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CHOW does it again

jen kalb Dec 29, 2010 07:54 AM

I cant be the only one who finds references to excrement in headlines on our food site disgusting.
what kind of audience is chow seeking?

  1. h
    HillJ Dec 29, 2010 04:42 PM

    I'm with you jen k... apparently the same folks enjoying RuBo's advice column. http://www.chow.com/food-news/69222/a...

    I'm confused by the written tone/technique of these "stories" wrapped as food comedy. I'm confused by the remarks that defend one tone on CHOW and another for the CH community.

    But, if the CH community and CHOW mag are two entirely different camps why do we even discuss CHOW on the CH Site Board? Maybe CHOW should have it's own suggestion box.

    9 Replies
    1. re: HillJ
      Chris VR Dec 29, 2010 07:56 PM

      Until a recent site re-design, there were two boards, Site Talk for Chowhound discussion, and CHOW Feedback for CHOW-specific discussion. I think there was a lot of confusion about which parts of the site were CHOW and which were Chowhound (especially after the URLs were switched over to chowhound.chow.com). Oh wait, maybe there were 3 boards? I remember one for technical issues too, although maybe that was just when the new site was introduced and were were all still trying to figure it out? So yeah, it's probably easier to have it all in one place now.

      Personally I don't find it confusing to have different modus operandi- CHOW is an online magazine, Chowhound is a discussion board, and I don't see much problem with different standards being applied to a one-way article versus a series of two-way conversation, for one thing.

      RuBo does NOTHING for me, but I can't say I'm particularly bothered by it there in the sidebar. I just ignore it. I can see why CHOW wants a bit of sensationalism in their headlines- it obviously has some appeal based on the 13 "tweets" and 52 Facebook "Likes" in the little widget thingy on the left, but I think CHOW has a pretty different audience than Chowhound, for the most part. These kids today with their Tweets and Likes do seem to require more punchy, edgy eye-catching teasers to get their attention... I don't just mean here, but on the web in general.

      1. re: Chris VR
        HillJ Dec 30, 2010 05:10 AM

        hey CVR. When I said confused I didn't mean I didn't understand the layout-in all it's configurations. I''ve been here reading & watching from the beginning of CH time. I'm not a CH historian but I do care.

        What confuzzles me is the decision, thought process behind supporting new writers and new approaches with snark tones and harsher language. The RuBo column and other stories recently have had more comments about tone than content. CH's voice their offense over sexist ads, errors, flames, etc. Now a writer for CHOW is taking many of those issues CH's are told not to use to pump up the volume on their column, a column that makes no sense. What purpose does it serve? How does it support the manifesto?

        Sure, I/we are all capable of ignoring material of all kinds but aren't we "allowed" to question the choices? Aren't the powers that decide ultimately looking to achieve a reliable, chow-friendly audience and engage discussion? RuBo's new column throws around plenty of flames (and if this is the "new" humor, count me as a non-believer) but readers aren't suppose to react in the same manner?

        So, yeah, I'm scratching my head. And, fwiw I think the suggestion box for CHOW should be over on the CHOW side of the site where it can be heard and considered.

        1. re: HillJ
          Chris VR Dec 30, 2010 05:21 AM

          No, I get what you mean about being confused about why CHOW and Chowhound have different standards, and I think you and I have had our differences of opinion on this in the past. And I don't mean to say you don't have a right to be confused, I just don't personally find it confusing. The two are different entities, so in my mind, different standards for two different types of media (magazine vs. forum) does make sense to me. I just look at it as product differentiation.

          But I do appreciate that having two media with the same look and feel, at the same chow.com domain, with two different goals and standards could definitely be confusing.

          1. re: Chris VR
            HillJ Dec 30, 2010 05:23 AM

            And to the newcomer and general online population they are one & the same site.

            1. re: HillJ
              Chris VR Dec 30, 2010 05:36 AM

              I agree that it looks that way, but it's not, and anyone who spends time here can figure out pretty quickly that the two don't even operate the same way (comments on CHOW stories don't thread in the way Chowhound discussions do, for example, and Chowhound threads don't look like CHOW articles- no byline, and a different look and feel with graphics and fonts.)

              There definitely seems to be a desire to cross-promote CHOW on Chowhound, via the sidebar promos. The cross promotion of Chowhound on CHOW is not as strong- it's not in the sidebar, and is only done via one of four sections in the links at the bottom of the page.

              I think, what it comes down to is this: forums don't make money. Magazines do. This forum would close if that magazine wasn't making money, so if ads in the sidebar draw eyes (and revenue) to CHOW and keep the lights on at Chowhound, it's something I can live with.

              1. re: Chris VR
                HillJ Dec 30, 2010 05:48 AM

                No argument on keeping the lights on. RuBo et al columns, reporting of this nature are not ads. Welcoming people who will stick around as you've described should be the goal of both sides of the site. Again, no argument. It's not about living with it for me either Chris. I'm disappointed in the lack of quality...bad steak.

                1. re: HillJ
                  JonParker Jan 1, 2011 03:14 AM

                  The most offensive thing about RuBo to me is not the language, but that it's taking a (very) mildly amusing joke and running it into the ground. I would feel differently if it actually made me laugh.

                  1. re: JonParker
                    jen kalb Jan 1, 2011 06:06 AM

                    here the language doesnt bother me - sex and food run together (tho a sprinkling of fucks seems to have more to do with aggression and emphasis than sex) - but the low humor content is disheartening - why would anyone look at RuBo more than once?

                    1. re: jen kalb
                      rose water Jan 12, 2011 08:59 AM

                      so well said, jen!

    2. s
      sedimental Dec 29, 2010 08:51 PM

      I am not offended by it, I am not opposed to using the f-bomb in humor, I like sarcasm.....but, I just don't think it is *that* funny. Some of it kind of makes me smile a bit, but it's not laugh out loud funny (or even chuckle out loud funny) to me.....okay, the "ice in the freezer" schtick was clever......

      Some Chowhounds are funnier than RuBo. Maybe they should have just "let us rip" and give all the snarkey "advice" we wanted with no mods....now THAT would be more entertaining!!!!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: sedimental
        onceadaylily Dec 30, 2010 05:15 PM

        A chowhounders on chow advice column. A separate section with a posted question, a submission process, and a few choice answers selected. That would have been a good time, and a nice way to integrate the two sites.

        And I agree: I do *not* mind what we now are compelled to call the f-bomb, but the advice in the new column just isn't very funny, or really useful. I had hopes that it would be both, and wish the writer had done that.

        That said, I'm not yet judging what Chow does to pay 'our' bills on CH. I meander through my food talk with mentions of my cat, and recently mentioned bird poop. I don't think I *can* throw language requirements at a site I gladly frequent.

      2. MplsM ary Dec 30, 2010 01:34 AM

        I use extensions like Remove it Permanently or AdBlock to block things I don't want to see within a domain. Lately I've pretty much wiped out the right hand column within Chow.

        3 Replies
        1. re: MplsM ary
          jfood Jan 2, 2011 02:49 PM

          Okeedokee...please tell me how that works.

          1. re: jfood
            MplsM ary Jan 2, 2011 03:29 PM

            Chrome's AdBlock works best, You just right click and it'll guide you through the blocking process. Remove it Permanently (for Firefox) has varying success with text and I find I need to either repeat the process over and over again to block the offending text or just wipe out the whole column. I ended up blocking the whole column but you can undo the blocking.

            1. re: MplsM ary
              jfood Jan 2, 2011 04:50 PM


        2. y
          yfunk3 Dec 30, 2010 05:09 AM

          I just see that and RuthBo's columns as CHOW trying to reach further to demographics that aren't "traditionally" attracted to gourmet/foodie/whatever-you-want-to-call-it content. In the end, it's all about attracting advertisers, and that requires proof that you can attract the right demographics. Not necessarily a bad thing, as everyone needs to make a living. It's just a change and trying to get new people and groups attached to the CHOW site and brand. Easy to ignore if you don't like it, and if it becomes too much for some, then there's nothing forcing anyone to stay and read CHOW or post on the boards. I think it's just a matter of CHOW doing what basically every for-profit company does: risking losing a handful of long-time members in the hopes that they'll attract many more new ones.

          20 Replies
          1. re: yfunk3
            HillJ Dec 30, 2010 01:38 PM

            That's so interesting. The ads run for the entire site, not for one writers column, yes? The content is for the site audience, yes? Well so far dozens of people visiting this site have commented on the new column-not the ads, not the site- but on the writer's tone. So I don't follow how ads factor in one way or another. I'll move on & time will tell if this new approach has a big audience and if the style of writing speaks to the NEW community. Remember Waiter Rant....yeah, that books in the remainder pile for .98.

            I don't see the appeal of filling space just to fill space. I'd rather see another ad placement keeping the lights on.

            :) Just 2 cents.

            1. re: HillJ
              yfunk3 Dec 30, 2010 04:52 PM

              One controversial article brings people to your site. The more hits you get on a site, the more you can tell an advertiser that you get so many hits per month, etc...so the more you can get to put ads on your site. Simple business transactions. Ads are what make the money for the employees of CHOW, not the people who read the actual articles or who post on Chowhound regularly because it's all free for us. We factor as a commodity, as "bragging rights" for CHOW to show its advertisers that they are worth investing money in. In return, CHOW keeps this site and the forums free for everyone, longtime member or not.

              You are arguing about your personal preference for what you want CHOW to stay/be, which unfortunately is a consequence of CHOW's personal financial goal(s). I am just saying that I see it differently and that CHOW is allowed to change whatever it wants in order to try to do what every other blog/website/etc. on the interwebs is doing. You're looking at it personally, in a "I don't like this change" way, while CHOW needs to think in a "how can we keep this site running and relevant?" way.

              1. re: yfunk3
                HillJ Dec 30, 2010 05:06 PM

                CH's have been "arguing" about their personal preferences for this site for years. Every time the site goes through a change this Board is busy. Gosh...avatar-no avatar, white or grey backgrounds, font size, what dictates a Board, ratings-no ratings, etc. The community shares their opinions. And yes, I shared a peeve over the tone of a new CHOW writer.

                Of course CHOW is allowed to do whatever they want and I fully expect them to. But if CH's opinion didn't matter where would this site be? I agree the size of community membership puts advertisers in the room. Plenty of Site topics have covered suggestions for keeping the site running and relevant.

                As the OP asked and I commented..some change should be rethought.

                what is so wonderful about a string of comments like this?

                1. re: HillJ
                  yfunk3 Dec 31, 2010 08:35 AM

                  And as I said before in my first post on this thread, CHOW is willing to take the risk of losing some older members in order to gain more new ones that might just stick around for a bit, canceling out those who "left".

                  I'm not saying CHOW is completely ignoring its existing members, but I'm sure the people running both sites know what they're doing and know it's not exactly a "disaster" on their level like it is on the personal level of the members who don't like changes to anything on this site. CHOW can't address every single member's personal grievance with a particular issue and make everyone happy. The "tone" complaints are most likely a serious minority rather than anything significant. It's just that people who don't mind the "tone" aren't exactly going to post new threads saying, "I have no strong feelings about it one way or the other and don't really mind!"

                  1. re: yfunk3
                    HillJ Dec 31, 2010 08:43 AM

                    Who knows. I was speaking for myself and the observations, both sour & supportive, posted by fellow CH's. Site Board is the place for such discussion.
                    Thanks for your voice too yfunk3.

                    1. re: HillJ
                      JonParker Jan 1, 2011 03:23 AM

                      The thing is that Chow does have some content that's appealing to that demographic and is actually clever and funny. I'd give Supertaster as an example. I'm not sure I'd eat any of the stuff that James Norton does, but I love reading about it.

                      More actually good stuff along those lines and less "What if Ruth Reichl and Anthony Bourdain were the same person" crap, which has all the appeal of one of those "imaginary stories" that DC comics used to do that always left you feeling gypped in the end.

                      1. re: JonParker
                        HillJ Jan 1, 2011 05:14 AM

                        Absolutely. Bring on the content & tone we've all come to enjoy (more) and give RuBo the right vehicle to entertain. Is an advice column about food issues the right vehicle?

                        I'd also like to see CHOW create a suggestion box/board of their own so that site visitors like us can direct their questions to the staffers working hard to make CHOW a great online magazine. Instead the comment section of the RuBo articles is being used by all of us as a suggestion box.

                        1. re: HillJ
                          davina Jan 3, 2011 11:41 AM

                          The Site Talk board is the right place for all these discussions -- the CHOW folks and the Chowhound folks all read it. And we do read the comments section on the stories, too.

                          And, for what it's worth, we hear the complaints, but we do stand behind the decision to run RuBo. She's not for everyone, that's understood. But for now it's a short-term column while Helena/Table Manners is on maternity leave.

                          1. re: davina
                            HillJ Jan 3, 2011 11:48 AM

                            hi davina, thank you for your helpful response! I appreciate knowing the suggestions, comments and support posted here is reaching the intended audience.

                            1. re: davina
                              Chris VR Jan 3, 2011 12:46 PM

                              I think the problem that's getting people riled up is not that RuBo exists, but that objectionable information can't be avoided. There's a difference between people choosing not to search out RuBo and "Craptails", and being confronted with the story teasers when a page loads.

                              BTW I'd love to see more of this sort of article http://www.chow.com/food-news/69604/y...

                              1. re: Chris VR
                                HillJ Jan 3, 2011 01:05 PM

                                While acknowledging the issues of story placement, some of us were also responding to tone and content, Chris VR. Both here on Site Board and in the comment section of RuBo's column site visitors have explained every reason they are disappointed.

                                The Food Media piece was an interesting read!

                                1. re: Chris VR
                                  c oliver Jan 3, 2011 03:18 PM

                                  I agree with you, Chris. Keep the trash off CH and I'll continue to ignore CHOW. I use 'bad' words with great aplomb (IMHO!) but I'd rather not be forced to see them. It's moronic. And RuBo? A one trick pony who's already outlived any humorous inclination on the part of the author. Beyond moronic.

                                  1. re: c oliver
                                    MplsM ary Jan 3, 2011 03:21 PM

                                    Is that then momoronic? Hanging head in shame.

                                    1. re: MplsM ary
                                      c oliver Jan 3, 2011 03:24 PM


                                      1. re: MplsM ary
                                        mcf Jan 16, 2011 02:23 PM

                                        To your ROOM!

                              2. re: JonParker
                                HillJ Jan 1, 2011 01:09 PM

                                Supertaster grew on me over time. James takes a bullet for the food curious with good humor and although I have rarely seen let alone tried the food stuffs he uncovers (and reader comments of his column are also sour to supportive) you gotta give props to the guy for being curious and sharing the food finds.

                    2. re: yfunk3
                      HillJ Dec 31, 2010 06:27 AM


                      what's so charming about 91 reactions to tone?

                      1. re: HillJ
                        Servorg Dec 31, 2010 06:59 AM

                        Keep in mind that those who find something offensive are much more likely to comment publicly than those who enjoy it. This is especially true when all it takes is the click of a mouse (rather than putting pen to paper, finding an envelop and a stamp of the right denomination and locating one of the last remaining street letter boxes still in existence...).

                        1. re: Servorg
                          HillJ Dec 31, 2010 07:28 AM

                          Adding a comment box at the end of any online article encourages this form of communication reply. Ask any newspaper! Trying call it in...mail, what's that?!

                          A hilarious remark Servorg given the writer RuBo is a fictional mashup sharing f-bombs dressed as humor.

                          And, a very happy & healthy New Year to all!

                          1. re: HillJ
                            Servorg Dec 31, 2010 07:46 AM

                            Happy New Year to you and all the hounds, who make my day brighter by their participation in this food "mashup" of America, Canada, Mexico, the UK, South America, Europe, Asia and "elsewhere" in the World.

                    3. erikschwarz Dec 31, 2010 07:48 AM

                      The "Craptail" piece? More lame than offensive. Dorothy Parker and S.J. Perelman, you are missed!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: erikschwarz
                        jen kalb Dec 31, 2010 09:49 PM

                        lame absolutely. if it had been hilarious or fascinating I might have let it go despite my dislike for scatalogical humor here.

                        I hate to think the chow authors have so little to say that they need to draw clicks with this sort of header. does the site really want an audience of people who might be interested in what a "craptail" is? The mind boggles.

                        1. re: erikschwarz
                          greygarious Jan 2, 2011 02:31 PM

                          Lamely offensive, and lazy - blue language is the cheapest (quality, not cost) way to a laugh.
                          Even the New Yorker's standards for writing and proofreading have become lax (recently they printed the lizard species as "gekko"). Maintaining standards is becoming impossible. Because institutions small and large no longer consider them important., those who know them are akin to artisans of arcane crafts or the last speakers of a dying language.

                        2. JuniorBalloon Dec 31, 2010 09:00 AM

                          As you may have noticed, if you've read some of my posts, I'm not averse to foul language. Doesn't bother me at all. Lame writing, regardless of the words used, is still lame. Rubo apparently has some appeal. Shock value I suppose. I predict it will wear off and the thin joke that is the basis for this column will dry up and roll off like the disheveled tumbleweed that is Rubo. Prickly and not particularly useful.

                          Good day.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: JuniorBalloon
                            Servorg Dec 31, 2010 09:02 AM

                            "I'm not averse to foul language."

                            I'm verse to fowl language. Flip me the bird, fried or baked or sauteed and I'm a Happy Hound.

                            1. re: Servorg
                              JuniorBalloon Dec 31, 2010 09:30 AM

                              :) Nice.


                          2. k
                            kevin47 Dec 31, 2010 10:03 PM

                            You know how bad prime time TV is beningly uninteresting, but annoying nonetheless? Like, you don't have to watch it, and you understand that fact intellectually, but you're still pissed that it exists, because it has its own way of imposing itself on your domain?

                            There is no way in dickens that feature is attracting new readers. Not ones who have money, anyway. It is cringe-inducingly uninteresting, and it makes the site not work appropriate for most people who do have money to join Sprint.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: kevin47
                              ipsedixit Dec 31, 2010 10:09 PM

                              It is cringe-inducingly uninteresting, and it makes the site not work appropriate for most people who do have money to join Sprint.

                              Where do you work?

                              I find it hard to fathom that a faux word like "Craptails" is not work safe.

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                kevin47 Jan 1, 2011 10:05 PM

                                Referring to the F-word, which is right on the sidebar. I'm not worried about my workplace (we don't even ban guns or alcohol, much less cussing) but for those who have a grown up job, it's hard to explain that your favorite food discussion board uses foul language.

                                1. re: kevin47
                                  ipsedixit Jan 2, 2011 09:56 AM

                                  If you are talking about the RuBo article, I think that's still pretty minor. You can come across vulgarity just running a typical Google search.

                                  If a person's workplace is really that senstive, then I think that person shouldn't be posting on a discussion board -- any board -- to begin with.

                            2. h
                              HillJ Jan 4, 2011 03:37 PM

                              play the You Tube video.
                              Now this is humor!

                              1. steve h. Jan 6, 2011 04:37 PM

                                Who, or what, is a RuBo?

                                34 Replies
                                1. re: steve h.
                                  Servorg Jan 6, 2011 04:40 PM

                                  Assuming you are not joking: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7462...

                                  1. re: Servorg
                                    steve h. Jan 6, 2011 04:42 PM

                                    Not kidding, didn't know.

                                    1. re: steve h.
                                      c oliver Jan 6, 2011 04:46 PM

                                      You've missed less than nothing. Momoronic.

                                      1. re: c oliver
                                        HillJ Jan 6, 2011 04:53 PM

                                        Yeah, I'm still laughing over the term "oldster" directed to those of us less than amused by the new CHOW column.

                                        1. re: HillJ
                                          steve h. Jan 6, 2011 04:56 PM

                                          Sound like RuBo is not click-worthy.

                                          1. re: steve h.
                                            HillJ Jan 6, 2011 05:02 PM

                                            in the mood for a new-cool education, click away. if not, you've got friends in oldster-land :)

                                            1. re: HillJ
                                              steve h. Jan 6, 2011 05:12 PM

                                              New is good if it's both witty and insightful.
                                              Is it?

                                              1. re: steve h.
                                                HillJ Jan 6, 2011 05:14 PM

                                                I don't think so but other CH's are loving the strong language and snarky tone. Frankly, I just don't "get it" and I have a wonderful sense of humor....so steve h. you'll have to decide for yourself :)

                                                1. re: HillJ
                                                  c oliver Jan 6, 2011 05:20 PM

                                                  I listened to Bourdain read his book Kitchen Confidential and laughed hysterically. This "column" is just stupid. And the f-word is just gratuitous. I think it takes at least a modicum of skill to use the word and not sound like a preteen.

                                            2. re: steve h.
                                              jfood Jan 6, 2011 06:24 PM

                                              It is only click worthy if your identical twin brother also has the intelligence of an avocado. They were shooting for the lowest common denominator and undershot by a mile.

                                              1. re: jfood
                                                steve h. Jan 6, 2011 06:29 PM

                                                that's what I figured.

                                                1. re: steve h.
                                                  steve h. Jan 7, 2011 04:09 PM

                                                  I clicked on the RuBo link for the first time just now.
                                                  The column doesn't work for me. A potty-mouth blogger with limited writing skills has limited appeal. Humor? Insight?? Nowhere to be found.
                                                  The androgynous RuBo has exceeded its shelf life.

                                                  1. re: steve h.
                                                    c oliver Jan 7, 2011 05:27 PM

                                                    Good. You get to play in MY sandbox.

                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                      HillJ Jan 7, 2011 08:27 PM

                                                      I actually took time to read CHOW cover to cover. At one point I did enjoy many of the features. But the latest entry of RuBo and some of the new articles have begun to turn me off. So potty mouth aside, it's just lost something for me.

                                                      1. re: HillJ
                                                        c oliver Jan 8, 2011 06:43 AM

                                                        That etiquette column that RuBo is replacing is stupid also, IMO. And I actually read the article about WF making one a lazy cook which again is ludicrous. Yes, you can buy prepared foods, breakfast lunch and dinner. But I can buy things there that I don't have access to otherwise and there be a more ambitious cook. CHOW must have its demographic but I don't know why we have to see it on CH, whether we're looking for it of not.

                                                        1. re: c oliver
                                                          HillJ Jan 8, 2011 06:47 AM

                                                          c o, I'm right there w/ya. I don't usually feel clueless or hell bent on making a point unless I'm urked to the point of WHY (if you follow what I mean). Head banging is not my fav vice...so, what can I do 'cept rebuff.

                                                          1. re: c oliver
                                                            Servorg Jan 8, 2011 06:47 AM

                                                            "CHOW must have its demographic but I don't know why we have to see it on CH, whether we're looking for it of not."

                                                            It's the price we pay for not paying a price to keep this site (CH) up and running (as we used to do back in the pre-C/Net & CBS days).

                                                            1. re: Servorg
                                                              HillJ Jan 8, 2011 06:51 AM

                                                              The old good with the bad scenario huh, Servorg.
                                                              We've never paid for the site....and the quality we all came to enjoy was top notch and always clever. It didn't aim to separate demographics....which seems, even a little bit, to be happening intended or not. Community separation doesn't seem odd?

                                                              1. re: HillJ
                                                                Servorg Jan 8, 2011 06:57 AM

                                                                "We've never paid for the site"

                                                                I know I have (well "had" is more accurate at this point) a few hundred dollars which were paid for my enjoyment of CH back in the Jim-Bob days when it looked like the lights were going to go "out" permanently. And some (with a bow to David Kahn) paid a lot more than I did.

                                                                1. re: Servorg
                                                                  HillJ Jan 8, 2011 07:04 AM

                                                                  My apologies. I didn't mean donations. Respectfully stand corrected. My reference was a membership fee to Chowhound. J bought the CH book :) Does volunteering to move threads from one Board to another count? We volunteered for that gig last year and happy to do so.

                                                                  1. re: HillJ
                                                                    Servorg Jan 8, 2011 07:24 AM

                                                                    Jim never, ever called those payments "donations" and went out of his way to tell us what was going on with CH being in "ICU" and saying that each of us should think about what value we put on the enjoyment we got out of reading and posting on CH, and to "pay for value received" - so I always considered any money I paid for assisting in the continuation of CH money well spent.

                                                                    But now we have this free resource. If that means RuBo is throwing a few F bombs or what have you, I'm not going to "bite the hand that feeds me" (keeping this as Chow-centric as possible). ;-D>

                                                                    1. re: Servorg
                                                                      HillJ Jan 8, 2011 07:29 AM

                                                                      It was money well spent and always a free resource, CH to CH. No one is biting the hand...thanks.

                                                              2. re: Servorg
                                                                c oliver Jan 8, 2011 06:52 AM

                                                                So CHOW is trying to draw CHs to ITS site? Seems like it ought to be the other way around. I don't understand the benefit.

                                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                                  HillJ Jan 8, 2011 06:55 AM

                                                                  At work we would call that pecking order and the only diff btwn wearing a staff (compensated) and volunteer (unpaid) hat in support of the company. It was always my understanding that CHOW was the main/parent site and CH the community.

                                                                  1. re: c oliver
                                                                    Servorg Jan 8, 2011 07:42 AM

                                                                    Chowhound came with a large, built in audience/participants. When CHOW got created it was with the aim to have a more "commercial" side accessible to the community and more hits on that side meant/means more lucrative advertising dollars supporting our "discussion" side.

                                                                    1. re: Servorg
                                                                      c oliver Jan 8, 2011 08:58 AM

                                                                      Thanks for the education, Servorg. I'm quite young in Chow-years (unlike real life). So, if the goal is to draw people from CH to CHOW then couldn't they at least change "fucking" to "effing" or "freakin'"? And perhaps feature articles on CH pages that aren't quite as bottomfeeder-ish? And maybe not have Easter recipes at Thanksgiving??? It just seems like whoever is captaining that ship is lost at sea alot of the time. If their goal is to draw readership to CHOW, then why continue to shoot themselves in that particular foot?

                                                                      1. re: c oliver
                                                                        Servorg Jan 8, 2011 09:08 AM

                                                                        It may be all about preferred demographics. While they want to see the potential built in CH readership come over to CHOW to give it an immediate boost the long term readership that they are looking for may well be "younger" and more "hip" (whatever those labels actually mean I have not a clue) who end up actually spending their credit limits on things that they will find on CHOW.

                                                                        1. re: Servorg
                                                                          c oliver Jan 8, 2011 09:48 AM

                                                                          So the "younger" and the "hip" prefer "fuck" to any semblance of discretion. Interesting. I have 31 and 33 y.o. daughters with husbands and friends about the same age. They tend not to throw those words around. I think it's more the type of person than the age of person. Perhaps Chowhound would like to add some input to this part so we DO know what their goal is. It's difficult knowing what the boss wants if the boss doesn't tell us. It's been proven that this isn't a democracy and that's fine but I believe communication from all parties would help.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver
                                                                            Servorg Jan 8, 2011 09:52 AM

                                                                            You have to figure that the goal is always the same. Build readership/hits and get more and higher paying advertisers. You also must figure that CBS has the metrics to back up their choices of columnists (and what sort of material those writers are bringing with them). It's all about money.

                                                                            1. re: Servorg
                                                                              c oliver Jan 8, 2011 10:01 AM

                                                                              I guess they're not going to say "We don't give a damn about quality. It's all about the money. People don't want quality obviously. Look at the dreck on TV." As someone mentioned above, maybe I should buy the software that would let me block the junk. I've trained myself on CH to avert my eyes more than I thought I ever could so maybe THIS will be MY New Year's resolution.
                                                                              (I remember reading USA Today as being a "new depth of shallow." Just saying:) )

                                                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                                                steve h. Jan 8, 2011 10:46 AM

                                                                                RuBo won't be getting any further clicks from me (not that it cares).

                                                                                Cathie Black was both president and publisher of USA Today. She just replaced Joel Klein as chancellor of New York City Schools. I'm not sure I know what to make of this development.

                                                                            2. re: c oliver
                                                                              iluvtennis Jan 10, 2011 02:43 PM

                                                                              I'm under 30 and most definitely do not prefer that kind of content. I just want good content, and at times, i find throwing those words around slightly off-putting. That's just me, and most of the people i run with share a similar opinion. I don't know who they're trying to entice with the RuBo type columns, but it's not working on this young person...i don't know, maybe i'm just not "hip" enough?

                                                                              1. re: iluvtennis
                                                                                c oliver Jan 10, 2011 03:12 PM

                                                                                Thanks for speaking up, ilt. It would help if they at least kept 'those words' out of the titles. There's plenty of swearing on cable TV but, to my knowledge, it's not in the names of the shows. Could CHOW at least compromise a tiny bit without betraying their journalistic integrity??? (That was total sarcasm in case anyone wasn't clear about that.) Oh, and I noticed the sex and yogurt one. Didn't read it but just another dumb down IMO.

                                                                                Okey dokey, so it's not the young people they're trying to appeal to and it's not us old farts. And I don't remember seeing anyone post here that they just love the stupid articles and the 'bad' language. But, ya know, when I look at the lineup on TV and then see CHOW, it kinda all goes together. Makes paying that DirecTV bill a little easier.

                                                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                                                  steve h. Jan 10, 2011 03:19 PM

                                                                                  My take is that the RuBo thing was just a dumb, low-level decision.
                                                                                  Ignore it and it will go away.

                                          2. h
                                            HillJ Jan 8, 2011 10:20 AM

                                            As I tried to say upthread, I don't believe CH aims to separate demographics....which seems, even a little bit, to be happening intended or not on CH lately and appears to be affecting the readership both pro and con. Community separation doesn't seem odd to anyone? Servorg, you appear to have more background info regarding CH history. I only consider myself a consumer here in the eyes of the suits and the disappointment we've been discussing throughout this thread may not matter to anyone at CBS but I do believe enough contributors to CH have voiced their own views for the referenced change in story tone & content on CHOW to matter to CHOW staff. Nuff said from me, time to make soup!

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: HillJ
                                              jen kalb Jan 10, 2011 02:20 PM

                                              we all like to see CHOW succeed and Id even like to be able to read it! Higher quality content and truly good and amusing writing is what will draw a readership in their "preferred demographic" - like my 20 something kids, in addition to chowhounds. The kids seem to have much more sophistication and interest re food than we did at their age..

                                              1. re: jen kalb
                                                HillJ Jan 10, 2011 03:00 PM

                                                jen, as you can see, I agree with you and others. Thank you for starting the lively thread, it's been an interesting read. One I shared with my 20 year old... which led to some delightful conversations about perception and creative writing. RuBo is no Charles Bukowski.

                                                1. re: jen kalb
                                                  jfood Jan 10, 2011 03:55 PM

                                                  I agree JK, my 20-something foodie-newbie daughter would love to see higher quality articles on this site.

                                              2. c oliver Jan 16, 2011 02:01 PM

                                                Check out this headline:


                                                Is that young and hip? It's gratuitous and has nothing to do with the article which btw, IMO, is beyond weak and harhsly judgmental towards the homeless.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                  HillJ Jan 16, 2011 02:16 PM

                                                  is really fun to interact with customers. They want to ask you questions about the food. A lot of people ask, "Is it organic?" Yes. "Did you make it yourself?" It'd be pretty sad if we were out here with this truck and didn't make it ourselves, but yes. We get a lot of joking comments about do we sell drugs out of the ice cream truck? I guess the Mister Softee trucks were notorious for selling drugs along with the ice cream. But no. No drugs. We talk a lot about doing a secret menu that's booze-related, maybe fruit soaked in booze as a topping or something, it wouldn't even be enough to give you a buzz but hey, if it seems illicit to a mom pushing a stroller, she might buy it.

                                                2. c oliver Jan 23, 2011 02:08 PM

                                                  Ah, here's one that just screams Chow-worthiness, eh?

                                                  "» Sexually Confusing Colombian Hooters Commercial"

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