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A New Forum - Any Thoughts?


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#1 DonRocks

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:53 PM

There is so much raw intellect on this website that isn't limited to the world of cuisine. A couple of days ago, a member wrote me and asked, "why not have a forum that has nothing to do with food?"

The obvious answer is that my expertise will be limited, and my ability to moderate will necessarily be compromised based on that limitation.

But wouldn't it be nice if we could discuss various art forms? Film? Literature? Music? Art? Theater? I'd really rather stay away from the divisive issues of politics and religion even though I'm certain we could come up with some rousing discussions there, too. The total number of posts in these types of forums might be small, but boy I would LOVE to be able to have intellectually stimulating discussion about the arts and humanities, even science to a lesser degree. Right now, for example, I'm reading To Kill A Mockingbird for the very first time (believe it or not), and even though it's not a terribly deep book, it's a really terrific read and I'd love to see what other folks have to say about it.

So what do you all think? Another members-only forum to discuss such things? If we do this, I'd like to wait awhile because there may be some other changes coming down the pike also, and the other changes would need to come first. But in principle, I love the idea. And gosh, wouldn't you love to see intellectual giants like Landrum cut loose on subjects such as these?

Your thoughts?

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#2 dcs

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 01:00 PM

An excellent idea!

#3 thistle

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 02:47 PM

I may be in the minority, but I am completely satisfied with this forum (maybe sadly, my life revolves too much around food), other ancillary interests (gardening, knives) are covered, only my fiber related activities aren't discussed, but that's ok, I have other places for that. I read a lot, & listen to lots of music, but don't discuss them, just enjoy...

#4 Mrs. B

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 02:55 PM

Might turn into a moderating nightmare Don. You are gonna need a bigger stick.

#5 weezy

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 03:00 PM

Perhaps a sub-forum with a link-thru from this board, so the people participating there are folks who have already undergone the screening process for joining here? That will reduce the amount of trolls to contend with.

Maybe call it "Through the Looking Glass" or "Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here."

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#6 DonRocks

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 03:54 PM

Perhaps a sub-forum with a link-thru from this board, so the people participating there are folks who have already undergone the screening process for joining here? That will reduce the amount of trolls to contend with.

Maybe call it "Through the Looking Glass" or "Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here."


Yes, I would limit participation to long-time members, sort of like what I do with the Professionals and Businesses forum (although I'd have the forum readable for everyone).

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#7 DanielK

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 03:59 PM

I participate in other forums for other interests. Just like I don't need a food board on my movie form, not sure I really need a movie board on my food forum.

#8 jayandstacey

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 04:59 PM

I believe you'd do well to have a 'catch all' place for non-food discussion. No politics, no profanity - otherwise, any civil discourse allowed. People don't have to go there if the don't wish...but it would be a simple answer for people to continue to discuss, for instance, why Reston Town Center succeeds but the Rockville Mall failed.

I'd only suggest that you limit it to one board - trying to carve it up more will just be policing for policing's sake.

#9 MC Horoscope

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 06:17 PM

You could make 2 new forums, as far as I am concerned.

Miscellaneous -- Non Political
Politics & Religion

I frequent a jazz discussion board that successfully has these two forums. In Miscellaneous -- Non Political we discuss sports, movies, TV shows, literature, food, etc.. I know I could go to separate boards dedicated to each of these topics, but that misses the point. I would still have no idea what my jazz loving friends (or in this case my food loving friends) think of these topics!

Chances are you and I don't go the same discussion boards and even if we did we would have different user names.

#10 weezy

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 06:35 PM

I remember that Chowhound has a "Not About Food" sub-forum in their make-up. I checked it out a few times and there was some good stuff to be found in there, funny, informative, a bit insane at times, but good.


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#11 jayandstacey

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 06:56 PM

You could make 2 new forums, as far as I am concerned.

Miscellaneous -- Non Political
Politics & Religion

This makes sense to me too. My experience with other boards is that politics and religion, politics especially, simply turns into a ranting fest with no apparent limit to people's ability to type rants. It tends to overwhelm general discussion if it isn't segregated.

OTOH, having such a place may just invite some DR members to become split - combatants if you will. Even though segregated from the rest of the discussion, is there anything gained here by having such a political/religion forum? And how much is lost? I don't socialize with you folks (nothing personal) but right now, presumably some of you share a table or picnic cloth. What if some of the members here began ranting about politics? Would the gatherings be any better? I'm guessing probably not...at all.

So I think I'd just make it one non-food forum, with the following rules:
- No politics, no religion. While those topics can be tactfully discussed by some, they are too easily abused by many. So let's just not go there - at least, not here.
- Respect. No ad hominem attacks, no profanity, no name calling. Differing opinions are welcome so long as they are presented with civility.

#12 Rhone1998

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 08:23 PM

I know I could go to separate boards dedicated to each of these topics, but that misses the point. I would still have no idea what my jazz loving friends (or in this case my food loving friends) think of these topics!

Chances are you and I don't go the same discussion boards and even if we did we would have different user names.


Precisely! What I love about this idea is that it extends and deepens the community formed here. There will probably always be some narrow discussion forum elsewhere on the web that goes deeper on any topic someone might post about in a donrockwell.com "Other Topics" forum, but it will never foster a discussion among the people you've come to know and like from this community.

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#13 dcs

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 09:00 PM

Precisely! What I love about this idea is that it extends and deepens the community formed here.


Exactly!

#14 darkstar965

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 10:40 PM

I may be in the minority, but I am completely satisfied with this forum <snip>

I participate in other forums for other interests. Just like I don't need a food board on my movie form, not sure I really need a movie board on my food forum.


The above two views were my initial reaction to this but then decided to hold off and ponder/read a bit before posting here.

I believe you'd do well to have a 'catch all' place for non-food discussion. No politics, no profanity - otherwise, any civil discourse allowed. People don't have to go there if the don't wish...but it would be a simple answer for people to continue to discuss, for instance, why Reston Town Center succeeds but the Rockville Mall failed.

I'd only suggest that you limit it to one board - trying to carve it up more will just be policing for policing's sake.


But then the above makes sense too--especially the highlighted (my bold) part. As for whether some of the dicier non-food topics might drive some division or combativeness, I guess that's possible and thus a concern. On that though, and thinking of the very few other online forums I even monitor, strong consistent moderation is what keeps any web forum civil, useful and valuable. It's never simply about offering a forum or channel. It's about how it's managed that drives success or failure.

Which leads me finally to my now-formed view: I'm not opposed to it. Probably wouldn't participate much in it. Would worry that Don's already running at 400% percent and doing yet another forum could drive him over the edge when people start fuming and flaming. Maybe also makes some sense to determine and work to achieve whatever goals with this forum before even considering another forum?

#15 Heather

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 03:38 AM

I'm not opposed to it, but it would definitely require constant moderation and IMO would be detrimental to the community if politics and religion were allowed topics of discussion. I would not participate in a new forum if those were permitted topics.

ETA if you want to talk music, or find out other interests you could friend on Facebook, follow on Twitter, read a blog, or join Google+ There are literally dozens of ways to connect these days. I like this place for its focus.

#16 MC Horoscope

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 09:26 AM

Good points about a Politics and Religion board being contentious! On the jazz board I visit I usually stay away from the Politics and Religion forum anyway unless the topic is copyright or the public domain. Even there before too long I am usually called a communist by the record company executives who advocate for perpetual copyright.

I still think political topics could be discussed much better HERE than on the Washington Post, for example, where the comment sections are just about unreadable. But then again maybe just a single Miscellaneous -- Non-Political forum wouldn't clutter up the place or involve too much work for moderators.

#17 DonRocks

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 09:33 AM

Good points about a Politics and Religion board being contentious! On the jazz board I visit I usually stay away from the Politics and Religion forum anyway unless the topic is copyright or the public domain. Even there before too long I am usually called a communist by the record company executives who advocate for perpetual copyright.

I still think political topics could be discussed much better HERE than on the Washington Post, for example, where the comment sections are just about unreadable. But then again maybe just a single Miscellaneous -- Non-Political forum wouldn't clutter up the place or involve too much work for moderators.


I can pretty tell you right now that I don't want politics or religion discussed here. We are all brothers and sisters here despite our differences, and all politics and religion will do is make us enemies. The arts and humanities are something, like cuisine, that we can all share a mutual love of.

Right now, I'm leaning against this in the short term, but if I can get some help or capital, then sure, why not. I'd really like the Professionals and Businesses forum to be used as a proving ground for something like this, but there isn't quite as much participation there as I'd like (probably because I made the posting requirements there so strict) - nevertheless, that is one of our most useful forums - *every* recommendation there is something that I'd use (and have, in several instances). I love that forum, and wish that people would post there more.

What do you think about beginning a positive-only hotel subforum in the Intrepid Traveler forum? People don't need to know about bad places to stay, but want to know about good places to stay - at least I do. Fining a hotel online these days is about as much fun as going to the dentist.

I really, really want a Washington, DC hotel forum for our city's visitors, but local DC residents just don't know that much about the hotels here. Heck, maybe I'll start one anyway and see what happens.

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#18 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:07 AM

I would really like a forum about travel. Where to stay, what to see, etc. in additon to just where to eat. Maybe we can jsut expand the travel section to include such discussions. Right now I feel like if I'm not talking about food in the travel section, I'm going off topic.

#19 DonRocks

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:36 AM

I would really like a forum about travel. Where to stay, what to see, etc. in additon to just where to eat. Maybe we can jsut expand the travel section to include such discussions. Right now I feel like if I'm not talking about food in the travel section, I'm going off topic.


Yes, this is kind of what I'm thinking, too. It would be really nice to get hotel recommendations as well as restaurant recommendations. It's a natural extension of what this site is all about. What I also really want is for this website to become Ground Zero for DC hotel recommendations - that could also be a way to generate some revenue (although I'm not sure how) without compromising our inherent quality. (If anyone has any ideas about this particular aspect, please contact me privately - I'm all ears.)

I had NO idea that The Intrepid Traveler would become the popular forum that it has - I sort of did it just to respect the wishes of several members who requested it, but it has turned out to be a very useful resource. I think hotels would be equally useful as restaurants, especially since they cost so darned much money.

The problem is, subforums here simply do not get the same level of traffic as forums with direct links from the main page. Perhaps we can have one Intrepid Traveler forum for restaurants, and a second one for hotels? If we make "hotels" a subforum of restaurants, it will just get buried, and it will rarely be used.

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#20 Pete

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:07 AM

The problem is, subforums here simply do not get the same level of traffic as forums with direct links from the main page. Perhaps we can have one Intrepid Traveler forum for restaurants, and a second one for hotels? If we make "hotels" a subforum of restaurants, it will just get buried, and it will rarely be used.


I think a hotel subforum could work. The Intrepid Traveler forum title is still generic enough (it doesn't specify "Restaurants"). All you need to do would be to change the subtitle from "Dining in other cities" to "Dining and Lodging in other cities". Personally, the main page of the website is starting to get a little cluttered so I wonder how adding more forums would impact the look of the website.

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#21 DonRocks

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:17 AM

I think a hotel subforum could work. The Intrepid Traveler forum title is still generic enough (it doesn't specify "Restaurants"). All you need to do would be to change the subtitle from "Dining in other cities" to "Dining and Lodging in other cities". Personally, the main page of the website is starting to get a little cluttered so I wonder how adding more forums would impact the look of the website.


I agree about the clutter, but Craigslist is a good model for clutter that works.

I don't think I want to co-mingle restaurants and hotels in the same thread ... or do I?

For example, would Chicago now include restaurants and hotels? Or should there be a Chicago-Restaurants and a Chicago-Hotels thread? Or, perhaps, something else?

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#22 Pat

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:43 AM

I agree about the clutter, but Craigslist is a good model for clutter that works.

I don't think I want to co-mingle restaurants and hotels in the same thread ... or do I?

For example, would Chicago now include restaurants and hotels? Or should there be a Chicago-Restaurants and a Chicago-Hotels thread? Or, perhaps, something else?


I think of the way Shopping and Cooking is set up: they're commingled in the same forum and it's intuitively clear whether they're shopping- or cooking-related. Now that there are tags, it could be made explicit for each thread in the particular travel forum whether it's dining or lodging, if that's a problem. Another relevant point is that many or most hotels have restaurants. I'm not sure where I'm going with that point, but that would need to be accounted for organizationally ;) .

#23 darkstar965

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:38 PM

ETA if you want to talk music, or find out other interests you could friend on Facebook, follow on Twitter, read a blog, or join Google+ There are literally dozens of ways to connect these days. I like this place for its focus.


This strikes me as another very important point I didn't think of when I posted yesterday. Beyond the few Heather lists, there is meetup, a zillion yahoo groups/listervs and even small startup companies doing this like BigTent.com. DR.com rocks because it is smartly and actively managed (by Don most of all but also the other moderators/volunteers and, to some degree, the members) AND because it offers something different. That's Heather's focus point but I'd sharpen it. Yes, DR has the food/restaurant focus. But it also is valuable because the expertise, knowledge and character of the community here is different/better than any other food/restaurant forum (IMHO). None of that would be true ranging farther afield from the core.

On hotels, I find TripAdvisor more valuable than Yelp. Good number of generally better quality reviews (along with the ratings) covering most of the world. A new hotel forum here (shouldn't be mixed with restaurants IMO) could cover the DC area better than TripAdvisor (and others) but one other thing to consider. I don't know the data but my sense is that the existing dr.com active community (registered, regular posters) is mostly based here. With some obvious exceptions, hotel information for DC would mostly appeal to people who don't live here (again, I know not in all cases) so maybe that's a different community altogether in terms of who'd be posting if it attracted traffic.

#24 DanielK

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:38 PM

I *would* co-mingle hotel, restaurant, and what-to-do posts in the same thread for Intrepid Traveler. If I'm going to Chicago, and want advice, why would I want to visit 3 different threads?

FWIW, when traveling, whether business or pleasure, this is the first place I check. In fact, while I'm always the first resource for DC-area-dining that friends check when they want advice, they've started to come to me for other cities as well, and I can frequently provide advice *even if I haven't been there recently* because of this site. Awesome.

#25 darkstar965

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:49 PM

Right now, I'm leaning against this in the short term, but if I can get some help or capital, then sure, why not.


Maybe because if you got more help and capital you could do some things with the main website you've been wanting to do? Technology/mobile, content organization, very limited marketing (the recent stickers discussion as example), etc.

#26 Choirgirl21

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 02:44 PM

I believe you'd do well to have a 'catch all' place for non-food discussion. No politics, no profanity - otherwise, any civil discourse allowed. People don't have to go there if the don't wish...but it would be a simple answer for people to continue to discuss, for instance, why Reston Town Center succeeds but the Rockville Mall failed.

I'd only suggest that you limit it to one board - trying to carve it up more will just be policing for policing's sake.

Agree. I've longed for an off topic forum on this board since I joined. I think it would foster a sense of community and allow us to get to know each other better. I know people welcome newer folks to events and really encourage people to come to the picnics, but it can be a bit intimidating joining a new forum (and as much as I would like to attend, I have yet to be able to make it to a picnic). It's just another way to get to know people and possibly foster further involvement.

I *would* co-mingle hotel, restaurant, and what-to-do posts in the same thread for Intrepid Traveler. If I'm going to Chicago, and want advice, why would I want to visit 3 different threads?

FWIW, when traveling, whether business or pleasure, this is the first place I check. In fact, while I'm always the first resource for DC-area-dining that friends check when they want advice, they've started to come to me for other cities as well, and I can frequently provide advice *even if I haven't been there recently* because of this site. Awesome.

Exactly.

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#27 Toogs

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 03:29 PM

Off-topic forums help form a community, as you get to know people more. Great idea (which I suggested years ago I might add). Agree with the above that it should be more free-form than regimented, and not policed other than for civility. but lol at no profanity, since when is that a rule here?

#28 jayandstacey

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 07:29 PM

More thoughts from the peanut-tolerant gallery:

1. This thread is evidence of the value of such a catch-all place. We're not talking about an event or gathering...and in a small way, this discussion here devalues the events/gatherings board. I'm not sure what extra effort or capital would be involved; in fact I'd set it up as precisely the place you would NOT edit - other than to remove objectionable posts. The "report" tag at the bottom of each post could certainly help with that, as well as limiting access to members.

2. I was going to post the same thing about the Hotels - to allow them to integrate with the restaurant suggestions. Ultimately, what to do with hotels is purely a function, Don, of what you'd like to do with the information long term - which I think is a question of how to hope to monetize it. Consider this: As I come here for local recommendations, I find the DR members to be, by and large, of a particular 'type'. When I seek info about other cities here, I'm wondering "what would a DR person seek when travelling in that city." That is NOT always the same as a local may wish or recommend in that city. As an example, there might be a review here about food choices in O'Hare - but there'd be little point in talking about Dulles dining options. For hotels, same thing - I'd come here to find out "what would a DR-type Washingtonian like/dislike about hotels in these other places?" SO....if your hope is to better expand to other cities...it would seem you'd almost have to take a Craigslist/Chowhound approach, where locals talk about their local offerings...but then can comment on other cities' offerings. How will you monetize info on hotels? Do you wish to expand beyond the DC-centric approach? I believe those answers will drive how to deal with hotels (and off-topic discussions)

#29 DonRocks

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 07:43 PM

1. This thread is evidence of the value of such a catch-all place. We're not talking about an event or gathering...and in a small way, this discussion here devalues the events/gatherings board. I'm not sure what extra effort or capital would be involved; in fact I'd set it up as precisely the place you would NOT edit - other than to remove objectionable posts. The "report" tag at the bottom of each post could certainly help with that, as well as limiting access to members.


One thing I'm genuinely worried about is that unmoderated, non-food-related forums will cause people to hate each other. We're all friends through our shared common interest, but when someone starts calling someone else an ignoramus because they like Bruckner more than Mahler, and I'm not around to calm things down (which I do a *lot* behind the scenes, by the way), I'm afraid that the sense of kinship we all feel for each other will diminish. Is this fear unfounded?

I think if I did start such a forum, it would be for long-standing members only, like the Professionals and Businesses forum (which I happen to think is a raging success despite its tiny size). I can also tell you right now that I won't have the time to moderate any new forum such as this.

Someone just forwarded me this article which is a little thick to read, but may have some relevance to all this.

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#30 Sundae in the Park

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 07:45 PM

I *would* co-mingle hotel, restaurant, and what-to-do posts in the same thread for Intrepid Traveler. If I'm going to Chicago, and want advice, why would I want to visit 3 different threads?

FWIW, when traveling, whether business or pleasure, this is the first place I check. In fact, while I'm always the first resource for DC-area-dining that friends check when they want advice, they've started to come to me for other cities as well, and I can frequently provide advice *even if I haven't been there recently* because of this site. Awesome.


Yes to all this. The Forum is already nicely segmented by location, which is the mostly logical way to slice up a travel forum, and for people like us, food and hotel and entertainment and proximity thereof of such things, is more integral than for most. So keep it all together! Also, less work for you. Some of us mention hotels anyway when we are talking about food in other places, because we are often looking for things to eat nearby. We can just add our thoughts (if positive) on the hotel while we're at it.

#31 DonRocks

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 07:52 PM

Yes to all this. The Forum is already nicely segmented by location, which is the mostly logical way to slice up a travel forum, and for people like us, food and hotel and entertainment and proximity thereof of such things, is more integral than for most. So keep it all together! Also, less work for you. Some of us mention hotels anyway when we are talking about food in other places, because we are often looking for things to eat nearby. We can just add our thoughts (if positive) on the hotel while we're at it.


Not sure about this. We often make hotel plans in advance of restaurant plans. My instinct is to have two threads per city. Maybe.

With an index (which we currently have), it's just one extra click.

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#32 jayandstacey

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 08:09 PM

One thing I'm genuinely worried about is that unmoderated, non-food-related forums will cause people to hate each other. We're all friends through our shared common interest, but when someone starts calling someone else an ignoramus because they like Bruckner more than Mahler, and I'm not around to calm things down (which I do a *lot* behind the scenes, by the way), I'm afraid that the sense of kinship we all feel for each other will diminish. Is this fear unfounded?

I think if I did start such a forum, it would be for long-standing members only, like the Professionals and Businesses forum (which I happen to think is a raging success despite its tiny size). I can also tell you right now that I won't have the time to moderate any new forum such as this.

Someone just forwarded me this article which is a little thick to read, but may have some relevance to all this.


OK, that's the part I didn't know - I didn't know how much calming you must do today. If you're already doing a lot, then yes, this will only be worse. There is high value in that moderation (I, for one, simply assumed everyone here is super-nice, when in reality you're super-moderating) and that value isn't worth debasing. We can successfully find ways to sneak in discussions about the merits of Reston Town Center's design...in amongst our reviews of Wawa's egg salad offerings. :)

#33 DonRocks

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 08:14 PM

OK, that's the part I didn't know - I didn't know how much calming you must do today. If you're already doing a lot, then yes, this will only be worse. There is high value in that moderation (I, for one, simply assumed everyone here is super-nice, when in reality you're super-moderating) and that value isn't worth debasing. We can successfully find ways to sneak in discussions about the merits of Reston Town Center's design...in amongst our reviews of Wawa's egg salad offerings. :)


I don't "moderate" so much as I gently encourage and express gratitude behind the scenes. I just counted the number of people I've PM'd yesterday and today, and do you know how many different people there have been? Thirty (yes, 30).

They're mostly "thank you" notes for taking the time to participate here, but I work harder than anyone possibly knows "grooming the ski slopes" in the middle of the night when everyone is sleeping, and when they awake, they awake to perfectly groomed ski slopes.

It doesn't happen by itself, I promise you that much.

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#34 kirite

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 08:54 PM

There is so much raw intellect on this website that isn't limited to the world of cuisine. A couple of days ago, a member wrote me and asked, "why not have a forum that has nothing to do with food?"

The obvious answer is that my expertise will be limited, and my ability to moderate will necessarily be compromised based on that limitation.

But wouldn't it be nice if we could discuss various art forms? Film? Literature? Music? Art? Theater? I'd really rather stay away from the divisive issues of politics and religion even though I'm certain we could come up with some rousing discussions there, too. The total number of posts in these types of forums might be small, but boy I would LOVE to be able to have intellectually stimulating discussion about the arts and humanities, even science to a lesser degree. Right now, for example, I'm reading To Kill A Mockingbird for the very first time (believe it or not), and even though it's not a terribly deep book, it's a really terrific read and I'd love to see what other folks have to say about it.

So what do you all think? Another members-only forum to discuss such things? If we do this, I'd like to wait awhile because there may be some other changes coming down the pike also, and the other changes would need to come first. But in principle, I love the idea. And gosh, wouldn't you love to see intellectual giants like Landrum cut loose on subjects such as these?

Your thoughts?


Rocks, after you finish reading "To Kill A Mockingbird" you may want to rent the DVD called "Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and To Kill A Mockingbird." Among its many attractions are interviews with Harper's 99-year old sister, who in 2010 was still a practicing attorney. Harper has not given an interview since 1964.

And yes, I really like the idea of a culture/idea forum.

#35 hm212

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:23 PM

I *would* co-mingle hotel, restaurant, and what-to-do posts in the same thread for Intrepid Traveler. If I'm going to Chicago, and want advice, why would I want to visit 3 different threads?

FWIW, when traveling, whether business or pleasure, this is the first place I check. In fact, while I'm always the first resource for DC-area-dining that friends check when they want advice, they've started to come to me for other cities as well, and I can frequently provide advice *even if I haven't been there recently* because of this site. Awesome.

I agree - just last week someone asked me about a restaurant in NY - I hadn't been there lately but I clicked on the NY forum and gave a couple of ideas.

We have a lot of people that business travel and I am in Philadelphia a lot, always looking for something fun to kill a few hours rather than a hotel bar.

#36 porcupine

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 08:22 AM

One thing I'm genuinely worried about is that unmoderated, non-food-related forums will cause people to hate each other. We're all friends through our shared common interest, but when someone starts calling someone else an ignoramus because they like Bruckner more than Mahler, and I'm not around to calm things down (which I do a *lot* behind the scenes, by the way), I'm afraid that the sense of kinship we all feel for each other will diminish. Is this fear unfounded?

No. An example: a few years back a friend started a mailing list whose sole purpose was to allow people to vent and be as hateful and vitriolic as they liked. It was utterly unmoderated. It was great fun for awhile, possibly because we all knew each other and could usually distinguish tongue-in-cheek rants from true hatred, and most of us self-moderated. But as the list owner invited more and more people to join, and the degrees of separation got larger, things got more and more personal. And nasty. Until finally an event happened that polarized people and some truly mean things were posted and people who thought they knew each other found that they didn't. And some friendships were broken. And the list died down (I think) because it was no longer fun and no-one had the heart for it anymore. It was an interesting experiment that I don't want to see duplicated here.

(btw in this post I'm addressing only the issue of moderating. I love the idea of the new forum, for all the reasons people have already posted.)

(also, in response to this: "Not sure about this. We often make hotel plans in advance of restaurant plans. My instinct is to have two threads per city." I disagree. I've asked for hotel advice in the Intrepid Traveler before and think it's nice to have it all in one place. One trip, one set of recommendations.)

Elizabeth Miller
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#37 porcupine

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 08:25 AM

^on the other hand good moderating is tricky. I've see lists/forums with such draconian rules and severe moderating that at best they are soulless, and at worst are useless. It will take a lot of work if people can't self-police.

Elizabeth Miller
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#38 Choirgirl21

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 11:10 AM

One thing I'm genuinely worried about is that unmoderated, non-food-related forums will cause people to hate each other. We're all friends through our shared common interest, but when someone starts calling someone else an ignoramus because they like Bruckner more than Mahler, and I'm not around to calm things down (which I do a *lot* behind the scenes, by the way), I'm afraid that the sense of kinship we all feel for each other will diminish. Is this fear unfounded?


Institute a rule - no personal attacks. People can disagree with or debate ideas, but they can't attack each other. And people who repeatedly antagonize or seem to just want to stir up trouble will lose permissions. I think if you implement those rules and don't allow anyone brand new to the group who happens to want to give their two cents on some specific subject they stumbled across in a thread to participate, it will be fine. It's not like people don't sometimes get a little snippy in the food threads here, but we keep it reasonable.

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If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business.
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#39 jayandstacey

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:50 PM

Institute a rule - no personal attacks. People can disagree with or debate ideas, but they can't attack each other. And people who repeatedly antagonize or seem to just want to stir up trouble will lose permissions. I think if you implement those rules and don't allow anyone brand new to the group who happens to want to give their two cents on some specific subject they stumbled across in a thread to participate, it will be fine. It's not like people don't sometimes get a little snippy in the food threads here, but we keep it reasonable.


I would agree, but it becomes an "unfunded mandate" unless someone has the time/inclination to enforce the rule. While the report button on each post allows us participants to help alert the moderators - someone still has to enforce. And Don's point is that he has no more enforcing bandwidth.

#40 darkstar965

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 02:03 AM

I would agree, but it becomes an "unfunded mandate" unless someone has the time/inclination to enforce the rule. While the report button on each post allows us participants to help alert the moderators - someone still has to enforce. And Don's point is that he has no more enforcing bandwidth.


Time needed not just to enforce rules against bad behavior but, also, to promote good behavior. Don already spends a lot of time doing that (upthread) for this website. Most any successful, growing online community has sensitive but active management. Prevent bad behavior. Promote and encourage good behavior. Fix the various non-behavorial problems (esp tech) as they occur.

#41 porcupine

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 07:01 AM

The formal reason is that the CEO thinks, regardless of religion, that Sunday should be a day of rest for all.

I would love to have a (civil) discussion on the merits/flaws of a non-religious "day of rest" - a law requiring all businesses to be closed on a certain day of the week, for example. If we had the forum under discussion we could do that. :rolleyes:

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#42 Toogs

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 11:32 AM

One thing I'm genuinely worried about is that unmoderated, non-food-related forums will cause people to hate each other. We're all friends through our shared common interest, but when someone starts calling someone else an ignoramus because they like Bruckner more than Mahler, and I'm not around to calm things down (which I do a *lot* behind the scenes, by the way), I'm afraid that the sense of kinship we all feel for each other will diminish. Is this fear unfounded?


I'd add that I am sure some people already hate some other people, they just have no forum to make it clear. So you are risking that.




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