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Jul 28, 2014 06:46 PM

Ongoing Feedback for New Conversation Types


Today we've launched a fix to resolve the ordering issues you were seeing in Q&A. Answers are now correctly ordered, with the answer selected by the original poster at the top and then all other responses sorted by total votes.

We're also working on adding the ability to see who voted on each Q&A answer, and on adding a closing paragraph option to make Photo Stories more flexible.

We've seen some great example of Q&A posts to date. A few we particularly liked:

- What are the best hard ciders?
- How long is too long to brine pork chops that are 2 in. thick?
- Quick! Where should we have date-night dinner tonight? (in Minneapolis-St. Paul)

We'd ask that everyone stay on topic and provide useful food-focused answers when posting on Q&A threads. Feedback about Q&A as a format should be brought up on the Site Talk board, to avoid taking people's questions off on a tangent.

We'd also love more feedback on the Photo Story format. Here are a few good examples so far. Check them out and tell us what you think of the format. Or, just check them out because they contain some amazing photographs of food.

- Piemonte 2014, Part II
- Try the Pomme D'Amour Pastry from Knead Patisserie, SF Mission (PICS)
- My Chowhound Wedding:
- Addictive Eclectic Ribeye with Poblano Pepper La Crema Sauce, MONEY [El Asador Steakhouse, Detroit]

There are also some great links going up using the new link function. Check out this one about Dolmas with an embedded YouTube video: We're doing some more work on the Linking function to make Links to other commonly used sites look this great on Chowhound, as well:
- Ricettario definitivo: 50 spaghetti recipes:
- Francois Payard tries supermarket snack cakes:

We have a number of additional improvements lined up and want to thank everyone for the feedback thus far. We've locked the initial feedback thread, since it was getting hard for many people to open, and started this new thread for ongoing feedback.

We hope everyone will focus on providing new feedback going forward -- the previous thread is still there, and we're working on determining where we can make changes that address that feedback so there's no need to repeat things you mentioned previously.

  1. Thanks for bearing with us everyone! We'll be heads down on improvements and hope to have more to announce later this week.

    9 Replies
    1. re: patsully

      Just a reminder. Let's lose the "debate" word in the Discussion header. Intimidating to newbies.

      1. re: c oliver

        Yes please. My previous suggested rewording is: "Discussion: Our community exists to discuss food. Jump right in!" Maybe a little hackneyed, but "Discussion: The web's food experts are ready to debate" is way too intimidating. Who are these experts? Well, ok we all think of ourselves as experts but if I were new to Chowhound I would never think to bother to "debate" with an "expert."

        1. re: MplsM ary

          I knew someone had said this and was too lazy to look. I thing it's WAY better.

        2. re: c oliver

          Please please please. Just to clarify: this appears in the sidebar on individual thread pages - the header reads "New Community Conversations are here" and then below it lists the different post categories, and says
          "The web's food experts are ready to debate."

          This is SUCH off-putting language. PLEASE change it.

          On the main page for the boards, at the top where one can start a new post, the different categories are shown and if you hover over the little "Discussion" balloon, a pop-up reads "Looking for in-depth food conversation? Our knowledgable [sic] Community is ready to discuss (and sometimes debate) all things food." I'd prefer to lose the "debate" part altogether, but this is much less off-putting wording. Surely it would be possible to paraphrase this in eight words or so without challenging folks to a debate with "the web's food experts."

          1. re: Allstonian

            I hadn't seen that. Thanks.

            How about "The site's food experts will talking endlessly about the most minute detail" :)

            1. re: Allstonian

              " if you hover over the little 'Discussion' balloon, a pop-up reads"

              I would never have had any idea that there were pop-ups if I hadn't read that here.

              Put the important information where no one will see it, excellent design.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Robert, I don't know your age or techy skills, but a lot of the recent things that are being described as "intuitive" haven't been for me

                1. re: c oliver

                  I've been making my living writing about software for 25 years, first as a reviewer for PC World and the like, then as a technical writer. I've been involved in many design decisions and worked closely with lots of UI designers, competent and otherwise. In some of my past jobs I had to take the lead on UI design and usability because the engineers were all hardcore coders with little sense of end users' expectations or needs.

                  A UI designer using the word "intuitive" raises a red flag for me, kind of like "authentic" in discussions of food. All UI design is arbitrary. If something seems intuitive that's only because you're used to that particular convention, e.g. having a permalink on a timestamp. Does every blogger expect that? Sure. That doesn't mean that lots of Chowhound users weren't baffled by the Link button disappearing.

        3. Thanks, J. I'm sure this hasn't been the easiest few days in your professional life. To say the least. I guess I started the +1 thing which, in truth, has gotten out of hand. I'm pretty sure y'all must be looking at options :) I'll return to the damn heart just to be a team player. Temporarily, I hope. Sleep well :)

          1. F.. it. I'm over it. I had my gripe. Thanks for your work. Let's get back to the business of talking about food and bitching at one another.

            1. I would like to reiterate my request to have the "read" post shading to be a tad darker. Right now, it's still a bit too light to be able to discern between read and unread posts.

              Also, I do think the boards are a bit cluttered. Since most of the posts are discussions, maybe lose all the "discussion" bubbles and only have the icons for links and Q&A? That would make those posts stand out instead of getting lost amongst the discussion posts.

              6 Replies
              1. re: beetlebug

                Yes yes YES - weirdly, this is one problem that seems to be MUCH worse on desktop/laptop than on android/tablet. The difference between read and unread threads is barely perceptible.

                1. re: beetlebug

                  I agree that the "read" threads really ought to be darker. Reading the site on a laptop is tricky because the screen has to be at just the right angle to be able to tell unread and read threads apart.

                  I also think you're on to something about only showing the Q&A icons. If 95% of posts are discussions there's really no point in identifying something obvious.

                  1. re: beetlebug

                    What irritates me about the slight color differentiation is that this is the third time (I think) since the Leff CH days that the powers that be have futzed with it. There is an agreeable color scheme, they futz, it becomes difficult read and then it goes back to an acceptable level. If there is one thing that doesn't need changing, it's the shading levels.

                    The shading (of closed read posts) on open threads is marginally better but the home board page is too light.

                    Unfortunately, I think the shading issue is getting lost amongst other complaints.

                    1. re: beetlebug

                      I miss the red. A lot easier on the eyes than all this white, and a more stylish, attractive design.

                      1. re: greygarious

                        Exactly. When the logo of both CHOW and Chowhound are backgrounded in red, I'm not sure why the switch to blue text/highlighting was made. The white-on-blue-or-gray is NOT easy to read.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          I miss the red as well. But when that was first rolled out, there was a huge uproar about the color scheme. I think it's because it was so bright that it was almost blinding. They fixed the shades and we all liked it. Then after a few years, they futzed with the color again. Sigh.

                          The red made the site different then other ones. Not sure why it changed other then for changes sake.

                    2. I think the changes do a very good job of doing what they are designed to do - increase the mass appeal of the Site. More "oooh pretty pictures" posts certainly helps. Anything that might actually get folks to click on links is a great step (next try and figure out how to get 'em to read the linked to material before responding, please?). The Q&A is problematic and limited, but if it helps the Site get a few more bodies to stick around until they've learned something, so be it (although, brining pork is simply wrong - but, that's off topic here).

                      There is a clearly growing mass of new "foodies" out there. Food television has figured out how to appeal to it, so has Yelp! Darden is doing it. I mean, even small, local papers are. Chow needs its piece to survive. Dumbing things down should be beneficial to that goal (Besides, crusty, old 'hounds with Adblock don't succumb to a lot of outside sales pitches.).

                      The thing is, the process inevitably leads to a reduction in the number of "experts" available to distinguish this Site from others. Over time, there has been a clear loss of true food-related professionals. Perhaps, that was intended, but those folks also played an important part in the pyramid. There likewise seems to be a reduction in the number of folks who comprehend and articulate effectively. This also leads down a dangerous path - initial attraction is fleeting without some underlying substance.

                      At bottom, I guess all I'm really saying is don't forget the bird in hand when going after the other two. Truth is, most of us recognize that we need all three. (Oh, and, the heart is still pretty lame!)

                      5 Replies
                        1. re: MGZ

                          Agreed - well said, MGZ.

                          Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Attracting new users is one thing; but losing long-time Hounds is another. Don't dumb down the site so much that it becomes a Yelpish site.

                          1. re: MGZ

                            Bravo!! Bravo!! (and yes, I hearted you!)