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Jun 24, 2011 08:28 AM

What's For Dinner and longer posts


As a side note: would it be possible for folks to move some of their more "food porn" bloggy-type posts to another thread? I (and some other Hounds) think these would be better suited to the Food Media board. Frankly, I'm having a hard time wading through these lengthy posts with tons of photos, and maybe I'm stuck in my old-school WFD ways, but I prefer the more concise dinner posts.

With no offense meant to anyone, this is feeling little more like a food photo rally and blog promotion tool than a humble "this is what I cooked for dinner" thread. As c_oliver has suggested, since you've obviously put a lot of thought and work into staging and photographing your dinner posts, why not make them separate posts from WFD? In short: I like what you're doing, but I don't love it on this thread. Sometimes less is more.

  1. I could not agree more, Christina. And I always like the Reubens much better than the corned beef itself, too.

    1. Yes, I have to say that WFD has been a little overwhelming and difficult to read through lately. I now tend to skim rather than read, and unless you check in regularly, it becomes a real time sink. Maybe CH should institute more of a blog post update thread...

      1. Now I'm worried. I thought the idea here was that you described what you cooked, and how you cooked it, posted photos as as desired. I don't blog, Chowhound is the only place I've ever posted anything. Am I just supposed to list the menu items and leave it at that? I'm not pro enough for a blog, wouldn't even think any of my meals rate a separate thread. I'm new on this board, but I've had a great time photographing my dinners, and also reading and viewing others' efforts.

        17 Replies
        1. re: L.Nightshade

          For me, WFD would return to being a pleasant and insightful read if some of the lengthier posts (by various posters) were trimmed down. For example, in many cases, where there are 4 multi-step photos of ingredients in a meal, one could suffice. They're pretty, but they don't add much to the discussion.

          Most posters on WFD are pretty accomplished home cooks, and I'm not sure these long, instructive posts with step-by-step photos are very useful/informative. I'm not saying that conciseness is a hard-and-fast rule, but these massive posts with all the accolades that eventually follow are, in my opinion, kind of clogging the forum.

          I don't mean to sound harsh. It's just that when I go looking for food porn photography or detailed recipes with extensive write-ups (and tons of congratulatory comments that inevitably follow), I look to food blogs. When that kind of content shows up on WFD, I just find it distracting. I prefer more easily digestible posts that assume I know the basics of a dish and trust me to follow-up with a question if I have one about the method, ingredients, etc.

          1. re: ChristinaMason

            I like the idea of just the final photo of the finished dish vs. the step by step, and agree that the majority of the readers here are accomplished home cooks and don't need the step-by-step photos. I personally don't need to see the majority of the mise en place photos (although I very much appreciated the one posted earlier by Nightshade!).

            I *want* to read the posts; just don't need to see the prep photos so much. But that's just me.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              Just to chime in with a different perspective, when I post mise pics, or sequential pics, they're not necessarily intended to be instructive to a thread full of people who appear to be very experienced cooks. Sometimes, I do it because I think the colors look pretty. Other times I figure WTH - I took 'em, might as well share 'em!

            2. re: ChristinaMason

              I guess I know what you mean. On one hand, this is a bit of a tight-knit community, (though newcomers are always welcome) and there hasn't been much photography of dishes in the past, but w new technology & all, it has become easier and easier to "show" people your work, or passion. But these threads seem to fill up very quickly now, and tend to alienate those who do not want to wade through one post, and then the bunch of responses each gets. But I wouldn't want to ask people to keep their comments to a minimum, that's like censorship, and I don't believe in it, even if the mods do. Lord knows I can get very wordy, and oftentimes, I try to catch myself and make my posts more concise. But that is hard to do, when I feel like we are friends, and I want to give full context as to why I made X,Y or Z a certain way.

              On the other hand, I don't have a blog either, and frankly don't have time to devote to one. If I wanted to show my WFD family what I spent all day cooking, I highly doubt that they would go to look on some other thread to find it. Personally, I rarely visit other boards besides HC & LA, again it's a time factor for me. I don't work in front of a PC all day, I am busy w my kids (esp in summer) and to hunt around other threads would prove non-productive for me on most days. I like that it is all contained here in one place. Technology will keep pressing forward, whether one wants to keep up w it or not. I think it's nice to see others' food photos, it makes the whole thread more descriptive for me, than just reading a bunch of words.

              I also fear alienating our new crop of posters and enthusiasts, who have given me many ideas and inspiration as well. If it's just going to be restricted to a core group of posters, we should start our own private message board, but I fear that would become boring very quickly. So, can't we all reach some sort of compromise? Just my two cents.

                1. re: Phurstluv

                  I don't see this as a technophobe issue, as I'm on the younger end of the WFD/Chowhound spectrum and have my own cooking blog where I post foodie photos, detailed write-ups of recipes, interact with commenters, etc. I just don't think WFD is the appropriate place for that and try to limit going overboard. But hey, I still do sometimes---sometimes you make something so great, you just want to share all of it in all its glory. Or something.

                  But if you are someone who finds him/herself regularly documenting every step of your meal preparation process and taking carefully styled food photos and writing up highly detailed descriptions, maybe you *should* consider starting a blog. Once you set up the (very) basics, posting is as simple as uploading content to WFD.

                  Ultimately, we on WFD will probably just have to agree to disagree about the parameters for this thread until the mods chime in (if they ever do).

                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                    I'm not saying it's a "technophobe" issue. When the WFD thread began, it was very humble, but also pretty boring, as c oliver even attested to, that it was people posting w out any real conviction or passion. And many of us have lamented the fact that we are even bored w our own repetitive posts, as every cook can get into a cooking rut.

                    I feel these posts have been interesting in the least, and very inspiring to myself, to grow and branch out to do the sort of cooking we may not be comfortable with, due to the encouragement of the other posters. Some of us don't have blogs to say, "I made such and such, it's on my blog" and leave it at that. Many of us enjoy describing our efforts and food, and follow up w photos if we like. After all, the mods put the "attach photo" link for us to use. I agree we should all try to avoid going overboard, on anything, for that matter. But I don't think it's our place to tell others, notably newcomers, not to post their photos, or write paragraph upon paragraph about what they made for dinner. If it's not on the appropriate forum, Lord knows the mods take care of that. We don't need censorship from other posters as well. It's just not that hard to bypass the posts if you don't want to read. It is harder to juggle threads just to get your pics on a board of likeminded posters to get opinions, advice and praise.

                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      You seem to be backtracking a bit from your earlier comment that lengthy, highly-detailed posts do have the unintended effect of alienating readers who don't care to slog through it all. Myself included---and I've been posting here a while. As have others who also find it kind of irritating.

                      I think I've said my piece on this, and the point was not to shut down anyone's self-expression as much as to keep WFD from getting unwieldy and blog-like. If the trend continues, I'm happy to post elsewhere. Best to all.

                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                        I guess I am backtracking a bit. The more I think about it, the more it seems like those of us who have been on WFD from the beginning, are saying to the newer posters "you can post on our thread if you like, but you should do it our way."

                        I realize not everyone wants to slog through a long thread full of photos and single comments from others w encouragement. And I for one don't want to alienate them either. But whose to say one way of posting your WFD is better than another? Why should some be able to say, "no, that post should not be on this board, it's too ___" and not others? Isn't that the mods' job?

                        It just seems a bit exclusive to me, and I don't believe that is the point of this thread. Perhaps now you can understand why some don't WANT to post on the thread, because they feel the rest of us are either unresponsive or smug & snobby.

                        Irritating it may be to page down through the thread, and read just those posts you want to read, but it's really not that difficult. You don't have to take your ball and go home either, Christina, it's just a healthy discussion, and as you said earlier, we can agree to disagree about it. I just happen to have a different opinion, that's all. Okay, I'll get off my soapbox of the day now, just contributing my two cents, as opinionated as they may be.

                        1. re: Phurstluv

                          It's not really our role to tell people how to post in a given thread. As long as the posts don't violate site guidelines and are on topic for the board they're on, we don't generally mod individual threads at the level of 'you can only talk about this thing or in this way'.

                          We'll sometimes clean out some of the chat in the WFD threads that's totally unrelated to food, but as long as posts are informative and on-topic to Home Cooking, we don't care if they're short, long, plain text or picture-filled.

                          1. re: The Chowhound Team

                            What I was saying was that it is your job to tell posters if what they posted belongs on a certain thread, or would be better suited to a different board, or a new topic all together.

                            Am I wrong in that impression?

                            1. re: Phurstluv

                              We don't generally moderate that sort of thing at the thread level. If something is okay for the board it's on, we'll usually leave it alone.

                              If someone comes onto the WFD threads and starts raving about the meal they just at the bistro down the street, we'll remove or split it out, because that doesn't belong on Home Cooking. But if someone mentions what they had for lunch, or describes a recipe in detail, we're not going to tell them they shouldn't post in the thread.

                              Threads drift, people post in different styles and we're not policing otherwise acceptable posts at that level.

                              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                Whilst, from time to time, I can be critical of moderating decisions on the site (I rarely post to my regional board because of it), I have always been very appreciative of the way the Chowhound Team has allowed the WFD threads to have some considerable flexibility. Yes, we stray too far from time to time (I despaired at the "cats tangent" a few weeks back) but so long as we are not silly about things, it's good that we can occasionally mention we're going out to dinner and, more relevently, occasionally mention what we've eaten - I only do this in passing and, usually, only when I've had some possible inspiration from the meal for a possible future home dinner.

                                1. re: Harters

                                  What you said, Harters. (And welcome back from your holiday!)

                                  1. re: Harters

                                    exactly what i said on the WFD thread - sometimes someone's restaurant meal inspires me to cook that item myself, and then i post about it.

                            2. re: Phurstluv

                              Maybe instead of complaining about how the regular posters are "unresponsive," new posters could think about ways to contribute to the discussion that would elicit responses. Maybe what they're posting just isn't as interesting as they think?

                              I also wonder if maybe CH doesn't bring out a little of the ugly attention-whore in all of us (myself included). Maybe accolades from strangers (and likewise, pointed but not mean criticism from strangers) shouldn't mean so much. People joke about being addicted to Chowhound, but I think there's a little something to that. Something along the lines of the stimulus-high/dopamine rush that a little red "notification flag" gives major fans of Facebook.

                              Anyway, like you said: WFD is, fortunately, skimmable. I'll just be doing a lot more skimming than I'd like and probably won't feel as drawn to post or respond. That's fine---there are other threads I am happy to contribute to. WFD just has been one of my favorites for the past 2 years.

                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                CM, I'm torn. i feel a bit like you do - i think the back-and-forth (which i'm TOTALLY guilty of) gets a little drawn out. i don't want to discourage newbies (and i know you don't either) because i feel they'll probably "calm down" after awhile. and i don't mean that in a derogatory way at all. again, i find myself guilty often of the obligatory response to a post, instead of just reading and then adding something to the discussion. i do love WFD, its flexibility, as Harters said, but i too cringe when it gets tooooo off topic. and again, I KNOW i'm guilty of it too. i like when some posters post long and others post short, but not when the same posters do the same every time. variation is a good thing.

                                CM, please don't leave us!!!! value your posts way too much.

                2. Christina, As a blogger who has only once linked my blog to a thread in response to someone looking for a specific recipe, I'm not sure if your comment is directed at my posts and similar ones, but I have never used this thread, or any other, to promote my blog.

                  I post lots of pics here that never end up on my blog, and I wonder if you'd think the posts were "food porn"-y at all if they didn't include the pics. I don't wish to take away from your enjoyment of this thread, but I figure the photo attachment feature exists for good reason, and perhaps even adds to others' enjoyment.

                  So with due respect, and without any intent to offend, I'll continue posting pics until moderated not to.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: inaplasticcup

                    I LOVE looking at your pics. You and others have really inspired me!
                    It seems to me it doesn't take much time to scroll past the photos if one is not interested.

                    Edit: Oops, I guess this is one of those pesky congratulatory comments!

                    1. re: inaplasticcup

                      I don't think Christina was trying to single you out. specifically, ina. But I actually liked c oliver's suggestion (and one which, iirc, was met with enthusiasm both on your side and other posters') of doing this in separate threads -- like the fish taco one.

                      It'll (slightly) unclutter the WFD for us who are fine with 'just' reading about people's dinners, and will more prominently feature your great creations and pictures.

                      1. re: linguafood

                        Thanks, linguafood. :)

                        I hope it doesn't seem like I'm looking for a fight. Just defending the other side of the argument. To the extent that we are describing what we made for dinner, I don't see much difference in the verbal content or tone of the posts that include pictures from the ones that don't. If there's some tangential discussion of blogs, well, there's tangential discussion of lots of things all over this board.

                        As to asking people to shorten their posts, while I heartily believe in anyone's right to ask, I guess I don't agree with what amounts to a very subjective policing of the way other people express themselves. Wouldn't it be odd if someone complained that someone else's posts were too efficient, too curt, too short?

                        At any rate, I would be posting pics and talking too much even if I didn't blog. I understand it might be hard to overlook the connection because I do, but I love looking at everyone's food pics. Gives me a better idea of what they're describing. And, to echo Nightshade, we are all grownups here who can avert our eyes from a thing that doesn't offend our conscience.

                    2. A slightly alternate suggestion - linking the pertinent blog in the WFD post? That way, photos are left on the blog, but we still get the gist of what is for dinner in that blogger's house?

                      15 Replies
                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        From the Chowhound rules:
                        "We ask that you not link directly to individual entries on your blog, but rather, copy and paste your information to Chowhound, so people can read it and reply here."

                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                          You can link to the FOTOS. You can paste the text here.

                          1. re: linguafood

                            IMHO, there is no point in duplicating content ("pasting the text") between a blog and a WFD post. If you can't trim it down for our purposes here, don't post it. Or just say you've gone into more detail on your blog, without giving the link and upsetting the mods. If your blog is included in your profile, those who want to find it will.

                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                              LOL. I'll assume then that you weren't talking about me because I can't think of a time I've cut and paste verbiage from my blog (with the exception of one recipe because I was gently reminded not to link to my blog). :)

                              1. re: inaplasticcup

                                I was responding to linguafood's suggestion to copy the text and just link to the photos on a blog. My comments here, in any case, apply to numerous posters and not one individual. And having discussed the issue with several regular WFD posters, it's apparent I'm not the only one having issues with the information overload.

                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                    Oh man, MC, don't get them started again!!!

                                    It was a lengthy discussion that seems to have split the WFD contributors into two camps, those that like it "the way it used to be, w concise posts that stay on topic" and those who like to show photos of their progress on a dish they made for dinner. Not that those posts aren't "on topic" but those type of posts tend to "clutter" (their word not mine) the thread, and some even feel it is a bit of self-promotion. You'd better read this fast, cuz the mods will delete it in minutes! We have kept them super busy this morning!

                                  2. re: ChristinaMason

                                    I understand and agree to disagree. I do appreciate your perspective, though. :)

                                1. re: ChristinaMason

                                  Telling people to visit your blog, even if you don't link it, is not permitted by our guidelines.

                                  1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                    what? Can you clarify, please? I see links to blogs all the time, and I thought a link at the bottom of the post was perfectly acceptable?

                                    1. re: susancinsf

                                      From what I understand the difference is having your blog's URL as a "simple" signature line in your posts vs saying in your post; "See my blog for more information" after basically giving a teaser come on to your blog post about some restaurant or dish you've reviewed off of CH.

                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                        Susan, after a bit of search I found the relevant site information on this subject (I can never find this stuff easily when I want to!):

                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          Thanks for digging that up, Servorg.

                                          As a 'Hound who happens to blog, I think I understand the logic behind that policy. My participation here is driven primarily by the benefit I get from the discussions, but I participate on a few threads, WFD included, that get bombed by a blogger who never returns to participate in the discussion. Fairly transparent and a tad annoying.

                                          OTOH, I've linked once to my blog (before learning of the policy) in a genuine attempt to be helpful to someone looking for a specific recipe, and was moderated for it. It would be nice if there were an easier way for them to discern those of us who actively participate in the community and bring up blogposts only when truly relevant and responsive to the discussion from spammers and shameless self promoters, but I understand there's probably way too much activity going on here for them to be able to do so.

                                          1. re: Servorg

                                            This is probably a better link because it includes some discussion of the recent clarifications we've made to our policy.

                                            We don't manage to read every post, so if you see posters who really do seem to just be trying to promote their blog, please use the "Report" link on one of their posts, so we can look into it.

                                            1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                              Thanks for the clarification. I think it was the statement 'even if you don't link it' that threw me for a loop, because I read that to mean that a link to a blog was never allowed....(not that I blog or anything, just wanted to understand the rules).