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So, about Chowhound.

Why do you think Chowhound is the meanest site you visit?

Is it just me? Because I visit some snarky sites, but this is the one that never fails to stun me with its meanness.

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  1. <Why do you think Chowhound is the meanest site you visit?>

    I don't, because it isn't. Not by a long shot. Chowhound is aggressively moderated, and "mean" posts don't last long. Can you provide a link to a post you think is "mean"? Maybe we define the word differently.

    1. shanagain, I would be hard pressed to find an online community that didn't have its moments. snarky to one person is smarts showing to another. mean to one person is honesty to another. I hope my straight style isn't perceived as "curt" but I imagine I've pissed off my share of CH's I happen to enjoy. Best to just cultivate what you like and add to the discussion. I enjoy your posts.

      2 Replies
      1. re: HillJ

        An excellent point, online communities tend to bring out the.. "stringent" in all of us, I think.

        And no, you certainly do not come off as curt, and thank you for your contribution.

        1. re: shanagain

          And with posts & e-mails, you really cannot tell the tone or inflection of one's voice, which can really make a difference in how someone says something...which is why I try to qualify some of my posts with "gently suggesting" if I think it could be taken the wrong way. I would agree in general that outright "meanness" is not tolerated here.

      2. I think Chowhound is pretty good compared to many sites out there. But you'll always get a few snarky people as it's easy to be an ass when you've got anonymity on your side.

        Have you ever checked out midtownlunch.com? Now, this is one of the reasons why I'm glad that CH is moderated (though I also have reasons why I don't like moderation). Every Tuesday they profile different people and many of the posters end up making fun of them -- everything from their looks to the their dining preferences. Some of the posts are quite creepy as well.

        http://midtownlunch.com/2009/01/13/pr...
        http://midtownlunch.com/2009/02/17/pr...

        2 Replies
        1. re: Miss Needle

          Brutal. Compared to that, Chowhound is a meadow filled with kittens & puppies. And perhaps the occasional dumb dog '-P

          1. re: Miss Needle

            Ouch, like the YouTube or tmz of food discussions.

            I have to admit, I suppose I am sheltered. I tend to gravitate toward forums where the "condescension" is generated toward "issues" - not people - and since Chowhound is so user-driven (admission - I joined years ago, and as such, I tend not to read the "fluff" that is Chow.com - just good old chowhound) perhaps I'm just, what.. too nice?

          2. I've read a few of the threads on your profile, but haven't been able to find what it was that so deeply offended you. On the other hand, I've found plenty of comments by you about how you don't like people's attitude on the site. If you'd care to provide some examples, it would be easier to respond intelligently.

            That said, it's true that people here tend to be fairly well-informed, and some don't suffer fools lightly. If you make a factually inaccurate statement here, there's a decent chance someone will point out that you're wrong. If you voice an opinion as though it's gospel truth, somebody will probably point out that others have different points of view. And if your post is culturally insensitive, you can expect an objection to that.

            But that's constructive dialogue. This site is moderated, and seriously mean and snarky posts aren't allowed. Personal attacks tend to be removed immediately, and the mods won't even tolerate a sarcastic reply to a patently stupid question (eg, one New Yorker's request for recommendations in light of the fact that "San Francisco isn't much of a food city...")

            If you're offended by disagreement, you're in the wrong place. But while there are plenty of members who believe the site is too strictly moderated, AFAIK there are very few who think that the dialogue needs to be toned down.

            If this is "the meanest site you visit," you've either got a distorted perception of Chowhound or you need to expand your horizons past Club Penguin.

            3 Replies
            1. re: alanbarnes

              No, I'm not offended, actually, and didn't base it on anything that's been said to "me" - it's just this general tone that is... well, mean.

              There's a condescending tone that seems to discourage new, or let's say "less savvy" posters, IMO - though Science knows I'm just too thick to take that personally. And don't think I don't have my moments - since you've been mining my postings for material, I'm sure you found my enchilada thread. ;)

              And honestly, my gut reaction to your post was kind of funny - perhaps whatever Club Penguin is, you need to check it out. Or maybe I do - I do tend to focus on the positives in life, and yeah, I'll say it, I'm just usually considered "nice." I know, it's one of many online sins!

              1. re: shanagain

                Mining is hard work. I glanced at a couple of things to see if there was an obvious cause for your post, and didn't find one. As for enchiladas, I've got my own opinions...

                But I disagree with your claim that there's a general "condescending tone." Newbies here -myself included - tend to be welcomed with open arms if they're offering opinions that are stated as such or asking open-ended questions.

                There are exceptions to this rule. Some are inexcusable. An innocent question by someone who isn't terribly well-informed should generate basic responses, not condescension. But an arrogant first post by an obviously clueless person whose fixed opinions obviously outweigh any desire to share information may be entitled to less deference.

                There's nothing wrong with being nice. I like nice people, and try to be one most of the time. But spirited discussion can be fun, too.

                1. re: shanagain

                  I consider myself to have a pretty thick skin in 'real" life. I've been accused of being a mean girl and I can definitely do snarky. But there are times when I'm reading a thread and have a question or thought and don't post because I see certain posters on the thread and really don't care to read their opinion of me.

              2. I don't think it's mean once the moderators remove offending posts, and they do a very good job of it- However, people do post mean things, quite often it seems, and that does require the mods to step in pretty frequently. What can I say? I'm on chowhound a lot and I feel as though I see a lot of these posts before they are removed, so yes, sometimes the tone does feel "mean", but not for long.

                So I kind of agree, and it kind of boggles my mind why anyone would want to be so mean and snarky as some of the posts I see, pre-deletion. Especially those posters that continue to post again and again, harping on the same personal attack, just to get constantly deleted. I'll obviously never know, but it makes me wonder what goes through someone's head to be so persistent about something so unkind, while obviously being told not to keep doing it!

                1 Reply
                1. re: mjhals

                  oh, and I'll totally cop to going back to those threads w/ comments that keep getting deleted. It's like a trainwreck- hard not to look, but that probably doesn't speak well of my self-restraint.