For years now, I've heard complaints of CBS's neglect of the property, and have frequently reminded people that neglect is not necessarily a bad thing (see "Leff's Four Scenarios of Authority" here). Now we're seeing the proof - i.e. what happens when authorities get their hands all up in it. It's not pretty.
So I just got an email from a longtime user:
Hi Jim,I'll offer my reply publicly, in case it's of use to others.
The new chowhound site design is awful, so I'm helping migrate [my local user community] to a Facebook group. I recognize Facebook Groups might not be the perfect platform choice, but I figured the reach provided might enable the communities to get back to critical mass. Perhaps you can suggest others setup similar local groups (that can be loosely strung together)? Would be sad to see such a great global community die as a result of this redesign!
I'd urge you to carefully weigh, clarify, and separate issues in your mind.
It would, as you suspect, be super uncomfortable using Facebook for this. It will be particularly hard to access/search previous discussion, and, as you know, previous discussion's where the gold is.
So you can scout alternatives, e.g. Google Groups and other forum communities, or the installation of forum software on your own server, etc.. Any solution will involve huge compromises; none will feel "right". But, after much consideration, you may settle on something, at which point you may need to recruit a techie to set it all up, plus you'll need to get word out to participants.
Then you'll need to moderate the discussion, and that's a nightmare (for an idea of what's involved there, see my tale of the sale of Chowhound, where I reveal what goes on behind the curtain). Even if you make it private and keep out the kooks, it will be no surprise to any student of human nature that groups of people resist management, so bad feeling is inevitable. Unmoderated discussion, even in a closed group, quickly devolves to useless chat, off-topic sprawl, and fighting.
I'm leaving out a couple dozen other hurdles, but understand that, no matter what, you'll kill yourself to maintain a community amid an uncomfortable, inadequate, ill-fitting software environment.
Or…..you can use CBS's current uncomfortable, inadequate, ill-fitting software environment, with no time/work/recruitment/tech/moderation overhead whatsoever.
I feel your pain. I understand the impulse to angrily walk away. But consider what you're walking into. No matter what, you'll have to find clever workarounds to make wrong software work, but, hey, Chowhounds are good at workarounds! Finding workaround to the current obstacles would be eminently saner than leaving in a huff and finding yourself out of the frying pan and into a fire. OTOH, I wish you godspeed (and vast deliciousness) either way!
See also the commentary, below, as well as this follow-up posting.