I absolutely agree. I’ve been an early adopter on a number of fora including Yelp and ActiveCaptain (a boating thing). In every case I saw a commitment and structure that made sense to me and made the effort to give to the community.
You asked about HO and I gave you an honest answer. I get very good value from the Cooking group and the Culture group. The “Regional Dining Discussions” group is useless to me. There are too many alternatives and the structure of HO isn’t helpful to me on travel and too amorphous at home.
I’m not necessarily a Yelp fanboy. They insist that my home in Annapolis MD is “part” of Baltimore MD. I’m not driving that far so I ignore the local recommendations. But I can say where I am and get recommendations for a cuisine and filter by ratings. That gets me in the ballpark on travel and I can stay on top of new local places at home.
I’d like to see more discipline in the Yelp star rating system but I can work with that as is. There is nothing similar I have seen at HO. I can also quickly drill down to the person rating at Yelp and filter out those who complain about everything and those who give nothing but five star reviews.
Long way around to saying that the Regional Dining Discussions on HO don’t help me as they are and the structure and tools don’t give hope for improvement. Barriers to entry vice Google Reviews, Yelp, and TripAdvisor (which has credibility problems) are high for HO. Stick to one’s knitting.