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Dec 27, 2006 07:27 PM

How to respond to really clueless posts and posters

Every so often a clueless post will make my blood boil.

What is the optimum way for the site of handling these? Any thoughts, other than ignoring or making alternative suggestions?

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  1. I think personally if it makes your blood boil, you're better off just trying to ignore it. I'm not aware of "clueless" posts that I've made, but I've obviously annoyed a few people (not hard to do, evidently) and have had a few really mean, nasty remarks directed at me. They serve no purpose other than to make ME mad. And it seems to me that this community shouldn't be about being ugly to each other and seeing how badly you can hurt someone's feelings.

    On the occasions that I've been insulted, the comments are usually removed, and when they haven't been, I've reported them, and they've been removed. If it's something like that, then report it. If it's just something that ticks you off because of someone else's ignorance, I would try to ignore it.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Andiereid

      Personally, I can't imagine a post on a food website from a total stranger making my blood boil. OTOH, that might be because I myself was once treated as clueless by a fellow poster who attempted to engage me in an argument over fish vera cruz. I'd like to suggest that life is short and it just isn't worth getting worked up over such things. JMO, of course. Yours may vary...:)

      Edited to add: Talk about being clueless, I didn't mean to post this comment under another reply. Apologies all around.

      1. re: Andiereid

        Very good! We probably all get annoyed with a post, especially because you can’t always infer the emotion, detect the level of sarcasm of the poster or is it just good-spirited ribbing.

        Resurrecting old posts is not a popular thing around here, but I was ticked and figured others might feel the same way from time to time ... and I really liked what Andiereid had to say about it.

        1. re: cuccubear

          Um, you got ticked because something got under my skin a couple of years ago? I thought Andie's comment was good too, but I was just looking for a solution to a practical problem as the rest of the thread indicates. Maybe the language was a bit more colorful than necessary.

          1. re: jen kalb

            No, not necessarily... :-)

            I, myself was feeling ticked and a little annoyed about some threads and went searching for others who have felt the same way. But it's all good now.

      2. If a comment is insulting and directed at you or another poster, please use 'report this post' to let the moderators know about it.

        If you're going to take issue with a post on the boards, please remember to debate only the food opinions - not the poster's credibility or right to hold their opinion or the way it was expressed.

        But generally, if something makes you mad, it's best not to respond - Chowhound is supposed to be fun, not upsetting.

        1. Please give an example of what you would consider to be a "clueless post". P.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Polecat

            I, too, am curious. I might have been born under the sign of "there's no such thing as a stupid question."

            Sometimes we're all clueless about an ingredient or technique or a long-lost recipe. I assume that is why boards such as CH exist. I'd hate to think we're all in it for mutual admiration vis-vis knowledge of hot restaurants or gadgets, or the like.

            Can the CH Team weigh in on this?


          2. Why not just mutter to yourself "This one is Clueless!!!"
            and move on. (I'd suggest you might try & clue them in, but somehow I don't think you would..)

            21 Replies
            1. re: genie

              there's a thread going on elsewhere on the board where the discussion turned to the everlasting concerns about signal to noise ratio - so I guess my question was really geared to whether there is any optimum way we can discourage or instill site ethos into non-chowish posters - without being snarky, of course. One example is the person who treats the board like a neighborhood chat and will recommend just any place - the posts in Outer Boroughs about my own downtown brooklyn community get this way sometimes. Probably in many cases there isnt a way and moving on to the next post is best.

              Hopefully, if we can get some wikis going we can divert some of the repetitive traffic - requests for party locations or "help, I cant get in at Babbo, what do I do" to a wiki instead.

              1. re: jen kalb

                At the risk of seeming clueless...what exactly is a wiki?

                1. re: Polecat

                  Definition: A wiki is a web application that allows users to add content, as on an Internet forum, but also allows anyone to edit the content.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    Adding to that - WIKI is an acronym for What I Know Is.

                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                      its a way of accumulating or presenting content that doesnt wouldnt involve the need to post and ask a question on the Board, like a FAQ but editable. So for example there could be an entry on "Indain Restaurants in Queens" or "Best Pizza in Brooklyn" Best Thai or Rte 80 Roadtrip Eats, say with a list, addresses, description and comments, which could be edited by site participants.

                      1. re: jen kalb

                        I'm not sure why you feel these types of posts should be placed in another category. A great many knowledgable and experienced hounds add a great deal to the discussions on these types of posts. I think what you are suggesting has some merit, as a means to, perhaps, update a cumulative 10-best list for any given food or neighborhood, that would include address, phone, etc, based on cumulative vote or opinion. I don't think what you are suggesting, though, would put a stop to the types of repetitive posts that you mention. I am also not so sure, when you speak of editing, whether you mean that any given user can edit what another user has just posted, or whether the moderators would be doing so (?); if this is the case, then I would much rather respond to an inaccurate post, or receive responses to my own, than to edit or be edited by another user.

                        1. re: Polecat

                          Im not saying at all that there shouldnt be board discussion on these topics only that in certain circumstances that keep recurring, this type of info trove could be useful.

                          As far as the editing go, wikis typically can be edited by participants - mostly factually - it would be abusive to edit other people's opinions. if you ever use wikipedia, its an exemple of the wiki format. An example - lets say you added a restaurant name to a list but werent sure of the spelling or the address - someone could edit that.

                2. re: jen kalb

                  "Site ethos"? "Chowish" (vs. "non-Chowish")? Sounds like you are plumping for the elitist elements on chowhound. Personally, I'd rather see a "clueless" post than a smart-ass know-it-all post.

                    1. re: Gary Soup

                      Most of us are here because we think on some level this stuff about what we eat and whether it tastes good really matters on some level or other. Theres nothing elitist about that.

                    2. re: jen kalb

                      That was me, I think, addressing a phenomenon rather new to Chowhound. Basically, I live in a small Southern college town that doesn't attract many Chowhound visitors. The few times that anyone has posted with the typical questions about what to eat and where to eat it, there have been a few locals (including me :) who posted informed, accurate personal assesments of the local food scene. Unfortunately, there were also several folks who posted strong recommendations for restaurants that barely qualify as edible by any rational standard. By the time the threads petered out, someone had strongly recommended every single locally-owned restaurant in town. And that is absurd. That is just not what Chowhound is about.

                      Anyone reading those particular threads would find me and a few other local Chowhounds disagreeing politely about the merits of a few spots while continuing a lively discussion about the local food scene and generally agreeing on most things. So there's obviously plenty of room for differing opinions here, particularly when discussing the merits of a small college town, where one must necessarily make culinary compromises due to a general lack of excellence.

                      But to find Chowhound becoming a forum where anybody with a computer can badly mislead others is disturbing to me. It's a betrayal of trust, and of the Chowhound mission. And there has been an influx recently of folks who just don't seem to understand the Chowhound mission at all. And for the record, any attempt to paint those adhering to the Chowhound Mission Statement as being elitist is just silly. This is "", not "It's awesome because it was cheap and edible back in my college", you know?

                      I do think the problem is a little worse in the boards devoted to less fodd-obsessed parts of the country, for sure. I do think that politeness and civility are always in style, but sometimes folks post some pretty ludicrous stuff on my regional board...

                      1. re: uptown jimmy

                        Sometimes these posts sound a lot like "Wowie, Zowie, it's AWESOME because I work there."

                        1. re: uptown jimmy

                          Here's my slightly different perspective on the issue, which is that hounds are ultimately responsible for the level of deliciousness they attain, regardless of who gives out the chowtips.

                          I think hounds who come here to ask for chowtips should not blindly settle for whatever is recommended here (or anywhere else) but apply their own critical thinking and chowing skills to tease out which suggestions best match their taste or use the information as a rough guide for actual on the ground reconnaissance.

                          The content on is not only FROM chowhounds, but it's also FOR chowhounds. If anyone wants to score deliciousness, they've got to use that information critically and do a bit of legwork themselves because they're world experts on their own tastes and preferences.

                          1. re: uptown jimmy

                            exactly what evoked my post. Believe me, it happens everywhere.

                            1. re: uptown jimmy

                              " Unfortunately, there were also several folks who posted strong recommendations for restaurants that barely qualify as edible by any rational standard."

                              Who determines the "rational standard"? Believe me, I know what you mean. Presumably, everyone on this site has high standards. That said, although there might be a consensus about what that means, vis-a-vis The Chowhound Manifesto, we can't control what other people construe as being high standards of cuisine. If you feel, in your heart, that so-and-so's recommendation of their hood's best and only pizzeria is coming from a limited perspective, or lack of knowledge/experience, that doesn't negate the fact that so-and-so has a right to post that opinion on this board.

                              1. re: Polecat

                                The "rational standard" should be critically determined on by the hounds who are seeking the chowtips. Different hounds may have different standards; by adhering to their own standards, they can decide on where they want to eat.

                                1. re: Polecat

                                  In this case, "rational standards" would certainly NOT include heartily recommending restaurants that serve, say, vegetables out of a can, or frozen french fries and Tator Tots, or mystery meat, or microwaved burritos.

                                  I'm sorry, but everything is NOT a matter of opinion, contrary to the post-modern attitude so prevalent today.

                                  1. re: uptown jimmy

                                    With regard to standards, I don't think it's an issue of how low one goes, but rather how high. There are hounds that would think of non-artisan produce the way others might consider vegetables out of a can. That is going to be a matter of opinion; it's not the extremes where that becomes important but the gray areas in the middle.

                                    1. re: limster

                                      I disagree. Veggies out of a can is gross, cheap, and unnecessary. One can make great food from quality fresh vegetables of any sort; one cannot make great food from canned vegetables. Tomatoes, sure, but as for the rest...not so much....

                                      People who poo-poo non-organic vegetables are probably those who can afford to. And that's fine. I wish I could afford to. But nobody in their right mind is going to equate non-organic fresh produce with canned produce. That's silly.

                                      Reletavity is only useful in physics. We should learn to keep it there. :)

                                      1. re: uptown jimmy

                                        Woops, sorry, I wasn't clear. What I'm saying is that folks will draw the line at different points - for some, the line is drawn at canned vegetables, anything above that is ok; for others, they might expect more, anything out of season would not be fine. Not saying that the two are equal, merely that they might be both considered below standard by certain people.

                                        re: "afford to" -- Taste is not always limited by the ability to pay for something. Some of my friends may not be able to afford $1000 bottles of wine, but they are more than capable of evaluating them. I know people who say that they can only afford crap. It's not about financial ability or about being a snob but rather about evaluating something carefully, based on knowledge and experience.

                                        At the end of the day, people should not be told what they like or not, but they should be responsible for making their own *critical* choices as opposed to blindly following what they're told without thinking for themselves.

                                2. re: uptown jimmy

                                  "I do think the problem is a little worse in the boards devoted to less fodd-obsessed parts of the country, for sure."

                                  What part of the country is that, if I may ask?

                            2. How about responding with kindness. This wonderful site has a lot to offer everyone. A community of giving & sharing ideas is why CH is suppose to be a great site for food lovers. Judging others (unless of course Mod's need to do their thing) is just unkind and doesn't help anyone "get" a clue.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: HillJ

                                How about some examples..... mine is the " What to get at Babbo?" although I would never lash out at somebody it secretly boils the blood.

                                1. re: sgny

                                  sgny, I can't say I am familiar with that specific post. I'm sure we each can name a thread that wasn't our cup of tea but we all have the option of ignoring/not participating in threads that do not appeal.

                                  Having said that, it was my understanding that it is up to the site owners or moderators as to what is considered bad form/unacceptable CH topic.

                                  Again, a little tolerance for a site clearly going thru growing pains would help all of us enjoy the experience.

                                  Thank you for responding to my post.

                                  1. re: sgny

                                    Can you explain why this type of post annoys you so much? Isn't Chowhound a forum for finding out such things? There are tons of posts like this on this site, asking what to order and where. Please clarify - why does it make your blood boil?