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Inviting Professional Voices to the Community

Jacquilynne | Aug 7, 201410:27 AM     463

The food landscape has shifted dramatically in the years since Chowhound was founded. The love of food and the pursuit of deliciousness aren't niche interests for an obsessive few with a drawer full of take-out menus, they're a broadly shared passion.

The lines between professionals and amateurs have been shifting, too. Diners have become bloggers and critics, enthusiastic home cooks have launched food trucks, suburbanites have become farmers, farmers have become artisan producers, and the professional chefs have become celebrities and personalities. And across the internet, all of these groups mix, sharing ideas and information. The food-obsessed are no longer disenfranchised and invisible.

On Chowhound, we've held back from that wider and ever-expanding discussion, in order to keep the conversation here pure and unbiased. And there's been merit in that -- creating a space that's free from marketing pressures has been valuable.

But there’s also so much value in a larger conversation. We’ve been working to make it easier for people to make different kinds of posts -- sharing photos and links and asking questions -- and we’d also like to see different voices participating in the community. Diners, restaurateurs, bloggers, producers, and everyone who is passionate about food should be part of the conversation here.

With that in mind, we're stepping back from moderating industry voices out of Chowhound. Instead of limiting them to answering only specific, factual questions about their business, we'll welcome them to openly join conversations, to let us know what they're up to and share their knowledge. This applies to restaurant owners, employees, and insiders, and also other industry folks like suppliers, cookbook authors, etc. It also applies to bloggers and website owners who may want to link information they've posted on their own site.

Of course, it's still important that the conversation remain honest and friendly -- we're not inviting angry restaurateurs to abuse users who post negative reports, and fake reviews are still forbidden. And while the merest whiff of self-promotion isn't going to get a post removed or a poster banned, outright spamming from people who never join the conversation will remain unwelcome.

Though we expect it’ll take some time to find a new equilibrium on the site, as people work out how best to participate here, we’re looking forward to seeing some interesting and creative posts from folks in the industry. We’d love to see bartenders sharing the recipes for their house cocktails, chefs posting photo stories about their new menu, and cookbook authors answering questions about their books on Home Cooking.

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