Chowhound.com is the food website that inspired a thousand others - primarily due to arguments with founder 'Alpha Dog' Jim Leff. As with any online discussion 'community', there's bound to be in-fighting among members but the moderators are good at preventing arguments from getting too nasty. Maybe they are a little too good - if the many reports by ex-Chowhounders are to be believed, the moderators can be dictatorial, deleting posts without rhyme or reason, accusing people who write positive reports about restaurants of being 'shills', or saying those who post negative reports are rivals attempting to drive a restaurant out of business. There are also reports that posters' memberships have been cancelled without warning.
Still, for those of us who are dispassionate observers (I read it almost daily, but have never signed up so am unable to post), it's often a good source of information and entertainment. It can be difficult to navigate - outside the location-specific boards, the categories of 'general chowhounding topics' and 'not about food' are too broad to find specific subjects easily. But if you are looking for information on where to eat on your next trip to places such as Moscow, Rome, New York or Quebec City, Chowhound is the perfect place to start your research.