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Aug 17, 2011 09:16 PM

Blocking Unpleasant Topics

I love food, cooking and discussions thereof. But I find some topics absolutely disgusting and I avoid whole boards when they are listed. That's included topics akin to Eating Dog, Smells like Toe Jam, It Makes me Vomit and the like. I would love to be able to just block those topics completely and go on to enjoy the pleasant postings that aren't designed to gross people out. Any chance of that happening?

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  1. You are in the enviable position ,as we all are of having the choice of simply not reading and/or participating in those treads that offend your delicate sensibilities.
    Wanting even more crippling moderation and censorship will essentially castrate what's left of Chowhound.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Duppie

      I think the OP is asking for a user controlled ability to block certain topics for them personally when logged in, not for more moderation. The thread would still exist and be visible to everyone else. I see nothing wrong with this, and I'm one of those people who has often argued for less strict moderation.

      I've seen people ask before for a user-controlled option to block the posts of certain posters. I could see that as being more useful, though maybe not the type of vibe CH is trying to foster.

      1. re: cowboyardee

        Cowboyardee, That is exactly what I'm talking about. I do not want to control what anyone else on this board reads, but rather I'd like to be able to not see a posting that I find disturbing. The one about eating a dog, which has been there all week, is hard to ignore when it is on the main board and you cannot help but see it. And has to being June Cleaver, if she used the language I do--in my circle of friends, I'm the one known for swearing too much--she definitely would have been kicked off the air. I feel this approach allows those who want to post gross topics to continue to do so and I don't see why that is a bad idea.

      2. For instance on Facebook I can click the X beside a post and get the options
        Hide this post
        Hide all by xxxx (person)
        Hide all by zzzz (application)

        I think escondido is wondering about this type of individualized blocking which I would appreciate having and not "even more crippling moderation."

        1 Reply
        1. re: AreBe

          Perhaps... but is it even easier to simply scroll down through the topics until the offending titles are no longer visible? Is another sanitizing option really necessary and at what point does the the offended persons acknowledge that CH is a community of real people and not all subscribers to the June Cleaver school of personal interaction?.

        2. If this feature was ever added I hope that it would never be visible to all and completely private for the CH use the blocking feature. I can't imagine how blocking unpleasant topics, thereby blocking specific CH's, would do anything more than divide the community at large. Most people don't even realize they are offending anyone and what topics interest each of us vary a good deal. I'm all for keeping the peace.

          40 Replies
          1. re: HillJ

            I would not want it to be visible to others, but I do have to say there are people who post specifically with the idea of getting people upset.

            1. re: escondido123

              escond, you know if I'm being honest about my experience site-wide I would have to say that the few unplesant topics covered by some of the CHOW staffers or editorial choices have been running neck and neck with some of the CH threads both old and new that occasionally offend me. It's a small number and not one ever likely to curtail my enjoyment here for more than a day or two but if we want to be treated like the adults we are, some of the topics/choices are going to get messy....and like television require the "off button" engaged. But I think having a blocking feature will offend the wrong people.

              1. re: HillJ

                But if you no one knows they're being blocked how can it be offensive?

                1. re: escondido123

                  Oh I'm thinking a lack of inclusion would make one surmise it....even if they weren't entirely correct. But you bring up a valid point.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    I have blocked a couple people on facebook who never stop posting pictures and such. They have no idea I have blocked them.

                    1. re: escondido123

                      Posting pictures you've chosen to ignore and leaving a CH to havie a conversation that winds up being one-way are two different things in my mind. Maybe I'm not understanding what you mean by blocking on CH. I don't FB but I'm somewhat familiar with the whole friend/unfriend thing with family members who do. For me, it would be easier to just say politely, we don't have enough in common to converse so thanks anyway. But I'm old school :)

                      1. re: HillJ

                        This is not unfriending, this is just literally blocking their posts or whatever from my view alone. Everyone else sees it, comments go along just like normal, all that might be noticed--if someone cared to note--is that I didn't respond to that particular post at all, but that happens to many posts that are not of interest.

                        1. re: escondido123

                          okay -- so let's say that Poster123 adds a comment to the "Would You Eat Dog?" thread because Poster123 found it an interesting discussion. You block the thread because you find it offensive, which then blocks Poster123's contributions.

                          Poster123 then comes back the following week and posts the brownie recipe to end all brownie recipes...quite mundane and completely inoffensive, but you've now sh*tcanned everything Poster123 posts...and for no reason whatsoever.

                          If you don't like a post, just keep scrolling -- there's no way to engineer the site so that only the posts you don't like disappear. (Even FB doesn't work completely like that.)

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            sunshine842, I think you've misunderstood what the OP is suggesting. This is just a proposal for an individual user to be able to remove a single discussion thread from what they're shown when they scroll through -- after they've seen it for the first time. It doesn't block further posts by anyone involved, nor would anyone else know that the user had blocked it from *their view alone*. This is more akin to how CH removes the "new!" from posts after we've seen them - except in this case rather than the "new" disappearing, at the user's discretion the topic listing would not appear again. That's how it works in the Facebook news feed.

                            1. re: Kitchen Imp

                              Exactly Kitchen Imp. I consider this a way for people to block what they don't like and let other people post and say and read whatever they want. I believe it would eliminate a lot of the need for moderators to be dealing with what one person finds offensive--whether that's something a reader deems disgusting, offensive, racist, sexist or whatever. I think it would make for a freer board where people are not forced to see an offensive post every time they look at the Board yet they aren't censoring anything for anybody else.

                              1. re: escondido123

                                To block a thread ones finds "objectionable" wouldn't one have to see the thread first? So one would already be offended? I mean, just seeing the words of the threads title is so disgusting that one needs to block the words from view?

                                I have a hard time understanding that, knowing that things like eating dogs goes on in the world, or that toe jam exists or that people vomit at certain smells or tastes. I know those things exist and simply seeing the words need to be blocked from my sight certainly isn't gong to block them from my mind.

                                And if one could block certain posters what happens to those posters who reply to the poster one has blocked? Do you see those posts replying to some disembodied post that one has blocked?

                                As much as a few posters can tick me off on this site I would never block them, as they have each come up with some wonderful recommendations over the years (not to mention having provided wonderful fodder for "spirited" discussion - lol).

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  Servorg, again, this isn't about blocking individual posters. It's just about having a thread not appear in the list of threads you see when you scroll down through the site. Yes, once you've already seen it.

                                  Let's take a case in point, since so many people seem to have misunderstood the OP's suggestion. My father was very ill. I read through the "what was the best thing your father made?" post the first time it came up. As he became more sicker and sicker, it was hard for me to see that thread pop up over and over again, because I was heartbroken. I didn't want to be reminded of fathers every time I went on CH (it was a very active thread for quite a while). I was looking for distraction. It made me terribly sad. Why should I not have been able to click a setting that made that thread no longer appear in the list of threads when I came to the site?

                                  This is not about blocking anyone. It's about filtering what you see when you scroll through the topics, after you've seen something. I don't understand why people find this so objectionable!

                                  1. re: Kitchen Imp

                                    This has come up in design meetings before, and isn't currently anywhere on our feature radar, but it's not something I'm opposed to.

                                    I oppose ignore buttons for users, because those buttons break conversations, and end up causing strife when one person announces they're ignoring another person, etc. I think they do more harm than good.

                                    Ignoring entire topics on the other hand, is reasonable and doesn't cause the conversation to not make sense. I know a lot of people have old everyone chime in with your favorite/least favorite food you loved/hated as a child/adult/college student but now hate/love threads that they participated in that they wish would drop off their profile page. And I'm sure some people feel similarly about those same threads even if they didn't participate in them but see them bubble up to the top of the General Topics index over and over again.

                                    -- Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

                                    1. re: Jacquilynne

                                      >>> I know a lot of people have old everyone chime in with your favorite/least favorite food you loved/hated as a child/adult/college student but now hate/love threads that they participated in that they wish would drop off their profile page.

                                      Yeah, but it is great incentive to not participate in or start chatty threads. After you get stuck with a few of these, you really, really ... really ... think twice about whether the world really needs to know that the food you love and most foodies would scoff at is McDonald''s ice cream cone with extra HFCS.

                                      1. re: rworange

                                        Yes, that's the reason I rarely participate on the General board and never on Not About Food. However, sometimes a thread starts in earnest and gets hijacked to drivel after I've posted a comment. I'd love to have the feature to remove it from view in my profile and on the message board index when it's no longer relevant to me.

                                        1. re: rworange


                                          highfalutin concentrated sugar?

                                          ^^^playin with you of course^^^. and agree to your thoughts so +1

                                  2. re: escondido123

                                    What I've noticed is that some people on CH just don't have the emotional discipline to stay away from what offends them and are further convinced that they are the arbiters of what is nice, kind, moral, decent, etc. Instead of just scrolling past as many here have suggested, they are compelled to read and re-read the very post that offends them and further keep coming back to comment on how offensive it is.

                                    It's almost <GASP!> as if they *LIKE* being offended. Hard for some of us to imagine, but it's true.

                                    1. re: inaplasticcup

                                      you are so right Ina because- although i am offended by this topic in particular- i still lacked the emotional discipline to refrain from reading this entire thread; and it is also evident by my post that I find myself compelled to comment on how offensive it is :)

                                      1. re: crowmuncher

                                        LOL, cm. You have to come back a few more times after a few more people have commented and tell them how morally reprehensible they are for wanting to even think about blocking unpleasant topics if you really wanna prove my point! :P

                                        (There was some irrelevant jibber jabber between me and another poster here that was deleted that also contained the context within which that comment was made. So just to be clear again, that comment was not directed at escondido. :) )

                                        1. re: inaplasticcup

                                          "tell them how morally reprehensible they are for wanting to even think about blocking unpleasant topics if you really wanna prove my point"

                                          adults censoring adults; not only is it ridiculous, it *IS* morally reprehensible (in my opinion of course)...

                2. re: HillJ

                  What is being asked for is pretty simple. And I agree with it. It would be no skin off any other participant to give indivduals the ability to privately block posts or peopel from their site views.

                  There have definitely been things that appear on my screen - as an ongoing site participant - that I would prefer not to see. We are one community around food but our language doesnt have to fall to the lowest common denominator. rather than arguing about words that are hotbutton issues for one person but not another, why not just permit that issue to be taken off the table soley by and for the individual offended.

                  Yes the internet is big and rude but arent we making ourselves less of a community by holding valued participants up to ridicule for oversensitivity and lack of a thick skin

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    On the other hand there is the importance of having other voices heard, even if at times they are seemingly getting drown out by the screaming trolls. I learn something just about every time I open up a new thread on CH and see some very cogent and creative suggestions and takes on a question posed that I never thought of before. We need more diversity of thought here, not less.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Im all for diversity of voices around the topic of food, but Im also for other kinds of diversity too, and offensive language can drive out participants with a lot to offer - part of our diversity.. Allowing individuals to block their own view of threads or articles that trouble them is the least intrusive way to do this,.

                      1. re: jen kalb

                        We've heard from Jim Leff here before about how many people find something, anything offensive. Pretty soon we are going to end up "stove piping" this site in which there one area for the "let it all hang out" gang and another for the "darn is an offensive term" gang and a bunch of folks grouped into sections in between those extremes. And it will ruin the diversity which keeps most of us here. I am now firmly against this idea. No blocking selectively. Take the good with the bad, and if you see something you think is out of whack either report it or speak up and give your side of why you believe it's wrong.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          I frequently disagree with you and your love it or leave it mantra... but this is one time that I agree whole heartily.There will always be that small group that is offended by the inconvenient truth and reality of every day life and seek their own versions of Pleasantville.

                          1. re: Servorg

                            I dont get this stovepiping concept at all servorg. dont see why blocking my view of a particular thread with a creepy (to me) title or say the "Why do Subway Restaurants Smell Awful" from my particular view detracts one whit. Most of the things that irritate people are not about food at all. Chowhound is a deep and diverse a population with so many different types of people and complex and crisscrossing views and interests that its inconceivable that any kind of split of the sort you describe would occur.

                            As to speaking up, conversations like these can be among the most divisive and irritating. I really dont need to know that a person whose food views I highly respect and enjoy thinks my level of sensitivity is idiotic, for example.. Better for the site to offer a tool that reduces the stress for those who need it.

                            1. re: jen kalb

                              I'm saying that you'll get grouping into threads that range from the more outlandish pushing the boundaries types who exist here, right on down to those who find the mildest expletive such as darn offensive clumping together. That will do nothing to further the aim of learning from one another.

                              Another outgrowth of the "offended" set trying to have threads that are sanitized of anything offensive will simply draw those who like stirring the pot like honeybees to nectar. They will come on to threads where decorum is breaking out all over and take trollish delight in making comments that you will find offensive, yet don't flout site rules (such as strong language that you find very offensive).

                              Then the moderating team will get inundated with a Gilgamesh epics worth of reports and end up trying to split the baby down the middle over and over and over again.

                              1. re: Servorg

                                dont get this at all - its just what I would like to avoid - arguments about language. Im on this board all day for one reason or other, Its not reasonable to expect everyone's taste and values conform to mine - or yours or anyone else's.
                                So if someone is going to get heart palpitations every time they see a thread on eating dog or whatever let them block it. any attitude like this is going to be highly individual. People being what they are, inflammatory thread and article titles will continue. Its just that the "hyper-sensitive" types will not have to look at them.

                                1. re: jen kalb

                                  "Its just that the "hyper-sensitive" types will not have to look at them."

                                  Hyper-sensitive types are offended by a litany of items. Language is one of the hottest buttons for most of them. But there will be nothing standing between the threads they DO participate in and those who like to throw in gratuitous curse words for emphasis, which is then going to lead to a spate of "report" buttons being pushed by those same hyper-sensitive types.

                                  You can't get away from things that offend you, especially on the Internet. I mean, if just seeing the title of a thread is so going offend someone that they get upset and can't face even "scrolling" by those words, then the wild wild Web is undoubtedly not for them.

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    youre not listening to me. Ive survived the wild web for a long time now and chowhound too. Im not suggesting - in fact I am suggesting the opposite- of reporting language. I think the site rules are pretty clear and sadly, the level of discourse is such that lots of stuff that bothers ME and apparently others toois widely acceptable. Im willing to step away from discussing these topics ad nauseaum and leaving the reporting for truly noxious discussions. All I am asking is the ability to personally not look at particular items.
                                    If the site can give me the abilty to mark stuff for various dubious social media purposes, it could certainly allow me to block my personal view of a thread or article.

                                    1. re: jen kalb

                                      "youre not listening to me."

                                      I understand your point. I just don't agree with it. I think what you and others have proposed about blocking threads from your views would be deleterious to CH as a site and cause other sorts of backlash (the law of unintended consequences) that you don't foresee...

                            2. re: Servorg

                              We ask that people not jump into conversation to tell other people that their conversations are wrong or offensive. If you believe something is truly against the rules, please use 'report' to bring it to our attention. But if it's just offending your sensibilities, skipping to the next thread is really the best move -- stopping to tell people you find the topic offensive just invites bad feelings and flame wars.

                              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                My comment was not very artfully expressed. What I meant with the second half of that comment was for those who disagree with the take on the topic under discussion to make their (on topic) view heard, even if it goes against the prevailing wind of the thread.

                                1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                  Where is the "report" button now? There is an ad on a thread I just read . . .


                                  1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                    It is right next to "reply" in the bottom line of each post.

                          2. re: jen kalb

                            hi jen kalb, I'm not entirely sure why your post is attached to the last comment I made. Would you like to be more specific with me?

                            If I am understanding the OP's suggestion I believe I made my pov clear; I'd hope if the feature is ever implemented on CHOW/CH that it is completely private and no one else would be able to see or know who/what was being blocked. Beyond that, scrolling past something/someone that annoys/upsets us should be easy and there are a host of add-on tools avail thur most browswer software that many CH's have mentioned using already to block some aspectd of the site views.

                            I don't know what the answer is for this generally speaking though. We have Mods, we have site rules to follow, we have the site owners making design and content choices and we have a community of thousands with a thousand diff pov's yet we say we want to get along, go along...yet, we have issues about all sorts of things. (and I include myself here). So what is the ideal answer? To essentially customize your own CH page that allows you to see or block your experience? A personal blog page per CH? Because for better or worse having that design,editorial ability sounds very much like customizing your experience. Is that what we want?

                            1. re: HillJ

                              I agree with your basic point, but you talked about dividing the community. Cant see how a private feature would do this.

                              The CHOW feature article titling is one of the major sources of irritation, unfortunately.

                              1. re: jen kalb

                                Funny I'm not a fan of some CHOW features and I've been told it takes a hipper mind to enjoy them :) hey, what?!

                                But I am against dividing online communities, which is why I'm asking the question. Any feature that allows us to block and customize essentially is a private feature.

                              2. re: HillJ

                                Hi HillJ, If there is an add-on tool that would allow me to block disgusting post topics when I open a board, that would be delightful and just what I am looking for. Do you know where I could find on, I'm not really up on those tools. Thanks so much.

                                1. re: escondido123

                                  hey escond :) Do you use Firefox? If so, visit their add-on tool page found in your tab choices and read thru the descriptions for tools that eliminate various content in various ways when you view thru a FF browser. Maybe you'll find one that suits your needs in a general layout way but as for a tool that allows you to escape objectionable boards--that's up to the CHOW Team.

                          3. In all honesty, I think you need to grow thicker skin. I'm not trying to be mean and I hope you don't take this too harshly.

                            The thing is, you are browsing the internet. There is some gross stuff on the internet. Sometimes you will find it without meaning to. Best thing is to quickly scroll or otherwise navigate away from it and move on to something else that is more pleasent to you.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Muchlove

                              In all honesty, I wish I could just ignore those things. I regularly move away from sites that highlight disgusting things, I find it unfortunate that people want to post such topics. When I scan down a list of postings, I can't avoid "seeing" the yucky ones. Wish I could, but certainly don't see why the blocking feature should be a problem for anyone, if you do't need it you wouldn't have to use it.

                              1. re: escondido123

                                I'd rather have a button that allows me to block unpleasant posters! I can ignore a whole thread, but it's harder to ignore an offensive poster in a thread I want to read. I think both can be useful.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  I think thats a great idea. Yahoo has had this for years.

                                  1. re: beevod

                                    No I'm not. Why would I be titillated by a post that asks if I would eat dog? Understand that I don't open those posts and read the comments, I'm just talking about blocking the "Headline" so I don't have to see it every time I go to that board. Nobody but me would know I was doing it.

                              2. I don't see why asking a polite question at Site Talk should lead people to call me "June Cleaver
                                not emotionally disciplined, like being offended, hyper sensitive, looking to be titillated." Is it really necessary to be mean spirited and nasty when having a discussion on this site? There were others able to disagree without harsh words.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: escondido123

                                  escon: even though this little experiment in anarchy we call the web has been around a while, we're really just starting to figure out the true etiquette and boundaries IMHO give it another coupla hundred years and it'll all be more codified. so in the meantime just ignore anyone that flips over an honest question and goads you and pity their co-workers that get the ALL CAPS e-mails or the inboxes stuffed with bad jokes and faulty rumors.