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Where did this +1 , -1 rating for posts come from?

I must be an old geezer, but I find it a bit annoying to see people's comments consist of nothing but a rating agreeing or disagreeing with a previous post, like ice skating judges or something. If that's all you have to say, then why even bother?
Is this a product of our modern culture that I seem to have missed?
(wouldn't be the first)

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      1. re: bbqboy

        LOL linga is your anti-Wing man

      2. re: linguafood

        Perfect response lingua! ;-)

        bbqboy, I think it's the Chowhound version of clicking the "Like" button on Facebook, except that here on Chowhound they've done it one better by being able to use the negative sign as well. There's no "dislike" button on Facebook, even though everyone seems to want one. I think this is definitely a product of our modern culture as you say. I was a little annoyed by it at first too but have gotten used to it. Love that you've pointed it out and questioned it!

      3. It seems to have evolved as a shorthand for ditto.

        1. Since chowhound doesn't offer a like/dislike, or thumbs-up/thumbs-down option as seen on some other sites, users are improvising. I actually prefer the +1 or -1 notations to "LOL!"

          1. I find it to be good. What if you want to agree and really can't add anything more. You could say "Agreed" or "Concur" (which I have used) or simply +1.

            -1 to me is rather stupid because if you don't agree, 'splain yourself.


            9 Replies
            1. re: Davwud

              "What if you want to agree and really can't add anything more."

              Then you can always pick my preferred option. No posted reply...

                1. re: Servorg

                  Or you can put +1. This way you can see that more than one person agrees with the opinion. If you don't reply, it's one persons unsubstantiated opinion.


                  1. re: Davwud

                    Personally I hate opening a thread, especially a long one and seeing nothing except for a "+1". I think we can assume that all opinions on this site are agreed with by more than one person, so a +1 doesn't really tell me anything I didn't know beforehand.

                    I believe it originated from slashdot.org... at least that's where I first saw it.

                    1. re: Chris VR

                      I see your +1 hatred and raise you one LOL, by which I mean it exasperates me no end to open a long thread and find that someone has merely found an earlier post hilarious. But! If it's a post of mine that's being +1'd or LOL'd, I'm less annoyed. So consider that there's probably one person who's happy to see these reply-lites.

                        1. re: joonjoon

                          Hah! Now I don't know whether I'm being mocked or encouraged. Internet ambiguity: you're doing it right.

                        2. re: Chris VR

                          I hate it as well. If I'm taking the time to open a long thread only to find a "+1", "ditto" or "lol", it takes less time to report it to have it removed.

                  2. I've only used +1 to say: "me too"...but I've never used -1.

                    1. its not just from chow...
                      its been around as long as i can remember
                      and yes it basically means either i agree or dont agree with your post

                      it can also be called power posting when used on forums...if thats all u post as a reply its not nice...

                      1. This has recently become a thing on Chowhound, and while we're not moderating it yet, we'd really prefer it not become a big trend, especially when it comes to -1, which seems dismissive and not in keeping with the friendliness of the conversation on Chowhound.

                        If you have something to add to a thread, please do go ahead and make your case, but if all you've got to add is a +/- 1, that's a post you can safely skip making.

                        -- Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

                        21 Replies
                        1. re: Jacquilynne

                          +1...just kidding!!!...on the -1, it's just so.... well, negative. Someone wants to question a statement, opinion, etc. well, there are polite ways to do so without the "negative" sign.

                          1. re: Jacquilynne


                            (Hey, I'm a geek, what can I say?)

                            I do have to agree that the tenor of conversation has kind of taken a dive lately, at least on the LA board which is all I really read. Anything we can do to make this the friendly food board would be appreciated. :)

                            1. re: Jacquilynne

                              I disagree, Jacquilynne. You see +1 type posts most often on a topic like "your favorite dressing." Without a popularity/vote system in place, there's no other way to see which ones the popular responses are - the responses with +1 in them shows you which ones are more favored by the responders. And if all you're asking is for people to list their favorite somethings (or whatever) +1 should be preferred over each response having its own post buried downthread.

                              I for one have never seen a -1 on any chow post and agree those should be moderated unless properly explained.

                              1. re: Jacquilynne

                                Jacquilynne, In light of this I would give a -. Some CH post such GREAT responses, That just not saying anything is wrong. Alot of posts I disagree with, but a supremely well written post that makes me think, "Oh Wow. Wish I said that!" gets a vote by a +.

                                I use the + and I hope not - as a denotation of "I agree but could not have said it better that you just did."

                                If I just disagree with OP and find no poster who wrote why(better than I thought I could, or it was a pass on by) I post. If a post in reply is "What she/he said" I think a + is exactly right. If I disagree, or it's a "eh" I make no post no post.

                                I do the + to honor the writer of the post I could not said better.
                                That wrong?

                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                    TY pikawicca! I + your .posts often.

                                  2. re: Quine

                                    There is another reason I don't like this phenomena (other than it being fairly, even mostly, meaningless). It can perpetuate a problem that does crop up on the site. The clique mentality is often furthered by this type of "popularity" contest voting. If one wants to chime in and say that they found the post well written, that's fine. Even better one can give an example or two from the post that they strongly agree with. Perhaps even talk about whatever the reason the parts that were singled out resonated so strongly. That has value and upholds one of the primary reason this site is such a great one; thoughtful and articulate discourse by the members of the community.

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      I read the "+!" as "I agree with your post," not a popularity contest, and I don't see how you could draw that conclusion, based on the +'s I've seen. I don't know why you find it meaningless; to me it's simply shorthand that conveys useful information in a succinct manner.

                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                        "I read the "+!" as "I agree with your post," not a popularity contest, and I don't see how you could draw that conclusion..."

                                        Because it smacks of both Facebook and all of those "reader comment" sections you see after an Internet story in which people vote thumbs or down or like or dislike. And I don't see any useful information being conveyed at all, either there or here.

                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          Just because you don't see it, doesn't mean you're right. Because the "+" is tied to a poster we all probably know, there is a huge difference between their + and an anonymous + of some poster on another site. If you don't like these posts, I suggest you simply ignore them, which is what I do with posts I don't like.

                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                            "If you don't like these posts, I suggest you simply ignore them, which is what I do with posts I don't like."

                                            But that is exactly the problem. I have no idea that all I am going to see is one of those meaningless doohickeys until I open up the post. If I could somehow be forewarned "No content here" before I click that would be great. But since that is not going to be possible I would love to see the whole thing blow over as quickly as possible.

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              Just the other day a much older thread was blown to the top of the hot list over a plus one post. Added, to a comment made 2 years ago. Really?

                                      2. re: Servorg

                                        The "people following me" is probably the worst in generating "clique mentality".

                                        Sometimes a poster responds with such a detailed and "right on" post that there is nothing to add but a +1. The +1 is useful to the OP because it indicates that multiple people also share the same recommendation which comes in handy when planning a restaurant itinerary in an unfamiliar city.

                                        A -1 may be considered unhelpful and deleted.

                                        1. re: Porthos

                                          If a CH can share a bit more than just a plus one we all benefit by the detail. A plus one doesn't detail anything valuable to every reader.

                                          OTHT, if the people following option was removed, I wouldn't miss it at all and it wouldn't stop me from enjoying CH's across this site.

                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            What if you agree with a post and have nothing else to add but wish to indicate to the OP that it's a "right on" rec? Not reply? To me a +1 is the same as "totally agree with dish X and restaurant Z!" Should the mods remove those also?

                                            More is not always more helpful.

                                      3. re: Quine

                                        The goal of Chowhound has always been to be a resource, rather than just a place to chat or conduct polls. As a guideline, we often suggest that people ask themselves before they post "will this help people eat better?"

                                        We don't entirely disallow, but do discourage, posts that distract from the resource -- people who thank everyone who answers their question individually, posts that are just jokes without chowish information, etc.

                                        I agrees, me toos and +1s all fall into the same kind of thing -- if the information is already in the thread and nothing needs to be added, then the +1 post isn't doing anything. It's not a big problem right now because there are relatively few people doing it, but imagine if every great post was followed by a trail of +1s, and every time you looked at your my chow page, you saw a bunch of threads with "new" flags and opened the threads only to find nothing that was actually new -- just more +1? That would get old fast.

                                        1. re: Jacquilynne

                                          So, I have a question. You said you don't moderate these. Does that mean that if they are reported you won't remove them at this time?

                                          It is getting more and more common on this site and I'm particularily annoyed to open large threads only to see +1. If these are reported and removed, maybe people will stop it.

                                          Ok, another related question that I've been holding on to. Is the current email option a first step or is that it? Are there any plans in the future to get notifications only on specific threads?

                                          That cottage cheese thread is my bete noir on Chowhound right now and it would be nice to single that out without having to see after 400 posts someone answer "I like that too".

                                          I know I don't HAVE to open it, still it would be nice to screen stuff like this on mega threads.

                                          Or maybe an option that you get email notifications on threads that are over a certain number of replies?

                                          1. re: rworange

                                            We might consider removing -1s, but we're not currently removing +1s.

                                            There are plans to improve the email process in the future, but I don't have details on what they are.

                                        2. re: Quine

                                          The greatness of chowhound has always been the willingness of loyal posters to opine passionately and at length and encourage thoughtful debate among similarly passionate people.

                                          The modern habit of "liking" or +1 or whatever does nothing to engender these qualities.

                                          I say these kinds of bandwagoning-without-contributing-additional-useful-info-to-the-party is fine for appropriate forums where intelligent discussion and debate are not the overarching virtues. Chowhound is not one of those forums.

                                          Mr Taster

                                        3. re: Jacquilynne

                                          but if all you've got to add is a +/- 1, that's a post you can safely skip making.
                                          i'd say there are exceptions. for example, if a poster is trying to decide between restaurants, or recipes, or blenders, or coffee beans, or whatever....i see nothing wrong with adding a simple +1 as your way of indicating that it's your vote/preference as well after another Hound has posted your choice.

                                        4. ice skating judges, that's hilarious.

                                          1. I AM an OLD geezer and I do like and use the + and- system.
                                            No it is not a product of our culture unless you discount Formal Logic.

                                            If someone before said pretty much what I am thinking, I agree, I will say +1 ("me too!) and if they say something I clap and cheer for; well the number does go up.
                                            Simple to me.

                                            12 Replies
                                            1. re: Quine

                                              Can anyone help me with doing a "Hot Key" In Windows 7 (64 bit) I wanna hot key : " Normally I would say "+1" but that seems it is not "PC". I can say I agree. You said it as well as I could."

                                              Seems a waste of data (don't IPhone it) but hey....:-)

                                              1. re: Quine

                                                You're missing Jacquilynnes's point. It's not the "+1" that's useless here. It's any thread that simply says "I agree" in whatever language or symbology. No new information = not useful here. We've never been a popularity based environment - nobody's counting views, agreements, disagreements. We post to share information.

                                                1. re: applehome

                                                  But it IS new information. If someone posts a positive review of a baking book, for instance, and other posters whom I know to be excellent bakers "+" that post, the "+'s" give me much useful information, indeed. Same goes for restaurant reviews.

                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                    And I agree with this point, pika raises. If I am reading a review, fact, or opinion by someone who I have not read before and a poster who's opinion I value and trust gives it a +, That gives me alot of information!
                                                    It is true that people do give weight to opinions or information presented by others they trust and value over unknowns. It is human nature.
                                                    And Jacquilynnes's opinion does matter to me, so I have not used the "+" since here.
                                                    However I will still think that + means I agree, not a popularity comment.

                                                    1. re: Quine

                                                      I think what's confusing some posters here and why there are different opinions about the usage of ratings, is that some people interpret +1 as a popularity vote, while others interpret it as "I agree." Furthermore, it would be even more useful to everyone if we could explain the rationale for agreement.

                                                      Given that it is a vague response and subject to different interpretations, it would be better if we used something else that is more unequivocal, so that we can all communicate more effectively.


                                                      "I agree with x because I tried the same dishes and they were exactly as x described"


                                                      "I agree with this method of cooking z because I did exactly that and the results were more delicious than that other method."

                                                      1. re: limster

                                                        Oh, I don't think there is confusion, just a knee-jerk reaction to "social media" which they think Facebook and MySpace places are and that chowhound is not.
                                                        Regardless of the fact that they are using chowhound to socially interacted over a media other than face to face to gain information, give opinions or share experiences.

                                                        Talkies, Mabel the telephone operator, TV all had similar issues.

                                                        Just think, as we mourn the loss of the Challenger 25 years ago, the oldest person died today. 114 years old. They were born before the Wright Brothers Flew!!!

                                                        However, so that you never think I am totally over the edge, I DO draw the line at using Text speech. So any post that uses u for you, and 2 for two, too to mean have NO value. And these are popping up more and more here!

                                                        1. re: Quine

                                                          It's more the "dumbing down" of the site that bothers me. The same as it seems to bother you when you refer to "text speech." Except, even when someone uses shorthand/text speech in their posts, they can still make a cogent argument or put across a pursausive point of view. The use of numerical "ditto" leaves me wondering if they do actually, exactly agree with everything that was said, or if there might actually be some shading to their thoughts on the post they dittoed.

                                                          1. re: Quine

                                                            we can all shout that CH is not a social media space til we are blue in the face, but that won't make it any more true. It is CLEARLY a social media space. Are we not a community? I'm pretty sure we are.

                                                        2. re: Quine

                                                          If you had put a +1 post to pika's response, I would have gotten none of that insight. Thanks for taking the time to write something.

                                                          1. re: applehome

                                                            I agree, but if I don't have time for a lengthy post, I like having a shorthand method of concurring.

                                                            1. re: applehome

                                                              Yep -- it's not just about concurring, but adding rationale and nuance. Afterall, thinking and eating critically, the core drivers of this site, implies not blindly accepting something, but trying to understand the rationale behind it before deciding whether it suits oneself or not.

                                                              1. re: limster

                                                                One comment is that even if you know someone's taste often like yours, no one has EXACTLY the same tastes.

                                                                One poster who knows alot about wine and who I've learned so much about food in general ... will sometimes describe a wine they like as "jammy". I learned after the first bottle that I hate 'jammy' wines.

                                                                So, if someone said they liked a wine and that poster just concurred with a +1 and didn't explain why .. I'd probably rush out and buy a bottle of wine I hated if it was "jammy' and I didn't have that information.

                                                  2. I can live with +1, don't like -1 (have never seen it) but really dislike the +100, or +10,000. It's like people giving 110% or 1000% percent.

                                                    1. I remember first seeing "+1" on the old USENET lists, way back in the 80's and 90's.

                                                      Where ever the "+1" meme started, it's an anachronism from an earlier time on the Internet; back when you made your connection to the internet over 2400 baud dial-up modems, and you logged onto a Prodigy BBS or a list on alt.whatever for your online entertainment...

                                                      Back when it took eight hours to download a 100 kb jpg file...

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: deet13

                                                        LOL! I created and moderated the cooking forum on CBIX (Byte magazine's BBS)! Told ya I was an old geezer!

                                                        1. re: Quine

                                                          Sorry, but why is "u" unacceptable, but LOL is okay? I think we old-timers had best get used to both sorts of notation.

                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                            This does go back to the old board days and is also a comment to Servorg's post. Think of LOL as RSVP, and u as too lazy or not sure of the correct spelling of a 3 letter word. RSVP as well as LOL are phrases. How many times do you gloss over there used in a post instead of their or (worst yet they're)? That is non-knowledge. Nothing after that has any meaning to me. I cannot give any value to a post that has full ability to use the 3 letter word, but chooses to not do so. Nor to a post where the poster cannot correctly use a word that sounds the same but denotes 3 different meanings.

                                                            Yes I am a geek, yes I have a degree in Philosophy (interest; natural language use) yes I've been cooking since I could pull a chair up to the stove might as well throw in Science Fiction person. Before you think of me as Lisbeth Salander, I am a hard-core people watcher and people person.

                                                            And I still think WWSS. [What Would Sam F say]

                                                      2. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define...
                                                        a few plus one definitions in urban dictionary.

                                                        1. I agree that a brief post of agreement from trusted, knowledgeable CH posters whether it's via a +1 or any other pithy form of endoresement, is helpful information.

                                                          I also experience frustration when scrolling down a llllooonnnggg thread to read a new post that has the intellectual nutritional value of cotton candy: LOL, hah, or the supremely annoying "mmm" or "yum" so commonly encountered on the Home Cooking board. Maybe stickies are in order for the boards plagues with too much intellectual "junk food".

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                            Each of of obviously uses our own criteria for deciding who to rely upon for information that jives with our personal tastes. But when I think back to the contributions of posters whose advice I respect and appreciate the most, there's nary a +1 amongst any of them. The entire reason I value their opinions is because they take the time to detail their experiences as to why they feel a particular way.

                                                            Mr Taster

                                                          2. I think this is a valuable discussion. I understand that sometimes excitement and appreciation will lead to unnecessary or “bandwagon” posts. It’s certainly forgivable, but at least the conversation contained herein can serve as a bit of a reminder that sometimes it is wise to pause and consider the purpose of the post.

                                                            A “+1” may sometimes be warranted by context. For example, let’s say the topic is along the line of “What would you do if . . . ?” A post you read basically articulates your response to the hypothetical and simply agreeing with it does add to the greater discussion. At bottom, those threads really are based upon an attempt at consensus building.

                                                            On the other hand, the lazy addition of adding a “vote” or signaling “I like” without explanation is often useless to others. I agree that it is the contribution to the dialogue and the attempts at dialectic that makes this site interesting and useful. “Liking” someone’s approval of a recipe does not further these goals.

                                                            As an aside, I have a question. (I’ll preface it by noting that I too am on the downhill side of forty and remember the days where charging by the minute for internet usage was somehow acceptable.) I was simply trying to figure out when “LOL” stopped being a responsive phrase and started being the way to nervously suggest that one is trying to be humorous? (Or do that many people really laugh that hard at the items they are posting?)

                                                            17 Replies
                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                              "I was simply trying to figure out when “LOL” stopped being a responsive phrase and started being the way to nervously suggest that one is trying to be humorous? (Or do that many people really laugh that hard at the items they are posting?)"

                                                              Due to the lack of the verbal cues it has always been an issue with online communications to show that one is "kidding around" unless one uses an emoticon or add something like (g) to the tail end of the statement. This adding of lol has been co-opted for that same purpose. To give context to a statement that is not meant to be taken seriously.

                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                "Due to the lack of the verbal cues it has always been an issue with online communications"

                                                                as well as visual cues is a point well noticed. I think that people very often forget these and how much value, respect (or not) and information they give to social exchange. Online we don't have these and struggle to find ways to add them. Emoticons, LOL or WWSS are some ways and I honestly do think that +1 is as well. It is the Head nodding in agreement, the slight bow of acknowledgement, polite applause at the end of a well spoken discourse.

                                                                1. re: Quine

                                                                  why do you need that affirmation? It takes a bit of courage to post here in the first place, so why not go all out and state how YOU feel?

                                                                  1. re: Quine

                                                                    But normally an emoticon or a lol, or whatever it is one uses to give readers information about how one intended the statement to be taken, are found at the end of some viewpoint that was expressed. So it's generally not a stand alone communication.

                                                                    Even when lol is used in response to someone's humerous post as a stand alone it's there to tell the poster you both got and enjoyed the humor (which can be a very tough thing to put across - ask any stand up comic who is just starting out).

                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                      I do not disagree with your point at all, but conveying humor is not the sole social discourse. Explaining any emotion provoking concept is difficult. Non-verbal communication is extremely valid and something we use and understand before we can even speak ourselves.

                                                                      Consensus building is another way we gain information. It guides us in decision making, provides thoughts outside of our own experience and much is learned of value by the brief nod of agreement.

                                                                      1. re: Quine

                                                                        I guess I see this going down the road to a "like" button, and I don't want to see that come to CH. I want those who post here to try and add something more than "I like" to their post. Encouraging those who reply to a review to add something along the lines of "if you like that then you might like this dish, which is similar and can be found at this new place you may have never heard of before" is the life blood of this site.

                                                                        So, I'll just close by saying that I hope the "+ 1" phenomena stays "legal but rare" and leave it at that.

                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                          Maybe it could be called the kumbaya button. . . . (g).

                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                            I am so tempted to "+1".
                                                                            I have stopped using it, because of this discussion. In short, I plus one it but I do not "like" it.

                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                              It's funny. Although I refrain from resorting to it, I can see a limited time and place for the use of "+1." A "Like" button feature, however, is absolutely dreadful to me. Somehow, it seems like the reduction of the interchanges on this site to the lowest common denominator.

                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                In the latest indication of the broad disconnect between Chow readers and Chowhounds, is that a Facebook "Like" button I see at the top of the page?? When did that happen?

                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                  The FB widget has been on the site in various forms since April 2010.

                                                                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                                    Wow, somehow I never noticed.... I don't have a facebook page and so anything even vaguely "socially networkable" makes me run in the opposite direction.

                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                2. re: Servorg

                                                                                  too funny. as if the verbosity on this site will ever dwindle!!!!!!

                                                                        2. re: MGZ

                                                                          A vote on CH really doesn't do much anyway....unless someone is going to go through an entire thread and add them all up.

                                                                          1. re: im_nomad

                                                                            I wasn't suggesting it as a vote. It's the context that is relevant, particularly where there may be more than one "right" answer. To the extent that the context is, perhaps, restaurant etiquette, an understanding that a general consensus among diners about how to handle a given situation may be useful. For example, a couple "+1s" may lead a reader to the conclusion that her inclination to leave a very small tip for the server who kept touching her husband is not out of line.

                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                              Another excellent point well stated, or +1.

                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                I appreciate seeing a +1 more than I do someone saying the exact same thing, or close to it, in some long post that really adds nothing to the discussion. A long post does not equal an interesting and/or helpful post. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

                                                                        3. Like anything else the +1 can be overdone. Sometimes an answer or post is so good that you have an automatic response to encourage it, to affirm it. I do not believe that such things are valueless. There are people on this site who's opinions I have come to value based on their numerous other postings. if one of them puts a +1 as a response then it adds weight to what someone else put so well. And it certainly takes less time to visually dismiss a +1 if I choose than to read a two or three sentence response that basically says that so and so was right on the mark. It does not make it a popularity contest.

                                                                          Sometimes less is more.

                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                            RE: overdone, I agree, and as an example, I went into an older, lengthy thread the other day and came across a +1 in response to something. Wanting to know what they were "+1"-ing in response to, I clicked to expand the post above it, another +1. I did this a few times and got a few +1's until I just gave up and exited the thread without finding out what everyone was agreeing about. So potentially, it can devalue someone's "right on the mark" response if you have to dig it out from a pile of +1.

                                                                            1. re: im_nomad

                                                                              I couldn't agree more. This plus one/minus one wound up sidetracking a nice thread (& I was just as guilty playing along) the other day and it really hit me how silly the use of it really is. Not going to be a fan of this latest fad.

                                                                              1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                So, perhaps a new rule needs to be put in place in which any +1 that only replies to another such +1 post will be taken down? The "rule of one" is the "one rule" that we need... ;-D>

                                                                                1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                  FWIW: Rather than clicking on the post above the +1, if you'd clicked on the re:"john doe" in the tiny black print above it and to the right, it would have taken you to the post to which the +1 related.

                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                    Yes, but it was a chain of re: X, re: XY, re: XYZ etc.... I figured there was a discussion in there to read in between John Doe and the last +1

                                                                                  2. re: im_nomad

                                                                                    So you would much rather expand the previous posts to find "I agree" ??