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May 31, 2009 10:33 AM

Is it worth it posting a negative restaurant review?

I recently posted a review describing a fairly negative experience I had at a Boston restaurant that I had previously loved. I can't even tell you how many people I had previously recommended the place to.

I was not even going to post, but another friend, also had a nearly identical experience.

I proceeded to get pounded on chowhound by friends of the owner of said restaurant, or perhaps even the owner himself posting but not fessing up to who he was.

Thankfully the moderators deleted all the vitriol.

Kind of a cruel irony considering how much praise Boston hounds have heaped on the place that the owner goes serious TROLL after one bad review.

I felt like I owed the chow universe a heads up that this previously sacred placed could be really bad and had been so at least twice recently.

After all is said and done, I'm not sure it was worth the angst. My initial reaction, do nothing, just don't hit the place ever again might have been the better route.

Is it really worth it posting a negative review on Chowhound?

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  1. Yes. I am more than a lurker, but less than a regular poster, so perhaps my input here is not fully informed. But I really value the input of posters like you. That is not to say that I don't respect the input of irregular posters. However, some people, like you, clearly are committed to the Boston dining scene and the pursuit of good food, and are critical in making Chowhound an extremely useful site, as well as a place with some integrity. I do hope you'll continue with your honesty, even if it means having to tolerate the immaturity of those who can't handle it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cachetes

      I agree, I want to see the negative reviews to make an informed dining decision! I haven't read this review yet, but I assume it was detailed, honest and offered constructive criticism. I can't eat at every restaurant, (in my dreams!), and I often host others at restaurants to celebrate or treat them to a relaxing, hopefully pleasant, experience. I value CH reviews and info. I realize there are limits and expectations, and they should be adjusted according to the type of restaurant and information the restaurant provides..thank you for your time, StriperGuy.!

    2. Absolutely. I'm sorry you got a lot of crap for your efforts, so to speak. I almost feel obliged to post if I have a negative experience at a place I've previously recommended whole heartedly on CH, and did so recently, in fact.

      1. chiming in to say yes, definitely post a negative review. fact is, there are places where the experience will be pretty much great for everybody across the board; places where it's usually great but not in certain circumstances (hometown game, for example); and places that are or become hit& miss. when i've loved a place and have rec-ed it to everybody i know, and then the dissenting voice comes in with a bad experience at the same establishment, i listen, and maybe stop rec-ing the place so ardently, or at least not before i've gone back for another visit. it can be really helpful in tailoring a rec to a specific person/occasion to know how that establishment has handled similar situations, and if they've ever fumbled. i think it would be terrible if chowhound was just for conventional wisdom and no dissenting voices were ever heard from. was your whole review deleted, or just the flame posts?

        1 Reply
        1. re: soupkitten

          did read the review - I agree the follow up to a critique is really more important than the initial, troubling exchanges...I always give those in the service industries a few passes for having a bad day, but this sounded way off the mark...the reaction and chain of events after the fact speaks volumes about the business. I won't plunk my money down at a place where the owner obviously doesn't care about customer service. Staff must "love" this guy!

        2. I'm disturbed that you're even thinking about refraining from posting negative reviews because of some flames which have been removed. (Admittedly, while I've followed that thread a bit, I clearly missed the vitriol you describe.)

          I'm another one of many who read your comments and give them significant weight, and it concerns me to think that CH would be "groomed" towards featuring only positive comments. That's not what I come here for. If I wanted that, I'd shift to Yelp. I read Chowhound for informed opinions both good and bad.

          Back when I was a fairly new and not-very-active member of the Boston board, BarmyFotheringayPhipps and I posted about a really dreadful dinner that we had at another board favorite, Grotto, and we took a bit of a drubbing for that: we shouldn't judge ever ever EVER a restaurant based on Restaurant Week performance, we couldn't possibly have been served the truly poor renditions of signature dishes that we described, we should have understood that service at Grotto is more good-natured than professional (it may be, but spilling beer all over the table and onto the lap of a customer and making only the vaguest of efforts to clean up the mess with a starched polyester napkin that will not absorb liquid goes well beyond the pale) was a bit rough. Again, the moderators deleted many of the harshest comments, but the sting lingers two years later. However, we're also both still here two years later, and still willing to post both positive and negative comments with the understanding that others will disagree.

          I try hard not to take it as a personal attack if someone doesn't like a favorite restaurant of mine, unless they are indeed attacking me personally (a poster once actually changed their personal profile to add comments clearly aimed at Barmy and me, which mostly startled me because I could not understand what inspired such personal animus.)

          I also try VERY hard, based on the attacks I've experienced myself, to acknowledge the validity of someone else's bad experience if I'm defending a restaurant that I like. All you can do, in the end, is keep reminding yourself not to take things too personally - and I say that as someone who has a GREAT deal of trouble adhering to that tenet, but still making the effort.

          1. I believe being honest about our dining experiences, either good or bad is important to the integrity of the chowhound community.

            I did read your post SG, and I felt your pain.

            Thanks for your feedback, I for one appreciated it.