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Food Quests Board

I'm having some trouble with this so far...

A) The layout is interesting, kind of like the StackExchange sites, which is cool. But it need some work. If there is a "new" message since my last visit, there is no indicator (that I've noticed, at least) to quickly draw my eye there. And nothing is collapsed. So I have to basically re-read everything. Not good.

B) When replying to a comment, the text box is only big enough to accommodate a single line of text! Yes, I can expand it, but come on. Pre-size it a bit larger. Please.

C) Moderation is going to be necessary. The thread today on some butter brand is not going to be uncommon. Please police and move stuff out of there quickly. You'll almost NEVER see me asking for more moderation, but this is one case where -- at least early on, until things get established -- it will be quite helpful.

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  1. Just my 2 cents. Why a difference between replies and comments. And what's up with the -19 on c.oliver's post? Does that mean that 19 people agree with her post or against the original topic? Frankly, I found it quite confusing and doubt I'll be back.

    27 Replies
    1. re: miss_belle

      The 19 negatives are that people are voting her comment to the bottom of the list because it is not helpful.

      That is what the votes are for, that is the point. To push comments up and down, so the comments viewed by the community as "most helpful" will always be on the top.

      1. re: sedimental

        Thanks for the explanation. I don't care for the sounds of that. Hope it's not the wave of the future here.

        1. re: sedimental

          If most helpful and not helpful are going to be a part of the communication practices on FQ that's taking the Recommend button to another level (imvho) and not in a good way. Tell me how rec'ing a negative number on your post is going to keep you engaged and participating in a discussion?

          And if Mods aren't going to be overseeing FQ (as mentioned by DaveMP) nearly as much as the other boards this means that members are self-moderating one another. Do you think that concept can be used as intended?

          I agree w/ miss b, I hope this new voting feature is not a sign of things to come or a new form of moderation. I find the voting concept a distraction and playing favorites.

          1. re: HillJ

            From what I read, the intent is different on these threads. They are workshops, not discussion. Did you read the introduction about them? I think you are missing the point of this.
            These are about *learning*, not discussions. The OP can choose this format instead of a having a regular discussion style thread.

            The OP can choose which answer is the most helpful to them. If it is chosen (checked) it stays on the top, no matter what the community says via votes. The responses will then be sorted by:
            1. The value of the info to the OP
            2.the value of the info by the rest of the community
            3. Discussions or value not as relevant to either, but helpful
            4. The last posts would be none of the above.

            It is actually a cool concept, IMO.
            Will be really great for topics about techniques.

            1. re: sedimental

              If voting cause replies to move up or down on the page, then the fact that already-read replies aren't collapsed will mean much rereading (per the OP's point "A," above). Very not good.

              1. re: meatme

                Yes. It still needs some work.

                I think the ones already read should be marked somehow.

                1. re: sedimental

                  And it would be nicer if the lower comment box was a bigger font size. The # of characters in a comment box didn't require READ to complete reading and that all comments could be listed at one time. I find the layout rough. Hope it's tweaked a bit.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    Yeah. Too small on my tablet.

                    Or even a different font or color for side discussions underneath a post. It is hard to tell what has been read on those.

              2. re: sedimental

                hi sed, I read both posts announcing this new board. Not every question regarding this feature was answered. I also tested out FQ.

                I would say that part of learning is discussing. And questions about how this feature is going to be applied is also learning.

                The big difference btwn FQ and any board OP is that the OP does run the topic (project) and the respondents judge the replies by voting relevance and helpfulness.

                So if I ask a question I'll quickly learn I'm not on task, I'm not relevant to the topic and I'll go on my merry way. Have I got that about right?

                1. re: HillJ

                  Maybe. If you ask a question, it can still be answered by anyone there. But, your question might not be pushed to the top if it is not on task. Meaning...if you are the only one that cares about it, it will still be answered, but it won't be at the top.

                  1. re: sedimental

                    I'm not opposed to the concept of food projects. I like the idea. I'm not against staying on topic although the natural flow of CH discussions has always included the sub-topic that ebbs and flows. What has me surprised is the inclusion of the voting component. That process takes a main comment and it's own followers in and out of the loop depending on how the conversation goes. Top, middle, bottom discussions-is there going to be a written test at the end of the project to see who followed along?

                    Forgive me, I think the voting is distracting from the project opportunity.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      I like the voting myself. I think it remains to be seen if the community uses it responsibly. That is what was termed as "self moderating" about this style. If the community pushes funny posts or snotty posts to the top because they "like it" then the learning workshop aspect will be trashed.

                      I hope the adults reign ....and it works.

                      1. re: sedimental

                        This is an adult community. Chowhound behavior is not controlled by self moderation without fallout. There are dozens of CH's who left over less public moderation.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          I am not sure what you mean? You mean to say that if a posters answer is not ranked at the top, they will get mad and leave the site?
                          If that is true then maybe they are here for the wrong reasons, or maybe they should not participate in the workshop section.

                          1. re: sedimental

                            No I'm suggesting two separate observations...maybe 3.

                            -posters will leave the Food Quest for lack of inclusion due to voting made by others that resulted in their comment being negatively rated or falling down the thread list. Site Topics has already seen its share of questions regarding popularity and special treatment. The FQ concept takes those albeit minor complaints and says, VOTE for your favorite.

                            -i'm suggesting that the voting while anonymous is still publicly viewed and includes votes by non-registered CH's.

                            -i'm suggesting that when CH's have felt the website has let them down for any # of reasons they have given up and left.

                            If the point of any feature on this site is to make members feel included and welcomed, I'm not sure a voting component like this one addresses that idea.

                            2 cents.

                            1. re: HillJ


                              My 2 cents would be to suggest those posters with fragile ego's about their opinions,advice and experiences stay away from the FQ board. Because it seems like the goal of the workshop style is to inform and nothing else. Ego needs to go away if you really and truly want to be helpful.

                              I suspect that will be a problem for some posters here. I would hope that those posters would remain on the discussion side. It should be easy enough to stay away from the FQ board.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                According to Dave MP: 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.


              3. re: sedimental

                And rather than explain or reply to c-o question about a brand new feature, a negative 19 votes is suppose to let c-o know the question isn't helpful to the post/thread. That's rude. On any other CH board someone else would come along and write a comment explaining the feature.

                So, now I'll wonder who those 19 people are....
                That's distracting from the topic.

                1. re: HillJ

                  It's Chow's implementation of the much-requested "ignore" feature, only the results are, in a way, made public.

                  1. re: meatme

                    I do agree. The FQ is very CHOW-ish in nature with the added feature of being very direct too. Stay on task or don't bother joining. What if you have a related question that could be part of the project discussed? Do you wait to see if the responders by vote will accept or ignore you?

                    1. re: HillJ

                      It is not a popularity contest for the poster, but it IS a popularity contest for the answer.

                      The goal is a workshop that teaches something. To put the best information on the "first page of the book". You don't have to wade through side conversations if you don't want to.

                      1. re: sedimental

                        Oh you can include the poster posting the project too because the overall comments are also calculated in the main page (by # of total replies & comments).

                        I'll stop picking over the bones of this new feature now and of course participation will speak volumes louder than I can.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          I think bone picking is a good thing. I bet new ideas will spring up as a result of discussing it.

                          I can really see this format working for topics on specifics of a food quest like pickling, fermenting, dough shaping techniques, making dumplings,etc. I bet that the more specific the better. Like "making Asian style pork dumplings" tips, tricks, recipes....would be better for this format than "How do I make dumplings".

                          Specificity in the OP will solicit targeted responses that will be easier to rank as most helpful. Well, that is my guess anyway.

                          1. re: sedimental

                            Then, I'll look forward to reading your future Food Quests, sedimental.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              I know!

                              I have been thinking about how to use this :)

                              Maybe let some bugs work out first.

                              1. re: sedimental

                                What bugs. The FQ has launched and CHOW staffers have kicked off the board with several projects so far. Irregardless of what minor issues have been reported here, the board is good to go!

                                What would your ideal food project entail?

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  I am hoping that they change the font size or color somehow. I can't see it so well on my tablet without glasses. Sometimes they fix things like that quickly. It isn't a deal breaker for me to use it, but it is a bit of a bother.

                                  I don't know what it would entail yet. I ferment a lot. I think a specific fermenting workshop would be nice. Or maybe a workshop on a specific food in a specific cuisine....or something on one like: baked egg rolls...lighter, healthier ideas and options. It takes some practice to make them really well. I dunno.

            2. Obviously, the butter thread is in the wrong place but the admins posted that at this time they are not going to relocate Food Quests threads that belong on other boards.

              1 Reply
              1. re: greygarious

                Which seems less than ideal to get people acclimated to what this new board is for. Let's take a big concept board and confuse everyone by not moderating. I smell chaos.

              2. In the post announcing the new feature I wrote a number of comments asking about Food Quests, including: the number of characters allowed in a comment box, the need to hit the READ button to follow an entire comment as written, the tiny font size, the need to open all to read all the comments under one main post when you haven't read them all yet, the voting option and what exactly is meant by Food Quest projects. So far, the people populating the main project under Food Quests are folks working for CHOW. And to my eyes this board looks very much like the set up recently designed for the column Pet Peeves over at CHOW without the voting option.

                My interpretation of the 19 negative votes to c.oliver's post is 19 people are asking how is this Food Quest topic different than any of OP already posted on CH.

                Just my usual nickel worth of initial questions.

                1. I think this has potential. It will cut out all the chit chat and move the "meat" of the subjects up to the top. This will be great for people that want technical support :)

                  1. I guess I don't understand why the Food Quests Board is structured differently than every other CH board. And after reading through far too many posts on this board, I STILL don't understand what it's supposed to be -- and what it is not.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: CindyJ

                      I suspect the Quest board is meant to be less chatty and be more practically relevant.

                      1. re: CindyJ

                        Wow, I don't understand why this is a hard concept. Maybe because it is virtual?
                        If you sit around and drink wine with your friends and talk about pasta...you are having a discussion. If you attend a workshop on pasta, it is targeted toward learning something -you don't sit around and "just talk". They are different. This is just a virtual way of doing both. You really don't see a difference?

                        BTW, I am not being snotty, just really curious as to the confusion. Maybe because you have never attended an online workshop before? Or an online class?

                        1. re: sedimental

                          Wow, have a little patience. It's a new idea; a brand new feature. I've attended online workshops and setup online classes for the small hotel industry and I had plenty of questions and remarks about FQ.

                          Secondly, neither workshops or classes ever involved participants voting on each other over the contributions made. This isn't a survey is it? What in the world does voting offer? We all can read the discussion and follow along without first deciding what is relevant and what isn't by numerical vote.

                          But I'm surprised that you would question why any one would have questions about a new feature when this is exactly what happens when new features and requests for new features are offered and/or discussed on CH/CHOW.

                          1. re: HillJ

                            Lol. I am trying to encourage others to have a little patience!
                            It is brand new. It is different. It feels like I am the only one here thinking it might be fun and interesting! Maybe it is okay that it is not just another discussion format.

                            I haven't made up my mind about it yet. I see that it could be really cool. I guess I see the possibilities of it and hope that hounds give it a chance before dismissing it as too different.

                            I truly don't understand some of the comments about it being so personal, like self esteem is riding on votes going up or down. I am trying to encourage people to not think of it that way and to see that it could be a cool learning thing.

                            I think questions are good.

                            1. re: sedimental

                              Then you missed everything I've said and only focused on my concerns. I've already said several hours ago that I wasn't anti FQ. I like the concept.

                              What I don't like I've stated. No harm in asking questions, questions are good-okay, then don't worry that I have one or two and that I'm not sold on the voting.

                              I didn't say I didn't like the concept. Funny, how we only notice the problems and can't recognize a compliment when it (actually) comes along, huh?!

                              1. re: HillJ

                                I am responding to posters that say they "do not understand" why the format is different (cindyJ) and some that see the voting part as useless and negative and seem to view it as a personal comment on each poster (several).

                                That is not the intention according to Chow. I feel like I am clear about all of those issues. I have been involved in online workshops that had a similar voting concept for issues presented for discussions. I was just trying to explain it in a different way so that it might help if some were still unclear.

                                I am sure some people will hate it and some will love it. It may or may not survive. I understand why the voting is important to this concept. I am not sure I like it here yet, but at least I *DO* understand it.

                                1. re: sedimental

                                  Okay, I appreciate the time you've spent discussing this with me.

                                  But, I'd like the CH Team to return and pass along some insight, they designed the new board. I have a different interpretation and different online workshop experience than you do, than perhaps other people do too but, this concept is for CH-so why not just provide some insight and feedback to the questions that have come up already?

                                  FWIW, the FQ board has been quiet for hours. No new projects listed since the CHOW staff populated seven new projects. Some comments but nothing more than a few tips for two out of the seven. Maybe more information is needed.

                      2. I think if you aren't signed into this site you shouldn't be able to vote. But apparently that's not the case.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: miss_belle

                          Gotta say, I don't get the point of that either. Complete anonymity from people who don't otherwise participate and they can decide whether or not a contribution is worthy? I'd be concerned about the integrity of the vote, making it considerably less helpful and reliable to me. Am I missing something here?

                        2. I vote "Down" - anonymously.

                          1. I agree with miss_belle, JoanN,and MGZ. Anonymous voting has no business here or anywhere. Why allow those who have never contributed to the site be allowed to vote?
                            They are nonparticipating members. That should include voting.

                            I don't agree with two-level responses. Serious discussion about food, restaurants, and related subjects has been the premise here from day one. Either Chow and Chowhound are social media or not. It can't be both. I'm beginning to think that perhaps the moderators want less involvement?

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Gio

                              You should and could have included me, Gio regarding the voting on FQ. And, I'd welcome a definitive response on whether or not CH IS social media. This question has come up in relation to using FB for CH social interaction and keeping on topic only on CH of late and I find that concept confusing. Robotic even.

                              If I am understanding this board, Food Quests serves to act like a self moderated workshop space to discuss a CH's food project. Participants offer tips and exchange ideas. Why it's necessary to isolate these projects in a separate space I don't understand but I'm completely surprised by the anonymous voting feature.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                To me that is not confusing. For me FB keeps one connected to far-flung family members, RL friends, Guild/association/organization members, and other folk I met on line through a music forum and with whom I have attended concerts.

                                Chowhound is an on-line community of like minded people who share and discuss food elated topics. It's a single focused group.

                                ETA: I can see even that response can be misleading. I distinguish one social medium group from another by separating a multi-inclusive social interaction from a single focused one.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  I agree in part. But I've read CH'ers who use FB for interacting with CH's they've met on this site who wish FB to be the interaction space and CH to be food only discussion. So is the interaction that comes up btwn CHers on CH wrong to engage in? Is CH social media? My definition is online community and that is certainly what CH is.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    "So is the interaction that comes up btwn CHers on CH wrong to engage in?"
                                    A: Of course not.

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      When the OT chit chat completely takes over a thread it is no longer a food-focused board, but a few people's playground, which takes away from others' experience.

                                      I really do wish they'd take their personal & psychological issues elsewhere -- like FB.

                                    2. re: Gio

                                      Thanks Gio I appreciate your perspective. You interact on all sorts of threads on HCooking that lead to discussions both on and off the OP with such class and friendliness. Your reply is most helpful.

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        Thank you HillJ. I only speak for myself and sometimes too dictatorialy, I acknowledge.... But that's how I am and mean no offense to anyone. I really do try to understand what is going on but I'm so used to being "in charge" that I sometimes forget that an on-line community is different than a group in a classroom. I ought to remember to back off and let others voice their concerns when on-line.

                                2. I find the concept interesting, but the name problematic. Perhaps "projects" would be a more appropriate name than "quests"? A quest sounds, to me, like a seek-and-find mission...like going out on a quest to find the best croissant in Paris. That's a topic that is better addressed in the normal discussion format, as it is more exploratory and open for debate. If the idea is to collect information or tips with less discussion, there has to be a better way to get that idea across.

                                  I also agree with d_sq_p that it's pretty much going to be impossible to find new posts when these workshops start to get bigger, since the voting is likely to change both the content and the organization each time you open the thread.

                                  1. I'm sure this is covered in this post somewhere, but it seems odd that you can vote your own post up or down.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. There is some mean spirited voting going on over there. Very unfriendly place.

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: miss_belle

                                        I really think lots of people are down-voting to indicate feelings about the format, until ALL comments and replies are hidden.
                                        Unlike boards with vibrant discussions, where sometimes there is real conflict!
                                        FQ is like the "lobby" for CH- occasionally someone in the party checks the entryway and either drags the poster to a genuinely helpful board or gets huffy because the person hasn't ventured in yet.

                                        1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                          I felt bad for the long time posters who posted there in good faith with advice that was actually helpful and on point. Only to be down voted for no "good" reason. Spiteful behavior if you ask me.

                                          1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                            I think people are doing exactly what you're describing and that those people should be identified by the mods and dealt with.

                                            That said, I don't think that would be enough to save this failed experiment. I think the board, or at least its format, should be discontinued. If the site owners are really dead set on having a "just the facts, no discussion" kind of board they should set up a board with the normal format and post more stringent rules and enforce moderation more robustly. I think the posters here are mature enough to deal with that and I *know* the mods are up to the task.

                                          2. re: miss_belle

                                            Yes, I've been voted "down" by a number of people for comments pointing out that FQ is not the correct board for an inquiry and that the OP would be better off posting on X (HC or a regional board).

                                            Typically when I run across a misplaced post on a conventional board, I just flag it for the mods and ask them to move it. But, since that's not an option on FQ, I've been posting a comment suggesting that the OP start a new thread elsewhere.

                                            1. re: masha

                                              I can't find it but I think I posted when I thought I was reporting. So I understand I got 'voted down' for something I don't even remember :)

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                If you know what's good for you I would not post there anymore:-)

                                                1. re: miss_belle

                                                  :) I don't even GO there anymore. Well, except 'observing' for this thread.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    Well, there you have it, nothing to worry about :-)

                                          3. Two months in, it's obvious that the FQ board is a resounding failure, Chowhound's version of a "junk drawer". Newbies don't know about the various boards or can't decide where their question belongs, so they default to this ambiguously-named board. It's impossible to attempt to help them by flagging an OP for moving to the correct board, since the only reporting option presented on this board is deletion of the OP.

                                            It's likely, though, that this boneheaded concept is going to remain, and will likely metastasize to the established boards, needlessly degrading their functionality.

                                            1. Î am glad I found this thread. These food quests have been showing up on the main page and I didn't understand them. Shouldn't most of these be on the home cooking board?

                                              I also think I inadvertently voted something's up and down as I thought they were page up/down buttons.

                                              Color me confused.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: foodieX2

                                                Also inquiries have been going on FQ that belong on regional boards. Within the last 24 hours, I've spotted ones on FQ looking for resto recommendations in New Orleans and Toledo,OH.

                                              2. The only good thing about the Food Quest board is that you can like your own posts.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: SnackHappy

                                                  Oh, hell, can't we "like" our posts elsewhere? I gotta check that out :)

                                                2. I still don't get this board. WTF is a food quest ? Do you post about foods that are lost and you are searching for them ?

                                                  1. Another example of confusion created by Food Quests,

                                                    Also a few days ago, someone looking for restaurant suggestions in Rhode Island posted on FQ.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: masha

                                                      I don't think I've seen a single one that doesn't better belong somewhere else. I think it's just some cutesy tweak that actually harms and never helps. I wish they would just admit that and pull the plug, moving all those thread to the proper board or emailing the OP and telling them what's going on.

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        I couldn't agree more, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I do believe that the format of that board makes it impossible to move the threads.

                                                        1. re: SnackHappy

                                                          They SAY they can't move any threads. But a little work cutting and pasting should do the job quite well. Some things do have a low tech solution :)

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            We email posters and encourage them to cut and paste but if we did that for them, they'd appear on the new boards under our name, and not appear in the user's profile, which would mean they wouldn't easily be able to find them later.

                                                            1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                              Ah, good point. Thanks. But maybe shut the board down and give them a week's notice that they can move their thread.

                                                        2. re: c oliver

                                                          TPTB have a very mixed record when it comes to responding to users' preferences/wishes. No surprise either that with FQ, they fixed what wasn't broken, and persist in continuing this disaster.

                                                          I am *really* tempted to start using "FQ" as a swear word. Anyone care to join me?