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Old vs. new Manifesto.... why the changes?

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Old vs. new Manifesto.... why the changes?

Mr Taster | Jun 25, 2008 11:01 AM

It's 2 years since the CNET takeover, and I can't believe that I just noticed that subtle but significant changes have been made to our beloved manifesto.

For those who were not here in the early days of Chowhound, Alpha Hound Jim Leff's Manifesto was the opening splash page of chowhound.com, and in order to get to the boards, one had to click through a colorfully descriptive definition of what a chowhound is, and how they are different from foodies.

It was a stark page, large white lettering on black background, (see here: http://web.archive.org/web/2000051006... ) and most likely scared away more people than those who clicked through. But after reading it for the first time about 8 years ago, I realized that he was talking about me. I was a chowhound and had been for years, but I just didn't know it... and imagine, now I had a community of like-minded people with which to share food and restaurant tips in this sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles.

I've just now noticed that CNET modified our beloved Manifesto, (which after disappearing for a while, reappeared as a tiny, microscopic link at the bottom of the page... http://www.chowhound.com/manifesto ... snipped of its gusto and bravado, relegated to a place where only the old guard would seek it. No longer were trendy foodies scared off by the stark splash screen, and I do believe that the Chowhound community is worse for wear for it. Though the CH community appears to have grown significantly since the management change, the signal to noise ratio has diffused as well, due at least in part part to the fact that the Manifesto splash is no longer front and center, laying out the law of the land and setting the tone for our entire community.

As a public service to Chowhounds old and new, I've decided to do a paragraph by paragraph analysis of the old Manifesto versus the new CNET tooled Manifesto.
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Old manifesto, 1st paragraph:
Everyone has one in their life: the brother-in-law with a collection of 800 takeout menus, the coworker who's always late from lunch because she HAD to trek to one end of town for the best soup and to the other for the best sandwich. Chowhounds know where the good stuff is, and they never settle for less than optimal deliciousness, whether dining in splanky splendor or grabbing a quick slice of pizza. They are the one in ten who live to eat.

New manifesto, 1st paragraph:
Everyone has one in his life: the brother-in-law with a collection of 800 takeout menus, the co-worker who's late from lunch because she HAD to trek to one end of town for soup and to the other for a sandwich. Chowhounds know where the good stuff is, and they never settle for less than optimal deliciousness, whether dining in splendor or grabbing a quick slice.

Comparison of differences, 1st paragraph:
1) Note that the co-worker is no longer seeking the BEST sandwich and the BEST soup. Why not?
2) Jim Leff wisely defined "slice of pizza" as opposed to just slice, because people living outside of NY city do not understand what a "slice" is, unless they grew up or lived in New York. (A slice of what? Pie? Cheese?) This shows the NY-centricity of the site where this really should be a global forum for all.
3) WHY in the world was "[Chowhounds] are the one in ten who live to eat" eliminated? That's the entire essence of chowhoundishness!
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Old manifesto, 2nd paragraph:
We're not talking about foodies. Foodies eat where they're told; they eagerly follow trends and rarely go where Zagat hasn't gone before. Chowhounds, on the other hand, blaze trails, combing gleefully through neighborhoods for hidden culinary treasure. They despise hype, and while they appreciate refined ambiance and service, they can't be fooled by mere flash.

New manifesto, 2nd paragraph:
We're not talking about foodies. Foodies eat where they're told. Chowhounds blaze trails. They comb through neighborhoods for culinary treasure. They despise hype. And while they appreciate ambiance and service, they can't be fooled by flash.

Comparison of differences, 2nd paragraph:
1) Diminishing reference to ZAGAT survey was eliminated (for legal reasons?)
2) We no longer comb gleefully. We just comb. And the treasures we find while combing are not hidden. Apparently, they're just there.
3) Jim's colorful descriptors have been snipped... we no longer appreciate "refined" ambiance. Also "Mere" flash edited
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Old manifesto, 3rd paragraph:
No media outlets serve chowhounds. There are no chowhoundish newspapers, magazines or TV shows. And they've never had a place to gather and exchange information. This discerning, passionate crowd has long been completely invisible and utterly disenfranchised.......until now!

New manifesto, 3rd paragraph:
No media outlets serve Chowhounds. They've never had a place to gather and exchange information. This discerning, passionate crowd has long been completely invisible and utterly disenfranchised... until now.

Comparison of differences, 3rd paragraph:
1) Elimination of "no chowhoundish newspapers, magazines or TV shows."
2) "Until now." is no longer an exclamatory remark
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Old manifesto, 4th paragraph:
"Chowhound.com's Alpha Dog, professional restaurant critic/author Jim Leff, along with Bob Okumura, launched this site to provide a non-hypey haven where their fellow hounds can opine, bicker, and rave to their hearts' content. Anyone who eats is welcome to stop by for unbiased, savvy chow advice or to just sit back and watch in amazement."

New manifesto, 4th paragraph:
This paragraph was eliminated from the CNET version

Comparison of differences, 4th paragraph:
Obviously this paragraph was eliminated in order to minimize Jim and Bob's names as being co-branded with Chowhound.com. I understand this-- it's not about Jim and Bob, it's about the food and the community. But I still regret the loss of Jim's coloful and enthusiastic descriptors of our community.
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Old manifesto, 5th paragraph:
If you, too, fret endlessly about making every bite count; if you'd grow weak from hunger rather than willingly eat something less than delicious, this place is for you! Welcome to our community. Let's talk. Let's swap tips.

New manifesto, 5th paragraph (actually 4th):
"If you, too, fret endlessly about making every bite count; if you'd grow weak from hunger rather than willingly eat something less than delicious, this place is for you! Welcome to our community. Let's talk. Let's swap tips (click below to get to the meat & potatoes)."

Comparison of differences, 5/4th paragraph:
Only difference is "click below to get to the meat & potatoes"... a minor edit, but yet another bit of Jim's coloful descriptors that was hacked to bland up the Manifesto.
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Old manifesto, final paragraph
You needn't be an expert to participate. If you're less food-obsessed than the rest of us, but have a yen for egg creams, gazpacho, or Quisp Cereal, let the resident hounds guide you to the best stuff. Follow (and chime in on) some of cyberspace's most rollicking, contagious discussion -- featuring thousands of entertaining messages from characters all over the world. But, hey.....

New manifesto, final paragraph:
You needn't be an expert to participate. If you're less food-obsessed than the rest of us, but have a yen for egg creams, gazpacho, or Quisp Cereal, let the resident hounds guide you to the best stuff. Follow (and chime in on) the rollicking discussion -- featuring thousands of messages from characters all over the world.

Comparison of differences, final paragraph:
1. Antiquated term "cyberspace" has been understandibly removed from Jim's Manifesto.
2. "Contagious" has been removed... yet another one of Jim's colorful descriptors has been snipped.
3. Our messages are no longer entertaining
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So, fellow hounds, what do you think of these changes and the relegation and retooling of our beloved Manifesto?

Looking forward to your replies.

Mr Taster

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