Food Talk Central debates move to HO

My first impression of requests for Robert to merge with HO was “why would he want to just give away what he’s done here? It’s costing him money. He has a right to the product of his funds and labor even if he doesn’t intend it to be a for-profit business.” It’s been interesting to see how many people just skirt around that set of facts as if this site belonged to the general public. I haven’t understood that thinking at all.


I absolutely agree.

Few people don’t understand that they are the guests of the websites, and owners like Roberts are the hosts. At the end of the day, even if you think the person is a shitty host, the house is still his, not yours. Some people don’t get that part.


That’s what I couldn’t understand about the vitriol outrage at “the other place” when they made all those changes. I’ll be the last person to defend the reformatted site, but at the end of the day, it’s their site to do with as they please. No matter how much time or information I shared, the site was never mine, so what right do I have to be as pissed off as some people were.

I would think though, after a poster endlessly and selflessly entertainings so many people, day in and day out. A poster who is as equally handsome as he is charismatic, you would think they would give him his own board. You know what I mean?


Posting and reading on both boards I don’t think the level of people being very annoying and not really into interesting discussions is very similar on both boards. Both boards have their advantages and disadvantages and the discussion about potentially be interested in merging both boards is ongoing for a long time already (and not only in this one thread on FTC. The main reason is that both boards are very small with similar amounts of activities (but in very different cities) but it is questionable if in the long term any of those two boards will survive with this little activity and a merged one would have much better chances.


Yes, that is/was the thought too. In order to survive, a certain level of activities must happen. It is a demon which feeds itself. The fewer the responses prompt fewer initial posts, and the fewer the initial posts cause even fewer responses… I think we can all agree on this concern.

The advantage of the merging two boards is that the activities will increase. Yes, if things work out, then the activities and memberships will go up proportionally and if we are lucky MORE than proportional due to synergic effect.

However, things can go wrong as well due to many factors, including crash of personality and direction…etc. Sometime 1+1 is not equal to 2. Sometime 1+1 can be even less than 1 itself. (not talking about real math of course)

Let me put it this way. Have we not seen two corporate companies merged and then crash and burn? Merging two groups can be challenging if it is not handle correctly – and it can be very tricky. I believe both Sampson and Robert have discussed the merge more than a few times and came to the conclusion that it was too difficult to implement.

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Yes, someone might be the host; they pay the rent and fix all the leaks. But the rest of the members do all the cleaning and cooking, if you will, so I don’t agree 100% with your characterization. I felt this was why folks were upset with Chowhound. Maybe legally CH didn’t do anything wrong, but I don’t think it was foolish to complain about it. We abide by social contracts all the time (tipping, e.g.).

And I never understood who owned the information. Can anyone make copies of threads on Chowhound and post them on another website for archival purposes? Even here on HO, I wish there was a way to download all the threads and save them.


Sure. A site like Chowhound or this one is build upon by many people’s contributions. That can be said even for a wedding party. A success of a wedding party is also greatly determined by the guests. This can also be said for a corporation/company. Every employee contributes to the success as well as failure to the said company.

I don’t mean that you or I cannot complain about how a website is being run or how a party is being hosted. We have the right to complain. However, my final point was “At the end of the day, you are the guest, not the host”, A guest has the right to complain, but he/she can only do so as a guest, not as a host.

The wedding party guests do not own the wedding, and the company employees do not own the company (unless they have stocks).

In term of your analogy of tipping, I don’t see it. Social contract yes.

Tipping is expected. I don’t think anyone thinks “not tipping” is a normal behavior. Flip this back to the FTC website situation, there shouldn’t be an expectation that the owner of FTC (Robert) should follow the instructions of others. I believe the social expectation is that people can freely make suggestions, but he as the owner of FTC can make decision based on his discretion – that is the social contract.

Again, I didn’t mean to say that people cannot complain. Let me repeat that people can and should complain. There is nothing foolish about complaining. What I am saying is that there is a host-guest relationship here.


Go to your profile page. and on the left you’ll see a “Download My Posts” button. I’ve never tried it myself, so I don’t know how well it works, but it’s there.

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Employees make help make a company successful, but at the end of the day, it’s the company’s owner(s) that determine what the company’s next step is, not the employees. This is no different – Both FTC and HO have “owners”, and the owners decide what steps will be taken. After all, they own the sites. They may ask for opinions, and people might make suggestions, but it’s ultimately their call. The “employees” have the option to stay or leave.


Yeah, you said it better than I did.

The other way I like to explain it (to someone here before) is the following:

Let’s take an extreme case. Let’s say I suggested a horrible idea to Sampson to make HungryOnion only for New Jersey people, and ban people from all other states, and let’s say Sampson actually followed my advise and then the website burned and crashed, right? Who will most people blame for the failure? It wouldn’t be me even though I was the idiot who started that suggestion. The ultimate responsibility lies on Sampson.

To make it short.

The website owner has the final decision power because he/she also has the ultimate responsibility.


Does this concept REALLY require explanation? There seems to be a feeling, among some people, that sites like this one are public domain. I DO understand that the content that makes the site more valuable is provided by users (in this site’s case Robert has even stipulated that it remains the user’s property) but the site itself is his.

Thinking about it, this could someday be a pretty interesting thing for business schools and courts to get into. The recent cases involving music on the internet (Napster, Taylor Swift, etc.) would seem to be similar in some aspects. The not-a-lawyer in me would argue that the expectation of compensation by the creator is not the same though.


Since I haven’t contributed anywhere near as much as others, I don’t have a strong stance one way or the other. But I can understand how some heavy contributors can feel slighted. For the sake of discussion, let’s continue…

The difference between “guests”, “members”, and “employees” isn’t purely semantic. Apples to oranges. Employees are paid, so that’s an obvious difference. Now imagine if the wedding guests were provided tools and raw materials. They put up the tent, made the decorations, cooked the food, etc. I think that would be a closer analogy.

Again, I’m not talking about legally. And I agree there’s a clear social contract with tipping. But I don’t think the social contract is as similarly clear with these kinds of websites. If there’s enough backlash, I can understand if members believe the social contract dictates the owner of a community-based website compromise with them.

I think a better analogy would be a community garden. Say you spent all your weekends throughout spring working in a community garden. Summer comes, local government needs a parking lot, and they bulldoze it. The government has the final decision power, but it’s still… wrong.

What if Wikipedia started charging a monthly fee? Would heavy contributors be justified in having a grievance?

However, Wikipedia takes donations, but HO is privately funded. That’s the problem with analogies, even when it’s not apples to oranges, it’s still Fujis to Granny Smiths.


Your thought is appreciated and I understand where you are coming from.

Before we get too far into the discussion, are we still talking about Robert’s decision not to merge FTC with HO? Or are talking about a different situation?

I think if the owner of a website made a certain promise and then broke the promise, then the members have a moral ground in getting upset. Now, if we go back to the specific case of “Should Robert push harder to merge FTC and Hungry Onion?”, then I don’t see such thing. When Robert established FTC, he made no promise to merge FTC with Hungry Onion.

Now, I can understand the reverse situation. I can sympathize members getting upset if Robert did decide to merge FTC with HungryOnion. In that particular case, some members may have joined FTC under the assumption that FTC remains as an individual forum with a particular vision and may feel Robert betrays that promise. However, what we are observing is the reverse situation. Robert is maintaining the status quote by not merging FTC with HungryOnion. Maybe it is a great choice or maybe it is a stupid choice, but he didn’t break any promise.

To use your community garden analogy. It would be more like you spent all your weekends working in a community garden, and now you are upset that the government did NOT turn it into a parking lot. Yes, maybe turning it into a parking lot is the right thing to do, but there wasn’t such promise in the beginning.

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Yeah, you win. I’m guilty of not even reading the FTC situation properly. I just conflated it with what happened at Chowhound. Probably should have my account locked for a couple weeks.


I think we were just having conversation there. I don’t think there is a you win or I win thing. We were just expressing our opinions on the issues. These are good conversations on HungryOnion considered that we still don’t have as much conversations as we should.

These will make this place more lively.


They’ll follow you here if you have anything to say here about pastrami, whether Langers, Brent’s, Factor’s Famous, Greenblatt’s . . .


Wait, I thought we came to HO cause CH was all about participation prizes?

I know, just trying to put a humorous spin on my ignorance.

Why don’t you sign up for FTC . Use both sites . It’s easy . Same damn thing as both sites joining together . Try it you’ll like it .


I don’t think it would be a big problem to merge both groups but the problem seems to be more the twonsite owners

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