Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Site Talk >
Apr 14, 2013 12:07 PM

Isn't it time we stopped permitting certain topics?


I vote that anything related to tipping, the psychological issues of family members/guests, or "is this safe to eat" no longer be permitted. They add nothing useful, might prove to be dangerous, and waste space that could be devoted to good eats.

  1. Respectfully disagree. The tipping thread that I started recently was very useful (at least to me).

    And it's not like there's a finite amount of "space" that has to be shared. If I come across threads that I think are foolish (and there are many), I simply don't read them.

    47 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      No sweat. I spose folks find some use in them, but I think that the tipping threads are all the same, there's nothing that hasn't been said, and they lead nowhere in the end.

      1. re: MGZ

        Yes but just because there is nothing new to you doesn't mean it's not new to someone else. Your age is showing. Do you not think there are people just starting out?

        The answer to not to force others to bend to your will. The answer is to stop reading topics that don't interest you or that you find irrelevant.

        If you find it truly abhorrent, wasteful, stupid or distasteful why not start your own board and lay out the rules that you want? You could have a food board that bans all talk of things you think "add nothing", "waste space" and are potentially "dangerous".

        It is like the posters who cant stand the WFD threads or the COTM ones and want everyone else to change what is working for the majority. Why spend all the time and energy trying to force people do it your way? Either be the change you want to be- ie: don't participate in threads you don't like or start your own board where you can make the rules.

        1. re: foodieX2

          foodieX2, Calm down, good point on people starting out and whats new to other people. But why so harsh, "age is showing" "start your own site" Way over the top! You probably should know that in any debate, argument hyperbole losses you both respect and interest of others in your position.

          1. re: Edwardrae

            I spose that's kinda the point. If someone has a question about tipping, for example, shouldn't the history of the Site provide the starting point? I mean, every time some junior 'hound has an old question, should we rehash an old debate (with the predictable outcome), or should they bear some responsibility to have searched first?

            1. re: MGZ

              But *you* don't have to rehash it. You can skip right past it. If it has been done to death to you just move on.

              Searching only gets a poster so far. Case in point I did a search recently and the only posts were from 2008 and 2010. I read them and then asked questions about what I had read and was taken to task that the places I was asking about contradicted my query. I ended up changing my query, leaving out the info I found in my searches, and got a lot more answers.

              Personally the "can I eat this" threads crack me up as there are always the same three/four answers. Sometime I jump in but most of the time I just ignore it. Life is too short.

              1. re: MGZ

                The search function on this site is not good enough that I feel I can truly depend on it for info from past threads. Besides, someone new might say something interesting.

                Something more important to me would be the ability to delete threads on my profile page should I so desire. I find myself not answering questions I know the answer to because my sole interest is to answer the question, not have the thread follow me around infinitely.

                1. re: Jay F

                  I totally agree about the search function. I rarely have any luck using it...either I get nothing or I get hundreds of threads to look at. If there are tricks to having successful search results, I would love to know what they are.

                  1. re: jlhinwa

                    Several people have recommended just doing a Google search with 'Chowhound' in the phrase, along with your search term. I've found that it works pretty well.

                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                      jmcarthur8, thank you! I just tried doing a few random searches that way and it worked really well! Odd that doing a google search outside of CH nets better results than searching on the CH site itself.

                2. re: MGZ

                  Well...actually I don't mind hearing other perspectives. There are regional and personal differences that can surprise.

                  Also--conventional wisdom re what is or is not acceptable or appropriate changes over time. For instance, in what seems a relatively short period of time, tipping 'norms' have gone from 15 to 20 to even 25 percent. Seeing how social mores/norms morph is interesting to me.

                3. re: Edwardrae

                  It wasn't hyperbole. Our age does show when we say a topic has no use because its been "done to death" and there is nothing to learn from it. In my many years there are a number of subjects that I feel have no use to me anymore but I am not so old to know that to my twenty something nieces the subjects are new. I am not going to get any where by telling them to stop asking questions.

                  If the new site comment sounds harsh I apologize. Its just why change what is clearly working? Why try to impose rules just because you don't like something? Especially when what teh OP doesn't like can easily be avoided.

                  Jim Leff imposed his rules when he started this site. It was his site and he did what he wanted. The internet is a big place and there is always room for new ventures. I am not going to try to force an entire online community to stop talking about something just because I don't like it. If I don't like something I can either avoid it, not participate or create my own. if thats harsh, I am sorry.

                  1. re: foodieX2

                    "I am not going to try to force an entire online community to stop talking about something just because I don't like it."

                    As I have explicitly noted, several times, we should try to read other's posts in "their" voice. To that end, I even try to imply some elements of my "voice" in the way I post. With that in mind, I ask you to note that I had no intention of trying to "force" our community to stop talkin' about anything. I've simply observed, over the years, the redundancy, futility, and, possible liability* that seems to arise from certain types of threads.

                    Consequently, I started this discussion. As you are aware, we are a community. My intention was to suggest some ideas that I thought would be good for us to consider. Even if there is no prohibition on discussions about psychological problems, maybe a few folks now realize that it's probably not worth contributing to, and, more importantly, can see what they really are about.

                    Clearly, the Mods understand that having the 'hounds "talk" about our scope is relevant. Hell, look at how many boards there are now - and they continue to grow. Over time, it has been a rough consensus formed through the dialectic that has led to the present state of the Site. Jim (with Bob) may have opened a portal, but now it's up to all of us to figure out how to navigate into the future.

                    "If I don't like something I can either avoid it, not participate or create my own."

                    The other option is to participate in a way that helps benefit the community.** I rarely read threads on "tipping", but I am a part of this community. If I have an interest in it's overall focus, I will express it. That is our prerogative as 'hounds. If I think I can help make folks think about what goes on here, then I will.

                    As I've "said", I started this thread to open thoughts and conversation. I am glad that you chose to offer your ideas. They have helped to fuel this entire thing. Frankly, I've enjoyed "listenin'".

                    So you know, I frequently avoid threads that Jim has labeled "chatty" and didn't useta to tolerate much. Nonetheless, I sometimes "check in" and see how redundant and potentially dangerous they can be. As discussed, I'm a "Magic House" guy. I realize my opinions are worth sh*t when it comes to food safety, or, honestly, safety in general.

                    "[I]f that[']s harsh, I am sorry."

                    No sweat. It's kinda funny. Bein' the kinda guy I am, I actually really enjoy hearing from other 'hounds who can't see me when they communicate. I seem to get much more honest interactions.

                    * The Site's lawyers have forbidden discussion of using pot as an ingredient, but they're cool with a guy like me sayin' that it's OK to eat chili that sat on the counter all night to someone who might be significantly more feeble.

                    ** Believe it or not, some of us "old" 'hounds do have some wisdom that may be of use.

                    1. re: MGZ

                      I think you are overlooking the fact that this site wants to attract more eyes to boost its attractiveness to advertisers. In the case of threads like tipping one can clearly discern how popular they are by the sheer volume of posts they attract. But advertisers are also famously conservative, and I have the distinct impression that a board discussing cooking with marijuana would probably be counter productive to the site attracting more advertising from the mainstream business community, (at least at the present time).

                      1. re: Servorg

                        You're probably right, Servorg. I'm a pretty solid existentialist, an eager transcendentalist, and an open-minded socialist. I, however, am a really sh*tty capitalist and tend not to see things that way without prompting. I'd bet, however, when weed, inevitably, becomes legal, the advertisers on this Site and the food industrial complex jump on ways to make big money off of cookin' with it. Hell, I even predict that the Food Network (or, whatever it's called) have a "cookin' with pot" show on the air someday.

                        1. re: MGZ

                          And I dearly hope you'll be the one hosting it :-D

                          1. re: linguafood

                            Well, I have no tattoos, cut my hair off a coupla years ago, and look more like a linebacker than a bass player. When FoodTV, found that out, they wanted to know if I could simply produce.

                          2. re: MGZ

                            Hi, MGZ:

                            I live in Washington, where weed IS now legal under our law (and under federal law by virtue of the 10th Amendment). By the end of 2013, we will have a 3-tier system--well-regulated and taxed--of growers, processors and retailers. The "capitalists" are falling all over themselves to get an early "in" on this.

                            Despite weed's present legality here (and inexorable expansion across the country), the Mods deleted a thread I started on the Spirits board about subbing THC tincture for Agostura bitters in mixing Old Fashioneds. They're still really touchy on the subject.

                            There are already weed-based cookbooks available. But I've yet to see a recipe that reads like it would taste good.


                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              Folks, it's fine to talk about the fact that we have a rule against discussing using marijuana in food (though that isn't going to change as a result of this discussion), but a number of replies here are venturing over into actually discussing using marijuana in food, and this thread can't act as a stand-in for the threads we've removed.

                        2. re: MGZ

                          When deciding the appropriate tip for a buffet do you use the same calculation for a brunch?

                          1. re: MGZ

                            I am certain you will correct me if I am wrong but isn't medicinal marijuana possession considered a federal offense? Regardless of the script written by a physician and the diagnosis to support the script? All of the dispensaries here in the N. California county I reside in have more or less closed voluntarily to avoid federal prosecution.( That ain't stopping nobody!!!!!!). I am an RN by profession so my stance is 100% supportive for the use of medical marijuana. Recipes on Chowhound? Not so much. There are more effective ways of delivery into the system than ingesting P.O. (by mouth).

                      2. re: foodieX2

                        Hey, I'm just opening the avenue for a conversation. I'm inviting opinions, like yours, and appreciate them. I am honestly curious about whether we should continue to debate things like food safety and if it's appropriate to suggest to folks that we know what we're talking about. I mean, I'm cool eating stuff that sat out all night, but that's 'cause in my fortysome years I've learned somethin' about my personal constitution.

                        As to WFD and COTM, the participants are a fraction of the 'hounds on this Site.

                        1. re: MGZ

                          As someone who has only read post relating to restaurants in specific geographic areas in the US and abroad (for a good number of years) and never to the time to look at other categories, I probably would agree with you that most 'hounds don't participate in WFD and COTM on this site. And as one of those 'hounds, I'd very much like to know what WFD and COTM are. I looked at the possible categories and must admit that I couldn't figure this out on my own. So please, even if this is "rehashing" spmething that has been discussed at length before, tell me what it is you are talking about! Thanks...and BTW - the reason I clicked on this thread was that I recognized MGZ from the New Jersey board and was curious to see the responses to the original post.

                          1. re: zidecar

                            WFD=What's for Dinner
                            COTM=Cookbook of the Month

                            1. re: jlhinwa

                              WFD (to which I contribute) and COTM (to which I don't) are not contraversial threads. Readers know exactly what they are and can choose to open them or not. The disputes WFD has had over the time have really been amongst the regular contributors who have liked/not liked shifts in emphasis of the ongoing threads.

                            2. re: zidecar

                              You can find both of these threads (as defined by jihnwa) on the Home Cooking board.

                              1. re: zidecar

                                The Home Cooking board is its own world that could, and probably should, exist outside of Chowhoud. As for the rest of this discussion, I've had my fill of tipping threads as well as all the other usual stuff, but I choose to ignore them, What people want to discuss is their choice and it's my choice not to participate in what I find to be futile or aggravating threads.

                                1. re: SnackHappy

                                  <The Home Cooking board is its own world that could, and probably should, exist outside of Chowhound.>

                                  Why? And where would it go?

                                  1. re: Jay F

                                    There are a few reasons I can think of. Home Cooking was not part of the original CH mandate, but that goes for a bunch of other boards that people use and appreciate. Home Cooking has its own way of doing things and its own feel. People are much chattier there and no one has a problem with that. Home Cooking is also big enough that it could exist on its own. I reckon that a Home Cooking board, that could also include Cookware, Vegan & Vegetarian and Special Diets, independent of CH and presented as All-cooking, all-the-time would probably attract more people and be more useful to Home Cooking users. But that's just me.

                                    1. re: SnackHappy

                                      If you want to enjoy CH's prize rose, you have to endure the thorns, too.

                                      1. re: SnackHappy

                                        With different owners, Chowhound evolved beyond its original, narrow focus. There is no reason to break up the Chowhound of 2013 just because it no longer has the narrow focus that meets your narrow expectations.

                                        Just as people can choose to avoid threads they deem to be repetitive, you can choose to avoid the Home Cooking category, the Cookware category, or anything outside of the geographical categories.

                                        1. re: John E.

                                          Yeah well, I didn't say the opposite.

                                        2. re: SnackHappy

                                          If you don't like HC (or whatever), why don't you just ignore it. Things can get Balkanized to a point where they fail to function.

                                          I don't want to have to go to this subsection, then that subsection, then back out and go to one of the other subsections of the first subsection, etc.

                                          I like being presented with all the threads with new posts when I get here. Then I can make choices. I just did a refresh, and I see there are 5 threads I want to read, 45 I don't. So I'm going to read the five I like, and ignore the rest.

                                          And another thing: I find out a lot of things unintentionally when I'm exposed to them here.

                                            1. re: Jay F

                                              yes Jay, this is why I prefer non-filtered searches, I want to be a little de-railed as sometimes one stumbles on the silliest, most fascinating things you'd never find otherwise. life's more fun with random elements of absurdity.

                                            2. re: SnackHappy

                                              Hmmm I detect an agenda of overt segregation from you. I am not amused.

                                          1. re: SnackHappy

                                            What could be more chowish than cooking at home? I love the fact that this site encompasses everything food-wise. That's what makes it interesting to me. If it were just restaurant reviews, I wouldn't check in here so often.

                                            1. re: justalex

                                              Well, if it were only about recipes, tipping and your favourite childhood foods I would never come here either. Fortunately, we both find what we want here. What I was saying was that I believe that Home Cooking is big enough and different enough from the rest of CH that it could be spun-off and that it could even be beneficial to its users.

                                              I don't know why I'm getting so much grief for that statement.

                                              1. re: SnackHappy

                                                It might be because a large group of CH users very much like the whole community that includes the best places to shop, eat out, and feed ourselves at home. You just might be in the minority that cooking at home is "different enough from the rest of CH."
                                                That's why you are getting grief.

                                                1. re: Terrie H.

                                                  Fair enough, maybe I'm part of a minority who see CH as place to exchange tips about where to find great food. I actually enjoy cooking at home and that's where I eat about 90% of my meals. I just don't like talking about it on CH so much. And I never said "cooking at home is "different enough from the rest of CH." I was talking about the Home Cooking board and a couple of others having a different tone and feel. Many people post almost exclusively on Home Cooking, Cookware and a few other topical boards.

                                                  But whatever people want to do is fine with me. I don't need to approve of everything that gets written on this site. I reckon I must only read 1% or 2% of what gets written here. Why should I care about what the 98% is?

                                                  And I'm not arguing for a spin-off of Home Cooking. I'm just saying it could be done.

                                                  1. re: SnackHappy

                                                    There we go. You are on this site to "find great food" and you use it to find restaurants. Many of us do the same and want to be able to do it at home. Find your restaurant knowledge and avoid the Home Cooking board.

                                                2. re: SnackHappy

                                                  You're getting grief because you want to see the rest of us "spun off". Your words.

                                                  So in your world, this site should only be about restaurant reviews?

                                                  1. re: justalex

                                                    No, I don't. How many times do I have to write it for you guys to get off my back?

                                          2. re: MGZ

                                            As far as *not* allowing certain subjects that sounds a bit too authoritarian and punitive.

                                            1. re: Lillipop

                                              But there are subjects that are not allowed on Chowhound. A recent example was when someone wanted to discuss cooking with medical marijuana and their thread got taken down.

                                              1. re: SnackHappy

                                                I might be incorrect but medicinal marijuana possession is still considered an illegal federal offense. If that is the case then CH might be wise in censoring a *cooking with medical marijuana* thread.....pandering to illicit activities is a liability for them:)

                                          3. re: foodieX2

                                            I agree with foodieX2. Why can't we merely ignore the threads that bore us?

                                            I often see posts saying "We discussed this already -- see link xyz"... and that makes me think: what if I asked a friend, for example, about the Yankees' prospects this year and he merely referred me to a discussion he had previously with others. I'd be quite put out... because the point was more about the discussion than what others might believe. Of course, I can understand merely referring to a previous thread if someone is asking for strictly factual information rather than for a discussion.

                                      2. I think these threads have a place on CH, particularly since they are almost always on the NAF board.

                                        Sure, there are a lot of things hashed to death but there is also useful information.

                                        As an example, I have always been conscientious about being a generous tipper, however it never occurred to me to tip on take out. Having read threads discussing the pros and cons, and getting an education on what it's like to prepare takeout from the restaurant's perspective, I have changed my ways. I am embarrassed that I never got it before and am thankful for the education i have received here.

                                        1. I have gained valuable insight into human nature from the friends and family threads. And I myself have posted a "is it safe to eat" question at one time.

                                          Unless something is offensive I don't think it should not be permitted.

                                          1. If I come across a thread that annoys me I avoid it. What I would rather have is the ability to delete a thread on which I have posted from my profile if I just want it to go away.

                                            1. THIS QUESTION -- the rehash of topics, is why I posted
                                              to Site Talk.

                                              I want NEWWWWW answers. I've been looking for an ethnic dish in my area, and I've been pointed to a thread that's 350+ and started in 2008.
                                              Well, I really, Really, REALLY don't want to wade through all of that, particularly when a sub-part is comparing two restaurants, one of which doesn't even exist.

                                              I like the "rehash." It's fresher and better than piling on to established threads. Once one reaches the 200 replies mark, it gets difficult to absorb all at once.

                                              And, when it's a topic about which ~I~ am tired, I skip it.

                                              EDIT: CH Search isn't really that great, so even if people look before they post, they might not always discover that their topic has been covered. Repeatedly.