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May 24, 2011 08:19 PM

Proper Discussion

I'm baffled right now. Someone had a somewhat nasty comment on my post and I posted back and then it was all wiped out by the censors. No foul language involved. But then I go to other discussions where people are calling each other assholes and more, and it seems to be all just fine to the censors. Can someone explain exactly what the rules are? Thanks much.

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  1. The rules are stated in Chowhound Posting Etiquette:

    The enforcement of these rules is at "the censors" discretion and often only happens when a user reports a post to "the censors".

    1. i have been baffled about the mods on this board since i started posting....
      i have had posts deleted saying its not about food...but there are way more posts "not about food" than even in the not about food section...
      i have had replies deleted only been told why i was responding to a question which i thought the op had asked...which i would think would be up to the op to decide and or respond one way or the other...not have it summarily deleted before it could even be read...
      they lock threads saying they get off topic...or a standard response "its going in circles"
      i am on other forums about other subjects and have been online since old style bulletin boards...
      i have never seen such over modding on any other forum ive been on

      even reading the posting etiquette is vague

      from the etiquette thread......
      we reserve the right to move or remove any posting without notice or explanation at our sole discretion. We do not commit to preserving every posting; please bear this in mind if you post. While we sometimes do explain deletions, Chowhound's large (and growing!) size makes it impossible to always do so. Please don't take deletions personally; we're just trying to ensure the chowiest possible resource for hounds just like you! No one likes to have their postings deleted, but thousands of Chowhound users appreciate our unparalleled signal-to-noise ratio.

      so basically a mod can do whatever they want......

      14 Replies
      1. re: srsone

        Well yes, they are humans and as such they have personal opinions which color the way they "edit" a thread. So if they sympathize with one side in a discussion they will cut accordingly. That's patently obvious to anyone here, I wonder if it’s also so clear to their employers. Since I doubt very much the job is handled by volunteers like in the old days when this was a community of chowhounds, not a business/web destination.

        ny bets as to how long it will take them to erase this comment?

        1. re: maria_nyc

          Chowhound is still moderated as it always was, by a team of dedicated volunteers, one that includes many of the moderators who have been doing this work since the early days of Chowhound. They work together, and do their best to avoid prejudicial decisions colored by any personal bias. Protecting Chowhound as a "community of chowhounds" is certainly their goal.

          1. re: maria_nyc

            I really don't get this. I read several boards daily, and I have never encountered this kind of behavior by the moderators. But then, I come here for a singular purpose: finding delicious things to eat. I don't like nor care to join chatty discussions, since they tend to veer off-topic from my singular purpose. And I'm glad the moderators do what they do to maintain the focus of these boards, and shut down the esoterica. Most of the deleted posts occur because a reader has notified the moderators that a discussion has veered off-topic (and therefore irrelevant to the purpose of the site), or is turning into a flame war. Although I've participated in a few of those, I'm glad those get zapped with regularity. Ive never seen posts taken down because the moderators are sympathetic to one "side", but the tone and flaming to partisan discussions inherently bring out some bad behavior. Maybe you're mistaking one-sidedness for taking down inflammatory remarks.

            1. re: maria_nyc

              I've never seen them delete comments critical of the moderation. And those of us paying attention know they're still volunteers. Pretty thankless job, too.

              1. re: mcf

                they always delete comments critical of the moderation. LOL

                also, i have never seen threads where people call each other assholes. if they do, i guess the offending posts have been deleted by the mods before i saw them.

                1. re: alkapal

                  Not in my experience. There are whole threads devoted to it, often they participate to explain certain actions as they have here.

                  1. re: mcf

                    you haven't seen them delete posts that include phrases like, ":dang, the mods nixelated my post." ? well, i've seen it. plenty.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          that's just a regional colloquialism, the proper verb is annixelate.

                      1. re: alkapal

                        Sure I have, but for lots of reasons (including MANY of my own posts), but not criticisms of moderation. I think in addition to being critical, the post would probably involve a lack of civility or be inappropriate in some other way to get the axe. Anyone who thinks the mods on CH don't welcome constructive criticism or tolerate frustrated mod snarks just isn't paying attention, IMO.

                        1. re: mcf

                          yeah, that's right, mcf. i'm simply not paying attention.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      I assume that is what happened because they were there once or I wouldn't have said it. :)

              2. We don't read everything -- or even nearly everything -- that gets posted, and we do rely on reports from users. If there's a situation you think we should be taking a look at, please use 'report' and leave us a note, and we'll check it out. We'd definitely want to remove posts where someone is calling someone else an asshole.

                We'd also encourage you to report nasty comments directed at you rather than replying to them. We can clean them up faster if you don't escalate the situation with further posts.

                1. I must admit I find it amazing as to how quickly posts disappear, including ones that were neutral but maybe had a slightly joking comment about the moderators.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: escondido123

                    oh I am SO reporting this. (heh) take those words of the guideline to heart "Please don't take deletions personally" really. water - duck's back. I've been deleted a million times, sometimes for no immediately apparent reason, but do I care? hell no. anything truly valuable I've managed to sputter out has usu. been retained, the others? ehh who cares, they were in fact OT or possibly perceived as insensitive or even worse IMHO, pointless and forgettable. there are too many interesting things to find to get annoyed over a lost post.

                  2. There appears to be a clique controlling some of the boards (New Orleans perhaps). Disagreements, no matter how inoffensive, get removed. Not sure about the other boards but it leaves the impression that you don't get the straight scoop when looking for advice.

                    25 Replies
                    1. re: Ray2

                      I only participate on about a dozen boards but there's cliques on just about all of them IMO. Some are just more benign than others. You'll notice there's a few names on this very board that seem to favor the gods.

                      1. re: Duppie

              's like we're back in H.S.

                          1. re: maria_nyc

                            That has never been my experience on CH boards. Nor do I need them to tell me when a post gets deleted, I can usually figure out why on my own. If you see posts that offend you, hit the report button. I'm not in any cliques, but most of the posts or threads I report get deleted.

                            I really appreciate the low tolerance for flaming and non chow topic drift on CH as compared to other places I read and post online.

                            1. re: mcf

                              Overall, I do think they strike a nice balance between moderating offensive/really off topic stuff and allowing for some of the tangential discussion that makes discussion enjoyable.

                              1. re: inaplasticcup

                                "I really appreciate the low tolerance for flaming and non chow topic drift on CH as compared to other places I read and post online."

                                big second to that

                                but I DO sorta like some topic drift.

                                1. re: hill food

                                  i like good debate also..........
                                  but they seem to delete it before it gets good.....

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    my only issue is that it should be up to the person who started the thread...they in a sense become the "mod" of the thread...
                                    at least thats the way i view threads that i start...and if i want to debate someone it should be up to me...because its my is somebody else going to decide for me what i want?
                                    unless it flagrantly violates tos...i dont like censorship for no reason...

                                    1. re: srsone

                                      "my only issue is that it should be up to the person who started the thread...they in a sense become the "mod" of the least thats the way i view threads that i start..."

                                      That's completely and diametrically at odds with CH site rules as they stand now and as they've been since I first came in 2001.

                                        1. re: srsone

                                          It's been said by the Chow team here on the site talk board over and over again. If you don't believe me simply email the team and ask for clarification. No one, not the OP or anyone else "owns" or "controls" a thread.

                                          1. re: Servorg

                                            i dont mean own in the sense of its only my thread...this an open forum after all..

                                            but what i mean is if i or anybody ask a question,which most of the posts are..
                                            then i should at least "direct" the route to get the answer i may need or be looking for...
                                            having some anonymous "mod" decide what i can and cant see is censorship in my book...
                                            again...this is directly from their posting etiquette..
                                            "we reserve the right to move or remove any posting without notice or explanation at our sole discretion"
                                            thats too vague least imo....

                                            1. re: srsone

                                              I think it's really clear. We each have a choice about whether we're comfortable participating on moderated boards or not. Lots of folks don't and won't, but if you choose to use their boards knowing the TOS, expect to be moderated.

                                              1. re: srsone

                                                The removal policy is vague because, given human nature, along with the fact that we can't know what is going on behind the curtain in terms of what the Chow Team is privy to about the thread, you'll never have a "hard and fast" rule that suits all situations. You and I aren't always going to be happy with every deletion decision. But I came to terms with the fact that the folks who are moderating are making their decisions in the best overall interest of this site.

                                                As to your point about you, or I or anyone who puts up a post and then tries to "direct" the flow of the discussion. You can put up "refiner" replies to your own original post letting others know if they are on point, or not, to give you what you are looking for.

                                                What I don't think the Chow Team is looking for is for you or I or some other hound to say to someone who posts on the thread we started "You aren't being helpful to me. I said I only wanted recommendations that were 15 minutes from point A and you gave me on that is 20 minutes from where I'll be."

                                                What we need to keep in mind is that a lot of other people will/may be coming to this thread in the future.

                                                And that recommendation that was off of your criteria may be just perfect for the next person (or the next 20 people). That (for you) off topic reply also may generate other good suggestions that, while they don't fit your original query, are great to hear about (and who knows if they might not just help even you out in the future when you happen to be in that "out of preferred" geographic area at another point in the future.

                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                  yeah that's largely why I never use use parameters that are too specific when I do searches, ya find all kind of cool things in the margins.

                                                  I can understand the want of a thread originator to see the deleted comments, but since the mods are volunteers that's a little burdensome.

                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                    yes thats what i mean....i dont always want a concrete answer...unless i ask a specific question...but if they decide what to delete using such vague terms...that may not lead to what i think most of us try to do on here...namely having civil conversations and debates about food....

                                                    like there is one person on here that seems to detest the idea of ketchup on a hot if they delete any debate on what should and should not go on a hot dog based on the vague posting rules..who does that help?

                                                    1. re: srsone

                                                      Now you're discussing the way the site is divided up into local boards and topical boards. I happen to like not wading through a long discussion on the LA board about what the derivation of mole is or why sea salt is better for you than some other kind. When I go to my local board I want specific restaurant recommendations or a place to find a specific type of food. Not a detailed treatise on how that food developed in the mountains of Morocco. The mod's are good about breaking those types of discussions off and putting up a pointer to let folks know they moved it to General Topics or Not About Food or wherever.

                                          2. re: srsone

                                            Threads take tangents and I don't think they belong to any one person, even the OP (what if escondido comes back and tells us we've highjacked his/her thread and get off of it?). We all have topics that we're geeky about and like to discuss/debate. If it becomes non-CH, that's for the moderators to decide. But, we're all adults and don't need to be reprimanded by others (while I wasn't part of the whole back and forth, I figured it's not up to me to decide what's right for others). Report it, if you want, and move on.

                                            This isn't directed at you, srsone, just at the end of this tangent.

                                              1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                Your fault, your fault! You unleashed the pandora's box by asking the simple question, leading to 500+ responses, and now we want you to reign it in.;-) That thread is a good case in point--things might have gotten heated (I stopped following it), the moderators took over.

                                                  1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                    LOL. I have to add that the irony/hypocrisy of my reprimanding people for reprimanding people isn't lost on me.

                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                      LOL. I rather thought you were reprimanding me for NOT reprimanding people! :P

                                                      1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                        Nah, I'm a "free market" kind of message board person where I think people can post what they want w/out being told what to do. Whether it crosses the line or not is for the moderators to decide--that's why they get paid the big bucks (competely facetious because I know they're volunteers).

                                              2. re: chowser

                                                no i dont think a thread just belongs to me ..thats the whole idea behind the open exchange of ideas...but if i post a question and a mod deletes an answer because they dont like it... how does that help me answer my question?

                                                if u look at my post above from the posting etiquette thread is realllly vague
                                                as i stated in that am on or read a few other forums...the only posts i have ever had issues with are ones that are obvious spam ...
                                                i dont claim to know everything ...and usually if i or anybody are asking questions (which according to the "manifesto" is the idea behind this and most any other forum) i would hope to learn something...