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food and dining discussion forums


davidberiss
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I go through periods of following the on-line discussion fora here in New Orleans and I have noticed that lately many of them seem to be near death. Egullet's Louisiana forum, of course, has always been rather sedate, but some of the local discussion boards have historically been hyperactive at times. These have included neworleans.com (currently looking rather unhealthy), www.thefoodalmanac.com/community/ (Tom Fitzmorris' board, fairly active these days, but I think it has been more active in the past), nola.com's dining forum (relatively quiet), etc. There are of course others.

So I am wondering:

1) What on-line forums do you follow in New Orleans?

2) What do you think accounts for the rise, fall and possible re-rise of these discussion sites?

3) Is the on-line discussion of food in New Orleans unusually active or unusually quiet compared with other cities?

Any insights?

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--i follow the ones you've listed, plus chowhound, Mr. Lake's forum, and nolaeats.com, as well as the (fairly inactive) board sponsored by SoFaB.

--moderation does drive some of the ebb & flow of discussion sites; at times, heavy-handedness has driven away traffic, while the lack of any meaningful moderation on some boards allows the discussion to wander way-way off topic and to devolve into incivility. neworleans.com's food board died after changes in ownership & board software required most users to re-register multiple times, and the board was plagued by technical difficulties for a while, then plagued by ill-tempered, caustic posters who added little to anyone's food knowledge.

--so much of "board chatter" in NO seems to be tourist traffic: where do I eat in the Quarter, where can I eat near the convention center, etc. I find that I get more new and interesting information out of local bloggers than I do from the discussion boards these days.

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--so much of "board chatter" in NO seems to be tourist traffic:  where do I eat in the Quarter, where can I eat near the convention center, etc.  I find that I get more new and interesting information out of local bloggers than I do from the discussion boards these days.

I agree with everything above, but particularly this. Every other topic is "first time to NO, help me out!" I'm all for tourism and helping people out, but I'd like to have some meaningful discussion beyond where first-timers should go to get a convincing New Orleans experience.

For example, I'm originally from Chicago, which has the fantastically informative LTHForum. It would be nice if New Orleans had something similar.

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Thanks for the comments. I never thought about the idea that the rise of blogs might be connected to the apparent decline of the discussion boards. But if that is the case, it makes me wonder if we are also witnessing the return of the food critic. Or perhaps yet another new balance between the kinds of opinions out there. When the boards were hot, we only had a few influential critics in town (or perhaps "visible" is better than influential). Now we have the well-known print, radio and television critics, but in addition, we have a slew of blogging food writers who may also be influential in their own way. I am not sure what the long term impact of that might be (assuming I am right, which I may not be), but it is interesting to think about.

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