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Stop me before I try to help again

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Have you had this happen to you?

You participate in a thread where people are trying to help someone. The OP is then insulting of the suggestions.

How many times does this happen until you decide not to bother? Do you keep participating because other people may appreciate the ideas even if the OP doesn't? And how do you keep from snarling back?

Or maybe you don't.

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  1. You can always flag a post if you feel that someone is harshly insulting you rather than just expressing a different opinion. Unofficially, there's a "don't yuck another's yum" spirit that Chowhounds should keep in mind but that seems easier to adhere to when the topic is a particular ingredient or dish. There is more moderator tolerance for dissing restaurants, unless it's blatantly obvious that the negative poster has a vendetta against the place.

    1. I have a list of IDs ...when I see they are participating in a thread, I pass. When they try to engage me, I ignore them. Thankfully, some are no longer posting.

      9 Replies
      1. re: fourunder

        4: I have an unofficial list, just to know whether to engage or not, and sometimes I'm surprised. someone who was a raging ass in one thread suddenly appears as the most compassionate person in another...

        but then again, if the OP is snapping at the offered help/advice/suggestion, well that's not only bad manners, it's feral and I keep on walking (I volunteer at a spay/neuter clinic and even the vets don't let those cats out of the traps, operating through the bars).

        1. re: fourunder

          I do the same, it takes the patience of a saint plus time, but eventually it works.

          I've been here long enough that I appreciate that some of the posts I make may come in handy 5 or even 10 years from now, so if I have something useful to say I will regardless. If someone wants to engage in a negative way after that, I will ignore it and unstar the thread, to save myself any aggravation.

          1. re: fourunder

            This is a test.

            Hello Fourunder I would like to engage you in some friendly conversation.

            (Waiting to see if I'm on the FSL Fourunder- Shit- List)

            1. re: jrvedivici

              Ha!!! You are not...but some of those you do play with are dicks....none currently in NJ as I think they have either been banned or suspended.

              1. re: fourunder

                I would prefer to shy away from any reference to "playing with dicks" if you don't mind. This is the internet who knows what rumors that can start.

                 
                1. re: jrvedivici

                  U R da BEST!!!!

                  1. re: jrvedivici

                    If I were to play with dicks....some may like me better.

                    btw....I see you have skills.

                  2. re: fourunder

                    Assholes? In New Jersey? That's like taking note of narcissists in Congress, children in schools. Used to be that was only such a big problem in the North, but they keep moving south of the Driscoll, my friend. After all, why do you think we have all those names for them here at the Shore?

                2. re: fourunder

                  Oh, the irony!

                3. 'How do you keep from snarling back'..
                  Sometimes, I don't.

                  When I've busted my ass giving you a myriad of fab suggestions and you have the audacity to be flippant with sarcastic put downs to my post, hell yes, I'm gonna come back and let you know that you're a pr!ck and a ungrateful poster.

                  I also hate when the OP has thanked everyone else but you and as your looking over your lengthy detailed post and thinking. .wtf?!

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    Oh yeah, being left out is such a lonely feeling.

                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      with regards to paragraph #3....it happens often and it's somewhat rude when they never acknowledge your efforts. When I notice it, I'm not likely to offer anything in the future as i surmise I'm on their SL.

                      1. re: fourunder

                        I always struggle with thanking people, as the OP. Sometimes, I find myself thanking people early in the thread, but if a thread really gets rolling, it seems like it might be bothersome to everyone to keep bumping the thread to say thanks. In which case, I just hit recommend. Would that make you feel bad or do you really think a thanks is in order for every post?

                        Or just a general thank you along the lines of, thank you everyone, such great suggestions...

                        ~TDQ

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          I think in the context of the thank yous....we're talking about when an OP initially asks for advice early in in the thread....and not after a couple of weeks, as many will drop out and lose interest until it is revived....especially the OP.

                          Not always, but My general rule is, I thank those who thank me. If a person takes the time to give me a lengthy, well thought out contribution for myself and the community, then yes, i would thank them individually. I started a thread on Prime Rib successes and disasters. Many have shared their thoughts and posed queries for advice or clarification. Afterwards, they have come back to say thanks and shared their own results and thanked me. I think it's appropriate is such a case for me to acknowledge their participation for sharing their contribution to the thread and for the kind words they have expressed tome and their polite communication.

                          Some say it's bad form and improper to thank everyone...but I don't know all the internet rules. I say if it bothers you to see it....don't read the thread. I was brought up to be polite and have some manners...so my style is an extension of that when posting.

                          1. re: fourunder

                            I refuse to thank each post because it is annoying to people following. The post just to see the content is a thank you only. Typically as OP I will clarify and ask questions etc. then once I make a decision I will report back and blanket thank the group. This also typically signals the end to my regular checking though I do get excited when a thread gets resurrected.

                            1. re: melpy

                              I think gang-thanking is just fine. :)

                            2. re: fourunder

                              When I initiate a thread asking for input, I'll end it with TIA - thanks in advance. I respond to questions of me that are posted in the thread but not solely to individually thank responders, because on my part, I am mildly annoyed at the waste of time when I click onto a thread to read new posts and find nothing but thank you and you're welcome. Occasionally, though, someone thinks Tia is my name.....

                              1. re: greygarious

                                I'm so glad you clarified!! I'd been wondering, basically because The Dairy Queen ends her posts with "TDQ" - thus a name precedent so I was allllll sorts of confused.

                        2. re: Beach Chick

                          A 'Thanks to all' works just fine for me..doesn't have to be an individual thank you to every post.

                          I do find certain boards are more snarky than others.

                          1. re: Beach Chick

                            "...wtf" As in, "Well, that's fantastic"?

                          2. If I notice an OP is being as ass to genuinely good natured recommendations, then sometimes I will give intentionally bad advice. It's all in the delivery, you can't snarky or sarcastic or the mod's might pull it, you have to be sincere and polite. Like, "generally when I find myself in a situation similar to yours I will take my toys and go play in the middle of a busy street". Then just leave it at that.

                            1. More often than not, I would like for the OP to come back and clarify! So many seem to be driven away by the "exuberance" of 'Hound replies.

                              .
                              Just to play the other side for a minute, the OP is frequently ... battered, basted, and fried in the comments.
                              How often do we read comments along the lines of "don't do THAT" or "you said you don't want to leave the US or eat seafood but you MUST TRY Caribbean shrimp fresh of the boat in Jamaica and then you'll luv seafood."

                              'Hounds are pretty opinionated, and we don't always exercise the best reading skills OR tact : )

                              40 Replies
                              1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                ^This. Also many, many, MANY replies have nothing to do with the OP's request. "Best canned tomato sauce?" - 127 replies telling them to make homemade, offering recipes, and saying canned stuff is crap. "Ever eat at ______ chain?" 14 replies from people who NEVER eat at chains, and apparently haunt the Chains board just to let everyone know.

                                But then there are, like "Need menu ideas for picky eater", then 50 suggestions and 50 "No, he won't eat that" replies. Those do get frustrating.

                                1. re: NonnieMuss

                                  At least I understand the motivation for the "just make it yourself, it is actually not too hard" posts-- they mean well. Really, then mean "great" over "good," AND they are trying to be kitchen-helpful.

                                  But the chain restaurant bashers. Whyyyy?
                                  And it almost immediately becomes a denigration* of the Kind of People Who Would Eat at Chains.

                                  *I just realized-- is that considered a racist word?
                                  http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?t...

                                  1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                    Fascinating. That just might be racist. Let's start another thread about racism to discuss it!

                                    And I agree, most of the DIY people are pure of heart, but it can still get old. I feel like if I said I was going to live on the space station for 18 months and wanted a good brand of granola bar I'd still get a bunch of recipes.

                                    1. re: NonnieMuss

                                      Why take granola bars? You should make and can a pot of Marcella Hazan's Bolognese for your space trip.

                                      1. re: EM23

                                        No, no, no ... Chicken Marbella.

                                        1. re: foiegras

                                          Have you read the “Chicken Marbella - is it still safe to eat on the space station” thread on the Food Quests board? Just sayin…

                                          1. re: EM23

                                            Now that you mention, the combination of prunes and space station does give me pause ...

                                      2. re: NonnieMuss

                                        That sound you heard was my head exploding...

                                    2. re: NonnieMuss

                                      Kris/Nonnie - I think the unasked for advice is actually healthy. If the board is to attract those passionate about food and thus have the breadth and depth of knowledge to add value, then these experts are going to want to improve the food experience of others.

                                      That may sound a bit superior but I don't see anything wrong with that. There is much bad food around and so many bad food habits I think its good to have a board that maintains standards and seeks to lift everyones experience.

                                      Obviously that implies criticism and thus posters should expect to get it. If we want everyone to play nice and every piece of advice to be complimentary then the value of the board declines to the lowest common deominator and the advice becomes no better than a non-specialist general site.

                                      To be valuable and to be really helpful the board needs to be opinionated and offer goods advice that improves the food experience of all. It gets a bit rough at times but I like to think its the type of passionate conversation any of us would enjoy over dinner.

                                      1. re: PhilD

                                        Well put, sir. If you ask people about a subject they're passionate and knowledgeable about, they're going to throw their two cents in --one way or another. This may come as a surprise, but, on occasion, even I can be staunchly opinionated.

                                        In the end, the best conversations are journeys where the destination is merely ancillary to the points along the way.

                                        1. re: PhilD

                                          Passion is one thing; offering advice totally unrelated to the question asked is simply not helpful, nor useful.

                                          1. re: carolinadawg

                                            I agree. Sometimes the boards take on a lecturing tone that is irrelevant to the question. Someone asks about best foods to pack for a baseball game and are lectured for bringing food to the game. I received helpful advice about how to doctor up waffles at a hotel but was lectured about leaving messes for the staff to clean up. Not helpful or useful.

                                            1. re: chowser

                                              I admit it drives me bananas when people ask for the best x, y or z and are met with suggestions they make their own.

                                              I find myself adding that suggestions to make my own whatever are not what I'm looking for. Actually I am very specific when I ask for help or recommendations to stave off unwanted or irrelevant "help." So, if I were looking for tomato sauce recommendations I would add that I live in a condo and can't grow my own tomatoes to make and can my own tomato sauce and spending 10 dollars to get the tomatoes to make 32 oz of sauce is just not feasible. I really would prefer you just give my the names of the tomato sauce you buy. And then of course I would add my thanks to the people who respond to my question. Chowhound has conditioned me to ask questions in a very specific way.

                                              1. re: MplsM ary

                                                «I admit it drives me bananas when people ask for the best x, y or z and are met with suggestions they make their own.»

                                                Or threads such as this one, where one's opinion is allowed to be denigrated:

                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/979970

                                                For heaven's sake, the OP asks a specific question, then people are free to subject the responders with negative criticism.

                                                1. re: RelishPDX

                                                  Maybe I'm late to the party or offending posts were removed, but I see no denigration in that thread.

                                                  1. re: MplsM ary

                                                    I agree (and I do not believe that any posts were removed). The premise of this particular thread, as framed by the OP, was to identify prepared foods for which CH'ers thought it was not worth the bother to make the from-scratch variant. Given that premise, of course there are going to be individuals who take issue with certain CH'ers view that the prepared version of certain foods was just as good and/or that it was too much trouble to make the home-made. The OP invited that discussion.

                                                    1. re: masha

                                                      «(and I do not believe that any posts were removed)»

                                                      There was some feather dusting applied, but I won't say anything further. I've decided though not to participate in "what's your opinion" type threads in the future here.

                                                      1. re: RelishPDX

                                                        Ok. I've been following the thread and had not noticed any over-the-top critiques or deletions; obviously must have happened in an interval when I was not watching it.

                                                2. re: MplsM ary

                                                  I had another thought on this topic too - there are many people who are interested in food and eating, but might not be much into cooking. I know a lot of people who are interested in food, enjoy good food and discussing it, but couldn't care less about spending time in the kitchen.

                                                  But you do have to be specific. Like "I will be vacationing in a place that has a kitchen, but no food stocked. I'm flying so I can't bring my spice rack and immersion blender. The only store within 50 miles is a tiny convenience store that just sells the basics - milk, bread, chips, etc. Now please, just tell me a good brand of sauce!"

                                                  1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                    It's crazy that CH have to be that specific but it seems like we do. How about, "I don't want to make it so how would I..." Maybe it's because there is enough skill on the boards for people to recommend how to make your own croissants while backpacking through the Appalachian Trail on a campfire w/ no refrigeration.

                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                      It's not just Chowhound. Didn't you know that everybody's a know-it-all on the Internet?

                                                      1. re: MplsM ary

                                                        And it's all true!

                                                        1. re: MplsM ary

                                                          I knew that.

                                                  2. re: chowser

                                                    Totally agree it needs to be relevant. That said, sometimes the added advice is relevant yet not a direct answer to a question.

                                                    To give an example (I was modded for this): a poster asked where they could buy ground toasted rice in the UK. Many recipes tell you how to make this as its very very simple, and it's probably harder to buy it especially if you are any distance from an Asian supermarket.

                                                    So is it wrong with educating people especially if it makes life easier and is less expensive for them...?

                                                    1. re: PhilD

                                                      I think information like that is fine but It's important to remember we're adults (for the most part) and if etiquette hasn't been asked, don't provide. What you've provided, imo, is helpful. I do think it is a line that is drawn at different places by everyone.

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        Tricky thing is you don't know what the poster doesn't know. In my example they may not know, or they could know and simply be lazy. So I could be helpful or insulting.

                                                        In face to face interactions you get lots of signals that help coral a conversation, on the web you don't. As a result the etiquette is probably to have a higher tolerance for the replies that state the obvious than you would face to face.

                                                        1. re: PhilD

                                                          True. Maybe what these boards bring is an equalizer so we understand better what people w/ Asperger's face.

                                                          1. re: PhilD

                                                            In addition, many OPs either aren't able to express themselves well/clearly, or don't think about what salient info they need to provide in order to get useful responses. If you are asking for dessert recipes and don't have an oven, you need to mention that in your OP, not after a dozen responders have taken the trouble of posting their favorite cake and pie recipes.

                                                    2. re: carolinadawg

                                                      See, this is how I felt too, until about a week ago.
                                                      However, with this thread and my own Zombie Resuscitation thread, I have had my mind changed.

                                                      The OP is irrelevant beyond being an introduction to a topic.
                                                      Want a non-fish dinner for tomorrow's 2014 Fathers' Day at a comfortable chain restaurant for 80yr old Dad?
                                                      Don't expect any topically relevant answers (although you may get 2 or 3 in the beginning).
                                                      Instead, expect posts from now until Kingdom Come about what you have introduced: fish/no fish, chains, and who's food desires trump whose.

                                                      "Hounds gonna hound."

                                                      1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                        Kris - you missed that fish is very healthy and if you don't eat it you won"t live a to a ripe old age.

                                                        1. re: PhilD

                                                          I dunno--are you finishing it w/ olive oil or butter?;-)

                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                            Both - doesn't the oil stop the butter burning?

                                                            1. re: PhilD

                                                              But is it Amish butter?
                                                              From non GMO raw cows milk that sat out on the counter all night?

                                                              1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                Of course and it's only if you tipped well when you picked it up and if you left the dogs/kids at home.

                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                  My dogs/kids are perfectly behaved because they/we live in a Magic House?

                                                                  1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                    If the dogs/kids are perfectly behaved then that would have to be a Prozac House they are living in...

                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                      perfect/prozac xanax/xanadu

                                                                      tomato tomato.

                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                        Hey, wait a minute! My avatar is on daily Prozac (for separation anxiety) and Xanas when there's thunder or fireworks :)

                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                          I've known dogs like that - too smart for their own good (and to stay OT - yes they too always tried to 'help' more than they should have)

                                                3. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                  I think this point you bring up about people challenging the constraints a poster has set forth in his or her query is interesting.

                                                  I think that can really be frustrating to the OP. In those cases, I've seen the OP push back and sometimes, I can't really blame him or her.

                                                  I've been on both sides of that. For instance, I've asked for recipes where I've specified "no rice-based dishes, please" or something like that. I didn't get into why I don't want any rice-based dishes in my OP (because I figure it's none of anyone's business): maybe I have some dietary intolerance, maybe my toddler throws it everywhere and I hate cleaning it up, maybe I'm worried about the reported arsenic levels in rice, maybe my husband was once abused by a rice farmer and goes screaming from the table at the sight of the stuff...whatever. I don't think I should have to get into why I say "No rice please." Why should I have to justify myself just because I requested some recipes for grain-based dishes that aren't rice?

                                                  I've been on the other side, too, where an OP asks a question and I wonder if s/he has missed a broader question or needs to look at the problem differently. In those cases, I might make recommendations even if I know they aren't exactly what the OP asked, but I think might still be helpful. But, in those cases, when the OP says, nope, that won't work for me or I thought about it and decided against it, I (try to) let it drop.

                                                  But, sometimes it can be frustrating for an OP to have to defend his or her question.

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                4. some people... well, either:
                                                  1) can't fix stupid,
                                                  2) are trolling
                                                  3) were raised by hyenas.

                                                  this thread *especially* applies to the "picky eater and/or dietary restrictions and/or planning dinner party" threads. people asking for medically needed special diet stuff tend to be pretty polite.

                                                  :-) i tend to remember people i find especially annoying - i also look for people i respect. some people flip back and forth, so when those people and i get into a tiff, i try to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume we've just crossed the streams somehow.

                                                  i find the obnoxious disrespect of effort to help you mention especially common in the "i am not really a member of this community but created an account for the sole purpose of poaching your wisdom because i expected you to magically read my brain and produce my perfect vision *for* me!" camp. ugh!

                                                  eta: sorry if i am on anyone's blacklist. i sure didn't mean to be if i am!

                                                  1. Some posts, although phrased as requests for advice, are really just rants. The OP is certain that there is no solution to his/her problem and rejects all constructive suggestions. I bow out of those discussions quickly and am wary of responding to any future posts of a similar nature from the same CH.

                                                    When I am the OP, I try to respond with a "thank you" or at least "recommend" helpful comments that I receive, at least as to the first several that appear. If the thread gets really long and there are a lot of cross-discussions between other CH'ers, I generally refrain from further participation unless there is something that I'd particularly like to comment on, but feel no need to acknowledge each and every contribution to the thread.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: masha

                                                      That is a smart (and new idea to me) point: often people who end up being prickly are the same ones who put their original request out as a dare. As in, I know none of you will give me advice up to my standards, because I know what I'm looking for, can't be found.

                                                      So, replying is simply taking the bait.

                                                    2. It's not that different from real life. Give someone w/ a homeless sign some food and most of the time you'll get a grateful response but on occasion, you'll get griping because they wanted money. Do you put yourself out there again? I guess guys might feel the same way about asking someone out on a date.

                                                      On saying 'thank you", on the old CH board, it was frowned upon because the site was slow and it tied yup the board. Anything over 100 posts locked up my computer. Pulling up a thread that took a lot of time only to read "thanks!" was frustrating. The CW was that you'd thank after trying out the suggestions. But these days, it seems rude not to but redundant to do it to everyone.

                                                      1. To answer your question, yes. When that happens I stop following the thread and no longer read it or respond to it.

                                                        Something that particularly annoys me is when the OP pleads for help with a recipe and over a period of days/weeks lots of us offer all kinds of tips/tricks and suggestions and then ::nothing:: silence. That often is the end of it. No feedback. Did the OP make the dish? How did it go?

                                                        Then sometimes the OP does return and says he/she decided not to make the recipe after all.

                                                        Of course that's a person's prerogative. But if the original question was posed as a way to discuss an issue, rather than as a desperate plea for immediate help, I wouldn't feel like I've wasted my time.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                          Analog: "I have never had Dredonian cuisine and want to try it. What should I order and which resto is best?" Followed by long list of suggestions, occasionally peppered by further like/dislike details from the eager OP. Then nothing. Someone asks how OP's dinner went only to receive the response that they went to Olive Garden instead (or comparable scenario). Can't stop the face-palm and wish there were a dope-slap button!

                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                            We had an extreme example on our local board where the person received a lot of suggestions and then reported back that the area didn't have good food. He/she ignored all suggestions and hit some bad chains.

                                                        2. Sure. I don't really take it personally. I either stop following or, if it looks inflammatory/humorous, pay close attention to see what transpires.

                                                          It is life.

                                                          1. Wouldn't it be great to have a "mystery snark thread" where you could just unleash your withheld snark attacks?

                                                            No explanations, no details of who or where or when to trace back the cause, OP, or thread...and *no* questions allowed, nor answers given. Just a dumping ground for all the caustic wit hiding behind clenched teeth and bitten tongues. Got a face palm event? Let the off-thread remarks have a place to be and stop bruising your forehead. Ah, well...Nice to dream about, but I can only imagine the mod nightmare it would become.

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: mcsheridan

                                                              It would indeed, though the posts would all need an anonymity shield!

                                                              1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                "No offense, but I I regularly prepare and cook meals for hundreds with 5 minute's notice." Really? Who are your guests? Convicts and toddlers?

                                                                1. re: monfrancisco

                                                                  Did you reply to the wrong person?

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    I dunno. I thought I was responding to "Mystery snark thread" idea. Getting too meta for me.

                                                                    1. re: monfrancisco

                                                                      Mystery quote. Love those.

                                                                      1. re: monfrancisco

                                                                        Where does that come up with

                                                                        ""No offense, but I I regularly prepare and cook meals for hundreds with 5 minute's notice." Really? Who are your guests? Convicts and toddlers?"

                                                                        Not snarky, just missing something.

                                                                2. When conversations turn nasty, I back away from them. It takes the fun out of posting.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                                                    Same here, which is why I've backed away from much of the site recently :)

                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                      Maybe I've been luckier than you. I rarely find myself in the midst of nasty conversations here on CH.

                                                                      1. re: CindyJ

                                                                        Me neither, I don't engage or back away at the first sign of nasty. I like to watch many of them from afar.

                                                                  2. Over time, I've chosen to simply ignore certain requests. Most of them are the requests that are too vague. Like, "Where should I eat in your city?" No information about food preferences/restrictions, price range, the part of the city and surrounding areas in which the OP will be staying, the transportation options the OP will have. I used to respond asking those questions. Now I just don't bother. If they are too lazy or stupid to give the salient information, I'm not going to waste my time trying to help them.

                                                                    1. The internet itself is sort of a collective....

                                                                      Do you imagine that when the camera was off the Borg argued amongst themselves?

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                        CH->
                                                                        Resistance is foodtile.