1) To me, Chowhound is a forum to learn about food.
2) A resource to learn from others research, reviews, and critiques of restaurants, markets, stores, farmer's markets, etc.
3) A source of independent opinions on food related topics, cooking equipment, and even travel/food information.
4) An opportunity to make social contacts, arrange outings with other people who share the same food passion, and experience events together that would be unavailable to non-Chowhounds.
5) An outlet for our creative energy as we post on the boards and "wax poetically" about our food-related experiences.
But what I often see Chowhound turned into is:
1) A forum for people to berate and belittle others because one might like chain restaurants, or less "cutting edge" restaurants.
2) An opportunity for people to one-up each other with their superior knowledge and pompous attitude, and by jumping into threads or beginning threads with no purpose other than to see their names and posts on the board.
3) An outlet for people who like to hear themselves talk, see their name on the boards, and who will post about anything.
4) Negativity against people and their interests and ideas. IMHO, being too critical isn't good either.
5) People who imply that food has to be "life changing", or "Chowhoundish" to be any good, making others who feel food is good without such an experience, feel inferior.
6) Anger and hostility expressed at others for no real reason.
I have gotten so much enjoyment out of the boards, the people I've met, organizing events, etc. I can't tell you. It's a wonderful "organization" and I have donated lots of my time and money to Chowhound, Inc.
But for me personally, when I feel this anger or hostility directed at me for something I post, or see that the same people are always being negative and critical, or the same people are just constantly butting into other people's "bidness", I think Chowhounds take themselves too seriously and a lot of the fun goes out of the whole experience for me.
Do you feel like this, or not? Do Chowhounds take themselves too seriously?