We read with great interest the discussion started on Austin Chowhound board by user WSZsr.

The topic of the discussion is titled “Very quiet group for a city the size of Austin” and the general thrust is ‘why is the Austin Chowhound board on mothballs, up in the attic, gathering rust with an inch of dust on it and no foreseeable change in the near future?’

We have a theory. We lurked on Chowhound for a good long while before developing the resolve to fire up an identity and start posting.

This was a few years back when the board was absolutely thriving. A routine query for, say, enchiladas would be met with impassioned defenses of and arguments for, restaurants ranging broadly across Austin.

A mention of Polvos, for instance, could ignite a forum brawl with some posters claiming the restaurant was at the pinnacle of Mexican food and others maintaining that the Bouldin Creek redoubt was perhaps the worst restaurant in the city.

The point being, everybody was impassioned, opinionated and eager to have at it on the board.

Then a certain volunteer moderator came along and changed everything. This nameless, unpaid censor quickly set to taking the air out of the tires. What had been a race car at the peak of its’ power, soon turned into a rusting hulk parked out in a field with a cow gnawing on one of its’ tires.

It was really sad.

Write an impassioned take on tamales? Post removed.

Pen a plea for the best al pastor? Post removed.

Post an outgoing hot link? Receive a nasty email from Chow hq.

I wrote a piece about food critic Mike Sutter leaving the Statesman here: http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2011/7/6/Mike-Sutter-We-Hardly-Knew-Ye

and one of Chowhound’s best former posters responded in the comments section. It’s worth a read.

We’d like to hear your thoughts on what was formerly Austin’s best food board; Chowhound.

What went wrong with the board?

How did Yelp come about absolutely destroying them, page views and content, wise?

Does Austin Chowhound board have a future or should it be folded into the Texas board and just sort of call it a day?

What website are you reading or posting on to stay up on all the latest Austin food scene news?

Looking forward to hearing from y’all.

  1. Just found your post, hence the late (an understatement) response –

    This nameless, unpaid censor

    Not nameless. I believe her name was Laura. I had the distinct pleasure of calling her what she was, and telling her to do something to herself, when she personally contacted me once.

    But this went beyond the Austin board. The attitude was top down. (Look at the About Chowhound board, where they solicited feedback but hilariously removed anything remotely negative.)

    It’s sad, really, now CH is practically a ghost town (read: cache hell). Yelp is (thankfully) on its last dregs, too. I reluctantly follow Eater (cartloads of horseshit to cull through) for events. For discussion I use reddit.

    • Glad to see them fail. I created hundreds of posts on their site and was admonished for putting up a link to SC. Never went back.

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