What happened to the current Hotline questions?

Nearly all of the current Hotline questions have dropped out, most of the top questions are two to six years old or more, out of season, and irrelevant, like Thanksgiving, the GOP convention, frying green tomatoes or picking the season's last cucumbers. Each entry states "last answered x hours ago" and when I check, there actually is no new answer. Some of the recent questions from this past week were interesting, and I would like to be able to follow them, but they've been bumped out by stale, pointless threads.



Smaug March 6, 2018
And another one today; the thread "Apple Rose Tartlets" is, not for the first time, a target of what is clearly a spamming message from someone (supposedly) named harlanbarren- there doesn't appear to be a way to report these things, so this is it.
Lindsay-Jean H. March 6, 2018
Thanks for the heads up Smaug. As noted above, you can always email the editors or send me a message directly.
Smaug March 6, 2018
I suppose so- far as I've seen it hasn't even reached the level of a nuisance yet, but it is something to keep an eye on.
Lost_in_NYC March 4, 2018
Totally agree with Smaug! One thing that has been brought up by others in the past is that the Food52 Staff doesn't take greater action is closing down threads that are months/years old! Its fine to keep the thread visible but the ability to add comments should be shut off after 'X' amount of time. This would prevent scammers from coming in and making nonsense comments and reopening antiquated topics.
Smaug March 4, 2018
Actually, I kind of like the old threads; maybe they could start an "oldies but goodies" column; cooking doesn't really change, though fads come and go. I'm more concerned about the suspicious links- probably just take you to someone's ad, but you never know.
Lindsay-Jean H. March 5, 2018
Hi Lost_in_NYC, you likely remember this from past discussions, but for anyone else who might be wondering, we don't currently have the ability to sunset older discussions or disable the ability to answer questions. I understand that it's aggravating to have older questions taking over the first page of the Hotline! We appreciate your patience as new features take time to be considered and built.
Lost_in_NYC March 7, 2018
Hi Lindsay,

Are you sure your tech team hasn't thoroughly looked into options on sunsetting features and closing out comments? Other websites already support this option today on their websites (ex. Trip Advisor boards). I work for a technology company so am definitely aware of what its like to be on both sides of coin when these types of asks arise - both as a consumer of content and as a vendor/provider of content.

From a fellow technology vendor perspective, I think Food52 leaves themselves open to risk (website/operational/reputational/etc) with the open forum hotline section by not implementing some type of cut-off to keep content in check and safe for all your consumers. That's just my two sense.
Nancy March 7, 2018
Further to the idea of cutting off comments, I know newspapers and other websites do it when comments sections get too heated or too full.
Maybe food52 could do it for all threads at a suitable age...say, one or two years old...to make coding easy.
702551 March 7, 2018
The thread locking and auto-archiving functionality is certainly possible.

Reddit auto archives posts of a certain age (a year? I forget) and many other sites allow for thread locking.

Contributors for the most popular bulletin board system, phpBB figured out how to implement this in 2008.


The rudimentary 2008 phpBB solution is actually quite elegant for a first attempt since it allows moderators and users with over 100 posts to continue contributing to a 1+ year old thread.

It's really up to Food52 management to decide how to prioritize the implementation of various features.

I do agree with Lost_in_NYC that there is reputation risk associated with old threads being revived with comments of questionable value.

In my long experience with various bulletin board systems across the Internet (not just Food52), it appears that 95% of the most relevant and thoughtful thread comments happen within 24 hours of the original post.

Is it possible to contribute something of long term pedagogical value to a 1+ year old thread? Sure, but the chances are extremely low.
Lost_in_NYC March 7, 2018
Thank you Nancy & CV for the support! Again, I'm speaking from professional experience at a technology company and the lax approach on this feature is a bit staggering.

I guess at this point we, the users/consumers, can continue to provide evidence and voice concern to the Food52 team to take action. Otherwise they will realize when something breaks/happens on here.

Moving on...!
702551 March 7, 2018
While this topic is brought up every six months or so, I think Hotline participants should speak up with their feedback periodically, even if we get the same tired standard non-committal response.

We realize that Food52 is a business and that some of the items that Hotline participants would like to prioritize aren't the same as what is more important to Food52 as as business.

We get that.

That said, historically the roots of this website were based on the "community" [sic] itself.

Online "communities" like the Food52 Hotline aren't really like real world communities. We don't get to elect officials, vote on key ballot measures, recall judges, etc. There are no term limits for Food52 leadership. It is not a democracy.

It really is more like a business-customer relationship. If you don't like the offerings at one coffee shop, you are free to take your wallet to another merchant down the street.

I don't expect much will come out of this discussion. It has been brought up before with no action.

Everyone has their own priorities and interests. We have seen a massive change here at the Hotline over the past 18-24 months, both in terms of the Food52 staff as well as forum participation.

I'm certain Food52 management will state that they are pleased with the path the website is proceeding on. That's the expected response.

Anyhow, I expect to see this topic brought up again in six months (assuming I'm still here to read it).
Smaug March 3, 2018
I've noticed of late that I get a lot of email notifications that appear to be spammers- aimless comments on old threads, usually from marginal English speakers, that give links to (supposedly) videos or recipes. Don't know if it means much, but I've known other sites to get deluged by spammers through their user comments sections- most of them used Facebook to run their comments, which seems like a recipe for trouble, but I don't suppose others are immune.
Cecilia March 2, 2018
seems like this is still happening?
Lindsay-Jean H. March 3, 2018
It was an unfortunate byproduct of fixing another small issue on the site. It's been taken of, so we won't see more old questions pop up moving forward, but the old questions also won't disappear, so the older questions will remain near the top until a lot more new questions get asked.
BerryBaby March 2, 2018
😁Thank you, Lindsay-Jean!
Lindsay-Jean H. March 2, 2018
Hi Lisanne, a lot of people have been answering old questions for some reason! In some of the cases, the newer answer is a response to someone else's comment, so the new response is buried in the middle of the thread, rather than all the way at the bottom. This isn't the case for most of these, as people really have been answering them, but if a spammer comments and we catch it and remove the comment, the thread still behaves as if there's a new comment and stays at the top. If you ever have a question about the site you can always reach us at [email protected].
Lindsay-Jean H. March 2, 2018
Okay, I didn't go far enough back into the Hotline, you're right, something else is going on beyond the explanations I described. We're looking into it!
BerryBaby March 2, 2018
I read your response but it seems to me to be more than that. I started counting the old threads and stopped when I got to 50! Yes, there were a few early in the week that were old threads with responses. All the current threads on dad’s birthday, ways to use cashews, church dinner... where did they go? If this isn’t a computer error, someone is messing with the site, hope not.
Lindsay-Jean H. March 2, 2018
Not to worry, no one is messing with the site! It was an unfortunate byproduct of fixing another small issue on the site. It's been taken of, so we won't see more old questions pop up moving forward (unless someone finds an old one to answer!).
creamtea March 2, 2018
Thanks! I'm so glad it got resolved!
702551 March 1, 2018
It happens periodically here. Today is not the first time.

I assume it is some sort of back-end engineering/database/scripting mishap as the front page section to the Hotline (three most recent questions) seems to work correctly.

I chalk it up to poor operational practices, a deplorable and increasingly common occurrence on the Internet.

Oh well, we get what we pay for... :o)
Recommended by Food52