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Jul 21, 2011 08:32 AM

Just Answer The Question!!


Hi Y'all:
This has been chafing me for a moment or two now. I do hope I'm addressing it in the proper spot.
Lately (even not-so-lately) I've noticed a real thread of superiority running through some of the "answers" addressed to people - especially new posters. It's happened to me: I've asked a genuine question about a product and what to do with it and gotten smacked around for my shopping choices instead of just receiving an answer to an earnestly-posited question, or was told that I'd called it the wrong thing, or basically was told that I'm pretty dumb. Now, I'm pretty thick-skinned and I know it's not true. But if I wasn't, and I asked a question here only to get met with some of the bullshit know-it-all drivel that passes for an answer from some folk? I might never come back.
It just seems to me that this site's purpose is primarily to educate one another on all manner and areas of the cooking/eating/dining out experience. When someone asks a genuine question only to get told their question basically doesn't even matter, it helps nobody. Oh, wait. It might help the person answering feel superior, or vent some spleen or something. But I'm sure there are places for that too.
Just a call to peace, folks. If you have an answer, give it. If someone is wrong on a point of fact or method, educate them; don't call them out or diss them. No point in answering just to show off your own superior knowledge - because unshared knowledge is pretty lame. It sits there in your brain, and you know it, and so what?

      1. You are so awesome. Thank you for posting this, and I hope it will have an impact on people.

        I am still pretty new to CH and there are lots of times that I feel kind of sick to my stomach with the cavelier rudeness that I see. I can understand why replies get spirited on "not about food" topics, and that's fine, but when someone posts a sincere question on a food-related topic, they should at least get a polite response, if not actual helpfulness.

        I don't post those kinds of questions for exactly that reason. Lame on my part and hopefully someday I will get past that. Last night I searched for a long time for info on how to use fennel bulb. I found a couple of great threads. In the past, I have tried similar searches and ended up with nothing but didn't want to take the risk of getting slammed so just went to other sites in search of helpful info.


        83 Replies
        1. re: jlhinwa

          Me too. Getting slapped, even on-line, is not fun.

          1. re: jlhinwa

            jlhinwa, Peace back atcha. Know this, buddy: this is ALL our house, whether you're a big old dog who's been here awhile, or a new pup trying to figure out where you fit in. It is up to us to turn the tide here. It hurts my heart to hear that you had a question that could've easily been answered here by any number of knowledgeable people, but due to your previous experience you felt like you needed to go elsewhere.

            Is that what Chowhound is turning into, folks? C'mon now.

            You stay right here and keep asking your questions. Blow off the haters. They do reveal themselves to be exactly what they are, and it doesn't take much time. There are many MANY more people here who are happy as hell to help, myself included. You can email me; it's on my profile. But you keep posting, and your friends, also, will reveal themselves to you. We're the ones who love to cook and eat and spread the good word and the good vibe. It beats an argument, any day. (And I'm never one to shy away from a good one o' those.)

            Have a great day. Hope to see you back here.
            Oh, and that fennel bulb? It's awesome shaved in a slaw or added to a salad, with some shavings of good parm. and a nice vinaigrette. It's also good braised, once you cube it.

            1. re: mamachef

              Mamachef, thanks so much for the kind and encouraging words! I am generally not a shrinking violet (and in fact can also have a lot of fun sparring!) but I have found that the tone of some of the posts I've read have made me think twice (and more!) about posting questions. Shame on me! I know better than to let the trolls get me down.

              In the six months or so I've been here, most of what I've read had been great--informative, inspiring, encouraging, and often very humorous. Much more good than bad, and I've tried news ways to cook old standbys, and I've tried out new foods. I love cooking for my family and for relaxation so CH is the perfect place for me to learn.

              Thanks for the tips on fennel bulb. I got a great deal--two for a buck--at my favorite produce market. I need to do something with them...they are so pretty! I think I will go the salad route for my first go around. That will give me a nice idea of the flavor and parm and a good dressing are always a good bet. Thanks again!

            2. re: jlhinwa

              there are also a few posts about how not so good the search function is...
              typically if i search google with "chowhound" after whatever im looking for i have much better luck...

              i have noticed what u r talking about also MC..
              there was a question about visiting new york (and only new york) from london...and asking if there was at least decent examples of bbq (there are btw)...i think most of the posts were "go to the south" dont eat anything in NYC....

              it did get a little rude IMO...and might have even turned me off from visiting the USA..let alone a bbq place in NY

              1. re: srsone

                <there was a question about visiting new york (and only new york) from london...and asking if there was at least decent examples of bbq (there are btw)...i think most of the posts were "go to the south" dont eat anything in NYC....>

                I hate that type of response. Just answer the damn question.

                1. re: viperlush

                  some did help i think it turned out ok....
                  but it was a sad representation of the USA from some of them...

                  1. re: srsone

                    I can't imagine a way to correctly smoke briskets or pork shoulders in any of the 5 boroughs in commercial quantities without REALLY annoying someone who knows someone....

                    1. re: srsone

                      That is wrong. There was only one poster who said not to try bbq in NYC. He was chastised for saying so, but of course the posts were removed.

                      1. re: thegforceny

                        quite a few that i saw got removed

                        1. re: srsone

                          Right. There was one pedantic douchey comment telling the OP not to bother. Then a bunch of people piled on pointing out the douchiness. He kept responding and finally they were all removed.

                          1. re: thegforceny

                            and that is pretty much what Mamachef is talking about

                    2. re: viperlush

                      So what is the problem if people answer that they don't think you can get some certain type of food in a city. I actually appreciate it more when people tell somebody that they shouldn't try it because it doesn't resemble anything good instead of recommending something mediocre.

                      1. re: honkman

                        I guess for me the divide would be: is this person asking for a recommend, or is (s)he asking for places to avoid? In the first instance, to say "there's nothing good here and don't even bother coming" is a non-answer. In the second instance, the first response would be appropriate. My main point is that whether by dint of not reading carefully or whether it's because they're generally feeling scrotty that day, the actual question being asked gets lost in the shuffle of opinion and confusion. :)

                        1. re: mamachef

                          I think it is more helpful also to recommend not trying something. For example on the San Diego board visitors sometimes ask for restaurants which serve authentic Italian food. Several people (including myself) will answer that you won't find it in SD, only heavily americanized Italian food but if you really want it it's better to travel to LA. SD has other culinary strengths than Italian food. Such an answer is in my opinion more helpful for a visitor (and avoids mediocre and disappointing restaurant visits) than just suggesting some Americanized Italian restaurant in SD. Not every city does every cuisine well and there is nothing wrong pointing it out.

                          1. re: honkman

                            That's the exact situation when people want recommendation for places in NYC's Little Italy. Locals try to steer them away to other neighborhoods for Italian or to next-door neighbor Chinatown for Asian food.

                            1. re: lynncameron

                              Are you familiar with NYC's Little italy? (I see you have 6 posts, 2 about city dining.)

                              1. re: thegforceny

                                I've lurked here for a long time and am a regular NYC visitor. The Manhattan board seems ill-disposed to Little Italy restaurants and I bow to that. I found the same thing when I visited a friend in DC and asked about Chinese restaurants. She said they just aren't known for that but go for Ethiopian, Indian, etc. When the locals talk, I listen.

                            2. re: honkman

                              Sorry, I posted this in the wrong spot, it was just meant as an aside to Honkman. Must admit, I've eaten a great carpaccio at the Il Fornaio in Del Mar.

                          2. re: honkman

                            Because that's not answering their question. Sometimes I think that Chowhounds can be too criticial of their local restaurant scene and have a different perspective of than visitors. It's one thing when a type of restaurant/cuisine is not available in a city, then I see telling them that they can't get it. But it if is available answer the question and tell the OP where they can get it. Add a warning or alternative suggestion if you must.

                            1. re: viperlush

                              I guess we have different opinions on this subject. I wouldn't recommend any restaurants which I don't think represent a certain cuisine in a good way.

                              1. re: honkman

                                so in that situation...a person visiting new york city from london...and only NYC..
                                u would tell them ----sorry theres no good ribs or brisket in alllll of NYC and to not even bother???

                                1. re: srsone

                                  I don't live in NYC so don't know the BBQ restaurant scene but I described above a similar situation with non-americanized Italian restaurants in San Diego and so if somebody asked for a recommendation for an authentic Italian restaurant I wouldn't recommend any and explain that I don't think there is a good one in SD and would recommend other cuisines which are much better represented in SD. Why sending/recommending somebody to a restaurant knowning it is disappointing.

                                  1. re: honkman

                                    honkman I hear you but NYC is different. There are too many restaurants that one could have been to all and they usually just give an unhelpful rote response of what they heard. A recent example was someone from Vancouver asking for Mexican food. Many people chimed in with the formerly true response that NYC was not good for that cuisine. The problem was than most of those posters have not even ventured to the goodMexican restaurants in the outer boroughs. Sometimes people just seem to repost things without personal knowledge of the full scene. This is not even taking the fact that the original poster was from a place with basically no Mexican options.

                                    I generally think people should refrain from chiming in with such negative opinions all the time to prop themselves up.

                                    1. re: MVNYC

                                      "This is not even taking the fact that the original poster was from a place with basically no Mexican options"

                                      That's a point, but I always felt it was incumbent on the OP to add important caveats such as this. If you do that, you may get better responses.

                        2. re: srsone

                          I REALLY dislike the fact that newish (and not) posters get slammed for asking a question the answer to which is by no means obvious from the search function. "Yeah, we had a thread about that three years ago" is really not so darned helpful or neighborly.

                          1. re: lifeasbinge

                            I know I'm a "broken record" (whatever the heck that is? ;-D>) but, whether you get that type of reply (or anything else you see that seems particularly "unneighborly") directed at you or you see it directed at someone else use the "Report" button to let the mod's know. Cleaning up aisle 3 before the toxic reply spill can spread and cause harm to others is always the best way to go...

                            1. re: lifeasbinge

                              oh, i think it would be a great shame if folks misinterpreted the "tone" of some very helpful posters' efforts as a "slam." some hounds seem to be much more adept at using the CHOW search engine-- which for me is counterintuitive, and some seem to have a great memory for which thread had a great nugget of info in a side discussion on tomato-anise pies outside of toledo. . . GHG comes immediately to mind as a search ninja and helpful thread pointer-outer. a lot of 3 year old threads are still quite full of useful info and could be updated to stay current, we don't need 50 threads on the same taco stand, do we?

                              the horrible search function is a huge drawback for the site, and i agree it makes *the site* less friendly and functional for newcomers-- but the longtime users who will direct a newcomer to an older thread are generally trying to guide and welcome that person, not "slam" them for not knowing how the stupid search works. . . what can we do, maybe write "it's not you, the CHOW search function sucks" before posting a link to a recent discussion, when it's a newer poster, so as not to come off as unwelcoming? :(

                              1. re: soupkitten

                                Absolutely agree with this post. I think there will always be folks who ask without searching, but knowing how awful the search function on this site is, I offer the fact that it's been discussed a lot and provide links at times. I hope that's not interpreted as snarkiness or annoyance, but as an attempt to provide a lot more info right away to the questioner. A simple HTH at the end might make the lack of snark more apparent.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  True. Just a couple words make all the difference. I see two types of posters who reply with CH links.

                                  Type 1:
                                  "This thread has a lot of good info to help you out.
                                  *****CH Link******
                                  Good luck"

                                  Type 2:
                                  "Use the search function.
                                  *****CH Link***** "

                                  It should be pretty obvious that one is a lot less off-putting to new posters than the other. Does anyone really have any problems with type 1 replies?

                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                    That is such a great illustration, cowboyardee! Just a few more words with an effort to sound friendly can totally change the way something comes across.

                                1. re: lifeasbinge

                                  yes it can be off putting....
                                  but if u lived in "x" and post about "x" all the time...u have been on CH for 10 years...
                                  u would get a little annoyed after answering the same question sometimes 2 or 3 times a day...

                                  ill give u an example....i also post on a car related forum...(i fix cars for a living)
                                  the forum is basically the same ..except it does have "stickies"...Ch doesnt really...
                                  and i dont know how many times i see the same question.."hey i just bought a 1995 NA model car..its my first one of "brand x" and i wanna make it go faster..what do i do?

                                  never mind that theres 6 stickies at the top of the page just on that model car....all about what u can do with it....and never mind that the 1995 car has been around for 20 years and gee in all this time ...Nobody else has ever thought about making it go faster...

                                  so yes it does get a little annoying to see a noob...with one post --who just joined not even do a little searching..or even basic reading of the site...
                                  even CH....

                                  i would equate my example to some posts i see here on CH...i just bought my first cast iron pan..either (a) how do i season it? or (b) what do i cook with it? or (c) how do i clean it?

                                  and as i said above ...yes the search function on CH isnt great...but google is...i dont think people realize how much google can find........

                                  and i usually nicely point out the stickies...

                                  or like here in florida..i point out yosemite sam or insatiable appetite...they both have detailed posts/blogs about food here...way more than information than i have...
                                  i dont think i am "snarky" about it...if i am u can tell me....

                                  and yes GHG has even answered some of my questions with links to older posts..i dont think GHG was ever "snarky" about it either...


                                  1. re: srsone

                                    So just ignore them, it works for me.

                                    1. re: escondido123

                                      but if u ignored most of those questions, even the stupid repetitious ones...people get annoyed and dont come back either..

                                      which ultimately isnt good either....

                                    2. re: srsone

                                      Forget about a CH search. Some people don't even do a simple GOOGLE search!
                                      Q: "Where can I find NAME BRAND product?" Um, how about its website which lists retailers?
                                      Q: "Can I walk from Bar A to Restaurant B?" Hey, how about Google maps?
                                      Q: "Is Restaurant A open?" Oh brother....

                                      You get the idea.

                                      1. re: thegforceny

                                        i know....

                                        its like the people who call 411 and ask "whats the number for 911?"

                                        1. re: srsone

                                          Here is a great example of this:


                                          I can't. I just can't anymore.

                                          1. re: thegforceny

                                            Now see, that OP deserves some condescension.

                                            1. re: tatamagouche

                                              Okay, please tell me that was a tongue-in-cheek comment as I cannot always get the tone of someone's reply.

                                              I just can't imagine that anyone would "deserve" condescension. It seems like much more of a commentary on the person taking the attitude and passing judgment than on the recipient (who is probably completely clueless).

                                              1. re: jlhinwa

                                                Yes that post did NOT deserve the sort of snarky and smug reply to another poster's google "That was easy, wasn't it? ;| Been closed for 5 months."

                                                THAT is the type of comment you can report, though it might not be deleted because of the second sentence.

                                                If it was just the first sentence, I'd report it in a second. Not doing so encourages that poster to do more of the same and others will fiollow suit.

                                                As the poster noted after it, they knew the restaurant closed but a review appeared on the web after the closing so it might have re-opened.

                                                For all anyone knew there was new management ... they moved ... they changed the phone number and website ... it happens.

                                                Asking a local who might be walking by to confirm does NOT fall under deserving condescensiob.

                                                And even if it did. Why feel compelled to reply. Not answering is more likely to discourage posts you don't like

                                                Snotty responses just put off others who might be considering posting about actual food but don't want to rish getting the muscous membrane on them.

                                                There's never a reason for doing a superior dance ... especially when it adds nothing.

                                                1. re: rworange

                                                  But at some point, I feel as though wasting other people's time by effing up the noise-to-signal ratio is itself rude, and that thegforceny's response might remind that person to show a little respect to other posters w/r/t substantive questions. If you know how to use the internet well enough to ask a question on Chowhound, you know how to use it well enough to look something like that up.

                                                  EDIT: But this does show how etiquette can be a subjective thing...For me, I try to be very careful about wasting other people's time/trying to figure things out for myself/apologize in advance if I've dropped the ball on the first two, so it might be a peeve that's bound to annoy me more than it might others. Personally, I either ignore posts/comments that annoy me or I try to be gentle with instruction. I was being snarky above, because I understand where thegforceny is coming from—and I don't think his/her response was unreasonable. It was pretty to-the-point. But I hope the record shows I'm generally pretty gentle with newbies, and you guys may have just reminded me to continue that policy.

                                                  1. re: tatamagouche

                                                    Again, no one had the whole story in the OP. A new review appeared after the closing.

                                                    So the OP did google. They wanted a nearby local to convirm.

                                                    It is better to up the signal by posting about food than to up the noise with a unfriendly reply.

                                                    If it bothers someone that much it is time to take a break from chowhound and go out and get something to eat ... then report back when there is something to say ... and I include myself in this.

                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                      No, I got that, but all the rest of the evidence certainly pointed to the correct answer. Still, I amended my comment above after reflecting a bit.

                                                    2. re: tatamagouche

                                                      Excellent point about etiquette being subective, tatamagouche. And even harder to figure out on-line where there is no tone of voice, facial expressions or other mannerisms to communicate intent.

                                                      I also hate wasting people's time and I have been known to rant about people wasting my time, so I get it. I have learned that I am much happier if I just ignore people whose behavior or manners I don't like...I can't control them and I keep myself from making an ass of myself. (Just please don't quiz my husband or daughter as to how often I am successful!)

                                                      1. re: jlhinwa

                                                        Ha, yes. Everything about this thread is making me ask myself, Wait, do I come across the way I *think* I do?

                                                        1. re: tatamagouche

                                                          I once read a post and wondered to myself why the poster didn't just google the topic. So I googled the topic and sure enough... there was the answer.

                                                          Then I wondered, maybe the poster is stuck in AOL world, and doesn't yet know about google? So I googled for a quick tutorial, looking for a sort-of step-by-step "let me show you how to google that", and I found "Let Me Google That For You" (lmgtfy).

                                                          So I formatted my response with a link to and got an email from a mod who kindly suggested that my use of lmgtfy came across with an air of superiority, and I might want to consider editing my post to tone it down. I did. I could see the point. But it wasn't like I had pointed them to

                                                            1. re: sedimental

                                                              That is awesome, I actually left this site for a good year because I was just so sick of all the lazy, banal, uncreative postings in the boards I frequented. (If I saw one more post about reservations at "Babbos" (sic) or "What's good to eat in NYC?" I would've lost it.)

                                                              People should ADD to the discussion, not force their laziness and stupidity on others. I think a little shaming is worthwhile: weeds out those who really do not contribute.

                                                              1. re: thegforceny

                                                                I agree with you. I can't count how many times every months somebody asks on the SD board for recommendations in downtown (my guess would 10% of all discussions start with this question from somebody new). There is even a post at the top of the San Diego CH board addressing those issues including searches etc. But people ask the same questions again and again and never use the search function of CH or Google and are surprised that nobody anawers anymore (often with a second post after 2 days "Nobody can help me ?") or people make more drastic comments (without being overly rude). Yes, we should be helpful to new posters but I don't think it is too much to expect that new posters also try to fit in this community by following some very basic rules and that doesn't often happen unfortunately. Tolerance/friendliness goes in both directions.

                                                                1. re: honkman

                                                                  What can be especially frustrating is if there is an existing thread for the same thing a couple of threads down. Even if the search is hard to navigate, at least look at the page. And, often when people do answer w/ links to previous threads, those are ignored.

                                                                2. re: thegforceny

                                                                  Being local to the South board, I am endlessly amused by people from the NYC/Tri-State boards grousing about tourists on their home boards asking uninformed, overly broad questions.

                                                              2. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                Yes, it's all in the tone. I find rephrasing things as questions take the edge off, as in, "May I suggest"

                                                                1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                  i wonder if the mods would let me change my handle to that...........

                                                                  1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                    Graydon: HA! I just checked out that site (JFGit), and well if you're gonna get snarky...that's a humorous way of doing it.

                                                            2. re: rworange

                                                              Rock on, rworange.

                                                              "And even if it did. Why feel compelled to reply. Not answering is more likely to discourage posts you don't like"

                                                              Exactly. No one else can make us irritated, annoyed, angry, etc. It is our choice how we respond to whatever comes our way. It is easy enough to program yourself to just ignore, ignore, ignore. My mother is famous for her endless stream of chatter with repetitive questions. I just smile and ignore her now. Much easier than getting annoyed at her for wasting my time and brain space.

                                                              "Snotty responses just put off others who might be considering posting about actual food but don't want to rish getting the muscous membrane on them. :


                                                              "There's never a reason for doing a superior dance ... especially when it adds nothing."

                                                              So true, but I would give anything to see Dana Carvey in his church lady suit clucking his way around the SNL set again!

                                                              1. re: rworange

                                                                I know it is fine line between "friendly" sarcastic and rude but way too often people don't use Google or the CH search function to find easily the information without starting a new thread and it si often annoying to have threads after thrads started with questions which are asked very often before or can easily found out by using Google. It is good to be friendly to everybody especially new posters but that doesn't mean you can't point them towards using their own time to find easily accessible information.

                                                                1. re: honkman

                                                                  >>> It is good to be friendly to everybody especially new posters but that doesn't mean you can't point them towards using their own time to find easily accessible information.

                                                                  Since you use the word annoying, I'd say no .. because that comes across to the poster.

                                                                  There was a new poster a few years ago who fell in love with the site and asked about a half dozen questions that were easily googled. such as "what is cassoulet and how do you pronounce it".

                                                                  That was actually one of the more substantial questions.

                                                                  So I did a bunch of goggle links about cassoulet and suggested some of the topics could be easily googled and this was how.

                                                                  My response was deleted and the power that was at this time wrote this ...


                                                                  "Trish, one of the purposes of Chowhound is to provide a non-snobbish place where we can fill in each other's gaps of knowledge. I have LOTS of gaps, myself, and revel in having a place where I can ask "dumb" questions without drawing snobby derision.

                                                                  So I'm incredibly embarrassed by the reception you received (which has been deleted). Please accept my apologies. Speaking to you and all reading along: please don't EVER hesitate to ask naive questions on Chowhound. If you happen to draw condescending, bristling replies, just ignore them. For the most part we're not like that here.

                                                                  Again, I'm awfully sorry. We strive to be the sort of site where anyone can ask anything without getting slammed. But every once in a while, the moon goes into a certain phase and some ordinarily friendly posters turn imperious and feel compelled to dictate how others ought to post. Ugh."

                                                                  Ouch. Double ouch considering who wrote it and it was about me.

                                                                  This was prior to the site conversion, so I have no clue if that poster continued to post. There weren't any more on General Topics after that on that day.

                                                                  And you kjnow what .... no matter how simple-minded the questions were in my snotty opinion, I learned something from ever single thread.

                                                                  There is no need to reply unless you can answer the question. Anyone that annoyed needs another hobby.

                                                                  In those days you had to email the mods to report condescending, bristling replies and it was, from my understanding, a PITA to delete them.

                                                                  Now we have a report button. So keeping it friendly is a lot easier. If one must hit buttons and participate without reporting about food, that might be the more productive activity rather than responding to posters that annoy us.

                                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                                    But you did answer the question—and the way you describe it, your response sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Still, I hear what you're saying. Patience and compassion are things we could all, especially me, use a little more of.

                                                                    1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                      Well ... after being pissy and self-rightous about this to everyone at Chowhound ... for quite a while ... after all these years I can be honest enough to finally say it was more of me being annoyed than being helpful and answering the question ... and that always comes across. We only fool ourselves otherwise.

                                                                      And what did I accomplish? That poster probably never returned. How many others read that and said "sheesh" and went elswhere? The posts about food, no matter how naive to me, probably dragged in numerous people over the years ... GOOGLING .. that topic.

                                                                      Keep it about the signal and don't contribute to the noise.

                                                                    2. re: rworange

                                                                      even back then i would have googled first.......asked questions after...

                                                      2. re: srsone

                                                        > so yes it does get a little annoying to see a noob...with one post --who just joined yesterday

                                                        On one Mitsubishi forum, they don't allow you to make your first post for something like a one-week waiting period. Another site, I think it was television-related, keeps track of how many threads you open after registration and won't allow you to post until you have opened a certain number of threads. And many sites require a moderator to approve your first post. I think these are all terrific techniques, but CH sees things much differently, and seems to want to encourage first time posters.

                                                        1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                          most forums nowadays u have to submit a registration form to and be approved...
                                                          and even yelp doesnt just throw up your first post either...

                                                          even still spammers get thru...and i report them really fast...
                                                          i dont need to buy unlocked phones from china or shoes from taiwan..
                                                          or knockoff cologne....

                                                          which mitsu forum are u on?

                                                  2. re: jlhinwa

                                                    While I couldn't agree more I also see a misread of comments pretty often too. I thought your advice a few weeks ago that CH's give each other the benefit of the doubt was excellent, mamachef and useful applied to your OP now.

                                                    Mods are helpful for the truly awful posts and we can all use the report function when we get frustrated but generally speaking I'm more comfortable being responsible for policing my own words and owning their intent.

                                                    So if Hill or J offends anyone here pls give us the benefit of the doubt, our intention is to have fun, learn and share tips. We enjoy this community and unless you step on our heels for absolutely no reason other than to be downright rude/mean, it's all good.

                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                      Jinx - you owe me a coke! Or a Dos Equis Lager preferably! lol

                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                        All I've got is iced tea, will that do?

                                                      2. re: HillJ

                                                        I did not know that "Hill" and "J" were two people! I have never found either one of you to be anything but helpful.

                                                        1. re: jlhinwa

                                                          That is so nice of you to say, jlhinwa, thank you. Hill reads more than posts but has been known to get "on a subject" in Food Media & Site Topic more frequently than I. I love the Home Cooking board. Hope we didn't confuse.

                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                            Not at all...I appreciate the explanation! I admire partners who can share an id, or e-mail address, or whatever. I love my husband dearly and wouldn't trade him for anything, but I also wouldn't ever want people to confuse his ideas as being mine (or vice versa, I'm sure!). :-)

                                                      3. re: jlhinwa

                                                        I have tried similar searches and ended up with nothing but didn't want to take the risk of getting slammed so just went to other sites in search of helpful info.
                                                        see, now this just makes me sad. what the heck are we all here for if not to help each other? screw the meanies, jlhinwa...the rest of us will be more than happy to answer your questions, so ask away!

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          Thank you so much, GHG! I have been encouraged by the positive posts on this thread and actually finally dipped my toe in the water and posted a thread on the home cooking board about planning a 50th anniversary party menu for my parents (Dad is Norwegian...loves the traditional stuff). I have been getting the most helpful suggestions and other wonderful advice. I have even received some wonderful advice about how to plan the event. I didn't ask about that aspect of the party, but I welcome the input because it is so graciously offered and because it hit a whole bunch of things I hadn't yet thought of.

                                                          I am really thankful the replies have all been so constructive. If I had gotten some "go google smorgasbord menu" replies or the like, I am not sure I would have tried again anytime soon. This is event is extremely personal and important to me so it would be hard to deal with snarkiness and keep my chin up.

                                                          BTW, that reminds me of one more point about coming to CH with questions vs. googling. Some things are better answered by the food-oriented CH'er than a just random google search. When I wanted to know how to use fennel the first time (the question I was too chicken to ask but Mamachef hooked me with some great ideas a few days ago), I really wanted to hear from people whose opinions I have come to respect and trust. Not just some random google-answerers.

                                                          Lesson learned by me: I needed to just get over myself and my little insecurities because the good guys far outnumber those who are less than constructive.

                                                          1. re: jlhinwa

                                                            BTW, that reminds me of one more point about coming to CH with questions vs. googling. Some things are better answered by the food-oriented CH'er than a just random google search.
                                                            true, though a Google search will often bring you directly back to CH threads :)

                                                            and in case you need any more help with that fennel bulb...

                                                            and don't forget the fronds and stalks!

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              Thank you! I really appreciate you posting those for me. When I searched, I came up with the first thread but not the others. I think I searched using "fennel bulb" in home cooking. Did I do something wrong or was it a search malfunction?

                                                              If I remember correctly, GHG, you are the one who has a reputation as being the search guru here. I can definitely see why!

                                                              Thanks again! I did try fennel braised and also raw in a slaw. Loved both a lot (and so did my family) so I am definitely going to be adding this to my veggie rotation.

                                                              1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                heh :) that's what they tell me! the function is temperamental, and i personally think the search bar at the top of the page is pretty useless.

                                                                my "expert" advice would be to do one of the following:
                                                                - stick with the Advanced Search:

                                                                *be sure to pay attention to the date ranges selected and the way you have the results "sorted"*


                                                                - use Google to search within CH. just type "" into your Google search bar along with the search terms. it's actually a pretty neat way to do it! here's what came up when i Googled " fennel"...

                                                                hope that helps!

                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                  usually u dont even need to put all that ...
                                                                  just "fennel chowhound" will work

                                                                  im lazy...i dont like typing all that out.....

                                                                  and google will already narrow down searches by site as well..

                                                                2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                  going OT but I like it marinated in avinagrette of sorts and grilled.

                                                                  hell I could fennel raw (BTW grows wild in the flats around Potrero Hill in SF - North and East faces)

                                                                  1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                    The best advice I've gotten on the search is to use google and add "Chowhound" to it. Well, the second best--the best is when ghg comes up w/ her extensive comprehensive lists.;-)

                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                      Thanks for the searching techniques! I know GHG has a well-deserved reputation as the searching I know why.

                                                                      Also, thanks for the tips on fennel. I really enjoyed trying it and am going to look for more opportunities to serve.

                                                                      I also found (finally) some star anise at a grocery store yesterday. I cannot remember the recipe that had me searching unsuccessfully for it months ago but now that I've found it, I am going to have to find something to use it in. I will give the search function a go later today.

                                                                      1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                        I have a super recipe for Sichuan braised beef that uses one whole star anise (sorry, you can't use a lot of it at one time, I've been working on one bag of it for years) that I posted on Home Cooking for you...


                                                                        1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                          I've used dried star anise like one would hickory or mesquite chips when grilling, and a little goes a looong way.

                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                            Just a quick request that the star anise discussion move over to the Home Cooking thread that buttertart started. Thanks.

                                                                3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                  If you end up with nothing, then you absolutely *should* come to Chowhound! Now I've done that many times—come here saying, Look, I've tried and I can't find X, can anyone help? Or sometimes: Look, I've looked this up, but when it comes to X, I want a hound's take, not Wikipedia's. Can anyone help?

                                                                  I have to say I've never gotten pushback or snark using either approach.

                                                                  1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                    Ditto w/ tatamagouche. Plus, I like the feeling of connecting with another person who's actually made the dish and may have some subtleties not noted in the original recipe.

                                                              2. It's truly amazing how many rather harmless posts get deleted, while the fuck nuts and their superiority complex are left alone.

                                                                One of a number of reasons why I haven't been much on CH lately. It's frustrating, to say the least.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. Please, please, please, oh very pretty please REPORT THESE TYPES OF RESPONSES using the "report" button at the bottom right of every post. Not just you mamachef, but everyone reading along on this thread. Use your "report" button" liberally and often. It doesn't cost you anything. It only takes a moment. And most of all IT HELPS with the problem.

                                                                  Whew! I feel better now... ;-D>

                                                                  15 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                    Servorg, that is plain and fair advice. There's something in me that has a really, REALLY difficult time "snitching" although I realize that's a bit ridiculous. I do think the mods do a good, if sometimes overzealous, job of catching out the real stinkers...but when it comes to a mini flame-war, as HillJ (who I have NEVER EVER had a problem with) says, I do prefer to police and own my own words. I am appreciating all the broad perspectives here, for sure......but my truest feeling is that we are the best "overseers" of this site. Not that we have any power whatsoever ultimately about what stays or goes, but as in the case of all bullies, if they get gently called on their nonsense, or fail to receive responses, they are going to go away 'cause that's how bullies do.
                                                                    I agree 100% on giving up a little latitude, but I honestly feel that I "know" who I'm dealing with on most levels here. I know who's going to be helpful; who's going to be snarky; who's being sarcastic and who is being earnest. If I'm not sure, I ask. And I do believe in the benefit of the doubt, but I say, once your foe reveals his face, remember the face and act accordingly!

                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                      Thanks mc, I never had the impression you've had a problem with me or Hill. I was addressing your concerns to the best of my ability to the general community. We've been posting under this s/n since 2006 and could never say we know 100% who's going to comment or respond in any given way at any given time. Like you said in agreement, the benefit of the doubt covers a good deal of the issues. And, if you truly have a hesitation about hitting the report button, may I respectfully suggest you give it a try. It's not snitching, it's keeping the community in the frame of mind you are saying you prefer. Enjoy the rest of your day!

                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                        "I agree 100% on giving up a little latitude, but I honestly feel that I "know" who I'm dealing with on most levels here. I know who's going to be helpful; who's going to be snarky; who's being sarcastic and who is being earnest. If I'm not sure, I "

                                                                        Just think of it this way, mmc - not all those who come here and just "stick a toe" in the water have a "thick skin" like we do. If you and I let a small cadre of online bullies drive away (or scare off before they ever even get the courage up to post in the first place) the new blood that brings new perspective and new recommendations and new recipes to CH then we are dooming this site and community to an inbreed, downward slide into mediocrity that will do all of us harm.

                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                          Well-said. I tend to forget that I tend to let stuff roll a little easier than some people. You are very right.

                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                            That's why I wish there was a "block" button so we can each avoid the posters we know will get our dander up.

                                                                            1. re: escondido123

                                                                              I'll only say that, if there was one of those I would have missed out on some really excellent recommendations (and some thought provoking - if infuriating at times - ideas).

                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                Agreed. There are a few people I've seen who seemingly have nothing much to add beyond snark. But far more numerous are the people who annoyed me when I first started noticing their posts but who also turned out to have some really valuable knowledge in one area or another.

                                                                        2. re: Servorg

                                                                          When an item is reported and the post deleted, is their notification as to the reason for the post being removed? And is it generated by other readers, mods, or both?

                                                                          I have had a couple posts in this thread deleted. I can guess the reasons why, but it leaves me wondering if the people reading are being extremely diligent to keeping the thread 100% on-topic, or have I pissed off a reader or two without knowing it.

                                                                          I will say that it is a little ironic to have that happen in this particular thread, especially as I mentioned above that I have only been here a few-months and have been gun-shy about posting for some of reasons MC raised in her OP. That said, I am choosing to not be overly sensitive and instead believe that it is someone's well-intentioned effort to keep this thread on track, not a personal thing.

                                                                          1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                            At times the mod's will email to let you know why something has been deleted. I get the impression that veteran posters don't get notified nearly as often as less experienced posters. No other reader is going to have any "power" to have your post removed (your in the general sense). They may report it because they feel you have contravened site rules. But the call to remove or not to remove is made "in the back room" away from the eyes of the Chowhound community.

                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                              Thanks for the explanation. I appreciate the info.

                                                                            2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                              Speaking personally, you've done nothing "wrong" or offensive at all. I'd assume for the best; that the person answering is trying to keep it germane to the topic originally posted. (Especially if the answer-er was me.......unequivocally, that's the only reason I'd do it. But I certainly didn't report you.) One thing you should know is, if someone's post is deleted, all posts answering it will disappear as well. And as far as being notified, sometimes they'll take the initiative, as Servorg says, and especially w/ newer 'hound, but sometimes not. You can always write and ask why, and Jacquilynne in particular is marvelous about answering those sorts of questions.

                                                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                                                Marci, thanks for the helps me to understand how things work and I didn't have any idea about all subposts being deleted if the main post is deleted. I definitely don't want to be an annoying poster but also don't want to over-analyze every word I type.

                                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                                  Hi, Marci:

                                                                                  It's been my experience that the Mods will also sometimes go back and delete posts *before* the one that caused the cleaver to drop, as well. So I can perfectly understand how someone would wonder "Gee, what did *I* do wrong here?"


                                                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                    I guess that would be a form of advance spin-control. :) Gosh! Now they're even psychic! :) ("")

                                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                                      Hi, mama:

                                                                                      I think surgeons call it "taking wide margins". But it can result in fairly innocuous posts, both up and down the chain from the objectionable one(s) getting poofed. Just part of the whimsical nature of moderation here.