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Feb 12, 2007 12:39 PM

The Chowhound Police


I realize that one of my more recent posts was quite controversial as the topic (not started by me by the way) was on food taboos. This was on the Gereral Chowhound Topics board. I do not understand why the post and subsequently the entire thread was removed- if someone does not want to read about food taboos they do not need to open the thread. Instead of deleting posts and/or threads, why not implement a "tag" to alert chowhounders that there may be "risque" or controversial posts in a particular thread. This policing disturbs me greatly as we could be discussing so much more than just dining and eating- politics, anthropology, psychology all apply to the subject of food- and many of these discussions could potentially be deemed controversial and deletable- and they should not be.

  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. Chowhound has a very simple and narrow mission- to share tips on finding great chow. We don't aim to be a site that discusses food politics, anthropology or psychology. While we agree that such topics are interesting, it's simply not what we're about.

      10 Replies
        1. re: The Chowhound Team

          Sounds great, but then how can you have stories like: "Caveman Posture" what does this have to do with how delicious is it? Isn't that slightly psychological and anthropological?

          1. re: Pablo

            We're not sure what you mean- we don't see a thread by that name.

            If you see a thread that you think is off topic, please use the "report" feature to let us know.

              1. re: HillJ

                You might want to note that the article you link to is part of the Chow editorial content, it is not part of the Chowhound discussion forums.

                In my mind the Chow editorial site and the Chowhound discussion area while coexisting together in terms of the web site resources, are geared to two different (but not necessarily mutually exclusive) demographics, and there is certain discussion content in either arena that would not be considered appropriately topical in the other.

                I do notice a difference in "discussion" and overall content between the Chow/Chowhound siblings, and adjust my response and expectations to each.

                1. re: ChinoWayne

                  Yes, this link does appear in a CHOW section but the question, "guidelines on moderation and why," appears to be the same irregardless of where a post appears within this entire website. I was providing the link so the Chowhound Team could see it.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    The editorial content of CHOW and the discussion content of Chowhound are separate things. Not everything the writers at CHOW talk about is on topic for Chowhound discussion, but each article there does have its own comment section if you'd like to discuss them.

                    1. re: The Chowhound Team

                      I'm not asking about approved content within CHOW. My questions as it relates to this thread remains:

                      Is the Moderation of member posts (whether appearing on CHOW or CH) moderated the same way...yes or no?

                      1. re: HillJ

                        Chowhound (referring to the Chowhound discusison forums) is moderated by The Chowhound Team, a group (mostly volunteers) of dedicated and active site participants. The Chowhound Team is not involved in the operation of CHOW.

                        CHOW is written and edited by CHOW's editors ( ). The editors of CHOW are not involved in Chowhound's moderation. Comments made on articles are not moderated by The Chowhound Team. The forum for discussing articles is at

          2. re: The Chowhound Team

            I really disagree that Chowhound's mission is "to share tips on finding great chow." Too many controversial topics have been left on the Boards by the moderators while some seemingly innocuous ones are eliminated. For example, the thread on "Eating cats, dogs and horses" is, in my opionion, not about finding 'great chow' yet it stays up and people are writing in about it pro and con. Actually, I don't believe it's legal to serve cats and dogs in the USA. Some restaurants have been closed because it was found they were serving these animals. I know that the US exports horsemeat to Europe but I'm not sure it's legal in the States.
            Here's the thread:

            My point is that food in itself can be political and while I'm glad we don't have screaming matches on these boards, the balance of what's allowed, what's okay and what's deleted is sometimes a gray area.

            I know the Moderators are a great bunch and are volunteers but a bit more consistency would be appreciated.

          3. The original comment has been removed
            1. I realize and understand that your aim is more narrow than the scope of the conversation, but if that is where the people on the site end of taking the conversation, it is just disappointing when it gets deleted- if you really intend to not allow such conversations, get rid of the "general topics" or such boards, or state the limits that you desire the posts to be limited to and make them clear, because that may lead others like me to assume that we can have open discussions without being bound to what your site deems acceptable.

              1 Reply
              1. re: NicoleFriedman

                Just to clarify -- the General Topics Board is a general food topics board where many food-specific topics that are not specifiic to a particular geographical location are discussed. This might include cuisines (e.g. characteristics of Georgian cuisine or signature dishes in Yunnan) or food items that are available widely(e.g. best cheese or soda or chocolate).

                Do see the posting etiquette for more details. We do state our limits based on our mission statement there.

                In practice, it's impossible to delineate every specific topic that is acceptable or unacceptable (there are countless topics out there), so we moderate with our narrow mission in mind -- quoting from the posting etiquette thread:

                "Chowhound has a narrow mission: to allow unbiased consumers to share honest chow opinions with their fellow consumers. On our regional message boards (San Francisco, Chicago, etc.), the focus is where to find great chow in that area. On our pan-regional "topical" boards (e.g. Home Cooking, Food Media & News, etc.), discussion is a bit more wide-ranging, but still on topic."

                We're not the police, merely janitors and librarians (most of us are still volunteers) that try to clean up and keep things organized. We don't always get everything, but we do our best with our mission statement in mind. And we're extremely grateful for all the help we get from everyone in keeping the signal to noise ratio high and for alerting us to posts that are off-topic or spammy.

              2. Maybe the "sticky" posted at the top of this board helps,

                Generally speaking, i'd say that if the core of a post isn't addressing, "how delicious is it?, then it's likely not a topic for this site.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Regardinng MW's reply...I would add that many original posts and replies that follow often begin true to CH's mission but veer quickly if members start to "chat" or respond to each other in a more "chatting" way - would the CH Team consider this "chat" pertinent to the OP or off protocol?

                  I have a difficult time understanding why some "chats" are left in and others (and I'm not referring to harsh/critical/offending replies) are removed..but examples abound on Boards that begin with a simple question and result in a battery of smaller conversations.

                  CH Team, can you clarify.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    We do prune threads that veer off-topic. But we don't have the ability to read through every single post and rely heavily on hounds reporting in. If you see a post that is off-topic or shouldn't be around for any reason, please let us know via the "report" link and we'll look into it.

                    1. re: The Chowhound Team

                      Sorry, I'm referring to "chat" and CH's disdain of chat. I am clear on what to do/how to avoid off topic/off color remarks; not chat. Or is all chat btwn CHounds, off topic?

                      When in doubt...

                        1. re: The Chowhound Team

                          Again, I find the post rather vague but if you cannot be more specifics I will drop it.

                          1. re: HillJ

                            We can't possibly outline every conceivable scenario that might occur on the boards. Rather, we ask ourselves whether a given post strays from the mission that is described in the etiquette post (some common examples are described there).

                            Our goal is to foster an environment that is very efficient for sharing chowtips. When we moderate, that's foremost in our minds, rather than whether we are 100% consistent or perfectly applying of a set of legalistic rules (which frankly, is not humanly possible).

                            Here are two examples, which you may or may not find helpful:

                            example 1:

                            "Hi how are you doing? It was nice to see you again."
                            "It's great to see you too. Hope to catch up over dinner again"

                            This would be removed because no one is sharing chow tips.

                            Example 2:

                            "Hi it was a great dinner, I really liked how the restaurant paired the 1989 La Tache with a black truffle fondue. The dessert was also excellent."

                            "Great to hear you enjoyed the meal -- my favourite course was the rack of wild boar, perfectly roasted!"

                            This may sound like 2 people chatting, but it's all about sharing chow tips, so we'd be grateful to the posters for sharing and would be drooling as we read.