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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, moderators@chowhound.com 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, um...er.. 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.

                                              2. There's no way to start a new topic/discussion! I've looked all over my screen. The most obvious thing I see is "+ POST", but that element is not clickable.


                                                So I have no other option except to reply to an existing thread. Like THIS one.

                                                Somebody needs to fix that.


                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: sqwertz

                                                  Others are having that problem too, as reported here,
                                                  Maybe the suggestions help you.

                                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                    Whitelisting "Adobe Tag Manager" in the Ghostery add-on seems to solve the problem. Thanks for the link.

                                                    1. re: sqwertz

                                                      I had to do that in order to reply more than once in a thread.

                                                  2. re: sqwertz

                                                    Now I'm confused. If you go to the CH main page, dont you see across the top +Post and then the various formats including Discussion?

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      When I click on any of the Discussion, Q&A, etc.. it doesn't do anything. I see that works in Internet Explorer, but I'm using Firefox.

                                                      Thanks for the link, Melanie. I'll check it out now.


                                                  3. Hello!?!?! Is this thing on? Testing 1.....2....3.....

                                                    So it seems I can still post in threads, although I'm not really responding to anyone directly here. I haven't started a new thread under this format, I will wait for something truly Chow worthy before I do......but I don't see what's going to be so different than other threads. Now I just have to clarify the type of thread?

                                                    Call me stoopid, but I don't really see what the big deal is. Again, I don't "pay to play" here so Chow doesn't owe me anything. If the site is failing and they believe these changes might help (Although I really don't understand how) then more power to them.

                                                    I don't particularly care for the changes myself, nor do I really understand them (lol) but I'll roll with the punches here and see if I can figure out what's going on.


                                                    36 Replies
                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                      I feel the same way. I can't see what the big deal is either.

                                                      I think it is a nice idea to have different ways to present a food issue in a thread. Not everyone appreciates a huge (and often off topic discussion). Although, sometimes, that is just perfect for the situation. Nice to have a choice.

                                                      I suppose it will take awhile before it becomes clearer which topics typically use which format.

                                                      1. re: sedimental

                                                        People hate change, and love to whine. That's pretty much all there is to this.

                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                          Why do you feel the need to belittle those who have a different opinion from yourself?

                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                              Even easier to not do so...

                                                              And much nicer too.

                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                            Ya know, lingua, I do know that a lot of people hate change. I happen to love it. Always have. Show me the latest and greatest. Change jobs, move, whatever. But I don't see any element of this that offers improvement. And I went into the test with a note to Jacq saying I'd look at it with a totally open mind. And I tried. And tried again. Just doesn't work for me.

                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                              At least to me, that's it.

                                                              This is change without improvement.

                                                              The heart is juvenile and infantilizes the site.

                                                              Having the heart, and other cutesy design elements, actually reduces respect for the site.

                                                              And when someone recommends something, they don't "heart" it, or love it. They like it or feel it is well-written, or thought out. They don't love it.

                                                              Why doesn't CNET understand the nuanced emotional difference between loving something and recommending or respecting it?

                                                              Are the persons adding these infantile design elements without the life mileage to see the emotional differences?

                                                              Third, clutter is never good design. A resolved design is always clean and simple.

                                                              Since it is rare that any thread is other than a discussion, adding an icon, especially one this large, next to nearly every thread is unnecessary. What would be smarter is to add an icon only if the thread is OTHER than a discussion.

                                                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                As always, well said, Maria. And perhaps that's what's causing all the "whining" that some are referring to. Change but not improvement.

                                                          2. re: jrvedivici

                                                            I don't speak for everyone, but I don't think people are too concerned with the Photo or Link 'formats' - mainly because they're new utilities, not actually new formats. The concern is more about rolling out the Q&A format site-wide when it was unpopular in Food Quests. IMHO, it led to boring, unengaging, and (ironically) uninformative threads even when the topic itself was interesting.

                                                            So a minor concern would be that no one uses the Q&A format, and the site just gets more cluttered and less intuitive for newer posters; and this round of changes was wasted, at least in part.

                                                            A major concern would be that Q&A becomes widely used and the site becomes an uninteresting food-centric Yahoo Answers clone, alienating the community of regulars that actually makes this place worthwhile in the process.

                                                            Either way, people are annoyed that the Q&A format was widely despised for months and the heart icons were broadly criticized in pre-release testing, and TPTB went on with them anyway. It conveys the message that the existing community doesn't matter.

                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                  So let me ask you a couple of questions, and please do not take any of what I'm about to say as trying to be argumentative, as I clearly said in my post call me stoopid if you want.

                                                                  There is still a "discussion" option (which is what this thread was created under) so it's not as if they have taken the normal option away and just replaced it with Q&A.

                                                                  "So a minor concern would be that no one uses the Q&A format, and the site just gets more cluttered and less intuitive for newer posters"

                                                                  This seems to be a bit contradictory to me, if no one uses the Q&A, how does that lead to more clutter?

                                                                  "A major concern would be that Q&A becomes widely used and the site becomes an uninteresting food-centric Yahoo Answers clone, alienating the community of regulars that actually makes this place worthwhile in the process."

                                                                  Well since Q&A hasn't been a huge hit with the current user base, chances are it won't suddenly take off. But if it does take off with new users, actually helping attract people to the site, isn't that EXACTLY what Chow is trying to do? Drive more traffic to the site? It seems as if Chow is having trouble, so how could you or anyone begrudge the site for trying to drive more traffic to it? Without the additional traffic then we all lose if the site shuts down, right? Since the discussion option is still available any of us "regular" users can continue to create discussion to our hearts content, and easily skip over the Q&A's if we don't find them useful.

                                                                  Honestly I think it's a little more user friendly that you don't have to open a thread and read it to find out it's a Q&A rather than a discussion. Maybe it's just me but I don't really see much downside to what they have done.

                                                                  (Except it's still a little squirley on my i-pone, but I'm sure that will sort itself out eventually)

                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                    "This seems to be a bit contradictory to me, if no one uses the Q&A, how does that lead to more clutter?"
                                                                    I was referring to visual clutter. It's already there - all the new icons.

                                                                    But as I implied above, visual clutter isn't a huge concern for me. I do think it tends to scare away some newer users, which is counter-productive. But CH's user interface has never been top-of-the-line IMHO, so I'm not getting too worked up about this now.

                                                                    "It seems as if Chow is having trouble, so how could you or anyone begrudge the site for trying to drive more traffic to it?"
                                                                    I don't begrudge the site for trying to keep the doors open and the lights on. I begrudge the site for insulting and ignoring its existing user community. You haven't actually demonstrated that CH's situation forces a choice between new users and existing users. I think this is a false dilemma - not a choice Chowhound has to make.

                                                                    Members of the existing user base made a number of suggestions (many of them at Chow's request) as to how to make the site more attractive; aside from a few technical issues, these suggestions were ignored.

                                                                    Frankly, I suspect the Q&A format will be attractive to newer posters who were already going to post on the site; in other words, I suspect new users will often post in the format but I doubt it will attract much of anyone who wasn't already going to post. And then I also suspect that those new users will be met with an unengaging format and a lukewarm response, and will be less likely to continue posting on the site. IMHO, this site will do better if it focuses on attracting NEW COMMUNITY MEMBERS; not if it merely attracts more one-time posters to bury interesting topics under an avalanche of repeat questions that are answered any number of places elsewhere on the internet (and in a more attractive user interface to boot).

                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                        Again, well said. And if FQ is any example, new posters came, posted once, didn't get what they needed and didn't post again.

                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                          At the risk of seeming to have no life at all (really, it only took a few minutes to count), here are some numbers:

                                                                          65 threads have been posted in Food Quests (ones I can see, anyway).

                                                                          33 of those threads were started by first time CH posters

                                                                          Of those first time posters, the number who have returned and posted again in any other thread...


                                                                          Retention rate: 6%
                                                                          (of those two posters who returned, one hasn't been back since the next day, lowering the effective retention rate to 3%)

                                                                          In fairness, I don't claim to know the retention rate for first time posters creating threads in the Discussion format.

                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                            Well, if I hadn't just spent hours at the SF zoo with our 2-1/2 y.o. granddaughter, I might have had the energy to do that. So thanks. I guess Q&A is FQ 2.0 and I don't know how it could fare any better.

                                                                            I don't know. Maybe CH is just grasping (and gasping) at anything to keep itself alive. And if that's the case just let it go down with some 'dignity,' some semblance of itself as it has been rather than some downgraded, reality-drive, cheap drivel. Yeah, yeah, melodramatic (

                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              I've been posting on Chowhound for 25% of my lifetime. And as far back as I can remember, all the way back to the pre-CNET, Chowhound passport, Jim Leff days, it has fought for its very survival.

                                                                              The lights have dimmed and flickered and yet, a decade and a half into the new millennium, they shine on.

                                                                              Every day I eat a little better. And am enriched, inspired, encouraged, goaded, and challenged. I've made the most amazing friendships. I've been pushed out of my comfort zone and accomplished more than I ever imagined

                                                                              I hope Chowhound never goes down, but if it should, I want to know it fought like hell to stay, every step of the way. I would be heartbroken if it went down any other way.


                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                Even if it became a site that embarrassed you?

                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                  The software has changed before, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, but over the long run, definitely for the better.

                                                                                  It will change again. Such is the nature of technology.

                                                                                  (P.S. I hate change! If it were up to me, we'd be typing our comments out on IBM selectrics and faxing them to each other on winding rolls of thermal fax paper...)


                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                    I hear ya, TDQ. I'm just repulsed by so much 'modern' media so I would hate to see CH go that route.

                                                                                  2. re: c oliver

                                                                                    C., I gotta tell you, I cannot fathom a scenario where any web site I didn't own, or have direct control of, could ever embarrass me.

                                                                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                Since you went to so much trouble to research this I don't want you to feel your hard work didn't go unnoticed and thus unchallenged.

                                                                                Just as you stated; " In fairness I don't know the retention rate for first time posters in the thread Discussion format", nor do I claim to know the accuracy of the information I'm going to supply. Let's just call it the "Jr spin on the information available".

                                                                                It seems fairly obvious now that the Food Quest board was the "test" page for these new changes. Obviously as you stated Food Quest was a significant "flop" with newbies and oldies alike. I truly blame the failure of the Food Quest board on a complete lack of identity or purpose rather than a failure of it's format. I made several inquires in different threads as to what the whole Food Quest thing was all about and NOBODY could ever give me a clear or direct answer. Now I think we see it was never there to really serve a functional purpose but rather there for observation and trial and error for behind the scene. If we the "experienced" users of the site couldn't' figure out the purpose or usefulness of a "Food Quest" board, how would newbies?

                                                                                Regarding the stats you provided, and I am in no way doubting the accuracy of it, I offer you this as an explanation. (Again not knowing what the other board retention rate is, it's hard to accurately assess). Anytime you launch something knew in business the last thing you need or want is for it to completely flop. If you open a new restaurant location you have a grand opening party, who do you invite? You invite your good customers from other locations, you invite local people of influence, you invite family and friends. You always stack the crowd with ringers. So if your capacity is 50 people for your event, you invite 25 "strangers" and you have 25 ringers in the crowd, so that no matter how many strangers show, they see other people and in their minds your launch was a success. My "THEORY" on the 33 newbies that posted on Food Quests are this;

                                                                                Out of 33 only 2 went on to post in other threads. My theory is then 31 people somehow associated with back office Chow created accounts and posted. To try to get the "buzz" going on the board, hoping we would join in and participate. Hoping more than 2 actual newbies would be drawn in. Hoping that the launch of that test board would be substantially better than what your analysis show's that it was.

                                                                                Again, I have NOTHING to support this claim but my own observation(s) and experience(s). I'm in no way trying to claim -or- imply any maliciousness on Chow's behalf.

                                                                                I could be 100% wrong and you 100% correct, I'm just giving some more food for thought to the topic.

                                                                                Peace !

                                                                        2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                          Succinct and totally to the point. Especially the last paragraph.

                                                                          No blue heart for you, cowboyardee, but a +1 to let you know I agree wholeheartedly with what you wrote.

                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                            In other words...a vocal minority is taking this personally. I think the TPTB are making a statement by hearing some voices about it, and then making changes they feel are necessary.

                                                                            The format is the same for discussion. I tend to gravitate toward discussions, but am open to participating in a QA format too.

                                                                            1. re: sedimental

                                                                              A vocal minority has some justification for taking it personally - they were misled during the testing process.

                                                                              Now, I am admittedly not one of those testers. But I disagree with the expansion of the Q&A format, and I'm naturally kind of argumentative ::shrug::

                                                                              The format is indeed the same for discussion. I even think the photo and link options are bona fide improvements, though I might have implemented them differently. In my posts above, you can read my rationale for disliking the Q&A format. I think it has the potential to hurt my experience and hurt the site as a whole, even if I don't use the format.

                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                Well, I don't see it as misleading. As an employer, I routinely ask my employees what they think and how they feel about changes. I don't always follow their advice. I still value their input. The bottom line is that TPTB need to look at changes from various perspectives that participants don't have. Participants only have their perspective.

                                                                                It will be interesting to see what happens here. My gut says, that they are trying to attract a different demographic....and that they
                                                                                *need* to do that for the health of this site. It remains to be seen if they have made good changes or not.

                                                                                In my opinion, they are really missing the boat on iPad, smart phone friendly formatting, and apps. Maybe theses changes are leading toward more changes in that direction though. No idea.

                                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                                  Hmmmm...... I hit the heart icon and I'm still alive, though I may have lost a few IQ points.

                                                                                  1. re: sedimental


                                                                                    about 4 hours ago

                                                                                    Well, I don't see it as misleading. As an employer, I routinely ask my employees what they think and how they feel about changes. I don't always follow their advice. I still value their input. The bottom line is that TPTB need to look at changes from various perspectives that participants don't have. Participants only have their perspective.


                                                                                    Uhhh-I'm not a CH employee. I'm a customer/user. Or like FaceBook, I'm really a product the CBS Interactive machine makes money off of. By posting my free stuff, info and pics on the www
                                                                                    You're welcome.

                                                                                    Asking employees is useful, especially if the IT interface impedes or promotes productivity, but CH is not about that.

                                                                                    Ad revenue and data mining is king.
                                                                                    You know it. I know it. We ALL know it.


                                                                                    A well done forum should have little change and maximum help to have users interact, post and find information. I.T. should be transparent.

                                                                                    CH? Nope.
                                                                                    I'd have sent $100's of dollars of food goodies to fellow CH members If PM existed. Does it? Nope. CBSI control issues.

                                                                                    The site is the the site. YOu made it you control it.
                                                                                    You wanna bail CH and CBS, bail.
                                                                                    Fussing with screens and color bars and Q&A and "like" buttons is not the cure.

                                                                                    I've been involved in graphic design, architecture and the engineering and design field for 2 decades +. It's treating the symptom, not the problem.

                                                                                    You wanted to "not have to pay vBulletin" and not give users access to each other and data mine.
                                                                                    Mission accomplished CBS.
                                                                                    Mission accomplished.

                                                                                    So amazeballs.

                                                                                  2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                    As one of the participants in the recent preview, I have to state that I do not feel misled. I am not 100% happy with the changes, and there are obviously still some wrinkles to be ironed out. But I am looking forward to using the Q&A feature once the fires have died down, and when it's appropriate. I've already begun using the link and photo story features, and enjoy them.

                                                                                    I don't have any strong feelings about the heart, and I know I'm in the minority there; another symbol might be chosen to quiet the mass of people who are against it. In the meantime, use of it or non-use really is a tempest in a teapot compared to the other issues still open. Using +1 only clutters up the threads unnecessarily.

                                                                                    1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                      Agree with everything except the heart. I use it because I have high hopes they will choose one of the many, many options from Font Awesome (which is what they're using). The thumbs are just sittin' there waiting to be used.

                                                                                      No matter, my recommendations will be counted and will still be there should they use another symbol. Not so with all the foot stompy +1's.

                                                                                      1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                        Exactly; if Trending a thread matters to anyone, a +1 won't get you there, but a heart (or whatever they might, might change it to) will. Thanks for the info on Font Awesome; I haven't examined a font from a design standpoint in a long time.

                                                                                        I see two empty image boxes below your post. Clicking on them I can see the icons you intended to show. I'm guessing they don't in your post as they are animated/video?

                                                                                        Too bad there isn't a set of fa-paw-on and fa-paw-off, just this: http://fortawesome.github.io/Font-Awe...

                                                                                        It would be perfect for Chowhound use.

                                                                                      2. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                        Surely the small, quiet, light blue "I like this" houndheart can be accepted. Nobody thinks it's a marriage proposal. Juvenile? "Google" is baby talk, in kindergarten printing and primary colors. But I don't know any grownups that don't freeequently google now, and re$pect Google.

                                                                                        Some posters comment as if Chowhound is *deliberately* trying to make this a *really lousy* brain and eyeball-busting site. I think Chowhound would like to be successful useful popular ... no motive to be otherwise. Why the attack tone in the posts?

                                                                                        As for intuitive, I get that. But jeez, a plastic switch on a wall that controls a lamp across the room or a bulb on the ceiling (or the temp of your saltwater aquarium!) is not an intuitive setup. But once you learn it you see the advantages, and you remember easily how to do it.

                                                                                1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                  Me either (or is it neither?).

                                                                                  All I ask is that if this site ever goes down, someone please email me and let me know where everyone goes.

                                                                                2. So is it just me or does the site have a problem? I cant hardly use the site

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: mikie

                                                                                      Hi mikie. Could you provide more details about what's not working? In the meantime, a couple of things you could try are:

                                                                                      1) Check if you're running any browser extensions, like Ghostery or Adblock. Many users have reported that these extensions were the culprit when they were unable to post on the site. You could try turning them off, or adjusting the settings on them.

                                                                                      2) Try using an alternate browser. It looks like you're using IE8. Maybe try Chrome and see if that works better for you.

                                                                                    2. I just reread the email inviting us to test the new 'things.' I realize that nowhere do they say that changes will be made based upon our recommendations. Yes, 'tell us what you think' but that's it. Here's the email.

                                                                                      Dear member,

                                                                                      As an active member of the Chowhound community, you are someone whose opinion we value greatly. To thank you for your loyalty, we’re excited to give you early access to some new features that we’re planning on releasing to the rest of the community in the next few weeks. We’re hoping that you'll try them out and let us know what you think.

                                                                                      We're creating some new ways to post on Chowhound. Starting tomorrow (6/24), in addition to posting Discussions, you'll see three new posting options available to you — Photo Stories, Q&A, and Links.

                                                                                      Photo Story
                                                                                      Photo Stories make it much easier to share multiple photos with the Community. With one photo or many, you can share your home cooking tips, a tasting menu, a clever cocktail creation, and more. Your photos are displayed in an easy to view list format, and can even be numbered for step by step creations.

                                                                                      A first take on our Q&A post type has been available on the Food Quests board for a couple of months, and the new version has taken your feedback into account. Q&A is designed for quick questions, with the best answers voted up by the Community. While many topics are a better fit for in-depth discussion, Q&A is aimed at delivering answers (either fact or opinion) in a timely fashion.

                                                                                      Kicking off a conversation with a link is very popular on Chowhound. This feature makes it easier to share great recipes, articles and content from other sources. It will automatically pull in titles and descriptions from the shared link and render it in a beautiful way that will make the reader want to know more about the shared content.

                                                                                      These new post types will be available on all boards when you visit the site tomorrow.

                                                                                      It would help us a lot if you could post real, food-oriented content on the board of your choice. This will tell us how you'd actually use these features. And while you’re in the process of posting a Photo Story, a Q&A or a Link, please let us know your feedback. We'll be creating a designated thread on Site Talk where you can share your feedback with our team and with other preview users (you'll see a link at the top of the page once preview goes live for you tomorrow) or you can email us at this address to let us know what you think.

                                                                                      You'll also be able to see the posts that other members who we’re giving early access to have posted. We encourage you to jump into those conversations and respond. When these formats become available to the whole site, we'll also make these posts visible to the rest of Chowhound and bump them up to the top of their respective boards so all users will see them.

                                                                                      Bear in mind that only a handful of members can see these features so we ask to you please not create new Site Talk threads to discuss the features or share the posts you create using the new features to your social networks (for now!). Those links will not work for others during the Preview period.

                                                                                      We will have a Google+ Hangout to discuss the new features on Wednesday, June 25th at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET. Keep an eye out for an invitation.

                                                                                      Oh, and let me know your T-shirt size and address is so we can send you a T-shirt to thank you for your support!


                                                                                      Jacquilynne Schlesier
                                                                                      Senior Community Manager, Chowhound
                                                                                      CBS Interactive

                                                                                      1. The new changes don't bother me. The site owners have attempted to add functionality. I'm not sure they've succeeded but I think the final results won't be in for months.

                                                                                        As for HeartGate, I am getting a really good laugh out of the outrage. Don't get me wrong - I thought the Recommend button worked just fine; replacing it with a heart is a bit cutesy. That said, on the list of all the things in the world that bother me the Heart is number 987.

                                                                                        You know what *does* bother me? All those +1s. They clutter the site FAR more than the hearts.

                                                                                        16 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                          Bob, they're just a silent protest. To perhaps remind TPTB how it used to be before "recommend."

                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                              I'd like Recommend to come back too but the switch to the Hearts has not caused the planets to fall out of their orbits, worldwide starvation, and the death of millions of puppies.

                                                                                              You know what would really suck? If CBS shut down Chowhound. All I'm asking is for people to have a sense of proportion.

                                                                                              1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                they may not have to....it may end up starving to death.

                                                                                                1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                  Shutting down CH wouldn't cause the planets to fall out of their orbits, worldwide starvation, and the death of millions of puppies, either. So what?

                                                                                                  1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                    So they're both equal to you?

                                                                                                    My assumption is that the changes were made to make the site easier to use and more appealing in order to increase page hits and ad revenue. Lets hope they succeed because a site that doesn't make money is a dead site.

                                                                                                    I loved TV Without Pity. It went dark at the end of May because it didn't make money. CBS isn't a charitable institution that can pour an endless stream of cash into funding a clubhouse where we can all hang out.

                                                                                                    I've got no idea whether the changes are going to work but I wish them well.

                                                                                                  2. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                    <and the death of millions of puppies.>

                                                                                                    There's a disclaimer for Chowhound.... "No puppies were harmed in the creation of this website."

                                                                                                    I goes well with the heart, don't you think?

                                                                                                  3. re: c oliver

                                                                                                    <To perhaps remind TPTB how it used to be before "recommend.">

                                                                                                    And that's precisely why I don't mind the heart, foolish as it is. ANYTHING is better than +1's.

                                                                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                      yeah, but why something so juvenile. As I've said (nauseatingly before) "like" seems to cover all the bases for FB. Should CH aspire for different just for that sake?

                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                        I know it's juvenile, cat. We've been through this before. You care, I don't. We agree about everything else in life, we need something, anything to tell us apart. ;-)

                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                            Mine cracked. :-( Repairman comes today.

                                                                                                  4. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                    We know. That's kinda the point.

                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                      If we could only harness the gigawatts of energy expended on Heartgate outrage and use it for good instead of evil.

                                                                                                    2. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                      Yes. Those +1s are positively idiotic. Talk about expanding an already overlong thread to "make a statement". Boycott avatars included.

                                                                                                      I wish layout changes of websites I frequent were my biggest problems.

                                                                                                    3. Zin1953 -- I think you might have been referring to my query regarding adding cheese to lobster risotto that I posted in a Q&A format without realizing the limitations and cumbersomeness of that format. FWIW I did see your post and I did flag my original post, requesting that it be moved to a discussion board. My request was ignored.

                                                                                                      I totally agree with you -- the new format sucks. The Q&A format is totally useless and unnecessary.

                                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                        Excuse me? You asked that it be moved and you were ignored? I'm getting really close. This is crazy.

                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                          The formats don't just translate one to another. I think that's why the Food Quests board was sequestered. Once a Q&A always a Q&A.

                                                                                                          A script to copy posts and update the database is needed (my guess). Quagmire.

                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                            The mods replied below. There's an innocent explanation.

                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                              Okay... I apologize. It wasn't that the moderators didn't address my request, it was that they denied it.

                                                                                                              1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                But they've said in the past - what is a Food Quest/Q&A cannot be converted (at this time) to a regular Discussion thread. Which is why they suggested creating a new thread with a pointer link back to the Q&A.

                                                                                                                Moving a thread from one board to another is relatively easy for them, I believe. Converting a *type* of thread from one to another can't be done - at least not the switch you were requesting.

                                                                                                                1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                  Others have mentioned this, but I wanted to answer as well, just to make sure you had a complete answer. The mods didn't deny your request because they didn't want to help you, they denied your request because what you were asking for -- a Q&A thread to be converted to a Discussion thread -- is not something they can do. That option wasn't built into the software.

                                                                                                                  Changing from one type of thread to another isn't like moving things from one board to another. All the types of threads live on all the boards, but they're in different formats.

                                                                                                                  So, if people create a Q&A and meant to create a discussion (or created a discussion instead of a Photo Story, etc), the only option is for them to create a new post in the style they preferred, and then the mods can either remove (if it has no or few replies) or lock the previous thread.

                                                                                                              2. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                We didn't ignore your request, and sent you an email about it 2 days ago. It explained that we're not able to switch a post from the Q&A format to the discussion format, but you are definitely welcome to also start a discussion if you'd like. You can even edit your Q&A post to add a link to the discussion.

                                                                                                                1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                  I didn't want to start a new discussion on a topic with that already had so many helpful replies. I've had many other posts moved to other boards for various reasons; it seemed reasonable to have that one moved as well.

                                                                                                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                    It's on the Home Cooking board. Sadly it's in the Q&A format which can not be changed, "... we're not able to switch a post from the Q&A format to the discussion format."

                                                                                                                    1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                      So they didn't ignore you like you first said.

                                                                                                                      You have a right to be treated fairly. So do the mods.

                                                                                                                      1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                        It sounds like there might still be some confusion here. Could you drop us an email at moderators@chowhound.com so we can try to figure it out? If you didn't get our previous email, we may have the wrong address on file for you.

                                                                                                                  2. My two cents. We do like to bitch about things. I participated for sure. After thinking about. I haven't spent one cent on this website.I have learned a lot from all of you. So WTF, I could imagine how much this would have blown up if we would have had to pay for this site. I'm going to lighten up.

                                                                                                                      1. I have read so many anti-heart posts I really can't imagine how something so innocent, something so diminutive on a page can cause such a backlash and uproar.

                                                                                                                        I've also noticed much gripe over the color changes, the addition of the grayish blue touches, which includes the color of the little heart. Then it came to me........if red is still a primary color of the web site, the giant red CHOW still remains, perhaps it was poor judgement on behalf of the design team to make the heart blue instead of red.

                                                                                                                        A red heart is a widely accepted symbol of love, vitality of life! A blue heart honestly represents death in my opinion, it certainly doesn't conjure up a visual image of liking something. Could perhaps the significant backlash against the little heart be due to it's color?

                                                                                                                        Let the Chow love flow with a new improved red heart!!!

                                                                                                                        Your thoughts..................

                                                                                                                        (I will leave it up to you, or Chow to decide if this should be a poll thread of it's own)

                                                                                                                        51 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                          Here's my issue with the heart. Hearts evoke thoughts of little girls, Valentines and childish proclamations of love. Love is a strong word. Sure it gets bandied about - people "love" all sorts of "things," where in truth, for the most part people actually love their family, friends and pets. In that sense I don't love any post or really any written, spoken or sung words.

                                                                                                                          Getting back to the old Recommend, I used that as a way to agree with a post, or even give an attaboy/attagirl acknowledgement or click of support.

                                                                                                                          Thing is, if I loved every post I am blue hearting, then that makes me a bit of a love slut. Which, trust me, I'm not.

                                                                                                                          1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                            Hahahaha "love slut", well I can personally assure you I have nor would I ever think of you as such!

                                                                                                                          2. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                            My gripe with the color changes isn't about red to blue (although I did prefer the red) or the addition of the blue touches but about the shading of the gray on whichever board I am reading. The shade of grey for read threads is so faint that it is difficult to discern the read from the unread. The powers that be can easily darken the read threads by two grades or so. It's easier to discern the difference on the iPad but for a day, that wasn't usable either (an ad was making Safari switch over to the app store).

                                                                                                                            I didn't use recommend and I probably won't use the heart. I suspect much of the gripes with the heart isn't only about the heart but that the testers diligently tested the new site and the powers to be didn't listen to any of the advice given. The heart seems to be more of a symbol of the underlying problem.

                                                                                                                            I don't think I am unreasonable with my gripe, but maybe I am. I haven't had a snack or dinner yet.

                                                                                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                              I haven't said a lot about the heart, beyond stating that I don't care one way or the other. What I do find surprising is the vehemence from some of the people who call it childish, juvenile, etc.... as though it's the latest iteration of a glittery pink pony with a flowing lavender mane and tail, or has a big Fisher-Price label on it.

                                                                                                                              I don't recall an outcry over this other heart when it was released. Words like iconic have been tossed around from time to time, but not much criticism. So yes, I'd say a lot of the 'hate for the heart' is likely re-directed anger over other things.

                                                                                                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                We got our grandson, who is 2.5, a tee that says "I heart Pop-Pop" (Bob's grandfather name). I pretty much draw the line there.

                                                                                                                                How's your cooktop???

                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                  When our last was born 5 yrs ago I got him a onesie that says "All I want is whirled peas".

                                                                                                                                  <How's your cooktop???>

                                                                                                                                  Repairman was here first thing, took the model # and said the new one will be shipped here this week. He'll be back to install it next wed. unless the new cooktop is broken. He requested we check it on arrival. Arrived at 9am, spent 10 minutes total, in and out...isn't that against their code or something??? Color me impressed!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                    You meant "UN" impressed, right?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                      Nope. Impressed. He was here on time (window was 8-noon, he showed up at 9), took one look at the cooktop, checked the model number and left with instructions for us.

                                                                                                                                      He had the foresight (experience?) to request we check the condition of the replacement glass and left us his card with cell phone. He didn't question us about the crack, just took care of business, set a date for the install and left. I like that.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                        Gotcha now. I thought you meant he didn't spend enough time.

                                                                                                                                2. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                  Symbols have meaning and power and appropriateness depending on context. On Chowhound, the heart symbol is cutesy, GIRLISH and inappropriate, besides meaning the wrong thing.

                                                                                                                                  I realize this may be a language nuance lost on many people. But that doesn't mean that this nuance is unimportant, or that people are getting inappropriately upset.

                                                                                                                                  The "I [heart/love] New York" is contextually different from the Chowhound symbol. It was the graphic for an advertising campaign, the first of its ilk long ago.

                                                                                                                                  The heart, meaning "love," is appropriate for those who adore that city, or for those city planners who wanted to drum up city pride and visitor revenue (the original goal of the graphic).

                                                                                                                                  But the heart symbol for love and adore is not appropriate in response to a Chowhound post.

                                                                                                                                  Chowhounds recommend a post, agree with it, like it, think it's well written, but they don't love it.
                                                                                                                                  It's the wrong symbol, in terms of meaning.

                                                                                                                                  Besides looking silly, the heart sends the wrong message. I'd be worried as a site administrator that the site is being cute-si-fied and dumbed down.

                                                                                                                                  I don't expect some folks to see this. But language and symbols do have tone and subtext that is either appropriate or inappropriate to the situation. The heart is wrong here.

                                                                                                                                  Why didn't TPTB understand this nuance before the heart was implemented?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                                    As usual, Maria, you explained that perfect. Words (and symbols) really do matter.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                                        Girlish? Talk about gender stereotypes. I guess men don't experience love.

                                                                                                                                        But good grief, if this is the end of the world (or CH) as we know it, I'm all for bringing back "recommend" instead. Just to make the wailing stop already.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                          I think it tends to be girls, not women, who heart things. Our younger daughter was Mandy growing up. At some tween point, she changed it to Mandi and you can guess what the dot on the "i" was :) I still don't - after all these years - get what is wrong with "like."

                                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                            No one is hyperbolically hyperventilating that it's the end of the world to use the heart.

                                                                                                                                            No one is saying, either, that men don't experience love.

                                                                                                                                            We don't need to use extremes in speech. Once again, nuance.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                                            maria lorraine,

                                                                                                                                            I'll give you not that the heart may not be the best symbol for the site, but you don't get to paint it with the cutesy, dumb or GIRLISH (which might be the most offensive adjective in the dictionary, given your caps) label without also applying the same labels to cartoon thumbs and dogs.

                                                                                                                                            They may be more appropriate to CH, but they surely qualify as dumb and cutesy, if not exactly GIRLISH.


                                                                                                                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                              Yes, I still can't wrap my head around "girlish" being an insult.


                                                                                                                                              Is "boyish" a bad thing, too? Just wondering.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                If my "boyish" charm is bad, I don't wanna be good!

                                                                                                                                              2. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                well, two things...

                                                                                                                                                Let's be really realistic -- you don't see many boys or men drawing hearts on things other than on Valentine's Day for an art project.

                                                                                                                                                I read ML's GIRLISH as being "not associated with being an adult woman"

                                                                                                                                                Not many girls here (with the notable exception of GirlOfTheWorld, and I'm not guessing she's not much into hearts) -- so ditch the hearts already.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                    ugh -- my teenaged niece posted that something was Totes Adorbs the other day. I told her if she ever did it again, I was going to smack the phone right out of her hand. (I also knew she was doing it to be obnoxious, so she knew I wasn't serious.)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                      Yes, this is what I meant.

                                                                                                                                                      "Girlish" meaning naïve, without discernment in adult matters.
                                                                                                                                                      What you don't want when you recommend a post.

                                                                                                                                                      Girlish isn't always used pejoratively; it can be positive, meaning youthful and feminine, especially when the context (again, context!) is in reference to a woman older than a girl. My use of girlish describes the tendency of young girls to dot i's and brandish many surfaces, papers, drawings, etc., with cutesy hearts.

                                                                                                                                                      The use of boyish seems almost always affectionate, as in "boyish grin."

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                                                        I appreciate your thoughts on what has been said at least 100 times before, both in the testing threads and after the launch of the updated design. It's amazing how similar most everyone's posts are on the blue heart. I've come to call it Blue Heart Aversion Syndrome, or as I will now refer to it, BHAS.

                                                                                                                                                        I advocate patience while they work on fixing the bugs. In the meantime, treatment for BHAS includes clicking like mad on the little devil when you can find it, reading and responding to lighthearted posts, eating well and drinking to excess.

                                                                                                                                              3. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                                I actually thought that the blue heart meant "death to this person." I guess I've been using it the wrong way. That's why I suggested a Trident so people wouldn't get confused.

                                                                                                                                                If it is supposed to mean something positive, then I thought "hounds howl in unison." The perfect thing would be a little howling hound to create an identity for the site. Here's some candidates.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                  I think a hound is a great idea.

                                                                                                                                                  I'm going to try to have some patience while they take care of the bugs. When the technical difficulties die down... then we can hound 'em.

                                                                                                                                                  I'm going shopping tomorrow. Anybody have any idea where I can get some patience? If I can get it in bulk that'd be great.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                    Love the hound idea. So much so, that I'm going to "heart" it!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                      Please, please use one of these cute hounds!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                        Rude-y, I think that's absolutely brilliant. No joke. That hound isn't loving or recommending. It's going "YES!"

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks y'all. I actually think it would be cool. I tried to make this one small enough - not that CH would use it - but to see if we could have a small enough of a hound that works. I tried cropping out the nuzzle on hound 2 and resizing. The resolution is not there on this file, but I bet a real graphics person could do it in no time.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                            Yes, kudo's on the pooches I would support that change. I like the last guy. I actually think you should create a Q&A poll thread regarding a vote for which one the users like best!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                                              Actually, I thought of that. Everyone can band together on changing to a Howl, and then we can all divide up on which one to choose. Think of the raging debates that will ensue!

                                                                                                                                                              But think of the love that CH will get from such a change!

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                            No good, I'm afraid. Though groups of dogs howl as an expression of pack cohesiveness, the single, howling dog is most often expressing loneliness or some other form of misery.

                                                                                                                                                            Someone suggested a "paws up" icon the other day. That seems a better choice for the dog theme, but a basic *thumbs up* would be best.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                              The more I thought about it, I knew it really wasn't explanatory. I still think "like" is the way to go.

                                                                                                                                                          3. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                            I know you mean well but I see 2 issues with that.

                                                                                                                                                            First, you'd be replacing a symbol that's intuitively obvious with one that needs to be explained. A dog is not a universal symbol that you like something. A heart is.

                                                                                                                                                            Second, all those cartoon dogs are much more mawkish and cutesy than the hearts.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                              Awww Bob, don't lift a hind leg up and pee on my soon-to-be short parade! I pulled those cartoon dogs, I mean hounds, as a concept. I was envisioning more of a symbol-type illustration, maybe a little bigger than that heart (there's space to work with surrounding that symbol, which is cropped too short on top, I might add). And if a newbie gets on and sees a symbol with a number next to it and can't figure that out, then...I don't know.

                                                                                                                                                              But I agree wholeHeartedly with your statement above about hearts (I even hearted you, not simply because I agreed, but because I do truly and deeply love you, Bob): but a switch to a hound would not cause "the planets to fall out of their orbits, worldwide starvation, and the death of millions of puppies."

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                They really should bring back Recommend. It was obvious what it meant, newbie friendly, and it didn't have any cutesy connotation. That said, the hyperventilation about the hearts is like a marathon session of Drama Queen Theater.

                                                                                                                                                                And because I love you too, I'll heart you back.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                  I think the deal with recommend was the screen real estate on mobile devices.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                                                    So they *could* switch to "LIKE" and free up a lot of real estate just as easily. And actually have it mean what users want it to mean when they click the damn thing.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                      If TPTB could PLEASE explain what was wrong with "like" I'd be grateful.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe it is too facebooky for some?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                          It's ironic - to me anyway - that we can share CH posts on FB.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, I didn't know that.....but, c oliver, I don't want my friends to know my handle here, as they will start clowning me.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                              I only did it one and that was to test the entire photostory format.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                              I (cough) LOVE the blue hound! :)

                                                                                                                                                              I agree that it's not intuitive and likely to cause other issues, but I like him, anyway.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                Any of those images gets a big "howl" and two paws up!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                                                                                                  <Any of those images gets a big "howl" and two paws up!>

                                                                                                                                                                  There's a thought.... a paw icon. (not blaming you, gourmanda, you just put the thought in my head).

                                                                                                                                                                  That wouldn't be cutesy, no, not in the least. Yes, somehow, I doubt anyone would be howling for it to be changed to something not cutesy.

                                                                                                                                                                  And that is all I've been trying to say. I don't think people are objecting to cutesy, cartoonish or anything else except that it's a heart.

                                                                                                                                                                  As others have pointed out, an easily recognized icon. Does anyone seriously think a newbie will pop in, see a post they like or want to acknowledge and think "Oh no, wait...that's only for a post I really, really LOVE... better not click it." ?

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                  I like the idea of the dog howling or a paws up.
                                                                                                                                                                  It works.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                                                                      WAY too cutesy. Much worse than the heart.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                        You could be right. But the heart has got to go.

                                                                                                                                                                3. It's been five days now and, except for some technical issues, has anything changed?

                                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                    I *think* that they've given a little more white space between the icons and the topic headings.

                                                                                                                                                                    They've tweaked some stuff that was flat-out not working, but yeah, I think that's it.

                                                                                                                                                                    I still really REALLY don't like the heart -- but my gripe with the heart is that it continues to be a pixelhunt to click it.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                      I don't care about the icon being in the shape of a heart. Probably would have been more appropriate to the site to have it somehow be food related, or just "like" or "agree" or thumbs up, etc.....but I have to agree that it is a *bitch* to try to click it on an iPad! Takes me two or three attempts. Even just make it bigger!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                        Not just an iPad. Its a problem with my Chromebook PC.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                          It's easy to click on my MacBook Air.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                            Well, I am not buying another gizmo just to click on a damn blue heart! Lol.

                                                                                                                                                                            I haven't tried this site on my smart phone yet (since the changes) but I suspect it will be even more difficult.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                              <Well, I am not buying another gizmo just to click on a damn blue heart! Lol.>

                                                                                                                                                                              I wouldn't, either. Now if it were purple...

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                          I was just thinking: we need a lot more white space.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Over to the right, why hasn't that word "debate" been changed already? Isn't it clear that can be offputting to someone new? And why is 'Community' capitalized? Change the word to "doctor" and see why it shouldn't be.

                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                          As much as it pains me to admit, I do agree with C. on this one. I think using the word "debate" is a bit off putting if a newbie was to read it. I think you either need to soften that a bit, or stick with it, but really need to commit to it. My two suggestions are;

                                                                                                                                                                          "The web's food experts are ready to converse"

                                                                                                                                                                          Stick With it
                                                                                                                                                                          "The web's food experts are ready to debate, and f*ck some shit up" (maybe play a riff from Ozzy or Black Sabbath when you click the link)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                                                            Well reality is "self-professed" experts. Some of the most adamant posters are the ones whose answers make no sense.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                                                              It "pains" you to admit it???? I'm crushed, junior. I do think some humor could be added if they want to make the site warmer and fuzzier.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                That's why we need a Jr board!!! Sign the petition!! Get on board(pun intended) today! Buy your tickets here!!

                                                                                                                                                                                And remember C. there would be no Batman, without a Joker, no Superman without Lex Luther.....all of the greats needed an adversary. I think most of the time we agree to disagree on many topic's rather well.


                                                                                                                                                                                (I'll heart ya!!! I know you secretly love it)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm confused. In this scenario, are you Supergirl or Robin?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                    Neither, I'm not in super hero tights shape anymore. I need to be more the Penguin, a nice sports coat, top hat and monocle would be more suitable.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. The new format does not suck. It sucks BIG.
                                                                                                                                                                            1. Legibility is much, much worse than before.
                                                                                                                                                                            2. the first few words of every reply are now obsured by the time stamp.

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                                                                              Hi, could you tell us where you're seeing the second one happen?

                                                                                                                                                                              A screenshot or URL would be very helpful, as well as what OS, browser, device you're viewing it on. We really want to make sure it's fixed, but we're having trouble re-producing it.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Wow! It's pretty rare for a Site Talk discussion to generate this much discussion "In a heartbeat!" Shows that a lot of us are becoming more and more disenchanted.

                                                                                                                                                                              I highly suspect that "website design" suffers from "fashion trends" as much as any other human endeavor and way too often keeping a website "user friendly" falls by the wayside in the interest of web designer's rush to "keep up with the Joneses."

                                                                                                                                                                              I suspect that is the problem now. It's a "fashion tragedy."

                                                                                                                                                                              Chowhound is not the only website to succumb. Is anyone else disgusted with some of the fast food websites that are as complicated as a video game and no longer give prices? I DO understand the "entrapment shopping" approach used by architects of high end retailers to keep customers in the store longer so they will do more impulse buying, but that's a concept that does NOT work well for web based discussion forums!

                                                                                                                                                                              Hey, you hard working Chowhound Techies, PUT IT BACK! Ain't nothin' wrong with retro! '-)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Why do I automatically follow if I reply?

                                                                                                                                                                                Why hasn't the ipad "back a page" been fixed?

                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                                                  If you reply then yeah you automatically are following. But if you don't want to then just click the yellow star. I do it regularly.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                                                    The automatic follow after a reply isn't a new feature; you can always unfollow.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I can't believe I've wasted ten minutes of my life reading this silly debate over whether or not hearts are appropriate or too feminine for this website. What a time suck....
                                                                                                                                                                                    Honestly people?? Do any of you have nothing more pressing in your lives than the format of this site? Voice your displeasure or approval and get on with your lives people. This world is burning around us and you are all kvetching about meaningless drivel, and even arguing amongst yourselves. No wonder we are in the sorry state we are. How incredibly sad.

                                                                                                                                                                                    23 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks. You've really turned us all around.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh yea. I'm sure I have. Hopefully the bickering will cease. I feel like I'm on a road trip with my kids..... Brutal.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                            Don't make me turn this car around....... And stop breathing your brother's air.....

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                                                                                HAHAHAHA! I know, I'm an evil witch....!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nah. Like the rest of us, you expressed your opinion. We accept you, one of us! Gooble Gobble!!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                          I get that you don't care.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The issue isn't about the heart, or only about the heart.

                                                                                                                                                                                          It's about design decisions that are ill-informed or seem chosen without insight, and how those design decisions affect users and site owners.

                                                                                                                                                                                          If the site designers had cared more and had more insight, all this discussion never would have ensued.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                                                                                            And I do get it. The outrage (and I've read that I'm certainly not the first to call it that on this thread,) just seems so over the top for what it is that everyone is complaining about..... Sorry.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                              did you pick up, however, that when it was sent to a select group of hounds for Beta testing, the heart was thoroughly denounced, but that was never even acknowledged, let alone changed.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Turns out that the Beta group were used only for technical functionality issues, and that readability - the damned heart - and other issues about user satisfaction were wholesale ignored.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I said somewhere else that it wasn't the heart in and of itself - that it's the canary in the mine. If they can't even be bothered to save the canary, there's not much hope for the bigger issues.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yep. And it would have been nice to say that the actual new formats weren't open to negotiation so don't bother working on that. And perhaps the nastiest is being ignored when we would ask specifically. I'm sure they were really sorry that they invited ME being the big mouth, take-no-enemies kinda CH that I am but I sure wouldn't be interested in doing this again. And my suggestion that I'd prefer fois gras to a t-shirt was ignored :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for putting it so succinctly, sunshine.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                              Nothing like a little denigrating shaming to make it all better...sigh

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                I have to chuckle. You 'wasted' your time reading it and then wonder about others pressing issues. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                  It was kinda like a train wreck...I couldn't look away....

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, gawd, I know what you mean :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Glad to see that you are reading the previous posts before dropping your own into the mix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Seriously?? It's bad enough I spent ten plus minutes reading what I did... No way in hell I'm gonna read every single response to a 212 response thread of a bunch of whining how the site doesn't look or seem the same.....maybe you have that kind of time on your hands. I do not. You're telling me I'm the first to skim past posts on a long winded thread?? Sure. So sue me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                      People of the State of Chow v. John/Jane Doe (aka "Dirtywextraolives")

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yet here you go taking time to respond as if your words had more meaning than others. And you keep coming back and back. Talk about incredibly sad. Pathetic even.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've always said that if one doesn't vote then one forfeits their right to complain later. I kinda feel that way about those who don't read all the replies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think we all need to go to our room and stand in the corner and THINK ABOUT WHAT WE'VE DONE for sucking your time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Which, BTW, was your choice to have said time sucked. You could have just closed the thread, and gone on your merry way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Hey, folks, this has degenerated into a discussion over whether it's worse to comment vehemently about these changes or to comment about the people who comment vehemently about these changes. We're going to lock it now.