HOME > Chowhound > Site Talk >

Discussion

Time For a Limited-Rules, NC-17 Board?

LOCKED DISCUSSION

I know, rules are rules, and we have quite a lot of them, thank you very much. But in my opinion, the moderation of these boards has been extremely inconsistent lately, and unnecessarily hostile toward genuine debate and exchanges of information--in the names of "nice" and "breezy". Let me give some examples.

First, on the Cookware board recently, an OP posted a link to a study finding a strong association between elevated levels of PFOA (used in the manufacture of nonstick cookware) and thyroid disease and cancer. There was some back-and-forth, none of it offensive. Significantly, NO ONE CLAIMED NON-STICK CAUSED anything. Someone checked the source of the link, and what looked like a dubious origin (a blogger) turned out to be studied by NIH and NHANES data. About this time, the Mods locked the thread (40 posts) with this silly comment:

"It seems like everything there is to be said on this subject has already been said, and now the conversation is just going in circles, and growing increasingly unfriendly. We're going to lock it now."

Second, I recently started a thread on the Greater Seattle board entitled something like: "Secret Places Kept Secret?" (I say "like" because it was immediately torn completely down without explanation.) In that OP, I asked if anyone was like me, had a secret favorite restaurant that they do *not* post about in order to better keep it accessible to him/herself. Interesting topic, right? Poof!

Third, also on the Seattle board recently, someone asked about a good place to find bagels. There ensued a good discussion the type of which (e.g., Philly Cheesesteaks, conch fritters, foie gras, ad nauseum) invariably invites comparisons with bagels found elsewhere. The Mods' response? A stern warning:

"This Greater Seattle board is narrowly focused on where to eat in the Seattle area. Please confine your replies to discussion of bagels in the area; general reminiscences, discussion of bagel shops elsewhere, and recipes are off topic for this board."

There are countless other examples of this overmoderation. I tried once before posting a thread here on the Site Talk, in which I proposed rules of conduct and oversight for mods, but guess what? POOF!

But hope springs eternal.... Therefore I propose a new Board, maybe called "Anything Goes", in which the mods keep their judgmental, editorial little fingers off of everything not criminal or civilly actionable. The adults can play there, and everyone else can play as usual.

What say you (and how long with this heresy last before this post is pulled down)?

  1. My personal opinion, based on all three of your examples, I don't find it over moderation at all.

    1. I've seen numerous threads of a similar nature and yes it just devolves into a circle jerk.

    2. That kind of topic doesn't seem to promote sharing of good places. To me it encourages people not to share a place if they see someone else not sharing. It doesn't help this board at all.

    3. Out of area discussions are exactly that, out of area. The board has been pretty consistent about keeping the discussion centered on the region.

    I don't agree with any of your examples at all. And if these are your basis for claiming over moderation I support the moderation. I would hate to see my local board overrun with suggestions outside the region or promoting an atmosphere where people won't share their finds.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jase

      Jase: Thanks for your opinion. In order:

      1. One person's circle jerk is another's foreplay. Take my word for it, 40 posts in, it was no CJ, certainly nothing like goes on in the area of knives and Le Creuset vs, Staub. My strong sense is the "explanation" is a lie of expediency, cover for "makes the squeamish and maufacturers/advertisers nervous". It's the patronizing Huxleyism that really grates.

      2. Actually, secrets being secrets (either too good to keep or not good enough), this one was more likely to spur revelations. I think poofing it was very shortsighted. And heavy-booted.

      3. This one's uber-weird. By this standard, if some one posted on your local board asking how the gherkins are there, anyone who compares them with those anywhere else is ripped down as a matter of policy? I don't think even *they* believe this; it's honored more in the breach than the following. There weren't suggestions outside the Seattle region, just comparisons.

      Did you even read the *fragmented* threads? Kinda hard, I admit, since they never officially *existed*. Exercise power to revise history and what do you have?

      Besides bitching, I was proposing an area where it's hands-off. What's the harm in that (other than that's where everyone will go for interesting discussion)?

      1. re: kaleokahu

        Have you seen what unmoderated boards look like? They seem to feature a lot of personal attacks and language that would make a sailor blush. And, while an "unmoderated" board might be fun for a few minutes, what about the element it would draw here? What about the bleed over when posters who are insulting one another on that X rated board take their feuds to other boards when they cross paths?

        Moderation is a judgment call. There will never be perfect moderation. Humans making human decisions. You or I may not agree with every decision the moderation team makes, but you either learn to roll with it or move on to some other forum that better suits your personal needs and sensibilities.

    2. While I can appreciate your frustration, I have to side with the long running Mods on this site. If you want to play by your own rules, start your own blog/board/forum. It's really the only way to have it your way more often. It's not our playhouse, we visit.

      Your suggestion reminds me of a popular online movie forum where the members screamed for a "porn area" to "discuss" films...and that was one of the quickest repeals going!

      1. Also, there is already a board for topics that have digressed from local restaurant/food discussions--the Not About Food Board.

        6 Replies
        1. re: stgrove

          Good point, stgrove. However, the NAF Board is going to be just as moderated as any of them are.

          1. re: HillJ

            And it's the graveyard of posts. Even worse than this one. And also a cynical lie, since 99.99% of mod-disappeared posts ARE about food.

            1. re: kaleokahu

              At the end of the day the entire site is food specific, no matter how the Boards are categorized; that's CH!

              1. re: HillJ

                HillJ: That's exactly my point. I understood stgrove to be saying that non-local posts (e.g., comparing Chicago and NY pizza) should go on the NAF board. Like it's not about food.

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  I thnk it just depends on how far it goes,I mean, I cant see a thread getting deleted if it says "I dont care what anyone says no pizza in xyz town (on the relevant board) is as good as abc pizza in NAPOLI.)" - as long as it doesnt devolve into a discussion of the best pizzerie in Napoli . If it does diverge to another area, its worth a warning on a regional board

                  As far as the risks of non-stick cookware are concerned that is hardly a new topic -most people have made their decisions on the arguments long ago. I dont necessarily see a need to lock, but really, what is going to change anybody's mind if the talk goes on?

                  the secret restaurant post is really not-about food unless you want to start disclosing your faves. Either that or it would entail talking about under the radar illegal restaurants which is not really a good idea either.

                  Moderation irritates me at times too - sometimes it feels unimaginative and overly literal minded, but I do agree it is necessary.

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    jen: " As far as the risks of non-stick cookware are concerned that is hardly a new topic -most people have made their decisions on the arguments long ago."

                    I'm not going to argue with you, just clarify: The thread I'm referring to started by bringing never-before-on-CH data to the community's attention, so it was a new bit of info here. I believe the study was done in 2010.

                    A post about *whether* others keep restos secret isn't about food? Hmm...

                    I don't disagree that *some* moderation isn't necessary. Just my idea for introducing a little less rule-oriented place to talk, that's all.

        2. I'm always in favor of a place with no rules on speech and ideas. Forum moderating has its place in keeping the majority of the discussions related to the topics and civil; however, there should always be a place where people can speak their minds without worrying about getting their thread closed down.

          As to worries over feuds that "bleed over," wouldn't the moderators on those other boards take care of that? Responsible commeters should be able to make the seperation. If they can't, and they abuse the modded boards, then they get what's coming to them.

          32 Replies
          1. re: ThinksWithHisStomach

            "...however, there should always be a place where people can speak their minds without worrying about getting their thread closed down."

            And those places do exist in people's personal blogs, usenet groups and facebook...(among others)...they just don't exist on this site.

            1. re: Servorg

              Which is sort of the point. A place to do that with the community on this site.

              1. re: ThinksWithHisStomach

                The less this site looks like other sites, many of which remind me of monkeys on meth flinging feces at each other, the better I like it.

                1. re: Servorg

                  Servorg: See? You're (strongly) making my point: Your last post is somewhat typical of what *does* get pulled down as inappropriate. Your point is a good one, too, and I see nothing objectionable about it, either.

                  Let me clarify what I was proposing. Several posters seem to associate what I proposed with *no* rules, porn, methamphetamine, feces-flinging monkeys, an unsavory "element" that might be drawn to CH in general, etc., etc.

                  I am not proposing anything of the sort. What I *am* proposing is *one* place with a more relaxed-rules atmosphere, where discussions can get as repetitious, technical, off-thread, and unlocal as the posters want. Uncomfortable, even--e.g., discussing hot-button food issues. Fine, keep the mods' power to shut down truly obscene, defamatory, or completely off-food stuff (an oddly hypocritical position, given the F-bomb and other aggressive profanity being dropped with relish on the Articles page!), but a place where folks can more freely communicate, and with continuity.

                  There are 63 local and regional boards, and another dozen topical boards, *75 total* on CH. If there was ONE with relaxed rules, who would it bother? Would anyone *force* anyone to go there, read, or post? If someone did post there and left because they were uncomfortable? So what? Would you *really* stop participating in all 76 boards, if ONE had saltier language or more serious topics? Would you stop going to the library just because it has book you object to? Would you eschew all cable TV because some channels show naked human bodies or allow profanity (again, I'm not proposing, or even in favor of this)? I think you and everyone else would just exercise your freedom of choice and ignore what you find objectionable. Different courses for different horses.

                  ThinksWithHisStomach is onto something here in invoking "community". I submit that a real community has *some* obligation to encourage free communication. CH claims it is a community, and I think that's true. To me, it is a poor and disingenuous answer to say: "Well, they own it, they can moderate whatever they want. If you don't like it, move." Even 'company towns' can't write any rules they want for everything, and they darn well better actually (and non-selectively and unarbitrarily) enforce what reasonable rules they set. It's pretty simple, really.

                  Heck, I'll even volunteer to mod such a freer board.

                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    >>> If there was ONE with relaxed rules, who would it bother?

                    Who would it help?

                    >>> Would you *really* stop participating in all 76 boards, if ONE had saltier language or more serious topics?

                    Would you really stop participating in the boards you find useful because you don't have one board to shoot the breeze?

                    What makes the other boards useful is keeping things on topic and about food. Language is not modified, as you imply, unless it is directed at someone.

                    I wish Not about Food was more modified. There are times I would like to ask a food related topic and the free-for-all nature keeps me from even reading thatt board often. It is everything you have stated you want in this topic.

                    To have another board like that would be horrible. The attitude on NAF often spills over to the food boards, sometimes making the rest of the site a less pleasant place to be.

                    I've been participating since 2002. There has never been a post I've ever seen deleted because it might offend an advertiser. Any thing like that either on Chow or Chowhound would kill the credibility of the entire site. That, plus a lot of other assumptions, are incorrect.

                    Will all your elequent arguing change a thing?

                    Nope.

                    1. re: rworange

                      I'd plus one ya, rw, but it might come back to bite me in the ass... ;-D> All of the folks who want more of a "free for all" on this site are willing to risk the Pandora's Box effect. I am not.

                      1. re: rworange

                        rworange:

                        Who would it help? Many folks, including me.

                        "Would you really stop participating in the boards you find useful because you don't have one board to shoot the breeze?" I wasn't talking about shooting the breeze, not at all. And yes, I've gone into CH hiatus several times because of overmoderation. I see first-time contributors all the time who are turned off by it and never seem to return.

                        Congrats on being a plankholder. You must remember the "Let's Be Nicer to Rachael Ray' boughhaha, then.

                        Language may not be *modified*, but posts are selectively and arbitrarily taken down for reasons unrelated to language. Two (or more) people commonly disagree, and it is frequently one side (or person) that gets stripped. There are many cases where one, more experienced (and beloved of the Mods) poster baits others into a strident disagreement which leaves the baiter's posts up. There are also lots of cases where posters--who I think are *not* mods--take it upon themselves to warn others over some perception of propriety; seems like every time that happens, good communication within the rules, gets pulled down.

                        "Will all your elequent [sic] arguing change a thing? Nope." That smug line is what I want to see *more* of, along with people like me being able to respectfully remark that it *is* smug in the context of good discussion. Perhaps you think *you* shopuld have been moderated?

                        You never answered my question (There's *another* thing that gets stripped--persistence): If such a freer board existed, you wouldn't have to read it, would you?

                        Adopting (something like) my proposal would actually SAVE the mods time and give them a *perfect* cover--They could just say (however arbitrarily, patronizingly, parentally they wish): "Hey you two, take it Outside..."

                        Why do you have a vested interest in CH not evolving to be a better communication tool? Actually, it was better originally, now it's overly politically correct and passive-aggressive polite.

                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          "Language may not be *modified*, but posts are selectively and arbitrarily taken down for reasons unrelated to language. Two (or more) people commonly disagree, and it is frequently one side (or person) that gets stripped. There are many cases where one, more experienced (and beloved of the Mods) poster baits others into a strident disagreement which leaves the baiter's posts up."

                          How would (could) you know any of that? Unless you are in the back room where the moderation decisions are made you have no more idea than any of us what the reasons were for the decision that the CH Team came to. You seem to want to ascribe the worst to how the boards are moderated. It would seem logical to assume that the moderation is done here to further CH's primary goal - finding and sharing delicious food. All the rest is background noise. There is enough off topic chatter on this site as it is. More back and forth about non chow related matters on the local boards will just drive food loving hounds away. And with that the site will become as useless as teats on a boar hog...

                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            >>> Why do you have a vested interest in CH not evolving to be a better communication tool?

                            The only interest I have in seeing CH being a better comunication tool is to get the phone apps to work as well as other sites.. IMO, that would be a real benefit to the site. My vested interest is in not seeing this become a worse site.

                            I wasn't being smug about saying things won't change. It was just the voice of nine years of my experience.

                            I see you have been on the site about one year. I had a different perception of what the site should have been about initially.

                            In all the years of my impassioned arguing on the boards and off in emails to moderators, have I changed a thing?

                            Nope.

                            Am I sorry things didn't change?

                            Nope.

                            Over time, I learned that the rules work and the site is a better place for it. That it is a unique spot on the web. That is why I come here even at times battle-scarred and limping.

                            You know, you are welcome to email me. I can't think of anything you would be posting that could not fit on one of the existing boards, if worded correctly. I don't mean circumventing the rules. It is just that the way something is worded can get a post deleted or shut down because it incites arguments without promoting discussion. A nasty thread will kill off more newbies than anything else, IMO. .

                            Serious discussions of all food-related matters are accomodated. However, they have to be discussions.

                            I did answer your question. A board like you are proposing would be like NAF. People would feel like they had permission to post similarily on other boards.

                            Now answer my question. How exactly would this board help you to eat better which is what this site clearly states it is about and the reason people come here.

                            Chowhound isnt for everyone. You have gone into Chowhound hiatus. So have I. So have a lot of others. Why do you come back?

                            I come back because I get intelligent, useful info about food here I can't get elsewhere else.

                            I have never felt the need to search discussions on the site such as what someone thought about Rachael Ray in 2006 or should children be allowed in nice restaurants ... or name any opinion topic. Fun for the moment, but that is all.

                            Actually you are welcome to email me to discuss this topic off the board. I won't take up any more of anyones time shooting the breeze in this topic on the board. I thought I was clever enough to have worded my original post so that would be it. I guess I never learn.

                            Will this post or any other of mine ... or anyone's ... change your opinion?

                            Nope

                            1. re: rworange

                              rworagnge: We disagree whether one freer board would make CH a better or a worse site. In the absence of the mods generally loosening up *a little*, I think it would make it better.

                              With respect, I consider that you *were* being smug, but it does not matter; what matters is that others' posts get pulled down for precisely that tone. I also believe that your tenure here, and your invocation of it, *might* reasonably be taken for condescension, but even if so, that is what I am defending.

                              I rarely go to NAF. For a variety of reasons, but not because it's some sort of Wild West. Are you saying it is some sort of subversive hotbed that corrupts the other boards? Are you saying that board is less moderated than the others? Is there some secret handshake I've missed?

                              "Now answer my question. How exactly would this board help you to eat better which is what this site clearly states it is about and the reason people come here."

                              It would help me eat better because I could read the *entire* exchange of thoughts and ideas about food and cooking--even those impoliticly, intemperately, or profanely expressed, or out of the area. What gets pulled down often *does* contribute positively to that stated goal of improving eats.
                              Multiple strong opinions passionately expressed are better than one left redacted and out of context.

                              I practice a profession in which my lack of decorum would get me defrocked, so I am very sensitive to not personalizing things and staying within rules. I even *read* the rules here, and I'm telling you the rules here are being overzealously and arbitrarily enforced, IMO to the detriment of the site.

                              As to the uniqueness of CH, I can say I like the volume of posts and the general ease of use. Some of the competition is better for content, especially when it gets more technical.

                              Believe it or not, my proposal is one I think would make CH even better.

                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                >>> I also believe that your tenure here, and your invocation of it, *might* reasonably be taken for condescension

                                Seriously, the only thing tenure gets you on Chowhound is more quickly moderated because you should know better.

                                The only reason I'm answering this is that you probably read my post mid-edit. You might re-read it now.

                                Again, feel free to email me if you really want to discuss how to use the boards effectively. I think you really can achieve all you want to within the existing framework ... and using that framework ... it is a better board for all.

                                No more editing. I'm gone.

                        2. re: kaleokahu

                          But isn't the whole of CH designed to be for every user/visitor and not some food talk space with separate rooms for "special" requests? Come to think of it what food related topic would require some exception, designated oversight to begin with, we're all adults here.

                          Whatever you call it (it being another Board with "freer" rules) is still going to be part of a Moderated site. I think the volunteers have enuf to do, don't you?

                          1. re: HillJ

                            HillJ: Sure, all of CH's boards should, IMO, be *accessible* to everyone with an interest. But interests vary. Communication styles and mores vary.

                            I don't consider my proposal a "special request". 1/76th of the boards, where the rules are relaxed a bit, to avoid insanities like not being able to ask to compare restos 5 miles apart (in different local "areas"), or repetition (Good luck getting "Staub v. Le Creuset" locked at 400+ mobius-looped posts on the ground that "Everything that can be said's been said." excuse.), or even the digression of something not 100% (like maybe 40%) off the original topic?

                            My proposal would make the site better and better accommodate the way people--polite, rule-following people--really communicate. Pigeonholes are sometimes better left for pigeons.

                            I'm sure the mods work hard here; I do not mean to denigrate their efforts.

                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              I don't see what's stopping you from setting up a Facebook page, or your own site or blog, to provide a "safe space" for these sorts of discussions. Just as other posters do, you could add a link to it when you post, and invite people to visit your page and continue chatting. If there is indeed a critical mass of people who want what you want, your new page will be a roaring success. But what you're asking for here is your own bedroom in someone else's house.

                              1. re: small h

                                small h: I merely made a *proposal*, and we are discussing it. I thought that's what this board was for. I'm not asking for my own little fiefdom, much less an extra bedroom.

                                Of course I'm free to change careers and hijack-blog here fulltime, just as you are to Facebook about ways to improve your car's performance, rather than participate on an established automotive site where it may matter to more people and work some improvement. Communities can have dissenters and still belong to the community, don't you think?

                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                  I don't think I know of a single poster who wasn't a dissenter from time to time. But you asked "wouldn't this be a good idea?" and the general consensus seems to be...nope. It doesn't look like you can successfully rally the Chowhordes to your cause, which is why I pointed out that you have other options. Which you obviously already knew, but I figured it was worth repeating (and so did HillJ, below).

                                  1. re: small h

                                    raising hand to discontent from time to time. Then I wake up the next morning grab my first cup of java, some delicious goodie out of my frig and begin again.
                                    It's amazing what a mental refresh button can do!

                                    1. re: small h

                                      small h: LOL. Sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy, isn't it? I mean, considering the backwater nature of this particular board and the short length of time my post's been up, I don't think 5/7 is much of a consensus. Not many voluntarily go to the Gulag, but once you're there, you're bound to find folks who wouldn't change a thing.

                                      The parallel thread on overmoderation in NY is ongoing, too.

                                      You all have a nice day.

                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                        Should the day come that this site feel more like a court of (food) law and less like a great place to hang and learn, I'm history.

                                        Until that day, you're all stuck w/me.

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          HillJ: That's a false dichotomy. I believe CH would be a BETTER place to "hang [at] and learn [from]" with a little less aggressive moderation in one tiny part of the community. Heck we low-rules folks will keep to ourselves.

                                          I'm glad we're stuck with you.

                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                            kaleo, I had a mindset change when I started moderating a board in my professional life. I'm only a solider and it's eye opening what some folks call FUN.

                                            What happens behind the great wall of community boards is far worse than what's enjoyed in front them. Whatever our preference or beliefs about site patrol as participants, I have a much greater tolerance and understanding for the (volunteer) gig called Moderation.

                                            And, tyou for the nice comment.

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              HillJ: You are welcome.

                                              I have played on both sides of scrimmage lines in my careers, so I am not suggesting that moderators' jobs are easy or that what we see on "this side" is a full picture. I bet it's difficult.

                                              I'm here a lot (OK, too much), and I just don't see a lot of egregious behavior, mostly technical violations and hypersensitivity. Some temper.

                                              I know it was set up that way originally, but why is moderation still a volunteer function? It would seem CH could afford to pay a small cadre and work through some of these... unevenness? issues.

                                              What's the volume of flagging, anyway?

                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                Naturally I can't speak for this board at all.

                                                Moderation on the board I'm referring to is a volunteer gig. In our case, original members set it up and when it grew too large a designated group of 12 volunteererd to oversee the admin chores and no one pays for participating. No ads. No sponsors of any kind. The amt. of deletion I've done personally in the last six months could fill a healthy novel. The upside to volunteering is pre-access to a hell of a lot of great content.

                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                  I moderate a sub-forum on another board, and with the exception of a few reminders and locking duplicate threads, there's not a lot of controversy that goes on. It's really only once in a while that things get out of hand. Often fellow members moderate themselves. It's pretty lax there though.

                                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                                    I would agree with your assessment. Heavy traffic days can be attributed to hot topics tho and on those days it's brutual (brutual in the deletion aspect).

                                                  2. re: HillJ

                                                    HillJ:

                                                    Naturally. I have heard others state that the mods here are all volunteers, I believe including the Head Mod. I didn't mean to imply you were a mod here.

                                                    BTW, have you heard the audio interview this Jacqueline gave to a banished member? It's widely available online, and her 'tude exhibited there is pretty eloquent proof of the general moderation attitude I've experienced here--smarmy, dismissive and passive-aggressive. When *I* have asked for clarification of why some of my own posts have been torn down, her responses would not pass her own rules. "Do as I say, not as I do" seems to be the MO.

                                                    I also believe that it would foster better communications and feelings all around if the mods were identified as such. *Not* doing so creates at least the impression that there are no standards and no accountability, only anonymity to hide the arbitrariness behind. Other boards function very well with disclosed mods, and IMO the "hidden priesthood" aspect of CH is one of its biggest drawbacks.

                                                    Anyway, my proposal stands, and I invite the omniscient, omnipotent yet anonymous Team to consider it.

                                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                                      So far the only thing I've gotten out of your responses is that you want things moderated to your standards. As long as the moderators conform to what you want then it's fine. I'm not seeing a compelling argument otherwise.

                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                        kaleo, I didn't believe you were implying that. I was merely stating quite clearly that I'm not affiliated with moderation here but have mod experience (1.5 years). As for your observation of Moderation on CH, I am more than willing to cop to my initial attitude about moderation post CNET and that it has changed over time. That my turnabout has everything to do with stepping just one "fork" in the moderation experience on another forum I participate in thru work.

                                                        Here's my challenge to you kaleo. Volunteer as a Mod or start your own community board and let me know how it goes...then invite me to join.

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          HillJ: I thought I already did volunteer in this thread. Is there a more formal way to do it?

                                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                                            You email the Moderators of any site for more information. At this site, moderators@chowhound.com

                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                              HillJ: Just for Ss & Gs, I'll give it a try. They'll probably have a good laugh, too. Thanks.

                                    2. re: kaleokahu

                                      kaleokahu, your ideas have merit but again this is not our playhouse, we are merely friendly participants and if you have another way to approach food chat, more to your liking, I really believe your wordsmithing and enthusiasm is best placed in your own playhouse where you get to make the rules. Sincerely, good luck!

                        3. Many, if not most forum based sites have an "off-topic / anything goes" section for stuff that does not related to the topic at hand, be it a particular band, food, aviation, what have you. In some cases that "off-topic" is divided into still serious, and plain old fun and games sections. For the most part they run ok. Threads like the huge "what do you do for a living" would go there, as would "what are you reading" or whatever latest forum games, etc.

                          I don't necessarily mind not having those, although it would be nice in some cases (like in a case where a music discussion spun off from a dinner party thread.... and eventually got deleted because for some reason someone thought a mixtape automatically meant illegal downloading).

                          Sometimes I'd like to know a little more about fellow chowhounds, and to be honest, I think not having such a sterile environment can actually tone down the unecessary jabs that can go on some times.... when you kind of "know" someone, you might not be as testy.

                          What makes no sense to me at times are how some off-topic threads get deleted (I remember one a while back at food-related nicknames), while others stay (like the kid-relateds), or for that matter, one I put up about food-related clothing. Sometimes it seems like there's no rhyme or reason.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: im_nomad

                            I believe (in all seriousness) that what you describe can be summed up in one word: CHOW.

                            The CHOW (magazine) side of this site does all the things you describe with or without intention but still within the food community realm. A more lax comment section, wide range of articles, food buzz, food fun, food silliness and food community runs the gamut on CHOW.

                            ...and Facebook...takes care of the rest.