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You asked for our advice, you got it, you didn't respond

Dear OP,

I was reading through your old post tonight wherein you asked for recommendations for the best, most delicious food in (fill in the blank: city, county, state, country).

Many a Chowhound, including myself, offered up our favorites, specifically for you, keeping in mind the area, pricepoint, dishes, etc... you requested. In fact, even though your thread is now a little old in the tooth, new posters are still offering up some great ideas - just for you.

And how did you respond?

You never thanked us, or told us if you ever went on that trip, or if you ate any of those delicious things.

It would be so nice and helpful for others to get some feedback from you.

We care.

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  1. I don't think one should post a reply with the expectation that the OP will respond in kind.

    Someone will read it, and even if the OP does not respond, it becomes part of the general overall Chowhound community, which is really what this site is all about.

    In other words, post a reply for posterity's sake, and for the benefit of the Chowhound collective.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      It would be helpful for "posterity's sake" as well to get feedback.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Unless the recipients of all those carefully crafted board suggestions proceed to ignore everyone of them and go off for no good reason at all to a known board anathema and then they proceed to cudgel it about the head and shoulders. In that case I definitely don't want to hear any feedback... ;-D>

        1. re: travelmad478

          does it? I dunno. such a universal thing I can see the impulse to put it there, yet so few read ST. but then again the non-repliers probably won't see this or see themselves in it. I try to reply after asking or thank the OP for their perspective if they do, but I'm not losing sleep (well over that anyway)

          1. re: travelmad478

            belongs as a sticky on every board :)

            not that, like Hill Food, i lose any sleep over it

          2. Same issue regularly crops up on another board I use (entirely different subject matter). Particularly the not coming back to say "thanks". Some folk get peeved about the perceived impoliteness; other don't.

            Generally speaking, I'm in the latter category. That said, my observation on my other board (and I think it seems to also apply here) is that there are so many folk asking for advice/recommendations that they could have answered for themselves by a simple search of the board. Some other posters may get riled at the repetitive nature of the question (and they do tend to be the same old questions, don't they?). I take the view that folk who might want to give an answer should regard themselves as teachers - each year, educators get a new a batch of kids for whom the subject is new and, year on year, are going to ask the same questions and have an expectation that the teacher will answer in a proper way (and not just answer with the equivalent of "go search the board".

            7 Replies
            1. re: Harters

              "I take the view that folk who might want to give an answer should regard themselves as teachers"

              Well put. We even have the advantage of choosing which questions to answer. As a poster, respond if you feel you have something to offer - either to the OP or the emerging discussion. Do it because you would like to offer help not because you expect kudos in return. Do it because there are probably more people who look up the questions that are repeatedly asked than there are those who simply "reask".

              I am in favor of a response that shares both some information and, provided it is a well worn topic, links to previous discussions. This "consolidation" helps everyone in the long run.

              That being said, I do think feedback is beneficial. I find that when an inquiry comes from a new or visiting 'hound they are more likely to come back to the thread when they are initially welcomed and subsequently invited back. Clearly not all people do so. Some people have difficulty with gratitude, are displeased by the responses, or otherwise not inclined to participate once assisted. To me, that's their problem, not ours.

              1. re: MGZ

                Would just like some feedback (pun intended) every now and then on whether a poster who asked for a lot of information, and got it, ever went to any of the spots recommended and if so how they panned out. That information is helpful to me. I don't consider myself a teacher. Just a fellow hound that likes sharing and receiving information.

                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                  "Would just like some feedback . . . every now and then"

                  We all would and we'd all benefit from it. I've just come to accept the fact that we're not gonna get it. (Hell, it's getting almost rare to get a "thank you" when I hold open a door for someone.)

                  Nevertheless, at the end of the day, this thread has moved to Site Talk, so we're just preaching to the choir.

                  1. re: MGZ

                    Sometimes no feedback is probably a blessing. I recall a thread wherein someone unfamiliar with (but interested in trying) Indian food wanted a LOT of information before going to an Indian place with a group. The OP asked additional questions over the course of what turned out to be a pretty long thread. Then silence. Eventually someone posted a feedback request. The OP then wrote that they'd decided to have pizza instead (or Italian - can't recall precisely). I'm sure I am not the only one to have a "Fer cryin out loud!" reaction and to feel frustrated by the amount of time spent reading and contributing to that thread.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      There was some one who asked about where to eat, got a lot of great suggestions, ignored it and ate at a few chains, then panned the local food. Thankfully, few and far between.

                2. re: MGZ

                  I'm with you, MGZ, on the issue of previous discussions. I contribute to the UK/Ireland board of both Chowhound and egullet. One of the things I particularly like about the egullet way of doing things is the active management of the board and the encouragement to post to an existing thread, rather than start a new one. Means you can see the development of, say, a particular restaurant or the eating opportunities in a particular town. It also cuts down on the repetitive "where should I eat" type post. I know others don't necessarily like what can be a long thread but, for up to date information, you only need to read, say the most current page.

                3. re: Harters

                  This is a very apt and helpful pov. I will try to keep this analogy in mind when considering responding to those frequently occurring topics by newbies.

                  When I first became active in online forums I was disappointed when feedback never appeared to a post which was offered with thought and care. Fortunately I was able to let that go and not have the experience marred by unmet (unrealistic) expectations.

                4. We do encourage that in our Read This First posts, but, of course, not everyone reads, and not everyone does what they're told when they do read. It's not a requirement, though, obviously, since we can't enforce it, but it would be nice if people did report back more often.

                  1. I have posted quiestions with a future trip in mind, that I didn't end up taking, also dinners for special events that didn't end up happening. So, sometimes, people don't have feedback. I am the type who will generally give a "Thanks" just for a response from other posters, whether or not I actually act on their advice or even get a chance to try out their suggestions. It doesn't add much to the conversation and I don't know if people care that I offered a plain, old, "thank you", but I try to make sure and do it. My point is, that sometimes people make inquiries and just don't have anything else to add to the conversation. I like to think that responses to posts I have created have benefited someone else down the line, even if I didn't end up being the lucky one.

                    Not long ago I posted a question about a cookie recipe, in Home Cooking. Nearly a week went by and I remembered that I never followed up. I felt awful and got on right away with a report - and then someone thanked me for reporting back. It was a nice exchange and I agree that feeback is the brick that builds a stronger community.

                    Unfortunately, there is the give and take (sometimes more take) nature of any online community...people don't feel obligated to be that thoughtful. However, I try to think positive and assume that even if and OP didn't give a reply to a post they created, they paid it forward and provided responses to other inquiring minds whom they could help.

                    1. That's OK. I wasn't the one that asked for any advice, but I read the thread and saw some places that looked cool, and I reported back. Thanks for the collateral benefit.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: limster

                        Being the computer iliterate that I am, I have never needed to start a new thread as I can find info by a simple search, and entertainment such as this, by perusing current discussions. It is embarrassing to be caught giving thanks on a 3 year old thread, or giving advice to somebody who got home from their trip 6 months ago.

                        And I must admit that I do not always respond plus or minus to all the leads I have acquired. Some are just so average, I can't remember to do it. Others, I can't find the original thread as I did not post anything on it.

                        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                          I don't find it embarrassing. Since we are encouraged to search before writing a new thread, I will many times add my two cents so people who are looking for similar can find the info. As a CH user I tend to looknfor things mentioned more than once to make a decision. Unless I know your taste I tend to take advice with a grain of salt. The more people who praise one place the more likely I am to go there.

                      2. Sometimes people post asking for cookware recs, or information about a certain sort of small appliance, or cookware line. Hounds quickly post their own experiences, biases, opinions, and sometimes point to deals online. I'd say it is about 50/50 whether the OP posts back on what he or she did with all the info. Same with recipes, although it seems that recipe threads get more action from the OPs than other sorts of threads do.

                        I wonder if the OPs are so overwhelmed at times with info that they can't think how to respond, or if they lose interest in the question they posed, or if they had posted the query on a lark.

                        At any rate, it would be nice if OPs let others know what they did or didn't do with the info offered them by fellow Hounds.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: sueatmo

                          sue - agreed as people get personal about their city or region or recipe. it would be nice if responses/acknowledgments were posted more, but if that favorite hole-in-the-wall of mine got a "wow sounds great!" response. I DO want to hear if the OP made it there although I for one, don't care if someone likes or dislikes my opinion of henckels or all clad or tupperware.

                          oh to live an ideal world of my making and rules...

                        2. I agree with your feeling, but I also understand that sometime we need to lower our expectation.

                          When someone help us, we want to thank them. Conversely, when we give advices to others, we wish for some forms of acknowledgement. It would be nice if they respond.

                          On the other hand, we shouldn't make this into some kind of requirements. It is their choices afterall.

                          To borrow a philosophic phrase/logic: our happiness should not (heavily) depend on others actions. Otherwise, it will only lead to unhappiness.

                          1 Reply
                          1. It's annoying to take the time crafting a well thought out reply no one sees. It sucks. I've been guilty of leaving threads cause circumstances change and it's not worth explaining I can't follow through and a generic thanks doesn't seem like enough. I don't think anything was wasted.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: arjunsr

                              Try to remember that a lack of response doesn't mean no one has read it with interest! There are many, many more readers than posters here.

                              I post a great many things that never receive a comment back. I hope it is a situation where others find the topic of interest yet have nothing to add to the thread. If they simply find the post a bore, well I guess they will learn to skip over posts I initiate. All I can do is offer it up freely and with good intent.

                            2. I actually dislike most when the OP feels the need to thank everyone who responds to the original post. They don't understand that even though they opened the discussion, the thread now belongs to the entire community, and is no longer just for them.

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: GraydonCarter

                                Well that is an interesting, albeit cynical viewpoint. I see no harm in thank you's. It goes without saying that once you open a thread it is not "yours" - it only takes one visit to one message board ever to understand that. But, when someone thanks the folks who responded to their post, I consider it an acknowledgement that they are grateful to be a part of the community that the thread they created belongs to, not an attempt to claim ownership of anything. That is just plain silly. And the more gracious people are in any community - online or in real life...the better for the community.

                                1. re: GraydonCarter

                                  I agree. In a busy thread, and when every other post is "thank you"... it can be difficult to do a quick read-through. Although it is rather uplifting to read thank yous.

                                  1. re: KarenDW

                                    Ohhhhhh......now I see what GraydonCarter and you mean. You are talking about when someone personally thanks every single commenter for every single comment on a thread he or she created. Sorry, I didn't get that when I first responded. Yeah, that's just weird. And annoying and disruptive in a way. But checking back in for a single, general thank you to the community members who took the time to respond, even if you don't have any other feedback to share (or share yet) is a nice thing to do and I can't see anyone complaining about that.

                                    1. re: Justpaula

                                      Yes, I wrote everyone but meant "each and every one".

                                      I do like it when the OP summarizes the responses and posts their action items.

                                      1. re: Justpaula

                                        Who said they wanted a thank you for every single comment? I was referring to a specific post wherein a lot of information was sought and given yet the OP never responded, not even a thank you.

                                        What I really would appreciate is feedback when restaurant advice is sought and given and the OP visits any of the establishments suggested (or chooses a different one). No need for a "sorry we didn't make it there" post. But feedback when they do visit would be very helpful to me as a CH.

                                        That's all. Thanks.

                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                          I don't think anybody did, actually. :)

                                          But, this recent post, where you say a "sorry we didn't make it there post" isn't needed does conflict a bit with your OP where you said:

                                          "You never thanked us, or told us if you ever went on that trip, or if you ate any of those delicious things."

                                          Like I said upstream, I have been guilty of creating a post, receiving information, and then not being able to follow through on plans. I feel bad that I never went back to say, 'Hey, thanks, but I didn't get to go", only because I now realize there are people who would like feedback from me, and are frustrated that I didn't give it, not aware that I had no feedback to give. Oy!

                                          I am curious if those of you who often give a lot of helpful information ever go back to the post to ask if the poster ever made it and if they have feedback? People can be very thoughtless (even if not intentionally), but maybe if they get a little nudge, they will get back to you???/ Has this worked for any of you?

                                          1. re: Justpaula

                                            The problem we face is, one time only posters who come here in the "Shell Answer Man" mode really have no interest in being a regular CH poster. They are only interested in getting their information and then being on their way.

                                            I've asked posters on the L.A. board who post looking for suggestions, who I've seen have asked other boards for advice and then never returned to report back, to please report back if we provide suggestions.

                                            I do this when I see that they are dipping into the local pool of knowledge more than once and not being polite enough to pay the board back in the way that really says thank you...telling us all where you went and how you liked it.

                                            1. re: Justpaula

                                              JustPaula, are you my sister? I have a sister Paula and you sound like her? ;-)

                                              "You never thanked us, or told us if you ever went on that trip, or if you ate any of those delicious things." This statement refers to a specific thread where substantial information was given, provided, and never responded to. I don't think in every single post or thread it is necessary to do any or all of the above, but feedback in that kind of thread would have been very helpful to me.

                                              I have gone back to some threads and asked for an update, mostly to no avail. On CH you can't personally message people, and some people don't read their post listings so it does hinder direct communication.

                                      2. re: GraydonCarter

                                        Ditto. Thanking each post keeps bumping up the thread and when there is nothing new and relevant it wastes tine. Some thanks here and there with other info, "I think I'll try that" etc. Is ok though.

                                        1. re: melpy

                                          When I post a question, I try to remember to end it with "Thanks in advance" = TIA. But that can backfire too - I've had people think my first name is Tia.

                                          There was backlash on Site Talk when it was revealed that TPTB were considering a "like" or "thumbs up" button to do away with the "+1"s that bump threads without adding content, just as the repetititve thanking does.

                                          1. re: greygarious

                                            When I see TIA I think of a transient ischemic attack. A TIA is when blood flow to a part of the brain stops for a brief period of time.

                                      3. Each and every time I see reference to a lack of response I'm reminded how poorly we communicate what we want. Be it man or woman or how we express ourselves one thing holds constant--we aren't mindreaders.

                                        We could all do a better job of expressing what we want from a thread. A reply, an acknowledgement, no need to leave details, etc.

                                        Because if the responses to this OP is any indication, what we want varies person to person and knowing what we want is still up to us not the person we keep asking to read our minds.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          Hey! Why are you analyzing my marriage! :)

                                          Yes, what you said is very true. I guess because this is an online community and not a marriage, I don't see any reason to get too worked up over this subject. Unless you want the Chowhound Team to create a sticky on every page with new guidelines for users to indicate their response and courtesy expectations on every post or comment they make - and wouldn't *that* be fun!

                                        2. I'm not so much interested in the 'thank you's" as I am in what the person did with the information, where they went, recommended or not, and what they thought. Maybe it's just the Hawaii board, but for the most part I've found that people do - eventually - respond. Certainly not all, but well over half. Good enough for me.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                            and finding out a time-honored recommendation is no longer good beyond an off-night explanation is very helpful (oops!)

                                          2. Years ago, "thank you"s were discouraged as excess non-CH chatter.The boards were slower then. I don't mean fewer posters but physically slow to load. I would not pull up threads with 100+ posts. I didn't like not saying thanks but was told by the old timers that reporting back was the best thanks. At the same time, if someone takes the time to post a recipe, it felt wrong not to comment, Not that this is what all posters are doing but it is possible.

                                            1. I complained about this behavior ten years ago. Jim Leff kindly responded and told me that even if the OP never responds, others might find the information useful. So I moved on.