HOME > Chowhound > Site Talk >


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.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  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 chow.com 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 chow.com page instead. Nor do the chow.com 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 chowhound.com 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 chow.com 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 Chow.com 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 takes...my 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.

                      1. Bon, j'attends... but I'm not posting anything in my usual boards until I know I can search for replies.

                        1. Remember when they changed the formula of Coca Cola? Remember the attempts to put new labels on Campbell's Soup and Hershey bars? It's a silly myth in today's marketing world that change is good for its own sake. If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Querencia

                            We couldn't agree more, and if you read the post from Tatum, you'll see that this wasn't changed for the fun of it. We needed to make changes, and that's the reason for all of this.

                          2. Ok, I will give you 30 days. Until then, I am not using Chowhound. See you in a month. I get a headache just looking at the new site. I could use a rest. Good luck.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: eve

                              Eve, I agree that the board directory is the most annoying change in the site. I am slowly getting used to the threads change, but the jumbled mess of the forums is a disaster. I liked the slight color change for the new posts, and hope to see it again.

                              Thanks, Kelli

                            2. I, for one am okay with Chowhound again..............now that familiar and endearing components of the old version are back, namely the layout of my page, that is the one listing my current thread postings, and/or topics that I have launched, and activity thereof. Thanks, Chowhound team. We're all good.

                              1. Do you guys use a beta test team other than among the engineers? Did you guys gather any user feedback before implementation? If so, are these people Chowhound powerusers because I have a hard time believing that many of the most active users here would have silently okayed the changes.

                                It seems like you made 2 steps forward and 3 steps back with this change. It seems if you had adequately beta tested it and listened to that feedback you could have made 3 steps forward and perhaps none back.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: extramsg

                                  See Tatum's post http://www.chowhound.com/topics/36343... where he says "We are going to do a better job of bringing you guys in on beta testing and messaging."

                                2. Thanks for the update. I joined the hangin' party yesterday - partly out of the unexpected depth of the changes and partly out of reaction to the color scheme (which really is terrible). Today there are definite improvements in the overall site architecture, and I'm just posting to say thanks for listening. I've been on the boards for some years now, and wouldn't want to give up on Chowhound.

                                  Now if you'd just do something about the dried blood background....

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Striver

                                    You can now change the background color - instructions are here:


                                  2. Don't worry, if *this* was the old site, and you had just switched over to what we had 2 days ago, you'd have just as many complaints!
                                    I think the avatars just make for a cluttered look, the words "thanks for posting" is just clutter too.
                                    "People tracking" = "Friends" both sound a little dumb.
                                    I like deep reds in restaurants and here too, we can change the color now.

                                    1. Say, since you're listening (and I am grateful for that!), here's one more suggestion. When I am looking at Unread Posts and go to Switch Boards, it would be extremely useful if the boards which had Unread Posts (relative to me, of course) were highlighted (e.g., bolded) in some way.

                                      1. Striver, I call the new colors "Hannibel Lector Red".

                                        1. I think it's amazing that one day after the re-launch of Chowhound, they listened to our grievances and to my mind have fixed all the egregious problems. You can easily change the background color by clicking "Theme" at the top right hand corner. And the MY Chow information now includes lists of your recent threads (and it's MUCH longer than it was previously), rather than that horrible list of your recent comments in full; and threads with new comments are clearly marked. Also the comments section was hastily reformatted and functions (and looks) as it did in the older version.

                                          Kudos to the Chowhound and CNET team for being so responsive to the Chowhound community. It's much appreciated.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: ballulah

                                            The list of recent comments in full (called Activity) is VERY useful when clicking on a link to see the posts of another user, not your own. Otherwise you're stuck clicking and scrolling through all the threads in the Posts display to see what he's written.

                                            1. Hi, I'm new here today, and had no idea there was a previous site, design, colour etc - so as a new user, with no legacy, I think it's great. Really good. Love the way the posts colour up then fade after posting and the boards seem easy to navigate.

                                              1. I am here for the information provided on this site, not the appearence. It's still free, easy to work with and professional - I don't have time to bicker about what colors they decided to use.

                                                1. I was taken aback by the surprise and miffed by the inability to see the latest posters on MyChow. The rest of the list of complaints didn't seem that big of a deal. I'm now amazed by how quickly changes have been made. Thank you!!!!!!

                                                  If CNET takes away only one thing from this it should be the degree of passion that Chowhounders have about this site. I'd hate to see what would happen if they were
                                                  REALLY angry.

                                                  Oh...... one specific. I really do agree that the use of avitars and 'arm-waving smilies' could take this site down several notches. I know they are a part of many such sites, but the subject matter here is broad enough that they could attract the less-decicated. I frequent the Mark Squires Wine Board, on Robert Parker's site. They use avitars for Poster ID, and you can insert animated smilies in your posts. The subject matter , however, is at a level that dissuades trouble-makers and fun-seekers from posting there. I share the concern of some that toys could have a negative impact here. JMHO

                                                  1. I enjoyed Chowhound, and was a developer in a previous life, so I feel sorry for your developers and OPS people who no doubt were working long hours the last previous days trying to fix the issues with the new site.

                                                    I like the new features, and I don't have problem with the red coloring. The one thing I do have an issue is that some of the basic features of the site like expand all and my chow's profile were broken. I am just surprised that your testing team didn't catch that.

                                                    When I joined Chowhound (or rather was lurking for a very long time) the site was designed for people who like food but may include those who are not technology saavy. The layout of the new site, especially the board listing on the right hand side are not very intuitive obvious. You have to think usability first and pretty design next.

                                                    Lastly, I would strongly suggest that next time there's a major change to the site, please post a permanent sticky on all the boards to warn people over at least a 2 week period. I actually don't consider a mass email update to warn people of site change to be a spam, but if there are concerns it should be a profile setting. I actually miss the email reminder when the threads I contributed to have new updates.

                                                    1. "expand all" does not seem to work for me.

                                                      1. Thanks for listening and for making improvements over the last 24 hours. I'm happy just to be able to post again. :-)

                                                        1. Based on the contributions above, the two items that I feel are a priority in the "usability" factor, and will ultimately determine my decision to continue to use this site, are the "eye-strain" factor noted by the comments about the colour of the background, and the confeti/scattered presentation of the regional boards. If you consider the demographics of your readership, most are probably tech savy, and after hours of PDA/BB/PC or other electronic stimulation at work, want something simple, easy to use/read when perusing for leisure. While we are all accustomed to learning curves, it is not what we expect or look for in leisure reading.

                                                          Your organisation's effort to improve the site are commended, but the execution in these areas could stand some continuous improvement. Sometimes it's okay to leave things in their simple state. Not every change is a step forward.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: SanseiDesigns

                                                            Ignore to "confetti box" of boards. click on the down arrow next to the Boards link at the top of the page and you will be brought to the former boards page.

                                                          2. I'm very happy with the current version of the site. I think the view is much improved, and I love the fact that MyChow has much more than just the 10 last threads I posted to. I'm sure further tweaks and improvements are coming, but I want to commend the embattled engineering team for what I consider a job well done. And no, no-one's paying me or otherwise bribing me to write this. :-)

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Pan

                                                              Agree. I'm used to the site already.

                                                            2. I, for one, can deal with most of the changes but I can't seem to get used to the "Boards" layout. Can you please put that on the top of your list for a repair? It's confusing at best.

                                                              Thanks for listening

                                                              1. I'm new here (although I've been here long enough to have seen the "old" site). While I'm sure the board participants feel (rightly) that they are what make the board exist (and in their own minds make it great). I'm not so sure I agree that it's great. So, far, I've found that it's not quite to my liking because of the gross ignorance of some of the thread starters (answers to questions posed are easily found by simple web searches) and triteness of some of the threads (since this is supposed to be a board for food enthusiasts). My opinion...hardcore CHers would obviously beg to differ. Whatever floats your boat.

                                                                Question for the complainers/critiquers - Haven't you heard the cliche "You get what you pay for"? This is a free bulletin board. I've been getting a sense of entitlement from the complainers that really bothers me.

                                                                Carry on.

                                                                  1. re: marlie202

                                                                    Hot posts hasn't gone away! It just changed a little. Here's a link to the current discussion about it,

                                                                    Just click on the little white "down" triangle next to Boards from the menu across the top and you'll see a "Your unread posts" option for all of chowhound. You can also look at the unread posts one board at a time.


                                                                  2. Everyone hates change. Things will calm down. The only problem I have is when I post and then hit the Back arrow it looks like my post posts again every time I hit the back arrow. Looks like I need another way to navigate. (I'm on a Mac.)

                                                                    1. I have confidence that order will be restored shortly. Only if I see weird stuff after a week will I start reporting them since it seems everyone has already complained about the obvious ones.

                                                                      Also, where are you guys going to go anyway? It's not like there's any other decent food forum. I tried going to egullet, mouthfuls and a couple of other small ones and they just don't have nearly the wealth of information that Chowhound does, nor the critical mass of people. Plus there's a lot more heavyhandedness and bitching that I didn't like. You think it's bad here? Go elsewhere and see what I'm talking about.

                                                                      1. I haven't read through all the threads about this site, but from what I have read I've been surprised by the level of emotion and even anger about some of the structural and cosmetic changes going on here. Let me say that I'm in favor of the tinkering if it results in an improved and friendlier site. I don't even mind the red. I like it better than the tan color. (Now let me duck...)

                                                                        Here's my suggestion: I have been posting on Chowhound since 2000. Until last year, when I registered on the new site for the first time I posted under my own name (George Lynch). When I registered I used the name BrookBoy without fully understanding the ramifications. After a month or two of posting under the new name, I realized I'd rather go back to my own name. But when I inquired I was told that there really isn't any way to do that and that I'd have to re-register.

                                                                        So, isn't there any way that I can be known to the Chowhound community as both George Lynch and as BrookBoy without re-registering?

                                                                        Thanks in advance...

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: BrookBoy

                                                                          George! I didn't realize you wee posting under a new name. Great to have you around!

                                                                          1. re: BrookBoy

                                                                            personally i think it's asking a lot to have the management somehow link all of your accounts together. can't you just put your old name (brookboy) on all of your posts until people catch on?

                                                                            1. re: choctastic

                                                                              I had to ditch my old name ("Mr. Taster" with a . after the Mr) because the software would not accept usernames with punctuation. I'd definitely like to have a way to link those posts with this name.

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

                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                Even people who didn't have trouble with re-registering don't have any real connection between their old, pre-registration posts and their posts since registration. You could now re-register as Mr. Taster (since we did fix the period problem), but that would create a break between your posts as "Mr" and any new posts as "Mr."

                                                                                We have talked about some possible solutions for people who want to change their names but not get disconnected from their posting histories, so that may be an option in the future, but right now, it's not supported by the software.

                                                                                If you're going to change names and want other people to find the old and new you, there's a couple things you can do:

                                                                                Before asking the moderators to deactivate your old account, put the name of your new account in your profile so people who check you out under your old name can see the change.

                                                                                Post to the name change thread on Site Talk. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/305394

                                                                                Add a brief note to your posts for awhile indicating that you've changed names, so people know you've changed.

                                                                                - Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

                                                                            2. re: BrookBoy

                                                                              Here's an evergreen thread where you can record your old and new handle -

                                                                            3. Well I finally found the "Formerly known as Hotposts Page" (what pray tell was wrong with the term Hotposts?!!)
                                                                              This has made my Chowhound life somewhat easier.
                                                                              What would be helpful is that the original post responded to....as well as the new post.. be shown, that would mean a lot less work for me rather than always having to open the original when all I see is its' response.

                                                                              I still would like to have only those boards which I follow.. be grouped for me..a real "MY Chow". Are you working on this..(you've had many requests)..may we look forward to this happening?

                                                                              As a final question..have the compatibility problems with Safari been solved? May I switch back from Camino?

                                                                              Thank you for your response...