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Food Quests, Again...

So I just popped into the Food Quests board -- quite by accident -- and decided to stick around for a bit. Posted a couple of very tongue-in-cheek responses to some of the "questions" that had no replies.

Not surprisingly, these replies were moderated right off... No big deal. But the real question is, why don't the mods move the base posts to somewhere they belong?

"I am on a Quest... to tell you not to eat rue?"

"I am on a Quest... to discover what short ribs taste like, prior to tasting them!"

"I am on a Quest... to find out how much four cups of clams weighs?!?! (In the shell? Raw? Steamed? W T F ?!?"

"I am on a Quest... to figure out how to use Google Maps??!?"

... and the list goes on and on. These posts are more of a joke than my replies, and there are better places for all of 'em.

And the board itself is a joke. Kill it. With fire.

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  1. I got deleted on one of those also. If this site is supposed to help people, then that board is doing the exact opposite. The one I replied to was a first time poster. That person will get no advice and will leave. That's too bad.

    Kill it. With fire.

    24 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      We don't have the ability to move posts from the Food Quests board to another board, so it's not great advice to give these posters to suggest they ask us to do that.

      We email most of the posters who post on the board to welcome them, and if we think they'll get a better answer on another board, we suggest that they also post on that board.

      1. re: The Chowhound Team

        CHOW can't put a marker post from The Team on the best (correct) Board steering people to F Quests??

        1. re: The Chowhound Team

          But that's certainly a fixable technical limitation..?

          1. re: davis_sq_pro

            I would guess that it is fixable, but only with a major adjustment to the entire site set-up.
            For Board-to-board moves, I suspect it's a "simple ish" matter of recoding from Board #14 to Board #3.
            However, the WORKSHOP FORMAT is a totally different animal, so, noooo, I would not expect it to be an easy fix.

            1. re: Kris in Beijing

              I don't know how it's coded, but I can't imagine that it's all that different. You have a top-level message with a subject and content, and you have (potentially) lower-level replies and replies to those replies.

              The data might live in a slightly different structure, but unless it's been ridiculously badly implemented, it should be an easy task to migrate between the two... at least, that's the way my simple mind sees it.

              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                With the +/- and OP selection of "best answer," the 2 kinds could be ridiculously different--
                particularly as the MODs have been pretty clear, repeatedly, that moving isn't structurally possible.
                They never planned for the option to switch styles, so it's not "in there"
                (OT-> "it's in there" was a phrase in a commercial, but I cannot recall the product atm.).

                1. re: Kris in Beijing

                  Prego I believe used the slogan Its in there

          2. re: The Chowhound Team

            I just stumbled on that one but if I see one in the future, I'll just suggest they repost where they will actually get advice. I hate to see y'all continue to whip that horse.

            1. re: c oliver

              It's really best if posters let us handle this sort of thing. It's confusing (and can be off-putting) for a poster to have fellow posters telling him/her how to post. We know there's no way to flag posts on that board with comments for the moderation team, but we run through that board fairly frequently, so rest assured even if you don't see it happening, we're doing our best behind the scenes to try to help people get the best possible input.

            2. re: The Chowhound Team

              "...we suggest they also post on that board..."

              Very few of them seem to do that, so another action plan may be in your best interest. Just my 2 cents.

              1. re: carolinadawg

                They should rename FQ to Death Wish. That's what it amounts to as far as Chow/Chowhound are concerned.
                Newbies stumble onto it, post a topic that belongs on another board, get no responses because now we're not even allowed to explain to them that FQ is a failed innovation, and are highly unlikely to return to the site in the future. At least pre-FQ, when a newbie posted in the wrong spot, it could be flagged and moved where the veterans would see it and take the newbie under their wings.

                1. re: greygarious

                  I got to wondering if that board is meant to bring people from CHOW to Chowhound. If so, I think it's a failure. I 'feel' like all it does is cause them to think 'well, THAT accomplished nothing."

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Well see, that is the crux of the problem. The posts are by and large from first time posters. The banner ad steering them to that sham board leads them to believe they've hit the right place to ask any and all questions. To people unfamiliar with Chowhound, this will be their overall experience in getting answers from people on the site. It makes Chow seem like any other blog, but with a little Q&A page.

                    Chances are they will receive very little help with their "Quest." Adding insult to injury, people who bother to really answer the questions get downvoted into oblivion. Four downvotes and the response becomes hidden.

                    1. re: MplsM ary

                      I looked at that short rib one just now and it was at -1 but mcsheridan had given excellent info. So I +1'd it :( just for the hell of it.

                2. re: carolinadawg

                  The part of the explanation of FQ that concerned me was the implication that the concept could be extended to other boards. It's not in my wheelhouse to know for sure but I can't help but connect this FQ thing to other suggestions here that the Chow side of the site is looking for a lifeline. Sometimes the rescuer can be pulled under by the one being rescued.

                  1. re: carolinadawg

                    I just looked at the FQ board and clicked on the profiles of all the people who've posted since April 1, and almost all of them have posted ONCE, on the FQ board, gotten little or no response, and never posted again on any other board. There are a few who are very occasional (two or three times a year) posters here over a few years time, and a couple of regulars who probably were just testing the board. But as carolinadawg said, very few of them seem to be interested in exploring further in Chowhound once they've had that initial disappointment.
                    And it's so frustrating that every one of those questions would have gotten an answer and maybe even started a lively discussion on one of the already existing boards.

                  2. re: The Chowhound Team

                    "We email most of the posters who post on the board to welcome them, and if we think they'll get a better answer on another board, we suggest that they also post on that board."
                    Then just KILL the Food Quest Board. WITH FIRE.

                    It wasn't a good idea to begin with, and has just gone downhill faster than a train without brakes.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      IF CH mods are so worried about peoples feelings don't they care that most posts have at least a -3 rating?

                      1. re: kpaxonite

                        I just "fixed" a -3 rating (bringing it to -1, thus staving off the reply becoming hidden) by using IE and Firefox to vote again. Stupid but true.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            Then, those who think it is stupid, myself included, should stay off it and not manipulate the content. Let it go down on its own. Presumably if CHOW wanted help or opinions they would ask for them.

                            1. re: Samalicious

                              Yep. I don't think it's unhelpful to let CH know what we think.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                Nothing's ever stood in the way before.

                3. I knew that short ribs post reminded me of something...


                  1. I think it's time for that board to be shut down completely. There was no activity on it for more than a week, then someone posts asking what something tastes like. It's obviously not fulfilling the original intent, the voting/downvoting is a confusing mess, and it's full of first time posters who don't understand the purpose and never return.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: NonnieMuss

                      I'm unclear what the "original intent" was. I have rarely looked at it but is there a single one that wouldn't belong on an already existing board where CHs actually look? I'm not trying to be unkind but if it's not accomplishing what it's supposed to and is likely even driving away possible CHs, what's the point?

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Because SOMEONE thinks the
                        "OP Selected Best Answer"
                        style is a good approach to a chat board.
                        Didn't F Quests arrive @ CH about the same time as the Recommend button?

                        Here's a StackOverFlow critique that details pretty much how I feel about +/- style boards:

                      2. re: NonnieMuss

                        It could also be a big turnoff for the new posters to see the replies to their threads being downvoted and perhaps they chose not to engage in discussion for fear that they will get the same.

                      3. Okey dokey, I just looked at the titles of threads on FQ going back about two months. Not ONE should have been there in my opinion. Every one properly belonged on a regional or topical board. One got 16 replies and another 14. The rest had single digit or no replies. The worst, most stupid, esoteric post does better than that :) Just sayin'.

                        1. It seems like a lot of posters on Food Quests don't understand that 'quests' is not an abbreviation for 'questions'. Sounds dumb, but I think that's what might be happening.

                          If Chow wants to keep this board alive, I think it might be better to narrow the scope and call it 'Food Experiments and Projects' or something like that. -- Somewhere people can chronicle efforts at weird longer-term ambitious endeavors like brewing soy sauce in the garage, visiting every restaurant that serves chipped ham, building multi-level smokers out of garbage cans, or eating only veg grown hydroponically in their studio apartments for a year. Still don't know how that sort of thread would be enhanced by the up/down arrows and tiny font comments, but I'd read it.

                          All in all, the board and its features seems to be a flop, but it was an experiment, right? It seems to me that experiments have as much value when they fail as when they succeed, but only if you admit the failure and let it change your course.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: ninrn

                            What you say would definitely be an improvement. But each example is a topic that belongs on an already existing board. To have topics existing on two different boards just breeds confusion. One person's "quest" is another's "ho hum." Who decides?

                            1. re: c oliver

                              Very true. If I had a vote, I'd vote for hanging it up and moving on.

                            2. re: ninrn

                              Let's support the Domino's theory:
                              A Domino’s Pizza commercial seems to embrace this notion that we’re going to fail sometimes and we have to be comfortable with that to be an innovative organization.


                              1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                Very true. And to cut one's losses and move on is smart business. Hell, I've done that with relationships :)

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  c, this is getting to be like the zombie post topic. The site has a reason it does what it does and our ability to change that is limited. The FQ board only makes sense to me as a possible way to create a different format that someone thinks might be more relevant to some people (my guess is people who frequent Chow, not CH).

                                  For now I'm just ignoring FQ and am only marginally concerned that it's costing CH potential contributors. Lord knows I have other things to be concerned about.

                            3. Just about every post that I have seen on "Food Quests" could easily (and appropriately) be posted on another existing board. Actually SHOULD be posted on another board. You want to know how to cook something? Post on Home Cooking. You want to know where to eat in Italy? Post on the Italy board. Etc., etc., etc. Seriously - why does this board exist?

                              5 Replies
                                1. re: c oliver

                                  Supposedly for "DIY food projects" - but that's never been clearly defined on the actual Food Quest board. From the Release Notes:


                                  "The description reads "Ideas and advice for all your food projects," and we've created this board to further connect our community members when they are diving into a new food project. So, if you're embarking on a new food adventure, whether it's making your own cheese, butchering meat, brewing your own beer, or learning how to can homemade jam, this is the place for you.

                                  We realize there is some overlap between this board and some of our other topical boards, and we think that's okay. This board is really meant for do-it-yourself projects, and we're encouraging folks to try out this board and start brainstorming and exchanging ideas with others who regularly take these on."

                                  The description "all your food projects" is too generic. But either way - looking at the list of the first 20-30 threads on FQ, ***every. single. post*** could be posted on Home Cooking, Not About Food, General Topics, OR a specific regional board. The overlap is just a waste of space.

                                  I think the Food Quest board was deliberately designed to test the "thumbs up/down" thingie.

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    Thanks for posting, El. Linguafood and I both jumped into the smoking food arena at the same time. So you could call that a "quest." But we got dozens and dozens of replies (handholding for me anyway) on the BBQ, Smoking, etc. board.

                                    And just what does thumbs up/down mean? That you disagree? As I mentioned upthread, I saw a reply that was -1 and had given great advice. Sigh.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Exactly. And BBQ, Smoking board would be a MUCH more appropriate place for your queries, as is evidenced by the dozens of responses you both got.

                                      And I guess the thumbs up/down was meant to be a "like/dislike" as to the quality of the reply. HOWEVER, per what someone wrote on an earlier thread about Food Quest, you don't even have to be signed in to your account to give a thumbs up/down. So anyone (including those not in the CH community) can vote up or down. And if you've been around the Internet for any length of time, you know there are trolls out there just waiting to down-vote or get snarky with words (when they can).

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        AND if I'm going to "thumb down" someone, I shouldn't be doing it completely anonymously. Easy enough to 'stalk' and thumb down anyone you don't like.

                              1. so its been a month or so since I visited Food Quests. Forlorn newbie posts for the most part.The bottom line is that if nobody goes there to respond these people will have a bad experience with the site. And why would "WE" go there? Its just maddening to see these posts pop up somewhere where they are almost guaranteed not to get an answer. It would be better to have some kind of "where should I ask?" concierge function than this pointless board.

                                If the point is food projects - make your own pickles, brew your own vinegar, etc. it should be renamed

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: jen kalb

                                  Those projects already exist...on Home Cooking!

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    well I agree but I know they want to experiment with a different discussion format and see how it goes. If it were more focussed and under a less stupid title and was able to shoo newbies to other venues if they landed there it might have made some headway. Maybe.

                                    1. re: jen kalb

                                      So for the non-newbies, if we posted on another board, would they then move us to FQ? Not being snarky, I just don't get it. I'm not at all averse to change, crave it actually but this just seems to accomplish nothing. Well, nothing positive.

                                2. I just wish they would have beta tested this a different way. Had they invited Chowhound regulars to play around with the concept of say, a new, hidden Banana board we might have had an entirely different reaction to it. Heck, me might have had some helpful suggestions and even liked it.

                                  Steering the unsuspecting newbie to this trainwreck (have I mentioned this before? I have? A zillion times?) just boggles the mind.

                                  1. i don't "get " the board. it has vote "up" or down buttons, and comments are small.

                                    on the "safe shrimp" "discussion", it seems i was deleted on one comment whereas my other comment remained. the one comment that was left was a question "sea bed trauma from shrimpers?" and the deleted one was a question with an editorial, rhetorical commentary on the credibility of the suggestion: "and the shrimpers just leave their by-catch on the deck to die? come on."

                                    again, WHAT is the point of this board that cannot be achieved elsewhere, and WHY does it seem to be so pickily moderated?

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      We haven't deleted any posts from that discussion... in general we mostly don't moderate that board. However, the parent post you responded to was downvoted so that it only shows up when you click on "Show Hidden Posts". Click on that, and you'll see your other comment.

                                      There are a number of threads on the Food Quests board that have had posts downvoted so that they don't show up. We have nothing to do with that, but all the downvoted posts are visible by showing hidden posts. If you disagree with how a post was downvoted, you can upvote it. Posts with a rating of -4 or lower are automatically hidden, which also hides all of the responses to those posts.

                                      1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                        thanks for that explanation.

                                        i guess my bigger question is, WHY does this board exist in the first place? (maybe i missed an explanation when it was created, or elsewhere in this thread. if so, sorry).

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          I certainly know that if this is the future of CH, I'll be gone. If this is the cool way to do such things, then obviously I'm WAY too old. Voting up and down seems very high school'ish.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            I don't understand why anyone would want to continue posting here if that type of voting goes into effect across all the boards. But by the looks of the Food Quests board some people are just gluttons for punishment.

                                            1. re: miss_belle

                                              I've barely looked at the board. Are there "established" CHs who are regularly participating?

                                        2. re: The Chowhound Team

                                          The part where 'voted down' posts are hidden is particularly disturbing, especially given that people who aren't even participating can have that impact. This is one of those times when you'd like to be a fly on the wall when the PTB discuss this stuff.

                                          1. re: Midlife

                                            Granted, we can all hide behind our screen names but complete anonymity just doesn't seem right. It reeks of meanness that I get deleted for.

                                      2. Didn't this thread start out somewhere else?


                                        This seems about as far from a "quest" as you can get.

                                        13 Replies
                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          And is now the most heavily trafficked thread on the FQ board...;-)

                                          1. re: EM23

                                            Probably cause when it got moved, people who had originally replied are having it show up at the top of their list.

                                          2. re: c oliver

                                            We can't move things to or from the Food Quests board because of the Workshop formatting.

                                            1. re: Jacquilynne

                                              How long are the CHOW honchos going to persist with this execrable endeavor?

                                              1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                My question is becoming about why we care so much when there are only a handful of topics and just a few posts to each. Maybe because we're afraid that the format will be forced on other boards? Get out the picket signs!

                                                1. re: Midlife

                                                  First of all, I think it's a shame that someone comes to the site and then doesn't get help. Secondly, wasn't it written that this could/might/maybe be rolled out to the other boards?

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    First point understood. Second is exactly my point.

                                                    1. re: Midlife

                                                      And the hope is that TPTB realize that it is a completely failed endeavor, and it *won't* be rolled out to other boards. Because if they're looking to tank Chowhound, this looks to be a great way to do so.

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        And since TPTB don't respond when asked about that, I guess we keep annoying them til they do :)

                                                  2. re: Midlife

                                                    My concern used to be that people new to Chow and Chowhound would think the Food Quests board was the only board. I no longer see the button or ad steering them to Food Quests when not logged in using Firefox or IE. I assume it's the same in Chrome.

                                                    Now that's taken care of, I don't really care.

                                                    Should that format become a part of future boards where one has the choice to use the "workshop format" or the classic thread format when starting a thread, gives me pause.

                                                    Some of the things we complain about most bitterly may actually become less of an issue. While moderation will still be a part of Chowhound, downvoting will disappear a lot of contentious posts. Fewer threads may get locked. Chattiness may become less apparent. This is of course just a wacky theory.

                                                    Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

                                                  3. re: Jacquilynne

                                                    Okay. I guess I didn't realize it was on that board to start with. Certainly no quest that I've ever heard of.

                                                    1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                      "We can't move things to or from the Food Quests board because of the Workshop formatting."

                                                      Would you be able to explain this limitation in a bit more depth (i.e. technical)? I don't understand why there must be a limitation here.

                                                      Are both forum types implemented in the same database, but on different structures? Or are things even further separated?

                                                      Note: I'm not trying to argue or question the limitation; rather my interest is professional curiosity, as I design databases for a living.

                                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                        We specifically wanted to try out the Workshop format in a beta test, so it was deliberately only made available on the one board. I don't know how the limitation was coded, but it was intentional.

                                                        We do write to a lot of people who post on Food Quests and suggest they cross-post to another board, as well, to make sure they are getting the information they're looking for.