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Do you avoid certain threads?

I know I do! Some people complain about threads that never die and that appear eternally on their profile. I don't really mind that so much -- I just ignore them, but for me it's more a matter of what I will call "the usual suspects." That means that there are posters who refuse to allow you your opinion, and will argue endlessly even when you say, "That's just my opinion, and that's how I feel." Then, there are the posters who absolutely have to have the last word, and will return, again and again to the same argument just to have last licks. Another type links endlessly to googled threads or other internet links to prove how your opinion is wrong, and theirs is right. I've stopped clicking on any of the links because it's a bit like being cornered by a boring boor at a cocktail party. These types of posters seem to most actively inhabit certain threads, so once I've seen that they've posted, I avoid them. In general, I am of the opinion that the mods do a fantastic job, but I would love to see them take a more active role with this type of annoyance.

How about you? Are you prone to avoidance in certain places on Chowhound?

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  1. Seems l avoid the posters of whom you speak more than the threads. They seem to not really care about the topic but tend to nitpick your opinions with excessive verbiage that adds little to topic but makes you feel foolish. l rarely post on either Manhattan or Wine anymore due to some constant posters on those boards. l am a very non-confrontational type of guy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

      Odd, I never would have figured you to be thin skinned Stefan! ;)

      I hear you regarding wine. Check out Wineberserkers. Great discussions there and though the number of "experts" there is overwhelming, everyone is generally very cordial and helpful.

    2. hi roxlet. I like that Chowhounds have strong viewpoints. What can be learned in a comment box takes patience though. Jumping to conclusions, assuming the worst of a fellow hound is easy; sticking with a thread even if you don't agree takes finesse. I wouldn't want to see moderation turn into a police state or become a babysitting service. I agree with you that the Mods do a great job. What works for me is taking responsiblity for my own comments and admitting when I'm wrong. I'm not interested in telling other people how they should behave unless comments are aimed directly at MY forehead..then, I tend to speak up for myself.

      But I don't approach any part of this community with a stance of avoidance. I love this community.

      28 Replies
      1. re: HillJ

        i don't avoid topics or posters. chowhound is a discussion board, after all.
        i have never understood how using the phrase, "that's just my opinion" makes anything you say sacrosanct.
        doing this reminds me of the child called "never" on an episode of the t.v. show, 'louie,' who said something along the lines of, "my mom says that any choice i make is o.k. because i love myself."

        1. re: HillJ

          HillJ, I have no objection to strong viewpoints, but what I do object to is flogging a dead horse. After a while, RIP. I have been a member of CH for many years, and I do understand finesse, and when I feel that I am wrong, I'll cop to it, but at the end of the day, sometimes it's best to avoid and walk away. However, I don't ascribe the same happy motives to all the denizens of this site. Some just like to fight, and as far as I am concerned, they can do it with someone else.

          1. re: roxlet

            And I don't blame you one bit for feeling that way. I just believe the change the channel approach begins with making that decision for yourself and not for others. Don't fight, don't give the denizens your time...walk away and enjoy the views you like.

              1. re: Servorg

                Different, I think, but yes, I have seen it...

                1. re: roxlet

                  They seem related, but the other one is more generalized for sure. I just have to ask you, since you say that you don't click on links provided by those who disagree with you any longer; Do you want to know if you believe something (and post about it) that turns out to "factually" wrong (rather than one opinion vs another)?

                  1. re: Servorg

                    No, I didn't say that I don't click on links with those that disagree with me, I said that some posters list endless links to all kinds of sites to prove their point. When confronted with a list of 4-6 links, my reaction is to click on none of them. And most of the arguments are not based on "facts." Usually, they're based on opinions that are held, for which many "facts" are provided. To use an analogy, say I'm for Obama and you're for Romney. I can provide many links to facts that prove my opinion that he's a horse's ass, and you can likely do the same to support your opinion. Everyone is entitled to his opinion, and linking me to facts about what a swell, stand-up guy Romney is won't change my opinion.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Okay. So, does that mean if you are posting something that is "factual" and it happens to not be true, that you would want to hear about it then?

                      I also realize that there are ways of presenting things to others that can be done in a very aggressive and demeaning manner, and ways of telling someone the same thing without coming across as an aggressive a-hole.

                      Personally I want to know if I am getting something "wrong" so I can correct for future posts or discussions.

                      1. re: Servorg

                        What I am referring to is more in the manner of thinking that a sentence means one thing, and someone else trying to convince you the meaning is different. Or saying you like a person or a dish, and the other person insisting that you are wrong to do so. I'm fine with disputing facts, but finding facts to support your opinion and saying that someone else's opinion is wrong is a very slippery slope.

                        1. re: roxlet

                          I am sure I am a constant irritant on the LA board for reminding those that seem to believe that their "superior taste" in food is somehow a proven fact, that this is all subjective opinion as far as what is good and what is not...

                          1. re: Servorg

                            Yes, some people don't want to accept that their opinions are just that -- opinions!

                            1. re: Servorg

                              One useful tool for reading Chowhound is to assume that every post starts with "In my opinion". A lot of people state things forcefully around here, but it's still just their opinion. We occasionally get people who are flat out declaring themselves right and others wrong, but we also see a great many people reading "I'm right and you're wrong" into posts that don't actually say that or even necessarily imply it.

                              1. re: Jacquilynne

                                Good point, Jacquilynne, and I will definitely make a point to state that something is my opinion. That doesn't stop some people, though...

                                1. re: roxlet

                                  Just to clarify, I'm not suggesting that people need to be explicit that something is their opinion. It can help, true, but mostly I'm asking people who are reading to assume an implied 'in my opinion', since everything here is an opinion. The site ends up being a lot friendlier if everyone acts in good faith and also assumes that others are acting in good faith. Somewhat counterintuitively, the latter helps, even when the assumption is false.

                                  1. re: Jacquilynne

                                    The problem comes from what I term the "disdainful sniff and sneer" reply to anything that doesn't either peg the "authentic meter" as close to 100% as this crowd thinks necessary, or if someone with less "knowledge" than they offers an opinion that runs counter to their dogma. This is nothing the Site or moderation can do anything about and needs to be countered or called out in a "rules" acceptable way by other posters.

                                    I can guarantee you one thing. The issue stifles posters and other points of view on all the local and regional food boards, especially in the major metropolitan areas, with no doubt.

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      see wording like "this crowd" would make me pause and wonder. Aren't you a part of "this crowd" Servorg? You are one of the most helpful Site Talk CH's going. You've taught me a great deal about navigating the site. Helpful as all get out. Yet, separating yourself from "this crowd" seems odd wording.

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        +1. There are a couple of regional boards that are really, really bad about it.

                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                          I read a few different regional boards and think I have recognized the idea you are referring to. Fundamentally, it's a weird type of bullying and I feel like the best way to deal with it is simply to be honest: "I know MGZ that you are proud of how many people read your posts and follow your advice, but, as far as I'm concerned, the Fried Rice at Number One China Takeout is actually quite good - even if they don't use the oyster sauce you prefer."

                                      2. re: Jacquilynne

                                        When everyone retorts to something I post with "in YOUR opinion" I always respond, "well, yeah, who else's opinion would it be?" Pretty basic inference to be made there!

                                        1. re: mcf

                                          "Pretty basic inference to be made"

                                          In all "conversation" this is true. (Franktly, that's why seeing "IMO" or "IMHO" in a post annoys me.)

                                          1. re: MGZ

                                            It doesn't always annoy me, and I will even use it on occasion as a prek-emptive measure, to avoid distraction. But it shouldn't be necessary to feel the need.

                                        2. re: Jacquilynne

                                          obviously, the problem is many posters here feel if you have an opinion opposite to theirs, you are automatically NOT acting in good faith, and question your motivations, etc.
                                          stating opinions should START conversations, not END them.

                                          seems to me if you don't want your opinion discussed, maybe you shouldn't express it in the first place.

                                          1. re: Jacquilynne

                                            "The site ends up being a lot friendlier if everyone acts in good faith and also assumes that others are acting in good faith."

                                            In a very significant way, that's what I've meant every time I suggested that it is important to read in the poster's "voice" as opposed to carrying personal baggage or lack of comprehension into the conversation. It also helps to step back and reread comments if they seem harsh - it's possible they were simply attempts at humor. There are some dry wits around here.

                                            1. re: MGZ

                                              I keep hoping for dry but I keep coming up with nit's... ;-D>

                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                "I keep hoping for dry but I keep coming up with nit's."

                                                Isn't that the type of thing we're talking about? If someone doesn't agree with us then they must be a nit?

                                                Anyways, I think it's also important to note that sometimes a strong and spirited defense of one's favorite restaurant shouldn't be viewed as an attack on the OP. I often come to the defense of a place I enjoy and that I feel puts out a good product and if it seems harsh at times, it is never intended as an attack on the OP. I would however hate for the restaurant to lose business because of some incorrect perception of the "correctness" of the food. Not that the OP didn't like it (because that is opinion) but that somehow the restaurant served an inferior or incorrect product when in fact it was just not to the OP's liking.

                                                As you know, sometimes Neapolitan pizza in LA is called raw, and al dente pasta is called hard, and traditional sushi is called dry because it's not over sauced like the fusion places and since the restaurants and chef's can't speak up, then some of us have to chime in and say that is actually traditional, intended, and properly crafted by the restaurant. But the intention is never to attack the poster or belittle anyone.

                                    2. re: roxlet

                                      "[B]ut finding facts to support your opinion and saying that someone else's opinion is wrong is a very slippery slope."

                                      Besides providing facts to support an assertion, how does one go about suggesting the veracity thereof? I've written a great deal of arguments and know of no other way to do it. Moreover, it seems to me that by not reading the linked to material you are simply suggesting that you don't want to consider the notion that your opinion may be wrong.

                                      As noted by others, it's the dialectic that makes these boards fun and rewarding. There are significant differences in the abilities, educations, intellect, etc. of the various personalities here. It is good to remember, at bottom, to read other's words in their voice, not your own - and, if in doubt, assume they meant no malice.

                                      Oh, and to the original question, I tend to avoid purely "chatty" threads and those that begin to read like the transcript from an episode of The View.

                                      1. re: MGZ

                                        If another poster makes a strong or interesting argument against one of my posts without getting into personal attacks, it usually makes me like that other poster more. I can think of a few posters I enjoy following who I first encountered by arguing with them. I'm not sure what this says about me, but it does go to show how different posters take different things away from internet disagreements.

                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                          I endorse this message. I feel the same way about it. And I'm pretty sure you and I have had some disagreements. It's all about info, for me, and if I'm wrong and someone gives me better information, I've learned something useful on a topic I'm interested in.

                                          (Just waiting to be wrong, just ONCE. ;-D ) See my card: "often wrong, never in doubt."

                      2. I avoid reading posters more than threads. I have my own version of The Mikado's "little list" - I think of them as the Chowholes. I may appear on THEIR fecal rosters as well, turnabout being fair play. I find particularly annoying the OPs who respond to darn near every addition to their thread, usually just to thank responders. Their hearts are in the right place but for everyone else who clicks on to check on new posts, it's a time-waster. Better to include a "thanks in advance" (no, my name is not TIA) at the end of the original post. It also drives me up the wall when someone with a question asks posters to "tell us how/what/where/when...." Assuming the OP is not Queen Elizabeth, it assumes other Chowhounds are as enthusiastic, or ignorant, about the topic as the OP is. If a post title is full of typos, misspellings, and/or textspeak, or too nonspecific (e.g., "Help", or "Recommendation"), I probably won't read it.

                        1. Posters more than threads. Some people's presumptive attempts at being helpful can come across as being insulting, derogatory, or condescending, whether by accident or by design. I have a little list too, gg (on which your name would never appear).

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: buttertart

                            buttertart, whenever I come across a post, especially in the Home Cooking board, that appears to come across as insulting, derogatory, or condescending, whether by accident or by design and see the light spark of "flames" starting to light I try to consider that those folks are just as passionate or maybe even more passionate than I am about xyz...who knows...not everyone was born a wordsmith or has mastered the art of community. If I bend a wee bit, I benefit by the accident and/or design of commenting in a tiny space.

                            I do try very hard not to be focused on getting straight A's on CH..work is full of black & white answers-I like the crayon box that is Chowhound.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              I'm just reading this now but you have a great glass half full attitude that I've always admired. It's hard sometimes to step back and not post back when a post(er) isn't kind. My new motto is going to be WWHJD? I know I tend to be a little direct at times and have been misread so giving others the benefit of the doubt is the way to go.

                              1. re: chowser

                                Hahaha. Great idea. I may just post THAT, lol!

                            2. re: buttertart

                              I'm very fond of buttertart, by the way!

                            3. I am generally in the avoid poster rather than the board camp, that one being the wine board where I have a life expectancy of a turtle crossing the NJ Turnpike.

                              Curiously, I have pursued numerous disagreements off board, and developed some pleasant enduring connections.

                              1. I'm advised by the mods that my original post contained language unacceptable to them. My thanks to them for the clarification. I'll repost using the approved language:

                                Certainly do avoid looking at many threads. I regularly look at my home regional board, as well as Home Cooking, General Topics and Not about Food. From time to time, I look at a couple of other boards, like this one.

                                My first decision is whether the subject title seems interesting and/or one I think I might be able to contribute to.

                                Second decision is after the reading the OP. Depending how it's phrased, I may carry on reading responses or may decide I have no interest in it, or am going to have nothing contribute (these are usually threads which are specifically "American" - where I may not know, or care about, the specifics being discussed or have nothing to contribute from my European background and experience)

                                Third decision is when I decide to stop reading or contributing to a thread. Invariably, this is due to the fact that "people post things anonymously that they wouldn't say to your face".

                                1. I wish I *had* avoided the Taco Bell thread -- it's one of those never-die threads -- and I don't even *like* Taco Bell! Noob error - I just open the thread, then close it to remove the "new" flag, and carry on.

                                  I tend to skip over the "HELP" and "Assistance needed - urgent!" -- at least give folks an idea what you need help with, please....

                                  I do shy away from the "I HATE xxx" threads, which there haven't been nearly as many lately -- only because I always want to reply (and have had this reply taken down) -- okay, then hate it -- you're a grownup and have the right to refuse to eat whatever you want. The "help me like xxx" is much "nicer" to me -- "I haven't liked it in the past, can you share your favorite recipes" is open-minded and actively seeking a different method of preparation, so I do sometimes make a suggestion (if I have one).

                                  Other than that, not too much...

                                  1. I find myself avoiding posters mainly, and some boards, specifically because they are "home base" for the posters I am avoiding. Every couple of months, I look at the board again, comment on a thread I find interesting, and usually within a day, am reminded why I stay away from that board/group pf posters.
                                    CH is just not worth the hassle, to keep trying to keep one;s heads up, survive selective moderation, and such for it to be given the time I used to spend here a year or so ago. CH used to be the site where I spent 90% of my reading and writing online time. Now I am down to one daily check up, and a few posts, if any, a day.
                                    So I avoid, some boards, certain threads pretty much because of certain posters.

                                    1. Mainly I avoid threads that have more than about 150 posts. I find them too cumbersome to get through and usually the interesting stuff is up front anyway.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: tcamp

                                        Agreed, unless I posted on it early on -- only because it's easier to read the posts a few at a time.

                                        Some of those oldies with 700-800 posts? Fuggeddaboudit.

                                      2. I notice that a lot of posters on this thread talk about filtering more by poster than by thread. What I think is interesting (and highly useful, in particular for newbies) is all the people on this thread posting fall into the thoughtful, friendly and helpful bucket that I love about CH. In general, your posts are the ones that I really really enjoy reading and find very useful. Not sure why it's shaken out that way, but thought I'd point it out.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: FattyDumplin

                                          That's a very nice thing to say, and the reason may be that many of the posters here are frequent posters in general!

                                          1. re: roxlet

                                            I know, I felt almost too butt-kissy as I wrote it, but when I look at hte names on here, it's a great list.

                                            To your second point though, there are a lot of frequent posters who I wouldn't have said the same thing about :)

                                              1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                FattyD, my very wise Uncle would call that "preaching to the choir"...

                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                  I avoid posters rather than threads, though when threads get long I tend to avoid them because I don't want to repeat what others may have said and I don't want to read 200 posts to check on that. I avoid posters who routinely tell ops they should cook what they are looking for at home, they should choose a neighborhood to eat in other than the one they asked for help in, and posters who treat this site like a personal blog posting endless, dated, and impersonal lists of things. Like most egotistical people, I tend to read posters whose recommendations have confirmed or informed my own! And I do admit that I'm one of those annoying people who thank ops for letting me know they've enjoyed whatever they've chosen in response to their post. It's nice to hear back about successes.

                                          2. I generally avoid posters but my list is very small. It takes direct personal attacks for me to label somebody an asshole. In the years of posting here it's only been a small handful of posters that I choose to avoid.

                                            Roxlet, I do know the type of posters you're referencing to in various threads. I just find them humorous. Best way to deal with them is just to tell them that they're right so they'll stop posting.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. I probably avoid threads more than posters. I neither follow any posters religiously nor do i put anyone on a permanent "Ignore" list. If I find that a poster is being odious in a particular thread, I'll go on to something else, but I don't make a mental note never to read anything written by that person again.

                                              The only board I usually avoid is Not About Food, which is the one in which people are most likely to dig in their heels and not yield to anyone else. There are also a lot of people posting on this board who express ridiculous (in my opinion!) points of view, for example "They neglected to fill my water glass and when I told them I expected my dinner to be comped, they refused!". Still, I'll check out Not About Food every once in a while to see if there's anything of interest there.

                                              Generic types of threads that I tend to avoid:

                                              I hate [food X]. Sometimes followed by: "Am I the only one?". No, you're not the only one, and yes, you're entitled to hate it, but so what?

                                              I love [food X}. I'm glad, but again, so what?

                                              I've always hated [food X], but please help me to like it. There's nothing wrong with disliking a few foods. Why do people feel guilty about it?

                                              What did you have for [breakfast, lunch, dinner] today? Who cares? And why should you care about what I ate today?

                                              I left [food X] on the counter for [Y hours or days]. Is it safe to eat? This thread keeps popping up like a stubborn rash that won't go away, although the particular food in question may change. There's never any resolution. Half the posters think there's no problem consuming it and the other half advise tossing it, citing the science of bacterial growth and toxins.

                                              Threads about authenticity and/or the one and only correct way to prepare a dish

                                              Threads in which the OP poses a question that is so general in nature that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of possible valid answers. Example: "Hi I'm having some friends over next week and want to serve a cheese plate. What cheeses should I get?" CHers, ever the helpful souls that they/we are, then give recommendations. When all is said and done, there's a laundry list of 200 cheeses that posters collectively like, which leaves the OP, and others reading the thread, with no better sense of what to do than before help was requested.

                                              I have to say that I'm guilty of having posted to some of these kinds of threads, but, as time passes, I'm doing it less and less.

                                              At the poster level, I'm probably most annoyed by what I might dub "coffee klatch" posters who always seem to be starting little private conversations with their CH friends within threads, as if they were sitting with them in their kitchen with a pot of hot coffee and Danish on the table. The following fictitious and admittedly exaggerated interchange among three equally fictitious posters illustrates what I mean:

                                              Fabudabulousme: I made the most scrumptious pot roast last night. I've made it before, but this time I added some juniper berries and what a difference!

                                              Kitchengoddess: Oh, fab, I just know it must have tasted divine!

                                              Ilivetobraise: Fab, you are so clever. I love your ideas!

                                              F: Thanks so much. I was just sitting there thinking about how I could change my recipe a little, and the inspiration came to me out of the blue: juniper berries!

                                              K: I adore pot roast. I must have your recipe!

                                              I: Me too. Everything you've ever suggested has been wonderful.

                                              F: I have both your e-mail addresses. I'll send the recipe right away. It's so nice being able to share with such good friends here on CH.

                                              The above example represents an extreme minority of posters on CH, but there are a few who repeatedly engage in such silly and annoying "just among us friends" repartee.

                                              I'm less put off by dogmatic posters than some people are. Indeed, I would be surprised, when so many people here are passionate about food, if there weren't (overly) forceful expressions of knowledge and opinions. However, it's a mistake to think that all opinions are equally worthy of consideration. For any given topic, there are people who express informed opinions and others who give uninformed opinions. Sometimes it's easy to tell which is which, and sometimes it isn't. There are people who post about anything and everything whether they have something useful or accurate to say or not, and others who post only when they feel they can make a real contribution. That comes with the territory when thousands of people post.

                                              Verbosity? Well, I'm guilty of having the disease, as the present response clearly shows. Some people write succinctly and others have the opposite style. I don't consider one style to always be better. Sometimes a long response is nothing more than blather and pomposity, and sometimes there's a lot of good information in it.

                                              I find it difficult to generalize about what represents appropriate posting or thread subjects. What irks one CHer no end may be appealing to someone else. I think that each of us who visits this site regularly has a different view of what is valuable and interesting. I'm not in favor of the mods intervening any more than they already do to control content or posting style. We, the users of CH, and not the mods, have the responsibility to apply whatever "filters" make CH most enjoyable and suitable to our needs.

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                Excellent and incisive post, cheesey one.

                                                I do sometime swish for an "Ignore" facility. There is one on another (non food) board I contribute to and I find it useful to eliminate the rare complete arsewipe (but then on Chowhound, I've never been threatened sufficiently for me to need to call the police)

                                                1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                  We, the users of CH, and not the mods, have the responsibility to apply whatever "filters" make CH most enjoyable and suitable to our needs.
                                                  Your detailed comment could have been limited to the last well stated line. Your highly detailed explanation illustrates for me anyway the allure of being heard, being given the opportunity to detail what we mean when we comment on CH threads. Further emphasizing that while we may not enjoy every thread or every poster, Chowhounds do have the need to be heard in common.

                                                  I don't believe we come to an online community to be avoided.

                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                    "For any given topic, there are people who express informed opinions and others who give uninformed opinions."

                                                    i agree with this. yes, everyone has an opinion. no, they are not all equivalent. that's why you don't ask a dentist why your car won't start, or a four year old for medical advice.

                                                    1. re: linus

                                                      Which is what I meant when I highlighted what cheesem, stated:

                                                      We, the users of CH, and not the mods, have the responsibility to apply whatever "filters" make CH most enjoyable and suitable to our needs.

                                                  2. re: cheesemaestro

                                                    100% agree with everything you said. I vote for this as the best response.

                                                    1. re: Bkeats

                                                      cheesemaestro, I avoid some threads as well, A baggie is one that starts "I have a teaspoon of tomato paste left over, what can I make with it?"

                                                      1. re: Quine

                                                        I find it amusing that the things people agonize over throwing out are often ones that cost next to nothing. Still, I can understand how some might feel this way, especially those who grew up in hard times and were taught not to let anything go to waste.

                                                      2. re: Bkeats

                                                        helps us all if voting for agreeable comments becomes another thumbs up

                                                      3. re: cheesemaestro

                                                        I just wish I could change my name to Fabudabulousme.

                                                      4. No,sites I skip are by my choice
                                                        Every so often I am a bit amazed at the one time posters that take over a thread easily and latch onto someone just to gnaw on.Few,very few posters that seem to be bent on nasty don't bother me,separating them from the I'm right group.In the name of fairness I do go read their "recent posts".Is this aberrant or habit?there are one or two where it's habit by more than half.I have thick enough skin to be OK with them,fully understanding many don't.

                                                        1. I used to really love some of the recap/discussion threads about different media programs, but I find a lot of them seem to get to be so much about the regulars making small talk (i.e. thanking the OP, saying hi to each other, congratulating each other, etc) that I stopped reading/participating them. They seem to be some of the least moderated/most cliquish threads on the site and I just got tired of opening a thread with 10 new posts to find them to be a back and forth about how someone had a nice week or about how so-and-so has such a great memory to remember what such-and-such said in a post 3 seasons ago. I always wanted to try to start a parallel series of threads that was just about the actual show, but was afraid it would offend the many participants of the other threads (that vast majority of whom are posters who I greatly respect in every other thread I see them participate in).

                                                          1. As a rule I try to avoid threads that talk about other threads.......such as a thread about avoiding threads that would be a pet peeve of mine. Doooh you got me!!!!