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"Who do you follow?" threads [split from Manhattan]

(Note: this thread was split from the Manhattan board at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/981846 -- The Chowhound Team)

We have our doubts about this kind of discussion, but if people can keep their comments firmly in the positive, it may be okay. Please keep the focus here on hounds whose tips you appreciate, and avoid calling anyone out negatively, even as a joke. Thanks.

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  1. This thread is in odd territory. Seems to suggest that some at Chowhound are forming a club or a clique?

    12 Replies
    1. re: chervil9

      There are, and have been for a loooong time, cliques on CH.

      1. re: chervil9

        Agreed. Leaving this thread up suggests that the contributions of non-regular posters aren't really that valuable. What a turn-off. Why should I bother posting on Chowhound at all?

        To the OP: it's easy to figure out who the "experts" are. If you search for a certain type of food, you'll find that certain posters will frequent those threads. More important to me is finding out whose tastes align well with mine. Not necessarily who's the most frequent poster.

        1. re: churros

          I really do agree with you. Within 24-48 hours, I'm betting this will run off the tracks. And really, what purpose does it serve? At least as far as I'm concerned, I learn on my own which CHs represent MY taste (and budget).

          1. re: churros

            When the CH owners set up the "follow" feature they were tacitly acknowledging that people paid more attention to posters they've found credible in the past. Some people predicted disastrous consequences but things worked out fine.

            CH isn't Yelp and it isn't Zagat's where we just total the votes and assign a score.

            Credibility is earned and it's not a closed club either. A new poster with three or four credible posts goes on my "watch" list. Three or four more credible posts and they go on my "trusted" list.

            CH is really democratic that way. We don't judge people on their looks or their background or their ethnicity or how much money they have. We *do* assign credibility based on how reliable their posts are and, to be frank, how much their tastes align with ours.

            I think that's pretty fair.

            1. re: Bob Martinez

              REALLY like what you wrote. A LOT. Thanks.

              1. re: Bob Martinez

                I agree with what you're saying and that most Chowhounds are likely forming their own opinions on who to trust over time.

                My point is this thread kind of goes against that. This is a brand new poster asking who the experts are. Saying tell me who to trust. Pretty much going the Yelp way or the Zagat way. Sure, most Chowhounds already do that to some extent. We weigh more heavily the opinions from regular posters and those whose tastes better align with ours. But to call out people explicitly?

                How about all the regulars not being named? How about those who have been around a while but don't post as much for various reasons (less time, less money to eat out as much)? How about those newer members who just started posting? How about those lurkers who are thinking about contributing?

                This thread comes across as, someone else said, kind of cliquey. That's too bad. I think all opinions are welcome. More datapoints are better. That means a little more noise, but also more useful information to be shared.

                1. re: churros

                  In various iterations, there's been a long standing convention: "Talk about the chow, not the 'hounds".

                  1. re: churros

                    This pretty much echoes our concerns with this kind of discussion. It's something we've long tended to disallow, but we are trying to be more open in how people discuss things here on Chowhound, so we thought we would let this one run and see how it goes. But we do share your worries about how people will feel if they read a thread like this and don't see themselves among the experts listed.

                    1. re: Jacquilynne

                      Not sure you'll be able to tell how people really feel. Those who feel slighted might not complain. They may simply post less. Which would be unfortunate.

                      Though I'm now less troubled after looking at the original thread and seeing that not many people are posting names. Perhaps others also feel that this type of thread is problematic and it's not worth potentially offending some people.

                    2. re: churros

                      "My point is this thread kind of goes against that. This is a brand new poster asking who the experts are. Saying tell me who to trust. Pretty much going the Yelp way or the Zagat way. Sure, most Chowhounds already do that to some extent."

                      It's just a shortcut. In time they'll pull together their own list of trusted posters. People have independent judgement and they use it all the time. Some songs are big hits but not everyone likes them. And we all have songs we love that sold about 12 copies.

              2. "[I]f people can keep their comments firmly in the positive, it may be okay. Please keep the focus here on hounds whose tips you appreciate, and avoid calling anyone out negatively."

                The problem with that is that half the discussion is silenced - no contrary assertions are permitted. In that way the dialectic is gutted. No one can draw a decent conclusion and the whole exercise simply becomes a useless, back-patting love-in. What would happen if a similar approach was taken to reviewing restaurants?

                10 Replies
                1. re: MGZ

                  I think you have to respect the OP's original question: who do you follow. It's not: "who do you avoid like the plague?" That thread would get shut down in 2 seconds, and anyway it would be quite mean-spirited. I already feel guilty that I didn't add another half dozen 'hounds to my list.

                  1. re: strangemd

                    But, that was only part of the inquiry. In coming to any conclusion about someone's being an "expert", it's equally as important to know who's followed and who's ignored. For example, there are 'hounds mentioned already who would be pretty lousy rescources for certain types of cuisine. All I'm really saying is, pro's need con's.

                    1. re: MGZ

                      The primary reason for asking that people keep things positive is that it's more important for a community like Chowhound to remain friendly and helpful than it is for us to be able to discuss every possible topic from every possible angle. We generally ask that people avoid making negative comments about their fellow posters in all sorts of contexts, because actively making people feel bad isn't conducive to having them continue to participate here.

                      I also disagree that in order for a discussion of particularly helpful hounds to be useful, you need to have a corresponding discussion of the least helpful ones. One hounds tips don't become a better, more relevant match for your tastes because another person's tips aren't a good fit for you.

                      1. re: Jacquilynne

                        That's great, in the hypothetical. But, in context, it forecloses rebuttal.

                        For simplified example, someone asks, "Who's a good 'hound to follow?"

                        You, of course, post, "Oh, MGZ. He's brilliant and sexy." That then puts the subject "at issue."

                        Someone else should be free to offer, "I find him to be a pompous blowhard with a drinking problem."

                        As we all know, the truth lies in the middle somewhere . . . .

                        1. re: MGZ

                          I am completely okay with foreclosing any rebuttal that might lead to people describing their fellow hounds as pompous blowhards with a drinking problem. Completely.

                          1. re: Jacquilynne

                            Then keep the discussions about the chow and not the hounds. No conversation is better than a bullsh*t one.

                            1. re: MGZ

                              Which is what this thread is about and I agree with you. I see no practical good coming out of this. And has been mentioned, your 'trash' may be my 'treasure.'

                  2. re: MGZ

                    I am disappointed by the intrusiveness of the "Chowhound Team" on this topic, but not surprised.

                    The more I learn about this site, the less I like it.

                    1. re: knucklesandwich

                      Did you notice that this subthread got split from Manhattan and placed on Site Talk? Site Talk FREQUENTLY has comments by the team because we're talking about...the site. I'd be highly annoyed if they didn't pay close attention to everything's that discussed here.

                      1. re: knucklesandwich

                        So, you think the "team" shouldn't comment on a thread that is mostly about whether of not the thread should exist? To me, it would seem odd if they weren't commenting.

                      1. I kinda wish we could see who people follow on their profile.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: MplsM ary

                          I'm kinda sorry I ever started following anyone cause I really don't. I come across folks but rarely, rarely, ever click on their avatar in my profile. I'd delete them all but I wouldn't want anyone to notice and consider it in any way a slight.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            I rarely click on the profiles except to follow people, thereby enhancing my reading list. I read many topics I would have otherwise skipped. That's how I use Follow, anyway.

                            It's very sweet of you to consider how others would feel should you un-Follow them. I do think about it, but if our interests don't mesh, I cut them loose. Selfish!

                        2. I have heard that some MODs
                          think it would be valuable for us to call out users with a lot of high quality posts, or expertise on a given subject. That would also encourage new users, but in a more positive way, earning credibility instead of posting a lot to get rid of an icon.

                          An idea which I dislike and say BLECH to.
                          [thanks to c-oli' for your support]

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Kris in Beijing

                            I understand your distaste for such things. I don't really care for it on b-boards with signatures and accolades that accompany every post.

                            On the flip side it seems a shame that the only time we hear praise of fellow posters is after they die.

                            1. re: MplsM ary

                              Not true for me. I regularly praise someone for turning me on to a place, dish, technique.

                          2. Perhaps I use the "follow" feature differently than most.

                            I don't necessarily follow my favorite or most trusted posters. I use it as a way to find a few posters whose voice I find interesting but who seldom post.

                            I will sometimes follow a poster for a short period on a new to me board when researching a trip. When I "unfollow" them it simply is because I've finished needing info on that area.