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New Feature Coming: Been There/Wanna Go buttons

In the next week or so we will be launching a new feature we're calling Been There / Wanna Go. This feature will allow you to create lists of the places you've been or want to go. Those lists will be visible in your profile page. Check out the annotated page to see a full visual description of the feature:

And let us know what you think!

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  1. I don't get the point of "been there." If you have nothing more to say about it, who cares?

    1. I would never use this feature, and I don't see how it would be of any help to anyone. Why would I give a damn how many people "wanna go" somewhere? And even "been there" just seems like a way to compete: ooh! I've eaten at Awesome Place X and you haven't.

      11 Replies
      1. re: small h

        One of the big things we noticed with the existing List function is that people most often used it to create lists of places they want to go. "Places to try" and similar variations is the most common List title.

        We plan to revisit the larger List function, as well, but we wanted to give people a light, easy way to keep track of the places they want to go. Places they've been is sort of the second step for that -- rather than having people simply take it off their list of places to go as if they were no longer interested in it, they can mark it off as done.

        1. re: Jacquilynne

          I already have a list of places I want to go. It's a Word document, and I keep it on my desktop. I'd be happy to tell you what's on it, but only if you ask, because I'm not self-centered enough to think that my restaurant hopes and dreams are interesting to anyone but me.

          As ratbuddy points out, below, this feature (like the share tabs and the "helpful" button) contributes to the Facebook-ification of Chowhound. The goal seems to be that eventually everyone will have her own homepage, and the relatively innocuous My Chow will metastisize into a cluttered mess of "where I've been" and "what I like." Chowhound will become less about conversing and more about announcing. And that will suck, because it will encourage users to build their own little forts rather than participate in the community.

              1. re: small h


                it sucks--very juvenile looking.

                1. re: toodie jane

                  I posted a very good reason why chowhounds should use the feature, which the mods removed for some reason. It does appear from the posts that I read that other than the initial curiousity factor, it is a feature that is being ignored much like the star system has been ignored. Even though I thought I would use it for the reasons I posted about, that "wanna" is so off-putting I just can't bring myself at this point to do it no matter how good the reason.

                  At least this release didn't introduce new bugs and resolved the extra spacing in editing for which I'm extremely grateful. That was awful.

                  1. re: rworange

                    Except I had the extra-spacing issue just yesterday. After it was supposedly fixed.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      As a freind's six year old daughter keeps asking about everything ... "A lot, a lot? Or a little?"

                      There are occasional wonky spacing things in edit, but it is just a little. If it adds lines it is only one and that is only happening occasionally. It is not the two additional blank lines every time the post is edited.

                      A request if anyone from Chow HQ is still reading this thread. For the restaurant record could there be somethink like a "what's this?" icon next to the buttions. Like Share, they are really sensitive if the cursor gets anywhere near them and the help box opens. That's kind of a pain because the buttons are near the website link and every time I get near those links, the help pops up for the two new buttons.

              2. re: Jacquilynne

                As an easy way to add stuff to a private list of places I want to try, "Wanna Go" would be useful, unless like a lot of the profile pages the site won't let me see it on my phone.

                1. re: Jacquilynne

                  This feature will be ineffective until the restaurant database improves - and perhaps this feature is a way to encourage folks to go ahead and enter the restaurant. Seems like an easy enough thing to do but few posters bother. I hope this helps.

              3. Not me -- don't care where anybody else has been or wants to go...and sure wouldn't keep a list like that out for public opinion. My list is my list, and I don't want or need anybody else's approval or opinion.

                6 Replies
                1. re: sunshine842

                  I might be interested in keeping a personal list of restaurants I've wanted to try, but not if it's out there for everyone to see.

                  1. re: Chris VR

                    This recalls a related issue, something that's bothered me for a while: Why should my personal Favorites list be public, visible to anyone who visits my profile page?

                    1. re: meatme

                      Your profile page is public. That's what it's for. Don't put anything there you don't want to share with the world. Signed, a 103-year-old female Facebook user.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Hi, Granny! Thanks for the advice, but it isn't quite so.

                        My Posts and My Threads are public by definition, since anyone can see the posts I've made; that's the purpose of Chowhound. However, no one can see People I'm Reading, which is also on my profile page, and I believe that Lists can (or could) be made either public or private.

                        As others have suggested for the new features described in the OP, I think that my Favorites should be, at least optionally, a private list as well.

                        1. re: meatme

                          Don't know if you know this, but if you google your Chowhound 'handle', every comment you've made on these boards comes up.

                          1. re: mnosyne

                            Yes, of course; that's self-evident. My point was that my Favorites list (now called Saved Topics), like People I'm Reading, any Lists I've created, and the new Been There/Wanna Go should at least have the option of being made private.

                2. Seems like a feature catering to the facebook crowd and twitter.. uhh.. twits. Robert Lauriston, small h, and sunshine842 make some good points as well.

                  1. Before rolling out new features, I suggest the site devote sufficient tech resources to fixing existing ones, like the restaurant database and mobile apps. They have bugs reported months and even years ago that still haven't been resolved.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: squid kun

                      I guess some people may want to expose this info about themselves. I dont. People can see easily enuf where I eat if I choose to post about it.

                      Ditto Squid Kun, lets focus on fixing the problems insteading adding "wanna go" (wince)

                      1. re: jen kalb

                        + 1, helpful to squid kun

                        >>> One of the big things we noticed with the existing List function is that people most often used it to create lists of places they want to go. "Places to try" and similar variations is the most common List title.

                        Why can't Chow roll some of these ideas out before going int design phase. or assuming something like this will be enthusiastically embraced?

                        People want the months and years old bugs fixed. People want their blackberry and smart phone apps to work.

                        Zagat just rolled out Zagat mobile and all I could think was "why can't Chowhound do that?"

                        And no. I don't find this useful in the least.

                        "Been there" is just more bragging rights ... like "helpful". It is an attempt to make star posters. Gee, I think this poster is good, let me see where they have been so I can go to the same joints.

                        As to "want to go", if I really want to go, I have that function by adding it to my favorites list.

                        There seems absolutely no understanding about what Chowhound is about ... what makes it great ... what draws the traffic.

                        One of the most touching and valuable posts to me was this recent one by someone with tons of knowledge about Laotian food. Things I never would have known. Yummyrice wrote


                        "I decided to join this site after I had read several posts by you and others regarding Lao dishes. Some questions about Laotian cuisine had been asked so I decided to join Chowhound to provide some insider knowledge. So you, Melanie, and some of the other 'hounds pretty much got the ball rolling and therefore deserve any credit relating to that article"

                        That is the type of poster Chowhound has attracted over the years. Someone to add knowledge to the general database. When you search almost any food topic on the web, the search usually leads to Chowhound because of contributions by posters like that.

                        That poster would never have joined just because of someone's lists or because of all the other social networking features.

                        I understand why some of this is necessary, but at the same time they are changing the culture from discussing great food to getting the quick, easy popular answer about where to eat. Olive Garden rates high on sites with these features.

                        I can guess where this is leading. I'll bet in the future the restaurant records will display "xxxx" people have been there. "xxxx" people want to go. So that will result in search lists that bring those joints to the top. Again, everyone's been to McDonalds. It doesn't make it good.

                        I'm guessing, similarily, how many helpful votes will show up on our profiles whit ways to search for the most helpful posters.

                        I can tell you as a newbie I would have been a different poster with these type of features. I would have went for what made me popular and not what was delicious. And it would have been my loss.

                        I learned more about food because that was what the site was about. This year in Guatemala would have been hell without the training I had on Chowhound to seek out the delicious ... to blaze trails ... oh hell ... to go where no man has gone before... Food trek, so to speak.

                        It kept me amused ... and I learned a lot ... and hopefully anyone coming to Guatemala will eat better for it. Been there would be no help to anyone. Some of the places I ate in Guatemala really, really sucked ... and usually those were the joints that rated highest across the travel websites ... the tourist traps everyone goes to because people follow the crowd.

                        Have any of these features that seem to be trying to turn Chowhound into a social networking site, really upped traffic? Have they helped promote what Chowhound does better than any other site ... discuss how and were to eat deliciously?

                        Ok, this is my only post on this. At best, I can only hope this doesn't introduce more bugs.

                        At the very least, can "wanna" be changed to "want to".?

                        1. re: rworange

                          Exactly, rworange.

                          Chowhound is valuable precisely because of the depth of information, time and care that posters put into their answers.

                          From the beginning since the CNET takeover, I have been concerned about driving away many of the older members that provide this deep, rich content because of cutesy, modern things like avatars, "likes" and social networking.

                          Like any Chowhounds, I have absolutely no interest in any of the modern trends such as twittering, profile-filling or facebooking. I see this as a deep loss of privacy and it bothers me greatly. Younger people don't seem to have a problem with it (though I'm convinced that they will one day, even if it takes a generation or two for people to figure out just how much they've lost- but by then I'll be dead, and it will be too late for them!). It's that younger crowd that you're attracting with these kinds of features, though I suspect you're fully aware of this. Advertiser friendly but less knowledgeable younger people. So, good for your bottom line, but bad for us as a community.

                          Mr Taster

                    2. I could see where such a feature might be useful for me. Sometimes, I read a response from a poster I haven't read before and wonder if that person's tastes dovetail with my own. Perhaps I would go and check out one or both lists to see if that were the case. It's optional for me to view it so I don't really see it as being so similar to the like, tweet, thumbie, email and share buttons that are there all the time (not that I really mind them either).

                      1. Maybe CH could have a Wishlist thread where Hounds can list what they'd like to see on the site.

                        Seems like it would be a lot more cost-effective than all of these "New and Improved" features that you've been announcing of late....most of which seem to be met with responses ranging from an overwhelming shrug to a "no, don't do it, we don't' want it" from the readers.

                        There's been enormous negative response from the tweet-like-email-share thingy over there on the left-hand side, and a huge uproar about the survey.

                        If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

                        1. Why is there no option to have these listings private?

                          I am exceptionally curious as to the thinking behind this only being a public list. What is the goal in making it public only?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Seth Chadwick

                            Maybe trying to increase the activity of the chowhound restaurant lists? I don't think this restaurant list and review thing has taken off on this site. I can understand their rationale of this been there/wanna go feature as I've noticed more people tweeting threads once that obnoxious Share tab came up.

                            Personally, I think the feature is a good idea. But readers should have the option to keep it private. I keep my list of to-gos on my gmail, but think it would be easier to track this stuff if it's on chowhound.

                            1. re: Seth Chadwick

                              I suspect that Engineering hasn't fixed the bug from two years ago when "private" lists disappeared. And then all the public lists disappeared too. Big problem.

                            2. FWIW, being a longtimer as well, I actually don't mind the Tweet/FB buttons...I'm happy to spread the news about a particularly useful/interesting thread (and yes, I could go through bit.ly, but this is easier and I don't find it a visual distraction, YMMV, etc. etc.). But too many of these these new features, and they absolutely begin to detract from what makes Chowhound so special. It is, and has always remained in spite of what sometimes seems to be the best efforts of the powers that be, a goldmine of *real* shared knowledge presented by contributors whose insights I respect. Do I sometimes read the stories? Sure. But I can get the likes of those anywhere. I can't get this incredible global community anywhere, and not one of the bells and whistles, whether I like them or not, has ever trumped that w/r/t to the reason I am a loyal Chowhound. If all but the forums were once again to disappear, I'd still be here. If the forums were to disappear, I'd be gone.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: tatamagouche

                                If all but the forums were once again to disappear, I'd still be here. If the forums were to disappear, I'd be gone.
                                Ah but the cost to the run site would be at issue once again.

                                I'm not using any of the bells and whistles installed recently. I enjoy all the optional featueres I like and ignore the rest. True on CHOW & CH. But if all of this data is providing another means to draw in advertisers or track the true value to advertisers...then I'm not incapable of recognizing what the site could cost me w/out them.

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  Yes, I hear you, but the question is what do we think of them, and my answer is not much—I won't use them, I don't need them, it's not what I come here for.

                                  That said—and this isn't to argue, I'm asking for real—how would such buttons for local restaurants help the primary advertisers, mostly national, often non-food-related?

                                  1. re: tatamagouche

                                    Oh good heavens, no tata :). Pls. let's not argue!

                                    I believe I also responded to what do I think...right now, I'm not using any of the features added to the site myself.

                                    Good question though and I'm not 100% sure of anything the marketing or advertising depts may be working on but in companies I've worked for data collected was used to attract local & nationally focused businesses. And, CHOW has certainly gone in a multitude of media directions lately. The brand is maturing and how to capture the data we (active members) represent as a food community is valuable. CH is also a lot more than regional boards and restaurant reviews today.

                                    In my community the opening of a restaurant creates buzz and potential business for the surrounding existing businesses. People come out, spend money, tell their friends. Circulars, coupons, giveaways wind up in my mail box, email account. It's common for the web to use this same thought/model to attract advertisers, sponsors, buzz and cross promote business both food and non food related..oh! and, then there's Facebook. Gosh, the number of businesses (in all categories) with a FB page and following is gigantic now. The community sharing going on from co. to consumer is endless on FB.

                                    2 cents..based on observation and work exposure.

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      Where once knowledge was power, now data collection is, I guess. Sigh.

                                2. re: tatamagouche

                                  Whereas I *detest* the pop-out "Share" Tweet/FB/Email button(s). I don't Tweet. I don't use Facebook. I doubt I ever will.

                                  I hate that the Share tab takes up screen space when you accidentally mouse over it and you have to re-mouse or click the edge to hide it again.

                                  There should REALLY be an option to turn this "Share tab" on or off. Don't force this on the Users; let *us* decide whether we want it available or not.

                                  The Been There/Wanna Go List is useless to me. Why would I care to tell others that I *want* to go somewhere? And if I've been to a restaurant, I'll post on the appropriate thread what I thought of it.

                                3. I would like to know if the current lists will remain. I have a lot of information that I use in those lists. If they are going away I would like to have time to copy that information into a word document.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: rworange

                                    Thanks, I was just going to ask the same question on your behalf, as you're the champion list maker, after reading the page cited in the OP.

                                    For the new feature to have any value, it would seem that Restaurants & Bars database needs to be updated regularly as the places the folks might tend to be adding to their lists would be new openings. Then the autolinking needs to work so that the restaurant place record is displayed on the thread page. And the list needs to function on mobile view.

                                    Currently, none of those three pre-conditions are working well. In the last month, I've spent two weeks on the road in the area covered by the Great Plains and Southeast boards. The databases for both regions are quite sparse for long-standing places and new openings are not recorded. I've added kajillion records. And, despite a note from Chow HQ that the map display would be fixed on R&B for mobile view, it does not. The map does not display on Lists either in mobile view.

                                    Lipstick on a pig?

                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                      In your must be fixed options any lists should display the CURRENT status of a place.

                                      By that I mean, if the restaurant is closed, that should show up in the title.

                                      Lists ... and the restaurant links in posts ... only show the status of the restaurant at the time the list or post was created.

                                      1. re: rworange

                                        Yes, thank you. Have you checked that recently in Lists? For posts, the restaurant will show as closed in older threads when I open them long past their posting date.

                                    2. re: rworange

                                      The current lists will not be removed. We hope to make the current list function better at some point in the future.

                                      1. re: Jacquilynne

                                        Lists has been broken for months now with no response from anyone about whether there are plans to fix this feature.

                                        I know there is a lot of work being done on the infrastructure.

                                        However, my question is whethere this function will ever be fixed?

                                        This is especially disappointing during the holiday season as I had years worth of information stored in these lists such as places open on New Years day, best Christmas buffets, holiday treats, etc, etc, etc.

                                        As I said in my post in May, if they are going away I would like to have time to copy that information into a word document.

                                        So, my question is should I just write these off as lost forever or continue to patiently wait?

                                        I really would like an answer. Bad news is better than no response. At least I can write it off and compile new lists in word so I can rely on having a place for this info.

                                    3. I'm not a fan of this feature, nor +1, nor the idea of being able to flag something "helpful", as I think they all, in the end, dumb down the site. However, I also object to "wanna" - really? Why not say Want to Go? Want to Try? On My List. But not "wanna".

                                      And what does "been there" add to anything? Nothing, in my opinion, unless a poster writes about what he or she thought of the food.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                        Or at least for consistency, why not Been Dere/Wanna Go?

                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                          Well put.

                                          Personally, I fail to see the utility of the "feature." I mean, is the "wanna go" feature supposed to be there to remind me of places I want to try - as if I, or any other 'hound, would forget such a thing. "Oh, sh*t man, good thing I have that list, I almost forgot I wanted to try that new Somali-Peruvian place in Shelbyville."

                                          Is it there for others to see what I want to try? Who would care? I actually find it sort of creepy. In fact, if anybody starts paying a lot of attention to me and my profile, could you guys please notify me?

                                          And, as noted by others, the "Been There" feature doesn't really add much to a website that is basically premised upon sharing discussions about restaurants one has tried.

                                          1. re: MGZ

                                            Is it there for others to see what I want to try? Who would care? I actually find it sort of creepy. In fact, if anybody starts paying a lot of attention to me and my profile, could you guys please notify me?


                                            Now this comment hit me like a ton of bricks, MGZ. Thank you putting "it" out there.

                                            When a fellow CH actually comments on the # of comments another CH has made in a thread, or mentions your "who's reading me" list like some weird psychoanalysis or seems to follow you around the community Boards it most certainly is creepy (& I've had the displeasure of all three).

                                            Any feature that might further this type of "know all" would not be welcomed by me either. The serendipitous nature of scoring a food find, some chow deliciousness is becoming harder and harder to come by.

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              I had two real-life Chowhound encounters that have informed my strong views on privacy.

                                              The first one was rather innocuous, but it caught me off guard. A fellow Chowhound recognized me at a restaurant (through my blog photos from my 6 month trip in Asia) and it creeped me out a bit. Now it really was nothing, and I know that he meant no harm, but I'm also not a celebrity and am not used to strangers knowing personal things about me, and coming back to me with this personal info at a random place and time. It was disconcerting, to say the least.

                                              My second encounter was considerably more disturbing.

                                              Very often we don't consider the implications of putting our lives out there until somebody finds something to criticize you about. Then it's too late to put the lid back on. I had written a negative (but nonetheless accurate) Chowhound account about a relatively new business. The owner of the business searched through Chowhound and somehow found my flickr photo page. They posted MY OWN photo of me on THEIR blog and mocked me for having justifiably criticized them. (In fact, they did this as a sort of regular series in their blog, in which they scoured the internet for negative reviews of their place in order to mock those people responsible for those negative reviews.)

                                              When I realized what had happened I immediately made all my flickr photos private, by invitation only.

                                              These events really made me consider just how valuable one's privacy is, and just how easily people are willing to give it all up.

                                              When people post on facebook, twitter (or even Chowhound for that matter) there's a false feeling of intimacy- as if it's the digital equivalent of sharing your photos and ideas with a group of friends on the sofa. But that's not what we're doing. It's actually the digital equivalent of making a million color copies of your photos and dropping them out of the window of a plane as it travels around the world.

                                              Scary stuff. Consider me not a fan of public lists of any kind.

                                              Mr Taster

                                              aka Mr Opt Out :)

                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                > (In fact, they did this as a sort of regular series in their blog, in which they scoured
                                                > the internet for negative reviews of their place in order to mock those people
                                                > responsible for those negative reviews.)

                                                Wow, he had time for this? Now there's a formula for business success.

                                            2. re: MGZ

                                              Given the number of new-to-me places I read about on Chowhound, I definitely forget a lot of them.

                                              So I'll definitely use the feature, set to private.

                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                I forget things like that all the time. I think that this list has a lot of value, especially if it's easy to find in the mobile section. There are a lot of places that I have in a mental list where I want to go, but I either don't get to that part of town often, or get into my regular routine. A list like this would be great for me to easily tag restaurants that I want to go to, especially if I can sort by location. Then if I'm in such an area, I can pull it up on my phone.

                                            3. Hi everyone - thanks for the feedback. It has been very valuable to us and we appreciate all of the comments. The feature will have an optional privacy setting that you can adjust in your profile - under the Lists category you will see a Restaurants link. Under the Restaurant section you will see two tabs, one for Been There and the other for Wanna Go. To the right of these two tabs, there will be radio button where you can chose 'private' or 'public'. This will make both lists (Been There and Wanna Go) either public or private, whichever you choose. Hopefully this will make the feature a more usable. Again thank you for the feedback!

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: CHOW HQ

                                                Thanks for adding the "private" option. This makes it a much more appealing feature to me, personally.

                                                1. re: CHOW HQ

                                                  This makes a lot more sense. Now adding an option to turn ON or OFF the Share Tab would be uber-useful as well.

                                                2. Thank you for offering a private option to this feature. And, the new tab layout for member profile is lovely.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                    And a request, please --

                                                    I have no problem with it if you send out an email telling everyone about the new feature.

                                                    I do, however, have a problem with it if you hound me persistently about whether or not I use it. The survey was annoying as all get out, and it will become VERY annoying VERY quickly if you put up a persistent pop-up every time I log in, pestering me about a feature I have no interest in using.

                                                  2. Never mind, the buttons just showed up. Before I was seeing only the totals.

                                                    1. I can see my (private) Wanna Go list on my Android phone, so it's actually useful. It would be much more useful if the list could be mapped, so I could see which are near wherever I happen to be when I want to eat.

                                                      It would be nice if either the sort were sticky, the default was "Wanna Go," or there were separate URLs for the sorts. I have no reason ever to look at "Been There."

                                                      The buttons and tabs are in the wrong order. "Wanna Go" should be left of "Been There."

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                        Yes, please make the list at least sortable by location.

                                                      2. Marking a place Been There does not remove it from Wanna Go.

                                                        I seriously don't see any use for Been There. It's just clutter, makes the site look that little bit stupider.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                          I thought of one possible use for Been There - I frequently visit LA and NYC and will sometimes do research threads beforehand - a "Been There" list would help people think of new places I haven't been, without me physically typing out every restaurant I've ever visited.

                                                          I really like the "Private" setting but would consider switching it to "Public" briefly for that reason... and I definitely agree with you and JasmineG that there needs to be a way to sort by location and/or to map.

                                                        2. Just tried the 'Wanna Go' feature. Huh?
                                                          Just one big effing list of all the 'wanna go' places? No place for notes. You've got to be kidding. I'll stick with the 'Chow lists' feature, thank you.

                                                          I agree with the other posters that the 'Been There' feature is pretty pointless without further elaboration. The new (short) Review feature associated each place is better and can be a quick help, but nothing more.

                                                          Facebook 'Like' button? Another wanna-be feature no doubt mandated by some manager to keep his/her job for pandering to the drive-by Facebook/Yelp crowd. At least it doesn't take up much screen 'real estate'.

                                                          Not 'liking' most of the recent site changes. Insert Thumbs Down icon here.

                                                          1. The new buttons are much too big and distracting. So big that I can't tell whether this would be a useful feature if it were more subtly implemented.

                                                            The rollover balloon takes up 1/3 of the screen. (Can't wait to see this on a mobile device.)

                                                            The forum pages are full of bright, distracting buttons that compete with the main content (which, apparently to the dismay of your graphic designers, is plain text). The forums are about the body text--not social buttons, or headlines, or a bright red Save button. It's one thing to monetize a website with well-designed ads, and another to create a lot of little features that make it hard to read your main content.

                                                            Generally, this site has an indiscriminate mix of public and private information, without allowing users to control what's broadcast. That's frustrating.

                                                            For example, why can't I bookmark a topic (a very useful feature) without that list being visible to the whole world?

                                                            I would be unlikely to flag restaurants I intend to eat at, or have been to, as a result.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Windy

                                                              "For example, why can't I bookmark a topic (a very useful feature) without that list being visible to the whole world?"

                                                              Amen to that. Perhaps the topic deserves its own separate thread.

                                                              You can, however, make the new Been/Wanna lists private.

                                                              1. re: Windy

                                                                Windy, log out and check your profile as someone else sees it (or click on someone else's profile). With the rejiggering of the profile menus, it seems that Saved Topics have been made private. That list is under the Following menu, which is only visible to the user in his or her own profile.

                                                                Obviously, that doesn't change the fact that others could view the list in the past, but if it bugged you or you avoided using it for that reason, just a heads-up that it was changed.

                                                              2. "I already have a list of places I want to go. It's a Word document, and I keep it on my desktop. I'd be happy to tell you what's on it, but only if you ask, because I'm not self-centered enough to think that my restaurant hopes and dreams are interesting to anyone but me," -small h.

                                                                The discussion of privacy on this thread is fascinating. I think it speaks to two separate "defaults" regarding privacy and sharing. "Default public" and "default private." My guess is that these defaults have a strong generational correlation, but I don't want to assume *too* much :)

                                                                The default public camp asks, "Why *shouldn't* I share this?" If they can't identify a harm associated with sharing, then they make the item public. Default private asks, "Why *should* I share this?" If they can't identify a benefit, then they want the item to be private. That calculus has important implications. One camp computes risks, the other computes benefits. That's why the public folks think the private folks are uptight--they assume that the private folks think sharing lists of restaurants is risky and dangerous. And it's why the private folks think the public folks are self-centered--they assume that the public folks think the whole world wants to know about their opinions.

                                                                Would love to hear from people in both camps. Do you agree with my characterization? Am I missing something? Would love to hear more specifically from private camp that don't fit my characterization. As a thought experiment, consider your go-to dining resource, could be Jim Leff or Sam Sifton or your college roommate. Would you be interested in getting a preview of their pipeline? I, for one, would love to know where Jim wants to eat, because chances are I would want to eat at those places too, IF I knew what he knew. Since I don't know what Jim knows, following his want list is the next best thing. Likewise, knowing where he's eaten that he *hasn't* posted about is useful too, because then I can ask him about it. Maybe it was amazing and he just hasn't had a chance to post about it yet. Or maybe was terrible. Because there's not enough time in the day (for most people, at least) to post about *every* place they've been, knowing which places the people whose opinions I care about have experience with is useful.

                                                                20 Replies
                                                                1. re: jeremyhfisher

                                                                  Thank you for those characterizations. The fact that some of us care about our privacy really isn't for you to judge.

                                                                  People have different preferences, and a well-designed community site should respect them, not make assumptions that share information without consent.

                                                                  See Google Buzz and Facebook's ongoing lawsuits for other examples...

                                                                  1. re: Windy

                                                                    Not trying to judge your preferences, was just curious to understand why people have the preferences that they have. I don't work for Chowhound, but having that sort of knowledge is what let's designers design well. You might design a separate solution to address a user who wants to keep information private because she doesn't see the value of that information to others than you would design for a user who wants to keep information private because she has a stalker. Or the same solution might be appropriate for both--the point is that you don't know whether there is one use case or two (let alone a single appropriate solution) until you get the full story.

                                                                    1. re: jeremyhfisher

                                                                      See my prior post on this.


                                                                      The reason default private should be the way is because by the time you're old enough to realize the inherent problems with default public, your scandalous drunken frat photos (for example) have already made their way to your grandmother, your employer, and potentially millions of others willing to exploit your personal foibles for their own entertainment.

                                                                      As I see it's there's a *VERY* slim, *VERY* short-term upside for default public and a HUGE, *VERY* long-term potential downside. Many people really don't begin realizing the long-term implications of their behavior in their younger years until their late 20s/early 30s Real life example... my wife goes to professional doctorate level school with a bunch of people in their early 20s, and it's shocking to see the distinctly un-professional things these young people make public to the world. They don't realize that when they graduate with a doctorate expecting to work with patients, those photos will be reviewed by other doctorate level professional people in their 40s in white medical coats who will not want their patients to stumble across those same photos of their respected health care professional taking a 10 foot beer bong.

                                                                      See my point? Minimal short term benefit (entertaining their 24 year old friends) and potentially HUGE long term life implications. You can't hide these things anymore. Once they're out there, there's always the potential for scandal.

                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                        Your Facebook scenario identifies a legitimate problem with the default public approach, which is that an analysis of the risks of our own online behavior may change over time. It's important that young people understand that, and discussions like these help that happen.

                                                                        But collectively, your posts offer an argument against public listing that's indistinguishable from an argument against posting on public sites like chowhound altogether. The Chowhound-specific risks you identify (someone figuring out who you are, a business deciding to go after you) are much more strongly associated with posting behavior than with listing behavior. Maybe it's that I'm not be old enough to realize the inherent problems with public listing :) but the marginal risk to listing publicly when you're already posting publicly seems infinitesimal.

                                                                        1. re: jeremyhfisher

                                                                          >> But collectively, your posts offer an argument against public listing that's indistinguishable from an argument against posting on public sites like chowhound altogether.

                                                                          This is not true. Neither of the events I described would have occurred had I not voluntarily linked my anonymous chowhound posts to various personal photos and blog links.

                                                                          It was those to other sites (flickr, etc.) that contained information about my personal activities and what I looked like that would not have been evident had I restricted my online contributions to text-only Chowhound posts.

                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                            sorry, I wasn't clear enough there: by "public listing" I mean specifically creating public lists (e.g. places I want to try, places I've been) on chowhound.

                                                                            1. re: jeremyhfisher

                                                                              I was addressing your original post, which was not specific to public/private lists but rather to the fading concept of privacy in general, and that the younger generation who never had privacy to begin with don't even know that they're missing (and the real value of what they're giving away to strangers for free.)

                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                            2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                              Agree wholeheartedly with Mr Taster. I have had similar unsettling events where my privacy has been violated just because I got into a disagreement with someone on here.

                                                                    2. re: jeremyhfisher

                                                                      the minute an opinion is offered to the public, it becomes vulnerable to public opinion.

                                                                      My list is my list. I'm not threatened by someone knowing I want to eat at the Chat 'n' Chew, but it's not for anyone else to judge...and someone inevitably and unfailingly will offer up that I must be (fill in the blanks) for wanting to eat there.

                                                                      It's my list, it's my business. I don't give a rat's rump where someone else has eaten or where they want to eat, and don't give a damn what someone else thinks of where I've eaten or where I want to go.

                                                                      This is a feature that's much like pockets in your underwear...sounds like a great idea, but pretty useless in practice.

                                                                      1. re: jeremyhfisher

                                                                        "The default public camp asks, "Why *shouldn't* I share this?" If they can't identify a harm associated with sharing, then they make the item public. Default private asks, "Why *should* I share this?" If they can't identify a benefit, then they want the item to be private. That calculus has important implications. One camp computes risks, the other computes benefits. That's why the public folks think the private folks are uptight--they assume that the private folks think sharing lists of restaurants is risky and dangerous. And it's why the private folks think the public folks are self-centered--they assume that the public folks think the whole world wants to know about their opinions."
                                                                        Hit the nail on the head, IMO.

                                                                        I guess I fall into the default public camp. Not because I feel all of my thoughts, musings, etc. deserve to be made public - there's lots that I keep to myself. More so, I just find the notion of 'privacy' on an open internet forum ludicrous. If you're posting on a public forum, that information is public. Any info that you don't want public - don't post it. That openness is sort of the point of a public forum.

                                                                        Mr. Taster has made some decent points about changing standards of openness and discretion as we age. But that's a problem with the internet in general, IMO. Not of specific sites that never claimed to be all that private in the first place. And it's an inevitable problem at that. The internet has always been (and hopefully will always be) a huge, public mass of easily accessable information - that's the glory of it. The youth will always be impetuous - in a way, that's their glory.

                                                                        At its heart, the internet signifies an easier and more efficient way to exchange and access information. It is a great and powerful tool. That it also makes it easier for people to give away more about themselves than they meant to is endemic. Just like how the invention of the automobile entailed car accidents. That's why bemoaning the death of privacy seems futile to me. You can't have it both ways.

                                                                        More on topic, the 'been there/wanna go' button is a non-issue to me. If, like me, you don't want to use it - just don't use it.

                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                          >> More so, I just find the notion of 'privacy' on an open internet forum ludicrous.

                                                                          Privacy is not an "all-or-none" scenario as you've painted it here.

                                                                          Back in the early days when Chowhound had no personal accounts (and no graphics), it was about as anonymous as you could get. Also, the internet was less popular, so there were simply less people to do the snooping. So there is a difference between anonymous, untraceable (unless you're a hacker or a moderator) text posts and a Facebook account where you voluntarily give away all sorts of personal, TRACEABLE details about your life.

                                                                          To illustrate, there is a difference between posting words, ("I ate some interesting food during my trip to the Netherlands") and and posting photos (or links to photos) in which you're seen swallowing a whole herring. Even if you were to share a detailed, written account of your experience swallowing a herring, unless you chose to publish your name or other personally identifiable info, it would be virtually impossible for anyone to figure out it was you. One photo on Facebook, however, and the jig is up. The world now potentially knows about your predilection for gulping whole, raw pickled fish.

                                                                          Imagine when a significant portion of the current Facebook generation begin running for national public office. It's going to be a free-for-all. My prediction: in 30 years when it becomes apparent that virtually *everyone* running for public office has embarrassing Facebook skeletons in the closet, expect the national discussion to shift to forgiveness of youthful indiscretion. Which is not entirely a bad thing, but with all the embarrassing, damaged and ruined lives leading up to that point, it's a terrible way to reach that goal.

                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                            I'd like to clarify one more thing in debunking the idea that you give up any notion of privacy once you log into a public forum. Privacy is not about keeping everything confidential. It's about choosing the method, time and manner in which this information is shared.

                                                                            As I said before, it's one thing to contribute descriptive, non personally-identifiable words to a public forum. It is entirely another to publicly (or semi-publicly) post descriptive photos and links to you, your family & friends (and all their personally identifiable info), your birthday, your hometown, etc. By doing so, you're shifting control of your life over to strangers willing to exploit your life for a profit (which, by the way, they are not sharing with you).

                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                              Every single one of your examples involves someone knowingly posting revealing information to a public, wide open forum or site. Or at least posting information that they should reasonably foresee a clever individual using to identify them. We're not talking about CH selling your email address or giving away other registration information that they promised to keep private. We're talking about personal information freely given over a medium designed expressly for the free exchange of information.

                                                                              I agree that this is often bad news for a careless or naive individual doing the posting. But how in the world do you find that it's the public forum's responsibility to disallow this kind of disclosure? Find a site that you consider damaging to the privacy of today's internet users (perhaps this one, best I can tell from your posts) - take away the photos, moderate away any mention of oneself or revealing habits, disallow all mentions of one's blogs or email address and guess what? Everyone goes and hangs out elsewhere, still giving away little bits of their privacy in a happy exchange for truly free exchange of information.

                                                                              Quote: "Privacy is not an "all-or-none" scenario as you've painted it here."


                                                                              Then describe a plausible scenario where privacy is ensured but the internet and/or the sites you love aren't castrated as a result. Reconsider the old Chowhound. For one, there was nothing stopping anyone from using their own name or giving away revealing information in a text-only post. For another, you write of less traffic as though it is a good thing for CH, or plausible to revert to. It is neither. Further consider - there are still other food websites that host forums without the ability to post pictures or graphics, where forum traffic is very low. Many of them, actually. Such a website would seem the comparatively safe, mostly anonymous paradise you imply CH once was. Yet I am here at this forum as opposed to those others because the user-generated information here is far more expansive, the culture far more lively. Without being too presumptuous, I can safely surmise that the same goes for you.

                                                                              Next consider Facebook. What privacy critics fail to comprehend is that Facebook is the global behemoth it is precisely because it allows users to share personal information easily, not in spite of it. Kids want to post potentially embarrassing pictures of themselves and their friends. They want to tell their peers about themselves and read what their peers disclose. And it's not that Facebook is encouraging them to do so - it doesn't need to. The important thing is that facebook is ALLOWING them to do so. So what to do about it? Beef up privacy and everyone just starts using some other site. You can't stop kids from being kids, and you can't ensure privacy on the internet without moderating every corner of it.

                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee


                                                                                And if my privacy was ever a serious, personal safety issue, I wouldn't hesitate to take those concerns to the powers that be immediately. There is a corporation behind this community and site with counsel and real people responsible for the overall usage of information. Which is quite different than recognizing that social networking of the FB variety or others is a personal choice and we determine our own personal preference. We all have the control to excercise our words, photos, shared material BEFORE we type/post it. The annoying bothersome behavior is not going away; we all experience some of it sometimes.

                                                                                Be safe, be kind..eat well!

                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                  cowboyardee, I think you've made some compelling arguments outlining some unfortunate aspects of human nature (i.e. as long as you put the carrot out there and make it visible, a large number of people are going to grab for it, even if the carrot is perched precariously over the edge of a cliff.)

                                                                                  I agree with that observation and I'll need to reconsider my argument, or at the very least try to get a more precise idea about exactly what it is that I am arguing for, because my prior post imprecisely glosses over several topics.

                                                                                  What drives me crazy is that most people are fine with that carrot hanging over the cliff, because (so the argument goes) it's the right of the business owner to hang it there, and it's the right of the young, ignorant and naive to grab for that carrot. To my mind, that's evidence of a world gone insane. Not that the young will be impetuous or destructive in ways that they will only comprehend in 20 years, but that so many people are fine with it.

                                                                                  What I am clear about is that the person who hung the carrot over the cliff holds some responsibility for those people who fall off the cliff. And the fact that people will actually fight to the death for the right of individuals to pursue this destructive fool's errand (while strangers capitalize on that person's downfall) is something I can't understand.

                                                                                  The mentality of "default public" is not just part of the problem, it *IS* the problem. It manifests itself in small, seemingly innocuous ways (like public profiles or lists) which is just one of countless ways in which people are being conditioned to believe that "no privacy" is the new normal; it's just the way things are. It's more than disturbing- it's frightening, and it makes me sad to think that this is the direction we're going.

                                                                                  Unfortunately, I don't have any answers here. This is a cultural problem deeper than any of us individually, and I don't see any sign of it ending any time soon.

                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                    that so many people are fine with it.


                                                                                    Plenty of folks aren't fine with it Mr. T. But I wonder...does the fact that these products are free to members have anything to do with the willingness to jump in to participate? If we were charged a member fee, would the culture, accountability and personal responsiblity be different. Would the membership grow to the millions as quickly?

                                                                            2. re: jeremyhfisher


                                                                              Just heard on NPR last night. When considering the debate of default public vs. default private, it's important to consider not just from the standpoint of today's technology, but from tomorrow's technology.

                                                                              Case in point, facial recognition software has become so good in recent years that employers are hiring outside contractors to do not only the standard background check when considering applicants, but are doing internet photo sweeps that can detect UNTAGGED pictures of your face by scanning your facial features and comparing them with publicly available information about you. I don't think it's a leap to assume that Google will be all over this soon, at which time the general public will have access to this technology.

                                                                              I couldn't find that specific piece, but I did find this one:

                                                                              Scary stuff. Default private, please.

                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                yes, interesting lessons to be learned from facial recognition software. the technology was able to develop extremely rapidly because huge numbers of people "volunteered" to help train it by tagging photos of themselves and friends in FB photos.

                                                                            3. Thanks to the team for giving us the option to make these lists private. I would personally use the wanna go feature, but don't really see the need for a been there.

                                                                              I know you guys are all saying the been there feature is useless. For the most part, I agree. I can only think of one scenario where I think it would be useful, and it would entail the poster to publicize the list. I've seen a few posts where people say they want to go to someplace new and don't offer a list of places they've been to. We're not mind readers, you know. And I certainly don't follow people's posts closely enough to know where you guys have been. So in this case, I can see it being helpful.

                                                                              The beauty of this function is that if you don't like it, you don't have to use it -- unlike that damn Share tab. I've removed it at home, but unable to do so at work. I think it would be a great idea to give users the ability to get rid of the tab as those who complain about it probably wouldn't be using it.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                It would take many of us days to add all the places we've been to a "Been There" list.

                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                  Definitely. Though I also think it would take me days to add all the places I want to try in the other category as well!

                                                                              2. So I have a very very very long list of restaurants that I want to try (263 to be exact) all over the place.... I use yelp to keep track of these because it is easy and convenient. Yelp's bookmarks have many great sorting features and a great mobile app that lets me see places I have bookmarked nearby where I am. This is so useful... I use it all the time when out and traveling. Other than this feature, l don't care to use yelp (it steered me wrong too many times)
                                                                                Normally I will read about a restaurant on Chowhound and then look it up on yelp to bookmark, so when I saw this new feature on Chowhound I was very happy... I figured that I could start using it instead of yelp... it would be take me less time to add a restaurant to my list since I am already on Chowhound.

                                                                                So I started using it this week and adding restaurants to my "wanna try" list, and then I went to look at my list and realized that there is no way to sort it. Not alphabetically, not by cuisine, not by location (the most important sort of all)! How can I use this feature if I can't sort? I am not going to go looking through 26 pages trying to find what restaurants I want to try in Sonoma or some other place that I am going... I'd be better off using an excel sheet.

                                                                                Also, like others said, the "been there" feature is useless with out a like/dislike (or maybe a "would go back") addition. I've been to a lot of place I wouldn't go back to....
                                                                                If it had this feature, then when I read someone's review I can take into account what other restaurants he/she liked/disliked to give me a better idea of how much weight to give that person's review.

                                                                                I don't understand what Chowhound was thinking when they added this feature. If you are going to add something make it useful.... as it is right now, none of it is useful.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: lrealml

                                                                                  I don't understand what Chowhound was thinking when they added this feature.
                                                                                  As I said above, probably another mandate from above to cater, oops, pander to the iSheeple.

                                                                                  Add it to the Huge list of other INCOMPLETE features added by the 'new' CH staff over the last two years.

                                                                                  OTOH if they Wanted to do the Wanna Go button properly, they should have treated it like a temporary list and let you move the places to regular Chow lists later.

                                                                                  Shame, Chowhound, Shame !!!

                                                                                  1. re: lrealml

                                                                                    Exactly. I use the Yelp bookmarks feature as well to keep track of restaurants I want to try. Back in the day, I used to keep an Excel sheet which could be sorted by cities/neighborhoods, but the yelp bookmarks makes the process incredibly easy. And notes can be added to the bookmark so that I can remember which dishes seemed interesting. And Yelp has a very good mobile interface with a geographic visualization of the bookmarks (they actually listen to user feedback and implement the suggestions). It blows away whatever Chowhound is trying to do with technology and user interface. That's sad, because I'm a long-time Chowhound member and find the information content on this site to be superior.

                                                                                    I think there's one way in which this new Chowhound feature could be really useful. That would be by having the Chow restaurant listing linked to the Yelp bookmark for the restaurant. Right now, when I read about a place on this site, I go to the Yelp site and bookmark the place. A shortcut for this process would be ideal, but I realize the limitations due to different companies, interfaces, etc.

                                                                                    1. re: Joe MacBu

                                                                                      Umm, yeah, I don't really see Chowhound putting out a feature that will link to a rival food site.

                                                                                      1. re: Joe MacBu

                                                                                        or replicating the kind of useful functionality that yelp has.

                                                                                        the wanna is terribly offputting and those buttons all over the links and restaurant pages take up a lot of space and are visibly intrusive.

                                                                                        the fact that the lists are not sortable or helpful is further indicative that this isnt intended to be a useful feature. But site users like useful features, not self-displaying features.

                                                                                    2. I strongly agree with some that being able to sort these lists would be very useful.

                                                                                      1. It would be useful to be able to add notes to the Wanna Go entries.