technology brings, but I've found that the pros outweigh the cons. I've also noticed that some regular posters on Home Cooking haven't posted as much (if at all), so I'm missing their presence but know that participation can fluctuate and change is inevitable.

        I totally agree w/ limster that CH is what you make of it. If you want to see more reports then you can create that, which I see you doing and not just whining. Pointing this out also helps, as it gives me encouragement to report back on sugarbuzz's mint ice cream recipe, which I shall do in the next day or so. BTW, I'm really enjoying all your photos! Keep it up...

        1. I wonder if there are fewer reports because of the weather and the time of year. Hot weather means people spending less time indoors on the computer, and also not wanting to cook too much. I know I've been throwing together easy, hot-weather-friendly meals lately, and I bet I'm not alone. Notice that there have been a few ice cream reports lately, though. I'm sure participation and food reports will increase as the weather cools. Or maybe i'm just optimistic!

          1. This trend began long before the new format.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Scagnetti

              Agreed. Seems like over the last couple of years.
              I've probably posted about Iowa recs dozens of times, and only received maybe 2 reports. It's frustrating because it may have been quite awhile since I have been to some of the places and it would be good to know if they are still as good as they were.
              Never getting any feedback makes me hesitant to continue recommending them.

              1. re: Bobfrmia

                I know how you feel. If the Texas board had been a horse, we would've shot it a long time ago. With some exceptions (Central Texas BBQ), good informative postings have slowed to a crawl. Across the boards, some of the best and most entertaining posters have just drifted away.

                1. re: Bobfrmia

                  I've been thinking about this for --oh, about 19 hours. As the forum grows, there are newcomers constantly being mixed into the chowhound community. As a relative newcomer to Chowhound, I have to confess that it's:

                  1. Easy to post a question. You don't have to be a chow expert, have a discerning palate, or any skills in writing about food to ask a question. [edited for spelling: nor do you even need to know how to spell palate!]
                  2. Less easy to post a complimentary report on a restaurant you visited that was recommended to you. Even if you don't know anything about food or don't have a knack for writing about food, it's not that hard to say, "tried the place, ate dish X, enjoyed it, thank you."
                  3. Pretty hard to post a negative report on a restaurant recommended to you because you want to be polite and because it's intimidating to say something negative when you're unsure about your particular skills as a chowhound, especially if you've only visited a place once.

                  I don't have any answers, except that maybe you when you provide a recommendation (and you probably already do this for all I know) to say, "Please report back. I haven't been to this place in awhile and would like to know if it's as wonderful as I remember." And, of course, for the more established 'hounds to keep posting reports--both positive and negative--so that the newcomers can learn from the pros, perhaps?


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    There are no 'pros' in the world of CH. Instead you build up your rep with your cumulative reports. People will notice when those reports are thoughtful and informative, and if the reports match their tastes, they will begin to trust your opinion and start tracking you. It doesn't happen overnight, it happens by establishing a pattern of good reports over time. (Look at the MyChow page of Melanie Wong or Eric Eto or Gary Soup; people follow them because they write good reports.)

                    Everyone is entitled to an opinion but the better ones just back them up using examples and descriptive reporting. Make your case or express your thoughts; people get that the thoughts are subjective.

                    The point is contribute: help people out by reporting on a place they might be interested in. Provide details. Tell us what you ate. It's not that hard. Too many people come on soliciting help without leaving anything useful for anyone else -- this is what I object to.

                    1. re: Pupster

                      Clearly I shouldn't have said, "learn from the pros," when I meant, "learn from the longer-standing posters." I agree Melanie and Gary and Eric, among many, are wonderful reporters and I do indeed follow their posts (as do many others, judging by their "people tracking me" lists.)

                      But, I beg to differ that "it's not that hard." I think you're coming from a perspective of someone who posts a lot and is very talented and articulate when it comes to thinking about and describing food--this is a compliment, by the way. :) Perhaps you've always been this way--a born chowhound--or if you've just developed this talent through a lot of observation and hard work, but to take that skill for granted means that you're overlooking how much hard work it took to hone those skills. Not everyone has them. Yet.

                      I can't speak for others, but it's hard for me, and I do a fair amount of writing in life. I think it's because I'm not a born chowhound.

                      For instance, I recently ate at a buffet at a new Chinese restaurant that has been getting a lot of play on my local chowhound board. No one had posted about the buffet yet, so I did. Even though I planned to post about my meal and was trying to make as many observations as I could, when it came down to writing my report, I was overwhelmed. I didn't know the names of all the dishes, and in some cases, didn't even remember what was in each dish. Partly because I was unfamiliar with the ingredients. Partly because of the language barrier. Partly because reporting on a buffet presents some unique challenges. And partly because I don't trust my instincts and observations yet and there are some people on my board who are incredibly knowledgeable and articulate and this restaurant is a favorite of theirs.

                      I've learned over time (from my fellow 'hounds) to snag a copy of the take-out menu, take notes, take photos, ask questions of the restaurant staff. I've also learned to ask the opinions of my fellow diners because different people notice different things.

                      But these are all things you learn over time that the more experienced 'hounds should not take for granted. I don't know how to encourage newcomers to post their reports more except by example and except by reminding them.


                      1. re: Pupster

                        "I don't know how to encourage newcomers to post their reports more except by example..."
                        That is exactly right. Look, you are putting too much emphasis in getting everything exactly right -- all the ingredients, spelling the names of dishes -- but while that's helpful it's not a requirement. By writing SOMETHING, you will generate interest in this NEW Chinese buffet -- good or bad. People who have been will fill in details in their responses, some will agree with your assessment, some will vehemently disagree -- that doesn't make you wrong!

                        People who haven't been will be alerted to the place. They will read all the responses and either go to confirm or avoid because hounds say so. The point being that all this begins with YOUR report.

                        EDIT: I should add that we don't need any more reports on Babbo, Lupa or any of the other usual suspects.

                        1. re: Pupster

                          Pupster, there's not a reply button on your most recent reply to me, so, I hope this comment ends up in the right place. I think your points are all terrific, about not needing to be perfect and not worrying about getting every detail right, or even about being "right" period. Those are good rules for life in general.

                          It seems to me that the etiquette under "Getting Started" is pretty out of date. I wonder if the etiquette of reporting might not be a helpful addition should the hounds-that-be decide to update the etiquette. At least a comment saying, "And if you post asking our guidance on where to eat, don't forget to come back and tell us how your experience was and contribute to our growing pool of chow knowledge."