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Apr 30, 2008 09:35 PM

Thread Bumping

I love the Chowhound site, and enjoy learning new things from my fellow posters. I do have one issue. We have been having a lot of thread bumping recently on our board. Most people, when they bump a thread, announce it and add some new bit of information- an update, a change, etc. There are some that don't announce it, and really only add side comments that, if you're not looking at dates, make you think it's a current thread. This can get confusing, when the thread may be a year old and information may not be updated. When I try to report these, or ask the poster to mention it's an old thread to alert new readers, my posts get pulled. Theirs do not, but mine do. Please explain. Also, I recently saw another posters remind others to mention they are bumping a thread, and their post remained. Why are mine getting pulled?



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  1. We have no policy against bumping threads -- the archives of Chowhound are a great, useful resource, and having people update old threads with new information can help put all those threads in context.

    Any posts that are about the way someone has posted and not about the chow or the content of the post are off topic for a regional board. If we see them, they'll be removed. If others posts of that nature have not been removed, it may simply be that we didn't see them, and that no one flagged them for us -- we don't read every post, and do rely on members using 'report' to bring things to our attention. .

    12 Replies
    1. re: The Chowhound Team

      Hi. I'm on cheeseguysgirl's home board and I've been struggling with the same thing.

      I see that side of the coin and appreciate the value of the archives. That said, when a thread is bumped without regard for the original query, existing content, etc. it creates a bit of a problem. We've had a number of threads revived on the Midwest board that include recommendations for long-closed restaurants and places that have gone through significant changes including ownership.

      This leaves us in the uncomfortable position of having to decide between posting to clarify that the earlier information is no longer correct, or leaving grossly inaccurate information out there hoping the readers will proceed with caution because the original post is years-old.

      Since we have a good search function, wouldn't the archives be best served by preserving information in a more logical, "time-stamped" format?

      1. re: MSPD

        People, especially lurkers who come upon the site, read old threads all the time, regardless of whether the threads are bumped up or not. That may not be what most regular posters do, but regular posters tend to make up the minority of the people who use the information.

        Thus, I think it would be important to update old threads that contain out of date information. Having them bumped up should be considered an opportunity rather than a problem.

        1. re: limster

          I agree, limster, that updating old threads that contain out of date information is a great idea. What I am talking about is a bump that says something like, "I ate there a couple of years ago," "I drove by there once on my way to work but didn't stop in," or "look for my high score on the Ms PacMan machine." No real valuable content, no real updating.

          1. re: cheeseguysgirl

            If the post bumping old threads is truly free of chow content, like 'look for my high score on the Ms. PacMan machine' then flag it, and we'll take a look and probably remove it.

            But a post doesn't need to be a multi-paragraph report in order to be a great tip. Something as simply as The sandwiches at X are great.' is useful information, too. We invite chowtips of all lengths -- much of the value of Chowhound comes from aggregating all those small bits of information from many sources, rather than featuring just a single review from one perspective as a newspaper would.

            1. re: The Chowhound Team

              I absolutely agree that "The sandwiches at X are great" is useful information. I don't need a detailed description of all food eaten to know whether or not I want to eat at a certain place. I am not in any way judging quality of content when it actually refers to actual chow.

              I went back, and one post to which I referred is still there. I reported it before, and it remains. I reported it again, so maybe it will be removed this time.

          2. re: limster

            limster, there's a huge difference between reading old threads and considering the content for what it is and when it was stated, and what is happening specifically on the Midwest board. It's hard to come up with hypotheticals and I don't really want to call out any particular poster. I'll try:

            2000 post: Title: 10th Anniversary Dinner

            Hi. My wife and I will be in MSP to celebrate our anniversary. We are looking for a romantic, French place, we really love big chunks of foie gras cooked in trans fats. Oh...we are smokers so want somewhere with a smoking section. And somewhere for breakfast.

            Responses start flying for both types of restaurant including one that is currently offering a great seasonal dish with morels. Many people comment on which restaurants offer smoking. OP visit comes, they write up a review and thread is naturally "archived". New threads evolve around these places.

            2000-2008, many of the restaurants close, change owners, change locations, seasons change, dishes change. Smoking ban is enacted. Trans fats are banned.

            In 2008, a well-intentioned new Chowhound looks up "morels" and finds the thread. They attach a new post to the comment about the (now closed) restaurant that offered morels in April eight years ago. "If you like morels, you should try ABC Bistro".

            Others don't notice the original date and start recommending additional places for the visiting couple's 10th (now 18th) Anniversary dinner. Well-intentioned new Chowhound does this in 15 other ancient threads causing all kinds of confusion about what information is still current and what is outdated. The archives are essentially diluted.

            So those of us that posted replies in 2000 and in between are left with an choice. Do we go and mop up the information by clarifying what has happened to each of these restaurants in the last 8 years? Do we leave it alone? When we search for something specific, why doesn't the sort-by-date feature work effectively and give a somewhat linear story about what a place was, and has become?

            I definitely see the value in bumping things thoughtfully. For example, people were thrilled when Joe Heflin's risotto recipe resurfaced in one of the "All-Time Classic Threads" threads. I get that, but there are times when it's detrimental to the quality of archives and puts others in a difficult position to explain themselves or try and backfill information.

            1. re: MSPD

              I don't get why a hound would find it uncomfortable or hesitate to point out that the information is outdated, and, if appropriate, to give updated information; ie "Restaurant X, like all places in the Twin Cities, is now non-smoking. A big improvement in ambiance. Unfortunately, I have not been pleased with the food lately" (or whatever).

              Indeed, I think even if a thread is bumped just to give outdated information (ie someone saying they like X when it has been closed for two years) it gives good information, ie that the poster in question may not be concerned with given accurate, timely info. Isn't that something you would want to know, as a regular poster?

              1. re: susancinsf

                I don't think that it is that people feel uncomfortable or hesitant responding to these out of date bumps so much as it reduces the functionality of the site overall.

                First, it is annoying to see threads reappear at the top of the list which are actually 99% full of old reports (if i wanted those i would search the archives).

                Second, it is annoying when individuals respond to threads that then become 97% old reports - you can't blame them, however because they were simply replying to a threat which appeared at the top of the board.

                Finally, while it would be okay, generally, to have this happen periodically, this discussion has generally centered on the systematic failiure of individuals to recognize the relationship between the date of original/last posts and their appearance at the top of the boards - periodically reminding some newcomers how this works is one thing, but regularly seeing old threads bumped (especially when they contain little to no new information) gets old quick, even if a hound were not to be uncomfortable/hesistant to remind another poster about the age of a threat, doing so consistently can really chafe.

                1. re: tex.s.toast

                  MSPD mentioned being in the 'uncomfortable position'...of choosing etc. Regardless, it seems to me that the first time the reply could be very polite, but if a poster does it more than once, why not just reply, " know you are posting to a very old thread, don't you?'

                  Still, if their bumping post contains new information or an update, I don't see why it would be annoying that most of the info is old, particularly if it generates new (updated) discussion about the place. To me, this seems like a minor annoyance at most, more than offset by the possibility of new good info.

                  1. re: susancinsf

                    ***but if a poster does it more than once, why not just reply, " know you are posting to a very old thread, don't you?' ***

                    Because they pull your post faster than you can refresh your computer. SO fast your head spins. Then the poster continues to have no idea what they are doing, and you are left feeling like a dolt, worrying if you are the only one noticing what's going on, and waiting for Chowhound to pull your posting rights.

                    Again, I think what some people may not be understanding is that when people update with good, useful information no one is annoyed. We are all grateful for thread bumping when someone offers their experience about great chow in a place that is available for all to enjoy. We are talking about bumping threads with posts containing little to no useful information. Several "minor annoyances" end up not offset by any "new good info" and IMHO begin to become more of a major annoyance.

                    1. re: susancinsf

                      I addition to what tex.s.toast said, the "uncomfortable position" results from this happening several times a day, day after day. It's "uncomfortable" to leave the now-incorrect information out there (if you don't correct it, it's implied that it's still valid)...or you have to go and clarify every post in the thread, for several threads, wasting 15-30 minutes a day. Furthermore, to correct the same couple of new hounds is, to me, uncomfortable. When it has been a once every couple of weeks thing, we've pretty much just gone with the "by the way, this is an update" and left it alone. But we're having a rash and we just don't have time to be constantly updating our old stuff especially when we've contributed years worth of new information in new threads.

                      I've been here long enough to know the difference between valuable, "update" posts and the kind that are a nuisance and dilute the value of the information and put people like myself in what I phrased as an "uncomfortable" situation. What's going on on the Midwest board is the latter style and all we were hoping for is for one gentle, polite post to be left to help the new person give/get the most value to/from the board.

                      1. re: MSPD

                        I guess I still don't quite get why it is so bothersome to you all, but then I am not on the Midwest boards often if at all, I will admit....,

                        by the way, I've not had posts that say 'you know this is an old thread' removed. I think the key if you are going to say that is to also include chow info...

        2. bumping can be useful on boards like the Home Cooking one, where there is alot of traffic.......if you happen to post a query just before someone posts loads of those COTM entries for very easily gets lost in the shuffle.

          1. i am also on Cheeseguysgirl's home board and i agree with all that she & MSPD have to say. i do think that some updates to old, commonly searched threads might be valuable. for example i think the cheese shop/surdyk's bump made for some good discussion and current updates. however some of the threads getting bumped are more like "where should i go for my anniversary in 2002?" or "visiting msp in june 2000, where to eat dim sum?" many of the resurrected threads are simply, and truly, no longer valid at all, and it's becoming ridiculous.

            an occasional bump of a very old thread comes with the territory-- but when someone searches for "bread msp" and bumps a jillion ancient threads, it becomes very confusing. add to this that the particular, bump-happy poster has been rec'ing restaurants that are currently closed, etc, as MSPD has stated. i am all for fresh & new voices on our local board, but even the most patient and gentle msp hounds (not yours truly) have been getting short with this poster and have politely pointed out reasons for her to stop doing this. the problem, however, continues and i think is currently a standing joke on the board. Cheeseguysgirl and MSPD are not bringing this issue up for no reason, and they are not overstating the issue. can "the mods that be" somehow intervene, and email this poster re: threadbumping etiquette, without alienating her-- please, for everyone's sanity?

            1 Reply
            1. re: soupkitten

              While i am not currently a midwesterner, i, too, frequent Cheeseguysgirls and MSPD's and soupkitten's board and have been equally troubled by the recent spike in seemingly useless thread bumping. So, in addition to adding my voice to the choir singing this trends fruitlessness, i thought i would also stop in and say how surprised and encouraged i am to see such a civil and constructive discussion of the issue (MSPD's tact with regard to the most recent post in this vein was incredibly restrained, as have peoples' general comments in-thread).

              Enough with the congratulatory back-slapping, though, what do we do about it? obviously castigating individual users is not the answer, as no one wants to be mean or discourage others from enjoying the use of the site. perhaps a warning window before people post to threads with no recent (1 year?) activity reminding them that they are updating a very old thread? I would be very interested to hear if others had potentially legitimate ideas that would not hinder the use of the archives (which i agree is an essential feature of CH) but would discourage the kind of idle thread-bumping we are all clearly somewhat annoyed with.