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Jan 23, 2007 06:25 PM

Stick with us, please

We've been doing our best to get on top of things here in the back room. All parties have been working to fix the issues raised by today's new software rollout. Sorry for the frustration and inconvenience of the past day.

We're especially sorry if it felt like we were ignoring the discussions going on here; we just wanted to be sure we had accurate information before we responded! We also wanted the Engineering team to work on solutions rather than take time to answer questions. With over 170 threads on the new design, the focus has been on fixing stuff, rather than answering questions about problems that will (we hope) soon go away!

Chowhound hosts the most informed and passionate group of posters ever assembled on a web site. CNET realizes this, too. This is why they bailed us out and invested time, money and resources in the site. There's a deep commitment to nurture our community. While we certainly hope to attract new hounds, it won't be done at the expense of alienating the community as it currently exists. In our last software revision a few months ago, you may recall that there was a long period of tweaks and improvements, and the initial dismay eventually melted into a consensus that things were looking pretty good. Expect the same here!

Right now, we ask that you take a breather for a bit. Engineering is working hard on a list of changes gathered from the constructive posts that have been made. Give them a chance to get some of those changes implemented. Please stick with us and continue to give honest, friendly feedback on design and features.

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  1. Thanks guys.

    Your biggest problem was surprise. How about avoiding deja vu all over again and give all of us a list of the items that are on the "A" list being addressed.

    You received a very harsh Voice of the Customer today and you may want to avoid Round 2 of the Thrilla in Manila if you are more inclusive in the process.

    Jfood signing off for the night

    1 Reply
    1. re: jfood

      We are expecting Engineering to post that info in the next day or so.

    2. Please prioritize the viewability of the site, that's the worst thing right now, it really does hurt your eyes to read. The next thing I would do is make the boards menu like it used to be, this new way is insane to look at! I really do want to stick around because I love this site, so I'm very much looking forward to the fixes. Hopefully there will be enough of them...

      1. You want to give us a real quick and easy sign that you "get it?"

        Dump the Zagat Red theme for a more eye friendly color. Sure, there is some "product manager" type on your payroll who is just madly in love with Zagat Red, but there are *thousands* of us.

        Your move.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Bob Martinez

          I see you've addressed the color issue.

          Thanks. This is a very positive step.

        2. As a market researcher, i am well aware that people resist change. give the hounders and day or two to settle in, and they will get over it. Change is good. Some are slow to understand that. Thanks for giving us foodies a place to chat.

          23 Replies
          1. re: strephking

            "Change is good."

            No, that's a cliche used to paper over problems. Change is neither good or evil, it's a process. In the end, *people* decide whether the results of that process are good or bad.

            Today, by a ratio of about 99 to 1, the people of Chowhound decided that the results of this change were bad. Now it's up to the Chowhound team to see if and how quickly they can recover the loss of years of good will.

            1. re: Bob Martinez

              Actually, in terms of that 99-1 stat you throw out there, I think that a lot of people are just waiting to see how the bugs shake out and whatnot over the next few days, instead of screaming like banshees about how the color change is going to ruin all our lives. I actually have no problems whatsoever with the redesign. It's the same interface on the basic level, and the irritants will get ironed out by the Engineers soon enough. I think we should all just breathe and see what happens.

              1. re: litchick

                "Actually, in terms of that 99-1 stat you throw out there, I think that a lot of people are just waiting to see how the bugs shake out and whatnot over the next few days, instead of screaming like banshees about how the color change is going to ruin all our lives."

                You can have your Silent Majority, I'll stick with my "99 to 1" group of real people. Lots of them are long time posters whose credibility is beyond reproach. If you read through those comments you'll find that many of them also have a backround in web development.

                1. re: Bob Martinez

                  I think it's sort of wierd that you're implying only people who decided to get all up in arms are "real" or "long time posters" and other folks have credibility issues.

                  1. re: litchick

                    "I think it's sort of wierd that you're implying only people who decided to get all up in arms are "real" or "long time posters" and other folks have credibility issues."

                    No, I was responding to someone who cast doubt on the credibility of the people who had issues. I've been posting on the site for 8 years and many of them are well known to me. The long time posters were joined by many other people voicing the same concerns. Obviously we struck a chord because the engineering team has been very responsive.

                    The only way to get things fixed is to speak up. Best to do it politely, but speak up.

                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                      I don't know. I've been posting for about that long and I think this hue and cry -- virtually all coming from a couple dozen people, tops -- has been a bit melodramatic. Some of y'all have posted on these "sky-is-falling" threads a couple dozen times or more in the 48 hours since the relaunch, which not only makes it seem like more people complaining than there really are, but must say something good about the ease-of-use of the boards. Considering the evil, all-consuming pull of links and the genuine speed problems early on, that's a whole lot of posting and replying on a site that supposedly has just made finding posts and replying to them all but impossible, if the posts themselves are to be believed.

                      I've got pretty mediocre eyesight and I'd hardly say this color scheme hurts. The Zagat Red isn't the most calming choice I could imagine, but it's hardly neon orange. It's not even a bright red, and the content is still good-sized readable type in dark-gray on shades of off-white. Oh, the pain! Oh, wait.

                      The tag cloud, which I suppose could stand a bit less color saturation, is only on the home page that I hit maybe once every three weeks. It has not yet zapped me with a Death Ray to prevent me from clicking the "Boards" link at the top of the page, in the same exact spot it occupied in the last design, that drops down the same list as before, organized the same way as before.

                      Not once have I clicked a board link or read a topic and been magically, nefariously taken to a page instead. Nor do the content promos and links -- all on the margins of the page -- make my head explode.

                      1. re: hatless

                        Some people care enough to report problems. Some don't care. Some are too lazy and figure they'll let other people do the heavy lifting.

                        On Day 1 of the cutover we didn't have a flood of people coming on Site Talk posting about how swell the redesign was. That tells me everything I need to know.

                        Thanks once again to the Engineering Team and management - your actions over the last 2 days tell me that you get it.

                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                          and some people can express their feelings in a relaxed manner; still believing they will be heard. Three days later and CH Engineers appear to be addressing all the issues expressed by an entire community. I'd like to believe that would have happened w/out the yelling and intense arguing.

                          The passion expressed, literally w/in hours of site changes, speaks volumes to all of us. How quickly we can turn (and return) on the Team, eachother and the CH mission.

                          Rather than read a food thread, I heard you loud and clear. I'm wiser knowing the depth of this site, the diversity of its members and what can be expected from joining in order to make my own decision about CH's value.

                          It's been an eye opener for this newbie (with only 5 mos under her own ch belt).

                          1. re: HillJ

                            Ah, welcome to the Internet. Perspective filters not required. :)

                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                              Das, more like welcome to Community Boards. The Internet is how I earn a living. I have no problem with cyberspace :) Thanks!

                2. re: litchick

                  I'm with you, litchick. I've been watching and waiting, and am frankly a bit shocked by people's vehemence these last couple of days. During the last redesign, we saw great willingness on the part of the Chowhound team to listen to user feedback and make tweaks accordingly. Why didn't that garner them some goodwill this time around? Yeah, their communication needed to be better. Yeah, there are big problems with the redesign. But the sound and fury yesterday were unnecessary, unhelpful and disappointing. Das Ubergeek's "Non-Hysterical Gripes" thread was useful and I wish it had been the prevailing model yesterday.

                  1. re: mcgeary

                    Actually i think you're wrong. The sound and fury got stuff done. And many people were upset because it looked like we went to bed with chowhound and woke up with chow and for lots of us that's very disturbing. No one I respect was calling names or throwing a fit - they were making their voices heard, loudly, strongly - which is exactly what Jim himself said we should continue to do - keep yelling.

                    Anger was warranted - and anger and frustration is not childish or unnecessary. I think there would've been bug fixes no matter what but I believe strongly we'd still be looking at angry red with headaches if we hadn't put ourselves out there. And I'm still unhappy that on every tab at the top I see 'Chow' and only on the boards do i see 'Chowhound'. That is extremely frustrating because I don't want to be a member of chow or associated with it.

                    Imagine if you were in a steak club. You were a member for many years with your picture in the hallway. Then one day you show up to the clubhouse and above the door is "Burger King" and they've moved the door and redecorated in those burger king reds and yellows and they are trying to feed you nasty hamburgers instead of your beloved steak - where is your steak? wouldn't that make you angry?

                    You may not feel this way and that's fine but for a lot of us - that's how we felt yesterday.

                    So bravo to the rabble. Nothing wrong with good, solid, righteous indignation - it's what gets stuff done.

                    1. re: krissywats

                      Memo to self - Never get on Krissywats' bad side. :-)

                      1. re: Bob Martinez

                        hahahahahaha - nah - ask Chris VR - I'm a pussycat.

                        1. re: krissywats

                          Mwah-Hah-Hah-Hah-Hah. On other boards that I have been participating in for years, I am noted as a paradigm of moderation - often the touchstone of that temperature point. I have a very high boiling point. Once reached, it's usually a bad sign for others....

                          I am completely with you Krissywats.

                          CNET/CHOW is not a victim in any way in this, and we should stop co-dependent behavior in that regard.

                      2. re: krissywats

                        "which is exactly what Jim himself said we should continue to do - keep yelling"

                        Not yelling. Reasonably, politely, but emphatically expressing your opinion. And give folks a chance to take the feedback and act on it. We've had an amazing 48 hours of improvements from the engineers. I think riling down a few notches is certainly appropriate. As is spending less time on Site Talk and more on the food boards. I've got a New Haven Italian rave (maybe the best ital I've ever found in america) to post, but I've been to durned busy talking about talking about food to actually talk about food! :)


                        1. re: Jim Leff

                          Oy, a moderator pointed out that I DID suggest "yelling". I meant it in the sense of "yell out your thoughts!" Which was a pretty dumb turn of phrase in a situation where people were literally yelling bloody murder.

                          There's got to be a middle point, where people candidly express their issues without calling people names and throwing grenades (the engineers and CNET people are trying hard, and they have feelings). Now that, not once but twice, the engineering team has demonstrated really diligent follow-up work in fixing problems after a makeover and being responsive to the community, I'm hoping everyone can extend a bit of slack in future.

                          But in the end, as Dave Feldman says (here ): "The vehemence of the reaction indicates how important Chowhound is to many of us."

                          Gathering lots of super opinionated, passionate people makes for great chow tips and lively conversation. But CNET's discovering something the moderators and I learned long ago: slack ain't the forte of this community ;)

                          I'm really impressed with how fast the site's working today. I think the instability and lags are totally gone at this point. Phew!


                        2. re: krissywats

                          What? You mean content has disappeared from the boards? The boards have gotten more difficult to use? Typing no longer takes you to a page full of Hot Posts with links to the list of boards?

                          Oh, wait. No. They just put links to content on the top menubar, the sidebar and the very bottom of each page. The horror.

                          You don't seem to be having any trouble navigating to Site Talk, reading posts and replying to them. I thought that was the problem. Or is it just that the idea of all those links nobody has ever forced you to click infuriates you for some reason?

                          1. re: hatless

                            Can I strongly request that we give hatless the last word on this, rather than be baited into a flame war? Feelings have been adequately vented. Let's get back to chow talk.

                          2. re: krissywats

                            It bums me out that bad behavior received positive reinforcement. As I recall, when the last redesign happened, users mostly managed to provide feedback without losing their shit, and the Chowhound team was responsive in a timely way. There's no reason to think that wouldn't also have happened this time.

                            The content on Chowhound is still steak; it's just that the plate changed a little bit, and the wait staff didn't do a very good job of telling us that we'd suddenly be eating off Chinet. I wish, for the sake of the community, that there had been a higher thoughtfulness-to-jackassery ratio in the early reactions to the less-than-satisfying change of tableware. And now I do believe I've taken that shaky analogy just about as far as it will go.

                    2. re: strephking


                      If you understood the purpose of Chowhound, you would not call yourself a "foodie".

                      I was about to point you to a link explaining, but sadly it appears that Chowhound's "mission statement" which defined the difference has been silently removed.

                      Mr Taster
                      Protect Chowhound.
                      Boycott Avatars.
                      Please copy & paste to your posts!

                      1. re: Mr Taster

                        Deep breaths. Friendliness. We're in this together.

                    3. I have found that I can adjust, and I am not a big poster, but a huge reader and absorb so very much here. I am more than willing to give this all the time it biggest issue may be the "My Chow" that quotes me...hey, I am boring to me, I want to see if anybody responds to me, boring me, so I may learn and not be so boring......I don't want to read me...aside from that..hang in, hang on, ALL! Imagine, my mother grew up with a horse and buggy..and she is still hanging in and hanging on.....change is going to happen.