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Jun 14, 2008 07:59 PM

Could we please have more posts on Babbo?

Perhaps this issue has been discussed before, so forgive me if I am rehashing something that has already been covered.

I don't know whether a similar phenomenon exists on other regional boards, but it seems that at any given time lately there are at least a half dozen threads dedicated to Babbo on the Manhattan board. Now, I harbor no ill will for that fine establishment. But so many threads on a single restaurant seems a bit much.

There are some great tips in the "New to the Manhattan board? Read this first" sticky thread. Unfortunately, it seems that many posters either aren't reading it or are ignoring it. I'm not sure what the best way to handle this might be. Perhaps the key information within that thread would be put to better use if it appeared within a popup box on the right side of the screen whenever someone new to the board clicks on "Add New Topic."

Or am I alone in feeling a need to vent about this?

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  1. Posted by me in August, 2003:

    Chowhound was built to help savvy diners exchange good info, hoping the resulting info/tips would be better, deeper, wider, fresher, and savvier than is provided by other sources. Most media offer conventional wisdom, focusing on 1% of the spectrum of deliciousness.

    And it worked.

    But in the past week, we've had 96 postings about Babbo and Lupa. In July, we had 211. In the past 12 months, 1266. And while both are fine restaurants deserving coverage, I have three thoughts:

    1. it's not likely we've missed a shred of info about these places by now. We like to see topics recycle (to track ups/downs and catch new info and opinions), but it's getting a little ridiculous.

    2. Chowhound covers the full spectrum: famous and obscure, upscale and downscale...anything delicious, period. But when we focus disproportionally on the famous and the obvious (as do the other media outlets), it's not the best possible use of this resource. There are 90 gazillion treasures waiting to be sniffed out, and Chowhound is a forum for sniffer-outers (and those who love them!). Sniffing out Babbo is no great feat.

    3. I TOTALLY support anyone's right to obsess over any edibility on Chowhound...even the chicken salad at some diner in Jersey. That's what we're here for! Shoot, we WANT to see 40 over-the-top postings hyper-scrutinizing some chicken salad! So I'm NOT asking anyone to stop posting about Babbo/Lupa if they have something fresh to add.

    Many hounds have emailed to complain re: the Babbo/Lupa flood. Rather than devolve this into a tirade, can I ask people not to plaster this thread with "Yes, enough already!" responses? Reasons: 1. I'm not trying to make Babbo/Lupa posters feel beseiged or embarrassed, and 2. I'm not trying to launch a debate or a flame war between the Babbo/Lupas and the non-Babbo/Lupas, and 3. I'm not even aiming to impose a moratorium on postings about these places! We're never going to set a quota or anything re: how many are permitted. Obsession's good; we are a refuge for the obsessive! I'm just trying to gently nudge people to also obsess outside the hype spotlight about more unusual suspects.

    We'll always get new Babbo/Lupa inquiries from newcomers. If they draw out new info/opinions, fine. But if you don't have anything fresh to offer, please consider voluntarily holding back a tad. That's all. Hope that's ok for everyone.


    6 Replies
    1. re: Jim Leff

      > I'm NOT asking anyone to stop posting about Babbo/Lupa if they have something fresh to add.

      And there's the key phrase: "if they have something fresh to add"

      1. re: squid kun

        One thought is for posters to immediately link to the Babbo "place" when the subject comes up again - that's an easy way for the OP to then see all recent threads about it.

      2. re: Jim Leff

        As we can see from your post, this has been a problem for a long time and it's not going to get better by itself.

        I suggest that we have a single thread for Babbo and that the moderators move the inevitable daily new threads on to the primary thread. Yes, that will create a certain amount of additional work but nothing else seems to be effective.

        Other food sites operate this way and it seems to work fine.

        1. re: Bob Martinez

          No, anything on-topic is welcome (per our posting guidelines). Plus, we discourage users (as well as managers) from complaining publicly about topic choices (so long as, again, they're on-topic and respect our guidelines). Otherwise, Pandora's Box opens and we'd quickly transform from discussion about food to a discussion about the discussion of food. We've been there. Wasn't pretty!

          This being an extraordinary case, every four years I don't mind saying a word or two about it. That's all. Might help a little. We'll do it again in 2012!
          But, as always, the best recipe is to ignore what you dislike and encourage what you like.

          1. re: Jim Leff

            In addition, the software doesn't allow us to merge threads. Even if we felt that was the way to go, the capability doesn't currently exist in this software.

            1. re: Jim Leff

              In the same vein, I'd like to see a "Specialty/Gourmet Store" board (or whatever would be the most appropriate), and all posts about Trader Joe's be moved to it.

        2. I'm trying to get a Babbo post going on the Boston board.

          1. Jfood on the contrarian side

            If someone wants to post about Babbo, tipping or Kimchi then let them. Jfood was under the impression that there was a unwritten rule that you read what you want and don't read what you dont want. Don't want to read about Babbo or tipping then don;t click on the thread. And who is to judge when something is "if they have something fresh to add".

            Everyone has a pet peeve on the boards. There are 151 threads with the word f&ck in them. Personally jfood would rather those get deleted versus someone writing about a great resto, or cash exchange. There is one thread going now where people are giving psychological and marriage comments?

            And then there's the bring the newbies in. They see all the posts on a place, go to it, have the courage to post for the first time and then they get blasted because 91 others have been there first. Result - bye bye newbie. Bad result.

            There are lots of threads that jfood begins to write to contribute and then hits the Backspace button and does not because it is not additive. But this should not be a policy of the boards.

            10 Replies
              1. re: jfood

                Oh, yeah. Totally agreed. In fact, you're hitting all the points I always make. Post and let post, repetition is good, read what you want and ignore the rest. Absolutely.

                But there's a point where something should be said. Maybe the point for you is when 50% of all Chowhound discussion is about one restaurant. For me, I felt we hit that pain point when we started getting literally several hundred Babbo postings per week, back at a time when we had less than 1/10th of present traffic.

                Even then, we certainly didn't INSIST, much less require, fewer postings on Babbo (reread my posting). And I'm certainly not doing so now. Just trying to show racer x that it's a long-standing thing, and that I gave it my best shot.

                In the end, you can't really control flow of discussion, nor should you. And a board full of criticism of food talk rather than criticism of food would be a useless resource. But every once in a while, something goes a little beserk. And this has been beserk for four years now.

                I guess the same could be true of Difara's discussion, but that's a more dynamically-changing sort of place. Strategizing wait time, Dom's latest toppings, the various crises, etc., all merited real-time tracking. But I haven't seen too much new/fresh on Babbo. But...hey....if that's what people want to talk about, our microphone is open to them!

                1. re: Jim Leff

                  Absolutely big guy. input always open; output controled by the member. feels like a hot dog day.

                  1. re: Jim Leff

                    The thing that worries me is that people may just be going for the obvious, tried and true deliciousness, instead of going off the beaten track to sniff out new delicious chow, like a chowhound should.

                    1. re: limster

                      and look at the opportunity for the Limsters to go and report back. Would love to hear the results. and you'll love the results.. win-win

                      1. re: jfood

                        I would like to try Babbo someday, but it's highly unlikely that I could provide some completely new insight to such as a place. There are occasional days when one wants to take a rest from chowhounding in less explored neighbourhoods or under the radar restaurants, such a beloved restaurant would be ideal.

                        1. re: limster

                          absolutely love finding those undiscovered places, especially hamburger places in FFD county CT. but every now and then you do like those over the radar resto that live up to the hype.

                          The worst are the over-hyped crappy restos that treat the customer worse than the meat in the kitchen.

                          Ciao baby

                      2. re: limster

                        "The thing that worries me is that people may just be going for the obvious, tried and true deliciousness, instead of going off the beaten track to sniff out new delicious chow, like a chowhound should "

                        That's a much bigger issue. You can lead a hound to water, but you can't make him reject it and fervidly seek out superior and unsung water.

                        1. re: Jim Leff

                          Yes -- it's a much bigger issue. It's somewhat of a paradox too, because delicious food stimulates satisfaction, rather than lust for even more delicious food. But if we all become smug and content with what we have, and pretend we've found the best places ever, then there's no chance of scoring even more deliciousness.

                          Maybe this can't be told or taught, and maybe hounds need to realise that by themselves at a visceral level. As good as Babbo seems to be, hopefully, there will be those who will want something even better and that we'll get a chance to hear from them on their explorations.

                          Perhaps this could be a good mission for the those who have had enough about the Babbo talk -- find an even better place, so that there will be less talk about Babbo. That would be a real win-win situation.

                          1. re: limster

                            It takes no houndly ability at all to discover the Babbo's of the world. It take a bit of a deep wallet, but that can be an anti-houndly condition in any case. On the other hand, the true - out of the way - neighborhood gem demands a considerably advanced hound gene and the termerity to utilize it.

                  2. Maybe there could be a Babbo sticky with one long running thread instead? It might be unfair to other establishments but at least it wouldn't clutter things up.

                    I think the bigger problem is when the same posters make the same suggestions in nearly every post even when it's not appropriate.

                    1. babbo gets a lot of chowhound press and that's a simple fact. it's hard to get in, the food is good and out-of-towners love the whole batali/orange clog/iron chef thing.

                      i've been going there for years and still enjoy the place. i get a kick out of how many folk target the place as their manhattan destination. so be it. only a churl could cavil.