Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Site Talk >
Jul 27, 2014 09:37 AM

An Open Letter to Chowhound re: the new format


Earlier today, someone requested that an OP repost their query in a discussion format as the Q&A format was horrid. I tried to encourage the OP to do so by enthusiastically agreeing with the request/suggestion.

Chowhound, of course, deleted my post saying,

On Jul 27, 2014, at 9:19 AM, wrote:

"We're trying to keep these Q&As focused on food as much as possible, rather than on discouraging people from using the new format, so we've removed this. You're welcome to provide additional feedback on the Q&A format in the Site Talk thread."

Well, I am providing additional feedback:

Dear Moderators:

Admit it: the new format sucks!

And for god’s sake, STOP taking little blue happy pills and deleting everything that doesn’t conform with a Valium-induced "everything is groovy" buzz!

  1. Hear hear.
    Thumbs up.

    Agree with you 100%, but I promise to never, ever blue-heart you.

    1 Reply
    1. Most of the recent changes are dumb, but what can you do. If developers stopped when the site was well-designed and working perfectly (as it was), they'd be out of a job. So they have to keep thinking up features to tart it up, however pointless (hearts? really?). This phenomonan is common to most software development.

      16 Replies
      1. re: GH1618

        Okay. Enough with the developer bashing. In my world, a successful project is one where the client pays the bill and then doesn't need me again until the next major browser updates appears or their business grows and they need more functionality. I don't make my living milking one client over and over. I make a living satisfying clients, developing projects on time and on budget. And then they recommend me to other companies, and I do it over and over.

        1. re: smtucker

          No personal insult intended. I'm a (retired) software engineer myself.

          1. re: smtucker

            Let us, for one moment, separate the independent software programmer/designer/developer from the in-house version thereof.

            Clearly you are in the former category, and I have absolutely zero problem with what you suggest/the picture you paint.

            But *someone* suggested these (IMHO ludicrous) changes/updates/"improvements" (depending upon one's point-of-view). Perhaps they need to justify their continued employment? Perhaps it's part of an automatic "once every _________ months, let's do an overhaul"? Whatever. The point being is that not all "improvements" are actually improvements . . . even when no one is willing to admit the Emperor has no clothes.

                  1. re: zin1953

                    I've done both in-house and independent software and web development. My take on these changes is that they did not go far enough when it comes to layout. The layout for this site is still staid and old fashioned.

                    This site is unlike any other CBS Interactive site where the focus is usually something more tangible, i.e., CBS News, CBS, tech, games and music. All these are new product/news oriented. There is money to be made with these types of sites which have message boards as a nice little addition. Not so for Chowhound where content is created by users.

                    Chowhound is an anomaly. I also think it's a pain in the ass and a drain for the CBS Interactive tech team. This worries me. We all seem to think we own this site, but it just ain't so. I just hope Chowhound lives on so we can do battle for another rollout of changes.

                    Meanwhile, like everyone else I will voice my displeasure at things I perceive as not useful or silly and hope to be heard.

                    1. re: MplsM ary

                      " We all seem to think we own this site, but it just ain't so."
                      Thank you.

                      1. re: Samalicious

                        Sam, obviously Mary is quite correct when she wrote above that, "We all seem to think we own this site, but it just ain't so." And no matter how obvious that is, it is a sentiment *always* worth repeating.

                        However, she is also quite right when she points out that, in contrast to other CBS-owned sites, "Chowhound [is] where content is created by users."

                        And does anyone have any doubt that Chowhound -- not Chow -- is what drives this site?

                        Even so, we the "CHers" do NOT own the site . . . but I think that the feeling of "proprietary interest" among Chowhounders is understandable.

                        1. re: zin1953

                          All you have to do is look at CHOW (the part that isn't scooped up straight from Chowhound) and then CH and it's pretty clear that we "drive the site." And if TPTB shut it down we'll find something else. I just hate to see a business fail when it doesn't have to.

                          1. re: zin1953

                            I think everyone here knows they don't own the site. That doesn't change the fact that if people are turned off by the format they won't hang out.

                      2. re: smtucker

                        I just LOLZZZZMAO.

                        I hope tha was not serious smtucker.

                        And per CH, you are not a "Developer", but an "Engineer."

                        I admin and moderate several forums. I like it when we have member problems. East fix.
                        Start *&^%ing with the user base site integration and inteface, bigger problems. BTDT.
                        Followers leave. They just go away. MySpace crickets style go away.

                        Be forewarned.


                        n my case seeing many community members for the self-centered, entitled, impatient, and immature individuals they appear to really be has sort of made me sick at my stomach. I always suspected certain people appeared to have no life at all other than Chowhound and now I know it's true.

                        Another LOL.

                        You are in charge. Do it right. Or not. You press the ones and zeros.
                        Folks like CH last I checked. Heck,. I still like it. Kinda. LOL.

                        I once dated a girl that took great strides to re-arrange my walk in panty and then, only the next day, chastise me for a late made dinner and not knowing where "anything in the pantry was."
                        Was a funny moment.No. Not really.

                        You're in charge. Have at it.
                        But don't blame the CH faithful for "Harshing your mellow"....dude. Or dudette.


                      3. re: GH1618

                        "If developers stopped when the site was well-designed and working perfectly (as it was), they'd be out of a job. So they have to keep thinking up features to tart it up, however pointless (hearts? really?). This phenomonan is common to most software development."

                        Not just software!

                        Had to give you a thumbs-up. That re-design is what keeps our economy chugging along. No new design=no pay in MANY fields= no restaurants= no Chowhound.

                        And I'm guessing many would be cursing as they try to start a fire with two sticks.

                        1. re: pedalfaster

                          The restaurant analogy is apropos for this site. I know a place which is frequently replacing its menu trying to find a formula which makes money, while remaining on the leading edge of trendiness. I expect the place to close within the year. Hopefully it will be sold to someone who knows how to run a restaurant.

                          Other restaurants I know and love seem to go on forever because they have developed a core of classics of which people never tire, combined with a few new items to maintain interest. Constant overhauling of the menu is not a sign of success.

                          1. re: pedalfaster

                            It's okay to update/upgrade/re-design -- life is not immobile -- things change -- people's tastes, styles and fads, technology, etc., etc., etc.

                            There is never, ever a product that stays exactly the same (packaging, materials, designs, etc) -- and the company who doesn't change will sink and die.


                            Changes made for the sake of change, without any consideration as to how the product is used, by whom it is used, and what THEIR preferences might be will also be doomed to failure.

                            This latest raft of changes seems to be a whole load of the latter, with very little of the former.

                        2. I haven't looked to see if one of mine had a similar fate. And I was truly being helpful.

                          1. I'll break this out as a separate comment...

                            I'm also more than a little blown away at the vehemence of the regulars here.

                            This indicates that this is a really, really popular site that people really, really enjoy posting on.

                            If nobody cared, nobody would be posting this much feedback, and it's been almost entirely logical, cogent reasons of WHY this feature is bad and WHAT we don't like abut that feature.

                            I hope TPTB read these threads -- I mean really, REALLY read them -- and realize just how much loyalty they have with their unpaid content generators...because not every website has that asset on that balance sheet, and it's not something that can be bought.

                            THAT loyalty and dedication means something.

                            16 Replies
                              1. re: MplsM ary

                                Mary, I haven't counted but it doesn't seem like a "few." I haven't been around forever, six or seven years maybe, but I've never seen so much vehemence (not even close) as has been expressed this weekend. As has been said, I hope those in charge (or at least who have the ears of those in charge) read all these replies and really pay attention.

                                1. re: MplsM ary

                                  of course it is -- Chowhounds follow the 80/20 rule, too.

                                  But yes -- it seems like there's more than 20% being vocal. ALL the regulars have sounded off -- and for once we all agree.

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    And has THAT ever happened before :)

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      No kidding -- I've had the thought that I should take screen grabs of some of the +1s, Hell yeahs, fuck yeahs, and even blue hearts (not just on my comments) just to prove that we actually all DID get along for once!

                                  2. re: MplsM ary

                                    The regulars on my home board, San Francisco Bay Area, are too busy ignoring the Q&A topics posted there by management. ;)

                                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                                        and illustrates the whole issue...whether it's taking an active part in the discussions or simply ignoring the Q&A topics, it's still a very, very resonant response to the changes.

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            Sure, not responding is quantifiable feedback that might count more than ranting. Vehemence is not the only measure.

                                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                                              But nobody is ranting -- it's very clear and very cogent discussion.

                                              But feedback is always more important -- deserters leave no reason why they left -- at least the vocal leave very clear explanations of why they've gone away.

                                          2. re: Melanie Wong

                                            I actually appreciate the fact that the developers are trying new things. But their testing and rollout process is terrible. Much of what gets rolled out permanently ends up not being very valuable to its users.

                                            On the Q&A format, just because Quora and Yahoo do this doesn't mean it makes sense here. They should listen to the feedback (or lack thereof!)

                                            1. re: calumin

                                              I promise you that there was no "lack thereof" !!!

                                          3. re: MplsM ary

                                            No, not all the same people. I have emerged from my hole to comment. Back to hole...

                                          4. re: sunshine842

                                            Sunshine, you have been right on with your posts about the site updates. Just wanted to add my two cents of displeasure with the changes. It's a bunch of non-essential clutter. I refuse, however, to "heart you".

                                            1. re: gourmanda

                                              and for that, I, thank you profusely. :)

                                          5. Hey, folks, we removed some posts from here that were getting pretty unfriendly between posters. Please keep the focus on how you feel about the site changes and not how you feel about other posters.

                                            Edited to Add: We realize this took down some reasonable posts, as well. If anyone would like a copy of their posts back, please email us or reach out via Flag and we can send this.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                              "Please keep the focus on how you feel about the site changes and not how you feel about other posters."

                                              Okay, Chowhound Team, glad you asked. To quote from one of my all-time favorite books, it's "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad."

                                              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                I am curious: how did it happen that you "took down some reasonable posts"? Are you saying you don't read them?

                                                1. re: Parigi

                                                  When responses come in to posts that have to be removed, we do our best to try to leave the responses if there's any way they will make sense. Often that's not possible, because the posts are responding to points or quoting lines from posts that had to be removed.