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LIVE TO EAT. It's what we're here for right?

So I'm new to Chow and I use it alot to find places to eat. I usually make a decision based on what people write about their experiences.

I feel like I waste more time reading about some people having arguements about who's restaurant is better or "do you even know what authentic is?" than the actual food itself.

When someone poses the question: "What should I order here?" there should be suggestions right?

I thought this was a place were people talked about food - not if a person knows what authentic is or how much a person has eaten or if they even know how to eat a certain food or if they're even skilled or highly trained enough to eat.

Sometimes I'll want to write about food I've eaten but I'm almost afraid to because I don't want to get bombarded by replies saying, "You ate there?" um...yes I did!

If I'm wrong, please correct me. I don't want to leave this site!!

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  1. I understand - I'm fairly new to Chowhound myself, and when I first started posting about restaurants I'd eaten at and wanted to recommend, I'd sometimes get slammed about it.
    If you read the basic tenets of Chowhound, they want everyone to keep an open-minded, tolerant view. I would wish some of us would remember that.
    I would like to remind people of the word "polite".
    Thank you.

    1. Reference the 'Food Snobbery' thread that's been bouncing around awhile. At least some people admit they are food snobs!

      1. I tend to ignore the "authentic" arguments. Everybody's idea of authenticity is different. There are plenty of authentic New York pizza places, but most are completely different from authentic Neapolitan pizza places in Naples Italy. One's not more "authentic" than the other; they're both good in their own ways. What matters is whether it tastes good.

        What they need is a place that sells authentic Medieval meals, complete with grubby fingers, dogs eating off the floor, open latrines, cholera outbreaks, and nobody bathing. Then we could send all the authenticity fetishists THERE. It might suck, but hey, at least it's authentic!

        1 Reply
        1. re: monkeyrotica

          Ha! I got slammed for recommending a neighborhood Pho place that wasn't 'authentic.' It was so rude. I didn't say it was authentic, just that I liked the food and it was cheap. Man, people need to chill out.

        2. Don't give up. Don't take it personally. And don't ever feel you have to apologize for what you like!!!! Some posts just have to be ignored and scrolled past.

          1 Reply
          1. re: prunefeet

            Or, better yet, report the post to us. Our mantra here is "rate the chow, not the chowhound". We welcome diverse opinions on chow-- one hound's chow nirvana is another hound's chow hell-- but we don't welcome posts that review the reviewers. If someone disagrees with your opinion, they are welcome to do so by presenting their own opinion, not by slamming yours.

          2. First of all, welcome. I'm another recent addition who's trying to get used to the way these boards work.

            I think you'll find both kinds of people on any food board. I'm a simple person who just wants food that tastes good, regardless of the history or culture or authenticity. There are going to be people who, in my eyes, completely over-analyze a culinary situation. But I also try to see the chow world from their eyes. I think it's natural for people who are passionate about something to want to learn all they can about it. I also think it's natural to want to discuss their newly acquired knowledge with others who are educated on the subject. I think that's where you're seeing the arguments.

            Personally, most of the "is this authentic" discussion is either over my head or just doesn't interest me. I do use many of the recommendations posted here, but I also ignore a lot of stuff.

            1. Don`t let it bother you. one things you have to remember is that everyone has their
              own opinion about whatever. you have remember your opinion is just as important
              as anybody else. nobody is perfect. we have our own tastes that we like. just like
              alot of people like snails but I would`nt have one in my house. just like people go
              crazy over steak, i just as soon have a piece of hamburger. Its just whatever a
              person likes and dislikes. take care.

              1. ceejoi, I was reading CH for well over year before I ever posted to a thread and even then I didn't feel prepared for deletion, criticism or the well thought out replies. All online communities have a pulse.

                What I have learned over the last month or two is that different Boards attract different discourse. If all I want is a "great list of chow" I visit the Boards that really focus on restaurant tips. If I'm up for discussing food-related subjects I visit the Boards more geared to building and pulling apart a hot topic/idea.

                Either way-kindness and respect are welcomed companions at any Board.

                Welcome to CH!

                1. It will take time but after awhile you will notice patterns with certain people and you will be able to just skip over the posts from those that annoy and insult.

                  Just keep making your suggestions and you will soon see that there is always at least one hound who agrees with you and values what you have to say.

                  I'm might not always agree with some hounds, but I have been able to learn from them.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: viperlush

                    Thanks viperlush, and love your kitties!! : )

                  2. Sometimes, no matter what you post, someone is going to disagree with you. It's up to you whether you want to take that personally or not. There are a lot of people here with strong opinions. Some of them don't know how to nicely express themselves.

                    Basically, I try to ignore them. Most folks here have good suggestions, opinions and ideas. And if someone doesn't like what you post about, that's ok, everyone has different opinions.

                    Welcome to the community. Post about your Chow and most of all...have fun! There's a lot to learn and teach.

                    1. I've thought about giving up on this site so many times. I've given my honest and humble opinions only to be shot down by blatant food snobs who take themselves and their opinions too seriously. I'm just looking to express my views according to my own humble experiences.

                      I know it's up to me not to take a comment personally, but it's still a bit jarring when someone you don't know basically tells you your opinions stink. But I remember that everyone's entitled to their opinions. That's what this site is for.

                      After a while, you learn to recognize what strings are for the "snobs" and which ones honor your honest opinions.

                      Don't give up! You're entitled to your opinions and this site wouldn't survive without them.

                      Thanks for your post.

                      1. yeah there was a recent thread on food snobbery... =) i've been posting for about 1-2 months, and i totally know what you mean... it's a bit disconcerting... i've gotten called out before for recommending things that were not popular with other folks.... and so i apologized and well someone else told me not to apologize. afterwards, i've seen and gotten some things where people are tactless when communicating a differing opinion...

                        i actually think i see it so much that i make sure i have enough explanation to my recommendations (and even non-recommendations) so that people understand my opinions. i think on a post where i was looking for information i specifically added for people to put their reasons why they like/don't like a place, because otherwise, it's not so helpful....

                        i feel like if i post something that is unpopular the weight of my recommendations are lessened... but then again, those folks who are not wise in choosing their posts have already made up their mind as to what they want to do...

                        i will make comments about certain types of "authentic" food... and make distinctions, but i do so in a way (at least i HOPE) that will be helpful and not hurtful to the poster. i realize that demographics, availability of foods, and other factors influence the availibilty of certain cuisines.... that being said, there are some things where i personally am a bit picky... however, just because there are certain things that i have a preference for does not mean i will totally write off something that i believe (albeit incorrectly) to be inauthentic.

                        in the short amount of time i've been posting here, i have already begun to ignore what some posters say, not because of what they say, but how they say it... as cliche-ish as this may sound, i think this world can be way to harsh at times, and for people to talk it out on anonymous people on a food board, where often it is not a life or death situation, is a bit overboard... don't get me wrong, i LOVE my food, and all the experiences.. but there are other things that deserve my utmost dedication... =)

                        i enjoy the difference of opinion when it is backed up by reaons, thereby making any discussion constructive... i recently come up to the conclusion that i'm just going to put my ideas and opinions out there... and if someone is smart enough to read through the posts, they will be smart enough to weigh out all the discussion according to their preference.

                        also, i find that sometimes the people you go with can make or break a restaurant... so there are so many factors involved with the entire experience....

                        i'm glad you posted! i still waffle between wanting to post and not wanting to be "yelled" at.... but seeing discussions like these and the one about the food snobbery are actually quite encouraging....

                        and one more thing... has anyone noticed if there is some kind of hierarchy or division between the "older" chowhounders v. "newer" chowhounders? i'm not saying there is one, just wondering... that's all =)

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: kinipela

                          knipela, as a newcomer myself I can relate to the tone of your post and why so many threads can vere in this direction. The CH community is no different then any other community. Folks with information, ready to share it. If we were having these conversations face to face at say, a food conference you'd see the same wide range of communication styles, emotions and strong opinions.

                          The only advice I can offer, don't place CH or its community on a pedestal. Food is a BIG topic and this site is one example of how we LIVE TO EAT.

                          1. re: kinipela

                            I absolutely agree with your points, kinipela. And yes, I think the "older" chowhounders think their opinions are more valid because they've been around here longer. I think the point that CH is no different than any other societal community is a good one. I guess because we don't see each other face to face, it's easy to forget that.

                            This is the most supportive string of posts I've ever experienced on this site! It's been great to know that the "newbies" aren't alone in trying to find their way around.

                            1. re: VirgoBlue

                              I hope you mean that *some* "older" chowhounds think their opinions are more valid (smile). I think that may have to do with personality rather than how long someone has been a chowhound. Certainly though, posters do build up credibility with other posters over time - or realize which posters' tastes are similiar to one's own etc. As I think Jacquilynne wrote elsewhere - everybody eats, so just because someone's just starting to post on CH doesn't mean they don't know good food when they taste it!

                          2. C

                            Welcome to CH. And whatever you post and whatever you read do not take it personally (and jfood says that after being critical of the $0.12 tip). Jfood has been criticized up and down especially for my former love and now my like of Cool Whip (man that can get ugly). Likewise the first few times your posts get pulled by the mods you have a "what did i say?" moment and want to post a "what did i say?" thread. Remember not to hit the "Send" button in a moment of anger or dispair. Everyone has been pulled.

                            As far as opinions, if you are coming to CH for complacency and confirmation, you may be disappointed. Many CH'ers will give opinions (as you saw) totally contradicting what you did, where you ate, and your opinions.

                            Three words that are overused and are pet peeves with jfood,. They are "authentic", "cheap" and "rude". Just because someone ate pizza in Naples does not make John's Joe's or Pizzalands, not authentic. What's an authentic hot dog (read today's wall street journal front page). Is a 15% tip cheap?, is quietly using a cell phone while dining alone rude? Many varying opinions and many STRONG varying opinions.

                            After a year jfood has developed a few CH'ers that he trusts implicitly and others jfood reads for the sheer enjoyment of their nonsense. After a long day both are welcome relief. Likewise some of jfood's post are more "great job" and others are "needs improvement."

                            Best advice is do not take anything personally, keep posting and as another poster already stated, you will begin to develop a core group of people you read constantly and actually trust their opinions. Sorta like the first few weeks in college.


                            1. Hey, i agree completely,just remember there are a lot of miserable people out there,and it seems their goal in life is to make everyone else that way,so i myself take a certain amount of joy in knowing ,that i find pleasure where others believe it is beneath them (McDonald's ,Olive Garden,and other chains) ,so have a good time, tell us where you find good,or bad food,and if encountering a sore head,or snob here is the worst thing that happens in the course of your day,you've got it made!

                              1. I'm a C'Hound newbee, also. One must be at equal ease with kings and fools. We have Aston Martins and old pickups sharing the Chowhound Highway, and who is driving which is not always easily apparent. There are speed bumps and radar guns, (don't I know!) and occasional road rage. But there is a great exchange of information, and no tolls!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Veggo

                                  In regard to the "authenticity" bit, I recall the time my wife thought some beef stew meat had spoiled, and threw it out. She later decided that she might be able to revive it, so she retrieved it and washed it off (she was right).

                                  I mentioned this to a friend from (what was then) Czechoslovakia. She said "Ah, hah! So the meat had gone bad, and was in contact with garbage!! That way, you get the REAL Czech flavor!!!"

                                  1. re: Veggo

                                    That is a great analogy,Veggo! I'm new, too, and have already gotten my feelings hurt three times, and had two posts removed. Well, guess it was my fault....I took exception to something said in response to what I said. I was just being self-deprecating, but guess the poster thought I really was that dumb! I hit the "report" button, then later got an e-mail from the Chow Team explaining not to make judgements on fellow chowhounds. I always have to learn the hard way....I was embarrased when my husband saw the email. So, I got chided again! I've learned my "place", now. Just can't go head-to-head with some...especially on that Food Snobbery thread! Geez! Anyway, thanks for all the comments here. I feel more at home, now! And, I intend to mind my manners.

                                  2. Welcome! Don't get discouraged too soon. Chowhound is a big public place and people wander in and out all the time. Just like you, others will venture in and provide optimistic views of your food world. Some of the crabby people linger because that's what they do just like in the regular world. Ignore them. They're like the kids your Mama didn't like you playing with when you were little. There have been some excellent, knowledgeable CHs who haven't posted in awhile because of the silly arguments but they occasionally chime in and provide valuable insights.
                                    It is discouraging when the same few restaurants are mentioned over and over again by the same few people. After awhile, it seems as though there are only a dozen worthwhile places in town and mentions of others are either ignored or met with derision. People have to precede mentions of places with disclaimers: "I know that a lot of people don't like this place but..." in order to avoid getting flamed. It doesn't always work. I really dislike several of the local board favorites but there's no use in even getting into it. I'd be thrilled if you were on my board and told me about a new place.
                                    Some of the discussions do devolve into pure silliness. Out of so many postings, you're never sure who might actually know the answer to a question.You might have missed the "how to eat sushi" or "how to use chopsticks" food fights. Some Japanese guy in San Francisco showed you how so you know, huh? And only with what kind of booze at what temperature? Enough to make you crazy. Just stay out of it. Read them for fun. Unless you really, truly know the answer.
                                    Remember that you are only beginning to be smart when you know enough to know how much you don't know. I think CH is a great place to start discussions, not necessarily end them.

                                    That's the best part of Chowhound. There's really good information here. Some people know some good stuff and have serious background. They can back up what they say. Soon you'll know who has the cred. There will be somebody who likes to eat like you do, cooks like you do, thinks about food the same way. They're respectful of the others even when those folks are full of it or they'll just ignore the rantings.
                                    I learn something almost every day on CH or I wouldn't bother. You know things we can use as well. Please stick around.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. Welcome ceejoi!
                                      I am new to this forum as well and even though I am a regular on other Travel forums and have lurked for many years on chowhound, I thought what the Chowhound Team stated about "Rate the Chow, not the Chowhound" to be right on the money...
                                      Posters that "Flame" you for your posts on certain restaurants and "Slam" your food choices will always exist and hopefully Chowhound either bans these negative posters, so the rest of the group can have civil, engaging conversation without getting flamed!
                                      Best to all of you..

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                        ceejoi, Welcome! I remember the first time I posted in my local restaurant section - the topic was crab cakes. I like them prepared one way, others like them prepared another way. Instead of making that distinction some people got what I consider plain "ugly" about it, sneering about my suggestions. I consider it closed minded and childless. Hey, if these people need to think that they know-it-all and have better taste buds then me, I say "more power to them"! It doesn't detract from me or what I have to offer. I also agree with viperlush, stick around. You'll soon see whose threads you don't even have to bother reading. There are lot's of wonderful people posting here and a great amount you can learn from them, and we're open to hearing your thoughts and opinions too!!

                                      2. Chowhound attracts a very opinionated crowd, and it's a double-edged sword for the all the obvious reasons. People that feel strongly about restaurant A vs restaurant B are not going to be shy about stating their opinion, although at the end of the day it's often an issue of personal taste.

                                        Authenticity has both good and bad sides too -- while authentic doesn't guarantee better, it often can be a useful label for a dish and therefore serve a practical purpose. Most of my disappointments with inauthentic dishes tend to be a labeling issue - like expecting beef based on the name of the dish and getting chicken when the dish arrives. It's not that chicken is any less delicious, just merely that I was in the mood for beef.

                                        There are some foods that do benefit from being eaten in a certain way; you'll see a few threads describing xiao long bao for instance. A few minutes can make a difference in the quality of the experience.

                                        There are many examples where I've been able learn from reading what folks have postedon the boards on some of these topics.

                                        OTOH, I think what everyone on this thread agrees on is that chowhound should be an environment in which we can all share chow tips on scoring deliciousness freely and without condescension or being condescended to. Being judgemental about others or being judged should not be part of the experience.

                                        In the past there was always an unwritten "rule" that the "veterans" would always be extra polite and friendly when disagreeing with others, especially newcomers who might be intimidated about posting on a board. Perhaps some of that mentality was reduced when the site grew. I've been on the boards for a few years, and I pay extra attention to tips from new posters, because they can often be refreshing and make the repeitoire of places to eat less in-bred. Chowhound isn't about having an elite group dictate tastes, but rather about exploiting as vast a population as possible to score chow-tips. While there is an admittedly selfish reason to be nice to everyone especially newcomers (more chow-tips, eat better!), I think in the end we all benefit from it, especially when folks go from consuemrs of chow-tips (come here to figure out where to eat) to producers of chow-tips (sharing their chow experiences with everyone).

                                        BTW, the moderators can be alerted to flamey or attackish posts via the "Report" link at the bottom of each post. Definitely use that if there are posts that are inappropriate.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: limster

                                          Well said. Often the same question is asked, usually by someone new (if I could have a dollar for every time someone asks about a good dimsum place in NoVa...), and when you have all the same people responding, you always get the same responses. With new people, you get new ideas. You just have to develop thicker skin and know that sometimes when you recommend something, you might get jumped on that it's not "authentic" or that someone hates your suggestion. But, that's few and far between when you consider how many people post here and most posters are really helpful, or try to be. Disagreements are fine and it's a good way to find out something new about a place or food, but respect is utmost.