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Jul 2, 2008 08:58 PM

Consensus Opinions [split from Boston]

[Note: This post split from the Boston board at: -- The Chowhound Team]].

I understand. I'm pretty close to NH and will have to make a journey down I-93 to lower Mass Ave., as well. But why do you need a consensus of hounds to decide whether the new dog is as good/better than the old one? Do you mean that you would only take the trip if there is such a consensus? Wouldn't you want to make up your own mind?

If there was a huge group of people that said that the dog's gone to the dogs - it's no good any more - then I could see that a negative consensus might keep me from bothering to make the trip. But there's been no such mass response. It's a fact that it's changed - but that alone shouldn't keep a hound from checking it out. I'm planning a trip right now - my regular rounds of Reliable and Kotobukiya - but now, instead of a katsu kare or maybe a burger at O'Sullivan's, I'll journey on down to Newmarket for a new and improved (maybe) Speed's Hot Dog.

I guess all I'm saying is that this site is good for information of all sorts - good, bad, good-but... If I waited for a true consensus before deciding on a place, I'd miss out on a lot.

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  1. Okay, but what do I do if everyone on the board says I shouldn't follow consensus?

    5 Replies
      1. re: applehome

        He's supposed to become a pirate? How does THAT help?

        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

          No - that wasn't the pirate argghh, it was the Charlie Brown argghh - after Lucy pulled the football. It's the "not again" argghh.

          Actually, everyone DOES say people shouldn't follow the consensus. People should pick and choose the reviewers they feel have been spot-on and therefore will most likely align with their own tastes. With experience, that list gets fine tuned, so you know X has the same understanding of Sushi as you do, while Y seems to fit your Q tastes, etcetc...

          Hot dog tastes? I dunno... there's a lot of leeway here. Hot dog excellence seems to have more to do with circumstance, how it's cooked, bun, condiments, etcetc... rather than purely the meat/casing/spices used to make the dog. I'll go along with the Boar's Head beef natural casing being better than most, and folks that feel that way are probably pretty reliable dog recommenders, at least locally - without getting into the NYC/Chicago battle, and also excluding the entire world of charcuterie, from wursts to chorizos (amongst which the entire spectrum of US Hot Dogs sit near the bottom of the pile).

          But making up your own mind, and then reporting what you think here is the real key to maintaining this database of foods and opinions. That's the reason this site is so much more valuable than any one critic. The more data points, the more information, the better for all of us - not because the pattern ends up forming a consensus, but because it provides a bigger picture from which we can decide what is good for us and what isn't.

          If I eat the new Speed's dog and think it sucks, what it says to me is that there appears to be a lot of people here with whom I do not agree, regarding hot dog tastes. Consensus does not matter - I would think it sucks, regardless of the majority view. And it would be my chowhound duty to post that here, so that my data point could be included.

          Driving a long distance for RGS (Really Good Shit) is a good foodie thing to do. But driving a long distance for the possibility of finding RGS is a real chowhound adventure.

          1. re: applehome

            I think it's awesome that this got split off in a separate thread. I was going for one of those simple-minded paradoxes, you know:

            Kirk: "Everything Harry Mudd says is a lie."
            Mudd: "I am lying."
            Android: [explodes]

            In general, I agree. You gotta follow your bliss, and be willing to stand up and voice opinions here that might rile a certain crowd that sings from the same hymnal.

            I also have my own trusted Hound advisors, good and bad: if X likes it, I know I probably will, too, and if Y likes it, I probably won't, etc.

            1. re: applehome

              The adventure usually starts when one decides to stop on the way for donuts...

              It sounds like committing a lot to drive a large distance just for one hotdog, but the reality is that folks often check out other places that are along the way or near the destination. And taking a different route back means more opportunities.

      2. The occasional push towards consensus here actually makes me a bit uncomfortable, because one of my early CH experiences involved a very negative experience at a Boston board favorite - a really poor Restaurant Week dinner at Grotto. First off, BarmyFotheringayPhipps and I were taken to task for expecting a decent meal during RW. A few responders more or less said that we could not possibly have had the poorly-prepared renditions of Grotto menu favorites (such as the flabby and stuffing-free apple-stuffed duck) that we described. So fervent were the Grotto defenders, that some posters suggested that if we hadn't enjoyed our meal we must have been going out of our way to dislike it.

        It was an educational experience. I got over the discomfort of being criticized for not enjoying a bad meal poorly served, but it did have the salutary effect of reminding me to acknowledge the possibility that someone may well have had a bad meal at a place I love. And it taught me to try to be careful, when responding to such posts myself, to offer the poster sympathy over their disappointing meal, even if I was defending the restaurant in question.

        1. A

          Concensus building? first jfood needed to read your post a few times to understand, since this was obviously cut from a different topic in bean-town. then he thought everyone was arguing about the hot dog guy up there named speed's. now he thinks he understands that the OP is for people who would only go to a place that had agreement on the boards? that's the point jfood will address.

          jfood looks to the boards for data, he looks to the menus on line for the data he looks to friends for data. And then he and mrs jfood (she'll go along with most things at least once) will give it a shot. The the only data that is important is entered, what the jfoods thought. and then jfood will add to the data on the boards.

          jfood will not post a good report on a place he did not like just because it is a darling, will not go to a place because it's a darling if the menu data did not get him there and will state that he liked a place when others do not.

          So to your question, jfood agrees that if you wait for concensus you miss a lot of the good stuff.