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Disturbing example of CH insider-ism and why it might discourage new members


There's a new Japanese yakitori place in LA called Yakitori Bincho that's getting some mention on the LA boards. And that's great. However, I'm a little disturbed that the original poster that alerted us all to the restaurant got so little notice. Here's the original post: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/506313
The only respondent was Rameniac, a well-regarded LA chowhound, who later posted about his experience at the restaurant. Rameniac did credit the original poster Vittus for the find, but I was surprised by the quantity of responses to his post, with many of them thanking Rameniac for the find. Later, another well-regarded poster Exilekiss posted about Bincho with another flurry of responses. Here are their posts:

I know there was no ill intent on the part of the LA CH community, but this does look a little odd. Why was there almost no responses to the original poster, a newbie, and so many for the established hounds? I wonder if this kind of thing discourages the original poster to discontinue posting about his/her discoveries? I notice that Vittus hasn't really posted in the last month, and perhaps has gone his/her own way by now. That would be a shame, since this might be one of the best posts on the LA board this year. Now, I don't want to see a lot of "thank you" posts either, but I think it could be helpful to new members to comment on the original thread, as a means of encouragement. I'm not sure what it takes, but it just looks like the community turned a cold shoulder to a new poster who took the time to introduce us to a significant place that wasn't on anyone's radar. These are the most valuable posts/posters. I don't care for those "where should I eat in ..." posts that tend to get a lot of responses, since I get very little value out of those, and frankly, I find a lot of bad advice on those threads.

Here's another post on the Manhattan board that might be the single best contribution in 2008 on tamale street vendors in upper Manhattan: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/514388

These are the posts that are examples of strong signals as opposed to the noise that require a filter in those mega-threads on "what should I order..." I hope we do our best to keep these posters around.

  1. As a new poster, I will say that your perception is exactly right. I've found this a rather difficult community to enter and am really surprised at how mean you can be to each other. Doesn't mean I won't visit, and post, but it certainly has given me pause and illustrated to me that not all foodie board share the same feeling.

    1. Agree entirely! Thanks for pointing this out. It's extra important to credit and engage new hounds (especially the ones giving great new tips) so they'll come back with more chow tips.

      Often you'll hear about hounds saying that they calibrate their tastes to those that have a posting history, so that they know who's reliable and who's not. While this can be useful as an easy way to get good food, it totally misses great tips from new hounds.

      It's not unusual to find that folks aren't willing to follow up on a new hound's tip, because they don't know if the new hounds are reliable. That kind of playing safe, by only going to tips from established hounds, is almost the moral equivalent of only going to places recommended by a guide book. We should have a high threshold for deliciousness, but a very low threshold for deciding to explore a place or follow up on a tip.

      5 Replies
      1. re: limster

        This advice is laudable, but I find it difficult to follow. My time and dining dollars are precious commodities, so I try to improve the probability that I'll get good advice by listening first to folks with a track record of being trustworthy, having similar sensibilities to mine, and/or having some special expertise or passion that I don't yet have.

        This has little to do with my sense of adventure, more a suspicion that in the broad universe of unknown posters, the chances of getting bad advice are far greater than getting good advice. The assumption that the average unknown poster may be unreliable can be confirmed by the number of bad places where there are lines out the door vs. great places that are mostly empty. That's even before we get to the difficulty of assessing whether an unknown poster might be a shill, a crank, or an ax-grinder.

        I wish I had the luxury of following more tips from first-timers, but my own experience is that it's better to wait for them to establish their bona fides as a) someone who at least has a modicum of what I'd call "good taste" (e.g., they don't love The Cheesecake Factory) and b) they don't have an agenda other than finding and discussing great chow. I find those qualities very difficult to assess in a first-time poster.

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Lots of chowhounds explore places where we have completely no information (not even a terse tip from a newbie) and that's how new finds come about. If there is a tiny bit of information like a post from a newbie, that shouldn't change the desire for exploration; at the very worst it's just a piece of information to let one know that a certain place exists.

          Chowhounds tend to size up an unknown place critically by reading the menu to look for interesting stuff, seeing what people are eating, interrogating the waitstaff etc... even before tasting a couple of things. One shouldn't stop doing that just because one is following a tip. Follow a tip, but do it critically as per normal chowhounding. That might also mean engaging the newbie with questions about the place etc...

          It's just not about getting reliable knowledge from a newbie (or anyone), but also about figuring out what is unknown, so that one could go about filling in the gaps in our knowledge.

          It's important to maximise deliciousness, but it's even more important to maximise NEW deliciousness.

          1. re: limster

            I definitely agree with this point about novel information being very valuable. There is a tendency on the Boston board to fall back on the same universe of known-to-Hounds restaurants, though many of these places aren't more widely recognized by MSM and guidebook-type sources.

            Any time a Boston Hound (regardless of tenure) mentions a restaurant that previously hadn't blipped my radar, it goes into my my "new places" database, which is roughly categorized by formality/cost, location, and/or cuisine. But I still tend to try unknown places recommended by trusted Hounds sooner than places identified by newcomers. (The good news is that the shills are still pretty easy to spot, and the mods mostly keep them out.)

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Thing is slim, you're so well-known on the BOS board that people often end up crediting YOU for another hound's find -- maybe because you chimed in on a thread, or maybe because the poster didn't see the original thread, whatever. I also don't think it's mal-intent on the poster's part, but it is good form to give credit to the hound who really discovered a place.

              And I always knew you have a database. :-)

              1. re: yumyum

                I think it's kind of odd that people might credit me for being the first to identify new places on the Boston board. While I'm not shy about chiming in on a lot of places, and probably get out more than the average diner (partly out of inclination, partly out of professional duty), I've never been one to brag here that "I got there first". On the contrary: I often argue that getting there early is a mixed blessing: usually rough sledding, generally not a reliable indicator of how a new restaurant will eventually perform.

                (I do have an equally food-obsessed sibling with whom the got-there-first thing is a kind of jokey contest: it counts as a win if you get there one second before the other. We've had footraces to the doorsteps of new places for the sake of meaningless bragging rights.)

                I have been a loud and early advocate here for certain places I thought were worthy and under-recognized (Trattoria Toscana, Don Ricardo's, Taqueria El Amigo, Jasmine Bistro, for a few examples), but I can't recall a time when I was ever the first. That sort of thing seems more important to Yelpers than Chowhounds, at least in Boston.

      2. Hi, Vittus here. Thanks for your post.
        I have been casually perusing Chowhound for a few years, and use it whenever I need to check out a restaurant, but I seldom post. I originally posted about binchoo because I happened upon it when it was brand new and was impressed by its authenticity both in taste and atmosphere. I just wanted people to know about it so that others could enjoy it and it would succeed.
        While I didn't really have the intention of becoming an active poster on the board, I did wonder why nobody responded. I just assumed that maybe people weren't too interested in yakitori.

        Just a moment ago, before reading your post, I saw rameniacs post about binchoo. It was kind of rameniac to credit me, but I was just glad to see that someone was getting it noticed. I wasn't sure why so many more people were commenting on this post...I thought maybe it was just his wording in the title. Now that I know he is a well respected hound, it makes sense. I certainly understand that people will be more likely to listen to someone with an established reputation like MR. Rameniac than an infrequent poster like myself. So, I don't really harbor resentment towards the chow community. I'm glad that word about Binchoo got out one way or another.

        That said, it was a tad disapointing to get only one comment on my post. As you say, I don't really need "thanks for the tip" posts, but I was hoping other people would try it and post their thoughts in response.
        It wouldn't prevent me from posting new finds....if I found another Binchoo I'd post it....but I'd likely not put as much time or effort in the description as I did on the original post. As I recall, that one took me a while.

        My only other beef is, that I have sometimes found people to be a bit confrontational/snooty when I post here, but perhaps that is all in my head. IN any case that may have limited my amount of posts.

        2 Replies
        1. re: vittus

          I'm not on your board, but I wouldn't count "influence" by number of replies. Most of us have a LIST, and few of us are as assiduous as Limster, e.g., at followup. It wouldn't surprise me if you have plenty of cred with attentive hounds (who may not be frequent posters). [Um, how does a "casual" reader find the site talk board? ;-) ] Anyhow, I agree about encouraging newbies. dockhl, each board has a different flavor, sometimes skewed by a few. Please persevere, maybe you can help reset the tone of yours. Few people enjoy being mean.

          1. re: vittus

            Vittus, glad to see that you're still around. With the swell of participants on chowhound, it seems harder and harder to filter through all the crap to find nuggets of wisdom like yours on Bincho. Please continue to provide tips as you find the notable ones.

          2. If I mention a place I've visited and liked, I don't expect a lot of responses. What exactly is the problem here?

            2 Replies
            1. re: mpalmer6c

              Well, the problem is that sometimes, new posters don't come back if we don't engage them. And that's bad because it can mean the new posters with great chowy instincts don't contribute, and we lose information about new delicious food.

              1. re: limster

                I think the problem here is knowing that they aren't coming back. They may not post frequently, but they may never have wanted to post frequently. If they only post when they're the first one to find a new spot that they think is truly Chow-worthy....they may not be posting much at all regardless of the reception. They may, though, be reading the boards and getting information and be ready to post if/when they find a new place that's worth it.

            2. I'm not a regular on the L.A. Board, so I really can't speak knowledgeably about the situation you've noted, E Eto. The situation you describe does seem insidery, and I agree that cliquishness is bad, but it's really hard to know what's going on there.

              Melanie Wong once said "When you're in intrepid, super-sleuth, chowhound mode and ahead of the pack, it can be lonely on the leading edge. But 'hounds and others will eat better because you were the first on the scene, keeping the light on a previously undiscovered place." http://www.chowhound.com/topics/31547...

              I know it's tempting, but I don't think one should measure one's success as a chowhound or worth to the community by how many replies ones posts get. I am an "established" 'hound (whether I'm "well-respected", who knows, perhaps by some, certainly not by all) and there have been plenty of reports of mine that have met with thunderous silence, like this one: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/43527... For all I know, dozens of people have read it and have eaten better because of it. There are plenty of reasons, having to do with time of the day, other interesting posts bouncing about the forum, disdain for supper clubs with menus written by local celebrities, lack of interest of driving to a small town an hour and a half out of town whatever, that a post gets few replies.

              It depends on the board, but, in fact, on my home board, I think it's more likely that a report by a "regular" poster will go without comment than a post by an "irregular" will. I think the rest of us know that the the "regulars" don't need that positive reinforcement. On the other hand, there are a handful of regulars on our board that are in the habit of replying to "irregulars" --"great post", "thanks for your report", etc., for the specific purpose of providing encouragement. (One particular poster comes to mind who also takes that as an opportunity to add a places link, bless his heart.) If I see that someone has already posted "great job" and I don't have anything chowish to add or any questions to ask, I let it be. I don't think it's a service to the community to have a slew of, 'Thanks for your report--I'll check it out" replies. One is enough. (We also have some mores on my home board against needless post-bumping). But if there are zero replies to a report by an irregular, I personally make a point of posting "thanks for the tip."

              So, if I'd been on the LA Board and had seen rameniac's reply to Vittus' excellent report, I probably would have let well enough alone. But, that doesn't mean I wouldn't have taken note of Vittus' tip. Quite the opposite--I most certainly would have added it to my extensive list of places to check out. Unless I'm starved for that type of cuisine or spend a lot of time in that part of town, it could be months (or years, alas) before I get around to investigating that chowtip. I only eat out once or twice a week--there's only so many new places I can try and still patronize my favorites.

              Also, sometimes I need more than one nudge to try a place--or, at least, to make it a higher priority to investigate sooner. Maybe everyone noticed the first report by Vittus. But, excitement started to snowball when the second and third "You have to check this place out" reports started rolling in. Maybe it seems unfair, but sometimes it's the later reports that end up attracting the attention--an avalanche is hard to ignore. But, Vittus should still have the satisfaction that 'hounds are eating better because of his tip. And he was credited for it!

              Valuable chowtips come in many shapes and sizes--sometimes as long OPs with photos, sometimes, just an off-hand one-liner in a long thread. Here's my favorite Twin Cities chowtip of 2008 so far: someone found great NY style pizza by an off-hand tip by an "irregular" in a Philly cheesesteak thread. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/44237...

              So, keep chowing, keep reporting. People are paying attention. If getting lots of replies to your posts makes you feel more a part of the community, then my advice is to post more. Hang around and answer all those "I'm coming to town where shall I eat?" posts. But know this: posting volume does not a chowhound make.

              Finally, I know the folks from the more active boards like Manhattan, LA, and SF have a disdain for the "I'm a tourist, where shall I eat?" kinds of posts, but not all the boards are like that. We on the less active boards live for those posts and, in fact, are grateful when the posts aren't expressed thusly "I'm forced against my will to be stuck in your town for a week, is there anything better than awful to eat?". Bring on the tourists, visitors, business travelers...we love to point you to the great chow. But, please, report back after your visit! And don't feel bad if all you get in reply to your fantastic report is one post, "Great report; glad you enjoyed your stay."


              21 Replies
              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                "Bring on the tourists, visitors, business travelers...we love to point you to the great chow. But, please, report back after your visit! And don't feel bad if all you get in reply to your fantastic report is one post, "Great report; glad you enjoyed your stay."

                The Dairy Queen, your post is very encouraging, and we need to keep great posters like yourself around!

                I do recall posting an extensive report of a trip to NYC on the Manhattan board early on in my posting career (I still consider myself a newbie to this site, although I am a bit more self-confident and willing to post). The first comment I received was a single phrase: Golf clap. This was a post from someone on the West Coast, not a Manhattan poster. I went "HUH?" and looked up the slang definition of this phrase, and found it was used primarily as a sarcastic comment. Let me tell you, that was a very intimidating response. To this day, I don't know why that poster made that kind of comment.

                Fortunately, I am not terrifically shy, nor do I need the approval of every person under the sun to continue to express my views. But this could have been very off-putting to many others.

                This one mean post has been offset by many other kind, encouraging posts. But it is worthwhile to remember that sometimes the Internet is a lonely scary place, and sometimes, a little friendliness can go a long way to encouraging posting behavior!

                1. re: moh

                  Yikes! I'm glad you didn't let that comment discourage you!


                  1. re: moh

                    OUCH. I'm glad you stuck around. That stings! I always find new boards a little intimidating, and spend time lurking and learning before posting - learning the etiquette of the particular community. But kindness (or at least politeness!) doesn't cost anything. And that cheap sarcastic response to your post isn't something that would encourage a newbie to keep posting!

                    1. re: moh

                      Whoa, I just had to look that up myself (sorry for chiming in late here but I just came across this thread). moh -- I can tell you we in Toronto had a great time making recommendations, following your adventures and enjoying your feedback. Glad that comment didn't set you back!

                      1. re: JamieK

                        Thanks JamieK for the kind feedback! I can tell you that I find the Ontario Board quite fun, you have a great group going on that board. The good thing is that there are a lot of really great people posting on this site, and so the occasionally harsh comment gets very diluted. Thanks TDQ and Catskillgirl as well!

                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                      "I know it's tempting, but I don't think one should measure one's success as a chowhound or worth to the community by how many replies ones posts get."

                      I think this misses my main point. I'm not concerned with "success on chowhound", I'm concerned that knowledgable new posters will decide to discontinue sharing tips because they might perceive indifference (or worse, disrespect) from the community (whether intended or not). Like I said, I don't think there was any intention by LA chowhounds to be disrespectful, but what you see on the boards smacks of "high school clique-ishness" (as someone described earlier). And that can turn some people off. I don't know what the solution is, but I wanted to bring attention to it, especially if it's detrimental in keeping knowledgable posters.

                      1. re: E Eto

                        I'm sorry, but I don't think it misses your point at all--you're making the point that Vittius was somehow dissed by the community because his post only got one reply and the next two posts about the same place got many. I'm noy trying to put words in your mouth but I think the essence of your point is that you believe Vittus only got one reply because he's not established, and the later reports got many replies because those posters are established. Just the fact that rameniac followed up on Vittius' tip is an indication that someone took Vittius seriously.

                        I'm not an expert on the dynamics on the LA Board, but I'm not sure I agree with you that that's what was going on.

                        Rameniac posted a very excited response to Vittus report. I don't think there was any point to the rest of the community piling on a hundred more similar, "Great tip, thanks" replies, if they didn't have anything chowish to add or any questions to ask. It just doesn't add value for people to pile on if they have nothing of value to say. How many "Great tips, thanks" replies would have been enough for Vittus to be validated or to demonstrate he had been respected/accepted by the community? Wasn't one "great tip, thanks" by an "established" poster (and the later acknowledgement of same poster for the great tip) enough?

                        My point was that many reports by "established" chowhounds go with no replies whatsoever and it's not an indication, in my opinion, of how great a tip people think it is or how respected a person is by the community. Nevertheless, when I see these kinds of posts by individuals who don't post often I personally, if no one else has beaten me to it, make a point of acknowledging those posts. I understand you're saying that you don't have a solution, that you're just pointing this situation out. What I'm pointing out is that I don't think this is that different than how this works with even established posters.

                        It doesn't surprise me that by the second or third mention of this place by different people, there started to be enough excitement generated for people to want to start asking questions about it and think about checking it out. And if rameniac was excited enough about this place to start an OP rather than dredge up Vittus' report, excellent though it was, why should he not do that? I don't think we should begrudge rameniac an OP for such a fine report, even if it isn't the first fine report on the restaurant. People start new threads to all the time to talk about a restaurant they're excited about, even if there's another recent thread floating around on the first page.

                        I'm just saying that if a post gets one really nice reply as Vittus' did and the poster gets an acknowledgement a month later for his fine post, that's pretty dang good whether you're established or not.

                        I agree with you that we should go out of our way to be friendly to and acknowledge posts by "new" posters. But, I don't think we have to fawn all over them. At some point, chowhounding has to be its own reward--not the constant feedback from the community.

                        EDIT: oh, and there are occasions that I let a very thorough and detailed report by a "non-established" poster languish with no replies because they've posted a glowing report about a restaurant I dislike. In those cases, I've decide the friendliest thing to do is ignore them rather than feel obligated to say, "Nice report, but I disagree with you; that place is awful." So, I'm not sure what should be done in those situations. I hate for people to feel ignored, but I don't want them to feel attacked on their first report, either.


                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          I'm going to make the additional point that Vittus post was at 2:15am on a Saturday, whereas Rameniac's was in the middle of the day on a Monday. Sometimes the timing of your post can be everything on an active board like the LA board.


                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            You still miss my point, but that's OK.

                            1. re: E Eto

                              I would sincerely like to understand how I'm missing your point. Perhaps you can email me off the Board if you want. I'll put my email address in my profile. I don't see any evidence of disrespect or high school clique'ishness in this scenario, just an evolution of excitement about a restaurant. If your point is that newbies will be discouraged because they only get one reply to their reports and said replier actually follows up on their tip, reports back and credits them and that the newbies will get discouraged and will perceive this as "indifference", I still disagree. [EDIT: actually, I don't necessarily disagree--maybe newbies do perceive that as indifferent and to that I say, what the heck more do they want? An engraved welcome to the forum plaque from the chowhound team? If there are perceiving this as indifference, I say they are expecting instant gratification in a situation where they perhaps shouldn't expect it because even the "regulars" aren't always getting it.] Nevertheless I think we use threads like these in site talk to reassure newbies that this is natural on the boards, that not every post gets a flood of replies. Sometimes it's lonely on the leading edge of chowhounding...


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                I can give you another example of this phenomena. A thread will develop, and a poster not "accepted" into the existing "cool group" will make a recommendation within that thread for a place they like. That recommendation will go completely without any response / comment. Then one of the "cool group" will make the very same recommendation farther down the thread. That post is met with a flurry of positive responses.

                                Like it or not, this "attitude" is a problem. As Davewud so rightly points out, the second review could have easily been added as a reply to vittus, ESPECIALLY considering that this his post represents the source of the Nile in this case.

                                I feel that Chowhound "etiquette" dictates linking to post zero in this case ought to be accepted practice. As E Eto so eloquently explains above, the harm that this practice does to the site means the well regarded hounds, (as Limster is seen advocating and doing) need to actively think about how they can encourage hounding, rather than discourage it. In the case of vittus and others like him, "you don't know what you've got till it's gone..."

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  This happens with much frequency on the Manhattan board.

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    It would have been nice, yes, if rameniac linked the post, but he mentioned Vittus by name as the source of his tip and I think that is sufficiently within the boundaries of the customs and practices of the board to give "credit" to Vittus. Not everyone provides a link to old threads, nor do they need to. He could have dredged up Vittus post--again, it would have been nice, but not everyone loves the search function. And I don't think it's "damaging" to anyone if an old post is clearly referenced, even if not linked. But, I agree, it's nice thing to do. It's what I actually do mostly because I like the tidyness of keeping the discussion of a restaurant in a single, easy to find place... But, I think that's probably just my weird need for order. ;-).

                                    I'm not saying clique'ish behavior doesn't go on on these boards (as described in your hypothetical example) it can and does whenever there are human beings involved. We should guard against it. I'm just saying that it's hard to say for sure that's what's happened in this situation the E Eto has called to our attention. The only "fault" I can find in this situation is that rameniac, who graciously replied to Vittus post, who followed-up on Vittus tip, and reported back and credited Vittus for his tip, might have linked back to Vittus original report. He could have even posted his own report in Vittus original report. Sure he could have done things a little differently, but I think what he did was fine and simply a matter of personal style. I think we're really splitting hairs here. I'd hate for people to hesitate to post about their great experiences at a restaurant because they don't know if they've followed the EXACT etiquette for giving someone credit. And how far back do you have to go, really? When we start legislating this kind of behavior and coming down on people for such minor infractions, we will also choke the flow of chow tips.

                                    As far as your hypothetical example, I have to confess I don't see it happening that often on the Midwest board, though, I'm sure there are occasions when it happens. Really, I think think the scenario you're describing is a matter of people scanning the threads rather than reading them carefully. By the time they get to the bottom, they only remember what they read most recently and respond to that. I see all the time people saying things like "as Danny said above" when it was soupkitten who said it, and so on. I don't think there's any malice to these kinds of things. But, I'm sure what your describing goes on, but I personally don't see a lot of it.

                                    I do know there are posters who seem to dislike other posters and pretty much try to stay out of each others way, including not commenting on their posts. I know there's one poster who specifically avoids replying to my posts. I would actually prefer these kinds of people practice avoidance as they have been rather than get into a pissing match in every thread. The Midwest board is home to a lot of different people and we all do our best to get along in the interest of the chow.


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      "...Really, I think think the scenario you're describing is a matter of people scanning the threads rather than reading them carefully..."

                                      I would agree if my example wasn't enough of a pattern / practice that it seems to be more than a mere coincidence or a simple "scanning" issue. And people in the mid west have a well deserved reputation for being "nice" to strangers as well as other native mid westerner's.

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        Ah, don't be fooled. We call that Minnesota nice, Minnesota ice. Teasing aside, I think my fellow Midwesterners are lovely, considerate helpful people and I am so grateful for them for accepting me into their community when I transplanted a few years ago. Nice has its drawbacks, though. I think some people are reluctant to provide a dissenting opinion because it might not be nice enough. And dissent is important, too. As you can see by my commentary in this thread. ;-).

                                        I don't know how to resolve the practice/pattern you're describing except to say rise above it yourself. If you see an outsider, try to set the example and be the one who acknowledges them on occasion. You can't do this constantly, of course, but it's the only way I can see.


                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                interesting. the various boards have entirely different dynamics.
                                The PNW board is almost entirely Seattle because it has been abandoned
                                by everyone else. the midwest board is a welcoming place, perhaps because it encompasses 11 states.
                                And midwesterners are generally nice folks. :)

                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  To Dairy Queen:

                                  Given the size of LA and the number of hounds there, dooesn't it strike you as just a bit sad that it took generation of some excitement from established posters for other hounds to try the place (and thus to be in a position to say something other than 'thanks'?)

                                  I take Eric's point to be that he is concerned with the net result:a smaller community means more 'in breeding' and less reports of new deliciousness! (and I agree with the concern).Thanks Eric for the general push to go out and report on some new stuff....

                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                    No, I don't mean to be dense or argumentative, but I don't see this situation as sad at all. (By the way, I'm not try to be critical of you, susan, but I do think it's a tad insidery to refer to a poster by his first name when it's not part of his handle, in his post anywhere, or in his profile.) I think you're all looking at this scenario differently than I am. You say it's "sad" because "it took generation of some excitement from "established" [my emphasis] posters for other hounds to try the place." You are perceiving that it's the "establishness" of the posters that generated the excitement here. I disagree.

                                    I think you're all missing the point that Vittus, a relative "unknown", reported on a place (at 2am on a Saturday--he's lucky, or more appropriately, we're lucky, rameniac saw his post at all). The next day, someone thanked him for his report. Within one month, said poster followed up on the tip, reported back ecstatically and thanked Vittus AGAIN for his report. (You can argue whether he should have linked vittus' report or made his report as a reply to vittus' thread, but, that is a matter of personal posting style--he did at least the minimum necessary to give vittus credit.) Bolstered by now two very favorable reports, more people tried the place and reported back and a third report was made. This is about as good as it gets. You make a report, someone checks into it and, good golly!, they report back thanking you and saying they love it. More and more people are encouraged by the second and third reports and the place rises to favorite status. What more do you expect? A place was discovered. People are eating better. vittus got his thank you from rameniac. I call that a victory for the community of Chowhound.

                                    All we really have at the end of the day is the satisfaction that we're eating better and our posts are helping others eat better. There are no Congressional Medals of Honor or Nobel Prizes for Chowhounding that I am aware of. It's just all of us, sharing our thoughts through our keyboards. We try to be polite and respectful and thankful and supportive. This is what a community is.

                                    Personally, in my universe where time, money, gasoline and calories are all budgeted carefully, it takes 2-3 glowing reports from various 'hounds, established or otherwise, to tear me out of my chair, away from my keyboard, and rushing to try a new restaurant (unless I happen to be in that neighborhood all the time or I'm starved for that type of cuisine. If someone, anyone, posted about a good dim sum place in the Twin Cities, I'd be there this weekend.)

                                    No, usually what happens when I read a good report from a poster, established or otherwise, is that I add the restaurant to the bottom of my already very lengthy "to try" list. (That I find very sad...that I don't have the time, money or calories to try all the places I want to as quickly as I want to and have to instead maintain a list). If there's a sudden rush of glowing reports by one, two, three people, established or otherwise, the restaurant will move up more quickly to the top of my list and becomes "must try as soon as possible". It's not quite that scientific, because I'm not that organized, and there are really a few more factors that go into my choice of restaurant (where my partner feels like eating, for instance; or that a new place that has opened up along my commute route that no one has reported on and I see as my chowhoundly duty to investigate and report on), but that's my general approach. Maybe my approach is sad or makes me a bad chowhound, but that's how it works for me and, I'm guessing, at least a few others.


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      I have never met Mr Eto...I think I got that his name was Eric from public blogs and media he has been mentioned in...but now that you mention it I am not sure his name is even Eric or that he is even a he...FWIW. Actually, did a quick Google and his name is Eric: his Linkedin page comes up and he mentions Chowhounding as an interest (I assume it is the same guy). Anyway, I use strangers names to be friendly; it doesn't mean I know them, but I will keep your point in mind.

                                      To the point, your last paragraph basically IS my point. I think it is sad that it takes two or three established people raving before the place goes to the top of the list. If you consistently follow that policy, you will never be the one posting about a great new find that no one else knows about, and the community will be poorer as a result.

                                      I realize of course that we are all very busy and don't always have the time and money for CHding that we would like to spend. Still, seeking out new delicious places is at the core of what Hounding should be, IMO, and we should all strive to that (me included. Believe me, I know how easy it is to get into the rut of going to the same old favorites....)

                                        1. re: susancinsf

                                          Whoops, sorry I misunderstood your point. That's what happens when PWI (posting while an insomniac).

                                          As I mentioned (parenthetically) in my last paragraph, there's always room at the top of "my list" to try that new little restaurant that suddenly appeared on my commute route (or whereever) that I feel is my chowhoundly duty to investigate... I don't let my list of "tips from others to investigate" get in the way of my own chowhounding...This is one reason I don't get to try as many places recommended by others as I would like to or as quickly as I'd like to. So much chow, so little time.


                              3. I'm usually on the Tokyo board as I am based in Tokyo, so no idea how things usually are on the LA board (and not sure what one poster here means by hounds being "mean" to each other - the Tokyo posters certainly all seem pretty nice and open-minded).

                                However, and this I think applies to all boards generally, while I think there are some really good points made here in relation to the treatment and encouragement of newbies, I would probably be a bit more relaxed about it. It's pretty normal, even if it isn't fair, that people trust a source they know. That applies to established products, respected newspaper columnists or posters on websites such as these. If the responses to a newbie's posts are limited, if I was the newbie and interested in getting into exchanging culinary opinions, I'd just be a little persistent, post a few more times. If the posts sound interesting, I am sure people will gradually start responding. All "established" posters on this board started off as newbies at some point.

                                1. I'm just wondering why Rameniac felt the need to start a new thread when simply responding to the original would've been fine.

                                  I'm sometimes amazed at how many similar threads there are on these boards. Quite often born on the same day.


                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: Davwud

                                    That is an excellent point. Especially considering the posters who dredge up years old posts for whatever reason. It would have been a way to both honor the OP / Discoverer of this place and to generate the same amount of traffic regarding the food here.

                                    There is absolutely a "high school clique" thing going on within the LA board, but just like with the "Lord of the Fries" there is nothing that can be done about it.

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      I don't have a problem with reviving old posts if the topic is still relevant. I find it somewhat frustrating when you search for reco's in _______ and you get 17 all with the same reco's.


                                    2. re: Davwud

                                      Rameniac's thread was posted a MONTH after the original one by Vittus. I think it is entirely appropriate to start a new thread, since on the L.A. board even a day or two puts you a page or two from the top of the board. (Like most Chowhounds, I believe, I keep my boards organized by date started and rely on the main Chowhound Boards page (and my personal MyChow) for most recent responses.

                                      1. re: nosh

                                        But if he replies to it, then it goes to the top. It also sounds like R has a following of peope so it's not likely it would go overlooked.


                                        1. re: nosh

                                          I think that nosh has it right, posts tend to decend into nothing very fast on boards that get a lot of traffic like the LA board does (I'm from the other side of the country btw, but follow the LA board because I went to school there over 30 years ago and worked my way thru school as a waiter.)

                                          One of the things that frustrates a lot of new posters is that there are some CHers who tend to be very judgemental and disagreeable with posters that have not been posting a lot. I know I've seen way too many posts of the "when you have been on the boards longer we might take you seriously" type. In addition, there are others who look down their nose at folks like me who tend to eat in more upscale places. Sure I still look for that great, undiscovered chowish place that has wonderful food at great prices, but at my age, I also am inclined to treat myself to a good meal at a nice place because now I can afford it.

                                        2. re: Davwud

                                          It seemed to me that rameniac thought the original post went unnoticed because of the lack of hyperbole in the title, so he wanted to start a new thread that would be impossible to miss.

                                          1. re: Davwud

                                            Davewud - I was wondering when someone was going to raise this very obvious question. That's where the "diss" came from, IMHO. By the way, it is absolutely amazing how the tone of the LA board is so clearly evocative of LA!I've never read it but will have to more often. Y'all write so much! I thought the strike was over.

                                          2. Good point, E Eto! How odd, the lack of response to Vittus and gushing gushers of responses to the later original posters. Vittus' original post was comprehensive, well written; and obviously Vittus and his girlfriend knew what they were talking about--either from or having lived in Japan. Their appreciation and enthusiasm were very convincing.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                              As Dairy Queen noted, Vittus posted at 2:15 a.m. on a Saturday morning. We on the LA board are fortunate that ramenaic even saw his post, took note of it and followed up, as it was an awesome tip.

                                              I personally don't see this situation as something that exemplifies cliquish-ness. Like it or not, when a poster like rameniac posts a terrific review of a Japanese place, it's going to get a lot of response, as rameniac is well-known on the LA Board for his expertise in that kind of food. If rameniac has taken credit for the "discovery" instead of crediting Vittus, then you might have a point. But the fact that rameniac gave credit where credit was due is kind of the opposite of "clique-y" behavior.

                                              1. re: DanaB

                                                I'm with you. Thanks (also from my 4 1/2 year old daughter, Dana Z(sofia)!

                                                1. re: DanaB

                                                  The "clique-y" behavior was never exhibited by Rameniac, as I've mentioned in several places. But the appearance is that the rest of the people responding have. You're obviously not understanding my point. But that's OK.

                                                  1. re: E Eto

                                                    I guess my question is, to what degree are people responsible for how other people interpret their behavior? There's some responsibility, obviously, but how far does it go, especially when we're talking about sins of omission?

                                                    1. re: jlafler

                                                      it actually cracks me up how many times i respond to an OP post, only to have my response placed behind a "new" CH'er post, who assume that i'm responding to them(and get upset and respond with things like "excuse me???"). i am NOT about to explain it to them. yet again...
                                                      what to do with that??

                                                      1. re: TBird

                                                        Similarly, there are those hounds, new or not, who hit reply to below a later comment and not the OP, and then seem shocked that this person would assume that the responding hound was speaking to them. (Hint: the arrow and the Re:--- will tell you to whom you're speaking.)

                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                          unfortunately, that "re" line doesn't show up until after one's reply is "posted"

                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                            TBird, Lizard & alkapal
                                                            I have eliminated the confusion by beginning my posts with the name of the author of the post I wish to address. :-}

                                              2. I do not think CH discourages new posters. It is alot like the other online forums I belong to. You get credibility, or not from your previous posts, and input, its as simple as that. Like on the Chicago borad when I see a person recommend the same chain restaurant on every post regarding what to eat in Chicago, I ignore their opinion on all dining options.

                                                Also like with other internet forums you need to have thick skin, and not take things personally, especially possible critiques of your favorite restaurants. It is food afterall, and taste is very subjective from one person the the next. As for someone not getting props for bringing a restaurant to the attention of the board, that does not really matter to me, I do not need a pat on the back to validate my restuurant choices, but i do try to give credit where credit is due.

                                                1. Unfortunately, this happens throughout CH. It wasn't very long ago that I felt somewhat ignored, and there were several instances where I noticed that other posters on the very same topic got a lot more attention than I did when I noted the same thing upthread (this may still be true, but I no longer feel it to the same extent). However, I don't believe that it is personal, nor does it appear to be irreversible. It stands to reason that, in a community where posters' individual pages indicate who is "reading" them, a board will not be immune to issues of poster popularity and competition for attention.
                                                  On the other hand, it is also true that the more persistently present (and reliably competent) a poster is, the more recognizable they will become, and also more sought-out. While it's not an ideal situation, it's kind of inevitable. From what I have observed, just about all of the regional boards exhibit cliquish elements at times. The remedy is to make an effort to read posters who are unfamiliar to you, rather than automatically consulting your "reading list" to the exclusion of other topics and posters. I enjoy discovering new posters (I am still new, as well, relative to many others on this board) who contribute good info and replying to them. It encourages people to hang around and not give in to the feeling of "newbie invisibility".
                                                  I also like to encourage tourists and visitors to the site. It keeps recommendations fresh and relevant, and is a great opportunity for us to convince outsiders of what a charming and informative bunch we are :) Of course, the best part is when they come back and tell us all about their food experiences, and which recommendations worked out and why.

                                                  1. Do you tend to trust complete strangers as much as you trust friends and family? Do you tend to talk to complete strangers as often as you do to friends and family?

                                                    We get to know each other on these sorts of forums. We get an idea of who we trust. It's not rocket science, and it's not (usually) "insiderism", IMO. The idea that most hard-core Chowhounds are going to excitedly visit a brand-new restaurant on the advice of a complete stranger is a little unlikely. A more well-known voice is always going to trigger feelings of trust and participation when it comes to the unknown, ie a new restaurant. I don't see a problem with that.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: uptown jimmy

                                                      It's not about trust, it's about figuring out what to explore, which means looking for places where there is little or no information. Most average chowhounds (not even the hard-core ones) will visit a brand-new restaurant on no advice from anyone at all, just to check it out -- that's how we find new delicious places to eat at.

                                                      1. re: limster

                                                        Exactly! Thank you limster. You have an excellent way of helping to bring us back to the main point, which is delicousness and chow.

                                                        1. re: limster

                                                          It is absolutely about trust, for many of us. Many of us tend to pay more attention to certain posters than to others. It's a simple fact. That may make some of us "pretend Chowhounds", but it's also a behavior discussed many times on these boards.

                                                          1. re: uptown jimmy

                                                            Definitely! There are some posters that we trust more than others and that we pay more attention to. I'm not disputing that.

                                                            What I'm trying to say is that when it comes to what chowhounds love to do - i.e. explore and find new chow, trust is no longer relevant, since we're not looking for reliable information, we're looking for the absence of information, so that we can fill these gaps. That's a major way in which many of us use these boards. It's often the case that someone would come across a place we know nothing about, and before you know it, there are organised chowdowns to those places to tease it apart.

                                                            It's more natural to interact with people you already know, and not to interact with strangers. That's indisputable. The point is that this type of natural behavior can be discouraging to new posters who may have good information to share. It's not about whether this behavior is right or wrong, but whether this behavior is in our best interests. To maximise the range of opinions and to cast a wider net on the chow scene, it's important to go out of one's way to engage new posters and do something that may be less natural but will lead to greater long-term personal benefit.

                                                      2. Everyone has been a newbie at one point at CH and jfood remembers it was pretty tough. just understanding what was allowed and not allowed took a heck of a long time, posts that were deleted that he felt should not have been, posts he thought were headed to the flush room remained. Feelings hurt when people disagreed with him and seeing other posts remain when his were deleted. It was like learning to walk, you fall a lot and hopefully the edge of a cooffee table does not break your fall.

                                                        Now after a couple of years he is less sensitive to the deletions, tries to avoid verbal warfare, knows when to hit the back button instead of the reply button and has a bunch of posters that he trusts.

                                                        That being said, in FFD county CT, jfood has seen numerous posters come and go. There is porbably a group of about a dozen that have been around for some time and we all sorta trust each other. An occasional shill shows up and it's like watching the old bassamatic as they get chewed and spit out. Newbies, many of us try to welcome, but they too sometimes disappear.

                                                        So stick with it, develop a sense of who to trust and who to avoid, try to stay away from flame-wars and try some of the places people recommend. Jfood has a new arsenal of places he never would have tried if not for some of the hounds on the TriState Board.

                                                        Remember it's about the chow not the words.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                          Very wise words, jfood. I've been posting on Chowhound for too long to honestly say I remember what it was like being new. I do remember it as a confusing time. But, I'll tell you what, even today, after coming to understand the rules of the forum--both official and unofficial--it still smarts a tiny bit when one of my posts is moderated into oblivion, when someone hates a restaurant I love, when I write a long report and it drifts to the bottom and, eventually, off the page with nary a reply. But, I've come a long way in not taking these things personally--they happen to everyone. But, I'm eating much better. I've learned so much. And I want that to continue. I want the newbies and lurkers to come out of hiding and tell us about the great chow they know about that I don't.


                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            I lurked for perhaps 2 years before daring to post and when I did I quickly became the queen of delete and dead end threads. I think it's funny. Curious but funny. Not one to call it quits before the time is up, I'll keep plugging along and hope I have some useful information for someone out there in Cyberland. But just don't tell me I'm a shill for a restaurant after a report I've made as was done recently.

                                                            I think there are many people who come to Chowhound simply for a one time information request. This site has been a fount of culinary knowledge for me and I've been "eating out" and cooking for a long time.

                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              Glad you came out of lurking, Gio!


                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                Oh Gosh, TDQ....thank you! I am too. I love this bar, with all it's quirkiness.

                                                        2. One other factor to add to the discussion as to why newbie posts on new places may often be ignored (though obviously not one applicable to the example here) ->

                                                          On my "local" Florida board, I would venture to say that at least 75% of the posts by new members on new (or previously unrecognized) restaurants are by shills. They're usually pretty obvious (indeed some of them use the same blurbs as the restaurants' websites) and I, for one, report these and they usually get removed.

                                                          But as a result of the practice, there is (for me at least) often an inherent suspicion of many reviews done by posters I've never heard of about places I've never heard of.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Frodnesor

                                                            I'm surprised I had to read all the way down to this point to see this phenomenon mentioned. It does happen often - too often. And unfortunately there's not a good method to police that unless the post is so over the top and the poster is dumb enough to include their business's website.

                                                            That's the primary reason when I see a first-time post that looks vaguely suspicious, I'll wait until someone else chimes in.

                                                            1. re: Panini Guy

                                                              The best way to deal with a suspicious post is to use the report button to bring it to our attention. We give such reports high priority and we're pretty good at sniffing out dishonest posters. Even if you just think something is a bit fishy, please send it our way. We don't generally remove possible shill posts unless we've got corroborating evidence, so please don't worry that your report might get an innocent newbie unfairly tagged as a shill. However, we're a small crew and we only see a fraction of all the posts made to the site, so we really do rely on help from the community to protect the integrity of this resource we've all built.

                                                          2. I think you bring up an excellent point, E Eto. I realized that I'm more likely to respond to a "where should I eat..." post than a new report about a restaurant I've never heard of, especially from a member whose posts I've never read, even though they are far more valuable for the community as a whole.

                                                            I don't know if anyone's brought it up yet, but I just wanted to bring up something on the other side of this. Though maybe these new posters get less attention from the CH community as a whole, I've found that these celebrity Chowhounds are often the ones who do encourage and respond. In the SF Bay Area, I oftentimes see rworange, Robert Lauriston, or Melanie Wong (among other prolific 'Hounds) responding when no one else does. And when I personally went to a Chowdown with Melanie, I found her incredibly kind and encouraging not only at the event itself but afterwards regarding how and what to post as a report. While these Chowhounds get more responses, I think they also do a lot for the community, so I wanted to chime in with something positive.

                                                            Also, while writing this, I realized that the reason I had opened up this thread was because on the list of most recent updates, I had seen JFood had responded to it. Though I've never spoken to him, I've always enjoyed reading what he's had to say, so I wanted to see what this post was about. Instead of clicking straight on through to the areas I either live in, will live in soon, or will visit soon, I saw "JFood" and found something new and interesting.

                                                            I agree with many of the points brought up on here and am glad there's a discussion about it. Just thought I'd offer up some positives as well.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: LikeFrogButOOOH

                                                              Thank you very much LFBO for those kind words. Jfood is glad he has brought a little bit of joy to people on the left coast. His day is also a bit better after reading yours.

                                                              1. re: LikeFrogButOOOH

                                                                Funny. I was thinking something similar when servorg mentioned the "cool" crowd. I was trying to think who I deemed to be the cool crowd on my home board and the funny thing is, the names that came to mind (and I'll spare you the names because I'm not sure it really matters--let's just assume they are all cool) are the ones who seem to acknowledge every poster in the most gracious and welcoming way and offer alternative/unpopular perspectives in the most gentle, polite and respectful manner. It's no wonder everybody thinks they're cool. They have great chowsense, too. So, that's a plus.


                                                              2. I'm guessing i'm going a bit OT, as i am not really commenting on the Vittus/Rameniac LA postings per se...

                                                                But..I am still...a relative newbie, having only joined within the last 6 months. I've struggled with a lot of what jfood said he went through in the early days. I can say that i still don't understand why some of my posts get deleted while some by others get left up to fester. I've wondered at times if the mods were more so noticing MY posts because i was a newbie. Wondering why my heartfelt "words of wisdom" or a recipe went hurtling to the bottom of the pile occasionally has had me feeling a bit out of joint as well.

                                                                Not to say that i haven't gotten lots of great advice on this site, and followed some leads. I only agree somewhat with what jfood has to say about avoiding flamers and sticking with a trusted group, as long as it does not imply that the "trusted group" of well knowns are incapable of nastiness. I have, on one or two occasions, gotten nastiness or condescending/snobby attitude from someone i've recognized as a "well known" or "well respected" poster.....and truthfully that has made me feel like running a few times. And i hope no one follows me in here to tell me how I am wrong....another pet peeve of mine (going to site talk or feedback to voice a concern.....only to be followed by "what's YOUR problem" type comments.

                                                                The chowhound world can be a scary place for a fledgling cook or lover of dining and all sorts, who may not know all the language...the subleties...wine/food pairings etc etc. I love good food and wine, and consider myself a pretty good cook, or so i'm told. But I won't touch the wine board for the most part, with a ten foot pole....for example. I always end up feeling like i'm the sort who'll drink a bottle of rubbing alcohol in a pinch...lol.

                                                                on a side note.....a recent response to one of my older posts has left me smarting a little as it was a negative generalization type response to a well known food in my home area. Stuff the city is known for type deal. Critique my choice of resto maybe....don't put down the food of my home town/city/province/state/country....by saying that it sucks and my people in my area don't know how to do it "right"...

                                                                phew...glad to get that out :) back to CH'ing.

                                                                The way i look at it, recommends should come from everyone. I might get a great lead from someone who lives off canned stuff and/or i might not always agree with an individual with a refined palate. I guess it's good to assume that any member here, has at least an interest in food, so they can't be all bad.

                                                                11 Replies
                                                                1. re: im_nomad

                                                                  Since you still consider yourself a newbie, please consider this your official welcome. Seriously, I feel like I've seen your handle around forever, but it really is hard to keep track of people.

                                                                  I know how it smarts when people criticize your home town, especially if you think they are being unfair. There are few, if any, places I've been to that didn't have something delicious and chowworthy to discover. It's hard in the smaller places, sometimes, but it's there if you look hard enough and are resourceful enough. If people are being rude and dismissive about your home town, I think the best thing to do is just ignore them and try not to take it personally. You probably aren't the only one who thinks they are being rude...


                                                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                                                    im_nomad wrote:
                                                                    "I have, on one or two occasions, gotten nastiness or condescending/snobby attitude from someone i've recognized as a "well known" or "well respected" poster.....and truthfully that has made me feel like running a few times."
                                                                    One needs a tough skin to post on internet forums, where opinions vary greatly and people are passionate about their interests. I've been posting on CH for several years, but as recently as yesterday was sharply criticized for my "lack of knowledge" in my rather casual reply to an OP about coffee in Mexico, even though I'd prefaced my reply with phrases like "Not comprehensive" and "casual impressions" and "limited area of experience", to describe my knowledge on the subject.*

                                                                    It hurt, too, as it came from a well-know poster whose knowledge and experience I respect. But I got over it. It did have the effect of making me more thoughtful before posting, and that's good.

                                                                    Several leading posters seem to be ratcheting up the level of discourse on the CH site. It was a casual, relaxed place in its inception, and now seems to be heading toward more of a serious, intellectually informed, "eG" sort of place. I suppose that the style and level of "conversation" also depends on which Forum you're on. "Chain Restaurants" is very different from "Mexico Forum", for example. There's room for both, IMO, but taking one's self too seriously is not a good thing. Again, IMO.

                                                                    I hope that this has not veered too far off topic. Thank you.

                                                                    *Quotes are paraphrased.

                                                                    1. re: Anonimo

                                                                      Personal attacks are not permitted on Chowhound - we're here to rate the chow, not the hound. If you see a post that you believe is attacking you or another hound, please use the "report" function on the post to flag the post for us. We'll review it and remove if it violates our posting etiquette.


                                                                      1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                        This is where being thick skinned is necessary because sometimes the post isn't a direct attack but insinuated, eg "Well, those places would be fine if you're a tourist with substandard tastes" after someone highly recommends places the love which I have seen on a board, and posts along those lines. It's not a personal attack, per se, but someone, especially new, could take offense to it.

                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                          This drives me crazy, particularly when I recommend a chain. I actually wish the mods would give posters a little more leeway to chastise such behavior theselves. The irony of such aggressive moderation is that it prevents chowhound from developing informal social norms against such conduct.

                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                            One way to avoid being harassed about chains is to mention a particular location and the specific dishes you enjoyed (and maybe why?). When discussing a chain, especially a national chain, there can be significant differences between units, so being specific leaves one less exposed to a blanket "attack" on that chain.

                                                                            Of course, specifics are beneficial when discussing any restaurant. But doing so with a chain may actually get someone to try that specific dish and possibly even change an opinion.

                                                                            1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                              All good advice, but there are certain boards, particularly Manhattan, where one can't recommend a chain without receiving snide replies. The mods are good about deleting such attacks. But they sometimes also feed such sentiments -- no doubt unintentionally -- by deleting or moving the rec to Chains, though things have improved the past year or two in this regard.

                                                                          2. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                            Thanks, Chowhound Team for keeping an eye out for us. But I don't think this requires any action on your part.

                                                                          3. re: Anonimo

                                                                            " but taking one's self too seriously is not a good thing"

                                                                            Agreed! Life's too short to take everything seriously!

                                                                            But I do like the occasional serious, intellectually informed post. I learn a lot from these posts.

                                                                            And I must confess, I kind of like reading the occasional "pissing match" that can pop up from time to time. Ahh the rubbernecking... It would be awfully boring if people were polite all the time, or factual all the time. It is much more entertaining this way.

                                                                            I guess I am a bit fatalistic about these boards. I could say "the sky is blue today" or "water is really wet, isn't it?" and the response will be as follows:

                                                                            - 1% of readers will respond, 99% will lurk.
                                                                            - 90% of the posters will agree to varying degrees
                                                                            -10% will disagree, either because they have a completely different world view, or they think I'm an idiot, or they like to disagree, or they are PMSing, or they got yelled at by their boss/kids/partner/complete stranger exhibiting road rage.
                                                                            - 20-50% of the lurkers will have meant to respond, but then life got busy and they never got back to the site.
                                                                            -18% are complete internet newbies, and can't figure out how to respond, and can never find their way back to the site.

                                                                            I applaud the efforts of established posters like Limster to encourage a welcoming atmosphere for all posters to share important food information. Please keep up the good work!

                                                                            But I also understand that there are people who are going to take things too personally, and will not continue to post in a public forum like this. These things happen. I wish it was possible to keep everyone happy all the time, but as everyone has different ideas about what makes them happy, it is unrealistic to expect to do so. We can continue to try to make things as good as they can be, but I don't feel the need to beat myself with a wooden stick if someone gets upset and decides not to post again. It is a shame, and I hope I am not routinely posting posts that make people want to leave the board, but sometimes, that's life. Similarly, I can't always respond to every post, and sometimes I am guilty for not posting, but again, that's life.

                                                                            1. re: moh

                                                                              I learn so much from well thought out disagreements on boards. But, the key is well thought out and informative. Rubber necking isn't always a bad thing. There's so much more contributed than a simple "I agree" (not that there's anything wrong with that).

                                                                              I find a lot of CHers more blunt in posting their opinions (compared to some message boards I go to where people, mostly women, go out of their way not to offend others--i'm hoping that doesn't come off as sexist). While it does lead to more hurt feelings, I also find it a breath of fresh air where I don't necessarily coach everything I say to be the least offensive as possible. Kind of "vanillas" a thought.

                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                As I said up thread, I did gain something from that criticism; post more thoughtfully.
                                                                                But, overall, it was over the top.

                                                                        2. not having read any responses, i just want to say it may be that a lot of hounds had the second good reviewer on their heads-up reading list. that's how i filter a lot of what is going on here on the boards.

                                                                          also, recently going through some posts and also clicking on various posters' posts, i noticed that one post for sichuan noodles recipe had gone unanswered for about a month and a half -- for no apparent reason. when i responded, it maybe ticked the post back up into the current boards, and now there are many responses on that long-unanswered thread. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/506778

                                                                          i don't think hounds are mean to newbies. they may be mean to idiots, though. fair game (JUST kidding).

                                                                          1. This thread has all the same elements of limster's recent "perceived wisdom" thread. And my view hasnt changed since then.

                                                                            A problem affecting a number of European boards is that they remain basically a place where American tourists can get advice from other American tourists. ChowHound attracts few nationals or residents in those countries - even the English speaking ones.

                                                                            It means, therefore, that a small group of members continually recommend a small group of restaurants to visitors who, in turn, later recommend the same small group of restaurants.The "perceived wisdom" is, therefore, that they know what they are talking about as they post often and with confidence, even though they might only visit that country irregularly on business or as a tourist.

                                                                            Certainly there is one European city about which I will now not offer an opinion as there is little point when a recommendation is dismissed by the "perceived expert" that, without explanation, the place is not "valued by locals" (although they are not a local either). As I said on the other thread do I care? No, I dont - the fact that American tourists are unlikely to visit that place means I can more easily get a table.

                                                                            The fact few European nationals/residents find their way to the boards means that ChowHound actually fails in its own mission (unless that mission actually is just to provide advice to American tourists). But it also means that the tourist wanting to visit, say, almost anywhere in Ireland or the UK, other than London, is unlikely to get any response to their query as there will be no-one with local knowledge.

                                                                            How that might change, or even if it should change, is a very different question.

                                                                            1. I swear I didn't even realize that it was a problem until I saw a link to this thread off of Eater.

                                                                              It feels like this issue is starting upon a slippery slope.

                                                                              If you want every thread to always reference the first guy who "discovers" a restaurant, we'd have a bunch of threads from Jerome and other old-timers. So the perceived clique-ishness would still exist.

                                                                              Furthermore, I prefer the Chowhound architecture of allowing multiple threads to occur simultaneously over a restaurant. While they may all discuss the same establishment, not all experiences are the same. Would you want a single Pizzeria Mozza thread, one that always "credits" the OP?

                                                                              21 Replies
                                                                              1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                                Obviously you want multiple threads. But this was a situation in which a recent arrival made a great post (the ONLY post about this restaurant) with a terrific write up and he got one thank you. If you don't nurture your garden you end up with mostly weeds.

                                                                                1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                                  To me, this situation is more about engaging and encouraging new posters, rather than referencing or crediting discoveries.

                                                                                  1. re: limster

                                                                                    Limster, I like this idea as the bottom line to this thread: how do we engage and encourage new posters to keep the community growing, and thriving for the greater chow good?


                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                      That is the question I have as well - thanks for posting it. I think that fostering a friendly, welcoming environment that is flame free is key, and that, while we may criticize the food, we try to refrain from criticizing or calling out the 'hound - new or otherwise. Some boards seem to be more analytical about chow than others, which sometimes leads to parsing of words etc. that I can see as being off putting.

                                                                                      I think that a natural friendliness does develop among posters who post a lot on a particular board, but I sure hope that doesn't come off as cliquishness. If newer posters feel as if it does, I'd love to hear ideas about how to be more welcoming and inclusive. The more hounds who contribute great chow tips, the merrier this hound will be!

                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                        One thing I notice when I re-read this thread is that several people say they are suspicious of newcomers. Maybe as a community we should try to be less suspicious. If someone seems fishy, report them to the mods and let the mods deal with it. Otherwise, engage them in a friendly manner on the board in case they might be some kind of chow-savant you want to keep around. One way to engage people if you have nothing to say is to ask questions. Maybe I'll try to do a better job of this.

                                                                                        Another thing is that a lot of newbies ask a question as their first post. Sure, it's hard to know whether these people will ever return, but, I always try to ask those people to please report back. Maybe it helps to encourage them in that way. (And then to acknowledge their report when they do report back.)

                                                                                        Also, I said upthread that I've been hanging around this place too long to honestly say I remember what it felt like to be new. I still think that's true, but I will say I remember having an incredible insecurity and, therefore, was terrified for a long time to express an opinion. For fear of being wrong, for fear of being slammed, for fear of being labeled as unreliable. And I think this is why, MMRuth, your point about refraining from criticizing the 'hound is so important. That's so un-fun and so off-putting.

                                                                                        I wasn't perfect when I started posting here, and I'm not perfect today. The reason I've persevered is that I continue to learn so much. By posting. Even if I post an opinion that someone else disagrees with, I've come to realize that there might be something for me to learn. Maybe I've missed something. Or, maybe that person and I just have different tastes. But, I think (hope) people should feel safe to say what they think. Chowhounds are incredibly opinionated people and it really is okay when opinions differ. I suppose there might be someone who writes you off as unreliable, but there are others, perhaps even lurking, who may think your tastes are spot-on.


                                                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                          On my local board there's a small mutual admiration society ... I've been posting for years and I still don't love it. I'm all for natural friendliness, but I think some of what we've got goes beyond that. Ah well ...

                                                                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                          Usually, I just ask questions about the places they mention. And I ask them about other places they like. It's not like I going out of my way to do so, since (for obvious selfish reasons) I genuinely want more information out of people.

                                                                                          I do tend to add more tact when I disagree with a newbie, although if it's merely a difference of opinion and taste, I don't always chime in, since I would have already stated my opinion about a place when I posted about it and talking about it once more seems a little redundant.

                                                                                          1. re: limster

                                                                                            Well it's really like the first rule of critiquing or reprimanding, isn't it? You criticize the action, not the person.

                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                              Absolutely! I remember folks telling me, when I first started posting on these boards, to "Hate the Chow, Love the Chowhound."

                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                Yes, manners are still manners, even on the internet! But, sometimes, I think you need to go a little further to make your intentions clear on a message board as the written word can seem unintentionally harsh and there are no other non-verbal cues upon which to rely.


                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                  Yep, in fact I remember Jim Leff mentioning on the boards before that we should bend over backwards to be extra polite when disagree with new hounds, just because it's hard to communicate tone etc... with just text.

                                                                                              2. re: limster

                                                                                                I like the idea of asking about other places they like. Sometimes I'm stumped for sincere questions when they write a long post about a place I'm very familiar with...


                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                  I also try to ask for comparisons between the place they posted and other related places. While we all agree that new hounds don't have much of a background for us to make comparisons, the interactive nature of the board makes it easy to fill those gaps. The cool thing about the boards is we don't have to wait to find out what their tastes are like, we can ask them directly.

                                                                                                  1. re: limster

                                                                                                    This is great stuff, limster! Thank you.


                                                                                                2. re: limster

                                                                                                  Hmm, lots of bad attitude on this site, thought it was supposed to be about food, i mean its not like you guys are food press, its the attitude of this website that will be its downfall

                                                                                                  1. re: farang

                                                                                                    From a discussion of how to be more welcoming and engage new users, you take that there's a bad attitude? What would be a better attitude vs. that which limster is advocating?

                                                                                                    1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                      It was unclear to me whether farang was referring to bad attitude on this thread (which I've not noticed myself), or maybe on the boards in which he or she participates.

                                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                        Fair point. If the latter, clearly my question was pretty much useless.

                                                                                                        1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                          Not useless <grin> - I might not have asked for clarification if you'd not posted!

                                                                                                    2. re: farang

                                                                                                      farang, i notice that you have posted on the Manhattan (my hometown) board a couple of times recently. i hope that your experience here thus far has been helpful and delicious :) regarding the attitude issue: i will agree with you to some extent, but I would also say that the perceived offenses can be attributed to misinterpretation of tone about 90% of the time. we are a passionate and opinionated bunch! if you stick around for a while, and i hope you will, you'll find many friendly hounds who are very appreciative of your knowledge re: Thai food- and who knows what else!

                                                                                                      1. re: farang

                                                                                                        Not sure what you mean by "attitude" in this context, farang. Care to elaborate?

                                                                                                        To me, the word "attitude" as a criticism on opinion sites is often code for, "I disagree with your opinion, but am unwilling or unable to refute your argument on a factual basis, so I will denigrate your tone instead."

                                                                                                        If you mean to say "rudeness", I don't think I see that: the mods are pretty good about weeding that out. If you mean "adamantly-expressed opinions", I'd agree with you, but would choose a less pejorative term. I think many posters here are simply passionate about food, not the testy jerks that the term "attitude" seems to imply.

                                                                                              3. One thing that works against the LA Board's favor is that it's such a cast of characters. It goes beyond mere reporting of various restaurant experiences. Whether it be the writing ability, the breadth of work, or the depth of knowledge, I feel like there's more to a post than merely a description of a meal. I feel like I'm listening to a person.

                                                                                                And any time you have a case of a lot of people different personalities (some of whom don't mesh well together), it will always inevitably create an environment where a reader is drawn to one person or another, just out of sheer comfort. Rameniac's follower list is testament to that (disclaimer: I'm one of them).

                                                                                                Let's take another well-known LA example. Jitlada has received nothing but positive press in the past year or so. At yet, how many people are out there "crediting" Erik M? As in Bincho, there was one, Chowpatty, and that unleashed the tidal wave. I give credit to Erik for the discovery, Patty for the boost, but ultimately I credit JITLADA for putting out a good product.

                                                                                                1. Even those who have been posting on Chowhound for years can feel like a newbie. I recently moved from NOVA/Bmore to Cambridge MA and it's like joining Chowhound all over again. Although I recognize a few of the Boston Chowhounds from the general boards, I don't haven't yet learned which 'hounds share the same tastes as I on the Boston board and I'm not sure how my rating scale compares to theirs (not to insult Baltimore, but I'm pretty certain the standards in Cambridge/Boston are higher). So for now I'll stick to posting on the general boards and researching/reading the Boston/New England boards.

                                                                                                  I've found it entertaining to go back and read my first posts. It's a humbling experience, I recommend it to all of those who are irritated by newbies.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                    viperlush, I absolutely agree with you on both points. Some of my early posts are very very humbling. As are some of my recent posts (being an old-bie hasn't prevented me from putting my foot in my mouth on occasion, unfortunately)! There are a couple of my old posts that have been lost in the archives and I am so thankful for that. There are some that weren't lost, and I so wish they'd go away. :)

                                                                                                    And, yes, as a transplant myself, I agree that the personality of the various boards is slightly different. You do have to get used to the dynamics of the individual boards, though, at the end of the day, it's still all about the chow!


                                                                                                  2. Very interesting and I think something a lot of the "newer" CH crowd can relate to.

                                                                                                    Most of us who frequent CH on a daily basis know who the long time posting, well respected, and valued veterans are. I've been posting for over a year now after accidentally discovering the boards one day, and I went through the no reply, hurt feelings, sad no one responded to that post I put so much thought into, omg the mods deleted my post again?! phase. It's your CH initiation :) There's an acclamation period that begins when you start posting. The other members need to sniff you out and make sure you're legit. I can tell you for sure that only in the year + I've been on (and my homeboard of the TriState) - there's been major drama and posters not disclosing who they are and their association with restaurants. There's so much turnover on that board in particular, people are wary when new names pop up. At least thats MY take. And I can't speak for many of the other boards since I don't spend too much time on them. As a newcomer, the prime idea is just KEEP POSTING. If you post, they wil respond... :)

                                                                                                    You will also begin to figure out whats appropriate and how to say it in a more friendly & thoughtful way.

                                                                                                    I completely hear what you're saying and again the answer is for newbies to just keep posting. Members need to see a name a few times to elicit responses. And that's not to say your post hasn't been read. It just is what it is. And as humans, it's hard not to let emotion get involved. Just remember it is about the chow and eventually conversing with all the nice people on here becomes a bonus.

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: amanda3571

                                                                                                      So very well said! One thing that I know has been discussed before, that you mention, is the lack, sometimes, of responses to long, well thought out reports. I think that, in the "old" days, when bandwidth was an issue, posts that were just "thanks for a great report" were discouraged, because they didn't add anything in terms of chow, and took up bandwidth. I've certainly written long reviews that don't get responses, though sometimes I do get nice "thanks", etc., which certainly is gratifying in an immediate sense. But, for me, the long term "gratification" comes from someone finding the post months or years later, and finding it useful, and in turn, finding tips from other 'hounds. I think of it as contributing to the "database" on CH. I try to focus my participation on CH on sharing tips, and not as a way to be gratified, so to speak. But, I can certainly see how, as a new poster, it's discouraging not to get feed back.

                                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                        Wow, this is an interesting thread. I'm new to CH as of March, when I had my baby and reading CH helped the breast pumping time go so much faster. I've never felt snubbed by my posts, and I don't care how many responses I get, b/c I just want to put it out there for people. I agree with many of TDQ's points (too many to list here.) I guess the main point from me is that I haven't experienced any cliqueish-ness on the LA board, and that CH has been a GREAT experience for me.

                                                                                                        1. re: sibaik

                                                                                                          Haha that's exactly how I ended up spending so much time here!

                                                                                                          On the Boston board I feel there are cliques but I'm not the kind of person who gets too put out by not being included in cliques. I just post and do my thing. As long as I'm eating better (and hopefully others are too, from my tips) then I feel I'm getting what I need out of the site.

                                                                                                    2. As a relative newcomer (about a year since I first started discovered Chowhound), I find this thread very interesting. I lurked for a long time before finally posting anything and I still read much more than post. I think it's understandable that people tend to respond to long-time, respected 'hounds more quickly and enthusiastically than first time posters- it's only natural. I've come to accept that I will have to earn some credibility on my local board (Ontario) by trying to provide thoughtful feedback and reviews that consist of more than "it was delicious". There is also the issue (which occurs on all boards) of the mysterious first time poster who lavishly praises a place that has been universally panned. People should be wary of these types of posts and I have reported ones that were obvious shills. Luckily, most of the regulars on the Ontario board seem to be very nice and generally welcome newcomers and tourist questions. I admit that I would be a bit intimidated on some of the other city boards (ie. LA or NYC) but I have also learned better than to burst onto a board with a vague question such as "Coming to Manhattan - what's good?" as opposed to asking a question that is pointed and well thought out. I'm becoming more comfortable with expressing my opinions and feel that the vast majority of 'regulars' I've encountered in Ontario, General Topics or Home Cooking have been encouraging. After all, we're all here for the same pursuit - to find the best food, be it in restaurants or our own kitchens!

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: ms. clicquot

                                                                                                        I hope you don't get intimidated on the NYC board. We're not all the stereotypical rude New Yorkers. ; )

                                                                                                        You know, I can definitely related to what a lot of you guys are saying. I posted sporadically throughout the years (only to be regular the past few months) and I still am learning the ropes. I just discovered this Site board a couple of months ago. I finally learned how to work the Search engine. And I keep learning.

                                                                                                        Like numerous others, I lurked a bit before I posted. I think it helped me to figure out what is appropriate, etc. I learned not to ask questions like "Where should I go before seeing a Broadway play?" I'm also a regular poster on a couple of forums related to my career. But as these forums are closed to the general public, we don't get the variety of posters as we do on Chowhound.

                                                                                                        Most of the posters are fabulous. I've learned so much from everyone, and I find that there is a lot of knowledge, generosity and compassion on these boards. But you will always have those few who are basically a**holes. I've learned to just avoid them and not pay them any mind. Problem with these posters is that people (especially newbies) will remember those posts more than the tons of wonderful supportive posts out there. So I do agree with those who say that we all do need to be more understanding and try not to flame others.

                                                                                                        The problem with this flaming thing is that it is not always necessarily about the food. Why do you think the MSG threads generally get moderated like crazy or completely deleted or locked (though I saw that some posters are finally learning how to behave on the last thread, which ended being locked anyway)? Some posters like to attack other posters who don't agree with them -- not just attack their views on MSG, but attack their morals, beliefs and values. I think you can disagree with someone constructively. Calling a poster an idiot who needs to get with the times does nobody any good. Some posters call each other very nasty names. Some make jokes about other posters at their expense -- and not in a good, light-hearted humorous way. I can see how veteran posters and newbies alike can stumble on to one of those threads and think Chowhounders are mean.

                                                                                                        We're all here because we care about food. We should really try to make people feel welcome because Chowhound always needs new blood to give us different perspectives. We should encourage new posters who've posted great reports to continue posting. And I've also noticed that some people tend to be very terse with their writings (we all can't be Anthony Bourdain) but really have some solid recs for restaurants that aren't on the Chowhound radar. I think that those people should also be encouraged to post more as well.

                                                                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                          Absolutely! This is an amazing thread through and through. Almost a meta-Chowhound discussion. I think one issue not mentioned is that some folks just don't read through the entire thread or may not pay close enough attention. I'll see posters commenting on a thread when it is clear they have missed some earlier answers that have addressed the very issues they raise.

                                                                                                          1. re: scoopG

                                                                                                            You bring up an excellent point - this happens very frequently and is often counter productive.

                                                                                                            I think this site is frequently the primary outlet to discuss chow that some people have, so they have a stronger urge to share. This creates an enthusiasm that sometimes can't wait until the end of the thread to be expressed!

                                                                                                          2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                            Flaming is unfortunately one of the basic hazards of the internet. There's something about computer-mediated communication that brings out the beast in some people, and many bits have been spilled on trying to figure out just what it is. Is it that social inhibitions don't work so well when you're looking at words on a screen instead of a person's face? Is it misunderstanding due to the lack of cues from body language and tone of voice? Is it the fact that online we have more opportunities than we do ordinarily to engage with people whose views differ from our own? Is it that people aren't aware of how their own words might come across to others? Is it the anonymity, which makes people think that they can behave like jersk without it coming back to bite them? Or is it just that there are a few people who love to make trouble? Chowhound is more civil (thanks to the moderators) than a lot of other sites.

                                                                                                            P.S. New Yorkers are nice. When we were in Manhattan last summer and I asked the clerk at the hotel how I could use the subway with a toddler in a stroller (most stations have no elevator or escalator), he said "oh, somebody will help you." And it was true: I never had to wait more than a minute or two before a total stranger offered to help me up or down the stairs.

                                                                                                            1. re: jlafler

                                                                                                              Hey, thanks for the plug, jlafler :) Helping ladies with strollers is just one of those routine things we NYers do automatically. It goes with the territory!

                                                                                                        2. It seems to me that, in this particular case, the problem may have been specifically with the issue of restaurant reports. This is one case where your opinion is much more a matter of reputation than, say, in a discussion of Iron Chef or the best way to roast a chicken. As a newish hound (but a seasoned internet person), I started with the assumption that nobody would pay much attention to me until they had seen my name consistently popping up regarding topics they're interested in, and thought I had interesting things to say. One reason I haven't posted any reviews (besides the fact that I don't go out to eat very often) is that there wasn't any reason for anybody to care about my opinion. If I comment in the home cooking and general board for long enough, people will (I hope) start to recognize me and value what I have to say. But I wouldn't start out with a report on a restaurant and expect much of a response.

                                                                                                          I have found Chowhound to be about as clubby as I would expect in a site of this sort. It's hard to be a newbie, and it's nice when veterans go out of their way to be welcoming, but given the amount of traffic and the cornucopia of names and topics, it's hard enough to keep track of things without worrying about whether you're being sufficiently attentive to someone new.

                                                                                                          1. I have been following this and thinking on it since this thread started. I've tapped into CH off & on since '98. Just started posting last Summer (yeah laptop & wireless connections!).

                                                                                                            I'm old enough and generally secure enough to not let it get to me if my post has a less than enthusiastic response. But part of the reason we post is to share & the very act of sharing is partly motivated by the joy of feeling someone "gets" us. It does feel good to have someone say "me too!" and it is gratifying to receive a thank you after you took the time to make a suggestion or explain a technique. Unfortunately, the thank you's are not frequent. Maybe it is par for the course in this sort of context, maybe the person who was asking was rude, may be they were a victim of spontaneous combustion so never could respond...who knows. Will it keep me from sharing in the future? I hope not, but I can see where the participants on the more tourist visited boards could become weary, especially when there is seldom a response that indicates your post was utilized/appreciated/noticed.

                                                                                                            Most of the folks that post are delightful and the amount of energy they put into their posts to help others is nothing short of amazing. I remember the slight giddiness, for lack of a better word, I felt after my first few posts. I felt good having a neutral to positive response - a bit like being accepted to a table in the cafeteria on your first day at a new school. Their response isn't going to change who you are, but you do feel a bit under a spotlight which is screaming "new kid on board"! And it always feels better to be accepted.

                                                                                                            With that in mind I have tried to put out a welcoming hand to posters who seem new. A thanks, or a suggestion that a different board might elicit more responses. But sometimes it comes back to bite you! There was a post about a newspaper article made by a poster I thought was new (later realized they were new to me, but they posted frequently on a regional board I did not follow). There was no response to their post. Sometimes that sort of post just seems very lonely to me, so I finally responded - thanking them & saying it was...this is where the trouble began. I often have words which seem to get lost on the way from my brain to my tongue or keyboard. I don't know where they go - hopefully to a lovely beach resort - but end result is the word I want is not there when I need it most. This becomes more frustrating since my spelling is short of stellar and my dependence on spell check is close to requiring the assistance of a 12-step program. So my response utilized words indicating more positives than I felt, largely since I could think & spell that phrase at that time of night. Boy, did I get blasted! Glad I'm not participating on a literary review site! (smiling, joking, etc.)

                                                                                                            One point not mentioned is that the mod's are sometimes affected by all of this. I have seen & experienced posts being deleted when very similar posts by more established posters are allowed to remain. A recent example is a posting about the food drive by the postal service. My mention of it was deleted. A mention made later by a more established C'hound remained. I am overjoyed any mention was allowed to stay since it is such a easy way to help your community. But these instances can leave a slight bit of discomforting puzzlement when this sort of thing happens. Maybe the mods "know" one poster more than another and allow a bit more gray, or maybe it is a situation of different mods have different interpretations of the "rules" or maybe some things get noticed & some things fall out of their radar. But the end result is that the differing enforcement by the mods can also contribute to a feeling of non-acceptance for a newcomer. (Please know that I realize what an enormous job the mods have. I have learned more about the site from some of my deletions - others have been determined to remain mysterious for me.)

                                                                                                            I hope any newcomers reading this thread realize that most of us appreciate their participation. If someone seems less than welcoming, chalk it up to the nature of this sort of exchange. Keyboarding tends to be quick & to the point for many - which makes it harder for friendliness to be adequately expressed. But it is there! I firmly believe there are many folks who have a voice I can learn from who simply have not discovered this forum - so their "newness" to the boards is not an indication of lack of knowledge or taste!

                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                              Howdy, just a quick note to point out that we don't have different rules for different posters. We often miss stuff and rely heavily on hounds to report posts that shouldn't be there, so it's not rare to have a post remain when it should have been removed.

                                                                                                              Also, there might be crucial differences in the main points of the posts that allow one to remain while another to be removed even if they are tangentially similar. For example, a post saying "there's a food drive, please donate stuff" will be removed because we don't allow our boards to be used for promoting anything. OTOH, if the post say "there's a food drive that I want to contribute to, what's the best stuff to donate," we would allow the post to remain, because it's fundamentally about the food, rather than the food drive.

                                                                                                              Often, hounds who have been posting on the boards longer have a better idea of what is and is not allowed, and follow posting guidelines more scrupulously (see our posting etiquette for examples), so that might also lead to some differences that may not be as obvious.

                                                                                                              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                Helpful CH Team. It's not how the CH Team moderates the site that is in question (at least not for me) it's how hounds intrepret how the site is moderated. Nor is a long time hound necessarily better at following the rules of etiquette as established by the CH Team. What has been discussed throughout this thread is the intrepretation of this community and how new or old hound can learn to be fair, welcoming and inclusive.

                                                                                                                I have absolutely no issue with how this community is moderated...but you would have to be completely indifferent (which I do not believe anyone is) not to notice how often the treatment of members is discussed on CH and throughout the www.

                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                  From personal experience, it did take a while before I got the hang of the boards, in the sense of what is allowed and what isn't. And hearing about these things from other hounds during chowdowns certainly helped.

                                                                                                                  Knowing the guidelines better is one thing, and following them is certainly another. But if an older hound doesn't want to get deleted, knowing the guidelines better certainly puts them in a better position to get their point across without getting deleted, e.g. by criticizing the food, not the poster.

                                                                                                                  1. re: limster

                                                                                                                    limster, don't you think nearly everyone enjoying this site has had a deletion experience, or made a mistake while posting or criticized or ...or ...or... hounds have so much in common but threads like this that need to be aired gently (or not so gently) point out that we can all be better at sharing chow tips, inclusion and patience. thanks.

                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                      Er...I think I'm missing your point....I apologise and will have to ask you to clarify. Are you saying that:

                                                                                                                      1. Mods should cut new hounds more slack than old hounds?
                                                                                                                      2. Mods shouldn't give old hounds better treatment?

                                                                                                                      or was it something else entirely?

                                                                                                                      1. re: limster

                                                                                                                        limster, my reply to the CH Team is only a few posts up thread. I believe I was direct and clear on what my p.o.v. is regarding Moderation. If you would like further clarification, no problem. I do not believe anyone joining the CH community should be treated differently. I believe everyone should be treated the same BUT (and here it comes) the reality of how 'hounds, not Moderators treat each other IS and will in my mind always be open to the intrepretation of what this food community means to every individual. I hope that helps. thanks.

                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                          Thanks -- I get it and agree -- as posters we have greater influence than the moderators over the stuff that goes on the board and how we treat each other as a community.

                                                                                                            2. In response to the notion that there is a cliquish mentality on these boards, I don't know that I necessarily agree. Certainly I cannot speak to the LA board, but I think the perception that well-established hounds get much more response probably has a lot to do with the fact that they generally post more frequently than the casual hounds. If one hound is continually active in multiple threads certainly they will receive more response and interaction than a hound who is only active in one or two threads.

                                                                                                              Also, throughout this thread a lot of people have admitted to feeling quite intimidated and nervous when they first began posting. Perhaps this insecurity in itself can lend to ones perception of being excluded or ignored. Again, this is just my opinion, but if anyone has ever been deterred from returning to this board after posting and feeling excluded it is probably just as likely they defeated themselves by having the mentality of an outsider as they were truly ill-received or excluded by more established hounds.

                                                                                                              I have only ever had positive experiences on CH. I guess my naivete served me well in that rather than lurking and noticing cliques and giving myself time to become intimidated, when I accidentally stumbled on CH, I dove right in. My fascination for all things Chow did in the beginning, and still today as a newerish member, overrides any fear of judgement for lack of knowledge, poor rec.s, bad recipes etc. Now certainly I've had my share of deleted/ill-received posts, but when I've been corrected I've assumed it was for my benefit, and tried to take it as something constructive. When posts of mine didn't take off it never entered my mind that I was actively being discriminated against as a newbie or less established/trusted member. Some threads/posts are simply more interesting and conducive to long discussions than others.

                                                                                                              I hope people aren't too often deterred from posting here. I get so much pleasure on a daily basis from reading through these boards. I'd hate to think anyone would miss out on that due to feeling intimidated, ignored, or occasionally bullied.

                                                                                                              Internet communication and communities can be tricky because it is easy to misinterpret a posters tone, but I think you just have to approach it all with the assumption of goodwill.

                                                                                                              1. This is an interesting topic. I am always tempted to add some "humor" to my posts which has lead to deletions and warnings :(. It can be difficult to avoid confrontation but I try to always remember that no one is paid for their time to posts and opinions are just that. Granted, there are extremes on CH relevant to education, courtesy, taste, and experience. There are certainly "cliques" on this board which sometimes leads to a group coming to the aid (or attack) of certain posters. I for one enjoy that as it make the experience seem more personal although my wife warns me of "stalkers and predators". Maybe Dateline can do a piece some day.................

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: TonyO

                                                                                                                  Sometimes wish we could delete the more combative posters..you know the ones I am talking about..but it does make for great reading.

                                                                                                                2. Interesting that many posters here were passive observers long before becoming posters. That's probably a better way to gain a feel for the subtleties, sort of like an acceleration lane onto the Chowhound highway in order to merge gracefully, and then choose the Volkswagen lane or the Porche lane, wherever one is comfortable.
                                                                                                                  I dove in head first when I Googled a tiny town in Mexico that I know well and was led to a Chowhounder who was about to spend an entire week there. I joined Chowhound as a necessary step to warn that poor bastard that he would be bored to tears there in two days.
                                                                                                                  I'm still kicking around 17 months later after a clumsy start and many off-topic and irreverent comments. I have learned much about correctness here, although Sam insists I'm dull now and he preferred catching my over-the-top posts before they were deleted.
                                                                                                                  As to newbies, it's impossible to distinguish the charlatans from the sincere at the outset, and any new arrival should be aware that there will be a proving period. And there is nothing wrong with that. As long as I steer clear of the wine board and a certain restaurant in Denver, only a few seem to be wishing me a premature demise. I do try to add some entartainment value, because if it were just restaurant queries and recos and recipes it would be as boring as watching old people eat.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                    Until their dentures fall out or they stuff the salt and pepper shakers in their plastic lined purses........................

                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                      Veggo, I tend to enjoy your particular style of irreverence. You've made me laugh out loud on more than occasion, and I don't recall ever noticing you offending anyone directly or in a mean-spirited way. And you sure know your Mexican food- next time I head south of the border, I know whose posts I'll be checking out :)

                                                                                                                    2. Interestingly, I think this topic has gone another direction than I had intended. My report of this example isn't necessarily about these posters; this is one example. I'm not blaming any person or group for creating an unfriendly environment. This is not about people who are posting (and perhaps being discouraged), but it's about those people who ARE NOT posting at all ... yet. Social dynamics, even in situations where people don't really "know" one another except through their CH handles and the chatty quality of some boards that foster familiarity, does create some form of insider/outsider tendencies. This is all part of normal group dynamics. What I meant to highlight in my example was the stark appearance of this insider/outsider dynamic. And for those on the outside, appearances could be the determining factor of trying to participate or not. I care less about "bona fides" or "creds" as long as a poster writes effectively to convey not just the what and where, but the why and how of their dining experiences. Most posters don't do that, and despite being "regulars", they carry no "creds" from my perspective. On the other hand, a newbie as in my example, made a thoughful and descriptive post, and that's all the cred that I need. It comes through in the writing whether the poster is believable or not. And do I dare say, that many of the regular posters I see on several boards, just aren't that believable or can't convey their experience without simple superlatives.

                                                                                                                      I digress, however. This isn't about improving writing styes. Jim Leff likes to use a sandbox metaphor with CH (at least the pre-CNet CH). As far as appearances go, "regular" posters are playing in the sandbox, and while there are plenty who are content to just watch these posters play in the sandbox (i.e., lurkers), there are probably a good number who want to enter the sandbox, but don't feel like they're being invited in for whatever reason. And I would hate to see those valuable posters not post because of that.

                                                                                                                      To that concern, several of you in this thread have basically replied "tough shit, just deal. That's how the game is played, and you either play or you don't." And of course these are replies by veterans and newbies who've entered the sandbox. I wonder what the non-posters have to say? I'm probably making a bigger deal of this than I need to, but it's a valid point about the group dynamics on these and other forums.

                                                                                                                      Some of you interpreted my original post as a plea to give credit to an original report. It doesn't concern me who gets credit, but it would be nice if people simply acknowledged an informative post, though I don't view it as necessary. I do find it a little interesting that some CHs tend to get their feathers ruffled when they find another media outlet talking about a place that was "discovered" on CH without giving credit to CH. I don't find this to be necessary either, though acknowledging CH would demonstrate courtesy is CH was their original source of information. And to that, perhaps some would say, "tough shit, deal with it."

                                                                                                                      Let me also add to my point that insiders rarely see a problem. Like in dynamics of race, gender, or class (or any status group), the outsiders struggle for inclusion, or equal access, or equal status, while the privileged insider rarely see a problem with their ways of doing things.

                                                                                                                      Someone mentioned that this could also be a product of the way we select our information, in that we only read posts by those who have gained a trusted status, whether it's through the "reading list" function of the site, or done manually. There's a similar concern over how news is filtered via the internet, as people are only apt to select information that they might find relevant, and ignore other potentially important links. Perhaps this practice of gathering selective information has trickled into a new form of social dynamics.

                                                                                                                      I know things will proceed as normal here on CH, I just wanted to delve into some of those greater social processes at work here. That's all.

                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                        I don't see any "Lord of the Flies" power grab here by some inner circle, and the notion of seeking "credit" for delivering the creative wellspring of others to Chowhound sounds pathetic and vain. Any newbie who convincingly articulates something new and useful can bypass the initiation of circumspection and proctological probing and be a member in good standing quickly.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                          Veggo, I agree with this sentiment entirely.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                            but, veggo, you do realize that Eto is specifically rejecting "credit" for credit's sake, right? he is just pointing out an issue that is bugging him: his suspicion that there are many would-be regulars who are intimidated and/or offended by what HillJ writes below ("...flames and finger-pointing..."), as well as how many new posters are effectively ignored until they either a) get lucky and someone who is "popular" takes notice, or b) they withstand an initial period of shouting into the wind, not caring if their posts go unread, until people get accustomed to seeing their name and paying them some attention.
                                                                                                                            i am not saying that i am completely on board with this notion- i think that CH is a very friendly community, to be honest. but i am not going to pretend that "insiderism", as Eto calls it, isn't the rule of the land on here.

                                                                                                                            1. re: vvvindaloo

                                                                                                                              To this day I issue posts that are "shouting into the wind", with no expectation of an audience larger than when I sing in the shower (and not well). I remain astounded by the frequency of acknowledgments that are returned. One of my mentors, a crusty, brilliant billionaire, once said "when you start doing something right, you'll draw a lot of flies".
                                                                                                                              I'm a bit surprised by HillJ's comment about the "flames and finger pointing"; I think the monitors do a yeoman's job of purging the vitriol. One would think that refined diners would have corresponding social skills, but not always the case.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                >>One would think that refined diners would have corresponding social skills, but not always the case.<<

                                                                                                                                How true. And there are times when I suspect that longtime posters, or perhaps higher profile posters (which also tend to go hand-in-hand, though not always) get a lot more allowance for "vitriol", as you call it. I call it being mean.

                                                                                                                                1. re: vvvindaloo

                                                                                                                                  caro, I post quite a bit and always get deleted if I don't toe the fine line.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                    Oh, I didn't intend to imply that my suspicion runs across the board. I've seen regular posters get snagged just like everyone else. I am thinking of a couple of instances where highly-regarded posters have directly attacked another poster (unprovoked) in a nasty way and the moderators chose not to delete it. The most recent time this happened (which was very recently) I was moved to report the post, because I was really appalled (it was not aimed at me), and still the post remains. I can't explain this, except to say that the rules are either: a) very unevenly and arbitrarily enforced or b) not the same for everyone. I could count on one hand the number of times I have ever reported a post or made a request of any kind to the moderators. It is not something that I would do lightly.

                                                                                                                                    As for you, Sam, I've actually caught a couple of your, em, funnier posts before they've been deleted. There is absolutely no comparison between your off-topic or zany comments (which I think is actually less tolerated than nastiness sometimes) and other posts I've seen that attack members in a mean-spirited, personal way. Indeed, the very fact that posts by you and Veggo are deleted for being (and I'm guessing here) offhand humorous comments, or maybe even sharp expressions of your opinion that could be indirectly offensive to some, indicates to me that the outright nasty comments ought to disappear without question.
                                                                                                                                    I don't mean to run this point into the ground. I have said it before, and I'll say it again: I spend so much time on these boards because I love them, and I've not only learned a lot, but been inspired to give back as much as I can. I think the moderators have their hands full, and do a good job, overall. But I do have lingering doubts about why the aforementioned vitriol remains.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                              On the contrary Veggo, and with all due respect, I have long thought that Chowhound is VERY "Lord of the Flies" and was thinking just that when I read your post. But that's what makes it so damned entertaining. I would love it if a sociologist would issue a study about us all. I also suspect that more than a few of you, particularly in LA, have screenplays in the works that center around CH.

                                                                                                                            3. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                              As many have mentioned "clumsy" starts (thanks for the words, Veggo), I feel the same way where I started out over-enthusiasticly chatty in replies. Since most message boards encourage more posts, I was used to that mentality. The old timers seemed to frown on chit chat, including acknowledging posts unless you have something chow-worthy to add, eg. in this case, just saying "thanks for the reco--I'll try it out."

                                                                                                                              In message boards as busy as these, I don't notice who's new or not. There are names, obviously, that are recognized but hundreds more, at least to me, that I don't. I don't know if they're new or not but there are far too many to keep track of. In this case, as I've heard on message boards, I believe in responding to the post, not to the poster. That way, a meaningful post will get responses, whether it's a long time poster, a lurker, etc. It's a shame if new posters are discouraged, even if they have "clumsy" starts.

                                                                                                                              1. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                I don't know if I was one of the people you were referring to as having said, essentially, "tough shit, just deal," but I would be unhappy if anybody came away with the impression that was what I meant -- except in the sense that I really don't think there's much that can be done to improve the situation for newbies.

                                                                                                                                The thing about the sandbox metaphor is that, charming as it is, it's misleading. In a real sandbox, ignoring someone who wants to jump in is mean and rude; on the Internet, not responding to a post may just mean that you didn't have time to formulate a reply, that you didn't see the post in the first place, or that you meant to reply and forgot. The online equivalent of smiles and waves and nods of acknowledgement is actively (and imo correctly) discouraged as cluttering up the site. Part of the difference between chowhound and a sandbox (besides the lack of sand toys here) is that we can't see each other, so all communication has to go through a very narrow verbal/written filter. This is not generally the best medium for social-bonding communication, especially for people who don't write well. Another part of the difference is that the communication is asynchronous, which means that posting, reading, and responding can be widely separated. I think it's a mistake to interpret a lack of reply as snubbing or a stony silence. In this type of communication it's really helpful to keep an open mind about what other people's motivations are, because in most cases we can't know, or even accurately guess.

                                                                                                                                P.S. I had the oddest dream last night about this topic. People were joking back and forth about rosemary and fusion cuisine (or was it fusion people?) and moderators broke down someone's door to stop them from posting. And you were there. And you. And you....

                                                                                                                              2. While this community remains free-of-charge to "members" I'll take a live and let live attitude about insider-ism. This site means a great deal to some and a quick viral stop in the day for thousands. Whether I post or ponder its the food, not necessarily the 'hounds, that holds my interest. With no slight to the generous people of CH, this specific community it's a relatively small slice of the growing online food community and the occasional flames and finger pointing occurring here is notoriously discussed all over the web. Take what you need and leave the rest was insightful advice shared with me by a Not About Food poster over two years ago. I still believe it's the best "insider" tip I ever got.

                                                                                                                                1. Well, LA is so geographically vast that it seems like the posts on 'hot' or geographically hip places get more replies than other out of the way places such as where I live in the boondocks.

                                                                                                                                  Redondo Beach in your original example wasn't known for the vast quantity of chowhound worthy restaurants, so when an unfamiliar CH post a review, what could happen was that people read it, file it for future reference, and when others started to review the same restaurant, more will start to respond.

                                                                                                                                  What this board needs is a feature that counts how many times people READ the post, as well as the replies. Other boards have it and you can see that there are lots more lurkers than posters. Just because the post wasn't responded to doesn't mean there's no value, just that people have nothing to say about it (either because they need to check it out for themselves, or they won't be going to Redondo Beach anytime soon). Tons of people may have read it.

                                                                                                                                  I noticed the cliques, especially amongst the old timers. It is a bit daunting, but I don't come to CH to socialize, just to get good chow info, which incidentally is getting increasing hard to find with all the noise to signal ratio.

                                                                                                                                  1. I'm a bit perplexed by this post.

                                                                                                                                    Are people posting on Chowhound to gain popularity and make friends?

                                                                                                                                    Or, are people posting on Chowhound to receive and provide food info?

                                                                                                                                    If it's the latter, then why does it matter who gets credited?

                                                                                                                                    If the former, then Chowhound is really the wrong site. Friendster, MySpace, Facebook would be a better medium, no?

                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                      The issue not about making friends or gaining popularity, but about how to cultivate and encourage new posters so that we can continue to receive great info. In a selfish way, it's not about how the new posters would benefit (although I hope they do), but purely about how present posters can benefit when there are more sources of information.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                        From my perspective giving credit, acknowledging a kindness, offering a helping hand is just common courtesy - on the web, on the street - same thing.
                                                                                                                                        I don't think the person who holds the elevator for you while you are rushing to catch it is looking for a friend - they are simply extending a friendly gesture. Being aware & passing on little bits of civility cost very little but go a long way to making our days that much more pleasant.

                                                                                                                                        Chowhound is a community. Some people pop in & out briefly, some test the waters tentatively, some just jump in and refine their strokes as they go (or not).
                                                                                                                                        As in any community there is an eventual tone that becomes established. That tone doesn't necessarily reflect individual personalities, but it is the first barometer one has to gage the groups openness to new participators.

                                                                                                                                        If all someone wants is the "facts" then there are guidebooks, restaurant sites, etc. If you are here then you probably appreciate the ability of this site to offer a constantly updated view on everything food related. The update is "you", not a dispassionate editor. Consequently each "you" leaves an individual fingerprint along with their observations. That does lead to a certain level of familiarity, banter and perhaps even friendships.

                                                                                                                                        This is not the place to post "I like long simmered sauces, full bodied reds and you?" But who's to say what could happen between people with discovered shared passion for food ?!!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                          limster and meatn3,

                                                                                                                                          I don't necessarily disagree with either of you, but I think my point is that a poster (new or established) should NOT expect feedback when posting.

                                                                                                                                          Sure, it would be nice that a new poster gets feedback and/or acknolwedgement, but in no way should this be expected -- either from the perspective of the poster or the peanut gallery that is the Chowhound community (myself included).

                                                                                                                                          In many ways, I think if we feel that a new poster needs some sort of positive feedback or encouragement, then this will inevitably lead to (for lack of a better word) dumbing down of the chatter on these boards.

                                                                                                                                          I think the last thing any of us (new or old) want is a bunch of replies that say nothing more than "Thanks, great review" or "Sounds good!". That would be like the equivalent of a three-course meal consisting of nothing but Twinkies for a first course, Cotton Candy as an entree, and Kool-Aid for dessert.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                            If you think I'm advocating for more "thank you" posts, then you're reading my comments all wrong. That's the last thing I'd want to see, especially given that there's already so much more noise to filter through these boards already. There are ways to engage and acknowledge with more than a short "sounds good" comment. In my example, no one engaged the newbie, but then in subsequent posts by the veterans, they got a disproportionate amount of engagement and acknowledgement. Why do you think that is? Was it the quality of the message? Or do you think it was because the subsequent posters are more recognized? How do you think that makes other potential new posters feel?

                                                                                                                                            Like I said before, there was no ill intention on the part of the veteran posters, they were just sharing their knowledge, and that's great. But there's an *appearance* of an in-group (I'm not even saying that one exists) that gets projected to someone who might have just discovered CH and may want to post, and if that appearance is detrimental for that newbie to decide not to post, then somehow, that's a disservice to the CH community. I don't know what that solution is, or even if it's a problem, but I think this is a social dynamic that should be recognized.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                              I hear what you are saying E Eto.

                                                                                                                                              But honestly (and this is just me) I think there's a bit too much hand-wringing over what a new poster might think when her posts are not responded to.

                                                                                                                                              Look, this is the Web (and probably more appropriately, the "Web 2.0") and for any user that posts on a public board they should be thick-skinned enough to not worry about being ignored.

                                                                                                                                              And, lets put it this way ... if the worst thing that the Chowhound community does to a newbie is ignore her, then I would say that Chowhound is closer to a Huxley-ian utopian society than most other boards where newbies are often greeted with scorn and ridicule.

                                                                                                                                              If I'm the new kid at school, I would rather be ignored than have the "cool" kids mock my all-too-geeky Payless sneakers.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                Regardless of how things are expected to be, the practical reality is that there is a significant fraction of posters that will continue to provide useful information only if they are engaged and responded to.

                                                                                                                                                I'm not wringing my hands about how new posters feel, but I am wringing my hands over where I can get new sources of information about where and what to eat.

                                                                                                                                                If making new posters thick-skinned is the most efficient solution to getting more chow tips, let's to do it. If engaging them is the best way to getting more chow tips, then we'll do that. Just whatever gets us more information on delicious food.

                                                                                                                                                It's not about being nice to people, it's about getting good tips on chow.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: limster

                                                                                                                                                  Spot on, limster. And I have a very strong suspicion that my mother's old saying about catching more yakitori with honey, rather than vinegar is the way to go.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                            I have been following this thread now for several days and only felt the need to post after your input. I believe you have indeed distilled the essence of the Chowhound experience. Yes there are times when the threads seem rather like an insiders club, but I have come to realize that is only because over the years and hundreds of posts you are now neighbors.As a new poster myself, I too would like to be a welcoming and helpfull neighbor.

                                                                                                                                        2. Hey, vittus' tip made chowhound-digest!



                                                                                                                                          1. I debated replying to this thread but the insider discussion struck a chord in me. I’ve been on CH since 01? way back in the bad old days of the original interface and when the LA board community was small enough, you’d recognize a new poster when they actually appeared. I was excited to find this community and ready to participate since there seemed to be such a wealth of knowledge.

                                                                                                                                            But due to a few instances from respected regular posters, I almost left and I have a pretty thick skin. Details excluded since I’m not looking to start a flame war and this is a highly respected poster that still posts frequently.

                                                                                                                                            The first instance was when I suggested a bistro that I used to visit regularly but fully admitted it had been a year. Regular poster jumped all over me saying it was a horrible place and anyone should have known they went down hill. No big deal right? But the next day, same poster started a thread about the five worst places ever and the bistro was at the top of the list. This was when there were only a few posts a day so it was pretty much on top of my original one. Yes this place wasn’t as good anymore but really the worst in all of LA area?

                                                                                                                                            The second instance, I suggested a sushi place. Regular poster scoffed that this place was horrible Americanized sushi, no reason to go, etc. Yet a bit later the regular in another post commented that this place had its good points. Some time back, when another regular said the sushi place was closing, same regular joined the chorus lamenting the loss of a solid place.

                                                                                                                                            The third and last instance that almost put me over was when I suggested a place I hadn’t seen in going through the archives. Again I was put down for not having any taste, a personal attack and not a comment on the food itself. But a year later when someone suggested the same place, same regular was very excited to try and then heartily seconded.

                                                                                                                                            It was these types of incidents that put me off posting regularly. I lurk most of the time and just post informational type comments. Not because I’m offended easily but mainly for my own mental health. In real life, I can be very assertive and quick to defend myself with facts and long arguments. But I think it’s completely useless in the internet and a waste of my time. Instead I prefer to be civil, write down chow tips and ignore people who are looking for a fight.

                                                                                                                                            When I’ve posted a review now and then, I get little to no response. It doesn’t bother me and I figure I’m just contributing to the knowledge base. But I have a thick skin, I wonder how many others would have gone away for good if they received half the treatment I did.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jase

                                                                                                                                              Jase, I'm glad that you decided to speak up about your experiences. Yeah, you sometimes have those posters who think they're always right no matter what and will defend their position like their life depended on it. Pretty petty and annoying, if you ask me.

                                                                                                                                              For me, the good experiences outweighs the bad experiences on these boards. I've just learned over the years to stay away from certain topics because it almost always leads to problems. And I try not to take these comments too personally. And ignoring certain posters works as well. And as jfood said, the back button can be your best friend sometimes.

                                                                                                                                              If lurking and being an sporadic informational poster works for you, that's fine as well. But I hope you do post more frequently when you feel inclined to. You'll find that most people here are very nice.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jase

                                                                                                                                                Hi jase, I had an experience several months ago that I'm not going to get into but it really upset me. I reported the poster to CH and the team took off his offensive posts but it really disturbed me and I ended up closing my account. I took a CH sebatacle for about three months and then decided that most of my experiences on here have been very positive and so why should I let one idiot rob me of something I otherwise enjoyed. I re-opened my account a week or so ago. But, like you, I approach it differently now.

                                                                                                                                              2. There's no excuse for failing to thank the proper poster for a tip. But discounting the input of new posters is perfectly rational behavior where matters of taste are concerned. Until I have a sense of a poster's preferences, particularly how well they mirror my own, I'm going to attach a lot less weight to their opinions than posters with a long track record of successful recommendations.

                                                                                                                                                1. Thanks for confirming my thoughts EE. I also noticed that people usually side on the seasoned CH'rs opinions about anything.

                                                                                                                                                  1. It's possible that someone has made the same point I'll make somewhere else in this thread but, in a way, that's part of my point. Is it naive of me to think that a lot of what E Eto is describing comes from the fact that LA board is extremely active and readers tend to be somewhat selective in what they take time to read?

                                                                                                                                                    It isn't a good thing that a new poster may not get the attention of 'regular' posters, but it isn't necessarily anything more than that people do tend to gravitate toward the posts of people who have gained some level of credibility from their time on the board. If everyone had unlimited time to read all posts things might be different, but it may simply be that they are making selective decisions based on past experience.

                                                                                                                                                    If I am looking for a movie review and I find a page with 10 reviews and not enough time or inclination to read all of them, which ones will I choose to read? Is it so unnatural that I'd select the reviews of those whose names I recognize as a reviewer whose opinions I've learned to calibrate with my own experience?

                                                                                                                                                    I've personally experienced zero-response posts I've made. It's not a great feeling but I do understand that timing, subject matter, repetitiveness, etc. can influence whether or not people respond. I don't take it personally.

                                                                                                                                                    31 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                                                      The general feeling I get from reading this thread is that people are saying "I'm using information from an established poster to figure out where to eat, because that's reliable and safe." That's one great way of using the information on this board.

                                                                                                                                                      My concern is that not enough people are saying "I'm using information from a brand new poster to figure out places to try, because the information about those places is less reliable and it gives me a chance to explore." A separate issue from cultivating new posters, this apparent unwillingness to explore make me think that we have more room to be adventurous in choosing where and what we eat, so that chowhounds can continue to blaze trails, rather than playing safe.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: limster

                                                                                                                                                        I'll address the elephant in the room that everyone else is tiptoeing around:

                                                                                                                                                        The reason why posters with no track record are not "nurtured" is the fact that the vast majority of posters on CH are, in fact, not very knowledgeable about food. In most threads, there is much more noise to weed through than signal. The knowledgeable people tend to talk to each other, ignoring the posters that they do not recognize as "reliable." Hence, cliques are formed and newbies feel shut out. Such is the nature of the internets.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hhlodesign

                                                                                                                                                          hhlod, such is the nature of humanity and for the purposes of this outstanding discussion I will continue to believe that this unique food community pulls its collective brain together to sort out all the deliciousness we can handle just fine. I'm neither discouraged or tip toeing around my "newbie-ness" Further, we shouldn't assume a person new to this community is lacking knowledge, sitting in some viral corner "wishing" for recognition or waiting around for inclusion.

                                                                                                                                                          We each bring something personal and experienced to the "table" (tg) and that is a very positive outcome to Internet/community based sites.

                                                                                                                                                          If I haven't said it enuf--thank you CH's for bringing so much to my table. I might not offer top notch content as others believe they have but I do offer something equally important: audience.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                            Sorry, didn't mean to imply that newbies are any less knowledgeable than a long time poster. It is fairly easy to tell from one's very first post whether or not the poster knows anything about what they are talking about. As I said above, most people do not. Therefore, most new posters also "do not." When the rare new poster comes along and adds substance to the conversation, it is indeed very refreshing.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hhlodesign

                                                                                                                                                              Weirdly enough, it doesn't work that way at all. While there are a handful of posters who consistently come up with interesting new stuff - Jerome, Dommy, Chandavkl on the L.A. boards - many if not most of the veteranos have basically been repeating the same stuff for as long as they've been posting. If you're truly looking for new information, you're often better off listening to a newbie than to an O.G. - a first-timer tends to lead with her best shot.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: condiment

                                                                                                                                                                I don't find this to be the case at all. More often than not, I disagree with newbie takes on places I've been, leading me to believe most newbie information is unreliable.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                  Of course it's unreliable - this is chowhound. For reliability and consistency, you read newspaper critics. Chowhound is more about the fun of the chase. And I can't think of more than half a dozen regular posters on the L.A. board who actually unearth restaurants on any kind of regular basis. It's a big, noisy feedback loop.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: condiment

                                                                                                                                                                    Even with repeated loops I still find places being brought up that had either fallen off my radar scope or reminded me that I still wanted/needed to try it. For most of the places we go to, the fact that a newbie or a seasoned hound may recommend a place that we don't like is the affordable cost of finding new/lost/hidden gems.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: condiment

                                                                                                                                                                      Fun of the chase? Maybe for you. For me, chowhound is about finding the best food available. I want to maximize the pleasure associated with every meal. I actually get annoyed when I feel like a poster has led me on a goose chase.

                                                                                                                                                                      Newspaper criticism is helpful but not always reliable because it's a sample size of one. What makes chowhound useful is precisely what you deride as the "big, noisy feedback loop." Lots of people talking about and trying a restaurant gives you a much better sense of strengths and weaknesses.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                        The hive mind actually is better than any particular individual at many things. Assessing restaurants in a meaningful way happens not to be one of them, c.f. Zagat. On almost any restaurant that gets a lot of chowhound attention, responses are all over the map, even with places that reasonable fressers would consider close to a universal good. There are frequent and respected posters on the site whose opinions are 180 degrees wrong on almost everything. And if you're reading for trends, CH favorites are often pretty bad, and dissenters tend to be shouted down by the True Believers, which I suppose brings us back to the original topic of this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                        I still maintain that the real value of the site is in learning: Restaurant X exists and doesn't entirely suck . . . information as likely to come from a newbie as from a veterano.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: condiment

                                                                                                                                                                          But you're ignoring an important difference between zagat and chowhound. The former takes all opinions and gives you only the aggregate. On chowhound, I can filter out the opinions of posters I either don't trust or whose preferences don't match my own. Often times, that means tuning out newbies whose information tends to be unreliable.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                            And Zagat has a really idiotic voting system (unless it's changed the last few years). You can only vote 1, 2 or 3. The average gets multiplied by 10. That's how they arrive at their figures.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, there's a big difference between average and consensus.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: condiment

                                                                                                                                                                              The way I look at it is that it's not a matter of assuming that the hive mind is always right, but of finding people whose tastes are reliably similar to yours. There will always be lots of people on Chowhound that I disagree with, some of them indeed longtime posters, but if I have a good sense of what someone likes then it helps me assess the recommendation. So much is a matter of taste.

                                                                                                                                                                              On the other hand, I don't read Chowhound primarily for restaurant recommendations.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jlafler

                                                                                                                                                                                You could probably get the same result from comparing individual Zagat ballots, like an eHarmony for restaurants!

                                                                                                                                                                                Actually, there is one regular poster whose tastes are reliably 180 degrees from mine. I suppose that's a consumer guide of sorts.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: condiment

                                                                                                                                                                            About a week ago, I went to a restaurant in Manhattan because of terrific reviews from the NYT and New York Magazine -- they both labeled this place as Critics Choice. OMG, it was terrible! In addition to the slow service (which didn't bug me too much), the food was just not very good, especially at those prices. I've had better fries at White Castle (and I don't like WC fries) than this place. After I went to the place, I did a search on CH and found tons of bad reviews of this place. I should have done a search before.

                                                                                                                                                                            I don't just use CH to decide where I want to go. But I do think it's a useful resource. You just have to find the readers who tend to have the same tastes as you.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: hhlodesign

                                                                                                                                                                    Well, for reporting purposes, knowledge isn't always as important. It's not essential to have knowledge to accurately describe the menu (i.e. names of dishes, costs), the dishes they ate, the dishes the other tables were eating. That's already very useful.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hhlodesign

                                                                                                                                                                      I disagree. If a newbie posts a thoughtful response, and sounds like he knows what he's talking about, I'll pay attention.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: limster

                                                                                                                                                                      I've gotten some great recommendations from posters who aren't frequent. There are so many posters here I can't keep track of who is new or not but do recognize some names. This is what I meant about repsonding to a post and not a poster--a post with good information, often informative details, catches my eye more than a post from a recognized poster. Because there are few places to eat close to where I live, I pay attention to any post whether I recognize the name or not.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: limster

                                                                                                                                                                        I don't follow your logic, limester. Either way, you're exploring when you try a new place. The question is whether you choose to follow an experienced guide or some random dude off the street.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                          Well, there's new in the sense that you haven't tried it and new in the sense that there is very little known about the place by anybody. I'm referring to the second category.

                                                                                                                                                                          The question is about whether one chooses to follow an experienced guide, or decides to do it without a guide. If one only follows reliable, tried and true information all the time, how does one "blaze trails" and "sniff out their own secret deliciousness," which are important attributes of chowhounds per the FAQ and manifesto?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: limster

                                                                                                                                                                            Hmmm...I'm still not following you. The question is whether, all things being equal, we prioritize recs from experienced posters over newbies. In both cases, you're relying on someone else for information. To my mind, the question of whether we blaze trails and sniff out our *own* secret deliciousness is entirely separate. Am I missing something?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                              Sorry, I'm not as clear as I should be and am skipping a few steps...my apologies...

                                                                                                                                                                              In the case of the information from the newbie, the argument that most people make is that it's less reliable. When the quality of information is low, there's a greater need to corroborate it, to change that low quality information to high quality information. Of course this only applies to a place that hasn't been mentioned before, except by a newbie.

                                                                                                                                                                              If people aren't even willing to check out a place where there is a tiny bit of information (e.g. those posted only by a newbie), it's likely that the chances of them going to "blaze trails" etc... by checking out places with no information whatsoever, is even lower.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: limster

                                                                                                                                                                                OK, I think I see your point, which is well taken.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: limster

                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree with the premise that one should check out places, even if not yet vetted by the 'experts'.

                                                                                                                                                                                  However, when it comes to chowhound, I don't know that we can assume that board response=foot response. showing gratitude aside.

                                                                                                                                                                                  The only time a person's posting history is significant to to me is when a first time poster is providing glowing reviews of a brand new resto (shill alert) or a first time poster is coming here to let loose a scathing review of a restaurant. It's hard to see those people as trying to join a community, but instead attempting to use it for their own purposes. Not that I want to give shills and grousers instructions on effectively propping their causes, but...

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                    First-timers (and often only-timers) promoting their blogs.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: limster

                                                                                                                                                                                I just stumbled across this thread for the first time (read the first and some subsequent responses about "newbies" being answered vs. established "insider" members. I belong to another well-known site, which I need not mention. I've often perceived that of them-you're much more likely to be answered if you are on the inside-even for the same comments, questions posed by a lesser known member. Ironically, my perception of CH is that it is much more friendly and open. I'm not a newbie, but certainly not an insider here, but I've been answered more and quicker here for the same question, comment, etc. posed on that other site. I've always looked at CH as being way more democratic and less elitist than other sites. The only discouragement I ever feel is when people get going on which high-end restaurant is better, etc. I'd rather hear about some great street food place or local ethnic find-which is what, I believe, the original premise of CH was all about.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: markabauman

                                                                                                                                                                                  It has changed over the years, with the hip quotient raised and the
                                                                                                                                                                                  dive factor decreased.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: markabauman

                                                                                                                                                                                    I can't dig it up right now but I've seen Jim Leff say that the original premise of Chowhound was just to find good food, wherever it is. I think that's still the goal. It's just a lot easier to find good cheap chow as there's less of a barrier to entry.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chris VR

                                                                                                                                                                                      "It's just a lot easier to find good cheap chow as there's less of a barrier to entry." True, but there are other factors in play I think. Less expensive = less risk ($, time, intimidation, dressing up). One can try numerous street vender's for less than the cost of a main dish at a high-end place. So there is, for many of us, more opportunities to explore in this area.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The "risks" associated with a high end place and the possibly higher expectations associated lead to more inquiries and postings about those experiences. If you didn't like the shwarma from the street vendor at lunch today you aren't out much. If the big "occasion" meal was less than stellar most people feel a deeper pain.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for summing up what I was trying to say! One Memorial Day beer too many last night, I guess!

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Here's something else I'm finding disturbing. It seems that some (many?) posters are relegated to self-censorship because of a groupthink influence from some unfriendly critics on the boards. Here's an example: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/52602...
                                                                                                                                                                            As expressed here, some posters feel that they can't register honest opinions because they'll be somehow punished by a dominant group of members on the boards. I guess the censorship (or self-imposed censorship) that happens on these boards doesn't happen from the hands of the moderators, but at the hands of other participants? That seems rather sad, and if this kind of thing is happening with regular members, then I return to my point about newbies. I wonder how they are perceving all this?

                                                                                                                                                                            13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                                                              Thank goodness Nyleve (as you pointed out this specific thread) keeps on sharing here at CH. And, E Eto I commend your willingness to get to the heart of this often visited member issue. But let's enjoy the chow. Let maturity and common ground of a more positive nature float to the top of the glass. There is far more pleasure in enjoying the food, not the fools (she said with a big grin).

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm sorry, but I feel like the poster you cite is kind of copping out. I don't participate on any other food websites, but I post on plenty of internet bulletin boards. The level of civility and support on chowhound is far, far greater than most. My feeling is, if you can't stand even the minimal heat of chowhound, you're probably best staying out of the kitchen altogether.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                                                                  Actually, I'm glad you brought up this post which puzzled me more than anything else.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I've never seen a tone on Chowhound in which fine dining is upheld and all others are excoriated. I've been here a while (more a lurker than a poster, and definitely only a poster in the region where I used to live before I moved to a devastatingly unchowish locale). True, there's been a serious uptick in discussions about fine dining since I've joined but as I recall it, it's always been about finding the delicious wherever one can. I've never seen anyone attack a poster here for not being able to appreciate a dinner at Per Se or some such.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Indeed, I found that post and the ensuing thread more self-congratulatory than anything. The post signals a well-traveled 'peasant' who has a great range of food knowledge. I wouldn't call that a peasant. Or actually. maybe I would. I have no idea what peasant means in this context. But if it's a way of pretending that one is somehow the underdog for seeking out delicious in all corners of the world, I think that person has really missed the point of what Chowhound is-- based on the most cursory glance of these boards. If I'm not mistaken, I remember a time when Jim Leff was calling public radio to announce cafeterias with a really nice spread. Meanwhile, on the Outer Boroughs boards, I recall receiving the best assistance in finding food for under $3 (I really really miss the doubles at the Roti Shack and all those lovely lovely Banh Mi-- my new home is a relative wasteland).

                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm not sure how there is a dominant set of voices that is trying to shut down the celebration of these 'simple' pleasures. I'm not even sure I've seen this. Maybe someone could give me an example of where it happens rather than this post of fantasy of persecution that diminishes all I've ever witnessed here.

                                                                                                                                                                                  That said, I do agree that had this poster lamented the way her efforts to give paeans to Denny's Moons Over My Hammy were shut down, I'd say she was correct in this 'persecution'. But in that case, I'd agree that there is an effort to maintain these boards about things we may not always hear about-- the hidden treasures of the world. Many of us read this to find out about foods we can eat when we go somewhere else-- not how to eat the same thing we could find 'at home' ('At home' in scare quotes because I couldn't find Moons Over My Hammy here or a denny's if I tried; I could have a fry-up, though.)

                                                                                                                                                                                  All the posters here seem to have a passion for food, and that's what comes across. This can lead to heated discussions about the food, but really, if someone is censoring themselves based on a fantasy that chowhound is about fine dining and personal attacks, I'd say that they are misreading the boards. I don't this can be blamed on the threads.

                                                                                                                                                                                  We may also wish to note that every poster in that linked thread are regular/frequent posters on chowhounds and the example of community insiders if there were any. So maybe I am misreading your complaint here, and in fact, you are showing how taste is constructed in a rigid manner through this fantasy of persecution?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                    Lizard, I could be wrong, but I think Eric was linking to a poster within that thread who self-censored for fear his/her negative opinion of a chowhound favorite would be attacked by regular posters.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                                                                    My impression is that 90% of the time, when posters say things like "I'll get attacked for saying this, but...." they're either being ironic (winking at a previous heated discussion) or trying to portray themselves as rebellious and daring. If there's no authority to defy, sometimes you have to invent one. I mostly read the Home Cooking and General Topics boards, and the only really heated or nasty exchanges I've seen are at bottom political.

                                                                                                                                                                                    On the other hand, the tendency to disparage other people's taste is pretty ubiquitous. I have to make a conscious effort not to do it, and I'm not perfectly successful. So yes, it does happen here: people attack each other over differences in personal taste. Silly. But I've seen no evidence that there is a dominant group of members that controls the discussion or regulates what tastes are acceptable. A comment that gets blasted in one discussion may be applauded in another.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jlafler

                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't read much of what I would view as dominance (except those few hounds who NEED to set the tone for an entire Board) but I do read a good deal of dismissive posts. Clearly having everyone agree or disagree is futile but no one needs to go out of their way to dismiss a hounds dining experience, personal choices or pocketbook. The community, as its been said throughout the Site Boards, is for everyone. Some of us weighing in might have thicker skin, or not care to challenge dissent or not take the time to even remark in a discussion like this but all of us can be more flexible, less dismissive in our discussion. I don't understand why having the only opinion and dismissing the opinions of others during a CH discussion would be fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jlafler

                                                                                                                                                                                        I may preface a statement with, "I know I'll get flamed for saying this ..." just to avoid all those posters who would tell me that I need to have my taste buds checked because I don't love the ol' Chowhound fave -- cuz those type of posts get pretty old quickly. I find that people are less apt to criticize a poster's choice if they are aware that it may not be a board fave than for one to just say out of the blue, "Panda Express has the best Japanese food in the entire world."

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                          Miss Needle
                                                                                                                                                                                          "I may preface a statement with, "I know I'll get flamed for saying this ..." just to avoid all those posters who would tell me that I need to have my taste buds checked because I don't love the ol' Chowhound fave "
                                                                                                                                                                                          I do the same thing. Especially when I'm posting about a board favorite. I'd like to think it helps to diffuse the heaping helpful of attitude I know is coming my way...:-}

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, that's a good point: sometimes it's just a way of acknowledging that you're aware of others' opinions and/or previous discussions.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                              I can see the point and it is a good one. I wonder if perhaps toning it down might be in order given that flaming is pretty much understood as inappropriate internet conduct.

                                                                                                                                                                                              This is most likely a matter of semantics, but given that most writing is, and given that conveying tone is a challenge in the written word, what the heck: I know you're not necessarily doing this, but while you're publicly recognising the charged the nature of your claims, you're also saying that those disagreeing will likely behave in an unacceptable matter (not 'I reckon I'll get flack for this...' but 'i know I'll get FLAMED for this).

                                                                                                                                                                                              If I were to use another example: There's a person I know. Every time she wants something-- to change plans, offer a dissenting opinion, whatever-- she prefaces it with 'Don't yell at me'. This leads me to wonder at the tactic: It creates a dynamic that turns one person into the meek one pleading, and the other into inevitably potential bully. In every exchange I ask, before usually agreeing, 'why would I yell at you?'. (Sure, I'm not always the best behaved person-- I've rolled my eyes when I really shouldn't have-- but I'm not exactly given to yelling. Babbling endlessly, sure, but you all have seen that :) )

                                                                                                                                                                                              That said, on the internet, we're hardly ever in a position to query why someone flames. Happens all the time, so the preface could be perfectly fine, and I've just thought aloud for no real reason. And come to the conclusion that it may or may not matter. But I do wonder if the dynamic I've outlined, along with Jlafler's very insightful point about inventing the authority to challenge may be what sets the terms of the discussion that follows.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                                Very insightful post.
                                                                                                                                                                                                I cannot speak for anyone else but I know that posting dissenting opinions RE: CH favorite places, is bound to elicit responses that often begin with, "You must be _____ !" (Fill in the blank with a derogatory word EG: Crazy/stupid/brain dead/have no taste, etc )
                                                                                                                                                                                                It's happened to me numerous times. While I find it rude and very disrespectful, I take it for what it's worth (AKA: Nothing ) and choose to respond to other postings that may also disagree but do so in a respectful manner. Some people simply do not seem to understand that there is no such thing as the "right" opinion. and view a dissenting opinion as a personal attack.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                                                                            We touched on this area recently: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/508739

                                                                                                                                                                                            People sometimes fail to understand that a criticism of a place that they like is not a criticism of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Also, instead of being grateful to hounds for pointing out the weak dishes at a given restaurant so that it can be a useful reference for everyone, sometimes the hound is blamed for not playing to the strengths of a given place.

                                                                                                                                                                                            If chowhounds only report on "approved" dishes at "approved" restaurant, the board becomes a lot less useful for everyone.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: limster

                                                                                                                                                                                              I completely agree

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. I have been an avid reader of CH for years and have come to rely on the board when I need to make local suggestions to some of The Travel Channel and Food Network people that I work with.I am very new to posting here, I believe this is only my 3rd post. Whether people reply to me or not does not concern nor offend me. I've learned in the food business to let much roll off my back.I enjoy reading about the various dining experiences, and based on those decide for myself those that have merit ( for me personally) and those that do not.If posters feel slighted, then I'm sorry to hear that, but it is nonethe less a communty of posters and over time the familiarity amongst long time posters can easily be misconstrued as "Snobbism" by newer people left feeling like "outsiders" My advice is post away. That's what the boards are for

                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Dutchvanobvious

                                                                                                                                                                                              Maybe I've been lucky because the closest I've come to a flame is having someone characterize an intinerary change I'd made based on CH feedback as "silly." I do appreciate it when posters make it clear that they are commenting on their own experiences -- although this should be obvious, the point can be lost when comments like "Panda Express has the best Japanese food in the world" appear; thanks for the example, Miss Needle ;-) I find it similarly helpful when posters put up queries such as "What is your favourite ____?" instead of "ISO the best ______ in _______" in an attempt to mitigate the inherent subjectivity of ranking Chow experiences. FWIW these strategies help me as a still-relatively-new Chowhounder to feel welcome to post my own thoughts without censorship.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. As a relative "newbie" (or at least, an infrequent poster in my home board), I have to agree with you. It's not that I need positive reinforcement (though it is nice), but I feel that people are much more responsive (and friendlier) in the Home Cooking or General Chowhounding Topics section, which makes me gravitate towards those sections.

                                                                                                                                                                                              When I first joined CH, I started out in my home board, but I've noticed that there are regulars, etc., some people are opinionated (nothing wrong with that, but some people can be contentious), and I felt like an "outsider" gazing in on an already established community, with certain people who serve as authoritative speakers. After multiple "dead end" posts (e.g. I'd post something in an attempt to "join" this community, whether it be a suggestion, a comment, opinion), I started trolling on other boards.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I admit that given that I cook more than I eat out, I don't often post on my home board, but when I do, the lack of responses (sometimes) makes me feel like maybe my posts are off? (Maybe I violated some sort of silent code of behavior?)

                                                                                                                                                                                              But I have posted several restaurant reviews (or short-ish write-ups), and every time, the thread ended with my post.

                                                                                                                                                                                              It's not about needing reinforcement, but it makes me wonder-- is this useful to anyone? Did anyone enjoy reading this?

                                                                                                                                                                                              My last post was particularly detailed- replete with pictures, description of courses, etc. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/426849 It took me a while to write it up, too. Well, that is probably the last write-up I will do for my home board. I know someone else from my board posted (in a separate thread) a plea for people in my board to post back if he/she asked advice-- but this is the reason I have often not bothered to post back anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                                              That said, I almost always post follow-ups, when I ask for recipe suggestions or if I try a recipe (and if I didn't like it, I won't say that outright, but I'll post w/ my modifications, etc.), b/c I feel like I'm in dialogue. People provide feedback. Reply. Post other recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                              24 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: anzu

                                                                                                                                                                                                It could be, in the case of that specific thread, that a lot of people didn't see it, because it was a reply to a 2007 thread. Just a thought .... Great report and nice photos, by the way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                                                                  There's a bug in the way that Chowhound sorts posts. If you go into your "My Recent Posts" section, it may appear that there are no new posts. However if you go back in time to look at older posts by clicking onto page 2, 3, etc., you'll find that there are new messages all over the place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Because of this bug, I just recently realized that people had replied to my messages from a year ago. When somebody replies to an "active" post, it needs to be placed at the top of page 1, not to the top of whatever random page it has been pushed back to in your index.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I had noticed this awhile back and posted on it. Here is the link explaining that:


                                                                                                                                                                                                    Now that I know, I go back through my old ones every so often when the boards are slow!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                                                                      *duh* i'm an effing MORON!!!!! i should promptly be removed from the gene pool, before it's too late!!!!!!!!! omg. there are all those threads that i wondered what ever happened to, all updated, and. . .stuff!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      thanks very much for the insight, Mr. Taster & Meat&3. how many years have i been posting now? this thing would be perfectly obvious, had i ever thought about it. which i never did. probably never would have, had i been left to my own devices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      omg. i am so *not* smart. *duh* i have a fine arts degree and run my own business. i own socks smarter than myself. my cat who never learned how to play with string is better adjusted to life in the real world. give me a descendents tape and something to chop in little bits and leave me alone. i sentence myself to reorganizing the takeout container area, with new sticky labels on the shelves. oh wait, that's what i was going to do with my friday night anyway. . . *loser!* :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Okay, that made me laugh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        But you really shouldn't feel bad. The way it works is wrong and counterintuitive, and Engineering has a bug ticket open on it. There's no reason why you would think it works that way, because there's no reason why it should.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm with you on this one soupkitten... I'm such a nerd! And I just spent an hour going through mine and I'm only on page 20! *And* I got all riled up by a post, when I could have just been blissfully unaware for many more years! Dammit! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Aww... I was having so much fun doing this, but now I'm stuck on page 22 and can't get past it due to application errors! So frustrating!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Soupkitten, if it is of any consolation, I only recently discovered the "my chow" function, so there are probably hundreds of threads I probably blew off. Thing is, the way I use CH is I go on the boards, and read threads. Sometimes I go away for a week or something, in which case, I'll "forget" to reply. So if you are "so *not* smart", um, I'm a hopeless situation. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Also, since I recently discovered this mychow thing, I actually sort of, but sort of don't quite understand what meatn3 is talking about, which means I'm probably blowing off more people, but I'll just say ignorance is bliss. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, having found that this topic had new comments only because I happened to be scanning the Site Talk board, which I rarely do, I feel your pain, soupkitten!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              On the other hand, there are enough bugs and glitches in the engine here that it's an easy mistake to make. I expect old topics to reappear at the top of my "my chow" list when there are new comments, and when I find one that hasn't, I just assume it's a bug. So now I know better! Thanks, guys.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jlafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                thanks--everyone(!), i do feel better about myself after the show of support. i am glad that i know about this glitch/bug now, it will help me waste a lot more time looking at all the pages of posts that have "fallen off" the main page of my chow :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                everything has it's quirks. some things you just need someone to show you the way once, and then you're a person in the know! other things, like the nuances in etiquette and site politics, i'll be learning and re-learning for as long as i'm here. fun, though. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Greeeeaat. I never knew this either and just went back and found out I've been told I was wrong. Actually, this time it was comical. Someone had asked for bbq recs in my old home town. I'd recommended my favorite and told them to steer clear of another one that's a local chain, because it's really not very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The person disagreeing with me used the name of the questioner, not me, which is kind of funny. They said (of the restaurant I advised not to go to) "Restaurant X is a staple in Tulsa BBQ everyone in Oklahoma likes it so treb I believe you are wrong." (treb was the unfortunate person who'd asked the question, who has now been told they were "wrong").

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh well. I'm actually happy to have found out about this glitch. Thanks for pointing it out!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: anzu

                                                                                                                                                                                                          On some boads more than others, and I think your home board, especially, falls into it, any extraneous chitchat is frowned upon by the older regulars so people are discouraged from posting "thanks, good report" or anything along those lines. It's come up on the home cooking board that thanking someone for posting a recipe is unnecessary unless you try it and are posting a follow up. So, with your report (which I thought was very nice and loved the pictures), people probably read it but had nothing more to add. It doesn't mean that others didn't enjoy it, or that it's not helpful. I felt that way, too, when posting some restaurant reviews but there have been times when months after the fact, someone comes back to the post and says they tried it and enjoyed it. For every person who does come back, I think there are others who try it but don't report back. I'm like you with wanting a dialogue when you ask for recipes. If you get a lot of responses, you can't try them all but it seems rude to me not to acknowledge that someone has spent time typing in a recipe, or technique.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hey anzu, I read that report and thought it was great (ditto others of yours) but I didn't respond as I didn't have anything useful to add. I read a thread somewhere on these boards about why Chowhound doesn't have "counters" to show how many have read a post (not a popularity contest or some such). I post on other boards that do have them and it's weirdly comforting to know that 63 people have read your post even if no one has responded, so I get your point. Rest assured, however, that there's at least one person out here in Vancouver who makes a point of reading anzu's responses :-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: anzu

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hey anzu - dang it, now you've compelled me to chime in on this thread, which will never drop off my list - I think another factor is that relative to the number of regular posters who cover the East Bay and San Francisco, there aren't many posters who cover the Peninsula/South Bay. Please don't stop posting restaurant reviews - there are few enough of you who do it as it is!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            When I was first getting established on the SF Board, I wrote many a review with a fat goose egg next to it. I kept plugging away, figuring that at least I was adding data points to the mass of info out there. After a while, people started to become familiar with my tastes, and I became familiar with theirs. At this point, there is a sort of spice/noodle loving East Bay "clique" - at least, we all seem to always participate on the same threads - but it's because I know that certain posters always seem to be drawn to the same kinds of dishes that I am, so I'm more likely to zero in on their posts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Finally, please don't mistake the number of reply posts as a surrogate marker for the quality of your post (and its value to the community). In the end, most of those long, long threads on General Chowhounding and Not About Food will drop off, and, frankly, be of no value to anyone other than its participants. Your reviews will show up on searches and be of use to countless people who may not necessarily post thank yous or follow-ups.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: anzu

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks guys. :) (Oops. I'm not supposed to post a simple "thanks" thread? But it just feels weird to not acknowledge/thank for people who take the trouble to explain something as you all did.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm still trying to figure out the dynamics of my home board. It's funny, b/c a lot of it is assumed and people seeem to try to be "efficient" with words, which sometimes (to me) came off as a bit standoffish at first.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              E.g. Someone posts a restaurant rec. request. On the other boards, I've noticed, someone prefaces it with, "Oh, there's some interesting discussion of that here" (insert link), but in my home board, someone just replies with "www.chowhound.com" or the url to a specific link.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              But given that we get requests like this all the time, I can see how it might get tiresome to take the trouble to write "You should do a search first", etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Then there are people who regularly just say "link" and provide restaurant info, after someone has posted a review. Now I'm starting to get the idea that I'm probably supposed to link to a place after mentioning a restaurant, but this is inconsistent, so I'm still not 100 percent sure, but only after reading months of reviews did I get this. But I can't read minds/tone. I mean, does "link" mean, "here is a link to the restaurant" (neutral), or "Hi. Thank you for the report. We usually like people to list links when posting a review or mentioning a restaurant, etc." (request), or "People, please link to a restaurant when doing reviews" (stronger request), etc. The people who diligently do link up our posts on my board are never rude about it or anything; but had I read more than "link" somewhere earlier, it probably would've taken me less time to figure out that we're supposed to do this, which is why perhaps the regulars end up linking for us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm still learning the ropes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: anzu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                One other thing is that you made your post at midnight, and it's possible that by the time people got up in the morning, it had already fallen off the top of the page. If you are going to go to the effort of a nice, thorough review, with pictures, I'd suggest you post it (1) in its own thread and (2) during busier times on the board to maximize the number of people who will see it :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: anzu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well, ok, I admit it, I might be one of the ones who briefly suggests a search first, because it is tiring to get asked the same question over and over again by someone who hasn't done any research first, especially when they never follow up with a post on their experiences! And yes, I am the hound who asked people to follow up...and I DID read and enjoy your post (and great pics!) but will admit that I didn't see the need to reply, because it was part of an existing thread, I hadn't eaten at the restaurant in question, and had nothing to add. If it had been a first post, not part of an existing thread, I would have been much more likely to post as encouragement...but it didn't look 'lonely' to me, since it was part of that existing thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And like Daveena, I have had many posts that got no reply. That doesn't mean they aren't helpful. For example, I just posted a few days ago asking for new recommendations in Juneau: a place I go about once every two years but which is no Chow mecca....last time I checked I had gotten no reply to my recent post. However, when I went back and did a search of old posts, including one in which I mentioned the halibut tacos at a local spot, I noticed that at least one hound, who never replied to me, mentioned that he had tried those tacos while on a visit, apparently because he read about them on the board. Thus, I figure if one posted there must be at least three hounds (ok, so maybe not so many hounds end up in Juneau) who saw my post and had a place to eat lunch in a town not known for good lunches. Its a good feeling, and I will repay the karma posting about whereever I choose to eat in Juneau next week, even if I get no replies!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  All that said, however, you make an excellent point about the links to places. I was sure that the Moderators would have mentioned them in the sticky thread for new posters, or in the etiquette thread, but I just went back and looked and I can't find anything anywhere about them! So, I will add a request on site talk that they do explain them...would indeed help newbies feel welcome and in the swing of things, IMO (and yes, to me 'link' means "Hi. Thank you for the report. I hope to hear more from you and from others" I do use the links and appreciate it very much when others do...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: susancinsf



                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In part, I somewhat disagree with MMRuth that it isn't something one is 'supposed to do'...while it certainly isn't required I wish all hounds (including me) would do it more consistently: it definitely improves the quality of the database of information!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh - I do agree that it improves the quality of the database and it is a good thing to do! But, to be honest - and I'm not sure if I'm doing something wrong or what the problem is - but I seem to keep creating duplicate places, for reasons that I simply cannot fathom, since I know that I've added that place ages ago. I got a bit frustrated with this and so became less active in linking to Places.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I made tons of duplicate "Places", until I found out that if I search for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Restaurant X" in "Oakland CA", it will give me a duplicate, because the Places are all listed as "Restaurant X" in "Oakland, CA". The comma makes the difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also, how to link should be enumerated more clearly. I didn't see the "link to location" button for the longest time, and then when I finally noticed it and tried to link to a place, I thought by summoning up the place (via the search function), it automatically links it when you hit "post", but in fact, you have to click on the link it provides to "activate" the link. There is no explanation anywhere (a simple sentence "click on restaurant name to place link" will do the trick). Moreover, when you hit search and it yields a restaurant name, you can't actually tell it's a link you're supposed to click on, unless you actually hover your mouse over the link. Do they expect newbies to just guess this and figure this out?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: anzu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's a good point - I just went through the process and, as you say, it's not particularly intuitive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: anzu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think some people just like to help add to the data base by including the Places link when someone else has reviewed a place. I remember to do it sometimes, usually I don't. By no means do I think, fwiw, that it's something someone is "supposed to do", so I wouldn't worry about that! You have to put something in the text box to add a link, so some posters just put "link" or "+", etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, I'll often add a link when it's a thread that offers good info that I want to make sure is easily seen from the Place page. So if someone does that, it generally means you and your "threadmates" are doing something right!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Regarding Places in general, you're not "supposed" to do anything here, we're all just a bunch of people volunteering info in the (sometimes limited!) time we have to do it. If you like to add a Place, it's a handy thing to do, but it's totally optional, and I really don't think the people who do add Places on other people's threads are doing it to make anyone feel bad. It's just one way those people like to make the info here more useful to themselves and others. I know I love to open a thread like "where to eat in Boston" and be able to quickly scan the list of Places on the to right corner, which you'll get when lots of people "Placeify" posts in the thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Here's another example of what I'm talking about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Why is it the first impulse of established posters to call someone (a new poster, even) a liar rather than to engage them on how they reached their conclusion of a CH favorite restaurant? I believe there were a few other responses that were removed after the piling-on. It seems that the only shenanigans going on here are from the group of CH bullies, and not the newbie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    23 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Eric, it's unfortunate that the mod's are letting the call of BS (or what have you) go here, as that smacks of reviewing the poster and not the food. In the old days those posts would have been pulled down (and they still may be, if the mod's haven't seen them until now). But the remainder of the disagreement (in my mind) was legit for the site and good counter argument from the standpoint of what the established site users (or their relatives) liked about Park's panchan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I note that those posts which ended up reviewing the newbie, rather than his take on the food, have been pulled down. That's the right response to that type of personal attack. Disagreeing about the food, even strongly disagreeing is (on the other hand) what CH is all about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I would let it go, Eric.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That thread wasn't about attacking a new poster, or defending a Chowhound favorite restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Rather, the tenure of that sub-thread was what some posters thought was a rather outlandish statement that was levied on a long-time establishment with a rather consistently good reputation amongst the Chowhound community -- i.e. using cheap ingredients for panchan because no one cared or could tell the difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Of course the thread wasn't ABOUT attacking a new poster, but that's exactly what happened. Maybe there was an agenda with that poster, but reading the ONLY OTHER comment that poster made on another thread, it doesn't seem likely. AND so, basically, we are condoning calling that poster a LIAR, because we can't seem to accept that poster's comments at face value. That is what seems more outlandish to me. IF in fact said waitress made those comments, then that's a bit of data to take into consideration. No one stepped up to get more information from the poster. Only flames throwing began. The similar experience I had to that poster's happened to be at a place YOU'VE recommended. Maybe I should call shenanigans on YOU, or maybe you should call ME a liar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think we as a community only get poorer by these kind of responses. And it's these kinds of in-group, cliquish behavior that turns me off to some of these boards. Recently, I reported a series of posts where a number of LA posters decided to speak in code about a sushi place among themselves. How these kinds of posts help readers seeking good food is beyond me. It only helps to close the board off to others who might have something informative to add. It just seems to be further evidence of clique behavior. I'm glad it got wiped out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You are essentially saying that there can be no room for disagreement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am NOT saying there can be no room for disagreement. There's disagreement all over these boards. I disagree with quite a number of posters. But it's not at the level that was exhibited in this example. It was all flames and name calling. And most of the responders seemed to feel entitled to make those accusations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So someone disparaged a CH favorite restaurant. Did anyone try to get to the truth, and not just assume there must have been some ulterior motive? Also, this wasn't really a matter of agreement/disagreement. It was more of an issue of did this really happen? IF it really happened (and I have no reason to believe it didn't), then it's significant. If it was a fabrication, then that's a whole different matter, and should be dealt with. But how can we get to the bottom of it without engaging the poster to give further details about his/her experience? Are you saying it's OK to completely dismiss this poster because his/her opinion goes against the opinion of the establishment of the dominant voices on the LA board? What's unfortunate to me is that most of the LA posters seem to have no problem with that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Apparently the inappropriate attack posts that you're referring to have been removed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                FWIW, I think the Chowhound Team does an admirable job of removing posts that are personal attacks on other posters, while permitting the appropriate amount of disagreement that is inevitable on any forums on a topic centered on opinions as much as facts. I think this is a real strength of this site.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If you're objecting to a certain nasty vibe on a given board, with frequent personal attacks, that usually subsides when such posts are reported and removed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Keep in mind that such posts are removed only when they are reported to the Chowhound Team; they don't read every post looking out for such instances.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If I'm missing something here, please enlighten me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What a crock. This wasn't a Chowhound clique other ganging up on a Newb. It was someone with no prior posts making outlandish claims -- and justifying them by reference to her ethnicity. I and another poster chimed in and of that same ethnicity chimed in to challenge her outlandish claims.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You know as well as I do that there are plenty of socks this site. When people with NO BACKGROUND come on and post outlandish criticisms, others are going to call them out. AND THAT'S AS IT SHOULD BE. Stop making this about cliquishness -- it's not. It's about people making patently absurd claims like: "they deliberately source low quality ingredients because customers don't care.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              PS: It disgusts me that you've used your pull with the moderators to get my comments deleted. I don't believe this is the first time, either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You didn't have a similar experience. You had an owner apologize for poor quality ingredients. NOT THE SAME THING.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Is it okay to personally attack veteran posters like Professor Salt and Das Ubergeek, for example, who show a strong predilection for regional styles of Chinese egg rolls?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And if one were to make the argument that said egg roll criticism was explicitly about the food, bear in mind that one could just as easily make the argument that the food merely served as a thinly veiled cloak for expressing one's particular dislike for a specific poster and their opinions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is, of course, all strictly hypothetical.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A certain amount of civility should be expected when posting on any Internet board, but a greater amount of thick-skin is equally required (as in facial skin, not egg roll skin, of course)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No, that's an example of a post to be very wary of: first time poster either raving or ranting about a restaurant, frequently at odds with the general CH consensus. I'm always suspicious of these posts, and tend to believe that the poster is either a friend of the chef, or an enemy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  E Eto, while I agree with everything you're saying, I also agree with Piccawicca. I need to see a few posts over the course of a couple of months before I'll believe any serious thumbs up or thumbs down from someone. You can't just jump on here and start talking crap about a particular restaurant from the get go without arousing a little suspicion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "You can't just jump on here and start talking crap about a particular restaurant from the get go without arousing a little suspicion."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A new poster can raise suspicion. What established posters can't do is respond by accusing the new poster of being something other than someone who disagrees with what they happen to believe about the restaurant in question. If any of us has suspicions then we need to report the suspect post to the moderators and let them handle it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This particular post in question was hardly your prototypical smear in any case. This was a well written critique that solidly within the bounds of what we both expect, and ought to prize here on Chowhound in terms of dissenting opinion. Cogent criticism has a valuable place on CH, especially of board favorites.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      No one accused anyone of being anything. I simply said I didn't believe the restaurant server had said they deliberately source poor quality ingredients because customers don't care. That's not raising suspicion, it's libel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I wasn't a particular fan of the man, but I loved the expression Reagan was fond of using "Trust, but verify." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trust,_b...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Report the sketchy ones to the mods, of course, but why not give people the benefit of the doubt? Remember how excited you were to discover this whole community of people who thought about food the same way you do and how you couldn't wait to find something amazing to share?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Bless those who only speak out when they only have something important to say, those who might be relatively "unknown" posters with brilliant insights. After all, those who aren't here posting all the time have more time to be out there chowing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There is a poster who barely has a dozen posts who was instrumental in tipping the MSP board to a restaurant, Tian Jin, which subsequently, at least briefly, became a board favorite, despite the fact that the board already had (has) one or two other entrenched Szechuan faves. I'm glad he spoke up and others followed up on his tip.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You just don't get it, do you? It's not about cliqueishness, bullying, or defending a Chowhound favorite. It's about putting absurd hyperbole in its place. I don't care if you're a noob or Chowhound veteran. If you come onto this site and make patently absurd claims (e.g., your waitress ADMITTED that Park's is DELIBERATELY sources low quality ingredients because customers don't care) people are going to hammer you. The same thing happens when "serious old school chowhounds" try the same crap. I'm not going to stand for it because that's not what Chowhound is about, imo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As far as I'm concerned, the post you've linked it libelous. The fact that the person who posted (no shrinking violet, judging from her post) hasn't come back to defend herself should tell you something. But hey, if you want to defend absurd hyperbole (e.g., there is no good Mexican food in NYC) be my guest. I'm sure Chowhound will be a better place for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Why is it so hard for you to believe the server may have said that? I hear servers say incredibly dumb stuff all the time. The restaurant owners at a sushi place we go to pretty regularly would freak out if they knew the strange stuff that one server in particular tells us. The owners can't send the servers out with a wire and monitor what they say all day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What kind of stuff? And has he ever admitted that these owners are deliberately serving an inferior product? I've had servers apologize if ingredients aren't up to usual snuff, but this amounts to a charge that Park's is deliberately exploiting its customers' ignorance to cheat them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wouldn't post what she's said to us because it's pretty weird. But haven't you ever had a server respond to a question with a preposterous answer and you know it's because they're too busy or lazy to get the real answer? A few months ago I went out for dinner with three friends to a restaurant we go to quite a lot. The server who seated us knows us well and as he was bringing us to our table he said, "Now you cougars enjoy". It took us a minute to get over the shock. I thought it was hilarious but one of my friends did not. Did she hold it against the restaurant owners? Of course not. In the Korean restaurant incident, the waitress could have heard other people make comments like that and took it to mean it was appropriate to tell that to a customer. I could totally see my own daughter saying something like that and not seeing what was wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I dunno, southernitalian, I feel like your "cougar" comment isn't quite the same thing as saying your boss deliberately cheats customers. I should add that I've been to the place in question more than once. Not only are the ingredients top notch, the service is very professional. Perhaps I'm allowing my knowledge of this establishment color my skepticism, but it just boggles my mind to think a server would admit such a thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "...isn't quite the same thing as saying your boss deliberately cheats customers."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I read the posters comment about what their waitress said more as "The owners don't buy the most expensive kimchee because our customers don't ask us to source a more expensive type." Which to me makes perfect business sense, rather than intimating that the restaurant is attempting to "cheat" anyone, (and especially so since the panchan is given as part of the meal and you can ask for more without incurring additional expense). At least the statement is open to interpretation, if nothing else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dude, she called the panchan "terrible, especially the kimchee." She then said the waitress admitted the kimchi "wasn't very good" and that "the people coming here didn't care about stuff like that." She then called out everyone who has expressed a positive opinion of the restaurant, which she concluded was a "great place to take white people that are just getting comfortable with the idea of wontons."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                How is any of that remotely ambiguous? It was a racist hatchet job from start to finish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. This thread is going rapidly downhill, so we're going to lock it.