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Are moderator's too heavy handed?


I fully understand why the moderators need to keep angry and inflammatory posts off the site. Nevertheless, I can't understand why they remove posts which ask legitimate questions which could result in angry replies. I think this is wrong!!! If the question is reasonable, it should be allowed, but angry or unreasonable or inflammatory replies should not be tolerated.

I have recently had a few very polite and respectful posts removed, and I'm so annoyed that I'm about ready to quit CH. If "touchy" or controversial topics cannot be politely discussed here, then I think this site loses much of it's value. Two recent posts I've had removed related to 1) how I should best handle a situation when we were seated next to over-the-top unruly children, and 2) whether a restauranteur's political stand should reasonably influence the choice of dining there.

I think the moderators greatly overstep their bounds by removing the legitimate questions. Their role should be removing disrespectful, vulgar, angry, inflammatory responses....not the reasonable question! Do others agree?

  1. "If "touchy" or controversial topics cannot be politely discussed here, then I think this site loses much of it's value...."

    Touchy and controversial topics are hardly ever politely discussed here. What remains of controversial threads are the posts from the polite ones after the moderators have cleaned up after the usual "unruly children" have had their say. That's just how the internet rolls. Also, CH's singular purpose is to help people find delicious things to eat. Topics like unruly children, or a restauranteur's politics are superfluous to that mission IMHO, so as simply a sidebar conversation on NAF boards, I'm happy with those being minimized, since all they do is spread the vitriol.

    1. There are a few areas where people have great difficulty discussing the subject with any kind of decorum, children in restaurants is one and politics is another. When a subject is one that goes badly and is tangential to our core mission of helping people find delicious food -- which is the case with both of these -- we can't spare the resources from investigating shilling and keeping the rest of the site honest and friendly in order to keep on top of a thread that is inevitably going to be flame-filled and ugly.

      We'll sometimes leave a question on those topics if it's framed very carefully in a way that'll stave off the flames for awhile, and then lock it once it becomes too unruly for us to manage effectively. If the thread is headed downhill right from the start, we're sorry, but for an issue that's only tangentially related to food, sometimes it's just not worth the amount of time and attention it would take to keep it in line.

      4 Replies
      1. re: The Chowhound Team

        If you only want to "help people find delicious food", why do you have the "Not About Food" forum? This forum is the perfect place to discuss subjects such as the two legitimate, although controversial topics that I raised. If you don't allow them, then this forum becomes pretty much irrelevant.

        1. re: josephnl

          Relevancy is totally dependent upon whose ox is being gored. Just because your two examples weren't embraced as ones that could be discussed in a civil manner here hardly means that the entire NAF list of topics becomes irrelevant. Having a little perspective, despite your bias, will better serve you and the entire CH site.

          1. re: josephnl

            The Not About Food forum siphons off some of the off-topic chatter that would otherwise distract from the food conversations, so it does serve a purpose. And some 'related to food but not about food' conversation is okay, as long as it doesn't soak up too much of the energy that would be better spent on discussing actual food -- whether that's moderator time or member attention and goodwill towards other members.

            We can't simply let those threads run freely -- the negative feelings they generate have too large an impact on the discussion of chow, because members who are angry at each other from one conversation won't share tips in a friendly manner in another thread. We can't dedicate any more attention to them -- there are more chowish, more on topic threads that need our limited resources. As you've suggested, the other alternative is to simply not allow any of those types of threads, ever, but we're trying to strike a balance without going that far.

            1. re: The Chowhound Team

              not long ago there was a post regarding a certain area of the country. as usual per here the op was looking for good dining in the area. i posted a replay that while in the area, they should check out a museum which i knew was not food related. it was a short response and didn't take up much space. if i had tried to post it in the not food related forum, they would never have seen it. would that have been deleted if i had also mentioned restaurants in the area? i doubt it.

        2. Moderation policies seem arbitrary and biased in favor of the regulars who are mostly a clique....I have had posts removed from LA thread and yet others have been allowed to post the same info/comments and it was not removed (i.e., questions regarding 5Guys that were LA specific). Currently a regular has posted that a restaurant, among other things, is dirty and that comment stands. Yet when I commented that a roach crawled across the table at a local restaurant that comment was removed.

          6 Replies
          1. re: foufou

            "Currently a regular has posted that a restaurant, among other things, is dirty and that comment stands. Yet when I commented that a roach crawled across the table at a local restaurant that comment was removed."


            1. re: foufou

              We draw a distinction between saying a place is dirty (which is not particularly inflammatory, and something customers can observe for themselves on subsequent visits) and making accusations of things like pest problems and other health code violations (which aren't readily verifiable, and which can cause people to write a restaurant off forever, even without verification).

              We can't be an accurate, complete, up-to-date source of health violation information, and we'd rather not be an inaccurate, incomplete or out-of-date source of that information, so we try not to be a source of those sorts of accusations at all. Instead, we ask that people who have that kind of information to make public do so via their local health department, which is in a position to be accurate, complete and up-to-date.

              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                thank you...I believe that an opinion of a poster that a restaurant is dirty is very subjective and is also a conclusion in the vein of a health violation, ymmv. As well, can anyone explain why I had two LA specific posts about 5 Guys removed to the chains board and yet the same identical posts were made subsequently and were allowed to stand? Just wondering.....

              2. re: foufou

                "Moderation policies seem arbitrary and biased in favor of the regulars who are mostly a clique..."

                I'm a regular, cliqueless and I've been deleted plenty. I've been reading here for years, posting for fewer, and have not seen what you allege, so far.

                1. re: mcf

                  "Moderation policies seem arbitrary and biased in favor of the regulars who are mostly a clique..."

                  I'm a regular, and I've observed that the reverse is often true. I agree that the policies seem arbitrary, but they tend to be applied harsher towards this regular, at least. I've had posts deleted for various reasons, and when I've reported posts by others containing the exact same offense, they are often not deleted.

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    IME, the posts I report are usually deleted, too. For different reasons, often, because I don't get into put downs and name calling. Similar ones to mine have also been pulled down, sometimes at the same time as mine, others on their own.

              3. in short - yes. they are. but they are pretty much too heavy handed across the board,a s far as new vs established posters go. for a while it seemed i was on someones radar, where almost every post i made seemed to be contested. finally a few were put back, as it was seen that someone had an axe to grind, and it has been more consistent since. i would prefer a less moderated site, but this will never become that, so i just accept it with a shrug, post what i want, and don't worry about it getting removed or not.

                1. It's "their" board.

                  You are not entitled to question what the moderators do about removing posts.

                  This isn't like Uncle Sam telling a newspaper what to publish.

                  No First Amendment rights here, my fell 'Hound.

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    "This isn't like Uncle Sam telling a newspaper what to publish"


                    1. re: Servorg

                      First Amendment only applies to state action (like Uncle Sam). Not private actors (like Chow).

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        I guess I got confused by the "telling...what to publish" since we were talking about telling people NOT (or actually removing) to publish things (here on CH).

                        Normally when it comes to the press and attempts by the Government to put the kibosh on something it is a case of "prior restraint" which..." is an official restriction of speech prior to publication. Prior restraint refers to an unconstitutional attempt to prevent publication or broadcast of any statement, which is restraint on free speech and free press prohibited by the First Amendment to the Constitution."

                        1. re: Servorg

                          Isn't that the same thing? A difference without a distinction?

                          But before we get too pedantic about all of this, I think for everyone that complains about the type or level of moderation on these boards, I think they just feel a level of entitlement that is a bit too high for a publicly run (free!) forum.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            "Isn't that the same thing? A difference without a distinction?"

                            I can't think of a single case where the G was trying to force a news organization to publish something it didn't want to? So probably it is different.

                            And I totally agree with your "level of entitlement" argument. It's also about having a serious lack of perspective as to the perceived importance of what we are talking about here.

                            1. re: Servorg

                              And I totally agree with your "level of entitlement" argument. It's also about having a serious lack of perspective as to the perceived importance of what we are talking about here.

                              Bingo! Especially the last part.

                    2. re: ipsedixit

                      no one mentioned the 1st amendment here until you did.

                      1. re: thew


                        No one really has a right to complain about moderation (ie censorship), unless they have a right to speak.

                        On these boards, there really is no such right.

                        Look, I wish sometimes that the level of moderation was different, but I also realize that I -- as an unpaid poster and guest on these boards -- should just take what is offered. Offered gratis, no less.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Not really gratis. CHOW does have advertising which users must see in order to use the site. Of course, this is necessary...they must make money somehow!

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            as I've said above here, and in numerous posts on this topic across the board, it is what it is here, and dealing with that is the cost of admission. however i think this board would improve with a lighter touch from the moderators

                            1. re: thew

                              Thanks thew. That is really my point. When I have been as careful as possible in wording a post about say...how to deal with an over the top misbehaving group of adults or children, I am simply looking for advice. This is a reasonable question that we have all had to deal with. When the moderators remove the question, regardless of how tactfully it is worded, because they are concerned about flaming responses, I think they are being overly heavy-handed, and are in so doing reprimanding the wrong party. They shouldn't disallow the question, but should censor rude or improper responses.

                        2. re: ipsedixit

                          Actually, it is our board. Just like any other commercial media, we, the participants, earn them their revenue via the advertising. If say an 1/8 of the membership decided to quit CH, they would most certainly feel it in their pocket.

                          As for the heavy handedness, my only complaint is the locking of threads when the conversations/post kind of diverge from the topic (in a non-inflammatory way). I'm a very "let the river flow as it may" kind of guy. A lot of the diverging is fun to read and comment on. The locking of threads as such creates unnecessary animosity towards the mods. IMO.

                          1. re: David11238

                            The locking of threads as such creates unnecessary animosity towards the mods. IMO.


                            You're not alone in that thinking. Shoot the messenger...

                            and, I fully agree with your pov on members being significant to the financial

                            success of this entire website....free as it is...

                        3. YES, and their heavy handedness usually doesn't make sence, leave the offensive stuff up and remove entire conversations that where/are pertinent to the post. It seems they have pretty loose guidelines that leaves alot up their discresion, or in some cases remove every post by certain people regardless of the content or thread.

                          1. Those two posts you listed are provocative in nature. They invite very emotional arguments and personal attacks. In theory, if there are enough moderators, then what you asked for is true. That is, the moderators should remove the disrespectful responses. In practice, there just aren't that many moderators, so they remove potentially problematic posts. Yes, it would be nice that the moderators only remove the offensive responses, but when the original post generates numerous angry and offensive posts, then it is a problem on it own. You cannot expect the moderator just sit there and read every responses and delete the angry responses.

                            The "Not About Food" section is what it suggests -- not about food. Most of the topics there are fun little discussions.

                              1. re: beevod

                                Aha. So *you're* the culprit '-P

                              2. I totally agree. While they certainly have that right (like someone said, 1st amend does not apply), I've rolled my eyes plenty at what gets removed here. Never seen anything like it on any other website.

                                12 Replies
                                  1. re: JaneRI

                                    "Never seen anything like it on any other website."

                                    That should be a compliment to the moderators for keeping a tightly focused discussion forum. Any other website tend to go the way of complete chaos, or chitchat, and it takes away the value of a site like this. Sure, there's some chaos and chitchat here too, but at least it's kept to a minimum. There are many other sites and forums if you want to chitchat about restaurateur's politics, unruly children, food poisoning, etc.

                                    I would like to point out also that this site isn't only for people who post. There are more lurkers/readers to this site than those who post, I figure. It's for them too, to glean information to find delicious things to eat. I'd like keep the site useful for everyone rather than preserving chitchatty, off-topic conversations that might benefit only a few posters, and maybe their egos.

                                    1. re: E Eto

                                      This is a big difference from most other website message boards where they encourage a lot of discussion, whether on or off topic, because more traffic=more revenue from ads. CH has a specific purpose and doesn't want to dilute the content. Given it's as busy as it is, more chit chat clutters. It is what it is and if there are CHers who are looking for chit chat to stay, there are other places for it like Facebook. There's not a lot of purpose to preserving extraneous chit chat.

                                      1. re: E Eto

                                        Agree in full and I'll just link the prior Moderator post that completely covers this subject from another very similar thread and leave it at that: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7987...

                                        1. re: E Eto

                                          I endorse this message!

                                          1. re: E Eto

                                            Add me to the number of people who agree fully.

                                            1. re: E Eto

                                              see, i have the opposite feeling - on most sites the most interesting things happen when given free reign to wander. and controversial topics are much more worthwhile for discussion than non - again- in my very not humble opinion

                                              1. re: thew

                                                There are plenty of other sites to have unpleasant, controversial contentious whizzing matches. I'm so glad that CH is at least one that doesn't have them.

                                                1. re: mcf

                                                  and plenty of sites that have interesting conversations that delve into topics beyond their purview that grow organically from the conversations, and enrich the site and the community for their being able to flourish

                                                  1. re: thew

                                                    sure, and there's nothing wrong with that, depending upon the TOS and protocols at each site. This one keeps to its core mission, without much exception; fun discussions about finding and eating the best chow.

                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                      And I guess some of us have different ideas about what the word "flourish" means, especially those who don't have humble opinions.

                                            2. re: JaneRI

                                              You must not have ever visited TWoP.

                                            3. I've noticed that more than one of my posts have disappeared without rhyme, reason or explanation and I'm fairly certain that they didn't break any of the etiquette rules.

                                              It's disheartening. This site is what it is because of user input and the excuse in the FAQ: "We're just too busy to let you know why we arbitrarily removed something you took the time to write" is a cop-out. If a moderator has time to read your post and delete it, they have time to jot a quick note or cut and paste a standard note to let you know why.

                                              The moderation on this site is very heavy-handed. If an interesting thread develops, but it's slightly off-topic, it gets removed. There also seems to be a secret list of blacklisted restaurants and any mention of them is removed without explanation.

                                              I've moderated a few websites in my time, ranging from travel to gardening, and I've never seen a site with such arbitrary and uncommunicative moderation.

                                              14 Replies
                                              1. re: hal2010

                                                Have you emailed the moderators for explanation? I can see why they're too busy to email every poster, but they typically respond to direct inquiry. I disagree with your assessment because I've never not understood why I'd had posts deleted, but if you are confused, you should ask so you'll know in the future.

                                                1. re: hal2010

                                                  hal2010, we emailed you about your recently deleted post at the email address registered to your account. If you didn't get it, please email us at moderators@chowhound.com

                                                  1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                    But when you delete a post, you do not always send an explanation...that's the point! It only needs to be one or two sentences, or can be a cut/paste...but it should be done. And for the record, I am clearly on the side that finds you too heavy handed ...by not allowing threads which could result in nasty responses.

                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                      You only care for an email explanation because you don't get one. When and if they send you email explanation, you won't find any comfort in them. Seriously, most of the time you know why your post get deleted. You may not agree, but you know why. As such, having an email explanation which you don't agree with does nothing constructive for most people. Some people yes, but not for most people. These explanation will aggravate you, as they have proven on this thread. You clearly know the reasons why those two posts got removed, and did the explanation bought you comfort? No, you argue back against the decision.

                                                      Imagine this.

                                                      Imagine you get explanations of "Your post about unruly children is inflammatory and opposite CHOWHOUND objectives. We have therefore removed your post. Thank you for your participation."

                                                      So now you got an email explanation. Are you happier? I doubt it.

                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        Actually chem there have been posts of mine which were removed for no reason that was apparent for me. Of course I know why the posts I referred to above were removed. Indeed the moderators emailed me re them. Nevertheless, because I framed the one about children in as respectful and polite manner as I could, I do not agree with the decision to remove it. But there have been other posts of mine removed for no reason that was apparent to me...and it's these that I think require an explanation. Of course I do not think the moderators need waste their time explaining why they remove obviously rude, obscene or blatantly gross posts.

                                                      2. re: josephnl

                                                        Example: I made a thread this morning and it has already been removed. It was a simple thread about a promotion I am considering when I open my restaurant and I wanted chowhound opinions. WHY would something like that be removed?? The ONLY thing that even remotely makes sense is that I posted a sample picture of coffee cups I am considering selling and one had a business logo on it. WHY was my post removed??

                                                        1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                          Chowhound is a diner-to-diner resource, and we try to keep our focus on questions and tips that are of use to consumers. We are not an appropriate place for businesses or people considering opening businesses to solicit advice on their business, marketing or product plans.

                                                          You can review our Etiquette for Restaurants Owners, Employees and Other Insiders ( http://www.chowhound.com/topics/36760... ) to see the very few ways in which industry professionals are permitted to participate on the site in a professional capacity.

                                                          1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                            which is why I almost never include sites/url for a direct connect to even independent information of products and service
                                                            exceptions would be if they are geographically significant to the OP and still I am ?? careful,almost vague

                                                            I have not a clue where you draw your CH distinctions on such a subject
                                                            ?manufacturer & product rating ..or a service help site etc

                                                            1. re: lcool

                                                              The line is crossed when the poster promotes (or is perceived to be promoting) their OWN business. We are all free to link to other commercial sites as adjuncts to our posts as long as it's on topic (as far as I have ever known).

                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                Another area that should be allowed is restaurant location,which the Chow Board sometimes allows.
                                                                I've been to some good restauants (many talked about here) that are in some of the worst locations possible such as high crime areas;areas known for drug dealing,ect.
                                                                My first inclination is to question how really good restauants survive in high-crime areas at all but many do.
                                                                The "safety factor" is sometimes allowed in restaurant reviewing and this should be allowed to continue just as reviews that say children are either appropriate or inappropriate in certain locations.
                                                                Is this discrimination of a sort?;I think this is but I'd like to know that not only is the restaurnt being reviewed by the quality of the food but by whether we should even risk going there at all.

                                                      3. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                        I have a question about when we write something, thoughtfully and surely within rules, and it gets taken down because something prior to our message is for some reason not acceptable. In particular, there is a thread in the NYS board about coffee. About half the respondents replied about coffee purchaseable locally, half that is mail order (much of which is from quite a distance).

                                                        How can we tell if there's something wrong with our message or the one(s) before it? Should I be keeping copies of my messages so I can re-post? It's really disheartening to put effort into an answer only to see it disappear, especially when later in a thread someone brings up the same subject/vendor.

                                                        I have never received an email when one of my posts disappears because of a prior post that was an offender. In fact, I only noticed my post disappeared because I couldn't figure out why someone brought up this particular coffee source, later in thread, as though no one had mentioned it before.

                                                        1. re: Elisa515

                                                          We do our best not to lose on-topic information when a prior post has to go for some reason, but we know it does happen sometimes. We do our best to email posters "downstream" from that post so they can repost, but that doesn't always happen. If this happens to you and you haven't received an email, please drop us a note at moderators@chowhound.com, and we'll send your post back to you. We see that you reposted on that discussion, but if you want your post back, let us know.

                                                          1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                            Thanks, I appreciate your reply. My re-post wasn't quite as thorough as my original one (plus I wanted the OP to see my opinion before all those other later ones! :-) ), but thank you for leaving it.

                                                            I have managed many online message boards and certainly understand the difficulties.

                                                    2. Yes, they are too heavy-handed. Sometimes.
                                                      Sometimes they are too lax.

                                                      Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                        Easier to be a rock than a window.

                                                      2. I wouldn't say heavy handed,but safe no matter what.Much is diluted down to pablum and milk toast with deletes,even if on subject.

                                                        Paula Dean & Anthony Bourdain are the subjects,targets etc on a food media and news thread.Specific unflattering posts regarding Bourdain's habits etc are largely left untouched.Yet a much heavier hand is applied to deleting unpleasant or unflattering statements about Ms Dean.The examples I am aware of are a matter of very public record.So some slant here or perhaps some pandering to sponsers is at play here.

                                                        Yet there isn't much if any governing of real safety.I've read four or five things over the past two days that are risky,reckless and irresponsible in the food safety sense,translate to liability.Those posts will stand the test of time because I simply not interested enough to hit report and then perhaps take a lot of time explaining why.I see that as the mods job to find and take care of.The self same folks that have never emailed me or responded to an inquirery of mine.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: lcool

                                                          And asking members NOT to bash ie: tv personalities doesn't stop bashing threads from taking place. Many remain up in spite of a stickies posted by the CH Team on several Boards. So if we don't follow the requests of site participation, why are we surprised when a post or two gets deleted? Sometimes a passionate pov escalates a topic and moderation takes a look. I no longer believe that moderation is too heavy handed even if I'm being deleted.

                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                            my grousing is about a very clear slant on that particular post
                                                            I am aware of several factual things written about Ms Dean REMOVED ,yet the same thing,only nastier remains if applied to Bourdain.

                                                            1. re: lcool

                                                              Yeah, the rhyme & reason is odd but I try to remember that each moderator also has their own personality.

                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                Were it only that thread I wouldn't waste the time typing.Three threads active now in addition to that are also reflect uneven hand.Two about the same one more so.One thing three of the four have in common as I make my way up the uneven food chain to the top or parent company,etc is a similarity of corporate?deference.

                                                                1. re: lcool

                                                                  I'd rather enjoy a great meal with my family, chat with CH's who truly enjoy, enjoying the site or bake great crusty bread on this fine (hurricane is over on the eastcoast!) Sunday than fret over the chain of command. lcool, I appreciate and share your frustration but life's too short and too yummy to waste time or heartburn over idiot behavior that ain't gonna change significantly. So-cheers and enjoy the rest of this beautiful day! J

                                                        2. I don't particularly understand why there has to be moderation of any sort. A button to flag spam/hate posts ought to be enough, no? I understand that we're "supposed to keep it about the chow", but is this Nazi Germany? My sister, who was more a lurker than a poster until recently has had about 75% of her posts deleted. That's a great way to spark new membership.

                                                          I'll go out on a (probably deleted) limb and say the mods are useless. Love the site, detest the stupid box all posts are supposed to fit inside of.

                                                          9 Replies
                                                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                            I don't think a lot of the deletes are the mods.I do think there is fairly free use of the report button.
                                                            There are two replies to me on other threads,way past a wee bit snarky.I did not hit report option.Who knows why,thick skin,lazy or just curious enough to see what happens if I don't.
                                                            There are some predictable snarky posters and some that are just provacative.

                                                            1. re: lcool

                                                              "There are two replies to me on other threads,way past a wee bit snarky.I did not hit report option."

                                                              As far as I can see only Hill J and I have replied to you. I've looked each of those replies over and really don't catch even a whiff of "snark" in any of them. Are the replies you are talking about still up? Or did the Mod's take the ones you are referring to down?

                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                If I understood lcool above correctly he/she was referring to another thread altogether, Servorg.

                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  Sorry. I bounced right over the insertion of the word "other" and assumed that lcool was talking about this thread.

                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                    Servorg & HillJ & Mods

                                                                    thank you,I was

                                                                    Keeping in mind it really doesn't bother me,often I find it amusing in a ? KIND OF WAY,nor does the mods position or stance.Yet calling it as I see it within reason should be OK.

                                                                    Sort of off subject,a parallel after IRENE.Husband,engineer and arborist,is in the
                                                                    tree/light construction business with 5 boom trucks&cranes 18 ton-49 ton,not just trucks and chain saws.Last phone call,not an old regular customer or client in the trade.He is in a rage because we don't move people up the list for triple $$.We aren't even changeing our scheduled work unless a gracious request to postpone
                                                                    is granted.Our employees,equipment,safety and loyal relationships come first.NO MATTER WHAT,this is a day that will be slippery when wet ALL DAY.Like many ? ,this caller doesn't see far enough to ?.
                                                                    here with us now

                                                                    Five of our guys that live where there is no power and will get it back dead last.Plus my appliance specialist that travels from hard hit Solomons Island,with 2 year old son married to a Capitol Policewoman that will get home ?when.Imagine the fun he is having explaining,can't help you if you don't have restored power to people owning highend ranges etc.Add for day two-3 children of 2 of our employees plus one wife for the day,no school or power.

                                                                    So food,breakfast,lunch and dinner for 20,laundry,putting equipment to bed in two locations and FUEL during widespread outages is ?.Not even daunting,done it all my life all over the world.We have,we share and do as much as we can.

                                                                    Do I think the mods have it easier.In a word NO.Maybe now is a long overdo time to thank them.Having to be all things to many isn't easy.The mis-perception that partial anonymity = duck and cover is bogus.All have peer review,supervisors and pay check signers etc just like the rest of us.CH isn't a site like many dedicated to F&B,restaurants and event planning..GOOD OR BAD that vets your creds before you are ever allowed to post,AND IT IS FREE.

                                                                    sorry for the ramble


                                                                    1. re: lcool

                                                                      umm.... thanks for sharing?

                                                                2. re: lcool

                                                                  "I don't think a lot of the deletes are the mods.I do think there is fairly free use of the report button."

                                                                  That doesn't make sense - clicking the report button doesn't delete a post, it simply asks the mods (who are volunteers and don't have the time to read every post in every thread) to take a look at the post in question.

                                                                  It's still up to the mods to decide what (if anything) to do about it. They are the ONLY entities capable of deleting posts. No number of report clicks can delete so much as a comma.

                                                                  I've sometimes reported what I thought were inappropriate or suspicious posts (potential trolls or shills) and not seen them deleted, I presume because the mods were able to determine they were genuine, or at least decided to give them the benefit of the doubt.

                                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                                    I know report is only that.However 3 or 4 years ago there was a ? on one region's board.
                                                                    The mods at the time were very forth coming that one of the reasons was the use report.The board was a lopsided number/percentage of activity,ergo more deleted there.X one region ? about restaurant OK,almost same question in another region removed.The answer at the time was "reports" vs not. Maybe things changed but I don't see why.If they don't have time to read all,stands to reason report is still just as useful.
                                                                    Trolls and shills,or even a undue bias seem to not make it.
                                                                    I'm trade,still joined at the hip with many avenues of F&B,equipment,consulting etc so I am very careful on the DC board,and practice real care about products etc.

                                                                3. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                  This'll get deleted, but I'll say it anyway.

                                                                  "Eff the police!"

                                                                4. Another peeve of mine concerns the NYC Boards. For example: When someone asks about finding good restaurants or certain ingredients on the Manhattan Board. Someone will inevitably reply the Outerboroughs. A mod will either comment on (negatively), delete or move the reply because it has nothing to do with Manhattan, but all to do with NYC as a whole. It's about time that CH recognizes that NYC has five boroughs. And while topics can and should certainly be borough specific, a general/broad Post does not require alike replies to be subjugated to such a silly rule and actions. As such, IMO, it puts a damper on the goodwill of the discussion and possibly hides useful information from the OP and others who read the post.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: David11238

                                                                    Much more than we used to, we try to leave slightly out-of-region recommendations in place, as long as the discussion doesn't focus on those out-of-region recommendations. If it does, we'll try and split the conversation or ask people to repost on the more appropriate board in order to ensure that the information can be found in the future. We recognize that this does disturb the conversation to some extent, but we try to strike a balance between keeping the conversation flowing, and ensuring information can be found again in the future.

                                                                  2. A subthread regarding a polite dispute about the nature of a restaurant on a thread on a midwest board just got thrashed by the Volunteers. One of those posts included a good list of other restaurants the OP could go to. Another post (mine) with a comment regarding that restaurant - but which also added another suggestion to the OP for a 'change of pace' restaurant - got tossed too. So much info lost. Shaking my head here.

                                                                    1. Totally agree, and I think the problem is more about inconsistency and personal quirks than about keeping a status quo. I've seen many things removed that seemed reasonable, and then, even as late as today, have seen some posts that were allowed to stand even though they were offensive to the larger CH demographic. (Edit, an hour later) Except which, that one particularly offensive post got removed, to which I say, good on them for re-thinking it, because it surely looked as if it was going to sit right there and be rancid as all getout.)

                                                                      25 Replies
                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                        ...and sometimes the truth hurts.

                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                          not sure what you mean, huiray.

                                                                        2. re: mamachef

                                                                          You mean it took an hour after you reported the offending message that it was deleted? It sounds like the mods did their tasks in a timely manner.

                                                                          1. re: E Eto

                                                                            Yep - a few people were offended and it was reported more than once, but the final response was, appropriately, to remove the post.

                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                              As we noted below, we don't really like to address individual instances of moderation publicly. However, since we just had a long Site Talk debate around a very similar issue, we want to comment on this one to clear up any misunderstanding about why the post was removed.

                                                                              We removed all of the call-outs from that thread, since telling others how they should or shouldn't post is always considered off-topic and will generally be removed. That's especially true if the posts telling people what to do are negative or angry.

                                                                              We would not have removed the original post (where the poster referred to her mother-in-law as white as part of describing her food preferences) as it did not fall outside the rules of our site. However, the poster asked that we do so because of the reaction, and we agreed.

                                                                              We were very surprised to see the overwhelmingly negative reaction to a poster who simply seemed to be trying to describe her relative's generic, pedestrian food tastes. It attracted attention from a wide variety of posters who don't frequent the Ontario board, but who dropped in to label this poster a racist for a clumsy choice of words. It's doubly unfortunate when it's a new poster who receives such a reception, because it's possible they will simply walk away and never post again. This sort of situation is why we insist that posters use 'report' to flag things for our attention rather than trying to address perceived problems publicly.

                                                                              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                The title of that post was racist, res ipsa loquitor. It does not matter one whit whether or not the poster "intended" it. Pointing out someone's skin color is not the same as saying someone likes bland food, and does not fall into the category of "a clumsy choice of words." That you were "very surprised to see the overwhelmingly negative reaction," is shocking.

                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                  Would it have elicited the same response if nationality or race was the reference point, rather than skin colour?

                                                                                  I post this not knowing the title of the offending post, though it seems to me that if I were to use the title "I'm a Brit, so I like overcooked food" no one would object, except any Brit who disagrees with the characterization.

                                                                                  1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                    Aw, now that wouldn't bother me 'cause it's true. :)

                                                                                2. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                  "Who seemed to be trying to describe her relative's generic, pedestrian food tastes." What about that denotes race? True that it was an incredibly clumsy choice of words. But I really do have a problem with your party line. I find it difficult to believe that other mods didn't notice and were completely unoffended or even not taken aback by the wording, because plenty of folks, whether or not they are "regulars" on the Ontario board, were very much so. And it seems to me that the poster actually displayed a good deal of grace and common sense when she got the negative thrust of the reaction. Too bad she had to twig y'all to it by herself, since the rest of our opinions don't seem to carry a great deal of weight.

                                                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                                                    None of the mods were offended or even taken aback by the wording of the post. We see enough hateful and hurtful posts on this end of things to know when we're seeing posts that truly don't mean any harm.

                                                                                    1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                      Wow. Ok.
                                                                                      Let me edit this. All right. I just want to say that this response is actually the first one that makes some sense, isn't a party line, and doesn't hold tight to the, "we're right/you're wrong" chorus. So, on that level? Thank you. It's a non-formatted response, and it actually responds to the issue at hand.

                                                                                      1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                        You're still not getting it. It doesn't matter whether or not a poster means any harm. Certain words and phrasings are intrinsically just plain wrong, in a way that is widely accepted by modern society. I suggest you consult a current style book, such as AP, NYT, or Chicago Tribune for guidance on what is taboo and simply not used today. I'm sure your friends at CBS could also clue you in, as they respect the same standards.

                                                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                            When someone disagrees with you, it doesn't mean they're "not getting it." It means they have applied their own personal judgment and reached a different conclusion from yours.

                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                              But the mods aren't just disagreeing with me; they are disagreeing with current cultural norms. What if, in their personal judgement, words such as "spic, kike, and nigger" could be used inoffensively? No sir, their personal judgement does not trump society's consensus.

                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                Unfortunately, they seemed to have no problem with the repeated use of the C word in another Site discussion...that was some how non-offensive. Figure that one out.

                                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                  You seem to be saying that cultural norms are positive things.

                                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                    Wait. You just used racist words in your posts. That must make your post offensive, or that makes you a racist. That's your point, correct?

                                                                                                2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                  You can always change the channel if YOU don't like the show or if it offends YOU.

                                                                                                  1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                                    I feel we should all be free to enjoy CH without encountering racism, anti-antisemitism, etc.

                                                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                      But many felt it was none of the above, that is the interpretation of some, not all. So, turn the channel.

                                                                                                      1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                                        The vast majority stated clear objection to the OP's post. You might not know this, as their posts were rapidly deleted. Since reason seems to have no hope of prevailing here, this is my last post on the subject. (And change your own channel, Buddy.)

                                                                                            2. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                              'We were very surprised to see the overwhelmingly negative reaction to a poster who simply seemed to be trying to describe her relative's generic, pedestrian food tastes.' Surprised or not nothing was done to address the issue. Clearly there were a number of people who were offended. Posts have been deleted for much, much less.

                                                                                              There were a number of things going on with that post. Any other skin tone or ethnicity and most certainly it would have been deleted. Saying it was a 'clumsy choice of words' is a bit of a copout. It was really more of a case of clumsy handling by the mods. One which people can clearly point to as example on inconsistency.

                                                                                              1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                "One which people can clearly point to as example on inconsistency."

                                                                                                Most assuredly this is true. All based on the fact that not every situation comes off an assembly line or out of a cookie cutter (if one wants to be as chow-centric as possible). Humans making decisions based on their experience, training and behind the scenes discussion will invariably lead to inconsistency. That's not a bad thing, but rather a good one. I don't want a situation such as found in many elementary or even high schools today in which zero tolerance means zero thinking. To expect any other outcome is going to lead to disappointment.

                                                                                      2. Have to add my two cents to this: ABSOBLOODYLUTELY!!!

                                                                                        1. Have to add my two cents to this: ABSOLUTELY NOT!!

                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                              We normally delete comments like this, but I wanted to take a moment and point out that the volunteer moderators aren't permitted to post about moderation issues under their own names. If the mod team has something to say, we post as The Chowhound Team, or I post it in my role as Community Manager.

                                                                                              -- Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

                                                                                              1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                                Nope, not a moderator. Just my awkward attempt to highlight that views vary on this subject.

                                                                                                It's become an exchange between yes, no, yes, no...

                                                                                                If I were a moderator, I'd probably lock this one up.

                                                                                                1. re: DPGood

                                                                                                  "If I were a moderator, I'd probably lock this one up."

                                                                                                  That's why you wouldn't be a good moderator. A good moderator would want input and to learn from it, good and bad. I give them credit for leaving this open, it is a learnig experience not just for moderators, but also for posters.
                                                                                                  For me one of the largest issues in inconsistency, which is I expect largely due to the volunteer nature of the job. Since when is CBS a charity?

                                                                                                  1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                                    "For me one of the largest issues in inconsistency, which is I expect largely due to the volunteer nature of the job."

                                                                                                    There are never going to be a set of "hard and fast" rules that cover every situation here on CH. So you aren't going to see "consistency" no matter if the moderators are all paid or unpaid. Finally, as has been said on Site Talk many, many times over the years the moderators don't (can't) read every post and rely on us (the posters) to bring problematic posts to their attention. That (the mod's not seeing something) is undoubtedly a frequent cause of the inconsistency you mention in your post.

                                                                                                    1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                                      leaving it open yes,pulling things yes
                                                                                                      the first 2 this AM EDT are gone,
                                                                                                      #1- IF TRUE , was extremely embarrassing to the mods.It was an illustration of extreme inconsistancy or worse,again if true.The poster didn't copy and paste the email referred to in the post.
                                                                                                      #2- a questioning response to #1 that sort of skirted the meat IMHO
                                                                                                      So what should I or any others that read it think? poster a bad guy or mods trying to hide something
                                                                                                      It was pulled,not refuted and I haven't a clue about the truth of it one way or another.

                                                                                                      1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                                        Agreed.....rules are not a problem; it is the inconsistent application of those rules with either no explanation or specious reasoning that is problematic.

                                                                                                2. Folks, just a quick note that we do try to keep these threads more on larger patterns and general issues than single, 'this happened recently' reports which we generally don't address in public. If you have a question or comment about a specific recent moderation decision, we'd ask that you please email us at moderators@chowhound.com, rather than posting about it here. We may not be able to answer your question, even privately, especially if it wasn't your post that was removed, but we really try not to do that publicly unless there's a broader point that we think needs to be made to a larger audience.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                    I did do that and the response was timely and decent, so thank you.

                                                                                                  2. very heavy handed. posts constantly removed.

                                                                                                    i'm not even sure if this reply will make it.

                                                                                                    1. Usually I don't think they are too heavy handed - today I do.

                                                                                                      An entire thread asking about Snooth in the Wine forum has been removed.
                                                                                                      Lesson learned there? Don't talk bad about Chowhound's partners and for heaven's sake don't tell the truth.
                                                                                                      I only hope that Soupkitten saw my response before they deleted it.

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                          Thank you for letting me know!

                                                                                                          And thank you for not deleting it!

                                                                                                          1. re: Cookiefiend

                                                                                                            hi Cookiefiend, i'm the op of that thread, and i also saw that it was moved. i put a pointer thread to it on the wine board, so hopefully a lot of wine board posters will see it!

                                                                                                            thanks, --sk

                                                                                                      1. I hear you - I have had I think only one post removed - and it was the most mundane post ever. I think I called a poster "passive aggressive" because rather than responding to a post they simply posted 6 or 7 posts about the same topic (no text, no comment, just links - which if you ask me is by definition passive aggressive). Anyway it was gone within 5 minutes. Further supporting my comment.

                                                                                                        Anyway, it gets silly sometimes. I've decided to just let it go and not worry about it. It is just a food blog after all . . . . .

                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: thimes

                                                                                                          Over time and a slew of posts having been deleted, "passive aggressive" is seemingly a BIG no no on CH. possibly because it rather aptly describe a large cross section of it's members,and we wouldn't want to irk them now would we?

                                                                                                          1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                            From what I've observed, it's basically a big no-no to refer to another poster in a way that can be interpreted as negative, and any such posts are quickly deleted.

                                                                                                            At times this may be frustrating - I've had enough of my own posts deleted to have learned this rule the hard way - but I think that this results in a site with a more respectful tone.

                                                                                                            1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                                              Which gets back to the oft repeated "rate the chow and not the chowhound" statement here...

                                                                                                              1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                                                "it's basically a big no-no to refer to another poster in a way that can be interpreted as negative, and any such posts are quickly deleted."

                                                                                                                If this were totally true, a post I reported yesterday would be gone - it's not.

                                                                                                                And it's that sort of thing - refering to a poster in a negative way - that bothers me the most.

                                                                                                              2. re: Duppie

                                                                                                                I know - I get it

                                                                                                                Being passive aggressive is okay - saying someone is being passive aggressive is not .. . . . . which is why it is such a wide spread strategy....

                                                                                                                I'm okay with it now ;)

                                                                                                                1. re: thimes

                                                                                                                  Exactly.....My passive days are far behind me however and I'm quite adept at the aggressive part so I call them as I see them, much to the Moderator's chagrin......but sometimes just to stay on the board I have to play the game. You busted me.

                                                                                                            2. Well, *of course* they're heavy-handed. My latest example: I started a thread entitled "To Eat, Perchance to Dream" about a strange and funny food dream. I asked others to share their food dreams. Poof! I *did* get an email from a mod "explaining" that my post was deleted because it "wouldn't help CHs find delicious chow."

                                                                                                              This epitomizes the arbitrary, sometimes heavy-handed moderation here, because the same`standard applied universally would result in about 50% of all posts being stripped down.

                                                                                                              Just for shits and giggles, I asked the mod if it would be OK to repost in Not About Food. I was told no.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                Some time ago,(over a year) I started an OP about getting a food tatoo. At the time I was pondering the idea for my left arm. It was deleted within an hour. A food tatoo post had been added recently and ran for days, still up. The discussion was identical to my intent. I don't know why there was a no applied to my post and a yes to this one and I didn't ask at the time. But, it did leave me beliving that CH Mod choices come down to individual Mod personalities covering that "shift" and.... that's just life around here.

                                                                                                                btw-I have an awesome chinese ginger root on my forearm.

                                                                                                              2. To me it's not about heavy handedness. It's about inconsistency. I posted something about a Dunkin' -Doughnuts add and was immediately taken down. I've seen others post insults that seem to remain untouched. A while back I wrote a detailed post about a service incident some friends had. Didn't bash anyone or bad mouth the restaurant. Yet is was removed with out explanation. It can get discouraging when you take the time to write something you think will be of interest only to have it removed for some unknown reason. While other questionable posts remain.

                                                                                                                Sometimes it's hard to know just what it is they want.

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. You know, most sites wouldn't allow this thread at all. Moderation is usually something that is discussed between the moderators and the site members directly and open discussions of moderation are not allowed. On the other hand, whenever a thread is modified, the affected users are notified.

                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                    Actually the CH moderators have deleted many posts from this thread (one of mine included) that were clearly "off subject", but were nevertheless interesting, harmless and polite. In mho this represents somewhat of a "heavy hand". No harm would have been done had this interesting discussion being left online.

                                                                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                      I'm not sure those posts were "off subject". I think those posts (huge swaths of them) were all related to the topic at hand.

                                                                                                                      1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                        FWIW, one of my previous posts was deleted from this topic, so I'd like to speak to that aspect of this discussion, since it has now come up. My post related a specific situation I had, in which a post was deleted. As the Chowhound Team indicated above, they didn't want this topic to be a place for specific deleted posts to be argued, that it would be best to do so via e-mail between us and the Chowhound Team.

                                                                                                                        At about the same time, I received an e-mail from them about the same situation, in which they apologized for providing an inappropriate reason about the deletion, and that it was made for a different reason from the one previously stated. And their revised explanation made sense.

                                                                                                                      2. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                        I've had far more posts removed with no notification than with

                                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                                          In fact, I don't think I've received any notifications from the Volunteers, certainly not in the last few years, in this regard.

                                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                                            I generally have not received notification when my posts are part of extended exchanges where entire sections of dialogue have been deleted. When my standalone post has been deleted, sometimes I receive a notification, sometimes I don't. Most of the time, I understand why a post or a series of posts has been deleted, based on previous observations.

                                                                                                                            If you're not sure why a post has been deleted, you can always send an e-mail to ask. Send it to moderators@chowhound.com

                                                                                                                            1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                                                              I really don't expect (and usually don't receive) any notification about deletions - and that is fine with me. I ascribe only the best motives to the moderators and their decisions about what needs to go and what gets to stay.

                                                                                                                              The one thing I do appreciate is a note of thanks when I find and report shilling that ends up being taken down...positive feedback about my efforts in that arena keeps me looking for problem posters who are trying to game the site here.

                                                                                                                              1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                                                                on the other side, I've also gotten a very nice note about a response I posted that was taken down because it was a response to someone who went on in the thread to do some pretty shameless shilling.

                                                                                                                                The note was an apology, remarking at the amount of information I'd posted, and inviting me to repost the same information as a standalone post.

                                                                                                                          2. now the thread about the guy ordering on the 1st date is gone? sometimes this site treats us like we're infants

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                no longer shows under my profile

                                                                                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                  once locked a thread will no longer appear in a CH profile/thread list.

                                                                                                                              2. Over in the NNEngland forum, there is a post about an "excellent place!" where the poster neither identifies the restaurant or its location. I reported this post as spam, but only after the poster declined to identify the restaurant - and the nonsense remains, but my post was removed! I am thoroughly disgusted, also by the fact that it is apparently impossible to contact the moderators directly or for them to give me the courtesy of a message explaining why MY post was removed. Like you, I'm pretty well ready to quit CH for good.

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: lifeasbinge

                                                                                                                                  The poster did not decline to identify the restaurant -- the name and location were posted here in response to your query in the thread about a day before you made your deleted post: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8068...

                                                                                                                                  Also indicated in the Posting Etiquette (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/367605), we're sorry that it is physically impossible for us to explain every deletion or moderation:

                                                                                                                                  ".... 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."

                                                                                                                                  Also listed in the Posting Etiquette, we can be contacted at moderators@chowhound.com if there are any questions.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                                    I'm sorry - thanks for the clarification.

                                                                                                                                2. I agree that disrespectful, vulgar, angry, inflammatory responses are in need of deletion. There is a recipe of mine on this site that has a vulgar comment that CHOW won't delete, since it's not a "personal attack," and it's driving me a little batty. Kind of like having graffiti on your house and not being able to scrub it off.

                                                                                                                                  For the most part, I have been happy with how Chowhound gets moderated. I've learned some internet etiquette over the years that I had no idea about, and I'm glad to be told the reason if a post of mine is deleted, moved, or some such. It's all a give and take. For instance, I didn't initially realize that linking offsite to recipes on one's own site was taboo -- now I know to post recipes in-thread or in the database if I want to share with the hounds. I guess I just wish I had some kind of control over the comments on my own recipes here!

                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                                    I agree with the CH team that vulgarity alone is not a good reason to delete a comment. One person's vulgar is central part of another person's daily lexicon. Respecting one person's sensitivities at the expense of others' will make a lot of very helpful posters feel alienated at this site, myself included. IMO the mods are right on - it's intent that matters. A thread doesn't belong to the OP or to any individual poster - as soon as its on the boards, it's a group effort and a group resource.

                                                                                                                                    Nothing personal Operagirl - it's just that I've criticized the CH mods before for policies I disagree with, so it's only fair I speak up when I agree with them as well.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                      It's important to note that the comment (and the OP by operagirl) took place over on Chow (rather than Chowhound) which is much more "wild, wild west" when it comes to what goes and what stays in terms of moderation. I doubt (can't be sure) that if operagirl had posted her recipe on Home Cooking and that response had gone up it probably wouldn't have lasted.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                        Nothing personal taken, cowboyardee. For the record, the comment was "Further proof that tortilla soup is nothing more than bullsh1t in a bowl." I guess they are insulting tortilla soup in general, and not mine in particular, nor my personal character. Still, couldn't help but get my feathers a bit ruffled!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                                          Ahh. I can see being ticked off at that. Though IMO the problem wasn't exactly the profanity but the fact that someone took the time to write a comment that you could very well perceive as insulting in response to your admirable-looking efforts.

                                                                                                                                          Anyway, I missed the part where you said you had posted on Chow. I'm relatively sure that if you had posted that recipe on CH, that comment would be deleted - it seems deliberately insulting. Chow is more of a free for all. Don't take it too personally though. It was an ignorant, mean-spirited bullshit comment that reflects on the poster, not on your recipe.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                            I think you and Servorg are right -- if I'd posted in "Home Cooking," a comment like that would probably have been deleted.

                                                                                                                                            The dichotomy of etiquette standards presents a dilemma -- if I'm sharing a recipe, I want it to be easily searchable and accessed by Chowhounds. Posting in-thread is a much less organized, indexable format than adding to the CHOW recipe database. But since I know that my creative content is far more subject to rude comments on CHOW, I am reluctant to post there. Eh.

                                                                                                                                    2. They do make it difficult.

                                                                                                                                      I once posted a story about a service issue that happened to some friends at one of Manhattan's top restaurants. The 'incident did bother my friends they just thought it curious I didn't bash the restaurant merely related an odd event as it was told to me thinking if would be an interesting subject for discussion on CH. The thread was immediately taken down. I assumed that it was because I name the restaurant in question. Then it got me thinking how many thread are out there bashing named restaurants that are currently thriving on CH.

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                        We emailed you an explanation when that post was removed. Drop us a note at moderators@chowhound.com so we can send a copy to you.

                                                                                                                                      2. as i'm just being let back in after an enforced exile, i have to say yes, yes they are

                                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                            I was wondering where you went to....too many posts about "ethnic food" gone unchallenged.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                              Folks, as mentioned above, we really try to keep from having these threads be focused on specific instances of moderation. A bunch of people weighing in on whether an individual poster's posts were or weren't problematic is really not the kind of thing we're okay with, even on Site Talk.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                                                That is how posters wil learn the barriers though. On this site you should be ok with just about anything, provided it is not offensive.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                                                                                  "Offensive" is a very subjective term, though, as we've learned on these boards time and again.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                    Agreed. I'm suggesting more in terms of political correctness and common courtesy. (yeah, still vague)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                                                                                      Exactly why some hounds hold the feet of the moderators to the flame of "inconsistency" when the decisions don't roll off like products at the Keebler cookie manufacturing line. There are way too many shades of gray with what goes on here to every have all decisions be "consistent." Either we have a totally unmoderated site (which I think would be chaos by any other name) or we have inconsistent decisions that we all need to stop hammering on and get back to finding delicious chow.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                        The "inconsistency" can be in your favor or not. If you don't mind the former, don't complain about the latter.

                                                                                                                                                        After you 'get it", it is really not inconsistant. It actually makes a lot of sense though you might not see it at the time.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                Recently, after brusque advice from a moderator I complained to a son , saying it would be a good idea for me to quit CH.
                                                                                                                                                His reply was for me not to cut off my nose to spite my face. If I enjoyed CH,

                                                                                                                                                bite the bullet and continue to participate.

                                                                                                                                              3. Mods, what the hell? Why are you stepping all over our threads in the Spirits forum? Deleting posts, and then deleting the posts asking where the posts are? Trying to make it look like nothing is going on? This is totally unprofessional and uncalled for. At least leave a message when you delete something so that the threads don't get totally disjointed.

                                                                                                                                                Better yet, just stay out of the forum. Moderation adds nothing of value to our discussions and only serves to destroy any sense of community that we've managed to build up over the years.

                                                                                                                                                FWIW, I have engaged in "online" discussions on bulletin boards, on CompuServe, in newsgroups, in forums, and everything in-between since the late '80s, and in my humble opinion the moderators on this site are by far the most uselessly heavy handed I've ever encountered. Back off!

                                                                                                                                                29 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                  Chowhound is a moderated site. We moderate the site in accordance with our posting guidelines as explained at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/367605 We know our rules are not to everyone's liking, but we do ask everyone who uses this site to respect them.

                                                                                                                                                  The posts asking why other posts were deleted were removed for two reasons: 1) discussion of site moderation is off topic for our boards; and 2) we don't generally discuss why a particular post was removed with anyone other then the poster whose post was removed.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                    Chowhound is a benevolent dictatorship. And we all know what eventually happens to dictatorships, no matter how benevolent, don't we.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Scary Bill

                                                                                                                                                      Ha! I'd love to see that revolution.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                        I'll take it any day of the week over anarchy...

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                          Yup. I remember back in the days of Usenet when there was virtually no moderation anywhere. Utter chaos.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                                            Huh? Usenet worked beautifully 99% of the time. Yes, there were some long drawn out flame wars that were known to occur. Yes, there was a bit of SPAM, especially towards the end. But some of the groups I was a regular in, e.g. rec.crafts.brewing, were thriving, active communities full of amazing people. There was no need for moderation because the participants were not children and didn't bother acting like children. The same could be true of Chow.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                              By the time I got onto Usenet (mid-to late-1990s), the spam and trolls were rampant, at least on the boards I frequented. In the early days of Usenet (as I understand it), it was the exclusive province of a relatively small tech-savvy crowd, which kept it much calmer. As opposed to the modern Web, where any cretin with a few bucks can get on line.

                                                                                                                                                              Not to imply that tech geeks can't be as uncivilized as anyone else, but a smaller, more homogenous community was less in need of moderation.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                      You've obviously never had a post deleted from this site. Every time one of mine gets deleted, I get an email explaining why. And while I do think the deletions can be heavy-handed (and sometimes, it appears the mods don't get the gist of the conversation enough to understand why the post was indeed relevant), I much prefer this site to those with no mods at all. People get really nasty and downright barbaric when they can hide behind a screen name. It's nice to come here and know that I'm not going to have to read some sophomoric remarks by a horny 20 year old with limited education or a racist rant even if they are loosely about food.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                        I don't get emails. Maybe once or twice since I've been on CH. And I've had more than one or two posts deleted. Not everyone gets an email every time (which is fine by me, btw).

                                                                                                                                                        While we're at it, does anyone else think the derogatory remarks toward young people on this site (which are almost NEVER deleted) are pretty excessive? I'm not asking them to be modded away - I'm generally in the 'less moderation' camp - but I wish people would think about it a little more before posting such remarks. It makes this site and community look bad. They're really pervasive. And if someone made comparable remarks about older people, I feel relatively sure they would be deleted or shouted down immediately.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                          >>>> They're really pervasive. And if someone made comparable remarks about older people, I feel relatively sure they would be deleted or shouted down immediately.

                                                                                                                                                          Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha ... infinity

                                                                                                                                                          Maybe you are in the demographic of "younger people" so you are sensative to those comments. My perception is the opposite. There is tons of granny bashing on this site and those never get deleted either, unless it is aimed at a specific poster.

                                                                                                                                                          Should you scoff at that, I can dig up tons of such posts.

                                                                                                                                                          I know you are responding to a specific post, but someone who is 20 is not felt responsible enough to drink in many states. Auto insurance is higher. There is still some growing up to do for a good chunk of that age group. Not to say there aren't totally responsible people at that age. But society in general recognizes ... not quite adult.

                                                                                                                                                          And really, I hope people won't divert this into age group bashing. I'm just saying you might pick up the comments about younger people. Others pick up the comments of older people. Either way, there are always people who fit the negative stereotype, and the best anyone can do is not participate in the bashing of any group.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                                            ::: scoffs really hard:::

                                                                                                                                                            Maybe there's that kind of vibe on some of the regional boards I don't frequent. But for the bulk of the site - it's not even close or comparable.

                                                                                                                                                            Not that it really matters, but I'm not THAT young. My 20s aren't a distant memory, but they're a memory nonetheless.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                            thanks. i'm quite sure i know several line cooks in their early 20s who could cook circles around practically anyone here. so they weren't born with a silver spoon in their mouths. . . as a result they have a "limited education." one's economic circumstances tends to "limit" everyone's education at some point, now doesn't it? the prevailing attitude on this site that poor people don't have anything to contribute to a conversation about food doesn't sit well with me. also, the geographic bias, while i'm listing grievances.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                              I'd guess that the bulk of the people working in professional kitchens are young and without advanced degrees. And yet they still know a thing or two about food and cooking.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                no no. . . they are either blindly, uncritically and absolutely following their training, or they are cooking purely by instinct, as they are incapable of abstract/critical thought-- which as we all know is an item passed out at the doctorate degree ceremony. therefore we should all ignore anything a professional cook states about cooking/food and learn instead from accountants and tech support folks who really *like* cooking/food. those blue-collar people whose job it is to cook food obviously wouldn't notice or think anything about the food they spend 12-15 hours/day with, they must be thinking about cars or designer shoes, or apparently how horny they are, the entire time.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                  i think we got you the first time around.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                    I guess I don't see much youth or elder bashing on the threads on which I participate.

                                                                                                                                                                    But in Isolda's defense, I think when she talks about horny 20 year olds with limited education, I don't take that as a classist remark at all, rather that she's referring to the tendency of some presumably young people who say troll-ish things and perhaps even write/spell them in a way that make it seem they belong to a certain generation.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                                                                                      agreed. In the context of the rest of the post and of the rest of the discussion, it made sense. I didn't agree with it, but it wasn't a haterant the way I read it.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                  I really don't, on a regular basis, see what you are talking about. I think CHs are open to ideas from anyone, and I've certainly seen little bashing of people based on economic circumstances. I'm on a tight budget and haven't seen anyone criticize me because of it. As for geographic bias, I don't know what you're talking about in that regard.

                                                                                                                                                                3. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                  BTW Isolda - I don't mean to single you out. Yours was far from the most vitriolic post about young people I've seen on this site. It was just convenient that your post happened to be on 'site talk' where we discuss these things.

                                                                                                                                                                4. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                  Wow, I have no idea how many posts of mine are deleted and there have been quite a few but I've only received one e-mail explaining why. It doesn't bother me and I don't expect them to but it must keep them busy to e-mail people about deleted posts.

                                                                                                                                                                  I agree w/ you about the moderation. It's their playground and i let them set the rules. If I disliked it enough to complain often, I can move on.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                    You don't have to be a horny 20 yr. old with limited education to be posting racist or sophomoric remarks. Just check out the "Did I render my spouse useless?" thread....

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                      I've had many posts deleted, and have never once received any kind of explanation. Just yesterday, right before posting here, I had 3 removed. Holding my breath in anticipation of the notification, which I assume is en route!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                        I fall somewhere in between - I've had many posts deleted, and have sometimes received an e-mail in explanation, typically when it's a thread that I started. Even when I don't, I can usually figure out why, though sometimes it's just that I posted a relatively innocuous comment in the middle of some subthread that turned nasty and got deleted in its entirety.

                                                                                                                                                                        I don't fret about it - there's always more chow chat to come.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                                                                                          Please see our post above for an explanation of why your posts were removed on that discussion. We don't have the time or staff to email every poster when every post is deleted, but if we feel the poster may not understand the issue, we do our best to try to email.

                                                                                                                                                                          We have sent you emails in the past. If you haven't received any emails from us, please make sure your email address is up to date on your Account Settings page.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                          I don't get emails. Once, in years of deleted posts. You must've been rilly, rilly bad. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                            We've sent you 3 emails in the years you've posted here... please make sure we have current contact info ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                                                                              3?? Ok, but wasn't one of those in response to something I sent? You make me sound bad, bad, very bad. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                Hahaha... no way. 3 is practically NOTHING ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Chowhound Team


                                                                                                                                                                                  Now I'm an underachiever!

                                                                                                                                                                                  The shame.

                                                                                                                                                                                  That's why my husband calls me Ms Goody Two Shoes.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I seldom post here anymore for these exact reasons. I am tired of writing a long post that I feel is not inflammatory, is on topic, and still, for some obscure reason I can't possibly predict in advance because I don't have a crystal ball that lets me understand the mystic rules of the moderators, my post is deleted. The effort, time, and care I invest in writing a long post only to have my words thrown into the void was too much to bear the first two times it happened, let alone the fifth time, and I finally held true to my promise and stopped writing any posts more than a few sentences in length.

                                                                                                                                                                        Also, the fact that so much is denied by the moderators, but six different posts in a week by different individuals asking for general recommendations for a certain city and that is permitted (i.e. ridiculous levels of repetition in posts) makes me strongly question the moderation. Repetitive posts like this clutter up and reduce the value of the board far more than anything else, IMO. Certainly, some topics deserve revisiting, perhaps even on a regular basis, but that level of repetition makes a horrible mess: such threads should be referred to one thread to conglomerate, frozen, and subsequently deleted a week later or so.

                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                                                                          I think your post shows exactly the difficulty the CH team has in moderating. We all have our own opinions on what should and shouldn't be allowed and if they don't draw the line where we think they should, we complain about over or undermoderating. Even posters who consistently complain about too much moderation will complain about posts that should be deleted.

                                                                                                                                                                          Six different posts in a week is too many, so what is the right number? Two? One? Every other week? If you polled CHers, you'd get a wide variety of responses and no matter what the team does, there are people who would complain. "I don't want my posts moderated but I want them to moderate others."

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                                                                            I'd be very surprised, in fact incredulous, if any of your deleted posts were about your meal at a restaurant, a recipe recommendation, the best cookware, or spme other food-specific topic.

                                                                                                                                                                            However, if your posts were on Not about Food, News and Media or General Topics where the general topic is more chatty than food oriented, that can be territory that can be quicksand.

                                                                                                                                                                            People talk about inconsistancy in moderation. Yet one thing is EXTREMELY constant.

                                                                                                                                                                            If your post is about anything in the first sentence, you will never get deleted. Since I started posting in 2002 I have never had such posts deleted. Never.

                                                                                                                                                                            I can count on it.

                                                                                                                                                                            That is not to say I haven't had some temporarily removed if there is some content in there that breaks the rules. If that is the case, I ALWAYS get an email with my post, and told I am welcome to repost after tweaking it.

                                                                                                                                                                            In the past, there were more banned restaurants and occasionnaly that would be deleted, but there was always an explanation.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. I have witnessed some incredibly innocuous posts removed. On the other hand, I have also seen some late night, rude and probably alcohol induced posts from others justifiably removed.

                                                                                                                                                                            My thought is that I am a guest here. It seems to me that Chowhound opens up the door to their house and allows anyone to enter. But if you do enter you have to live by their decisions whether fair or unfair on certain occasions. I do not have an issue with that. I was not specifically invited to be a guest in their house and I am free to leave at any time.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Oh what the hell. So far I've resisted the temptation to join in here but I need to bring this up.

                                                                                                                                                                              Because a lot of the people on this site are pretty opinionated (myself included) sometimes discussions get heated. Fair enough. And sometimes individual posts go too far and get deleted. Again, fair enough. The threads that get particularly heated get special attention from the mods. You can tell because over the course of days you see particularly contentious posts get deleted. Again, I have no problem with that.

                                                                                                                                                                              What I *do* have a problem with are when threads from a couple of years back get reopened and then the mods go through a whole *other* round of deletions. Again, this is on threads where the mods were paying close attention the first time around.

                                                                                                                                                                              It's as if the NFL refs sat around watching tapes of old Superbowls and arbitrarily reversed the calls of the refs who were on the field.

                                                                                                                                                                              Once a given set of posts passes a review by a moderator I really think that ought to be it. I recognize that the mods are human and have different interpretation of the rules. That said, maybe the moderator who reviewed the posts the first time around had it right. The alternative, endless review years after the original posting date, means that the moderator with the strictest interpretation of the rules always gets the last call.

                                                                                                                                                                              I understand that the mods have plenty to do. That's why they shouldn't be spending time reviewing posts that have already been judged acceptable.

                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                I make no secret of my issues with the moderation on CH but just to offer another view to your scenario. I posted about a restaurant in NJ on a thread about wanting to find the best of a particular delicacy in NYC along with a short history of said delicacy and it was deleted. Par for the course in my opinion as I get deleted weekly it seems. But to my surprise all my posts were reinstated the next day, I immediately thanked the mods. Just the flip side we rarely see or speak about.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                  The problem with that way of doing things (letting the old thread stand unmoderated) is that, when the thread is resurfaced and new posts start collecting, there may well be problematic posts that were not caught the first time around. If the new posters then get the idea that those posts are fine, then they'll start to think "Hey, I can post things just like that and they will be fine." So it causes more problems for the moderation team and ends in cries of "inconsistent moderating" from those who have had similar posts yanked in the near past.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                    The thing is, the posts in original thread *were* reviewed at the time they were written. You're a long time poster - you know how that works. You can tell the mods are at work because the contentious posts are getting removed as the thread develops.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Then, when the thread resurfaces, a new mod comes along and second guesses the decisions of the first mod. Sometimes those old threads are pruned radically. There's 2 possibilities - either the first mod was overly lenient or the second mod is overly strict.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Again - I'm not talking about threads where something slipped through the the cracks - I'm talking about threads that were under close and active moderation as they developed.

                                                                                                                                                                                    My suggestion is that in the case of old threads the mod who is tempted to start wielding the ax might want to talk to her colleagues first to get some additional perspective.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                      I think (as to the "...mod who is tempted to start wielding the ax might want to talk to her (or his I imagine) colleagues first...) that this is always the case, either before the ax falls or afterward (to see if the axing should stand or not). At least that is my understanding from what Jacquilynne and the other Mod Team postings have indicated is done on this board in the past. I would also imagine that the moderating guidelines haven't changed all that much since the days of "Yore Jim" and that this would be a fairly rare happenstance in any case.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, that type of thing is pretty rare.

                                                                                                                                                                                        FWIW I think that the moderation has become more consistent over the last 3 or 4 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. The Toronto mods are horrible (sorry,guys). I kow many good posters who stopped coming to CH because of the overmoderation that takes place.

                                                                                                                                                                                  They delete posts andtopics without warning.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Comm ication with them is next to mpossible.
                                                                                                                                                                                  They will rarel reply to emails sent to them.

                                                                                                                                                                                  They allow people to pos entire blog entries. No one wants to read a whole blog post on CW?just a quote or three.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Worst part? They allow blogs like blog.to to be lnked ( a for profit site) but will delete posts is a person references his/her blog or someone ekse's (not for profit) blog.

                                                                                                                                                                                  You guys need to lay offon the moderation and shameless promotion of that awful site, blog.to

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.- Oscar Wilde
                                                                                                                                                                                    No good deed goes unpunished.-Clare Boothe Luce

                                                                                                                                                                                    I use to believe that online moderation was just plain evil, folks with nothing better to do than nit pic. But no matter what a volunteer Mod does on CH they just aren't going to make us happy...or happy for very long. I wouldn't want the volunteer gig and I wouldn't want the decision-making buzzkill it winds up becoming. Afterall, Mods are also CH's and if they still dig the hell out of this site after a shift of moderating, that's some strong compartmental skills right there. Moderation is a thankless, nasty necessity. I can live w/it.

                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                      I would like to be a moderator. Jacquilynne? Are we friends by now? Is there a background check and a drug test? Can someone send me an application?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                        Catch-22. If you don't want to be a CH moderator then you are eminently qualified to be a moderator. But the moment you want to be a moderator it proves your complete and utter lack of possessing the qualifications to ever be a CH moderator. (with my most heartfelt apologies to Joseph Heller)... ;-D>

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                          Gotcha. Sort of like getting into Augusta National. If you ask, you don't.
                                                                                                                                                                                          I have a feeling this thread will be locked in about 84 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                            Since Catch-22 is my favorite book of all time I'll just post the central theme of the title here:

                                                                                                                                                                                            "Catch-22, as formulated by Heller, involves the case of John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces bombardier, who wishes to be grounded from combat flight. This will only happen if he is evaluated by the squadron's flight surgeon and found "unfit to fly." "Unfit" would be any pilot who is willing to fly such dangerous missions, as one would have to be mad to volunteer for possible death.

                                                                                                                                                                                            However, to be evaluated, he must request the evaluation, an act that is considered sufficient proof for being declared sane. These conditions make it impossible to be declared "unfit."

                                                                                                                                                                                            The "Catch-22" is that "anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn't really crazy." Hence, pilots who request a mental fitness evaluation are sane, and therefore must fly in combat. At the same time, if an evaluation is not requested by the pilot, he will never receive one and thus can never be found insane, meaning he must also fly in combat.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Therefore, Catch-22 ensures that no pilot can ever be grounded for being insane even if he is."

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. We've removed some more discussion of why and how specific posts or posters are being moderated. As we explained upthread, we prefer not to discuss specific situations publicly. It seems to us that this thread has run its course, so we're going to close it now.