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Are people getting nastier...


Or am I just getting chowhound-older?
I don't want to fall into that stereotyped old lady who (incorrectly) remembers a time when everyone was friendly and polite, but it seems to me there have been a lot more personal attacks, judgements and generally unfriendly behavior on the boards.
Granted, I have spent more time on the NAF board lately and I know that one is more prone to negative posts, but has anyone else noticed this too?
Just curious, it's come to mind a lot lately and I was wondering if I was the only one thinking this way.

  1. To me the contrary is true. Five years ago, it seemed like there was a lot more angst. In retrospect, I would blame it on the prevailing zeitgeist at the time - everyone was uptight. Ten years ago, the Site was much smaller and the participants more hardcore food dorks. There was a lot passion, but less of the word choices were personal.

    Nonetheless, every so often, someone raises your same question.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MGZ

      Well, that's comforting, especially coming from someone as well versed in the site as you are.

      1. re: MGZ

        I also think the site is more polite than it used to be. When I first started lurking here in the late 90's (remember that clunky infinitely slow-reloading software? that took two minutes to reload each time you read a post in each thread?) I used to crack open a beer and log on just to marvel at the incredibly creative and vicious invective thrown back and forth on the Kosher board and the Outer Boroughs board. Now THOSE were fights......
        On the other hand, hyacinthgirl, you are absolutely right that Not About Food is probably the board with the most fighting. If you stick to the more food-centric boards I think you'll find it less stressful.

      2. The more often my posts are read, it seems the more tolerant others have become. But then I am one of the relative few that have posted a fairly complete profile.

        1. In my humble opinion Chowhound is just reflective of society as a whole. I think there are a lot more people just unhappy in general and it just spills into their posting on here.

          People come home from a job they don't like or feel respected to a spouse or significant other they don't like or feel respected by and they sign on here (or any other social network type site) and they just want to feel appreciated and respected. So the second you don't agree with them.....they are ready to confront while safely hiding behind the anonymity of this thing Al Gore invented called the internet.

          When people say hey Jr your fat.....I just say...oh no...I'm just very thick skinned and let it roll right off one of the rolls of thick skin on my back.

          Try to laugh.....and perhaps the world will laugh with you. Please don't let anyone get you down or affect you.....always remember when someone acts out it's because there is a problem or conflict with in them that they are acting out on.

          Be well. Happy Chowing.

          *** EDIT let me also say I have nowhere near the history on here as MGZ and nothing I'm saying is meant to go against his more historical take on the trends on Chow.

          5 Replies
          1. re: jrvedivici

            I've spent enough time in the virtual world to know not to take things personally and in general, to not engage would be goat-getters. I may just be in a sensitive mood lately, who knows. I'm a bit reassured to see I'm alone in this feeling. It's a good perspective check.

            1. re: jrvedivici

              At bottom, my friend, we're really kinda sayin' the same thing. I think you're absolutely correct in noting that what the poster brings to the keyboard comes out in the post. I just think that the prevailing "spirit" has improved over the past few years.

              As I've noted many times in the past, "Please read my posts in my voice," not one that may be jaundiced by the rest of the thread or any acrimony you might be harboring.

              1. re: jrvedivici

                I have to say that I fully agree with hyacinthgirl. I find that people do not respect other people's opinions. There are some chowhounders who post the same recommendations over and over and belittle anyone who doesn't share their enthusiasm with a particular restaurant. There are times when I feel uncomfortable reading people's posts. Can everyone just be nice!!!

                1. re: Gloriaa

                  I have encountered total food snobbism when I posted about a particular type of restaurant. I was very surprised at the lack of tact.

                2. re: jrvedivici

                  <In my humble opinion Chowhound is just reflective of society as a whole>

                  This is true and the fact that some message boards give you a level of anonymity which decreases accountability.

                3. I know it can often appear that way. And, while I think MGZ and jrv hit upon some basic possibilities I find the longer I'm reading and commenting on CH the easier it becomes to know the community and understand without tone what most people intend.

                  Sometimes I'm reading a thread and think, I wonder how this comment will be taken and sure enough it's a 50/50 gamble. Some 'hounds have a playful spirit and some are more OP focused. Troublemakers & peacemakers. Some topics drift off OP, some are steel on target. Ebb, flow....much like life if you really wanna get along.

                  There are few topics I'm willing to go to the ninth degree over to be 'heard' after all it's group speak here. If I believe strongly in my opinion you'll see me post repeatedly and not always to great joy from fellow hounds either (part of the way it goes) but at the end of a great OP I usually feel comforted by what I'm reading directed by passionate food lovers and food pros--and often better for having done so.

                  25 Replies
                  1. re: HillJ

                    "I find the longer I'm reading and commenting on CH the easier it becomes to know the community and understand without tone what most people intend."

                    The longer I'm here the more I want to tell some people I think they are asses.

                    1. re: kengk

                      "The longer I'm here the more I want to tell some people I think they are asses."

                      Every time I give in and do that all I hear when I take a second listen/look at my words is hear/see braying where my words were...

                      1. re: Servorg

                        I'm not going to pretend I haven't wanted to do exactly the same, but I always figure I'm just opening myself up to get it back threefold.

                        1. re: hyacinthgirl

                          I don't think this site will ever get to me to the degree that I find it necessary to tell someone to take a flying leap-my word, it's a food community.

                          Assholes have to eat just like the rest of us. At least they're dining with some excellent recommendations!

                            1. re: HillJ

                              "Assholes have to eat just like the rest of us."

                              :-) I love that, HillJ. They should put it on the homepage...

                              "Chowhound - Because assholes have to eat just like the rest of us!"

                              1. re: Fowler

                                I have my moments, Fowler :)
                                it's true isn't it?!!!

                                1. re: Fowler

                                  I want to run out *this instant* and buy some cross-stitch fabric and floss, and start stitching a sampler of this lol. xD

                                    1. re: Fowler

                                      Yes, and because we eat, we must have assholes. So there it is.

                            2. re: HillJ

                              I agree. Some people can be very snarky and downright insulting or a bit too judgmental, but I have also found that sometimes tone and sarcasm do not translate well and I will misinterpret a comment to which the poster will reply to explain that the post was light-hearted in nature.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                I too am often leary as to how to word something, truly something I find unnatural and unhealthy. but on here often times you get beaten down by someone who has a bone to pick. I try and refrain from retorting because it doesn't erase the offenders' misdeed.

                                1. re: iL Divo

                                  All any of us can do is try. If we were meeting face to face we'd understand each other better, I have no doubt. But so much is accomplished on CH in spite of the limitations.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    you bring up a good point HillJ.
                                    let's agree to rent out a huge facility and have everyone involved with CH come to a meet and greet.
                                    rule would be you can't say your screen name and see if we can guess by simply talking to someone.I bet things'd be a lot different.

                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                      If this were possible we wouldn't bother with Chowhound in the first place. I realize you were joking but in all seriousness we post here because 24 hours a day there is ALWAYS someone here who is interested in talking about food. Not so much in offline life.

                                  2. re: iL Divo

                                    However, if make an assertion that something is unhealthy, which someone else believes is not well founded, do you object to a polite reply expressing a contrary view?

                                    1. re: GH1618

                                      ilD also said: I too am often leary as to how to word something...

                                      Sometimes it's not contrary views as much as what out of a comment we decide to focus on.

                                      Being held to each and every word we type as gospel doesn't always work out or remain how we feel about a topic day after day. We can edit a post after another CH has responded to it, changing the meaning. We can delete our post altogether and opt out of the conversation.

                                      If we were talking face to face this wouldn't happen as easily...unless there truly was an argument that required walking away.

                                      Most times a comment of contrary views turns into a shrug.

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        it often happens that I over edit my thoughts so much that what I end up writing isn't even a colorful glimpse of what my intended thoughts originally were.

                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                          Yep. Furthermore, the fear of being taken the wrong way or censored here often leads to insincerity.

                                          "Now i hope you will not take this the wrong way because I also love hamburger helper made with dog food and covered in cream of mushroom soup, but..."

                                          I can usually, but not always, tell when someone is laying on the BS so their reply will not possibly offend or get censored and it is a shame that people cannot feel in certain cases as though they can be honest.

                                          1. re: Fowler

                                            "...hamburger helper made with dog food and covered in cream of mushroom soup..."

                                            Hey, were we eating the same school lunches in the grade school cafeteria?

                                            1. re: Fowler

                                              This may sound rude maybe even nasty but my mantra when posting is:

                                              "I'm here to share and exchange opinions and knowledge with other Chowhounds; not to make friends."

                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                I have read plenty of your posts and find them to be honest and blunt but not rude or nasty. I definitely respect someone more when they are honest rather than just kissing up to get along.

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  nah, you're okay -- I far prefer someone who just says it than someone who spends 5 minutes shuffling and beating around the bush.

                                                  I try to be non-offensive, but I also try to remember that there are people who will find offense (in either the words or the "tone" of someone's posts) in places I didn't even know it could be found. (there was a recent thread where this happened)

                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    And you are intelligent articulate and I have yet to observe you devolve into belligerence or aggression. I always look forward to your posts because you are fair..honest...objective often witty and you are well mannered.Informative in a *consumer friendly* manner.

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      I think of you as someone who communicates well without using one extra syllable to get his point across.

                                        2. I might also just be checking in more lately and therefore catching some of the heated exchanges that seem to quickly get deleted (not sure if that's by the posters themselves, or by the mods). Looks like it just somewhat happened on this thread.
                                          I might have missed all that in my earlier years. Hm. Maybe what I've really earned here is that I'm online WAY TOO MUCH these days!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                            I think I have missed most of this stuff or at least not clicked into those threads. I think there are some posts that I just avoid as I know it's likely a battleground.

                                          2. As a newer poster, I would say the community is a nice welcome from most of the net. Sure there are misunderstandings and some people have strong opinions. Nonetheless, this place feels like a cocktail party where you can always wander to another group of people and still have fun.

                                            I usually frequent 80’s pop culture or comic websites… they are much more protective of their ‘interest’ than any level of passion seen here. Like to the point they will go to facebook or even other websites and hunt you down and harass you!

                                            Kudos to the mods for keeping this place civil.

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: Crockett67

                                              Pretty sure comic websites are the back alleyways at midnight of the internet. You're lucky if you get out of one unharmed once! And welcome :)

                                              1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                Thanks! :)

                                                The the worst ones would be the on-line gaming sites, not even I dare there. lol!

                                              2. re: Crockett67

                                                "Nonetheless, this place feels like a cocktail party where you can always wander to another group of people and still have fun."
                                                I love this analogy. :-)

                                                1. re: Crockett67

                                                  "Nonetheless, this place feels like a cocktail party where you can always wander to another group of people and still have fun." And I don't have to worry about my wife claiming I ignored her all evening when she says she hardly knew anyone at the party.

                                                2. People have been difficult on this site from the very start. I've been on here for about 12 years, and one of my first posts had a reply from the originator of the site and I joked back and was then attacked for kissing his ass or some such language. I had no idea that there were these weird faction wars at the time, so I took it personally. So, really, it has been full of rudeness from the moment it started.

                                                  It's the internet, where everyone can be a jerk without having to add actual human interaction to the conversation. There are no real consequences to antagonistic and rude comments. I guess that people who constantly post like that feel that it's a badge of honor that their post was deleted... "I showed them!" It may appear to be that there are more incidents because there are a lot more participants and you'll always have a percentage of difficult people.

                                                  I've taken a break here and there over the years when there were people so negative that I decided it wasn't working for me. Those people usually end up moving along when they aren't "fed," and the site is a great resource if you approach it as such.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Terrie H.

                                                    Boy, can I relate, especially to your last paragraph. There's one contributor I come across often who I just wonder if he/she has a life. It's like they camp out and proclaim ownership! I've had well-meaning comments jumped on for one word or misinterpreted and off they all go into never never land. I tend to consider the source. Not that these folks don't have great backgrounds and information to contribute, but sometimes they're past ascerbic and into nasty. Most posts, however, are supportive and trying to be helpful. Today I came across one where one post basically said, hey, thanks for the advice but you're not addressing my question. Good for them!

                                                  2. For the most part I think folks are fine, especially compared to other forums. But I have noticed that the majority of "nastier" posters tend to be longer-term posters. Perhaps they feel a sense of superiority since they've been around here for a long time. I just think they need to get a life.

                                                    1. I haven't noticed that posters are getting nastier as a whole. I have been on the site about 5 years - read a lot - post a bit. I have been hit with a couple snarky replies, I have reported a couple when I felt they went beyond what was appropriate.

                                                      There are a few posters that I would love to sit down to share a meal with and there are a few that I would find it difficult to get beyond the apps with. I don't think it is any worse than any other subset of humanity.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: NE_Elaine

                                                        My experience and history are about the same as yours, with the exception of reporting. I just don't do that due to some probably indefensible internal logic. I've gotten a few heart-felt lovely responses, some reductive nastiness, and a lot of simply being ignored. Kind of like life!

                                                        I'd like to add, though, that a lot of this site seems sort of humorless to me. And that might be the defect of its virtue.

                                                      2. I am giving up on the site because no matter what I say someone will have an objection to it, and flag it as improper.

                                                        It seems to me that most of the posters here are in fact very elderly ladies. There is nothing wrong with that but the 30-40 years in age difference makes communication difficult.

                                                        When the most innocent of remarks results in someone complaining about your comment what is the point? I may still participate once in a while but it will only be to make fun of the people who become indignant 40 times a day, don't they have anything else to occupy their time? Indignation seems to be their only joy in life.

                                                        17 Replies
                                                        1. re: redfish62

                                                          Elderly ladies? If that's what you think the demographic user base is of CH, then I don't think you have a very good read on the site. The users seem to run the gamut of mid 20s to late 60s and are of both sexes, based on various polls that have been taken in the past.

                                                          And "objections", perhaps, are those people expressing their own opinion on the topic at hand? If your posts are constantly getting removed (and the Mods *do* review those that are reported to see if it's a valid removal), perhaps it's the tone in which the post was written? I don't know, as I've not seen your posts. Just my thoughts on the matter.

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            Actually this is the right place for such a post, "are people getting nastier?" Yes some are out of control it seems. But I got a good laugh LindaWhit, thanks!

                                                            1. re: coll

                                                              And for those who are nasty and make personal attacks, I just report them. I guess it's more a product of having been on CH for quite some time (since early 2000, I think?) that you learn to ignore what isn't useful and report the really nasty stuff.

                                                              And I just did a search on the Wayback Machine - I *think* I found my first post from August 25, 2001. So it has been "quite some time". :-)

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                My first post was shortly after I got my first computer, I was googling date nut bread. It still pops up from time to time, very early 2000s. Long enough to feel comfortable!

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  >>>And for those who are nasty and make personal attacks, I just report them<<<

                                                                  I tend to just ignore them. I think the tattletale (and I am by no means saying you are one, LindaWhit) philosophy of action just places more work upon the mods who do their best to keep things civil while having to read the reports and comments from every tattletale.

                                                                  1. re: Fowler

                                                                    Fowler, those I report, for the most part, are obvious personal and nasty attacks on someone else, as well as Spam/shilling posts. Yes, I agree it creates work for the Mods. The problem is, if not reported, it can cause a stepladder effect of replies and it can be more disruptive if not removed earlier than later. Just my thoughts.

                                                                    1. re: Fowler

                                                                      Yet the mods openly and frequently ask for all of us to flag any questionable post. Given that, reporting would appear to be their preferred course of action, and thus, the most appropriate thing to do.

                                                                      1. re: Fowler

                                                                        We really appreciate the reports, actually -- we don't read everything and the sooner we see the nasty stuff, the less of a mess it causes for us to clean up.

                                                                        1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                          No one wants to hear the P.A. system sound with an announcement of "Clean-up in Aisle "Not About Food"!

                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    In a previous thread I found the Alexia website that gives market statistics for Chow.
                                                                    Then the summary was:
                                                                    "Compared with the overall internet population, Chow.com's audience tends to be Caucasian; they are also disproportionately moderately educated, childless women earning over $60,000 who browse from home."

                                                                    Audience tab gives more details. Over-represented categories are female, no children, college, from home, 25-24 yrs.

                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                      Well, it says the site's metrics aren't certified. I'd like to know how they come by those stats.

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        Alexa's stats are compiled from people using their toolbar. A fairly small selection of web users there, I'd guess, compared to the overall web demographic.

                                                                        1. re: Chris VR

                                                                          Thanks, Chris. Yes, an extremely small group to analyze.

                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                          Tell that to Sam (difficult), Veggo, Alan Barnes, etc. There are many Asians who post here, as well. You know what they say about statistics.

                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          In general, there may be some balance between men and women on the Site, but on the Home Cooking Board, it can really seem like The View at times.

                                                                      2. There have been widespread comments and opinions regarding, what seems to be, the recent lack of civility. I notice same in many interactions both business and personal. One of my theories is that while the internet has given everyone a voice, it does not require that anyone take responsibility for their comments or have any credentials which may give validation to their opinions. Anyone can say anything anytime! This empowerment of mediocracy extends into every part of our lives today including CH. Personal attacks and generally unfriendly behavior; a lack of civility!

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Bacchus101

                                                                          And I think it extends into public contact, and politics. As an "elderly lady" (LOL) I admit to being taken aback when I'm shoved out of the way going into a swinging door at the movies. I can't stand the vitriol that seems to be the standard form of expression, no matter what the forum. Such a turnoff.

                                                                          I actually appreciate all the knowledge, garnered through education AND experience, that I can learn from on this website. Isn't desire for knowledge the point? But, if someone says something one objects to, isn't it just a difference of opinion? Why must it become an argument?

                                                                          What bugs me is when I express something awkwardly (to some) and I get jumped on for one word. Jeez....feels like you have to be an "expert" to venture any input.

                                                                        2. Lately I have been wishing there was a way to block certain posters from answering any of my OPs. There are some people that seem a bit testy lately, maybe something bad going on in their private life but sometimes it's so in your face that I wish I didn't see it because I'm dying to reply back but don't want to start anything either.

                                                                          On the other hand, I'm sure I've stepped on a few toes when I was in a mood myself. But when the same person has something negative to say no matter what I write, I get a little paranoid. It seems like it is just lately to me.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                            it's not just to you, like you said, it's probably something else. sometimes you toss a pebble into a pond and someone throws back a bomb. maybe they need lessons in fighting fair??? Isn't it funny when these "discussions" go off on tangents? Just zip through the crap and try to find the original thread. In the general scheme of things, this stuff fades away as more folk swerve back to the OP.

                                                                          2. As one who has gone through life with tongue firmly implanted in cheek, I am very careful when I post (I lurked here for 18 years before posting for the first time this year). I have learned so much from Chowhound that I would feel terrible if I hurt someone here with a snarky response. When tempted, I simply bite down hard on my pinky finger (which I use for IPad typing) until the urge passes.

                                                                            That said, I believe Chowhound is still the most civilized Internet forum I've encountered. I don't frequent many others but when I do (usually via a link from somewhere else) I am appalled by the moronic and often vitriolic posts I read. I'd like to believe most of the heated discussions here are the result of passion for the subject at hand. Whether the overall quality of Chowhound is due to the moderators or to the caliber of Chowhounds in general (or a combination of the two), it's a good place to learn

                                                                            Hmmmm, perhaps I should change my handle to "Pollyanna"?

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                              Hey, I'm a fan of anyone who can modulate their impulses...

                                                                            2. I am fairly new to the site and for the most part everyone has been rather welcoming but there have been posts/posters that were rude or unkind. My biggest issue is with the arrogance and superior attitude some posters have in general. For example: WS, SLT (insert any kitchen store other than a restaurant supply shop or niche store you have to have a map to find) sucks and anyone who shops there is a bourgeois snooty b*tch/a wanna be cook/just wants to spend money for show. Or purists that cannot tolerate anything being done differently than they do it or it has been done in the last 100 years so they make snide comments (I can just imagine their little snouts rising into the air in contempt)! Come on, everybody be nice and realize that we are not all the same...if we were there'd be no point to this board for us to commiserate and share. I really enjoy most of the posters I have come into contact with and appreciate the advice and suggestions given. Chow is usually a fun place to be :)

                                                                              1. I've been teaching an elderly friend of mine how to use and hopefully enjoy the Internet. Sadly, she's lost many of her friends over the last few years and her caring grandson bought her a laptop for Christmas thinking her social life might improve. Until recently she was hesitating to learn how to use the thing. So, once a week, we spend about 30 mins or so on the Net together.

                                                                                I've been using the Net long enough that I'm not even focused on what runs across every screen. My eyes go where I want them to go with few distractions. But, teaching this lovely lady has made me realize just how bombarded one can feel looking at a live web page. The ads, the noise, the text, the busy activity on just one page! And, more importantly we can think that all this stuff is TRUE and AIMED at us! Banner ads that read "3 people unfriended you" would have this dear sweet lady wondering what she did wrong. And, her new eyes on what's so run of the mill to me made me realize how easily we can take what is written personal when often times it's not!

                                                                                I've had to explain countless times what she is actually looking at is an ad, or written for entertainment purposes only. And, if we can get past all the overkill, she might even learn to enjoy reading a recipe, communicating with food lovers and feeling safe in a forum.

                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                  Hill, can put an adblocker on for her?
                                                                                  Maybe turn on the parental controls?
                                                                                  Not that she's a child by any means, but that generation thinks differently.

                                                                                  The kids all got together and bought my MIL a computer several years ago -- the tech wiz grandson had to go wipe the hard drive several times because she'd clicked on so much malware that she'd just render it completely unusable.

                                                                                  It's now the most expensive paperweight anyone's ever bought her.

                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                    No I think she's old but wise and fit enough to figure out what she's using and how to clean cache, temp files from time to time. I won't let her use the thing as a paperweight. She's actually interested in tracing her family tree and starting a small blog and I'm going to offer my time to help her do it.

                                                                                    And in exchange I'm learning how to make all her polish recipes!

                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                      sounds like a fair trade to me!

                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                        that's what I'm thinking! And, once she fully understands what she's looking at on a live screen THEN I'll introduce how to style the page to her preferences. Sunday is lesson 4!

                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                          You're a good person, HillJ. I can't imagine what the Internet would be like for a newbie who hasn't grown up with it.

                                                                                          I was also thinking the adblocker would be a good idea. Less distraction for her.

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            Later today while the guys are watching football and we're enjoying gumbo I'm going to introduce ad blocker and see what she thinks-let her decide.

                                                                                            Then I'm getting a dough lesson!

                                                                                  2. I am new to CH. Posting less than a year. I do agree with your deduction. It's as if an opinion must be backed by scientific evidence or quotable references. It is only recent that I have experienced this.

                                                                                    I love exchanging opinions or thoughts or maybe-this on CH.

                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: pagesinthesun

                                                                                      Can you supply some scientic evidence or legal documents proving you enjoy your Chow experience? If not I'm sorry I can't trust your post and believe you must be making this up. (Is that an example? BTW I am just teasing.) :-)

                                                                                      Keep posting and don't listen to idiots such as myself!

                                                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                        I actually would also like to see a birth certificate proving this person even exists. :)

                                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                                          Of course She exists! And, She's Italian. See all the tomatoes and zucchini in Her avatar?

                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                            Aaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahaha Gio. However did I miss that?
                                                                                            Seriously, hyacinthgirl; yeah, it can sometimes feel a little tense when things get personal, and I have noticed ebbs and flows in the climate here, but it seems to even out eventually, 'til the next flamewar. But such is life, right? For the biggest part, the contributors to this site are genuinely helpful, nice and curious too. There will always be a bad apple, but it doesn't spoil the whole bunch, at least not here, IMO.

                                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                                              I met one of your bad apples yesterday. Probably should call it an a-- ---e. Couldn't help myself. Had to refute it's ridiculous statement. Had to.

                                                                                              Truthfully, I don't see many outrageous lapses of behavior here. Not as much as I use to anyway. Now I try to avoid opening any thread I sense might give way to a flame war. I'm sure I've PO'd many, though, and for that I apologize.

                                                                                    2. Yes and no. I feel like I've been posting for about 3 years, but a check back reveals it's been a bit longer than that . . . probably 6 or so. Overall there are far more posters than there were when I started, so there are going to be a few nut jobs in that number. Usually they make themselves known within a few months and I tend to ignore them. Would that this site had an 'ignore' feature along with a 'like' feature. Although I suspect there are a few on here who would collect 'ignores' like feathers in their cap.

                                                                                      And I have to admit, I have lobbed a word bomb here and there myself. The worst of those were rightly deleted by the mods, most of them simply resulted in a chastising from fellow hounds. And sometimes people say things that they think are perfectly innocuous that someone else will take great umbrage at. "What do you mean you didn't LIKE the shave ice at Matsumoto's? Don't you realize you HAVE TO like the shave ice at Matsumoto's? Matsumoto's DEFINES shave ice."

                                                                                      But back to the OP's question, overall I think the nasty factor has remained pretty constant. The vast majority of the posts are pretty civil, even when they don't agree. But ugly raises it's head from time to time, especially when it comes to behavior or custom. The "is it ok to _________ when you _______?" kind of posts. It's like watching a server with a tray holding 6 entrees trip over a child's sippy cup that has ended up on the floor . . . you know you should look away and politely ignore it, but you just can't help but watch. Too late to stop it, too far away to help, it just comes tumbling down raining a smorgasbord of tidbits on all and sundry. Will he yell? Will she cry? Will that stain ever come off of those manolo's?

                                                                                      1. It used to get very nasty and heated, especially in regards to burgers, pizza & BBQ. I was guilty on occasion and got a note or 2 from the mods. What do you know about burgers, I am burger boy and I will teach you...LOL that was the tone, I sometimes had. Same with many foods, pizza, bbq, steaks, etc. etc. etc.. Yes it is mellower now!

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: Burger Boy

                                                                                          I think I'll use this opportunity to apologize if I ever offended you, burgerboy, as the only comment I've ever had deleted was in response to you. It was years ago and you had posted something about 26 Beach and I jokingly responded that it seemed they were paying you, since you praised them so often and highly. I meant it with admiration and a smile (and I loved 26 Beach!), but I didn't realize at the time that any implication that someone was getting paid was NOT OK. I was young, it was a joke, and I'm sorry!

                                                                                        2. I don't see much nastiness, but there seems to be a lot of whiners.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: grampart

                                                                                            You mean winners, not whiners, right grampart!

                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                              No, I meant whiners although the winners are the vast majority.

                                                                                              1. re: grampart

                                                                                                Oh I know, I was just teasing you-gramp.

                                                                                          2. The place seems to be getting nastier just this week! Today alone I've seen posts where someone berated a girl for being privileged for being in college when she was frightened of a delivery guy, then someone called another person "gross" for not wanting to spend too much money. For this level of compassion, I could read Yahoo comments!

                                                                                            That being said, I'm leaving.

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: SheilaGirl

                                                                                              I'm sorry you feel you need to go. I've felt that way several times this last week, but then I remember how much good I also get out of this site and for me it's not yet worth the loss to leave.

                                                                                                1. re: SheilaGirl

                                                                                                  Stick to the Home Cooking Board. Really nice and savvy folk hang out there.

                                                                                                  1. If you want to avoid nasty stay off "Not About Food" and "General Chowhounding Topics", and never read a thread that starts with "Is it wrong . . ." or similar words.

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                      Some of the best advice EVER, KM. Especially the last line.

                                                                                                        1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                          In some ways, but I really don't feel the need to chime in on another thread about seasoning cast iron, which side of the plate left handers should leave their flatware on, or whether or not its ok to grab a jar of peanut butter out of the kitchen when Aunt Alberta makes something she calls Thai Chicken.

                                                                                                          Maybe I've just been on Chowhound too long?

                                                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                            "Maybe I've just been on Chowhound too long?"

                                                                                                            Or you have figured out what matters and what doesn't...

                                                                                                      1. Better to worry what people say than how they say it. Some comments are superficial, some are ignorant, and if a person wants to call out such, so be it. This is a place where there is no inflection, so fairly neutral comments may be mis read by someone who is already defensive.

                                                                                                        Deep breath, relax, it is only an opinion baord.

                                                                                                        1. HillJ's great note about helping her elderly friend got me to thinking about my Mother and why I would not recommend that she participate on the CH boards. She posts on a board where other, um, "mature ladies" exchange recipes, chat about quilting, arthritis, knitting and other highly polarizing and volatile subjects. :-) She noticed that one of the regulars that posted every day was no longer posting. She looked back for the last thread where this person had posted and noticed that she had politely disagreed with this woman about the kind of cookie to serve with some specific kind of tea.

                                                                                                          My Mom was convinced that minor disagreement over a kind of cookie was the reason why the other elderly lady stopped posting. My Mom felt terrible about this. It was not until many months later that my Mom found out the other lady was no longer posting because she had passed away.

                                                                                                          For some elderly people, internet boards are a completely different form and actual style of communication than what they were accustomed to for the majority of their life. And even regardless of age, some have the personality traits that are compatible with internet boards and some simply do not.

                                                                                                          15 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                            "My Mom felt terrible about this. It was not until many months later that my Mom found out the other lady was no longer posting because she had passed away. "

                                                                                                            Do you have the type of relationship with your mom where you could kid her that it was probably the shock of the "cookie disagreement" that undoubtedly resulted in the other lady's passing?

                                                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                              nope, not nasty at all servorg (yes, i know you were joking, moreover talking about joking.)

                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                Excellent question, Servog. Also a good example of knowing your audience and kind of helping make the point that Fowler IS making.

                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                  Of course we can also aim to sanitize the site, until all we have left is unseasoned pablum, where no one ever gets offended and we achieve the point of maximal entropy.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                    You mean the aim isn't to sanitize? To strip away what makes a food loving fool like me spend countless hours multitasking so as not to miss out on one great thread vs. getting my studio work done...

                                                                                                                    We vent, we draw conclusions, we move on. Does our sense of humor, need to jab and god help us our passionate opinions die, Ha!

                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                      And there lies the point: we get to the lowest common denominator if we allow the easily, and permanently perturbed to dictate standards. I always thought that we are trying to find out what is of a high enough standard for aspiration, which means being blunt about some things.

                                                                                                                      No one here has to read any post, and those who find they don't like an individual are free to skip any post; instead of censorship.

                                                                                                                      1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                        law_d, my very off the cuff remarks demonstrated how exhausting I eventually find rehashing this oh so often discussed topic. I was at the end of my own view...and really it doesn't matter what "I" think. What matters is that we use this site to enjoy ourselves...and if we aren't enjoying ourselves--we need to be responsible for that.

                                                                                                                        I'm off to bake earl grey tea cookies!

                                                                                                                        1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                          If you have read what Jim Leff has written many times on site talk you will know that he founded this community to foster an exchange of ideas about food.

                                                                                                                          But he also firmly believes, as I do and so many others here do too, that moderation is the only way we can keep the focus on the food and take it off of personal attacks. I routinely report any post that I see as problematic. It's then up to the P-t-B to determine what to do with that report.

                                                                                                                          Without the standards that Jim set, and that the current team follows (with some changes that have liberalized what is seen as on or off topic - especially on the local/regional geographically focused boards), this place would have folded long ago.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                            >>>moderation is the only way we can keep the focus on the food and take it off of personal attacks.<<<

                                                                                                                            Servorg, I am not disagreeing with you but I have for years and continue to participate on several internet boards and I have not noticed a strong correlation between activist moderation and overall board civility. And that ranges from food/wine boards to sports boards to investment boards that I participate on and I cannot see an indication that moderation is the key to keeping people on focus or not resorting to personal attacks. It seems to be civility is related to the participants a board attracts and retains.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                              "It seems to be civility is related to the participants a board attracts and retains."

                                                                                                                              I think the way to do that, attract civil participants, is to keep discussions from turning into flame fests or troll orgies. I also think that CH is like an iceberg in that you and I only see the 10% of what is above the surface (at least when it comes to moderation and deletions). So, if we were privy to all that goes away from the standpoint of nastiness and shilling, we would probably be even more grateful for the work that the moderation team does behind the curtain.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                "As many men, so many minds; every one his own way."
                                                                                                                                ~ Terence Phormio. v Act ii. Sc. 4, 14. (454.)

                                                                                                                                1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                  "Well, like, that's just your *opinion*, man!"
                                                                                                                                  --Jeffrey Lebowski

                                                                                                                  2. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                    some have the personality traits that are compatible with internet boards and some simply do not.
                                                                                                                    this part of your thoughtful post really rang true for me. Even in my own family we're divided on the participation and enjoyment.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                      This other site thread
                                                                                                                      is an example of someone adjusting to this internet form of interaction.

                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                        And the honesty of the OP to ask for feedback over a simple misread or small error on their part was meet with kindness, understanding and advice. Met a new CH in the process too!

                                                                                                                    2. As social media allows for anonymous activity, it is easy for contributors to be nasty. However, I find that Chowhound does an amazing job of filtering the unnecessary comments, the action is quick once reported.
                                                                                                                      I do find that diplomacy and tact are often lacking when opposing points of view confront. I do agree with you on this and I do remember a time when respect in our interactions meant something.

                                                                                                                      1. I find that the longer I post on here, the more danger I have of one of my posts being attacked, in the way that if I posted about subject A, some snarky smart ass might post and say "well, that's not what you said about it 3 years ago!" and link to some old post where I had a comment, or "you may be talking about X, but I'm just glad I'm not dealing with you about Y because that would be terrible!" and posting a link from another thread where I said something they didn't agree with.

                                                                                                                        It makes me really, really hesitant to post anything, and when I do, its' with an overly cautious amount of apologizies, correct me if I'm wrongs, and over the top niceties to try not to be jumped all over.

                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                          We're not big fans of that kind of dredging up of old posts to throw them back at people. It's not strictly against the rules to reference something someone said way back when in a friendly way, but they often aren't friendly. So if you get that kind of reply, please do flag it for us to take a look.

                                                                                                                            1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                              Thank you for asking the question rockandr. Tit for tat and/or surfing a specific CH to the point of stalking makes me uncomfortable too and its good to know the Mods don't tolerate the vibe.

                                                                                                                          1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                            You must get into some pretty heated discussions! I have a good memory for past discussions, but remember posters only if they are notorious (in a good or bad way) for a specific point of view.

                                                                                                                            1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                              R&R, someone did that to me once and I just laughed it off and told them I had a bad memory and left it at that. Some of us change our minds or forget things over the years of posting.

                                                                                                                              On the other hand, if someone is being obnoxious within a thread and making contradictory statements within that same thread (especially in an attempt to fuel an argument) then I will indeed ask them for clarification (in the most polite way of course).

                                                                                                                            2. i do notice that there are some people who seem to consistently like to play devils advocate or contrarian which can border on flaming at times. there are some people who i won't mention by names who like to give people long winded lectures. when the poster did that to me i really took it personally. but we all know that you really can't take anything anyone says on the internet personally. so then i followed this persons posts and looks like s/he like to do the same to others pretty often so only then i realized it's just who they are and how they respond. slightly annoying.

                                                                                                                              i've been on and off since about 2005. i remember someone back then someone accused me of being a "troll" by my handle name. i had logged on and found all these disparaging remarks about me being a troll and it went something like "just look at your handle blah, blah blah you're clearly a troll etc etc". people got downright nasty but i had to laugh bc it's my nickname given to me by my family and somehow evolved from the name for a bird in japanese "tori". anyway...

                                                                                                                              i think since CH has really become established as a community we now have more of a solid history to look back on and see that "johnny123" is always negative or "trolley" is always complaining.

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                indeed -- I love good, cogent debate, but there are people to whom I simply do not respond because they don't want debate, they want to nitpick every letter of every word simply for the sake of argument.

                                                                                                                              2. I heard on one of those tv programs this a.m. discussing internet "discussions" that people tend to say things they'd never say in person. The anonymity gives some folks the freedom to be as rude as they want. Everyone who has engaged in some sort of chat can bear witness to the extreme reactions they get from something they meant innocuously or just sort of semi-snarky. Lob a pebble into the pond, someone lobs back a nuclear bomb....

                                                                                                                                1. Sometimes the posts aren't snark at all. Many CH's can offer the nearly identical comment to a thread but the more popular (for any number of reasons) of the bunch will be engaged in an actual conversation within the thread. Leaving the other comments just standard remarks. That can be perceived as negative because your comment was ignored and another's wasn't. So when popularity plays a role in these boards, it's only natural to mistake being ignored for negativity.

                                                                                                                                  Having read this thread straight through, I honestly don't believe real life communication is any different than online communities. Maybe seeing the words on a page expressed just makes it seem that way.

                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                    "Maybe seeing the words on a page expressed just makes it seem that way."

                                                                                                                                    I think that's a really good point.

                                                                                                                                    When we don't read facial expressions, too, as if often said, it can be read the wrong way. We often say it's one of the disadvantages of being on line but we don't hear as often the advantage, in that we can re-read a post as many times as we want to see if there is another intent. And, even better, step away and respond later with a clearer head, if bothered. There is no urgency in responding right away, or ever.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                      it's also possible to go back and re-read something and allow it to get to you on the second read, too, which is not possible with an oral conversation.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                        sun, you never get bugged with live conversation...lol...pick up where you left off with a person.

                                                                                                                                        I attended a TED Conference last year. The live presentations were inspiring, one after the other...TED videos after the conference however didn't all gel with me in the same way as they did live and at that point all any of us had was the comment section of the TED website to discuss questions and talking points.

                                                                                                                                        Second reads have a life of their own. But I find that if I'm steamed over an issue the urgency tends to be different.

                                                                                                                                        Must say though, when I read your contributions to CH I always learn something. Thanks for some great reads.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                          Thanks, Hill. I appreciate it.

                                                                                                                                          A TED conference is on my to-do list. I use the videos for my ESL classes a *lot* -- and the students really enjoy the topics and the discussions, even when they're a little silly (see Derek Sivers' How to Start a Movement)

                                                                                                                                    2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                      Jeepers, HillJ. Now we have to worry about offending people by NOT responding to their comment? I never knew I was angering people by not responding to their comment even though it was not directed to me.

                                                                                                                                      From now on HillJ, I am going to respond to each and every one of your comments regardless of if they are addressed to me or not just so you know I am not trying to be offensive by not responding. :-)

                                                                                                                                      Also, if you do not reply to this comment I will be deeply offended and not invite you to my birthday party!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                        ROFL, oh Fowler you slay me (c I had to respond, just to be polite!)..and now that we've all covered this topic from 'nearly' every angle...i'll mosey on.

                                                                                                                                    3. Chowhound is sweetness & light. I come here to recover from the bloodlust of the political boards.

                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                        You are correct. I occasionally participate in a loosely moderated loltical board and a nearly unmoderated news board. It was an adjustment for me to tone things down when I came here about three years ago.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                          No one has ever heard of food fight?

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                          I find that comments on local newspaper political opinion pages are some of the most ignorant, poorly written, and downright awful things I have ever read. So much angst, so much misinformation, so much unwillingness to "listen" or consider. Here, even the orneriest of us are usually willing to put some thought into a suggestion that we lower the over temperature in order to make a perfect rib roast, etc.

                                                                                                                                          Yet, somehow, although I do not contribute, sometimes I just have to read the local rag's website contributions. Guess, I should just start cuttin' myself - might be safer!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                            {{Mental note to self: tall,scruffy, baseball cap, hesitation marks on fore-arm}}

                                                                                                                                        3. I am so new here that I'm still learning how to navigate, much less "read" the folks who post. After some of the sites, political and otherwise, that I've visited, I am mightily impressed with the level of discussions, the passion and knowledge of the posters and the high standards of the moderators. At the same time I realize how influenced I've been by the general nastiness of the world and the frequent snark on other sites. I've had to switch gears and count to 10 rather than firing off retorts that in other places would be business as usual but are, on reflection, just very bad habits. I had a post removed, rightly so, for responding in a churlish way when I should have either flagged the poster (not my style) or kept my mouth shut. (Also unfortunately not always my style) I was stricken. Truly reduced to tears for having been so boorish in a place I already love so much. But it served to remind me of how human we all are, for better or worse. I AM an old broad, proud to have owned a Commodore 64 decades ago so I've seen the birth of the online community, its evolution and corruption. This site is a jewel. You all ought to feel tremendous pride in it and protect it by whatever means necessary.

                                                                                                                                          I think you are. Please keep on keepin' on!

                                                                                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                            You're a dear, ItalianNana!! I'm happy you're here and always look forward to your posts.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                              "I am so new here that I'm still learning how to navigate, much less "read" the folks who post."

                                                                                                                                              First off, when it comes to learning to "read", always start with the assumption that the poster meant whatever they posted with good intentions, fueled by food geekiness and a sense of community (and/or humor). Second, we're happy to have you "hear" and glad you find us worth interactin' with.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                Very much so. The lack of inflection makes it real easy for an insecure person to feel rebuked by information he finds surprising or at odds with his expectations.

                                                                                                                                                It's like the joke about convincing the sheep herder that you can understand what his sheep are saying.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                I'm an old broad too, ItalN. In the interest of being clearer with each other sometimes it sounds harsh, but it's not. Sometimes it's just silliness but as you said in general and most def. by in large this community rocks. And I make a habit of starting each day I log on fresh. I do not hold grudges. Food is too delicious to get heartburn over.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                  The older I get the broader I get...even though I'm missing that double xx chromosome...

                                                                                                                                                2. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                  ItalianNana, agree with your post on this subject.
                                                                                                                                                  I do flag, sorry but it's true, doesn't mean the nasty post gets removed and I'm obviously flagged or reported too as many of mine are removed.
                                                                                                                                                  you win some you lose some. a few just plain dislike a poster and make snarky comments on those posters posts in my opinion to simply make that point. I try hard to ignore and wish I was better at it like one already today, I'm just letting slide by. if a CHer's needs to continue to be mean spirited or ugly against another, that's obviously their problem.
                                                                                                                                                  problem I often have is staying out of it.... it's gotta be the mama bear in me.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                    Il Divo, I am a fan. It may not "be my style" to flag comments on most sites, but I have changed my MO here after being reminded that the moderators are better equipped to deal with some nasty posters. I also admire the ability of some regulars here to be clever, kind and informative and also be able to confront the occasional dumbass, or simple dumbass remark, with direct firmness. I have a real Mama Bear streak too and have to remind myself that a simple growl is often more effective than a clumsy, bear-clawed swipe! :-D

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                      I'll growl and swipe with you anytime ItalianNana :-P :-)))

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                    Italian Nana...I had an interaction with you when I asked if being *accidentally glutened* was like being *slimed*. You were very witty and friendly so I have liked you and look for your posts since then. You seem like a person I would gravitate towards in *real time* because your charming as hell.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Lillipop


                                                                                                                                                      I remember that GF discussion. Heehee

                                                                                                                                                  3. I haven't felt an urge to post on this thread until recently when most of my posts are responded to by someone who insists on linking to a Google search. Of course I use Google in addition to Chow but I think Chow offers advice that you can't find just via recipes found through a Google search. Perhaps they are just being helpful but I find it offputting.

                                                                                                                                                    29 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                      One of the points of asking on Chowhound is because *most* of the people here know what they are talking about and can provide solid advice or at least a good starting point.

                                                                                                                                                      If one just does a google search, who knows what the heck kind of bad information one will receive. Not that one will never get bad advice here but it is less likely than just doing some broad generic web search.

                                                                                                                                                      If I ask for a recipe here because I cannot find what I am looking for using the Chowhound search functionality, I usually ask something like, "Hi, I am looking for a recipe for XYZ that you have tried and highly recommend." That usually (but not always) results in people not just posting a reply which is simply a link to the epicurious.com homepage or the like.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                        Whenever I post a link to a recipe, it's one that I've tried and liked.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                          Thank you! Hopefully others will follow your example.

                                                                                                                                                          *Edited to correct spelling

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                            me, too -- once in a while I'll post an untried recipe, but I'll usually state that I haven't tried it.

                                                                                                                                                            I try to give the benefit of the doubt and assume that if the OP wants a randomly googled recipe, he/she would have already found it.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                          We're generally not big fans of this, unless it's done in a super friendly way (and we're assuming it wasn't, or you wouldn't be feeling this way about it) so if you could flag those, we'd appreciate it. We'd like to take a look.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                                                            We just wanted to let you know we pulled a few posts here, since they were deep into discussing a specific example, which is something we try pretty hard to avoid -- no individual poster should feel publicly put on the spot like that. Please flag these situations for us using Flag or in email, rather than here on Site Talk.


                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                                                              " no individual poster should feel publicly put on the spot like that"

                                                                                                                                                              I noticed the posts. How were they "put on the spot" in any sort of way that would be wrong or even inconsistent with Chowhound rules?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                We ask that users who notice potential rules violations to flag them privately, so we can deal with the situation behind the scenes, rather than commenting on the situation publicly. We don't feel that users should be publicly calling out other users for rules violations.

                                                                                                                                                                General discussions are fine, but when it gets into the specifics of 'this hound did this thing', we really don't want to see anyone subjected to a general debate about their specific post.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                                                                  To me, the discussion wasn't about an individual hound being called out for a rules violation, but opining that an individual hound DID NOT commit a rules (or ediquette) violation.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                                                    Or learning to turn down the gain on our "offense" setting, where absolutely none was intended.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                                                      People disagreed on the issue, so even though the person who originally posted the link didn't think it was a problem, the end result was still a debate about whether that poster's post was okay.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                                                                        So how, as a community, are we to debate whether or not there was an issue, or if the response given was appropriate or not, without referring to the specific post? Oh wait, silly me, we should just do as we're told...just like kindergarten.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                                                          Huh, debate as a community if one poster is entitled to be insulted, misunderstood or god forbid wrong? Like it or not, isn't the "deciding" the interaction a function of moderation for the CH community? A safer bet I would hope.

                                                                                                                                                                          And, what happened to "rate the chow not the Chowhound?"

                                                                                                                                                                          Oh wait, now we have the CH Recommend button to do the endorsing for us. A lame alternative as far as I can see but already in use here.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                            Um, actually no. Debate as a community if both answering a question and providing a Google search link as backup data is an appropriate response.

                                                                                                                                                                            What happened to ""Please read my posts in my voice," not one that may be jaundiced by the rest of the thread or any acrimony you might be harboring." as MGZ eloquently stated upthread.

                                                                                                                                                                            Moderation isn't safe, its stifling, imo.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                                                              I don't mind the moderation, but it also reduces the site to infancy at times when the mod's bend themselves into pretzels in order to hew to the company line. I guess one comes with the other, which I can live with. I just think this particular example is one of those "silly season" nanny state decisions that make me shake my head a bit in disbelief...

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                After you posted a link to the specific conversation, I took a look through it. I am not familiar with the OP or the individual that posted the link to the google results in response so I'm fairly unbiased.

                                                                                                                                                                                A question was asked and the question was answered with examples and no rudeness, incivility or unpleasantness was displayed.

                                                                                                                                                                                "turn down the gain on our "offense" setting"

                                                                                                                                                                                Some of the best advice I have read on this board over the years!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                  Well yes, but it was either that thread or another in which the link was posted with "and, once again" which is the part I thought was somewhat unnecessary but I'm sorry I ever brought up this issue as I didn't mean for others to get so incited. I wasn't that offended, just a tone of some posters that I've noticed recently.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                    fldh, don't worry about having brought it up the issue. Having seen the "And, once again..." comment, I would also have to agree that there was a bit of condescension on the part of that poster. While the original comment wasn't bad, IMO, there's really no need for that response.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I guess some people forget that not everyone on CH is at the same cooking and/or taste standards, and unfortunately, some replies can seem or be rather cutting.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Some people make elaborate meals and some people stick with country cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Some people eat chicken feet and others do not.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Some people eat out at fancy restaurants that others can only *dream* of going to OR wouldn't *ever* dream of going to, as it's just not their style of dining.

                                                                                                                                                                                    And some people are new to cooking, and ask questions about how to make dishes or how to use an ingredient. That's a GOOD THING.

                                                                                                                                                                                    You take the knowledge posted here on CH that works for you, and leave the rest.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                      >>>Having seen the "And, once again..." comment, I would also have to agree that there was a bit of condescension on the part of that poster.<<<

                                                                                                                                                                                      Which thread are you referring to LindaWhit? The turkey thread (now censored) that the rest of us are referring to or another thread?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                        I can't recall, and can't find it, so perhaps it was moderated. But it was the same poster, I believe.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                          Yea, it was me and I'm not sure if it's OK to post the link here or if it's even appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                            I wouldn't bother. That's what the Mods were explaining above about dealing with it privately vs. pointing it out publicly.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yea, that was my conclusion as well which is why I didn't post it above. Not really worth inciting another public discussion IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                You are not "inciting" anything. Thankfully. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                        This is why any comments such as "ate there, really good." are so worthless. People do need to realize that theirs isn't the only experience, and the purpose here is to share perspectives in a way that are useful to others, not disparage the difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                                                          Ultimately, the value to the Site is to be found in the "dialectic" - find your own synthesis.

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm glad you made the comment, fldhk. Helps me understand community better when fellow posters are willing to state their experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                          Hey don't sweat it. The moderators have to appear active:) Or at the very least awake and breathing.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                                                                      Actually moderation is both safe & stifling. Thank goodness it exists on CH.

                                                                                                                                                                                      We can ask all we want for ""Please read my posts in my voice," (a good suggestion)...doesn't mean it's going to occur.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Without moderation stepping in, there's the occasional free for all, silly nitpicking and round and round we go.

                                                                                                                                                                                      And if the poster who had an issue doesn't voice it how will any of us with an occasional similar experience learn from others.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. I have only recently entered the arena of those who love to cook and so perhaps I ask many what seem like simple or stupid questions to others, but the recent responses have been pretty nasty. I have been on this site for quite a while but only in the past month or so have I noticed the tone has changed and the comments are dismissive, rude and condescending. I used to feel quite comfortable to come here with questions, but now I hesitate to post anything in fear of ridicule. Perhaps, it's sarcasm which doesn't translate well but I don't think that most of it is. It seems that some people can't follow the basic rule of "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all." Many of these responses don't even really address the post and just include some snarky comment.

                                                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                      Keep asking your questions. I have occasionally felt sniped at on these threads but the longer I stayed here the more I got to know and understand many of the regulars here. I seem to read more than I post these days. Your recent questions reminded me that it's been a long time since we've had chicken marsala and now I know about the upcoming sale on fresh halibut at Whole Foods. Your question about jalibut also reminded me of a family story. My mother once caught an 80 lb. halibut in the Gulf of Alaska while my father got skunked on the same fishing trip. My kids were quite amused when I told them that story as they mostly just remember her last years when she had dementia.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the encouragement. Wonderful story, indeed. I have a similarly comical story from a deep sea fishing trip in Hawaii. My SO caught a tiny 2 lb something-or-other and an 8 year old hooked a shark which with some help was able to wrangle to the side of teh boat for photos. There were never any pictures of the kid with the shark, so SO continues to tell the world that he caught a shark in Hawaii. Wow, I had no idea halibut were so large. Chicken marsala - such wonderful deliciousness. I have to admit that it was my first attempt and through reading many a post on Chowhound and asking a few simple beginner questions I created a delectable, craveworthy dish and discovered many new products including tomato paste and pancetta with which to explore deeper into the culinary world. Experiences like that is the reason I love this place.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                            Halibut can grow to be several hundred pounds, so while the one my mother caught was not a tiny halibut, it wasn't one of the big ones either. They say that reeling in a big halibut is like trying to reel in a barn door.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                          listen FLDH, you ask anything you want~the only stupid (as you put it) questions are the ones you don't ask.
                                                                                                                                                                          I'm a helper a fixer a mom and an avid cook all my life.
                                                                                                                                                                          I am more than happy willing and able to help you in any way I can. we've all been there and have all struggled with a this or a that. if someone is mean or snarky report their post. meantime there are more than a zillion of us sitting here wanting to have you be your best at whatever it is you place on a dinner table, picnic blanket or hood of your Volkswagen.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                            Put the bizarre *mean girls* on extinction....ignore them.That will work. Interact with those who display a modicum of emotional stability..... emotional intelligence and you will be rewarded.Many informative...bright....warm....non combative men and women here who can cook!!!!!! I have learned so much about ingredients...ethnic recipes....food trends on Chowhound. Keep posting and show us more pics of your food many of us really like that about you:)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for your support iL Divo and Lillipop. I too have learned so much on Chowhound and love this site for that reason so I hope I can continue to learn and grow as I have developed a blooming passion for cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                Thank goodness, fldhkybnva, that you've decided to stay and ignore the meanies! I for one have very much enjoyed your recent questions on the Home Cooking board. Most of the responses you received were informative; somethings I already knew but a lot I didn't. Some I agreed with and others I didn't. It's my responsibility to evaluate the responses, embrace the ones I like and disregard the rest.
                                                                                                                                                                                I've always seen your posts as intelligent and looking for knowledge and opinions from people who know their stuff and I have certainly benefitted from them. Keep on posting!
                                                                                                                                                                                PS I was going to thank you a while ago but was "afraid" that I would be accused of sucking up (a reference to earlier posts accusing some posters of doing that to others). How crazy is that?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                  As a fairly new cook myself, I appreciate your questions. I learn from them too :) Sure, things can be learned by googling, and I know when I ask a question here I also google, but I take what I read here on Chowhound much more seriously as I know it's coming from a trusted source. I've learned more from asking and reading questions here in the past 6 months than I have from years of googling.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. For a while now, I've thought of myself as a curmudgeon. Kind of like Henry Fonda in "On Golden Pond". Turns out a curmudgeon is "a bad tempered or surly person". Now I'm not sure what I am.

                                                                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                Do you really want to hang out a straight line like that in this crowd? :)).

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                  "Now I'm not sure what I am."

                                                                                                                                                                                  A kindly curmudgeon? (sort of like Clint Eastwood in Grand Torino)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                    I was thinking of Carl Frederickson in "Up!" The one who eventually helped Russell, the intrepid Wilderness Explorer, and Dug the Dog find the rare flightless bird named Kevin. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                      Up is quite possibly my favoritest movie of all time.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                    You yam what you yam, grampart.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                      So you're a curmudgeon. Embrace it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                          So be it! I'm a curmudgeon!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                            Jon Winokur -

                                                                                                                                                                                            "If you're not a curmudgeon, you are not paying attention."

                                                                                                                                                                                            Too many here are too afraid of strong opinions.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                          Not that, in my observation. After a certain age, we're just "characters." ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. You raise a very interesting point, hyacinthgirl, and though I do not have a definitive answer for you, here's my experience. I have been a frequent contributor as of late, but have been on Chowhound for the better part of seven years. For the most part, I find it to be an informative and interesting site, with a large community of other foodies that I feel I can learn a lot from, as well as impart some of my own knowledge to.

                                                                                                                                                                                          However, it seems to me that there are a couple of different types of posters that participate the most: those who truly want to help and inform others and those who simply like to feel powerful and throw their weight around a board. (obviously, these are generalizations). And the moderation of the latter seems to be a bit hit or miss, in my experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                          For example, on my home board, there is a bit of a clique of posters, who I am sure are long time CHers, that tend to overtake any thread that comes along and like to intimidate those of us who may be sharing our opinions on a place, dish, etc. I call these people the "Mayors" as they truly act like they own the board. Oftentimes, they dismiss other posters as not being sophisticated, well-travelled or Chowish enough to participate on the thread. And also quite often, they comment with vulgar and discriminatory remarks, to be funny, I guess. They seem to disregard the fact that they are not sitting around their frat house with their buddies, by some of the remarks I've seen. I will report those remarks, but the reason I say the moderating is spotty is because these same posters tend to continually get away with the behavior, and I bet they are not even getting a warning from the mods, since they still do it, although they tend to dial it back for a while.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Some threads are also a bit more prone to being very cliquish, as well. On one in particular, that shall remain nameless, I had started to contribute to, but was amazed at the speed of which it turned over. And when I brought it up to the community on the thread, with suggestions of how to extend the life of the thread, I was met by what I termed the flaming pitchfork reaction. Granted many on the thread responded to my concerns with sincerity and compassion; but for the most part, I was basically told by the most frequent or long term posters to like it or leave. Consequently the recommend button appeared, as I guess the moderators have thrown their hands up at trying to contain the irrelevant posts on said thread. However, it seems to be rarely used there, and for the most part, my suggestions have been ignored.

                                                                                                                                                                                          In life, we all need to weigh what is important to us and weed out what is no longer useful. It just amazes me, however, how many posters in this Internet community get so offended by others who offer suggestions, as if their little bit of power over a thread or board is being threatened. So, I don't take anything personally anymore, as I just don't have the time and energy to make it such a big deal. If everyone followed this simple rule, we all would probably be a much more pleasant bunch to deal with, especially by those lurkers who are scared to death to say or ask the wrong thing. And perhaps with a bit more kindness shown to each other, we can grow and learn from each other. Just my two cents.

                                                                                                                                                                                          93 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                            Folks' behavior is about ourselves, not about the other person. We each make a choice about how and what we want to contribute, and on our best days, we do it without snark or condescension. I think it helps to remember that and not take it personally.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I love the "pitchfork" reference, it made me smile as my inference was "torch carrying villagers." :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                            I have noticed that in the past few months or so, snark and snottiness to a degree never before tolerated on these boards has been given a pass and allowed to remain. The problem with this change, as I note it, is that not only does that embolden the offenders, it is a signal to newcomers of what the standards of civility are on CH.

                                                                                                                                                                                            They have no way of knowing how much recent slippage it represents, at least in my view.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                              I have to agree with you, but I guess it's part of the growth of Chowhound. Not that I'm happy about it! But I tend to be reactionary in general nowadays.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm really unhappy about the loosening of civility standards, even when some of my posts stay up and don't get moderated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                It was like an overnight change I noted some months ago, and was hoping was only temporary. In particular, some mods, at least, are leaving up personal commentary snarkiness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                  One person's "snarkiness" is another's witticism. You know, sticks and stones and all that. Besides, curmudgeons are people, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm glad to see you're embracing your "curmudgy-ness" ;-D> I have to admit I'm more and more resembling that remark myself...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hey, I'm a life long cynic, at least if you believe my fourth grade teacher, and snark is my first language, profanity my second. But I'm not talking about wit, here, and I don't think personal insult couched in with is in keeping with the friendliness mission of the boards.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      But I do think curmudgeonliness is a noble pursuit, and if you have it nailed down, go with your strength!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree that personal insults aren't in keeping with friendliness, but a friend might just consider it constructive criticism.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's never been acceptable on these boards in the past.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It makes one wonder how some people handled discourse before internet boards were created and heavily moderated. Who did they whine to and secretly insist Hank over there take back what he said?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Totally agree that it's in the last few months, or less than a year anyway. If it was witty I would be enjoying it all. I just figure that's the way the world is now, not that I like it. Everyone's got to add their two cents, no matter what it's really worth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yup, it's only recently that I've noticed as well though I have no explanation for that whatsoever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I find myself wondering if the moderation team has made a deliberate attempt to loosen the etiquette/civility standards, or if there's just a new mod or two who have much broader tolerances for posters personally antagonizing other posters?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Same here. Enjoy wittiness & camaraderie, but it crosses a line at times on some boards and threads. And with loose guidelines, grampart is right, one person's snark is another's wit. If it all were moderated equally, we would all at least know where we stood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Really? That's quite interesting, mcf. That is too bad, as I think CH has always prided itself as a community of higher minded discourse and information, and a lot of that has to do with the people who contribute to it. It seems to me the mods were much more on top of it than they are now. And that's one of the things that bugs me about a certain thread where the participants constantly bring up irrelevant topics like the weather, their pets, children, illness, home repairs, the list is endless. If one were to report every instance to the mods, you'd literally be there all day. When I brought it to their attention, with the suggestion that perhaps they could hold off on the irrelevant comments until after they begin a new thread, which is literally every three days now, the response was, "well the mods let us be more chattier than other threads...." So not only are they relaxing the rules, they are doing it very intentionally....as in only certain threads are allowed to go off topic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                                * Allowed* to go off topic? That sounds sinister. BTW you call them *Mayors*. I call them *Mean Girls*. They did everything they could to degrade me when I began posting.Then because I posted a plea for guidelines a moderator contacted and interacted with me and informed me that no one I repeat no one is the *boss* or *leader* of any thread. After that I realized that it is their pathology to act out anonymously. Can not stop them but I can ignore them and they all know who they are. So my point is do not take *the bait* and go to another board where people are more evolved to interact.Works for me:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wasn't meant to be a sinister comment, I just don't know how else to put it. Those that regularly post on that thread no longer feel the need to stay and remain on topic. And the moderators have made a conscious decision to "look the other way". Somehow, I cannot imagine this even happening on any other board...... But I really don't know how or when it started. And the bizarre thing is that most of those posters like to act innocent, as if they are in no way intentionally being chatty or cliquey, but they know indeed that they are. I'm sorry you had a bad experience with them too, I must have missed that, which is not hard to do, as I find myself scrolling past every comment that responds to a new post, as I can't spend the time (who HAS that kind of time anyway?? Makes me wonder...) to read all of the inane comments. But know that you are most certainly not alone. In fact I know of a couple of former CHs who either refuse to use that thread now, or use CH all together just because of the way they were treated on that thread. It's a shame really. But I refuse to let them win, I'm stubborn like that, and although I only post on it when I have something relevant to contribute, which is usually only a couple times a week at most, I do notice now how I am being ignored by the worst offenders ;) that's okay though.... I refuse to be bullied off of a stupid Internet thread, haha!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'd like to believe I'm sensitive to some of these issues. And I'll remind you (while trying very hard to be respectful) that Chowhound has not one but two capable Community Relations people: Jacq & DaveMP. DaveMP is a recent and welcomed addition to member relations. So, I'm wondering why any of this behavior (as you and others are describing) is going on, on a regular and infuriating basis as you've suggested when the Community Relations folks are here to provide suggestions and comments to address these type of concerns.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No one should feel bullied off a stupid Internet thread is damn right. If it has come to that for you, all the time spent on useful features and new food projects like Cheese of the Month aren't going to be worth much to the community at large. Community, after all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Completely agree, and welcome any insight they can give us as to *why* it's okay for one thread to do away with rules that the rest of us on the rest of the boards have to mind our Ps & Qs about..... Wonder why none have chimed in thus far, and if they will even bother, frankly.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In the last couple of years, we've tried to be a little more open to friendly personal interaction across the site. We don't want every thread to be all 'and then my puppy did this' all the time, but we're trying to be a little less staunchly 'Thou Shalt Be On Topic.' As long as things stay friendly and don't launch a cascade of off-topicness, we tend to leave alone friendly jokey asides and personal anecdotes that might not be strictly on point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What's For Dinner has always been more chatty than the site in general, and the participants seem happy with that. We receive very few Flags, and we don't delve into those threads looking for trouble. Occasionally something in one of those threads goes spinning way off the rails or gets unexpectedly angry, and in those cases, it gets reported by a few people, and we step in. For the most part, the pattern of the thread is 'this is what I had for dinner and why' followed by a few friendly comments about either the dinner or the why, and we're not looking to force changes to that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I personally find it dull to read (sorry WFD participants, it's not personal, I find many of you very interesting on other threads), so I don't participate on those threads. They're clearly labelled and easy to skip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The blow-ups around WFD tend to come when someone asks for changes to how people post on those threads, rather than when new people jump in and participate in them. The WFD participants can be defensive when they feel like their thread is being threatened, and it would really be nice if both the people who want changes and the people who want things to stay the same could have those discussions at a somewhat lower decibel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you for responding to my concerns. I appreciate the time you took to explain the moderation process a bit more. Just so I understand, I'd like to get clarification, if possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "As long as things stay friendly and don't launch a cascade of off-topicness, we tend to leave alone friendly jokey asides and personal anecdotes that might not be strictly on point." So what, exactly is the standard of measure for "a cascade of off-topicness"? Three posts? Five posts? Ten? I have counted thirteen in the last WFD thread alone, and that was just one instance of one topic. I'm positive I can find even more in the same thread. And when we consider that each thread consists of about 300 posts before it becomes inactive, it can end up being about 10% of the whole thread, depending on how chatty the posters feel that day. Is this not considered excessive?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "We receive very few Flags, and we don't delve into those threads looking for trouble. Occasionally something in one of those threads goes spinning way off the rails or gets unexpectedly angry, and in those cases, it gets reported by a few people, and we step in." So this tells me if I find the volume of off-topicness overwhelming, I need to be the one to flag each response? In other words, do the moderating for you guys? Seems a bit unreasonable, and I'm not sure you would want each contributor to be moderating each thread constantly, that would be opening a Pandora's box. I believe this is where uniform standards should prevail. And if it's okay to be excessively chatty on the WFD thread, then why it is not allowed on every other thread? Perhaps it is and I am just not aware of it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "The WFD participants can be defensive when they feel like their thread is being threatened, and it would really be nice if both the people who want changes and the people who want things to stay the same could have those discussions at a somewhat lower decibel." This is a key point, I believe. I was the poster who brought the subject up in the thread, and offered suggestions on how to make the thread more enjoyable for all who wanted to participate on it, and was met with defensive criticism from those that participate, and therefore chat, the most. And I know you can go back and read that discussion, but I was met with attitude that was mostly "soft snark" as you coined below. I was told that it sounded like "sour grapes" and "this is how we've always done it" and "maybe this thread just isn't for you." I don't believe I raised the decibel level at all, except to defend my thinking that the posters could allow for a bit of flexibility, maybe by adding personal off topic comments after the thread has been deactivated. Or let the thread go on a bit longer so those of us still perusing the comments that are on topic can get through it before it gets taken down. But instead, these posters showed me a bit of hostility. So I do not take responsibility in "raising the decibel level of this discussion" just by merely bringing up a point that many others were thinking, and asking for a workable solution to it. I mean after all, if these people insists on chatting to each other about their day, work, family, weather, etc isn't that what other mediums like email and instant messaging is for? Why does it have to interfere with a discussion that is supposed to concentrate on a home cooked dinner?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For the record, I have always enjoyed cooking nice meals for dinner, and have enjoyed discussing that with others on the board that feel the same as I. For their own personal reasons, some on the board, who like to think of themselves as leaders, have decided that each thread cannot contain more than 300 posts before they turn it over and deactivate it. I know I've read other comments on this board about how unfriendly the threads become once they are inactive, and to find specific comments or recipes can be a real PITA. Since these threads only last a maximum of three days, and I may not be doing a home cooked meal for those days, I am constantly going back and forth to find what I was looking for. So unless I constantly post on the thread each day, including my restaurant meals, which obviously don't belong on a home cooking thread, I am starting from zero each time. Regardless of whether I feel it's worth my time or not, it now becomes an issue of being a poster who wants to participate on the thread, but feels it is unworkable for me to do so, because a) the moderators have relaxed the rules for this thread alone and b) because the "original" posters want it as such, regardless of the feelings of other CHers who have expressed the desire to participate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And before I get all kinds of hateful responses to this, I want to say that, as I have stated before, I appreciate those WFD posters who have shown genuine concern and expressed a willingness to tone down the personal, irrelevant comments in order to make the thread welcoming to all who want to participate. Unfortunately, after a few more threads have been put to bed, the incessant chatfest continues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I can understand that if I was alone in this sentiment, and if I was asking you to bend the rules for me alone, I would be out of bounds. But all I am asking is for the rules to be applied uniformly so that we all can benefit from the structure that is in place. When a large gray area is allowed to develop, the forums will likely descend into confusion and stray from the original purpose of discussing good food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As I said, we're really not looking to force a change to the format of the What's For Dinner threads, so we're not planning to moderate away the friendly conversation. Please don't go in and flag every post that you consider off-topic -- it's unnecessary work for you and for us, and it won't get the result you're looking for. If you see something that is getting unfriendly or prompts a huge debate about some tangential issue, please Flag one post from within that sub-thread and leave a note describing the problem and we'll take a look.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It might help to explain the background of the 300 post situation. For some users, discussions with more than a couple of hundred replies simply wouldn't open. They'd get an error page rather than a thread page. So the people who were participating in WFD agreed that once the thread got to be about 300 posts long, they'd start a new one and ask that new reports of What's For Dinner be posted there. That kept those threads from becoming completely inaccessible to some people as they grew. It's not meant to keep you from following up on previous discussions, and the older threads do remain unlocked so you can ask questions about recipes that were posted there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That may actually be less of an issue now given that we've made some software changes on the site, so perhaps we can look into lengthening the time before new WFD threads are started, but the basic principal is to keep the threads down to a manageable length by starting new ones periodically.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Okay, thank you for your response. I will take it as such: the WFD thread is allowed to operate freely, unrestricted of any rules regarding staying on topic, except if some comments get unfriendly and that will be the only standard enforced. The posters will be allowed to continue running the thread as they see fit, regardless if others find it unworkable in its current form. And no concerns of other CHers who would like participate will be considered. Do I have this right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Why not start a "What's for Dinner at Joe Friday's House" thread (Just the facts ma'am) and see if you can't attract other posters who feel as you do?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I believe this has been suggested to DWEO a number of times. It is an excellent suggestion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Often on message boards such as these it is better to put ones time and efforts into developing new ways of doing things rather than spending that time and effort into forcing others to changes what has been a long standing and popular way of doing something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This has worked (successfully) for me on an alternative parenting board. Four years laters both styles of threads are going strong, giving members a choice on how to participate. I have since "aged out" but there were more than enough mom's willing to take over, so to speak. Its nice to have a choice and a lot less stressful than trying to change the will of many.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I personally have toned down my off topic "personal" posts in WFD because I totally understand where you were coming from with your original complaint post. I might do a little background in my original WFD postings, but that's about it. I've been taking advantage of the "recommend" button to express my pleasure with someone else's comments instead of adding comments like "that sounds delicious!" or whatever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But Dirtywextraolives, at some point, don't you think it's a bit unfair for you to expect a lot of other posters to change the way they post, just because you don't like it? Maybe a few others don't like it too but from what I can recall, you've been the only one to express anything. I mean, I totally get where you're coming from and how you're frustrated about keeping up. Really, there is never going to be one right way to do it that pleases everyone, so, at some point, it does become "majority rules". And currently, in the WFD thread, the majority has stated that they like how it is. So why insist that the majority change the way it's done, just to please the minority? At this point, it seems a bit like beating a dead horse.... you expressed your opinion, there was LOTS of discussion about it, but in the end, most of the folks don't want to change how it's done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  WHy is your personal concern more important than that of all the others? Why do you participate in a thread you clearly despise? I honestly. Just. Don't Get it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    How about a new thread "What's REALLY for dinner?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Or a "ONLY what's for dinner, we really, really mean it and don't be bringin' no other convo here!" thread? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Or, "Challenge me to Make Somethin' New for Dinner - and, for the Love of God, Don't Mention Your Kids".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I prefer the What's for Dinner thread the way it is. I love the chattiness of it, the off-topicness of it. That way, it feels more like actually having dinner chez someone other than moi-meme.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't want to change it just to make it more indexable for someone who doesn't even like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think the 300 posts also is helpful to people who still have slower connections. To my way of thinking, 500 posts spread over two threads or 500 posts in one thread is still 500 posts any way you look at it, except some people will have to wait a very long time to get the 500 posts on one thread to load.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This may be because almost *all* participants in the WFD thread (really, why beat around the bush since that's the one you're referring to) enjoy the way they've been cut some more slack on OT comments. Do I care about every new house project some of the participants write about? No, not really.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Would I report them, because my opinion is somehow more valid or important than those of many others who *do* care?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              No. What on earth would give me that right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Listen, as it's been said to you before, and -- mind you, IIRC, gently suggested to perhaps not participate in threads you find so incredibly annoying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That is not a "gang of cliquish posters beating up on you". It's letting you know that the majority of posters on WFD LIKE sharing OT stuff. You don't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's pretty much all there is to say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "Listen, as it's been said to you before, and -- mind you, IIRC, gently suggested to perhaps not participate in threads you find so incredibly annoying."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yet you feel you have the right to basically degrade her for articulating her experiences on CH? I will refrain from making any personal comments but let me just point out that you reinforced her point blatantly here:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't know what happened on that other thread, but I don't see anything like degradation here. I do think at some point, when the tide is against you, you change your path, and that's all that's been said in the post you responded to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's so much easier to change our own participation to make things enjoyable than to bend the will of everyone else, is all I see being said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DWEO's point is again reinforced:) You just did it too:) The whole defending the *if you don't like it then you should just leave* mentality. That old school mindset is passe.There are new CH members who are not entrenched in that bizarre *Mean Girls* power trip that is prevalent on some threads.Confronting it ....addressing it...not advocating for it and reporting it will eventually eliminate the bullying.I have the right to express what I feel on these posts whether you agree with me or not.We all do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wow Mean Girls power trip! I haven't encountered that and the fact that you feel that you have really makes me sad actually. While I've encoutnered some nastiness, I haven't yet felt like it was a cliqueish sort of "mean girls" bullying environment...how awful! Do you feel bullied often?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've been reading and posting for years, and I've encountered some folks who are pretty snarky as a rule, sometimes to me, but I've never seen anyone react to considerate concern and discussion with such venom here, ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Good Grief no. I was a Psychiatric RN in the California prison system x 6 years so that dehumanized me:) I had never felt bullied in my life until I stopped lurking and began posting on CH in a certain area that I now know to avoid
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ( and it is not the WFD area...that board is like going to someone's house for a good home cooked meal and gossip:) I have no problem dealing with the issue if it comes up.I just feel that telling a CH poster
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ( however subliminal the message may seem) that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          *if you don't like it then you should just leave* is something that none of us would do in our actual non internet lives.Someone else made a point that being anonymous on the internet reduces accountability.Just my POV but I did have a rather radical experience when I started posting on CH and I wised up quickly! I just put any potential *meanies* on extinction:) And vice versa when my self righteous indignation or sarcastic wit bites someone too hard I get the *silent treatment*....so it all evens out:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Nobody said to leave....they suggested that perhaps those who find it objectionable start their own thread...which is not the same thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            (fwiw, I never, ever read WFD....I'm usually standing in front of the fridge trying to figure out what's for dinner.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              OK phew, I'm an avid WFD participant and definitely did not want to be in the group of "mean girls" as it bring back awful memories of high school. I like your description, WFD feels homey to me as well :) I would hate if I made others feel that way, so wanted to hoped it was not related to that thread but it's still awful that other areas have descended into such cattiness. I have learned to ignore meanies and just go on with life as rude as they might be sometimes. I also keep my threshold high that tone is not translated well via text.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No, it's like joining an ongoing conversation, deciding it was too boring for me, and thus deciding *everyone else* who had been participating in that conversation and *enjoying it thoroughly* had to please talk about other things, or talk about one thing for a certain amount of time *I* decided was convenient to me, *then* the conversation may continue as it had been.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That is not bullying, it is not the 'silent treatment', it is a basic fact online and off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Seriously, that's what you got from my post?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Just wow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We are talking about a thread thats about *dinner*. Seriously, that's all it is, people talking about DINNER. This is not social activism. What is there to report? To address?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am a part time participant and I see no "power trips" nor do I see a "mean girl mentality". What I do see is a lone poster who doesn't care for how the thread works and wants it changed so that he/she can "keep up". Who also doesn't like what he/she perceives to be a cliquish behavior from the prevalent posters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Even after many helpful suggestions from fellow posters, including those from posters who also dislike the WFD threads the complaints and request for change have continued. They continue even after a mod has explained the rationale behind the post counts and the thought process behind the allowable "chattiness".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The way I look at it is that I know that I have a job, a family, outside interests, etc and therefore there will be times I will miss whole threads. I choose to accept that and accept it for what it is-a thread about *dinner*. It is what is and, like life, the majority usually rules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                While I totally understand that we all have the "right" to express our feelings I don't understand continuing after it has been asked and answered. It feels like that scene from a "A Few Good Men"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sam Weinberg: “I strenuously object?” Is that how it’s done? Hm? “Objection, your Honor!” “Overruled” “No, no. I STRENUOUSLY object.” “Oh! You strenuously object. Then I’ll take some time and reconsider.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For myself personally I would rather spend my time and effort on being the change I want to see, like I did on another board. Much more satisfying and rewarding than trying to push rope up a hill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "For myself personally I would rather spend my time and effort on being the change I want to see, like I did on another board. Much more satisfying and rewarding than trying to push rope up a hill."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's what I was trying to say. The best part about banging your head against a brick wall is how good it feels when you stop!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Foodie...I made it clear I was not referring to WFD. I am in there all of the time because I love to read MC's posts. I was referring to some CH posters whom I encountered that were so blatantly rude to me that I thought I had committed some sort of fatal anti CH blasphemy that brought their collective wrath down upon my head.I am not trying to insult anyone with what I am posting here. I am trying to make a point that sometimes some posters are cruel to others.None of them are on this thread.So please I do not want anyone to think I am referring to them personally.I just know that DWEO felt ostracized and alienated ....it was evident in her posts.I shared my radical and bizarre *initiation ritual* to CH with her. Again not about WFD...I love it in there it feels like I am in my late mom's kitchen in there:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      gotcha- sorry I misunderstood!! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It is clearly not her experience on the entire website, otherwise she wouldn't continue to post on other threads. It is her experience on the WFD thread, which she finds tiring, boring, and hard to catch up on/with because she leads a busy life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My puzzlement is solely why one would waste So Much Time complaining about a thread whose "rules/habits/whatever you might want to call it" have not pleased one in the past, aren't pleasing one as they continue to thrive, and are unlikely to change just so that one person is happy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There are any number of threads on CH that I find uninteresting, or testy, or chatty. And so I don't participate in them. Is that really so difficult?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am one of of those CH members who visits a lot of threads.My reason for doing so is that there are so many regional distinctions in food trends here in the States.I enjoy reading about them In answer to your question "is it really so difficult"...for me no..I am an aloof individual but for someone who may actually be trying to *bond* in a thread with other food worshipers then maybe they experience things in a more personal manner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wouldn't trying to bond with people include accepting how a majority of posters enjoy the way a particular thread is handled, instead of pissing all over it (pardon my French)?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As I said several times, there are so many interesting threads on CH for me to follow that I can live with the occasional thread that, for one reason or another, does *not* interest me. I will not, however, start joining said thread and telling people how it *should* be handled from now on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My point is and believe me I am not attempting to modify your behavior or attitude in any way...my point is that not everyone operates from a similar developmental......emotional....social skills point. Tolerance and diplomacy may not be a skill everyone has developed in their socialization domain. Maybe people post anti-social things when they are home alone and drunk. Who knows?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Once in a while, I'll open a WFD thread. I'll peruse what's there and turn away. It's been a while since I've done so, but I can't imagine much has changed since I called it a "Koffee Klatch" in a post a couple years ago or like an episode of "The View" more recently. At bottom, it's super self indulgent, the kinda "chatty" Jim tried to avoid in the start, and the most cliquish part of the Site. So, as lingua suggests, do as I do and avoid it. You won't miss much. If you want to talk about something great you've made post a new thread - that's what plenty of us do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm with MGZ, I read it once, didn't find it particularly interesting and moved on to other threads. I had no idea about all the debate and drama surrounding that thread. I feel like I've stumbled onto a chow fight club dressed up as a knitting circle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I haven't really noticed the change that you describe. I have had a few of my posts deleted, although not recently. Without naming names, or even providing links, could you tell me in general terms the kinds of threads in which you have noticed the change in civility?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (I have read a few of these threads which describe bad behavior on Chowhound and the paranoia starts...."are these people writing about MY posts"?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was just thinking the same thing - well, both the same things. First, jebus, surely they don't mean me! and second, I have no idea what threads anyone here is talking about. I haven't noticed anything of the kind in any thread I post in. Just lucky I guess.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And to repeat what I said originally, anyone who has a problem with the civility level here at present would have had a heart attack and plotzed if they had ever read the pre-Chow Chowhound boards.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There is so little in the way of concentrated board crapola it's almost not worth talking about. Yeah, mild and mini flame fests briefly break out on the larger local boards now and again. But the Chow Fire Brigade quickly put them out. I even find snarky remarks being taken out of circulation pretty quickly for the most part.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This community is VERY civil from what I've seen over the past 12 years of participation. And, in spite of my quibbles about moderation decisions now and again I much prefer the moderation we have, to having the free for all, chaotic flame fest that would break out without it...and that includes whenever my posts get yanked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree....this board is so civil in comparison to most of the other boards out there in the intarwebs that there's actually a learning curve on toning down one's posts here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's a pleasure to come here on a daily basis. I thank the lucky stars above all the time for Jim being able to sell to C/Net and then for CBS to come along and continue this rolling party when the lights were so close to going out for good back when.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't believe the issues stated above are about not being lucky (your word) to have the site. Not at all. Would anyone really bother to use Site Topic to outline their experience if they didn't already value the site.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If a CH wants to point out what their experience has been what's the harm? There are plenty of other people willing to point out that they have a different experience as well. One comment doesn't cancel out the other. It does appear a tad dismissive enough though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Seems balance in a forum of thousands is the challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Like everyone else (other than CH team members) I speak only for myself. I don't think it's "dismissive" of anyone else to be thankful for the continued existence of CH. Certainly no more so than others having different, less joyous experiences and posting about them are dismissive of mine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You're wrong, there in context. We *both* have a history of being very free with praise for the moderation here, and you know it because we've often been the only two in a crowd of dissenters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            So you are dismissing my observations as having any validity by running the same old lines, saying nothing's changed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Maybe, just maybe, you haven't *seen* it yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Are you referring to the WFD thread?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I assume so. I'm not sure what's with all the WFD hate. I kind of get the point that the mods let some chatter happen but it's always related to "what's for dinner" and I think it's a lovely thread. I think the intention of your post is to highlight that moderation is inconsistent but I think WFD is a great thread and perhaps more leeway should be allowed for other threads as long as they don't stray too far or get too insulting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  No I wasn't saying anything about moderation, just wanted to pin down where mcf was coming from. I don't mind WFD, although I don't post there often. It does get chatty and off-topic at times, but can't say I've ever noticed any snark.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Once again, I am not referring to any one thread. Someone else was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  No, I see the changes. Especially the new and much more liberal moderation standards of what is no longer considered "off topic" for the local/regional boards.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But the pendulum may still start swinging back the other way (hopefully) at some point. But the site is still fun, still interesting and still relevant for me. I'm not dismissing your (or anyone's) observations or saying or implying that they have "no validity" but rather this is all about personal perception and how "reactive" I want to be to changes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Will I let it ruin my enjoyment? Or will I adjust my inner voice to account for the changes so that I can still enjoy the site? The choice is purely mine. I've voted internally to enjoy the site despite the changes. YMMV

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "But the site is still fun, still interesting and still relevant for me."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The inference, intended or not, here, is that I and others with concerns do not. Once again, you've over interpreted to the point of responding to things that have never been stated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Why on earth would I or anyone continue to participate, if what you imply were true at all?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      How can stating my personal enjoyment of the site mean that I am inferring you don't? I don't get that line of reasoning. To me this just like food, personal taste rules. Just because you like tuna and I don't doesn't mean anything beyond we have different tastes. You take away from CH whatever you desire. I do the same. If you can state you find something not to your liking, but I don't find that to be the case for me how is it any different than discussing a restaurant? Some like it, some are very vocal in their dislike and some sort of split it down the middle. Doesn't mean that one group is right and one wrong. Just different tastes. Just like this issue. My "taste" is different, but that doesn't make you wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "How can stating my personal enjoyment of the site mean that I am inferring you don't? I don't get that line of reasoning."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In general it does not. In direct response to me in the particular discussion, of course it's implicit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't want to get into a lengthy back and forth over it, I just don't think it's as critical as you do to reply to every concern as if it's a frontal attack on the entire experience of participating. If I'm over interpreting, please accept my apology.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But, that's the thing. I didn't reply directly to you. Originally I replied to ratgirlagogo here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8885... and then sunshine842 here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8885... after sunshine replied to me. I only replied to you after you put up this post http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8885... and now, here we are.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Let's not flog it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Context matters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Again with more feeling I will try, Serv.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  my use of the word dismissive was not in regard to the freedom to enjoy this site but in articulating like you that everyone should have the freedom to share on Site Talk what their experience is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The big picture is rarely argued, the details in which we all use the site most def. is. When I read that members of this community with a very long history are trying to articulate their experience on the boards, that should be attention worthy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Initially, I should note, HillJ, that I'm responding to you for three reasons. First, it's the lively part of the thread. And. Second, you are a bit of an exception for me as it took me a while to "hear" your voice, until you confessed that both Mr. & Mrs. Hill would post as the same 'hound. Third, I like you and we're local.*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That bein' said, over the years, I can "hear" a lot of the voices in the text I read. I spose I'm lucky, but I generally like folks and try to seek out the best in 'em. I spose it's also based on the fact that I have lived a life where I have encountered very little antagonism from strangers, as well as very little antipathy to my face. I guess there are some advantages to bein' the kinda guy I am.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nonetheless, as I have posted before, I think the time is close where we will actually be posting in our true voices. I mean, typing's a bitch sometimes and MP3s are easy to include in a discussion board like this. My ultimate question is (to the community): How do you feel about the idea that soon we will simply speak into our computers and the comments will be there for others to hear and respond to? Some anonymity will be lost, but it will certainly be more honest. (Perhaps, I should have started a new thread for this idea?).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Think about it, spelling won't matter. Inflection will exist. Accents will come across (as well as impersonations). I've been tryin' to imply such things with my writings for a bit now, but, I'd bet at least a few of you would like to hear my baritone with it's Jersey colloquialisms and soft California-like, stoner drawl.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    *OK, Fine, that may be four.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What a gentleman you are. I enjoyed everything you wrote. My husband and adult children no longer contribute to CH. So for the past year it's all J :).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As for the body of your post and the idea of voice relay I have a very specific reply: I'd rather just meet you. Face to face and experience our mutual chow-love over dinner. Voice relay would be one thing and one thing only for me: a tease.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        " My husband and adult children no longer contribute to CH. So for the past year it's all J :)."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Please pass along my apologies to whomever of the Hill clan I was actually originally arguing with a couple of years ago. I was under the impression it was just you posting under that name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I do not want school children reading about the Fowler-Hill feud when they should be reading about the Hatfield-McCoy feud.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We're a very grounded, healthy bunch Fowler. I don't recall a single issue with you and I'm no grudge holder (for the record).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm cool w/that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Now you should be able to hear "J" better when you read what she posts and I bet there will be less chance of a problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, JEEZ, I'll be one non stop bleeeeeeep if it comes to that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thank you. For years, I've been one of those expressing gratitude for moderation that accepts no interpersonal crap or flaming. Because I appreciate the higher degree of civility here than elsewhere online, the changes in moderation standards and growing inconsistencies concern me more than some others who don't appreciate or who openly dislike strict moderation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    <this board is so civil in comparison to most of the other boards out there in the intarwebs that there's actually a learning curve on toning down one's posts here.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is especially true of the Home Cooking board, I find. My local boards tend to get a bit more pissing-contesty, and the tone is definitely a little more opinionated/dismissive/snarky than Home Cooking. To me, anyway. I occasionally stray into the Washington, DC boards, but I find Home Cooking threads to be a bit friendlier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Home Cooking is a very friendly (and informative) place to hang out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Unless someone starts a thread in Home Cooking about boiling pork ribs, then the gloves come off ; )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LOL... the mitts, you mean?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I know that gets very animated, but I can't recall it getting nasty or flag worthy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've noticed for years now that more often than not, when folks have been discussing less than friendly interactions on CH, in the past it's most often been about their local boards or Not About Food...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think Home Cooking is usually pretty mellow, as you say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We're all too busy pouring ourselves another glass of wine and chopping mirepoix to really get all that bent out of shape. Usually, anyway. I think that's partly why when someone does venture to say, "Hey, [such and such] isn't working for me and I don't like it" the reactions can be quite mixed. I've been on both sides of the issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pouring ourselves a drink and relaxing over a nice meal sounds like just the ticket, care to join me mcf?! I'll warm up the car!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's a bit early here for a drink, but I think I need one now! ;-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pleased to join you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I promise not to drink until I get "there"....cheers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    mcf, you know they saying - "It's 5 o'clock *somewhere!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Number 1, NO, I am not talking about you or any particular individual, and I have included myself in one post as someone who's occasional snark has been left up, when in the past it would have come down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Two, I can't recall each instance, it's been a growing awareness on my part over months, as some others have said, too. I don't keep notes about it. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There's been no deliberate change on how we deal with personal attacks. There may be a change in the personal attacks themselves, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't have any hard numbers since we don't track this stuff, but I do have somewhat of a sense that there's more of what I'd call soft personal attacks happening recently -- comments that aren't overt attacks and might be sincere or might be sarcastic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We do our best to read the surrounding posts and the history of the users involved and make a judgement call on whether we're looking at a deliberate attack, or a response in kind to someone else's provocation, or whether it's an area we need to offer the poster some benefit of the doubt. We also consider whether the disagreement is continuing or seems to have been a flash followed by more reasonable responses, and how many reasonable responses would have to be taken down if we remove the problem. And in the end, it is a judgment call, not a bright line in the sand that we can promise to enforce exactly the same every time. Posters who have a history of blatant attacks will find these decisions going against them more often, while posters who've generally been friendly will get more benefit of the doubt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is also an impression more than something I can back up with numbers, but I feel like we're seeing an increase in the number of users who use Flagging to try to win an argument. Some posters are flagging people who vehemently disagree with them but keep the focus on the subject, rather than people who are actually attacking them personally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Snarkiness is not a form of discourse we encourage -- we wish everyone would approach conversations on Chowhound with friendly sincerity, even when they disagree. But it's also not as easy to moderate for as outright name-calling and obvious attacks. We do our best to strike a balance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And this is not directed at you, mcf, but we've noticed that a lot of the Flags we get about snarky postings come from people who indulge in more than a bit of snark themselves. We do what we can to clean up this stuff after the fact, but if 'hounds want the level of snark on the site lowered, the best thing they can do is to not make those posts themselves, not even in response to others who are doing it. That kind of tone feeds on itself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "And this is not directed at you, mcf, but we've noticed that a lot of the Flags we get about snarky postings come from people who indulge in more than a bit of snark themselves."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well, thanks for saying so, but there have been times where I've regretted my own contribution and flagged a post hoping/expecting my own to come down. And have been surprised and disappointed to see my post (and related others) stay up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I guess that means I'm possibly getting more benefit of the doubt than I think I want, for myself and those similarly engaged.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I appreciate your reply, and the thinking behind the way threads are being moderated but I have to say, things have changed, more testiness is allowed to stand than before, and i'm not the only one noting it. It sounds as if you're saying there's so much more of it that mods aren't getting to it all, but I think there's more of it because more is being tolerated than was in the past.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I understand both things can be true.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I also know that my own voice, very unlike my demeanor in real life, can come across as strident, even when my intent is to be helpful or informative, so I am one of those where knowing my history and intentions is beneficial and I appreciate it, and try to be aware of tone more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ETA: and I *totally* cop to letting one particularly persistently argumentative poster get under my skin at times, to the point where I think I've ended up flagging my own posts, when I should have hit that "ignore" button I've been begging for. I may have to grow one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. This whole thread reminds me of the Marvel Comics character Deadpool, who breaks the so-called "Fourth Wall" and starts talking about himself ... as a comic book character!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I wish I was still pursuing my graduate degree in Philosophy, this would make for a fascinating dissertation topic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There's plenty of material to go around, ips! Pursue, pursue! Then you can set up your comic book food avenger shingle and help us figure out life.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "...you can set up your comic book food avenger shingle..."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  He just may run into a copyright infringement suit from the lawyers representing "Montezuma" and his "revenge."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Careful folks, the mods might delete us for being off-topic on a thread about being off-topic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Exercébor, ergo cogito, ergo sum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As the OP, I would suggest someone quickly say something super nasty, to keep this relevant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pretty soon you're going to have to start a new 'nasty' thread because this one is rapidly approaching 300 posts....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (I was going to add something nasty, but I just couldn't do it.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hyacinthgirl


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think your existence on Chowhound is a waste of Internet bandwidth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (There, happy?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If by "happy" you mean "distraught, offended, crying miserably, barely able to breathe through the tears" then yes, totally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Y'know, I would like you so much more if you didn't have your own reserved, engraved table at Olive Garden.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh ipse, jealousy's not a good color on you, sweetie....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Always hilarious.Are you related to Woody Allen by any chance?:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No, he's only related to me. It's one of those "one way" relationships.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. people may bee a bit more honest in their posting these dys. Don't take to heart the comments that make u feel old.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Wish I could recommend an entire thread! Well done, folks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. In the immortal words of the late Rodney King..."Can we all just get along"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It would certainly make things easier if we cut each other some slack.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Folks, we think it's about time to draw this thread to a close, since it's now about approximately 4 different topics of various levels of friendliness and relevance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Plus, it's over 300 replies long, and we all know what that means ;)