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Wherein We Beg For A Way To Unsubscribe From Posts

We've all done it.

We've all responded to a discussion in the early stages of something—almost always on General Topics or Not About Food, but occasionally on Home Cooking or our local geographical boards—and been the first or second to make a point . . .

. . . only to see the thread explode and go in a direction it shouldn't have, at which point it lingers like diet-soda aftertaste near the top of our recent posts list.

Of particular concern are "Best [speciality from somewhere else]"—best New York-style pizza on the LA board, best Mission burrito on the Manhattan board, best barbecue on the Seattle board—and anything to do with tipping, food safety, or vegetarianism.

It is with the best of intentions that we posted that initial comment, back when the reply count was under 20; after 270 replies, 230 of which are the same argument going around and around again, it starts to fester.

Please, please, oh PLEASEfortheloveofLeff give us a way to unsubscribe from these things, to have them disappear from our recent-posts lists.

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  1. It is punishment for lack of self control.

    Occasionally however, it is something one would never expect. Ask me about the cotttage cheese thread and what I would like to respond to the 10,000th person who says peaches go well with cottage cheese. Or ... the simplest way to eat an egg. Seemed innocent enough.

    Anything else ...etiquette, kids in restaurants, your favorite food that everyone hates ... shame on you. You will know better next time to respond to something like that

    8 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      You’re right. And I must say I post far less than I once did because the first question I ask myself is, Do I want to see this in perpetuity?

      On the other hand, I responded in all innocence to such threads as “What is One Tip You Learned About Cooking, etc., etc.” which is now, God bless those hearty souls, up to 808 posts as I type. The last 600+ haven’t bothered to read the first 200+ and the whole thread has become repetitive beyond stupefaction. I’d pay real money not to have it show up any more.

      Thank goodness I stopped opening “Recipes You’ve Never Heard of Outside Your Family,” now at 1208. It took forever, but it’s finally dropped off my profile page. (Kinda fun, actually, to go back and look at what you’ve let drop off your profile page. As long as you don’t have to open the threads.)

      I’m with you, DasU. I’d love a kill button. But I think it unlikely we’ll get one.

      1. re: JoanN

        whats the post you speak of? recipes outside of your family? im gonna have to check that one out! ;)

        1. re: joe777cool

          Arrrrgh! Now you made me go and open the damned thing just so I could give you the link.


          Really! What some of us won't do for our fellow CHers!

          1. re: JoanN

            Joan, my heart goes out to you. I see you made two nposts in 2006 and the thing is still active 6 years later. The worst thing is that this is one of those totally inane, unconstructive posts with little value other than that of confession of ones childhood culinary abuses.

            Please, engineering team... we need an "unfollow" button.

            Mr Taster

        2. re: JoanN

          Joan, I'd like to thank you for the suggestion of just letting posts drop off my list. I've got three that are slowly but surely trickling towards the bottom.

          I'd never seen it before as punishment for lack of impulse control but I think rworange has pretty much nailed it. Interesting to note that the multi-hundreds threads seem to come from the topical boards. The regional board postings seem to have a lifespan of their own. Sure, they may come back years later, but these resurrections tend to be short lived.

          Mr Taster

          1. re: Mr Taster

            And.... failure. For some reason "Simple things you can't get right" from Home Cooking just shot to the top of "my recent threads" list, despite the fact that I haven't clicked on it.

            Dag nabbit.

            Mr Taster

            1. re: Mr Taster

              if you sort by recent activity and someone adds a post, then it will move up to the top.

        3. I agree. It's an obviously useful feature.

          1. I do find this request a bit confusing because your own input will be wasted by someone turning you off and because the content from a long thread do hold plenty of useful info.

            In other words, if I'm contributing to a thread on Home Cooking and 75% of the shared information is worthwhile, I can skip or skim over the other 25% without issue easily. And the idea that anyone can just turn the off button on a fellow hound sounds rather un-community like....leading to less useful posts by everyone (because why bother writing).

            4 Replies
            1. re: HillJ

              no, i think he just wants to turn it off on his own Posts - so he doesn't have to see in his My Recent Threads a post he posted on once 3 years ago that's been revived again. But.... for me, you just don't open it, doesn't seem like that big of a problem.

              1. re: mariacarmen

                That's my approach, too. It's one thread in a list of many, easy to ignore.

                I have, though, opened out of boredom and found someone had asked me a question and then feel bad about ignoring the person. It would be nice if there were a "new response to your post" notification.

                1. re: chowser

                  I agree - I've posted before about the need for some sort of flag to distinguish a new unread post that is in reply to your own comment. I may well have unknowingly ignored questions in that scenario, because I do not open old, long threads that crop up again.

                  Personally, I think it is disrespectful to other Chowhound participants to add to a thread without having read the previous comments. You add nothing to the discussion when you repeat an already-made point. For that reason I was in favor of the much-derided idea of adding some form of "+1" or "like" button that would not register on readers' profiles as a "new" unread comment.

                2. re: mariacarmen

                  maria, I guess I was casually wondering if the OP was putting themselves in the same scenario. Outside of, as you said, not opening a thread any longer or ignoring a new entry, how would a shut off button help encourage writing at all around here?

              2. I find sometimes a decent thread can turn lame after too many mindless...

                1 Reply
                1. re: hetook

                  'course none o'mine are like tha.

                  I thk CH posters should not take things to their person...highten up and hav more F U N.

                2. Can you report your posts in that thread and ask for them to be removed. I don't know if CH moderators want that additional work but it wouldn't require reworking their system at least and works w/in existing parameters.

                  17 Replies
                  1. re: chowser

                    If u r nice to them they might. I've noticed posts i made *magically* disappear.I might have gotten reported by an uptight Chowhound. Tha OK..i learned.

                    1. re: hetook

                      Tightness, up or down, by any hound has nothing to do with post deletions...

                      1. re: hetook

                        Posts just disappear. Sometimes it could be reported but the moderators won't delete unless the post breaks the rules. Someone once said, back when message boards were just becoming popular, if you want something to last, write a letter; a message board is like a conversation.

                      2. re: chowser

                        "Can you report your posts in that thread and ask for them to be removed"

                        Even if they did remove the post, that wouldn't stop the email notifications coming in. I know that from personal experience. I reckon it's either because once your account is associated with a thread it stays that way forever, or that deleted posts are only hidden to regular hounds and still exist somewhere in moderator land.

                        1. re: SnackHappy

                          I never realized, after all these years, that we could receive email notifications. Hmmm, I can't imagine what a headache that would be on some of the really active threads.

                          1. re: chowser

                            In your defense, for a lot of these years, you weren't able to receive email notifications. It was a feature we had back in 2006, and then was removed, and then re-added last year.

                            1. re: Jacquilynne

                              Oh, thanks--I was wondering how I missed it but I haven't played around with my settings much after the initial set up.

                              1. re: Jacquilynne

                                Ah, I never noticed they went a way and came back. I tried them out only for a short while and turned them back on a few months ago.

                                1. re: Jacquilynne

                                  Good to know that you are monitoring this thread, Jacquiilynne. Is this feature one that the engineers are working on, or are we barking into the wind?

                                  Mr Taster

                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                    It's not currently being worked on that I know of, but I wouldn't say it's a never, ever, never, either.

                                    1. re: Jacquilynne

                                      Jacquilynne, as a workaround for this problematic user experience issue, will moderators adopt a policy of withdrawing all of a user's comments from a given thread, at that user's request?

                                      It seems to me that this would create a defacto "kill switch" without having to implement any expensive new software engineering, as pulling my posts is something the moderators do frequently anyway (and, I imagine, enthusiastically).

                                      Mr Taster

                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                        Not as a general policy, no. We will very occasionally do this, if a comment has no replies, but it's not something we want anyone to think of as a regular service we offer.

                                        1. re: Jacquilynne

                                          Then what would you suggest that we do (other than grit and bear it).

                                          Mr Taster

                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                            "Then what would you suggest that we do (other than grit and bear it)."

                                            Put it into proper perspective alongside all of the other trials and tribulations that life brings?

                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                              It is a different issue of self control. Don't open it. Yes, it is annoying to see that "new' flag and not open it, but just say no.

                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                Ooh, a new eggcorn! I love discovering them. It's easy to see how "grin and bear it" could be misheard, and become "grit", as in gritting one's teeth to bear the pain.
                                                I will try to add this to the eggcorn database if it's not already there, though the database seems to be inactive at present.

                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                  I chose the word "grit" as a play on the more common expression because I just couldn't see myself grinning about it.

                                                  Mr Taster

                              2. Thanks for bringing this up. This is a timely topic for me. I've recently had a spate of annoying 300+ threads repeatedly shooting up to the top of my profile page with the "NEW" flag and if I had the option to unsubscribe, I would have done so long ago.

                                I would very much like to hear from the moderators about whether this will be implemented.

                                Mr Taster

                                1. I've drastically limited my posting because of this problem. I'll probably regret this post too

                                  1. I made a joke on a reallyforever boring thread about cast iron frying pans . now i'm haunted with persistant e-mails.How do you stop getting those notifications?.. I think it's been since Oct.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: hetook

                                      See my first post about knowing better next time


                                      You can choose to get notifications or not get notifications. You can't stop them for a single topic, only all topics. To do that, go to your profile, click on settings, click on notifications and uncheck the box there.

                                      1. re: rworange

                                        >> You can't stop them for a single topic, only all topics.

                                        Yeah, but sadly, that's like throwing the baby out with the bath water...

                                        Mr Taster

                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                          Depends on how you read Chowhound. If you read it daily or weekly, then checking your profile page should give you any new topics you participated in. So you don't need the email updates.

                                          If you only read it on occasoin, then the updates are nice. When people sign up this flag is autimatically checked.

                                          1. re: rworange

                                            e-mails are nice when u r interested,and a thread starts to move. Too bad there is'nt way to designate which ones u recieve.

                                    2. Hello "fans of unsubscribe Chowhound",

                                      Just wanted you to know that your request has been heard. It is not a quick thing to implement--takes thorough planning, both on the engineering and design side, so I can't say that this is going to happen very soon, but I can say that we will start investigating it once the retirement of the restaurant pages goes off well. We are trying to build responsibly and thoughtfully these days, which means not taking on too much at any given time. I'll keep you posted on this as we investigate it, which, again may not be for a few months.

                                      Thanks, Meredith of CHOW

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: mudaba

                                        Is it harder to retire older threads entirely? So many topics are asked over and over that the popular questions never truly retire. So why not retire threads from the last five years altogether rather than offer a kill participation button hound by hound. Sometimes threads that appear diff have a similar core point. Sometimes a thread lacking general interest is reposted by another person so similar in every way that the only diff is who made the initial OP. Does removing an OP from 2006 entirely prevent the question from being asked in 2012? Or does it just prevent a handful of CH's from engaging in the topic because they believe that it's easier to use an "im out" button than ignore the post. Why not design a setting that allows CH's to select day/month/year on posts they wish to archive in their own fav's section.

                                        Unsubscribing can lead to why bother (imvho).

                                        1. re: mudaba

                                          It is easy enough to ignore threads that I don't want to keep reading but thanks for listening. If possible, you might be able to kill two birds with one stone by giving CHers the option to ignore a thread. In the past, some have complained that they don't want to see threads that are disturbing to them (I think eating dog might have been one) even if they didn't participate.

                                          1. re: mudaba

                                            Thank you very much.

                                            I know on many other boards/blogs I read/comment on, there is an option to "subscribe" or follow a thread when you first add a comment, and then still the option to unsubscribe or stop following a thread at any point later. It is VERY useful for just the situations described here.

                                            (To be honest, I learned things from all of your comments -- having never really explored options after registering years ago. I don't think I need any more email notifications though!)

                                            1. re: mudaba

                                              "the retirement of the restaurant pages goes off well"

                                              somehow, i doubt that this will happen... :(

                                            2. Many people in this thread note that this serves as a deterrent to getting involved in the sort of chatty ditzy threads that grow like kudzu. At the same time, they want to remove that deterrent.

                                              Cannot compute! Illogical! Circuits overheating! :)

                                              There are very few mechanisms discouraging the sort of postings most of us don't want to see. Removing any of those mechanisms would be a really bad thing to do. So I hope and pray that this one's never removed. Anyone who yields to the urge to be chatty/ditzy in Chowhound (which was intended to be a rare refuge from a chatty/ditzy Internet!) should have that transgression forever in their face as a cautionary reminder.

                                              The "All chime in with your two cents!" Romper Room instinct is a strong one. It's what most people do in most online forums, and it's one of the dilutive tendencies we need to resist here.. The only reason Chowhound isn't totally choked by that sort of posting style is a mixture of self-restraint and the prospect of a Subscription Albatross. So.....long live the Subscription Albatrosses!

                                              45 Replies
                                              1. re: Jim Leff

                                                No, Jim. It's not a question of getting involved in chatty, ditzy threads. It's a question of responding to an interesting question that you think might lead to a productive discussion and discovering, sometimes years later, that the thread has devolved into something that is no longer either interesting or helpful. See "What is One Tip You Learned About Cooking, etc., etc.” referenced above. I do not want to open that thread just to read the 25th post recommending that mis en place is a good idea.

                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                  You can't argue against my condemnation of these sorts of threads while at the same time insist you have no interest in them and want to see them removed from your subscription list. It's not logical. The fact that you don't want to keep seeing these threads demonstrates that they are low-value for the site. Period.

                                                  Which is not to say that speculative, unspecific, "everyone chime in" threads never elicit anything of value. We're an interesting bunch; just about anything will elicit some sort of value! But these threads are kudzu. That's why you want to be shielded from them. And the best way to be shielded is by not watering the kudzu in the first place.

                                                  Your preference is to chime in and chat, and then be shielded from the kudzu you've helped foster. If that shielding took place, the boards would foster wall-to-wall kudzu, because there'd be no restraints. And consider newbies coming along and seeing thread after thread like that. It would attract chatty ditzes and repel serious chowhounds.

                                                  We very badly need these threads to remain in subscription lists to discourage hounds from yielding to that impulse. The usefulness of a forum like Chowhound hinges on the selectiveness and restraint of its posters. The system's ability to give posters feedback on their restraint level is a really good thing. It makes people think before glomming on to such threads. Your posting, and the postings of others who see nothing wrong with contributing to chat they themselves find annoying - and their desire to be shielded from the consequences - just proves my point.

                                                  NOBODY wants to unsubscribe from the sort of good, pragmatic, focused thread this site was created to foster. And the only way to get subscribed is to contribute. So contribute wisely!

                                                  1. re: Jim Leff

                                                    You may consider "cooking tips" chat; I don't. It only becomes chat when posters don't bother to read what those who have come before them have to say.

                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                      JoanN, when I attend a food lecture I can't pick and choose who I want to listen to. Everyone has the floor during discussion and has the right to ask a question, make a comment. This doesn't mean all questions (or answers) ring with me or help me along but I'm not the only one attending. I see the CH community pretty much the same way. Asking for a way to cut out the conversation we deem useless isn't much of a community. And while I understand why you're asking, I don't see it as helpful to the sites mission.

                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        "JoanN, when I attend a food lecture I can't pick and choose who I want to listen to."

                                                        Yes, but you presumably LEAVE at some point, i.e., you eventually have the option to "unattend," no? You either decide it's of no interest to you and you walk out or you go home when it's over or you're called out due to an emergency...regardless, it's a done deal once you up and leave (presumably, you don't continue getting phone calls and e-mail ad infinitum from other participants who wish to continue hashing out the topics covered). And I'm not suggesting that threads that have ceased to interest me aren't of interest/importance to others or that my posts should be removed, just that I should be able to opt out of following those threads.

                                                        1. re: MacGuffin

                                                          MacG, with all due respect your comment this morning brought me back to this thread as well. Now I'm reading your new comment attached to my own from Feb 1st; an OP that originated in Dec 2011..

                                                          Should I just ignore that you took the time to add your comment to this older thread directly under mine to make a point? If I were to follow your lead I would not read it. And, in a community of thousands we pick and choose our (food) battles in order to enjoy the site.

                                                          Ignoring what you don't enjoy from CH seems alot simpler.

                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                            "Should I just ignore that you took the time to add your comment to this older thread directly under mine to make a point?"

                                                            IF YOU WANT TO! Believe me, I won't be offended; I'd be much happier knowing that you had a choice. I appreciate your courtesy but my ego doesn't require the massage of a response (I tend to be more about being helpful than about being helped). And yes, "picking and choosing" is the point here--I'd like the option to choose to opt out of seeing "NEW" on my profile page when it applies to topics that no longer interest me. I'm not suggesting that such threads are without value or are useless to others, only that they are to me and that I should be offered the option of "leaving."

                                                      2. re: JoanN

                                                        Joan, "What's your favorite cooking tip" is indeed ditzy. We have an entire board for cooking tips. Such a thread attempts to create a board within a thread, resulting in a mushrooming perpetual horror where everyone wants to post and no one wants to read. That's the opposite of what we want.

                                                        Threads ala "What's your favorite...?" are not discussions, they're polls. An invitation for every single one of our many thousands of users to mouth off and dilute. As opposed to specific, pragmatic threads that solicit interesting, expert help from people who feel they have something specific to contribute to the discussion.

                                                        I'm not saying they're off-topic. They're not. But while such discussions might be perfectly interesting fodder for your coffee clatch, they don't work in a site with a large number of users who, every single time, inflate such open-ended poll-ish threads into the sort of chatty, ditzy sprawl you yourself don't want to see.

                                                        "Everyone Chime In!" threads create unbearable results. So much so that you don't even want to look at them anymore. I'd bet good money no one would ever unsubscribe from a thread they're following on eggs benedict in Houston or unconventional ways to peel chestnuts. Because such threads don't mushroom into ditzy chat. Not coincidentally, they're the sorts of threads Chowhound was built to host, and which attracted you all here in the first place.

                                                        So let's do more of that, and less of the stuff we all hate. Rather than contributing to chat while demanding it not blight our dashboards.

                                                        1. re: Jim Leff

                                                          What distinguishes a "everyone chime in" thread from a genuine informational thread? How is a "favorite home cooking tip" different from the thread you started about ideas for home kitchen remodeling ie, what's your "favorite home kitchen remodeling tip"? Is it that the latter was of direct interest to you? That's one of the threads in which I provided input that I've stopped pulling up every time it comes to the top of my board for the same reason I stopped pulling up the home cooking tips. Using your example of the board inside a thread of home cooking, there is an entire board devoted to cooking equipment and kitchen design.

                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                            Generality. A thread poised for evocation of every Tom/Dick/Harry's opinion rather than the handling of some concrete, narrow, pragmatic issue.

                                                            You don't need to understand this distinction. You feel it. As a result of the negative feedback caused by these kudzu threads jamming up your "my chow" page, you surely experience a twinge before posting to threads you intuitively know will do the same. Several posters in this thread right here have alluded to this sixth sense. And that's great. It means the biofeedback mechanism's working!

                                                            Same for me. Every time I feel compelled to post to a thread I feel will mushroom into lots of ditzy chime-ins, something clamps the back of my arm and directs my typing hands away! :)

                                                            I should have made the Kitchen Remodel thread a LOT more specific and narrow. My bad. And, indeed, I stopped reading after a while.

                                                            Fact of the matter is, the site's really popular. You need to consider the impact of trampling multitudes when posting (both as a thread starter and as a contributor). It still works great on specific, pragmatic threads. You know.....the sort of thread you'd never, ever want expunged from your subscriptions page! :)

                                                            1. re: Jim Leff

                                                              What you and rworange have presented is good food for thought, so to speak. Most message boards I go to encourage chatter and there's nothing in the FAQs here that discourages it so newbies would have no idea how things were back in the early 2000's, before the board change and could accommodate the chat easily. It's easy enough for me to avoid threads that become chatty or off topic but, I probably also miss gems that way--when you separate the wheat from the chaff sometimes some of the wheat gets thrown out with the chaff.

                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                As Chowhounds we try to spot high value amid the mud. Is what we do. As board readers, the same skills apply. In both cases you've got to be willing to lose babies with bath water.

                                                                But while I'm not as skilled a board surfer as I am a real world deliciousness hunter, one rule of thumb is that the best stuff comes from terse, umshowy folks who dutifully inject a hot tip (and this stuffs often missed!). Fluffy threads with lots of people capriciously chiming in rarely deliver much...though, as I said, chowhounds are interesting enough that slips of goodness may arise in any discussion.

                                                                1. re: Jim Leff

                                                                  So, per your definition, your lengthy posts in the "flat-tasting pasta" thread don't qualify as overly chatty?

                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                    Well, in terms of the thread as a whole, there's nothing wrong with length, per se. It struck me (at least) as a highly useful and interesting discussion, rather than mere chatty discourse, polling everyone to chime in with their favorite this or that, or what they love or hate, or any of those sorts of threads that set most hounds' teeth on edge to the point where they'd want to see them knocked off their subscription list than need be confronting it forever.

                                                                    The thread serves the intended purpose of the board: to help with cooking issues.

                                                                    Perhaps you're right and my posts there suck, but, hey, what are you gonna do? Can't please everyone....

                                                                2. re: chowser

                                                                  >>> there's nothing in the FAQs here that discourages it so newbies would have no idea how things were back in the early 2000's, before the board change and could accommodate the chat easily

                                                                  While few people every read a site's guidlines, it still is in the guidelines. They just don't get deleted as often.

                                                                  "... we avoid topics that are simply chatter. Threads should contain or solicit useful information and tips, rather than existing merely to give others something to post about. Chatty questions include (but aren't limited to, these are just a few examples) those that result in anyone and everyone chiming in with an item to add to a list ('every food reference in a movie ever'); questions that you're asking out of curiosity ('I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way about kumquats as I do'), questions that are basically rants in disguise ('this waiter was rude, am I right?'); questions based purely on personal preference which anyone can answer and no answer is more or less appropriate than any other ('foods no one else likes that you love'). If you just want to start a conversation for the sake of having something to talk about, it's probably chat, but if you're interested in the specific answers, and they'll help you eat better, it's probably okay. "

                                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                                    So how come the mods don't immediately pull those threads? I could list about 50 that are JUST like what this supposed "guideline" tries to avoid.

                                                                    Perhaps the emphasis is on "tries to".

                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                      It seems to me that expecting posters to moderate themselves is like expecting kudzu to prune itself. Chowhound is too large to self-police. This means you have need for gardeners-- the moderators. And for those of us who unwittingly fall into a kudzu bush (or find that bush has grown rapidly up around us) and need to escape, we need the unsubscribe option.

                                                                      Having said that-- heavy handed moderation in this area absolutely could work too. But that discourages eyeballs, and the site after all relies on eyeballs to pay the bills.

                                                                      So let the site pay the bills with the stupid kudzu threads, but allow me to opt out.


                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                        "Having said that-- heavy handed moderation in this area absolutely could work too."

                                                                        Especially given how heavy handed moderation is in all other aspects of the site.

                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                          As I said, there are good clicks and bad clicks. When everthing gets so chocked up the whole garden dies. i've for most part stopped reading the General Topics board. Which also leads me to not posting there much anymore.

                                                                          I've been thinking about asking some questions about Korean food, my latest focus. i haven't bothered because the people populating that board don't care. It is the kind of thing that drove me off egullet for a different reason. That site just cares about the trendy big name restaurants and there was little interest in the neighborhood gem. I stopped posting there.

                                                                          The kudzu on general topics killed my posts off.

                                                                          Also a while back on a few threads the feel good posters told me i didn't need to post there if I didn't want to participate in the nostolgia love.

                                                                          More shocking was a thread where someone wanted to run a poll about something. That got turned into graphs. it had zero to do with sharing and learning. You had to answer specific guestions such as do you use "X' ... yes or no. The poster refused to say why they were running the poll.

                                                                          Not only was the post not deleted, i got a note from the mods saying that if I didn't like a post don't participate. so i don't

                                                                          it is not specific examples, it is just that it is too much too often. If I was new to this site today, i don't think I would have hung around long.

                                                                          I know one person doesn't matter. Even the great posters i love come and go and the site goes on. it has been like that since day 1. But before the site attracted more good posters. Now it just seems to attract chat fans.

                                                                          So i can understand another poster's husband drifting off.

                                                                        2. re: rworange

                                                                          Thanks. That quote, alone, should be posted at the top of the GC and NAF boards since those cover about 90% of those posts. I wasn't thinking of threads that start out as chatter but ones that can include chatter, or evolve into chatter. And, that also brings up the question of what "chatter" is--I was saddened but appreciated the posts about Sam and Moh's deaths. They're not about eating better but I'd fully support those posts. If someone has been missing from the boards for a while, I'll take note and tell them they've been missed. It could be wrong but it's also one reason I've stayed here--for the community. We all draw the line at different places and we all also step over that line and participate in chatter.

                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                            >>> I was saddened but appreciated the posts about Sam and Moh's deaths. They're not about eating better but I'd fully support those posts.

                                                                            Me too. That is one change for the better as in the pasts those wouldn't have been allowed.

                                                                            On a board like Site Talk, i think occasionally things like this about people who contribute to the site are good.

                                                                      2. re: Jim Leff

                                                                        What you propose would be far easier to learn from if it was applied by the site. IOW, if the site welcomes OP's that are general, chatty and have been asked for years then what message does that send readers? The impact is more of the same.

                                                                        At this point, I'm looking for specific CH's who contribute not subject lines to guide my CH reading and I've never been much of an OP starter. Getting your point across can take 3 lines or 30 depending on the style of the CH...

                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                          I see Jim asking "discerning" hounds to listen to their inner voice of reason and not reply to the "...general, chatty..." OP's. In other words, don't be so quick to pull the trigger. "Post in haste. Repent at leisure" as it were. And even though the Powers that Be will not be redacting those chatty OP's anytime soon (for the most part), we can discourage them by NOT chiming in.

                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                            Serv, no JL translation needed.

                                                                          2. re: HillJ

                                                                            You can't moderate people for style, so long as they're friendly and reasonably on topic (nor can you moderate them for having really bad taste in food!).

                                                                            Rather, you just stay grateful for any mechanisms built into the system that discourage dilution. One such mechanism is Subscription Albatross Syndrome.

                                                                    2. re: JoanN


                                                                      Every now and then you are going to get caught in a thread that looks innocent ... like my personal albatross, the cottage cheese thread.

                                                                      But most of the threads are the chatty threads which are bad to encourage. Even without an unsuubscribe the General Topics board is getting to be unreadable. Lots of the conversations that would have been discouraged in the past, have taken over.

                                                                      if we lose focus that content is king here the site is doomed.

                                                                      I think though there are two differne issues

                                                                      1. Unsubscribing from emails

                                                                      2. for people not signed up for email updates, seeing the 'new' tab on your profile page.

                                                                      1. the email problem would be solved if you could flag individual threads to get email notices rather than all or nothing

                                                                      2. just ignore it on your profile page. don't open it

                                                                      Even on the damn cottage cheese thread i just learned something that sounds good to me ... cottage cheese mixed with beets.

                                                                    3. re: Jim Leff

                                                                      Like kudzu, sometimes threads start with good intent and good information and thus many people chime in and they grow exponentially, out of control. I agree w/ JoanN about the thread she posted. It started w/ good intent and had good information but it proliferated. Important tips you learn about cooking is relevant and it's not chatty or ditzy, at least it wasn't when I stopped following it. So many people had tips and to compound the problem, the thread is so long that new people don't read all the old messages and post redundant tips. Another was ASK SUSHI MAN. Probably one of the most informative threads I've read about sushi on CH but it started locking up my computer (at the time) and phone. As I've maintained it's simple enough to ignore it when it comes back up so having an ignore function doesn't affect me but I do understand why some might want it.

                                                                      The ASK SUSHI MAN thread (which morphed into more):


                                                                      Attributing long threads to chattiness or something less than CH-worthy might be the case in many threads but not all.

                                                                      1. re: Jim Leff

                                                                        I too am confused by your response.

                                                                        You're lumping together threads that begin as potentially useful and chowhound worthy (such as cooking tips) with others that are engineered, from the start, to flourish into a gigantic stinking bucket of brainless palaver (such as "what childhood concoction did you love that you now hate".) I take full responsibility for succumbing to the temptation of the latter, but the former is a bait-and-switch.

                                                                        Opt-in unsubscribe is needed for those times when we find ourselves unwittingly standing in that bucket-o-sludge, desperately clawing to get out.

                                                                        And let's not forget that it's the job of the moderators to discourage chatty threads (whether they began that way or evolve into them) either by selective trimming or closing the threads down entirely.

                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                          About the only part of this tangent I can saddle up to is "the job of the mods to discourage...including the CHOW team for that matter. What is allowed is going to continue whether we all like the content, chattiness or not. Asking a handful of CH's to tightly confine their contributions isn't going to change anything unless the moderation and guidelines for what an individual types changes. Beyond that, restraint to not join in at all is about the only advice I take away. Hmmm, wonder if I'll regret my chatty ways on this thread....

                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                            I see Jim's point about not being able to "opt out" (ha ha Mr. T) in the vein of "aversion therapy" for those who want a more focused site. Thereby (if opt out ever comes to fruition) actually contributing to the problem rather than easing it.

                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                              My husband who followed JL and turned me onto CH has left this site. He believes the old clubhouse is missed by many; some left their CH handles behind and dish the chowtalk elsewhere and those who have remained from the old clubhouse delight in this new clubhouse the least. Newbies to CH don't know what they missed, are still learning how to use the site and make new suggestions with no connection to the old clubhouse.

                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                We were all "newbs" at one time. Sticking around and contributing good chow tips is by far the best way to ease the natural growing pains of increased participation on this site. Your husband may well stay gone, but I'd bet against it. CH has a strong "gravitational" pull that seems to keep good hounds in its orbit (no matter how wide their loop around the Sun may be)...

                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                  We were all "newbs" at one time. Hey that's my line! And not my point...exactly. The larger the playroom has gotten, the more design changes, the more data changes, the more challenging (read: frustrating) for CH's like dh.

                                                                                  1. re: HillJ


                                                                                    It is not just more people, more crap and you need to watch where you step.

                                                                                    Chowhound is conterintuitive.

                                                                                    Junk is now encouraged and before you know it all you have is a dumping ground.

                                                                                    There are good clicks and bad clicks. The funny / nostolgic thread that is just chat brings more chat. That looks good. A lot of people are coming to the site. While that looks good on reports today, it saps the content.

                                                                                    People like dh who contribute content, drift away.

                                                                                    But if the low click, content rich threads are what becomes important, then in the long run in brings more people who contribute valuable info to the site. in the bigger picture it brings more traffic to the site.

                                                                                    That is counterintitive.

                                                                                    Many people come to this site thru Google because they are looking for something specific ... a recipe, ingredient, restaurant. if they like what they see, they stick around. They think of chowhound as the goto place for good advice.

                                                                                    Few people come here because they are googling about ... and i'm using a wild example here so it doesn't point to some real post ... 'what did you eat in pre-school that you still eat today'

                                                                                    That is as true of Chow as Chowhound.

                                                                                    I don't follow Chow much, but when I do crossover it is because of a recipe like the current, creative recipes for wild game. Or the excellent obsessive feature. I go there for content.

                                                                                    I tell freinds about those and i'll mention them in Chowhound posts.

                                                                                    Things like the fortunately dead RuBo generated lots of clicks and controversy ... but the bad kind. When someone is googling 'fuck' they are not looking for Chow/Chowhound.

                                                                                    On the other hand there were lots of clicks annd controversity about Slow Food's fight that brought people from Slow Food to the site. That is good traffic and controversy.

                                                                                    However, if all they see is silly stuff on the site(s0, the good guys don't want to look any further and stay.

                                                                                    Someone might be attracted to the cheap, easy, fun girl but it is rare they want to get married to her. IMHO, Chow/Chowhound should want people commited to the site and marry themselves to it.

                                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                                      Chow/Chowhound should want people commited to the site and marry themselves to it. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                      rw, we naturally have a different definition of "marriage" but I found your comments on whole entirely to hard to follow, sorry.

                                                                                      1. re: HillJ


                                                                                        But you did marry yourself to Chowhound as you have been here a few years now. Your content-driven posts made me respect your opinion on things.

                                                                                        What made you commit to Chowhound? It seems when you look back to the beginning there were a lot of content rich posts at that time.

                                                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                                                          That's a simple question for me to answer, rw. I visit CH because foodspeak encourages and delights me in every aspect of my professional life....which often carries over into my busy full life. The content I enjoy runs the gamit, harder to place a label on that....but the community (even as big as it is now) still taps into why I joined up some time ago.

                                                                                          How about you?

                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                            This was 2002 ... before a lot what is available today.

                                                                                            So food critics ruled. A local critic gave a glowing review to a restaurant that was such a disappointment that I googled to see if anyone agreed with me. I found Chowound. Of course, the post was six months old but i didn't notice no one answered me.

                                                                                            i liked some of the other stuff I found on the site. The hot posts which was promoted gave me a quick view to food around the country and the world.

                                                                                            The posters on the sf board were so knowedgable about food that i was hooked.

                                                                                            I've had glimpses into the private lives and celebrations of different cultures from birth to death and the food that I would have never imagined existed let alone eating.

                                                                                            But most of all, the site celebrated the common person. The opinion of the ordinary person mattered.

                                                                                            that is why i get so upset when Chow tries to blend Chowhound into Chow. There are a million places the food celebs get props. But the ordinary perosn ... who cares. If you had good tips ... the ordinary person mattered. it was a generous gift.

                                                                        2. re: Jim Leff

                                                                          This isn't true.

                                                                          I used to live in New Jersey. I used to live in San Francisco. I used to live in Paris. I do not want to see the "interesting" threads that have garnered a bunch of posts, because I don't live in New Jersey, San Francisco or Paris anymore and it isn't interesting to me anymore.

                                                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                            I sympathize. But seeing as you're the only one objecting on this basis, you're likely an outlier.

                                                                            Also, useful, specific sorts of threads tend to end fairly swiftly. If you're seeing ancient stuff continue, I suspect you've been feeding kudzu in your previous locales.

                                                                            But that's not for sure. You may have posted solely to useful, specific sorts of threads which have had very unusually long lives, and/or be moving residences at a very fast rate. But either of those makes you even more of an outlier.

                                                                            The vast majority (though not all) albatross situations come from failure to resist the impulse to reply to the sort of threads folks know in their guts will mushroom into chime-in ditziness. And albatrosses are the sole hope for discouraging hounds from creating and fueling such threads.

                                                                            1. re: Jim Leff

                                                                              The crux of the problem is that the battle being waged is probably a losing one, especially given the overwhelming "Zeitgeist" we see evidenced most strongly by the pandemonium presently swirling around the IPO for "In all of our Faces-Book."

                                                                              1. re: Jim Leff

                                                                                I should note that the main factor ENCOURAGING kudzu threads is the unfortunate decision to spotlight popular threads in various places on CHOW and Chowhound. I was staunchly against this, because our big mushrooming glom-on threads are invariably the ditzy ones. That sort of thing needs discouraging, not encouraging.

                                                                                In many online communities, massive, chatty, hot, active threads are the best stuff. Chowhound's never been that way. Our best info is often low-profile and terse. And our value is in our good info, not chatty polls and such.

                                                                        3. re: Jim Leff

                                                                          So well said, and so convincing. Yes, let the cautionary reminder survive!

                                                                        4. The problem with the Subscription Albatross is that oftentimes it's not the chatty, ditzy post I no longer want to read, but one that started out helpful and has now become less so, or blossomed into something else, as others have pointed out. The ubiquitous "Best Cooking Tip" post is a great example - I found tremendously helpful tips in there, and felt I could contribute something at the time, but now that posters are continuing to post without reading the previous, responding to direct queries, and my skills and interests have moved on, I'm no longer interested in being notified when something new is added. Is that still a helpful post? I think so. I've found myself searching it out once or twice when trying to remember something, and I'm sure for newbies it's 800 posts of great information. I'm glad I contributed at the time; I just don't need to see it anymore. As Chowhound stands now, some of the oldest, wisest 'hounds, as admitted here, think twice about posting on threads that may run amok because they don't want the thread constantly at the top of their notifications, and that's sad and frustrating to me. I'm still quite a newbie when it comes to cooking, etc., and it's the wisdom of experience and appreciation I seek here. If those people's contributions are being self-hindered, I'm doubly for a Unsubscribe button.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: thursday

                                                                            In the past, I was self-hindered only on posts that were mainly chat. However, given how this site is changing with a proposed change in moderation policy to food and news and the other boards currently less moderated and going of on tangents and not focused, I have changed my mind.

                                                                            I would also like an unsubscribe buttion for threads.

                                                                              1. not gonna cry...I've got time.