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Release Notes Feb 13, 2014: New Posting Format (Workshops)

Hi everyone,

As of today's release, we have a new way of posting and participating on Chowhound. We're calling this new format "Workshops" as a way to differentiate these pages from regular Chowhound discussions, and it will allow users to share experiences and provide advice in a different structure. There are some similarities with regular Chowhound discussions, but I wanted to highlight some differences.

For the time being, this new 'Workshop' format is limited to the new Food Quests board. You can read more about this board here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/965018 So if you see a topic in Food Quests (or any discussion marked with the red lightbulb icon), you'll know it's a Workshop as opposed to a regular discussion.

Here are the main features that distinguish "Workshops" from regular "discussions"

1) Increased photo size in the original post. So if the original poster uploads at least one photo, it will appear full-size within the post.

2) Two levels of responses to the original post: Top-level posts, and lower-level comments.

3) Top-level posts can be voted up or down by all users and readers, including those who are not logged into the site. We have controls in place to limit voting, and these may continue to evolve. Voting is anonymous. The idea of the voting is to surface the most useful and helpful responses to the top.

4) The original poster can choose their favorite response by clicking a checkbox. If a response gets chosen, it will be displayed first regardless of how many votes it has, trumping any other responses. Otherwise, the Workshop will always be sorted by vote count of the top-level response.

5) Lower-level comments are text-only, and will appear in chronological order underneath their respective top-level post.

6) We're testing out some new strategies with moderation, and giving more power to users to self-moderate these Workshop posts. We're counting on users to up-vote helpful, useful, and thoughtful responses, and encouraging users to down-vote any responses that don't meet this criteria. We do still have a flag option in case there is blatant spam or truly problematic material, but we're encouraging users to only use this in extreme cases.

We are going to be continuing the development of this posting format, and will be refining and adjusting as we go. It will be very helpful to hear what users think about this posting experience, and I would encourage everyone to give it a try. Eventually, the plan is to roll out this workshop format as well as regular discussions across all boards, meaning that when you start a new discussion on any board, you'd have the option of choosing which type of discussion you want to start.

If you see any bugs with this new format, please report them here. If you have any feedback about the format, please let us know as well. We'll be announcing updates and changes here as well, so stay tuned.

Thanks very much,
Dave MP

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Maybe there's something wrong with my browser... that looks like half a red circle with a question mark, not a light bulb.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chris VR

      We're aware of some minor caching issues that are muddling up the images and are presently working on a quick fix. As a workaround, clearing your browser cache should resolve the issue and show the intended images. Our apologies for the mess in the mean time.

    2. I've experienced my first post to Food Quests. I used both comment boxes to experiment. So, I used the OP's reply box for a new comment and the comment directly under a specific CH post already made to reply to it directly.

      I don't understand the numbers/arrows and reference to voting though. Can you explain what I'm seeing and what the voting is for. Thanks.

      2 Replies
      1. re: HillJ

        Hi HillJ,

        We sent you an email but it bounced -- can you reach out to us from your current email address. Thanks!

        1. re: The Chowhound Team

          Will do later today, thanks!

          I hope you are able to answer some of the questions I had about the new Food Quest board for the benefit of all of us right here. Thanks again.

      2. I'm not a fan of the READ MORE required to fully open a comment if the post is too many characters. Is that necessary?

        And it takes some adjusting to realize the comment box is setup more like what we see @ CHOW than CH visually speaking.

        1 Reply
        1. re: HillJ

          Wait, so now CH's can generate a negative response to topics started by a CH who wants to discuss a food project? -2 and so on?

          I understand CH's having their own opinion about this new feature but, why in the world would you want a negative number throwing a potential audience from participating?

          This isn't a good idea.

        2. Lower comment typeface is way too small don't you think?

          1. So far, I find the voting component not only confusing to the food project but distracting to the input of comments and the positive nature of sharing ideas.

            Voting negative or positive so popular posts are given more 'air time' or potential attention is a very odd choice to me.

            And for the most part CH's I recognize as CHOW Staffers, CHOW writers and people part of the CH Team seem to be the ones populating the Food Quest board.

            1. Flagging a workshop post only gives the ability to request a removal of a post from the website.

              What about the ability to say that a workshop post should be moved to a regular CH board? An example: Buying home-churned butter at Sav-A-Lot. This isn't a "project" to make home-churned butter - it's about buying a product @ a stupidmarket that calls itself home-churned butter. It shouldn't be removed totally from the CH website; but it *should* be moved from the Food Quest board to a regular CH board.


              3 Replies
              1. re: LindaWhit

                For the time being, we're not really moving posts off of Food Quests, but we did leave a team post over on GT asking people to check that thread out so the poster gets more attention and possible answers.

                1. re: Jacquilynne

                  OK. But you also run the risk that people will incorrectly post on that board instead of for its intended purpose, as the initial post was.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    Absolutely. Food Quests - can we start a pool on how long it will be before someone posts there asking where to find the best hangover food in Hanover? Bad name for this concept.

              2. Note to Engineering as it relates to opening new comments in the Food Quest threads:

                When you click on the # of posts in your profile, it opens up the ENTIRE Food Quest link, so you have to scroll to find the new comments. It doesn't link to the newest post, as they do in the rest of Chowhound message boards.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Checking the Food Quest board again, now it does move to the first unread post.

                  But now that some of the threads have grown, previously read posts not collapsing makes for too much scrolling to read new content and navigate through the discussion. And this is with threads that only have 10 replies. I'll not be inclined to read, participate in, nor return to anything with more posts than that.

                  I'm not a fan of the small typeface for second level replies. It's especially tedious on my phone (as is the extra scrolling required). As the world shifts to mobile, I'd think this would be a big concern.

                  I am a fan of deeper threading and don't like the relatively flat layout.

                2. Congratulations for introducing this alternative format. C'Hound is such an amiable community (on balance!), and it's encouraging to see the designers resist inertia and test boundaries, transparent all the while.

                  That said, I am a little concerned about the duplex voting system. I used to be devoted to a site that employed the same regime [ http://stackexchange.com/sites# which I expect uses the same code as what's being introduced here ]. After some time there, it became clear that the anonymity that underlies the judging process serves as fertile ground -a goad, even- for all sorts of misanthropy. One of the nice things about the current C'Hound comment field is that the people who do recommend posts are identified (relatively); the new deal removes that last bit of positive accountability.

                  There's an ongoing CH thread asking the managers to enable a function to 'Ignore' other posters. It's hard to overstate how repellent I find that idea, but I can see a variation of that ugly underbelly of anonymity in this new standard. You say you're incorporating "new strategies with moderation, and giving more power to users to self-moderate these Workshop posts" but that reads as a kind of corporate 'blanc mange', and not reassuring to me.

                  Anyway, onwards and upwards. Good luck.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Phil Ogelos

                    On the FQ board, Burger Quest, I posted a comment which didn't relate to the project but attempted to answer a question about the feature. Now that comment has a -2 next to it. I flagged my own comment in the hopes that it will be removed.

                    I do not see the point of keeping a comment with a -2 vote attached to it in the project post.

                    Besides my own comment, there is another with a -21 votes. Who needs to read -21 votes next to a simple question to a new concept?

                  2. I inadvertently voted a reply down - it's actually a reply I like a lot. Is there any way to undo my vote?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Billy33

                      I just did the same thing . . . 3 times. Could not figure out how to "undo" it

                    2. While reading the Food Quest entries today I noticed the same CH created two FQ both entitled Dehydrating. For the purpose of understanding how FQ's are posted, is it necessary to create a new project by the same CH using the same title/project idea? What would be the reason for doing so?

                      5 Replies
                        1. re: greygarious

                          I'm not understanding your witticism, grey; can you explain it, please?

                          EDIT: something to do with bigamy, maybe?

                          1. re: Phil Ogelos

                            Yes. The OP's user name is Mortswife. If he had only one wife, logically she'd have added her next post about dehydrating to her initial one. So I was joking that the duplicate topic must have come from one of Mort's other wives.

                            1. re: greygarious

                              gotcha; thanks.

                              (Although the OP's name reads as "Dave MP" on my screen; still, a pillar of salt can also dehydrate, no?

                              1. re: Phil Ogelos

                                I'm pretty sure greygarious means the OP in the double posts on the Food Quest board.