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.
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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.
Maybe food52 could do it for all threads at a suitable age...say, one or two years old...to make coding easy.
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.
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.
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).
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)