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Bored with chowhound

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Since the "Why I'm no longer using Chowhound much anymore" thread is closed, I'll start a new one.

I've loved this site for five years, but more and more often now I visit the site and can't be bothered to open a topic.

The new format *looks* good, but for regular users it sucks. It's too hard to find just the posts you haven't read, especially in long threads. There are too many repetitive thread topics, perhaps because there are more casual users attracted by the jazzier format. It's too hard to follow the postings by the regular posters, so the sense of community is disappearing.

My prediction: in six months Chowhound as we've known it will be gone, replaced by a generic food discussion board. Sad. Really sad. You destroyed the village in order to save it.

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  1. Well there is the feature of color encoding along the left side to signify, and there's the my Chow section.

    For the left you have to know what you had previously read to know if it did change, but for me the bigger thing is that my Chow only holds a handful of recent topics and then the old ones slide off. I'd like the opportunity to up that limit.

    And for some reason in other views such as Hot Posts, the left hand color coding doesn't work - or maybe it's when I view another hound's list. I'd still like to cross reference that list with my activity and I'm not sure why that's not a global function of that side bar.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Dennis S

      It's not hard to tell if there are new posts, it's just a pain to read the new posts if the thread has more than half a dozen replies. It's a total waste of time to scroll through the thread to find the new post, and half the time, it wasn't worth it. In the old format, I could read just the new post, and since I could see who had posted it and what it was replying to I could also make an informed decision about whether to read it or skip it.

      And before someone mentions it, the poster tracking is the most frustrating "feature" of all. It seems like it would be a cool thing, but in practice, it's almost completely useless in actually finding new posts by the poster you're tracking.

      At this point, I think the only thing that could save Chowhound would be the resurrection of the original "hot posts" or some other way of tracking posts, rather than topics.

      Typing that gave me an epiphany: from my point of view, what's destroying the community nature of chowhound is that the new format is "topic-centric" while the old format was "poster-centric." Topics in and of themselves are not very interesting -- as I said, they tend to be repetitive, even under the best of circumstances. What the old format highlighted and the new format masks is the lively exchange of opinions within the topic. The visual impact of that lively exchange and the ability to see and recognize the people involved in it was what gave the old chowhound its personality and energy.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        I agree with you completely. The biggest loss the new format has caused is the loss of community. Chowhound is a much colder place than it used to be.

        1. re: Chimayo Joe

          I agree. Perhaps because many "friends" from the Home Cooking Board are no longer posting (and I wouldn't recognize their posts easily, as with the previous very visual "tree" format).

          The last subject that even came close to resembling the passion and sense of community of the "old" Home Cooking Board was Carb Lover's ATK vs. Zuni Roasted Chicken debate. The lively interchange was so refreshing...

    2. howdy, ruth.

      i tend to agree. you and i (and others) will probably be replaced by a new generation of contributors and that's simply the way it goes.

      i've enjoyed your posts. see you down the road.

      regards,
      --steve

      1. "It's too hard to follow the postings by the regular posters, so the sense of community is disappearing."

        You don't use the user tracking feature?

        1 Reply
        1. re: ChinoWayne

          It's worse than useless. Let's say, for example, that I'm tracking you (and you're well worth tracking, Chino Wayne). So I click on your name, and up comes a list of topics. Great. But that list of topics is a list of topics *that you've participated in at some point in the history of the topic* -- there's no way to know whether you've posted in it recently or not. Furthermore, the "new" icon only indicates whether there's been a new posting since the person being tracked last read the thread, not whether there's been one since *I* read the thread. So I might read the thread and find out that there's actually *nothing* in it that's new to me. And of course, for a prolific poster, the number of topics listed is totally inadequate.

        2. I think we old-timers should heed Tatum's request and hold off on rehashing these familiar complaints for a few months, until the developers have time to address some of the things he discussed in his post in "Why I'm no longer using Chowhound much anymore."

          Since there's no way to link to a particular post, I'll copy it here:

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          All:

          We sincerely appreciate the opinions and ideas in this thread. We are extremely glad that this thread stayed constructive as well. Let me also say thanks for sticking it out with us through this transition, as we know change is difficult - and for some - annoying. This will be an evolving conversation, so keep the comments coming as we really do want to create the best forum system we can for you. However, please also remember that we will not be able to address each Chowhound's preferences. That said, some of these ideas are absolutely great, and we will put them on the product road map. It seems to us there are a few features we should consider for development, based on this thread:

          ADVANCED FEATURES

          1. Topic-level author participation: the ability to see authors who have participated in a thread. (Note: we tried to address this in the first release, but we couldn't make it work without creating a ridiculous amount of overhead for the machines. We'll give it another look later this Fall).

          2. Multi-board HotPost viewing: the ability to see new posts from multiple boards from one view. e.g. subscribe to new posts in Outer Boroughs & Home Cooking from one view that can be accessed through MyChow.

          BASIC FEATURE

          1. We need a better viewing system for long threads. This one is going to take some thinking and some time. Be patient, but know that we are reviewing this as well.

          Again, thank you for the feedback. I'm going to leave this thread open for a few more hours, then we need to close it so we can go back to talking food and drink. We will open up some new threads over the next few weeks to talk about feature ideas and feedback.

          If you REALLY want to talk site development today, it would be great if you could look over at CHOW.com (login with your CH account name and password) and let us know what you think of Chowhound's sister site. We literally just got the beta up, and it needs all the critical eyes and constructive feedback you can give.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            > Since there's no way to link to a particular post, I'll copy it here:

            See, even the powerusers are confused by the new site.
            Robert, there -is- a way to link to a particular post:
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            1. re: Chuckles the Clone

              OK, I'm stumped. How did you do that?

              1. re: Morton the Mousse

                Two powerusers! One mysterious feature!
                You owe me three taterpuffs from Gregoire for this:
                Click the little one-eyed-flying-saucer just to the left of
                the "4394 days ago Morton replied to Chuckles" headline.

              2. re: Chuckles the Clone

                Useful tip. I'm not very visual, icons just look like garnish.

              3. re: Robert Lauriston

                Well, I might have read that post if it hadn't been buried in a topic with 39 replies that I gave up reading.

                That's the problem in a nutshell.

                "A few months" is an eternity on the Internet -- more than long enough to kill an online community -- and the attitude expressed by the design team on specific design issues (for example, the "real dates" thread, where they pulled out the old "everyone who contacted us offline agrees with us" excuse) doesn't encourage me to think they're really interested taking any of our complaints seriously.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  A post from the Chowhound team that closes a topic should be at the *end* of the topic.

                  That's not a software problem.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    A few months may be eternity on the internet, but in terms of planning and implementing a new backend programming feature of this type on a site of this size, it's not very long at all.

                    1. re: celeste

                      Especially when the same team is responsible for other products and is juggling priorities and release dates.

                      Managing user expectations is an art.

                2. Ruth, you truly are a valuable member of the community and it pains all of us to hear your frustration. All I can say is that I hope you'll stick with us while we evolve.

                  One thing I would like to address is the confusion on whether there is a "..is that a bug or a feature?" problem concerning the focus on topics. We spent a lot of time making sure that the focus of the site was the content- not the 'hound. We really tried to stay true to the Chowhound aesthetic of sharing found treasure, and we did our best to reflect it in the design and software. The site *should* reflect the importance of the shared information over the personality of individuals, therefore the focus on the topic-level. Again, I still think we can and will do something to address both author participation and making it easier to find new posts. Just give us a bit more time. Thanks.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Tatum

                    (1) coming up with a way for folks to just see the new content without scrolling through the old is key. The time wasting is wearing.

                    (2) the "hot posts" should show the most recent poster's name not the original poster.

                    I agree, the content is key, but its the interchange between enthusiasts that develops the content - you need to keep that alive, too.

                    thanks!

                    1. re: jen kalb

                      Yes--I agree. And on top of the annoyance of scrolling, there is a bugginess when I scroll through a topic. Text randomly disappears (I use I.E. 6.0 and firefox). The only way I can read it is to highlight it.

                      But mostly, I would love the option of seeing a thread collapsed (with an icon next to new posts and/or sorted with the newest posts on top.

                      Also, many times, even when I am logged in fine, the threads with new posts don't show up on My Chow--and, yes, I'm letting the page load completely. And when I click on the thread, the new posts are highlighted in yellow.

                      And since I'm on a roll today (seriously, I guess I have some pent up complaining to do... must be this sinus infection that is dulling my taste buds that making me crabby--surely other hounds can relate and forgive me)...

                      --I second the suggestion to show the posters name under hot posts.

                      --I would also like to see an option that allows hot posts to be broken out into boards as it was on the old site.

                      As it is now, it's just too much incongrous stuff mashed together and I'm not as tempted to impulse-read a bunch of new posts. Sure, I could use the drag-down menu to look at each board individually, but it's just too much trouble. Especially with all of the new boards.

                      --The ideal would be to let every user customize hot posts, so they can choose the boards "a la carte" that they want to see listed there.

                      Ah, that's it... must go gargle salt-water and hope the flavor comes back into my life and back to chowhound.

                      1. re: butterfly

                        "Yes--I agree. And on top of the annoyance of scrolling, there is a bugginess when I scroll through a topic. Text randomly disappears (I use I.E. 6.0 and firefox). The only way I can read it is to highlight it."

                        YES. This happens to me ALL THE TIME.

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                          Have you posted about that on the Feedback: Report Problems board? They can't fix bugs until they know about them.

                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                            I figured it was a PICNIC problem, so I never bothered. Now I will. ("Problem In Chair, Not In Computer")

                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                              "Have you posted about that on the Feedback: Report Problems board? They can't fix bugs until they know about them."

                              This has been reported in the past, without acknowledgement that I've seen by the developers.

                              I just bumped one thread about it in the Feedback forum:

                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                You should post your service pack levels on Win2K and MSIE6.

                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                  You presume incorrectly about my OS (I'm absolutely up to date on WinXP and IE). The system levels of the various users who have encountered the problem and similar details will be useful once the developers have acknowledged the problem.

                                  FWIW, some of the most-highly indented posts in this particular thread sometimes go invisible. I wonder whether it's related to the level of indenting and/or the number of posts.

                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                    This very indented part of the thread went blank for me. I've reported this before. Here it goes again... This time I'm on IE 6.0.2900.2180.xpsp_sp2_gdr.050301-1519.

                            2. I just want to chime in here to say that Ruth is not alone in her feelings. Truly, something has been lost in the translation, though I don't know how much has to do with the new format. All I know is that there is less useful chow information and fewer posts from long time hounders.

                              Unfortunately, I don't think you CNET people are that motivated to change things for the better. To you, an eyeball is an eyeball and the more you have (as in traffic) the better. But all CHers are not equal -- there are many who come to post their requests never to be heard from again once they get their answers. (I think they think responders are a paid answering service!) The deluge of these banal requests is driving long time multiple posters away. For a user, CH has become much less useful. I'm less motivated to view, less motivated to post.

                              Just my 2cents.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Pupster

                                I don't know why, I guess it is the flash but yes, there seem to be dozens of inane requests for information on CH now. I find myself trolling the pages, hoping for inpiration but it just doesn't come as readily.

                                I don't know. I like the site a lot but the change was not all for the best. A casual glance will note lots of new names but fewer and fewer postings from the veterans of the site. For me, that really limits the utility.

                                Disappointing.

                              2. Too bad there was such resistance to using dedicated forum software. So many of these issues would have been addressed at the get-go. Instead, the designers thought they could do better than years of development in forum features. :shakes head sadly:

                                1. For those who didn’t see it, here are a few excerpts from a NYTimes article from August 16.

                                  “Chow.com comes from an unlikely purveyor: CNET Networks, a Web publisher best known for technology news and reviews and computer game tips and tricks. Though the foray seems an odd fit, it dovetails with the company's strategy of expanding to general-interest passions of the 25- to 45-year-olds it seeks . . . .

                                  “For the required gustatory intelligence, the company earlier this year bought the remains of a short-lived magazine called Chow, bringing along its founder, Jane Goldman. And since every self-respecting Web site needs a virtual community attached to it, CNET Networks also acquired Chowhound, an online message board for the food-obsessed. . . .

                                  “Ms. Goldman, a former editor of The Industry Standard, the chronicler of the Internet boom and then bust, started Chow in 2004 for an audience she believed was underserved: a younger, hipper clientele passionate about food but perhaps not too skilled at preparing it. The plans for chow.com call for retaining the magazine's sensibility and making the contributions of its users a substantial part of the mix.”

                                  I think this article makes it fairly clear that CNET’s and Chow.com’s objectives do not, and will not, coincide with the objectives of longtime Chowhounders. And although they are happy to have our input for Beta-testing purposes, we are not going to be the tail that wags the dog. I’m sticking with it for the time being, at least long enough to see whether or not and to what extent issues important to me are addressed. It doesn’t augur well that the sense of community so many of us miss seems to have been deliberately engineered out, most probably to make new users feel more welcome. But a “clientele passionate about food” is not necessarily a clientele knowledgeable about food. And if we lose that “clientele,” I’ll be outta here. CNET may even be happy about that. I’m significantly older than the barely acceptable 45 and probably screw up their desired demographic profile.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    CNET doesn't have any demographic information on Chowhound members.

                                    I think the CNET crew has been working really hard and done a great job, and it's embarrassing that they get so many complaints about things they've already said they're looking to improve.

                                  2. "I think the CNET crew has been working really hard and done a great job, and it's embarrassing that they get so many complaints about things they've already said they're looking to improve."

                                    I don't disagree, Robert. I think they have done a great job doing what it is they want to do. I'm just saying that what they want may not be what I and what some other long-time posters want. (Guess I just should have said that in the first place, huh? ;-)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      From what I've read, they've understood and promised to address the major complaints (top-level display of authors who have participated in a thread; multi-board HotPost viewing; better viewing system for long threads).

                                      But people still keep talking about those issues as if that weren't the case.

                                    2. i agree with you ruth. i really disliked the new format at first, but i've adapted to some extent (since i surf from work, security restrictions prevent many of the site's more useful features from working for me). however, i find that i'm now more of a lurker, whereas i used to be a fairly prolific poster. now i generally view a board, and if nothing interests me without scrolling down, i move on. even if something interests me, if there are more than a handful of responses, i skip it 'cause i don't feel like hassling with all the scrolling.

                                      on the topic of scrolling, here's another peeve: when the reply box was immediately below the post, it was easy to jump back up to reread the post to be sure i was addressing the issue/request; to write this response, i had to scroll way back up to reread the original.

                                      like steve h said above, the likelihood is that a new generation will take over. and as someone else above noted, i don't think the administrators really care as long as the overall visitation stays steady/rises. i've seen a few references to site traffic saying that it's stayed consistent, or even increased, but i don't know that i believe it; or at least i don't belive that useful content has gone up. the bitch boards ("food media..." (which seems to be more of a 'i hate such-and-such personality' board than anything else), "site talk" & "feedback") have a lot of traffic, as does the "chain" board (i preferred the old chains are quasi-verboten policy; even when they made it onto the old "general topics" board, they fell off the radar quickly enough that they didn't elicit much response). discount those boards and i think it would put a dent in site traffic. at the very least, i know my area doesn't get the amount of coverage it used to, and when someone does post, replies are far fewer.

                                      i guess my view of chowhound now is that it continues to be a valuable resource, more so now for when i travel than for my home area, but that it's a less fun place to hang out.

                                      1. I find myself sympathetic with the positons of Ruth, Robert, and Tatum. I think it's important that a prolific and respected poster like Ruth verbalize her frustrations, and clearly, she is not alone. In discussions with other Chowhounds, both here and offline, it feels to me that it is the hardcore users, especially those who read and/or post on many boards, who are most frustrated, both with the amount of time it takes to read and participate on CH, and with a feeling of a loss of community.

                                        Personally, I don't feel the same lack of community that Ruth and others are complaining about, but I know that it is taking me much longer to use the new software than the old, and I'm posting less. I'm not bored, but I am frustrated.

                                        I'm heartened by several of your posts, Tatum. I think you understand the nature of the complaints. I understand that you are launching Chow and this may not be a priority right now. But then I also think you have to understand that it would be tragic to lose cherished members like Ruth because the software makes it impossible, for example, to read new replies quickly, a feature even low-level off-the-shelf BB software provides.

                                        I complimented the elegance and intuitive software days after I encountered it. But frankly, at this point, I'd gladly embrace gobs of smilies and avatars if it would lessened the amount of scrolling. No BB software should ask users to spend the majority of her time scrolling.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Dave Feldman

                                          "... impossible, for example, to read new replies quickly ..."

                                          I just don't understand that complaint. It takes me far less time to scroll down through a topic skimming for the new posts than it did to click on all the separate URLs in the old system.

                                          Is there some hardware difference on my system that makes it easier for me than you? What's your screen resolution and how exactly do you scroll--mouse wheel, mouse click, Page Down key, down arrow key?

                                          Certainly the UI for long threads could be improved, but that's one of the things they're working on:

                                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            Not sure, but I think you mentioned that you were not a Hot Post user on the old software, which makes a difference. Under the old system, it was easy to go directly to just the new posts/specific author in a given thread topic.

                                            That said, if you read EVERY post on the SF board as I do, the new software is indeed much faster, but I find I need to use it in a different way to get that efficiency. This was brought home to me when i got back from four days away from the site and needed to catch up. It took me less than 4 hours over 2 days to make my way through all the new SF posts, whereas that would have been a much longer task before. The efficiency comes in being able to read an entire thread topic on one screen where everything is new. That mimics the reading pattern of an infrequent user.

                                            When I find the new software inefficient is the inability to go quickly to a new post. Consequently, I refresh the board fewer times and allow a conversation to develop before checking back on it to save myself so much scrolling. This reduces the number of page views that I might otherwise build up if there were a way to get to the new content directly. Discouraging more views seems counter to a goal of maximizing ad revenue.

                                            One thing that I haven't seen much mention of is the increase in traffic. The SF board has many, many more posts, both of new topics and on bumped up threads than before the changeover. If it seems like getting through the board takes more time, it's also because there's been a huge increase in messages. To my eye, seems like at least triple, perhaps a great deal more. And, the number of replies to a single topic has increased dramatically too, something that probably couldn't have been anticipated before launch, making navigating harder. I remember making a mental note of the number of threads that transferred from the old system vs. the message count when the site launched. Can't remember it now but it came out to something like an average of 7 or 8 posts per thread. It would be interesting to hear what the current average is, and of course, there are some notable gargantuan outliers.

                                            Help for navigating long threads is the top item on my development wish list.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              Melanie addresses my points. I completely agree that this software is faster for an infrequent user, but for a frequent user with the old Hotposts, only one click got you where you had to go. As Melanie points out, the only way to achieve anywhere near this speed with the current software is to check individual threads less often.

                                          2. I dunno; I disagree with the posters here. I think the new interface is more intuitive and the design is lovely. The old format was soooo ugly - and maybe some people are nostalgic for it, but I'm not.

                                            And FWIW I could never use the old site on my Blackberry which made me CRAZY - meant I couldn't use it on the road. (The pages were just too neverending to load.) This one, I can :-)

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: spigot

                                              I understand this sentiment, but if you lose the prolific and respect posters, then you have a site that is pretty to look at but has mediocre (at best) content.

                                              Despite the cheering of bells and whistles at website, content is king on the Internets. If there is nothing there, all the intuition and loveliness will prove meaningless.

                                              1. re: spigot

                                                But I don't disagree with your sentiments about the look and intuitiveness of the new software -- I mentioned this in the last paragraph of my post above, and still agree with these sentiments.

                                              2. I've finally come back into the community (since the CNET change) in the past two weeks or so after finally figuring out a few of the cooler features (user tracking, while still difficult to sometimes add someone sometimes) and trying to take advantage of them. Some of the complaints above talk about being topic-centric instead of poster-centric so now, I just hit myCHOW and get all my personal topics, plus the list of users that I like to track; I think everyone should use this feature a lot, it should help with the community aspect. Like I mentioned, the software seems to be slightly inconsistent when deciding whether or not you can add them (underlined name) or not (non-underlined name), see this example: at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                                (sorry, to single you out eric, I've always followed your posts, pre-CNET; the man is a genius!

                                                )

                                                anyway, my complaint is how the search function works; I've always found DATE to be a better sorter since TOPIC only organizes by post headline, and not the contents of the post itself. so search result number one can be a single reply thread, just by virtue of its headline, when it should really be, for instance, the thread with the most activity and replies, or the thread with the most mentions of a search query in the body of the post, and not the headline. At least the date function gives me something current, but that's about it. they should show the first 40 words or so of each search result (sort of like the google search that pre-CNET chowhound had instituted).

                                                finally, as an NYC user, I do appreciate that "THE BEST . . . " and "WHAT I'M CRAVING" is NYC-centric, but really, that makes no sense. every region should have their own versions of that board. it's almost like, in the CNET translation, they just decided to do a full-translation, but didn't really think about the translation, and just shifted it all together without considering these things.

                                                to all of you out there, don't give up! if we do like ruth, and let the folks know our complaints and gripes and wishes, surely they will listen to us, and we can make this Chowhound 2.0 work for all of us.

                                                1. Ruth,

                                                  100% correct. I used to have the site on my office computer as one my toggle options and checked it at least once an hour. No longer. A shame.

                                                  1. I also agree with Ruth.

                                                    I used to post frequently, but this is the first time I've been sufficiently motivated to do so since the change. Hard to put my finger on why, exactly. But the site definitely lacks, for me, the community feel it used to have and that I loved. It's just less satisfying now. The interface feels, I don't know, kind of corporate and impersonal.

                                                    Just my opinion.

                                                    1. I think the big problem is that you can't see names of people who have posted in a thread, so it is harder to look for the people you are especially interested in.

                                                      Kind of like a cocktail party where the room is so smoke-filled that you can't see who is there, and you have to walk up close to each conversation to see if the people you want to listen to are there or not. You probably wouldn't stay long.

                                                      I know the chowhound staff say that they want the site to be oriented around food and not personalities, but life is not that simple. Depersonalizing the chow talk depersonalizes the site, and drains a bit of the fun and interest. (And besides, I think most of us follow people who make interesting chow conversation; it's not as if the personalities here are based around much other than their approach to food.)

                                                      While I am commenting, let me add that overall I like the new interface, scrolling is way better than clicking for me.

                                                      1. I was a newbie with the old format (a couple of months) and even as a newbie I was, at first, disappointed with the new format. I now really like the ability to see only the new post as "shaded" and a "new" balloon directing me there. There are some of you old-timers who I have gained a lot of respect for, and always look at ur posts. The new feature of seeing who's on is under beta-testing in my book, but it's neat to see who is viewing the same thread.

                                                        To you old-timers, please keep coming back. It's the veterans who give us newbies guidance and keep us grounded when we slide a little to the left. Change is tough, and not always a favorite item of all, but as we expand our somfort zone, well we have more room for others.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                          jfood said: "The new feature of seeing who's on is under beta-testing in my book, but it's neat to see who is viewing the same thread."

                                                          I don't think it shows who is viewing the thread, but rather who has posted/replied to it.

                                                        2. I agree with Ruth. I just looked at the "Not About Food" board for the first time in about 20 hours, and couldn't find one new topic on the first page. I realize that there's value in bumping posts to the top when there are new replies, but it's harder and harder now to find new content.

                                                          I'm also a topic-reader (I look first at topics rather than favorite posters), and it gets frustrating to see two more replies to yet another week-old discussion about tipping instead of something new.

                                                          Does the new format kill inspiration? Or is it the new wave of Chowhounds on the site? Or is it something else? I don't know. But there sure do seem to be many more "survey" type questions (e.g., "what's your favorite______") and far fewer substantive discussions that you can really learn from. At this point, Home Cooking feels like the last bastion of good info-sharing on the site, but I wonder how long that will last if we keep losing people like Ruth and others that rarely post anymore.

                                                          9 Replies
                                                          1. re: Kagey

                                                            "I just looked at the "Not About Food" board for the first time in about 20 hours, and couldn't find one new topic on the first page. I realize that there's value in bumping posts to the top when there are new replies, but it's harder and harder now to find new content."

                                                            At the top of each board are the options -
                                                            "View by: Latest Reply / Date Started"

                                                            "Latest Reply" is the default. Click on "Date Started" and the newest topics will be on top.

                                                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                              There actually haven't been any new threads on that board during that time frame, as far as I can tell. I wasn't sure if Kagey's point was that he/she couldn't find any new topics, or was pointing out that there weren't any.

                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                I think the point is that while traffic has held steady or increased on the "Big Boards", the smaller regional boards (and specialty boards?) have dwindled to the point that it's barely worth checking in.

                                                              2. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                Bob- Something is wacky with those dates unless I'm looking at it wrong. I go to NotAboutFood, sort by Date Started, there is a heading "Discussions for Tuesday, September 19, 2006". I click on the topic about "Helping The Server" and I find that it's not from the 19th but in fact the 18th as are several of the replies.
                                                                Am I interpreting this incorrectly or does the site have a problem with the dates?

                                                                1. re: gnocchi

                                                                  There is something wierd (in a geocentric way) about the dates - there are other threads about it on this board - I think dates are based on GMT.

                                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                                    Gotcha. But there should be consistency. If the post dates are GMT then the heading dates should be GMT based also. Just a little glitch I guess.

                                                                  2. re: gnocchi

                                                                    I see what you mean about the "Helping the Server" thread. As MMRuth said, I think it has to do with the default timezome of the file server. I doubt they picked GMT - more likely Eastern Standard or Pacific Standard time. As a result posts between 12:00AM and 3:00AM and posts between 9:00PM and 11:59PM could spill over into another day.

                                                                    To me that's not all that big a deal. The poster who was requested to see topic in the order they were created should be able to live with this.

                                                                    If the Engineers are reading along they might want to consider allowing users to set their local timezone on the MyChow screen and then adjust the dates and times accordingly. Invision boards do this as a default. Just a thought. It's not that big of a deal for me and I'm sure their To Do lists are overflowing.

                                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                      I guess the point I was trying to make was that MMRuth's comment
                                                                      "There actually haven't been any new threads on that board during that time frame"
                                                                      would be difficult to validate if the dates aren't being translated consistently and correctly. Like you said, it's probably not a big deal; just adds to the confusion.

                                                                2. re: Kagey

                                                                  If Ruth is posting less, it's only relative. She's still one of the most frequent posters on the SF Bay Area board.

                                                                  Not About Food averages around five new topics a day, and it has a lot of topics with 30 or more replies. There's plenty of traffic there.

                                                                3. "Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so. After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns, we ourselves flash and yearn,
                                                                  and moreover my mother told me as a boy
                                                                  'Ever to confess you're bored means you have no Inner Resources.'"
                                                                  - John Berryman (American poet 1914 - '72)