Dear Chowhound Community,
As many may know, I recently started working full-time at CHOW. Over the past few weeks, I have been observing how things work here, and have also been reading what Chowhounds are saying about the site. I have been a Chowhound user for nearly 11 years, and I can honestly say that the website has changed my life. I distinctly remember reading about Chowhound in Calvin Trillin's New Yorker article in 2001, and really identifying with it—I was most definitely the type of hound Jim Leff was talking about, and was excited I wasn't alone in the world! Since then, I've used this site in the places I've lived (Boston, Santiago, San Francisco, London) and have used it with great success while traveling, too (from Los Angeles to Rio de Janeiro to Kuala Lumpur to Cleveland). I am very excited to be working on a website that I love, and helping to preserve and advocate for a community that has given me so much over the past decade.
My role at CHOW involves several different pieces (some more related to the Chowhound boards than others). But a large part of my job here will be to focus on Chowhound, and I see this role as acting as a liaison between the various parties involved with this community: the management team, the CHOW editorial team, the engineering team, the design team, the moderation team, and the hounds themselves. I am looking forward to working with all of these groups, to understand their views, needs, desires, frustrations, and plans for the future, and ideally to get everyone on the same page. I realize that this last goal is probably quite unrealistic—there are bound to be disagreements and differing opinions—but I think the first step to getting there (or getting close) will be to bring people together so that they all understand each other.
After three weeks here, I am happy to say that I am very optimistic. There is a great group of people working on this site, and everyone truly does care about the future of Chowhound. Following along on Site Talk, and on various local and topical boards, it's clear that the Chowhound community is very invested in the future of the site as well. It's also clear that the original vision of Chowhound (to help fellow hounds find the best food possible) is still very much alive.
The main reason I am posting this thread is to (re)introduce myself to the Chowhound community in my new role, especially to those users who are the most passionate about this site (i.e. the users who are regular Site Talk posters, or who post 20+ times per week on the local boards, or who actually bother to read this entire letter from me!). The team here at CHOW HQ has been reading everything you write on Site Talk and takes it into consideration, and I've been reading through some of the history of conversations here, as well, to get up to speed. Your advice and help is invaluable, so thank you for your ideas and your patience.
Of course, the people who post on Site Talk are a small percentage of our total membership, and registered users are only a small percentage of our total users. So while we're actively engaging with Site Talk users, I'll also be looking for increasing input from our broader user base.
So, now that I've introduced myself, I plan to be participating more on Chowhound discussions and keeping everyone on the same page about where things are going. I intend to continue eating and exploring San Francisco, and posting about food, but I'd also like to engage more with the posts on Site Talk (along with Meredith, Jacquilynne, The Engineering Team, etc.) to make Chowhound even better.
Good things are happening here at CHOW, and I think the Chowhound boards have a bright future. It will definitely require patience and compromise, but I am excited to be a part of it. You should be too!