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Over-moderation on Manhattan board

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peter j Feb 2, 2011 09:54 AM

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.

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  1. Duppie RE: peter j Feb 2, 2011 09:56 AM

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

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    1. s
      small h RE: peter j Feb 2, 2011 10:37 AM

      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.

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      1. re: small h
        Quine RE: small h Feb 2, 2011 01:29 PM

        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.

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        1. re: Quine
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          HillJ RE: Quine Feb 2, 2011 07:39 PM

          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.

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          1. re: HillJ
            Quine RE: HillJ Feb 2, 2011 07:43 PM

            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.

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            1. re: Quine
              h
              HillJ RE: Quine Feb 2, 2011 07:51 PM

              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.

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              1. re: HillJ
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                HillJ RE: HillJ Feb 3, 2011 05:21 AM

                http://www.chow.com/food-news/71421/r...
                here's a new example, Quine.

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              2. re: Quine
                alanbarnes RE: Quine Feb 4, 2011 12:10 PM

                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.

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              3. re: HillJ
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                small h RE: HillJ Feb 2, 2011 08:08 PM

                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?

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                1. re: small h
                  h
                  HillJ RE: small h Feb 2, 2011 08:12 PM

                  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.

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                  1. re: HillJ
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                    small h RE: HillJ Feb 2, 2011 08:25 PM

                    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.

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                    1. re: small h
                      h
                      HillJ RE: small h Feb 2, 2011 08:37 PM

                      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!

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                      1. re: HillJ
                        flourgirl RE: HillJ Mar 9, 2011 06:33 AM

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

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                      2. re: small h
                        squid kun RE: small h Feb 2, 2011 10:08 PM

                        >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.

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                        1. re: squid kun
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                          small h RE: squid kun Feb 3, 2011 05:59 AM

                          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.

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                          1. re: small h
                            h
                            HillJ RE: small h Feb 3, 2011 06:03 AM

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

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                            1. re: HillJ
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                              small h RE: HillJ Feb 3, 2011 06:06 AM

                              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.

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                              1. re: small h
                                h
                                HillJ RE: small h Feb 3, 2011 06:23 AM

                                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.

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                                1. re: HillJ
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                                  small h RE: HillJ Feb 3, 2011 07:23 AM

                                  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!

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                                  1. re: small h
                                    h
                                    HillJ RE: small h Feb 3, 2011 07:26 AM

                                    Carry on, small h.

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                                2. re: small h
                                  Servorg RE: small h Feb 3, 2011 07:38 AM

                                  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.

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                                  1. re: Servorg
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                                    small h RE: Servorg Feb 3, 2011 07:45 AM

                                    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, uncurious...you 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.

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                                    1. re: small h
                                      Servorg RE: small h Feb 3, 2011 07:52 AM

                                      "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.

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                                      1. re: Servorg
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                                        small h RE: Servorg Feb 3, 2011 07:58 AM

                                        <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.

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                                        1. re: small h
                                          greygarious RE: small h Feb 6, 2011 09:19 AM

                                          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.

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                                          1. re: greygarious
                                            buttertart RE: greygarious Feb 11, 2011 12:07 PM

                                            V good nickname, gg. There certainly are some.

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                                        2. re: Servorg
                                          h
                                          HillJ RE: Servorg Feb 6, 2011 09:27 AM

                                          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.

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                                          1. re: HillJ
                                            Midlife RE: HillJ Feb 22, 2011 04:27 PM

                                            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.

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                                            1. re: Midlife
                                              Bob Martinez RE: Midlife Feb 28, 2011 08:05 AM

                                              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.

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                                              1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                buttertart RE: Bob Martinez Feb 28, 2011 08:06 AM

                                                Hear, hear.

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                                                1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                  Midlife RE: Bob Martinez Feb 28, 2011 02:47 PM

                                                  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.

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                                                  1. re: Midlife
                                                    h
                                                    HillJ RE: Midlife Feb 28, 2011 02:56 PM

                                                    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.

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                                                    1. re: HillJ
                                                      Quine RE: HillJ Feb 28, 2011 03:02 PM

                                                      *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.

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                                                      1. re: Quine
                                                        h
                                                        HillJ RE: Quine Feb 28, 2011 03:07 PM

                                                        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 ?...no matter what it is.

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                                                        1. re: HillJ
                                                          Quine RE: HillJ Feb 28, 2011 03:14 PM

                                                          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. ;-)

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                                                          1. re: Quine
                                                            h
                                                            HillJ RE: Quine Feb 28, 2011 03:41 PM

                                                            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.

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                                                      2. re: HillJ
                                                        Servorg RE: HillJ Feb 28, 2011 03:15 PM

                                                        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: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/656133 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.

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                                                        1. re: Servorg
                                                          h
                                                          HillJ RE: Servorg Feb 28, 2011 03:42 PM

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

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                                                          1. re: Servorg
                                                            Melanie Wong RE: Servorg Feb 28, 2011 04:01 PM

                                                            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.
                                                            http://www.chow.com/search?query=noir...

                                                            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.
                                                            http://www.chow.com/search?query=noir...

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

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                                                            1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                              h
                                                              HillJ RE: Melanie Wong Feb 28, 2011 04:03 PM

                                                              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.

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                      3. The Chowhound Team RE: peter j Feb 2, 2011 10:39 AM

                        If you're asking about deletions of your posts specifically, please send us an email to moderators@chowhound.com 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.

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                        1. thew RE: peter j Feb 3, 2011 05:26 AM

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

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                          1. r
                            Riverman500 RE: peter j Feb 3, 2011 08:00 AM

                            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.

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                            1. re: Riverman500
                              The Chowhound Team RE: Riverman500 Feb 3, 2011 09:35 AM

                              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.

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                            2. im_nomad RE: peter j Feb 3, 2011 12:39 PM

                              Maybe it's just me, but lately I've noticed an increase in locking overall and a few boggling deletions myself (can't speak to the Manhattan board)

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                              1. re: im_nomad
                                linguafood RE: im_nomad Feb 4, 2011 09:50 AM

                                +1 (aka dito, i noticed that, too)

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                                1. re: im_nomad
                                  CapeCodGuy RE: im_nomad Feb 22, 2011 06:16 AM

                                  It's an issue on every board I frequent. The problem increased tenfold once the site went corporate. It's a darn shame. Although many will defend the practice and say thyey love the site as is, I look at what it could be.

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                                  1. re: CapeCodGuy
                                    Servorg RE: CapeCodGuy Feb 22, 2011 06:23 AM

                                    "Although many will defend the practice and say they love the site as is, I look at what it could be."

                                    I too look at what the site could be with little moderation. A chaotic, off topic mess that wouldn't be worth visiting.

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                                    1. re: Servorg
                                      CapeCodGuy RE: Servorg Feb 22, 2011 07:29 AM

                                      "I too look at what the site could be with little moderation. A chaotic, off topic mess that wouldn't be worth visiting."

                                      Or it could be a more valuable and inclusive resource that hasn't driven away certain longtime valuable posters. But you can choose to think the negative if you like.

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                                      1. re: CapeCodGuy
                                        Servorg RE: CapeCodGuy Feb 22, 2011 07:43 AM

                                        I'm a big fan of Joni Mitchell and especially when she sang "Don't it always seem to go. That you don't know what you've got. Till it's gone"

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                                        1. re: Servorg
                                          CapeCodGuy RE: Servorg Feb 22, 2011 08:25 AM

                                          Joni's cool. But I enjoy more obscure music I guess, like Van McCoy...

                                          "Change with the times
                                          keep an open mind
                                          Or you'll wake up and find the world's left you behind

                                          You better catch up
                                          change with the times"

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                                          1. re: CapeCodGuy
                                            Duppie RE: CapeCodGuy Feb 22, 2011 08:27 AM

                                            Epic.....

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                                            1. re: CapeCodGuy
                                              Servorg RE: CapeCodGuy Feb 22, 2011 08:29 AM

                                              If staying with the tried and true is good enough for Warren Buffet it's good enough for me.

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                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                CapeCodGuy RE: Servorg Feb 22, 2011 08:45 AM

                                                I think Jimmy's a better songwriter than Warren. :-P

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                                                1. re: CapeCodGuy
                                                  Servorg RE: CapeCodGuy Feb 22, 2011 09:01 AM

                                                  And I think CH is a better site than any of the others, (precisely because it is moderated...) ;-D>

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                                                  1. re: Servorg
                                                    h
                                                    HillJ RE: Servorg Feb 22, 2011 09:03 AM

                                                    Moderation/administration coverage occurs on other sites with community boards. How moderation is enforced varies. It took me a good long while to "get" the moderation enforcement on CH.

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                                                    1. re: HillJ
                                                      Servorg RE: HillJ Feb 22, 2011 09:11 AM

                                                      ...because it is vigorously moderated to weed out shilling and smearing, along with trying to keep the various boards on topic and free of flame fests...

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                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                        h
                                                        HillJ RE: Servorg Feb 22, 2011 09:13 AM

                                                        Servorg, you keep the Site Board flame alive for all of us. Thanks.

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                                                        1. re: HillJ
                                                          Servorg RE: HillJ Feb 22, 2011 09:15 AM

                                                          I just wander through the Chowscape with my lamp looking for an honest opinion about food... ;-D>

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                                                          1. re: Servorg
                                                            Duppie RE: Servorg Feb 22, 2011 09:30 AM

                                                            Is there oil or Lithium batteries in said lamp? I jest of course but very little can stay static without turning into a anachronism.

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                                          2. re: CapeCodGuy
                                            h
                                            HillJ RE: CapeCodGuy Feb 22, 2011 08:16 AM

                                            Take what you can from the site, CCGuy. It's never going to be the be-all for all of us.

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                                            1. re: HillJ
                                              CapeCodGuy RE: HillJ Mar 3, 2011 04:56 AM

                                              A terrific example of overmoderation occurred today, or should I say, in the dark of night, on the Southern New England board.. A local poster started a thread stating he was driving from Boston to Denver and wanted recs along the way. In my usual snarky self I was the lone initial reply, stating that I could give him many recs but as they cross over 5 separate boards, why bother? I sated that my post would surely be deleted by some over-zealous, anonymous Mod. Well, several posters apparently took offense at that useless reply and the thread started to take off with many recs. It was nice to see, as things have been rather dead on the board for some time. Most days there are merely a handful of posts and most of those are in Fairfield county or New Haven related. But as expected, upon looking at the board this morning, some unknown wise mod has deleted one of only 8 threads posted to that day. Yet somehow this site is better for these kind of arbitrary decisions? puh-leeze!

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                                              1. re: CapeCodGuy
                                                h
                                                HillJ RE: CapeCodGuy Mar 3, 2011 05:59 AM

                                                CCG, while your frustration is echoed by fellow hounds, dictating how moderation takes place is only going to lead to more of the same frustration.

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                                                1. re: CapeCodGuy
                                                  The Chowhound Team RE: CapeCodGuy Mar 3, 2011 06:08 AM

                                                  We emailed the poster and asked him to break up his query and repost across multiple boards, as well as passing along the replies he'd already received to that thread.

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                                                  1. re: The Chowhound Team
                                                    CapeCodGuy RE: The Chowhound Team Mar 3, 2011 09:14 AM

                                                    "We emailed the poster and asked him to break up his query and repost across multiple boards, as well as passing along the replies he'd already received to that thread."

                                                    And what happened? Because your arbitrary requirement that his query fit into your rigid format, your requirement would mean he'd have to post the same question, and then monitor the responses, in 6 different regional boards! So his post has disappeared. No future posts are forthcoming, and those that were interested in the topic are deprived of the discussion they were enjoying. Perhaps it's your intention to boost the 2 posts per day in the Great Plain Boards, or the Great Lakes region, or the Mountain States board, but instead we SE New Englanders are left with the never ending debate of the best burnt pizza in New Haven, and a completely new and different topic has disappeared.

                                                    Jeesh.

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                                                    1. re: The Chowhound Team
                                                      kaleokahu RE: The Chowhound Team Mar 3, 2011 10:24 AM

                                                      With respect, how reasonable is that--making the person post the same request on 6 different boards? Even if he/she did waste the time doing that, no one else making the same trip would have the patience to ferret it all out.

                                                      Rather than having a rule that says the post must ONLY be about the arbitrary "region", you could maybe require that it has to have SOME connection?

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                                                      1. re: kaleokahu
                                                        Melanie Wong RE: kaleokahu Mar 3, 2011 11:09 AM

                                                        If the person were interested in getting expert answers from locals, he/she would be happy to do that. The Great State of California spans four boards: San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego, and California. I can tell you that someone posting an inquiry on the SF Bay Area board for a trip starting in Ukiah and ending in La Jolla will get better answers by breaking up the trip queries to the respective boards rather than relying on readers in San Francisco to say where to eat in La Jolla.

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                                                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                          CapeCodGuy RE: Melanie Wong Mar 3, 2011 11:37 AM

                                                          I think the original poster WAS interested in local opinions, but due to time restarints was happy to get what he/she could get from the single "local" board. Perhaps he was trying to get answers from the perspective of someone who has made a similar journey where the opinion of someone who lives in , say Kansas, is irrelevant. Regardless, the post has been deleted. The poster/traveler is on his way, and instead of some info, he has no info. and thiose who were interested in the thread also lose out. And I am a perfect example of someone who once posted the same question on the California board for a driving trip from Palos Verdes to San Franscisco and I had many great responses, as I wasn't under some ridiculous requirement to split up my query to three separate boards.

                                                          I could almost understand these strict, and in my opinion arbitrary decisions if these boards were a hotbed of activity, but from where I sit, most boards are dying a slow death due to these very same deciison makers. It's a damn shame.

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                                                          1. re: CapeCodGuy
                                                            Melanie Wong RE: CapeCodGuy Mar 3, 2011 11:51 AM

                                                            If you want perspective from outside the regions, e.g., opinions from Angelenos who have spent a weekend in La Jolla, then board etiquette has been to post a pointer on the LA board linking to the thread on the San Diego board. The Chowhound team noted in the reply above that the replies to the deleted thread were forwarded to the poster via email, so it's not quite correct to say that he has no info.

                                                            I don't doubt that you rec'd great responses, this is Chowhound and there are many readers and posters for all four boards. Yet bear in mind that tips aren't just for you but for the community that hangs out on that board. That's a reason to stay focused on the territory that community comes to the board to read about.

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                                                          2. re: Melanie Wong
                                                            kaleokahu RE: Melanie Wong Mar 3, 2011 11:43 AM

                                                            Hi, Melanie:

                                                            Thanks for your perspective. Let me give you a counterexample.

                                                            Posters in Washington state have two "locales", Greater Seattle and Pacific Northwest. GS is (arbitrarily) defined as Everett to Tacoma. GS has a huge amount of traffic, including many people who travel widely within the PNW. If one asks on GS where to eat along the I-5 corridor between Seattle and Vancouver (pick BC or WA, your choice), you will get many responses. But if you're relegated to the PNW board (which includes Alaska and everywhere *else* in WA and OR, besides PDX), you are likely to get few or none; posting there is largely a waste of time.

                                                            So long as there is *some* connection with the local area, there is no reason for the rule. If your hypothetical traveler would do worse by only posting on one board, why not let them make that mistake rather than *imposing* a requirement that they post in 4? This seems like a lot of needless make-work for the mods and frustration for trans-local travelers...

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                                                            1. re: kaleokahu
                                                              Melanie Wong RE: kaleokahu Mar 3, 2011 12:57 PM

                                                              As I noted, you can drive traffic from one board to another by posting a head's up pointer. I have done that many times with good success.

                                                              If you want traffic to grow on the less populated boards, diverting posts about those locales to a bigger board defeats that. Also on the larger boards, such as San Francisco, posts about out of way places get buried very fast underneath new threads. Posting on the less trafficked boad, the inquiry will stay near the top longer and hopefully the right person will see it. Pointing to it from another board can enhance the eyeballs on it.

                                                              And again, please keep in mind that discussion is not just for the person who asked. The message boards are an archive of tips for the whole community and those who come to a regional board trying to find information. If the perfect tip for where to get bagels in Manhattan is buried in a Southern New England board, then readers of the Manhattan board won't find it when they attempt to search the board, and they won't be able to complain to the next person who asks a repetitive question that the answer is right under her nose. ;-)

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                                                              1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                kaleokahu RE: Melanie Wong Mar 3, 2011 01:39 PM

                                                                Hi, Melanie:

                                                                Thanks for the pointer pointer. But I must be in a contrary mood, because I'm going to disagree again.

                                                                First off, when I post a question, I want the answer, not being told my posting raises meta-ethical questions about driving other posts, and is therefore sent off to a 3-state Gulag where it does no one any good.

                                                                Second, Greater Seattle is, in a Goldilocks kind of way, just right. The volumes are much higher than PNW, but not so large as to bury posts alive. I have discovered that posts to the PNW board stay on top longer, but can go Rip Van Winkle with nary a reply, unlike the Seattle board. Maybe SF is more like the Home Cooking board, which is so hopping it instantly buries threads.

                                                                Third, sometimes the greatest tip for something (bagels in Manhattan, e.g.) comes about as a *comparison* with something somewhere else. The mods take down trans-area posts entirely, so many good tips get poofed anyway. This strict Balkanization is just a bad thing if there's *any* connection with the board it's posted on. Isn't that what the search functions are for? And it's not like there'll be any paucity (or repetition) of threads on the Manhattan board about bagels that would deprive anyone of the benefit of some poor fool who inadvertently broke the jurisdictional rules by drawing an out-of-area comparison.

                                                                But I'll try to remember the pointer, thanks.

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                                                                1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                  Servorg RE: kaleokahu Mar 3, 2011 02:17 PM

                                                                  "First off, when I post a question, I want the answer, not being told my posting raises meta-ethical questions about driving other posts, and is therefore sent off to a 3-state Gulag where it does no one any good."

                                                                  Meta-ethical questions. Wow! And I thought it was a food discussion site that has let me eat better. Little did I know. ;-D>

                                                                  If only we could all just return books to the Library and stick them any old place we thought made sense. Why, I'm sure my system would be a lot more logical to me than some crazy organization that those Library snobs have it set up with...

                                                                  The problem is you want it the way you want it and a whole bunch of other folks who think they know better too want the system the way they want it. You and all the others forget what comes of letting each of you do as you please, where you please and when you please.

                                                                  If it was only you the site could accommodate the one off approach. But it's not just you. You get away with it and the next person says "Hey, what about me?" "My way is better than old kaleokahu." "Why can't I do it my way if he can do it his?" And away we go. If you keep chipping at the iceberg pretty soon all you have is a pile of ice chips that end up melting in the sun.

                                                                  You think you have a better way of organizing a site. Go forth and build it. Remember, if you build it it, they will come. Or at least, we will see if they come.

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                                                                  1. re: Servorg
                                                                    CapeCodGuy RE: Servorg Mar 3, 2011 07:02 PM

                                                                    We get it, you love Chowhound and see no room for improvement. You are as entiltled to that opinion as I am to mine and kaleokahu to his/hers.

                                                                    Imagine going to your library in search of all things Julia Child. You come across her very first cookbook. Hungry for more, you ask your librarian, I love the recipes, but I want to learn more about the woman. Sorry, you are told, but this library is a reference only location. For non-fiction, you must go to another library across town. You hear about the terrific movie adaptation of Julia and Me, well sorry, that's across town in yet another branch. And so on...

                                                                    Many people just give up.

                                                                    So all I keep noticing is a severely declining contributor base with fewer and fewer posts and in most every case, the reason for them leaving this site is over moderation by an anonymous and increasingly draconian few. I love this site as much as you, but unlike youself, I see room for loosening up the stringent constraints on conversation.

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                                                                    1. re: CapeCodGuy
                                                                      Servorg RE: CapeCodGuy Mar 3, 2011 07:04 PM

                                                                      Maybe after you've been around for 10 years you'll feel differently...I think you will.

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                                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                                        CapeCodGuy RE: Servorg Mar 3, 2011 07:27 PM

                                                                        I've been here for six, maybe seven, so I think that's plenty to form an opinion.
                                                                        So on that point at least, you would be wrong.

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                                                                        1. re: Servorg
                                                                          m
                                                                          MRich RE: Servorg Mar 3, 2011 07:37 PM

                                                                          Because 5 years isn't enough to form an opinion?

                                                                          It's just a weird thing to say because as far as I can tell CapeCodGuy has been on CH about 5+ years and Servorg has been on CH for 3+ years.

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                                                                          1. re: Servorg
                                                                            kaleokahu RE: Servorg Mar 3, 2011 07:44 PM

                                                                            Servorg: I like that! The poster who's been here the longest gets to decide everything? I bet it will surprise the mods and new owners that Jim Leff's still the boss. I'm sure you'll defer to anyone who's been here longer than you have? Right.

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                                                                          2. re: CapeCodGuy
                                                                            kaleokahu RE: CapeCodGuy Mar 3, 2011 07:37 PM

                                                                            CCC: LOL, the library analogy is even *worse* than that. It's more like going into the library and asking to peruse all the Julia Child cookbooks and being told: "We only have the one where the Head Librarian decided she wasn't being snooty. All the rest have been disappeared."

                                                                            Or some brilliant scholar has written a cookbook in which she also happens to solve a mathematical problem. "Sorry, out with the book entirely! Only one topic allowed! Never existed! Head Librarian's orders. Get over it or start your own library."

                                                                            Other than in a Monty Python world, you would think that's pretty strange.

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                                                                            1. re: CapeCodGuy
                                                                              MMRuth RE: CapeCodGuy Mar 4, 2011 03:46 AM

                                                                              Theoretically though, it's not in another library, it's just in another section of the library.

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                                                                              1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                Servorg RE: MMRuth Mar 4, 2011 04:07 AM

                                                                                And the mileage I get while driving on the Information Super Highway is considerably better than what I get physically driving to the library (and I find that it just isn't that exhausting to click and type - even scrolling up and down the page doesn't tend to leave me winded and sweaty!). You would think that doing what CH requires of us is difficult or daunting. Far from it.

                                                                                I think I'll talk my wife into sushi tonight. It seems like a good way to end the week. Have a great weekend, Ruth.

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                                                                                1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                  CapeCodGuy RE: MMRuth Mar 4, 2011 04:35 AM

                                                                                  Either way, it's an useless inconvenience. And the bigger issue is when it's in the "banned" ie" burned section. Nowhere to be found ever again.

                                                                                  Sushi you say? Where you going?

                                                                                  OH! Don't answer that!!! I'd hate to get this thread deleted.

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                                                                2. re: CapeCodGuy
                                                                  bagelman01 RE: CapeCodGuy Mar 5, 2011 07:02 AM

                                                                  CCG,
                                                                  I am a regular on the Southern New England Board, and I reported the thread and asked that it be removed after almost all the posts were about places to eat in Colorado, not in the 155 miles the OP would be traveling in Southern New England.
                                                                  This was not a random act by a CH Moderator, but a direct response to a report from an active CH user.

                                                                  That said, there are times when posts/threads disappear that make no sense to me, but I don't own or pay for CH.

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                                                                  1. re: bagelman01
                                                                    CapeCodGuy RE: bagelman01 Mar 5, 2011 10:35 AM

                                                                    Bagelman,
                                                                    Well then congrats on getting a new and interesting thread (for several of us, but apparently not you) killed. Was that thread really getting in the way from you being able to follow the paucity of activity most days on the So. New England board? Most days have maybe 4-6 active threads. Clearly, several people had interest in helping a fellow local poster on his impending journey. I recall at least 2 or 3 of maybe 10 total posts were New England-centric but I'm supposed to feel better because YOU were the arbiter of what is acceptable instead of "some random act by Mod"? Sorry, but that only makes it worse.

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                                                                    1. re: CapeCodGuy
                                                                      CapeCodGuy RE: CapeCodGuy Mar 5, 2011 07:21 PM

                                                                      Funny, this thread is allowed to stay on the Great Plains board. Perhaps Bagleman could report this one as well.

                                                                      "Coffee stops on roadtrip CA->AZ->NM->TX->OK->KS->MO->IA->MN "
                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/770049

                                                                      Oh the irony.

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                                                                      1. re: CapeCodGuy
                                                                        Servorg RE: CapeCodGuy Mar 5, 2011 07:31 PM

                                                                        If you are looking for perfect, machine like consistency from the human moderators here I am afraid you are always going to be disappointed. They don't see a lot of what goes on here (especially if we don't report it to them).

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                                                                        1. re: CapeCodGuy
                                                                          The Chowhound Team RE: CapeCodGuy Mar 5, 2011 07:54 PM

                                                                          The poster you're referring to is posting correctly, on each of the boards covered by his trip, a good part of which is covered by the Great Plains board.

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                                                                          1. re: The Chowhound Team
                                                                            CapeCodGuy RE: The Chowhound Team Mar 5, 2011 08:03 PM

                                                                            Not to nit pick, but there is no such post on the Texas nor the California boards, so I must disagree and it still seems like the Boston to Denver thread deletion is arbitrary..

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                                                                            1. re: CapeCodGuy
                                                                              Servorg RE: CapeCodGuy Mar 6, 2011 04:00 AM

                                                                              "Not to nit pick, but there is no such post on the Texas nor the California boards, so I must disagree..."

                                                                              If you look at the actual body of his post (and not just the Subject Title) he says "I'm driving through Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, and Kansas City" and he has properly (separately) asked for recommendations on each of the boards which cover those cities.

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                                                                          2. re: CapeCodGuy
                                                                            bagelman01 RE: CapeCodGuy Mar 7, 2011 10:08 AM

                                                                            Since I don't read the Great Plains board, it's not not place or interest to do so. That would be up to a participant or moderator on that board.

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                                                                          3. re: CapeCodGuy
                                                                            bagelman01 RE: CapeCodGuy Mar 7, 2011 10:07 AM

                                                                            No, I was not the arbiter of what is acceptable. I merely reported a thread that was mostly off topic. It was up to a CH moderator to decide to:
                                                                            #1 do nothing
                                                                            #2 split the responses into geaographically appropriate boards
                                                                            #3 move the whole thread.

                                                                            Things may be slow on the cape in the winter <VBG> and you may be interested in reading all the responses, but when i want to read Southern New England board posts, I don't want to waste my time reading about places to eat in Denver.

                                                                            The fact that there is not a lot of activity on the board doesn't mean I want to read 'filler'

                                                                            My post about reporting the off topic posts was merely to show that it is not always the moderatos who initiate changes/deletions.

                                                                            As I will be in our Hyannis home this weekend, I'll be reading your posts for dining updates on the Southern New England board, not the mountain states board.

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                                                            2. m
                                                              MRich RE: peter j Mar 3, 2011 06:20 AM

                                                              Unfortunately there is over-moderation across Chowhound. And no explanation or even a trace that deletions have been made. I don't know if a thread I've been following got too rough or profane or too "off topic" while I've been away. I've seen stuff deleted that seem like none of the above.

                                                              I have seen a lot of posts from people joining CH and posting only a single glowing review (usually of a pizza place) and then never returning. When I ask if the poster has a relation to that restaurant then MY post gets deleted but the post that is probably a restaurant owner trying to deceive the CH community and pose as a third party honest review stays up unchallenged.

                                                              Honestly it's made me MUCH less of a CH user because I feel like I'm participating in a discussion in an Orwellian world.

                                                              Now I'm curious to see if this post remains. It's not off topic. It's not personal or profane. It just challenges the authority of the board. We all think it's some near-democracy but it's run more like North Korea.

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                                                              1. re: MRich
                                                                Servorg RE: MRich Mar 3, 2011 06:26 AM

                                                                When I see suspected shilling I use the "Report" button and let the moderators know about it. Making a public accusation on the board is only going to lead to off topic back and forth over the charge leveled at someone. I know that my reports are taken seriously as many of the posts I report are taken down. So, report your suspicions and let the team make a determination.

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                                                                1. re: Servorg
                                                                  m
                                                                  MRich RE: Servorg Mar 3, 2011 06:46 AM

                                                                  Yeah, I tried that. The "report" button never resulted in posts being removed. All I ever saw was my posts removed and the alleged shill posts remaining. I always remained civil and un-accusing in my posts...more like hinting. Still the same result.

                                                                  Ever since CH was bought in 2008 the site has been scrubbed much more.

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                                                                  1. re: MRich
                                                                    Servorg RE: MRich Mar 3, 2011 06:55 AM

                                                                    I assume that any report of shilling is taken seriously and investigated. So, if the post remains it likely means that, up to that point, there is not enough evidence to make a determination that the poster is a shill. If more evidence appears in the form of other posts, (which it inevitably does with shills) then that old shill post and any others by that poster will undoubtedly be removed.

                                                                    And even "hinting" publicly is not going do anyone here any good, and more than likely bring more off topic chatter about your suspicions.

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                                                                    1. re: MRich
                                                                      s
                                                                      small h RE: MRich Mar 3, 2011 06:56 AM

                                                                      When I use the "report" button because I suspect shilling, the moderators remove the offending post at least 90% of the time.

                                                                      You say that reporting posts "never" results in posts being removed. But you also say that Chowhound is run like North Korea. So you seem to be prone to exaggeration, generally.

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                                                                      1. re: small h
                                                                        m
                                                                        MRich RE: small h Mar 3, 2011 07:16 AM

                                                                        Nope. The "never" is accurate in my experience. Happened to me just a few weeks ago, although it had been about a year since the last time I questioned an alleged shill since I mostly gave up trying.

                                                                        Although I've never been to North Korea, I stand by the generalization that CH is "run more" like North Korea than it is to a near-democracy.

                                                                        But thanks for trying to shift the debate to question my own character.

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                                                                        1. re: MRich
                                                                          s
                                                                          small h RE: MRich Mar 3, 2011 07:25 AM

                                                                          I report alleged shills at least 5-6 times a week, so I'm in a much better position than you are to determine the rate at which those posts get deleted - by your count, you've reported two posts in the last year.

                                                                          Your character is none of my concern; it was your behavior I mentioned. And I stand by *my* generalization that you exaggerate.

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                                                                          1. re: small h
                                                                            m
                                                                            MRich RE: small h Mar 3, 2011 08:15 AM

                                                                            I have never exaggerated in my life.

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                                                                            1. re: MRich
                                                                              Servorg RE: MRich Mar 3, 2011 08:20 AM

                                                                              I think when you compare arguably the most brutal, repressive, secretive and paranoid regime that is currently in power on Earth to the moderation of this site you need to own up to a propensity to exaggerate...

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                                                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                                                m
                                                                                MRich RE: Servorg Mar 3, 2011 08:29 AM

                                                                                CH is not brutal. Nor is it repressive in any way.

                                                                                But it is secretive and it is paranoid.

                                                                                But I went back and reviewed some of my old posts and indeed all (yes all) of the shills I checked for are still there.

                                                                                I re-reported one. We'll see what happens.

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                                                                                1. re: MRich
                                                                                  Bob Martinez RE: MRich Mar 3, 2011 09:03 AM

                                                                                  Kim Jong Il says they're not shills.

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                                                                                  1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                                                    Servorg RE: Bob Martinez Mar 3, 2011 09:05 AM

                                                                                    I just want to know where Kim and the boys are with Heavy (Chicago) Pizza enrichment?

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                                                                                    1. re: Servorg
                                                                                      buttertart RE: Servorg Mar 3, 2011 09:20 AM

                                                                                      Given the famines it seems an infelicitous regime to use to draw comparisons to CH.
                                                                                      I do hope the "I have never exaggerated" was itself an exaggeration and humorously meant.

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                                                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                                                        Servorg RE: buttertart Mar 3, 2011 09:28 AM

                                                                                        "I do hope the 'I have never exaggerated' was itself an exaggeration and humorously meant."

                                                                                        I get the distinct impression that was "not" self parody...

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                                                                                        1. re: Servorg
                                                                                          m
                                                                                          MRich RE: Servorg Mar 3, 2011 09:44 AM

                                                                                          You have assumed a lot about me in this thread and it's pretty much all been wrong.

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                                                                                          1. re: MRich
                                                                                            Servorg RE: MRich Mar 3, 2011 09:48 AM

                                                                                            I'm happy to be set straight. But since typed words without some sort of clue like (g) or ;-D> or what have you leaves one without any idea if one is being facetious or not I can only assume you meant what you wrote?

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                                                                                            1. re: MRich
                                                                                              linguafood RE: MRich Mar 3, 2011 10:25 AM

                                                                                              FWIW, I took it as a joke. But then I don't take may things seriously.

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                                                                                              1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                buttertart RE: linguafood Mar 3, 2011 10:27 AM

                                                                                                I did too (having myself been told once disparagingly "why must you always talk in superlatives?"- not as a joke).

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                                                                                        2. re: Servorg
                                                                                          kaleokahu RE: Servorg Mar 3, 2011 10:09 AM

                                                                                          God Forbid the Kims would ask to compare a local Pyonyang bagel joint with one in NY!

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                                                                                      2. re: MRich
                                                                                        The Chowhound Team RE: MRich Mar 3, 2011 09:49 AM

                                                                                        We probably won't see it if you've previously reported it -- there's a longstanding bug in our software that means we don't see additional reports once we've cleared the first one. If there's something you really want us to re-examine, you can email us a link, but please keep in mind that almost every newbie who shows up and starts by posting a positive review gets reported as a shill -- not all of them are, and it may simply be that our investigation didn't confirm your suspicions.

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                                                                              2. re: small h
                                                                                m
                                                                                MRich RE: small h Mar 3, 2011 07:29 AM

                                                                                I'm also worked up about it because I've seen some interesting threads deleted for no apparent reason recently. And no explanation.

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                                                                                1. re: MRich
                                                                                  s
                                                                                  small h RE: MRich Mar 3, 2011 07:38 AM

                                                                                  I hear that. I would rather see a thread locked than deleted. That way I don't feel like I missed the exciting "last straw" post.

                                                                                  And I apologize if I got you even more worked up.

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                                                                                  1. re: small h
                                                                                    kaleokahu RE: small h Mar 3, 2011 10:13 AM

                                                                                    small h: Oh, there's an infernal policy of selectively deleting posts, *and then* locking them down, making it impossible for anyone to get the... flavor... of the thread. What may remain is often quite different--and boring.

                                                                                    My favorite is when a mod takes it upon him/herself to say: "Well everything that can be said on this has been said..." as an excuse to lock one down. So obviously not the case.

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                                                                                    1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                                      s
                                                                                      small h RE: kaleokahu Mar 3, 2011 10:28 AM

                                                                                      I don't mind the locking of "going in circles" threads that much, since it's often true. "GMO's are bad! No, they're not! Yes, they are! You're just uninformed! No, you are!" I can live without that sort of nonsense.

                                                                                      But the threads that are "growing increasingly unfriendly"? Bring 'em on. Just today I came across a post that read "You gotta be effin' kidding me," and was saddened to realize that it was a response to something that had already been deleted. What'd he say??? What'd he say???

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                                                                                      1. re: small h
                                                                                        m
                                                                                        MRich RE: small h Mar 3, 2011 10:34 AM

                                                                                        On the "Chicken Stock Etiquette" thread there was a very interesting part of the discussion that was deleted. Not sure why. An entire branch of discussion that was going in several different directions was cut down.

                                                                                        I'm not sure why there at least can't be a notation "This thread deleted due to _____", whether it's vulgarity, drift or whatever at least we know there has been a deletion and if you've been following the thread you get a feel for what is in bounds and out of bounds.

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                                                                                        1. re: MRich
                                                                                          s
                                                                                          small h RE: MRich Mar 3, 2011 10:53 AM

                                                                                          I think you answered your own question, if the branch was "going in several different directions." And most of the time, I do know what's in bounds and out of bounds. I often disagree, but it's not that mysterious. Most of the time.

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                                                                                          1. re: small h
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                                                                                            MRich RE: small h Mar 3, 2011 11:54 AM

                                                                                            What's wrong with a sub-thread going in a few directions?

                                                                                            If a moderator decides he/she doesn't like my 10:20 am post on this thread and deletes it we would lose a lot of other discussion, most of which has nothing to do with the original post. This is what happened in the example I gave.

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                                                                                              small h RE: MRich Mar 3, 2011 12:10 PM

                                                                                              <What's wrong with a sub-thread going in a few directions?>

                                                                                              I think it's tough to draw a hard and fast rule about it (and it sure as heck seems like there isn't one). But thread drift is entertaining until it isn't. And I guess the moderators decide when that is. Sometimes I think, damn, we've lost something here. And other times I think, sheesh, what took 'em so long.

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                                                                                              1. re: small h
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                                                                                                HillJ RE: small h Mar 3, 2011 12:57 PM

                                                                                                Sometimes CH's self-edit their own posts before they become hard copy. Just the other day a CH posted some great detail about the way they prepare a homemade pizza. When we (myself and fellow CH's) didn't completely agree, that CH removed his own full length post. What can ya do? Sometimes just asking a question can tick off a passionate hound. It happens.

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                                                                                                1. re: HillJ
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                                                                                                  small h RE: HillJ Mar 3, 2011 01:08 PM

                                                                                                  <that CH removed his own full length post.>

                                                                                                  Hah! I'm taking my peel and my stone and I'm LEAVING! So THERE! People are so weird.

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                                                                                          2. re: MRich
                                                                                            The Chowhound Team RE: MRich Mar 3, 2011 12:16 PM

                                                                                            We don't usually post explanations about why threads have been moderated, because we've found that such explanations generate responses from people wanting to disagree, agree, discuss and question the moderation decisions. All of that continues to pull the thread off topic. We know there are many people who are curious about what's been removed, what was said, why we've made the choices we've made, and we also understand that these choices can seem arbitrary and unfair when you can't see the entire picture.

                                                                                            We do try to email people who started the thread or sub-thread that's been removed, if we think they won't realize why it was removed (and aren't shills). And for others who are simply curious, most common reasons for deletion are covered in our posting etiquette at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/367605

                                                                                            When we get to the point of locking a thread, we've usually already tried to get the thread back on track via more tactical deletions and emails. We don't seek to lock threads -- our goal isn't to shut down discussion. But the discussion has to have a welcoming, inclusive feel, and that's not always the case. There's a phenomenon known as the 'broken windows effect', which applies in online space, as well. If we allow some nastiness, some totally off-topicness, etc, then that gives people the idea that those things are okay, and they only increase.

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                                                                                          3. re: small h
                                                                                            kaleokahu RE: small h Mar 3, 2011 11:57 AM

                                                                                            small h: With respect, I am *not* talking about "Did so too!" death circles. The "going in circles" saw is most often a euphemistic excuse for truncating an ongoing discussion (For example, the now-locked thread on PFOA and thyroid disease). That thread was locked as soon as one poster revealed that the original poster's link was *not* to a naturopathic blogger's wacky site, but was actually from harder-to-dismiss NIH studies using NHANES datasets. The effect is a chilling of polite, on-thread, non-repetitious, important discussion NOT because everything has been said, but because it isn't breezy or comfy enough. The infuriating part was that NO ONE even *asserted* that nonstick cookware was responsible for any bad health effects--the mere raising of a legitimate *question* caused the clampdown.

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                                                                                            1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                                              Servorg RE: kaleokahu Mar 3, 2011 12:08 PM

                                                                                              If you are really interested in this subject, and want to have your say about it here on CH, then you can add your comments to this discussion http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/302882 which is neither locked nor taken down...

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                                                                                              1. re: kaleokahu
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                                                                                                small h RE: kaleokahu Mar 3, 2011 12:19 PM

                                                                                                I certainly concede your point in this example. I understood you to mean that there was actual circle-going, not that a conversation had gotten too hot and was subsequently locked with a boilerplate excuse. I think there's a finite number of explanations for locked threads. Hence, some of the explanations get used in bizarro ways because the current "problem" doesn't fit neatly into any category.

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                                                                                    2. re: MRich
                                                                                      The Chowhound Team RE: MRich Mar 3, 2011 07:12 AM

                                                                                      The honesty of Chowhound is our paramount concern, and we spend a lot of time behind the scenes finding and removing shill posts. We investigate every report of shilling (and find many other instances on our own that aren't reported). Sometimes we don't remove the post because we have evidence that strongly suggests to us the poster isn't a shill. While it's often easy for us to prove a poster is a shill, it's much harder to be 100% sure the poster *isn't* a shill, and we do our best to give posters we have doubts about a reasonable chance to show us they aren't shilling. Many do, and go on to become active members of the site. Those we continue to have doubts about may have the post removed at a later date.

                                                                                      We do ask that posters not engage new posters in "prove yourself" types of conversations with newbies (even posts that are more of a hint than an outright accusation), as such discussions only lead to huffy denials, shills who are educated enough to come back with a more subtle tactic that may be harder for us to find, or newbies who are scared away from what they perceive as a "no newbies welcomed" atmosphere.

                                                                                      Please be assured that each report is thoroughly investigated. We sometimes send the people who report such posts to us a "thank you" email, but often time doesn't allow that, since that's time we need to spend investigating such reports!

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                                                                                        MRich RE: The Chowhound Team Mar 3, 2011 07:27 AM

                                                                                        I will go back to reporting shills and will monitor the results.

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                                                                                      2. re: MRich
                                                                                        squid kun RE: MRich Mar 3, 2011 09:15 PM

                                                                                        >Yeah, I tried that. The "report" button never resulted in posts being removed.

                                                                                        That's not my experience on the NYC boards. I've reported countless fishy posts - sometimes just the kind of newbie raves you mention - then observed later that they'd been taken down. I assume I wasn't the only user who did so. Maybe the number of complaints has to reach a certain level. But as I say, I've found the mods quite helpful and responsive.

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                                                                                        1. re: squid kun
                                                                                          CapeCodGuy RE: squid kun Mar 4, 2011 03:21 AM

                                                                                          I agree on the use of the report button. I've seen absolutely no evidence of any hesitation what-so-ever of Mods being hesitant to remove suspected shill posts. Or non-shill posts. Or any posts actually.

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                                                                                          1. re: CapeCodGuy
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                                                                                            MRich RE: CapeCodGuy Mar 4, 2011 07:52 AM

                                                                                            This morning I posted a reply here in this thread with an example of what I thought was a shill from about 3 weeks ago. I flagged and responded to that suspected shill several weeks ago but subsequently had my response on that thread deleted by a moderator and the suspected shill was left up. I detailed here on this thread why I was suspicious. Just because everyone here keeps saying that when they hit "report" they usually get a response and I have had a different experience.

                                                                                            I received an email response from the moderator just now that my post here on this thread detailing my suspicions was being removed. And the suspected shill was being left up.

                                                                                            Now I appreciate that the moderator took the time to check out the suspected post and respond to me in a timely and detailed fashion. They said the suspicion was circumstantial and there was no concrete evidence that the poster had a relationship with the restaurant. They are certainly right about that. But it raises the bar so high that I can't imagine that suspected shills ever get removed unless they admit they are related to a restaurant.

                                                                                            Reasonable people can disagree if the CH policy is right or wrong and I can see good points from both sides.

                                                                                            However I pass all of this along because it confirms my experience that shills are almost never removed. There were some folks here that say they get results from the "report" button. I have not had this experience.

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                                                                                            1. re: MRich
                                                                                              Bob Martinez RE: MRich Mar 4, 2011 08:01 AM

                                                                                              My experience is different than yours. I report shills regularly and about 90% of the time the mods remove the posts.

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                                                                                              1. re: Bob Martinez
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                                                                                                MRich RE: Bob Martinez Mar 4, 2011 08:13 AM

                                                                                                Bob-

                                                                                                Can you give me an example of what you would flag? Maybe I'm looking at the wrong stuff.

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                                                                                                1. re: MRich
                                                                                                  squid kun RE: MRich Mar 4, 2011 09:28 AM

                                                                                                  Here's an obvious case: a new poster who arrives out of nowhere and chimes in on a number of threads - fresh ones and sometimes really old ones too - with a brief, vague, over-the-top rave about one restaurant. (Or: a brief, vague, over-the-top slam.) I've reported many instances like this, and they're almost all deleted.

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                                                                                                    MRich RE: squid kun Mar 4, 2011 09:46 AM

                                                                                                    That's exactly what I've been reporting, although usually just one post, not a number. I can recall off the top of my head a half dozen like that I've reported and none have been addressed. I can't recall a single time that the suspected post has been deleted, although I could be forgetting one. Including the instance I referred to from a few weeks ago. I used to do it here and there, now I've mostly given up.

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                                                                                                    1. re: MRich
                                                                                                      BobB RE: MRich Mar 4, 2011 01:13 PM

                                                                                                      It's hard to be sure with single posts. I can think of posts I was pretty sure were shills (first and only post, over-the-top rave about some new restaurant), only to discover over time that they were legit and it was only that one great restaurant experience finally prodded some long-time lurker into writing their first post.

                                                                                                      So like squid kun, I tend to report only those obvious ones who post the same rave to several threads at once - especially when they include old threads, indicating that whoever it is just did a Web search on whatever it is they're trying to promote.

                                                                                                      And I also would say 90% of the time those posts get removed.

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                                                                                              2. re: MRich
                                                                                                alanbarnes RE: MRich Mar 4, 2011 08:08 AM

                                                                                                Shills get removed all the time. It doesn't require an admission that the poster is related to the restaurant. You've brought the issue to the attention of management and they've taken the action they think is appropriate. End of story.

                                                                                                You may disagree with them. You may even be right. There are many times when I think the mods have made the wrong call. But complaining about it isn't going to do any good. Let it go already.

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                                                                                                  MRich RE: alanbarnes Mar 4, 2011 08:17 AM

                                                                                                  I don't really care about the specific suspected shill in question. I have acknowledged here that my interpretation may have been right or wrong. I have "let it go".

                                                                                                  But I brought it up here because so many people have had a different experience than I have and I wanted to share that.

                                                                                                  Also I found today's episode ironic and humorous and that it confirmed my prior experiences, which I agree are based on a small sample size.

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                                                                                    3. buttertart RE: peter j Mar 5, 2011 06:22 AM

                                                                                      A post by fredid (Boston board) on the Manhattan discussion of the very poor state/nonexistence of Cambodian food in NYC saying that people traveling to Boston should check that board for good recs - and a Manhattan poster saying thank you - were removed from the thread. That's just silly and how is it "all about the chow"? I suppose one isn't supposed to say the cassoulet at x restaurant in NYC isn't as good as the one at y restaurant in Toulouse since borders are being transgressed?

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                                                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                                                        Servorg RE: buttertart Mar 5, 2011 06:32 AM

                                                                                        What we (unless one is part of the CH moderator team) aren't seeing is what all starts to accumulate from one little off topic post on a local board. Leave one up and then it becomes two and two turn into four and pretty soon you have an entire discussion of Boston chow on the Manhattan board. All of us tend to forget we don't "go rogue" on CH alone. When one does it another thinks "Then it's alright for me to do" and that tends to spread like wildfire.

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                                                                                        1. re: Servorg
                                                                                          buttertart RE: Servorg Mar 5, 2011 06:40 AM

                                                                                          As of my last viewing of the thread yesterday afternoon (until just before posting the above) there was the offer and the response only. Possibly it did go all Boston up in there later.

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                                                                                          1. re: buttertart
                                                                                            Servorg RE: buttertart Mar 5, 2011 06:52 AM

                                                                                            I used to get worked up over deletions of my posts (or the threads they were part of), but one day a switch got flipped in my head (I don't know if I did it or it just was part of the aging/mellowing process) and I stopped worrying about it. I never ask what happened to my posts anymore. I just move on to the next restaurant or interesting discussion. And I am a lot happier with the "CH Experience" due to that change in perception.

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                                                                                            1. re: Servorg
                                                                                              buttertart RE: Servorg Mar 5, 2011 06:54 AM

                                                                                              I don't get upset either (otherwise why would I keep posting like a maniac) but this deletion seemed egregious, given when I had last seen the thread.

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                                                                                          2. re: Servorg
                                                                                            CapeCodGuy RE: Servorg Mar 5, 2011 06:55 AM

                                                                                            The flaw in your rstatement Servorg, is that you make it sound like the boards are teaming with activity, and all this "off topic" talk is just clutter among the masses. Putting our differences of just what is "off-topic" aside, you have been around long enough to see that traffic, and posts, are serverely declining on most regional boards. For this reason alone, situation as described by buttertart just shouldn't happen. For the record, I believe they shouldn't happen regardless, but I'm attempting to drill down the discussion to it's most basic premise.

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                                                                                            1. re: CapeCodGuy
                                                                                              Servorg RE: CapeCodGuy Mar 5, 2011 06:58 AM

                                                                                              I am less concerned with overall board traffic and more concerned with the quality of the posts (and mostly on my local board). Some new posters are probably much less put off by moderator decisions about what goes where and the fact that they can be made to feel less than welcome by a small subset of posters who think that they "own" their local boards.

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                                                                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                kaleokahu RE: Servorg Mar 5, 2011 11:16 PM

                                                                                                Serveorg: So ONE really, super-on-topic post is better than a huge amount of information that comes about spontaneously, or technically in violation of a rule?

                                                                                                I have never seen what even comes *close* to a situation where someone claims board ownership.

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                                                                                            2. re: Servorg
                                                                                              kaleokahu RE: Servorg Mar 5, 2011 11:11 PM

                                                                                              Servorg:

                                                                                              Sort of like the Domino Theory? Let one person's multi-jurisdictiion trip go unpoofed and it's the end of Western Civilization?

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                                                                                            MRich RE: peter j Mar 6, 2011 03:06 AM

                                                                                            My main complaint is actually the "vanishing" aspect to removed posts. I would have much less of an objection if the mod put a "This thread deleted due to off topic content" note up.

                                                                                            Any mods out there hear that?

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                                                                                            1. re: MRich
                                                                                              The Chowhound Team RE: MRich Mar 6, 2011 05:05 AM

                                                                                              Yes, we addressed your point here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7635...

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                                                                                              ospreycove RE: peter j Mar 7, 2011 10:20 AM

                                                                                              Maybe, one moderator's poison, is another's elixir. after all they are volunteers and have points of view, aka, biases. It is a division of CBS; you can imagine the corporate legal dept. giving its take on what can and cannot be done on "internet boards". Protecting the corporation from liability trumps all else.

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                                                                                                MRich RE: ospreycove Mar 7, 2011 12:42 PM

                                                                                                "Protecting the corporation from liability trumps all else."

                                                                                                Yeah, I believe that to be part of the problem.

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                                                                                                1. re: MRich
                                                                                                  squid kun RE: MRich Mar 8, 2011 11:45 PM

                                                                                                  Nothing in this thread or any other I've seen suggests a legal basis for taking down anything users have written. What kind of posts have you seen that would expose Chow/CBS Interactive to liability?

                                                                                                  And if the company's worried less about what's posted and more about what's selectively deleted - perhaps as a result of moderator bias, as ospreycove suggests - it would make more sense for the legal department to dictate that nothing be deleted.

                                                                                                  Anyway, complaints about overzealous moderation on Chowhound predate ownership by big companies. They go back waaay before CBS and even before CNET. And I don't see how the moderation practices have changed much since Jim Leff owned the site.

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                                                                                                  1. re: squid kun
                                                                                                    Quine RE: squid kun Mar 9, 2011 02:45 AM

                                                                                                    Explain the fact that they are doing a GREAT to avoid liability. Just because you haven't seen posts that you would consider bad, doesn't mean they weren't there. Last summer several posts all in different boards under tread titles that were also not similar. The only thing the same, once opened contained FULL BLOWN FULL COLOR ahem full frontal man sans clothes waist down.

                                                                                                    They worked fast to get those found and out.

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                                                                                                    1. re: Quine
                                                                                                      Servorg RE: Quine Mar 9, 2011 03:13 AM

                                                                                                      Perhaps they were removed quickly because they were obviously off topic for the site, and to avoid the firestorm of complaints they knew they would have received here had they not done so?

                                                                                                      Complaining about moderating deletions/decisions is akin to debating how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. These are judgment calls. There is no "video replay" to go to to see if they got it "right".

                                                                                                      Human beings making human (read "fallible") decisions cannot possibly get every one right for every hound. That is impossible on the face of it. What we all should do is find great food and post about, and let the rest of this stuff fall where it may...

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                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                        BobB RE: Servorg Mar 9, 2011 06:29 AM

                                                                                                        Absolutely. Having taken part in unmoderated forums, I for one am quite happy that we have good moderators and while I do not agree with their judgment 100% of the time, I gladly accept the tradeoff. If you complainers want a less controlled board, go start FoodAnarchy.com. And see how many "Hounds follow you. ;-)

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                                                                                                        1. re: Servorg
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                                                                                                          MRich RE: Servorg Mar 9, 2011 06:29 AM

                                                                                                          Servorg-

                                                                                                          I understand you like things the way they are.

                                                                                                          Some people here have what they consider legitimate complaints and constructive criticism. I think they should be able to air them and discuss them.

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                                                                                                            BobB RE: MRich Mar 9, 2011 08:38 AM

                                                                                                            Which is exactly what you're doing here. So clearly you ARE able to air and discuss them.

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                                                                                                              MRich RE: BobB Mar 9, 2011 09:08 AM

                                                                                                              Perhaps I should have said "I think they should be able to air them and discuss them without people telling us we are being unreasonable"

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                                                                                                              1. re: MRich
                                                                                                                BobB RE: MRich Mar 9, 2011 04:02 PM

                                                                                                                A discussion in which no one is allowed to disagree with you? That's not a discussion, it's a support group.

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                                                                                                                  kaleokahu RE: BobB Mar 9, 2011 05:06 PM

                                                                                                                  BobB: "[N]o one is allowed to disagree with you? That's not a discussion, it's a support group."

                                                                                                                  There's a large difference between disagreeing and calling someone unreasonable, don't you agree?

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                                                                                                                  1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                                                                    Servorg RE: kaleokahu Mar 9, 2011 05:10 PM

                                                                                                                    "There's a large difference between disagreeing and calling someone unreasonable, don't you agree?"

                                                                                                                    Does that sentiment extend to the moderators?

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                                                                                                  2. re: ospreycove
                                                                                                    alanbarnes RE: ospreycove Mar 9, 2011 05:47 AM

                                                                                                    >>"Protecting the corporation from liability trumps all else."<<

                                                                                                    That may be the silliest thing I've ever read. Exactly how do you think a corporation is going to be liable for failing to moderate posts?

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                                                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes
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                                                                                                      MRich RE: alanbarnes Mar 9, 2011 06:27 AM

                                                                                                      People get sued for crazy stuff all the time, and large corporations even more so. Hosting libelous content probably scares the pants off of CBS' lawyers.

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                                                                                                      1. re: MRich
                                                                                                        alanbarnes RE: MRich Mar 9, 2011 06:33 AM

                                                                                                        Only if they know nothing whatsoever about libel law.

                                                                                                        A heavily-moderated board might be characterized as a publisher; a minimally-moderated board is more likely to be a distributor; and a completely unmoderated board is a conduit. The first is liable for defamatory statements, while the second has limited liability and the third is immune. Thus, excessive moderation increases - rather than decreases - the possibility that the company will be sued.

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                                                                                                          MRich RE: alanbarnes Mar 9, 2011 06:39 AM

                                                                                                          You seem to know much more about law than I, so I'll ask you:

                                                                                                          Is this decreasing the chance of a suit or the chance of LOSING a suit. I'm not sure CBS is worried about losing as much as they are about being sued and the bad publicity.

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                                                                                                          1. re: MRich
                                                                                                            alanbarnes RE: MRich Mar 9, 2011 07:13 AM

                                                                                                            Generally speaking, trying to avoid frivolous lawsuits is bad business. They're going to happen no matter what you do, and in the grand scheme of things they don't cost much to get rid of. The real focus is on avoiding liability.

                                                                                                            Speaking of which (and this will show just how little I actually know about Internet defamation law) federal law insulates web hosts from liability for content posted by others under most circumstances. 47 USC 230 (c) (1) provides that "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

                                                                                                            This has been interpreted give distributors of libelous statements on the internet total immunity. Here's a summary of the leading California case on the subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrett_...

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                                                                                                              HillJ RE: alanbarnes Mar 9, 2011 07:28 AM

                                                                                                              Which is so interesting and yet confusing because most website owners accepting public submitted information also state to their members that any information/photos/recipes submitted and published within the owner website becomes the property of said website.

                                                                                                              Confuzzled.

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                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                kaleokahu RE: HillJ Mar 9, 2011 08:58 AM

                                                                                                                HillJ: Confuzzled? No one should be. It's one of the Corporatist Canon: We want it both ways.

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                                                                                                                  HillJ RE: kaleokahu Mar 9, 2011 11:00 AM

                                                                                                                  Which is one reason why even with "liability protection" some arguments ARE in fact decided in a court room.

                                                                                                                  But since the moderation policies/decisions not shared with CH members are going to remain that way, I'm not making assumptions I can't understand without the voice from above clarifying the rules further.

                                                                                                                  Time for a lamb burger with mint..much more satisfying.

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                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                    kaleokahu RE: HillJ Mar 9, 2011 05:17 PM

                                                                                                                    Hi, HillJ: Do you (or anyone here... Mods?) know whether CH's owners have ever been sued over anything posted by a third party? Salty language? Impertinence? Libel? Intentional infliction of distress? Off topic? National security? Too political? Not likely.

                                                                                                                    As alanbarnes has amply demonstrated, the "liability" consideration here is a complete red herring (see how I made this about food?).

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                                                                                                                    1. re: kaleokahu
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                                                                                                                      HillJ RE: kaleokahu Mar 9, 2011 05:41 PM

                                                                                                                      One lone observation. the CHOW/CH archive is new, evolving and growing into its own these days. CH pre CNET wouldn't have raised many highbrows of a legal nature. No ads, no corp sponsors.

                                                                                                                      Today, there's more corporate overtone and more investment in content, pr, staff and keeping the food loving public informed and interested in this food site. Every page scream advertisers.

                                                                                                                      The CHOW contest currently running has rules notated that didn't appear before. For me, that's an indication of learning from previous offerings and taking the rules of contest running seriously. Which is a good thing.

                                                                                                                      Beyond that kaleo, I'm here for the love of food; not the love of food fight(s).

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                                                                                                  3. The Chowhound Team RE: peter j Mar 9, 2011 05:48 PM

                                                                                                    Folks, this thread is getting increasingly personal and unfriendly amongst hounds, as well as getting kind of off-topic with speculation about legal issues, so we're going to lock it now.

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