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Feb 2, 2011 09:54 AM

Over-moderation on Manhattan board


I just wanted to protest the seemingly random deletion of posts and entire threads on the Manhattan board.

Yes I've read the sticky topic, "Quick Tip: Where did that post/thread go?" but seriously, some of the deleted comments and threads have been perfectly reasonable and non-confrontational.

If moderators want to delete, that's certainly within their power, but please have the courtesy to explain the reasons for deleting. Thanks.

  1. With all due respect.... welcome to Chowhound.

    1. I think the Manhattan board is actually under-moderated. If I were moderating it, you would see 98% fewer threads about where to eat in the theater district, 75% fewer threads about where to throw a rehearsal dinner, and 82% fewer posts about whether Eleven Madison Park is the greatest restaurant the universe has ever known or merely the greatest restaurant on earth right now. So thank your lucky stars that I'm not in charge.

      38 Replies
      1. re: small h

        You forgot the I'm in town for one day, best place to eat etc. posts.
        I am sure every local board gets too many of those though. Alas.

        1. re: Quine

          In all fairness to posters who don't necessarily stick around CH daily or have a long history on the Boards, the site is publicized, advertised and written about as a popular place to find answers to your fast and quick dining/food destination needs. If the site/CH community didn't tout the benefits of both long & short term member use, then I could see the peeve about certain types of posts.

          People ask these types of questions because CHOW/CH bills itself as the answer site.

          1. re: HillJ

            That's fair. Tho' I've never seen chow billed anywhere. Been here so long forget how I managed to stumbled on in here. Definably a good point.

            1. re: Quine

              CH ad banner appear on the Net and are cross promoted via link through reviews, recipes, other food sites, menu pages, blogs, you name it.

              1. re: Quine

                My local grocery store has Chow media playing on flat screen TVs hanging over the produce bins. I really don't need to hear "Chow Tips" while I'm picking out acorn squash, thanks just the same.

              2. re: HillJ

                Your point is well taken, but it's a heckuva lot faster to search for one of the eight million existing threads about where to eat during Restaurant Week - if you're already on the Manhattan board, there are probably several a mere eight inches from your eyes - than it is to create a new one and then sit back and wait for someone to be bored or masochistic enough to reply. Don't you think?

                1. re: small h

                  small h, in (more) than theory yes. But one thing I've learned about being a passionate CH-we all like the sound of our own voice. The feeling of posting our own ? and having people answer it!!! So, could we all just read what's already written-yes! But take a look at the sheer volume of repeat posts (or similar scenarios if you will) and perhaps the "my voice" theory will ring true too.

                  I don't believe for a moment that someone looking for a quick & fast solution even thinks about search, or knows/cares how to search a ? before asking. Community boards are geared to accept new posts much more readily than provide archives.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    You are 100% correct - I referred to this phenomenon a couple of years ago as being "entranced by the look of my own pixels." But aside from being a very tiresome manifestation of special snowflake disease, I think the practice is actually counterproductive. Asking a question that has already been answered multiple times means you will likely get nth generation responses - half-hearted, perfunctory, abbreviated. Although that is what people who ask such questions deserve, so maybe I should just take comfort in that.

                    1. re: small h

                      Or, find comfort in knowing that we all deserve the enjoyment of asking and answering to our own liking :)

                      either way, the search function is not satisfactory on CH. You have two choices search engine or search hundreds of individual posts. You can Google your question and get a more rapid response, a direct hit to a post on CH. In my mind, that IS counterproductive!

                      1. re: HillJ

                        I agree 100%. I think the search function is horrendous.

                      2. re: small h

                        >Asking a question that has already been answered multiple times means you will likely get nth generation responses - half-hearted, perfunctory, abbreviated.

                        As a regular here I'm also not a fan of questions we've all heard a zillion times. But I disagree with the assumption about the quality of responses. Users who are seeing the question for the nth to the nth time might respond as you say. But often a fresh post elicits responses from other users who may not have seen all those other threads.

                        1. re: squid kun

                          If I were curious about a restaurant, I would use all the tools at my disposal. I would search for old threads on Chowhound (and maybe Yelp). I would read newspaper reviews. I would look at the restaurant's website. I would ask questions, if I still had any, on an existing Chowhound thread. I've found this is the best way to get quality information.

                          Users who may not have seen all those other threads tend to be drive-bys, people who visited Manhattan eight years ago and have a vague recollection that the Central Park Boathouse was really swell. Or new Chowhounds trying to build a "bank" of posts - you've probably seen them, the unfamiliar user name that suddenly appears on 35 threads and then is just as quickly gone. Perhaps your experience is different, but this is mine.

                          1. re: small h

                            small h, some long time CH's are the first to reply to posts you are referring to. So the disappointment varies.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              I know. On the one hand, I admire their dedication and patience. On the other hand, I wish they would stop, because maybe then the problem would go away. Like training a baby to sleep on her own by not picking her up every time she cries. Give a novice Chowhound a response, and you feed him for a day. Teach a novice Chowhound to search, and you feed him forever.

                              1. re: small h

                                Oh small h. You'd be better off focusing on a great meal instead of fretting over the habits of fellow hounds. With all due respect (& admiration of your contributions) this is a no win observation.

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  Do you know how many calories I burn by fretting? It's my main form of exercise. Fretting keeps me thin. So I can eat more. Win!

                                2. re: small h

                                  I operate on the premise that some small percentage of those who "Google in" to Chowhound may be just the new blood that my local board is looking for. And this does prove out over time. So I tend to be patient and helpful with new posters, thinking that it's a selfish action on my part. Because if they come back and bring new restaurants or sources with them that I may never have heard of otherwise, I win.

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    I will pause here for a moment to note that I am not as much of a hardass as I'm making myself out to be. And I think I can tell by now whether someone is genuinely uneducated in the ways of Chowhound and/or the internet in general, or just a lazy, self-involved, get the picture. I am happy to respond to the former. And I can tell that I've made the right call when I'm thanked for providing search results and a bit of additional info.

                                    1. re: small h

                                      "And I think I can tell by now whether someone is genuinely uneducated in the ways of Chowhound and/or the internet in general, or just a lazy, self-involved, uncurious..."

                                      But if you guess wrong then it's your (our) loss. I don't reply to every drop in. But if I see an inquiry that I think I can be helpful on, I do reply with as much friendly information that I have time to offer.

                                      My problem is different. I take issue with a small subset of hounds who are experienced, who know how to search and can get around these boards as well as anyone. And yet these few come back time and again with questions that are going to be answered by some other hound who is going to have to Google for the answer or make a phone call (true in at least 99% of the cases) and not know this information off the top of their head. That I have a problem with.

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        <I take issue with a small subset of hounds...>

                                        I honestly have not seen evidence of this, not with posters whose user names I recognize. That would piss me off majorly, so maybe I should make a concerted effort to remain blissfully ignorant of it. As you can see, I have enough to complain about.

                                        There are a lot of people who ask many more questions than they answer, but an interesting question is worth as much to me as an interesting answer.

                                        1. re: small h

                                          Boy, I sure have. People who have pages of posts should be savvy enough to use CH's search function before posting. Then there are screen names I recognize asking for definitions rather than going to their dictionaries or googling a term. These are added to my growing list of "Chowholes", whose posts I thenceforth do not read.

                                          1. re: greygarious

                                            V good nickname, gg. There certainly are some.

                                        2. re: Servorg

                                          Maybe that small subset is looking for a new a CHOWhound friend :)
                                          All this discussion about fellow member habits helps what exactly?
                                          Folks are folks. Haven't we all been told this on more than one occasion? Bring a pet peeve to Site Talk, have 20 friendly, well meaning but disagreeing hounds jump on your table talk...yeah, it gets old no matter what the bitch..but we all have our pov. Count on leaving with more ? than answers on ST Board. That's life.

                                          Mods do the heavy lifting and that's fine by me for the real trouble. But, are we talking about real trouble? Inconvenience...but hardly a food duel.

                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            So......... if I get this right the sub-issue essentially is that there are too many boring newbie posts on the Manhattan site?? For the 'other' 290 or so million people who don't live in Manhattan........ where else would be good for them to go for information about the arguably greatest place in the world? Granted it would be best if they all could do a search and not just jump in with a question, but it's pretty much the same issue on many, many speicalized boards.

                                            I grew up in New York, but moved West a very long time ago. On the LA area board there are lots of "where's good pizza in LA" kind of posts. On the wine board I see lots of relatively naive questions too, but that's how people learn.

                                            It just comes with the territory. I get lots of exercise from fretting too.......... just not over this issue. ;o))

                                            If the site separated Manhattan into "Tourist" and "Locals" boards it's probably that the tourists wouldn't get nearly the info they're looking for.

                                            1. re: Midlife

                                              The issue with the Manhattan board isn't that tourists need information. It's that 95% percent of them make no effort, ZERO, to use the information that's already been posted.

                                              It's not hard to find. The search engine finally works pretty well. I have real sympathy if someone has a highly unusual request or is looking for information about a topic or neighborhood that hasn't been beaten to death. I'll try and help them.

                                              Even better is a post that begins "I've searched the boards but I'm finding very little information about ..." Great. I'm willing to work with you. But those posts are rare. Instead we see posts like "I'm staying in Times Square - are there any good Italian places around there?"

                                              A long, long, time ago I decided that if they're too lazy to search the board then I'm too lazy to answer them.

                                                1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                  No argument Bob. I was just saying that this is one of those things it's almost impossible to fix. My dry sense of humor wants to suggest that the site add a pop-up screen that says "Did you search first? Bob will get upset if you didn't search and then ask a dumb question you could easily have answered yourself with a search!". No disrespect intended. It's just not going to happen.

                                                  1. re: Midlife

                                                    No rebuttal here either-except-that the CH search function remain less than optimal and for a newbie, newcomer, hound passing through...remain illusive and harder than JUST ASKING.

                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                      *sigh* and it's a shame, if they are not searching, I don't even open the thread. How can one know they haven't searched. It's the thread titles. Hey I might be missing a great thread due to a bad title, but odds are pretty slim.
                                                      If it sorta gets at, hey I searched but (could not find, did not get alot of info or it's old info) Yeah I give it a chance and try to answer.

                                                      1. re: Quine

                                                        Sometimes the question lies within the thread, not the title. Threads often sidebar into multiple questions and without reading thru the entire thread, you're not going to find the people asking or be in the position to help if you want to. It's a clunky system for even experienced CH's but we all have the choice to decide if we want/can help a fellow hound or not. I can respect either choice. But I don't blame individuals for asking a ? matter what it is.

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          Oh I am not blaming, and since this is the Manhattan board, I (erroneousnly) figured CH would know I was only speaking in terms of this board.
                                                          I am sure since I hate "What is the best buffet in Atlantic City" on the NJ board, many local boards have similar issues.
                                                          On boards that are not local, following down some odd totled threads has been a wonderful Alice In Wonderland experience. ;-)

                                                          1. re: Quine

                                                            I use the word blame only in the sense that this thread underscores the frustration of hounds who would prefer individuals do "some" searching before asking a ?. Like Midlife stated, ain't gonna happen.

                                                      2. re: HillJ

                                                        Right you are. Consider for a moment this little sojourn I just took:

                                                        Here is a "real world" search I conducted on the LA board looking for previous threads on "Noir Wine and Food Bar" after a new poster asked about it. I found one mention by a board regular that had no replies.

                                                        Finally another well know poster chimed in and said it had become one of their favorite places. I could not find his post using the CH search function, even when filling in the exact title and using advanced search. I only found it when I went out to Google and it popped right up.

                                                        I'll even give you the post right here: and say, can you find this using the CH search function looking on the LA board? I looked again more than a few times and I still CAN'T find it.

                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                          Yep, it's a clunky system. It's the CH community that makes the experience better.

                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                            It's very easy to find, if you realize that the thread is more than a year old. That means that the default 12 month setting will not find it. You need to go into advanced search and set the timeframe to 5 years. Then a search for Noir on the LA board pops it up as the first result.

                                                            Since that thread has been linked to a Places page, the other way to find it is to do a search in the Restaurants database (at the top of the page under your profile name) for Noir in Pasadena.

                                                            And, no, I don't expect casual readers to do those kind of searches.

                                                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                              Or long time CH's who might benefit from this reminder about the date of a thread placed as a sticky on the Search Engine page. Of course knowing the (even approx) age of a thread helps.

                      3. If you're asking about deletions of your posts specifically, please send us an email to with some details of what you're wondering about, and we'll try to explain.

                        If you're asking about the deletion of others' posts, we don't generally explain deletions to third parties. If we think there's a problem that's likely to continue, we'll leave a note in the thread explaining the deletions. Otherwise, we prefer to handle those explanations privately, rather than correcting people in public, even if it leaves other people curious about what happened.

                        1. get used to it. CH is heavily moderated. i think it goes too far, but i understand, even if i don't agree.

                          1. I agree with the OP. I also think the moderation is skewed - some long-term posters get to write whatever they want, even if their tone is obnoxious, whereas others get deleted whenever they politely disagree with the prevailing consensus on certain restaurants.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Riverman500

                              We try not to favor long term posters in this way -- in fact, we tend to look less kindly on rude posts from posters who should know better. But we don't read every post on the site by a long shot, so we miss things, which can make our decision making seem more biased than it is. Please use the report button whenever you see a post that you think contravenes the rules. We may not always action every flag, but we appreciate the heads up, and we promise to take a look.