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Policy on posting about food someone hasn't eaten


I know the rules are not set in stone. .

However, I'm starting to get annoyed by people who haven't tried something and then trash it.

Whien I invest the time, money and calories to try something, it seems rude when people who haven't tried it post about how horrible the food is.

I don't care if someone disagrees with my taste ... I even welcome that ... if they try it, but if not, IMO, they h ave nothing to say.

This is particularily true of chain food. Look at the Chow article about Wendy's new burger. A good percentage of the replies are by people who haven't tried it but seem compelled to express their disdain.

Then there are the people who haven't tried the food for decades and for some reason must report their hate.

There is a chian offering free fries and a poster wrote "I fell for their "new and improved" fries once... not sure if I want to risk it again"

Seriously? The last time the chain chainged their fries was in 1998. They are FREE for heavne's sake. WHAT risk? That if you don't like them you will throw them out and create landfill?>

I don't plan on reporting every post. I could care less about responses to Chow articles. However, can these types of posts be reported and deleted?

I started a new thread about the free fries because the exixting thread had almost a dozen responses about the change to the recipe ... and not one of those replies was from someone who actually tried the fries but needed to vent about anticipated trash.

Trashing food not eaten just isn't helpful, IMO.

The fries, btw, are as good as In-N-Out though a little more provcessed. I purposely did NOT mention the chain or link to that thread since this is not the board for that. I hope people won't dredge it up here and go to the chain board to offer comments ... if they TRIED them.

  1. I believe there are many who comment on chains in the negative, like to do so to appear superior compared to the rest of us. The thing I I find amusing is they say they never go to chains because the food sucks, but how would they know unless they have eaten it before, thus they have been to chains.....this especially applies to recent menu introductions.

    1. This would be a bad idea, and even worse policy.

      Trying to legislate truth or honesty is about as fruitful as running on a treadmill as a means of getting from Point A to Point B.

      Just be glad that those who do post about food they've never eaten actually disclose the fact that they've never tried the food at issue.

      A good portion of those on Chowhound post their opinions about food without ever disclosing that they had even tried it.

      10 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        I'm NOT talking about determining truth. I'm talking about what you said. People who disclose they haven't eaten the item or at a restaurant and then go on to trash it.


        1. re: rworange

          Then just simply take that as one data point.

          And, to be fair, there *is* some value in a statement "I have never eaten X, but I hate X".

          For example, someone might say, "I have never eaten Durian because the smell just makes me nauseous."

          That's valuable insight for someone considering whether or not to try Durian. That person may not know that Durian has a very peculiar (some would say "awful") odor.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            No. I am not talking about that.

            I am saying that when someone takes the time to GO to a restaurant, try it and report back and then someone saying "I haven't been there but it seems like it sucks".

            That sets off the million people who have done a drive by and chime in with "Yeah, I always thought it looked liked it sucked too"

            That is unfair to the restaurant, person who ate there and people who might have otherwise onsidered eating there because they might be put off by the negativity.

            1. re: rworange


              Let the opinion stand for itself, and allow the Chowhound readers and community to give it as much credence as it deserves based on the content of the post.

              There is no legislation more useless than legislation defining common sense.

              1. re: rworange

                Don't lose any sleep over BK going broke any time soon just b/c a majority (?) of hounds think their fries suck.

                And why, oh why do you care anyway? Not everyone shares your passionate puppy love for FF products, and not everyone feels they have to try the NSDD (= new shit, different day) approach those companies throw out there to lure in more unsuspecting palates....

                FWIW - I don't *have* to try heroin or dog poop either to think I *may* not like it.

          2. re: ipsedixit

            Agreed. You really can't ban anything that anyone might consider rude and still have room left for honest discourse.

            People must be allowed to post their honest thoughts and opinions about food, even if those opinions are under-informed.

            1. re: cowboyardee


              I'd rather have someone tell me that they have never tried a food and trash as well, then to just not tell me but still trash the food.

              1. re: cowboyardee

                There is nothing honest about trashing something you have never tried. On a public forum which has a policy of a restaurant not being able to respond, it amounts to slander. It is a mean, malicious, conscious attempt to try to ruin someone's business.

                1. re: rworange

                  It's honest when people disclose that they've never tried it.

                  "It is a mean, malicious, conscious attempt to try to ruin someone's business."
                  No, I don't think that's the motivation at all in 99% of cases. You're framing it in the worst possible light. It's really just people with preconceived notions clinging onto those preconceived notions. It's human nature.

                  I agree that it can be rude, depending on how it's done. But it also just comes with the territory when you're reviewing something, especially when you're giving a good review to something that is commonly looked down upon.

                  On a similar note. I have on several occasions questioned the logic of commonly held cooking 'rules,' arguing that some well-loved or trendy technique is counter productive, or that another under-used technique might be better. And when I do, some people invariably respond by stating the cliched reason for the or trendy technique. I guess I could get mad at people for repeating what they've heard without performing a series of experiments, but I don't. It comes with the territory, and if I can't argue around the popular logic, maybe I'm wrong (sometimes, I have been - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/805568).

                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    I agree with ipsedixit and you. While, one may argue that a person who has not tried a dish does not have the same level of authority or experience as another person who tried the dish, it is worse to literally ban or forbidden someone from voicing his/her opinion. Every one of us has our own reasons. Some people may say "That McDonald hamburger just looks nasty" or "The idea of a fish taco makes me want to vomit"... etc. Yes, those are opinions without tasting the foods, but they are opinions nonetheless. I don't know if it makes sense to silent another person. When in doubt, it is better to err on the side of free expression. Moreover, how would one even enforce/police something like this?

            2. Those people must by your fans. Why else would they be paying attention to a thread in Chains? :)

              1. This is slippery slope. So you can't comment if you have not been to a place and tried the dish in question. How many times must you go and dishes must you try before you can comment about a restaurant? I understand your issue and have a similar feeling about people who carry on positive or negative about a restaurant where they've been once and had one dish and then proceed to extrapolate that one experience to the whole place for good or bad. I recall reading one posting from an individual that trashed a restaurant where s/he had apps and a cocktail. The post ran on for quite a while and had nothing but heaps of vitriole based on a very limited experience. Ran across later threads where it came across that this person was a college student who was trying to experience high end cuisine. It was clear to me that this person's experience in dining out in general was very limited but that did not prevent voicing opinions very loudly. Can't keep them out but you just learn to disregard those opinions. In fact they can be contra indicators. If X doesn't like this place, I probably will.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Bkeats

                  "This is slippery slope. So you can't comment if you have not been to a place and tried the dish in question. How many times must you go and dishes must you try before you can comment about a restaurant?"

                  Once, and at least one. End of slope.

                  Seriously, what is the point of reading the opinion of someone who has never eaten the food they're giving their opinion of, especially since CH has no killfile/ignore capability ? It's sort of the flip-side of a restaurant posting a "review" of themselves which is actually a disguised ad. That type of post would get deleted, and so should the "I've never eaten their food, but it sucks" posts.

                  1. re: dump123456789

                    So, I ate there once, 5 years ago. I didn't have the dishes written up in the new post about it. The ownership and chef have both changed since I was there. I hated the place then, and every time it's name has been mentioned here on CH since I jump in to excoriate it. That's okay?

                    1. re: Servorg

                      You know, I really wasn't asking for the opinion on Chowhounds if they like the idea or not, only the official policy. And I wasn't asking about a wide range of issues, just one narrow issue.

                      If someone openly says that they haven't tried something and they hate it, can that be reported to delete. At this point I am guessing the moderoators don't want to be involved in this issue and the best I can do is report those type of posts in that narrow framework and hope they go away.

                      Even yelp has a policy on this. Mainly it has to do with trying to get the coveted 'first to post' flag. Yelp will delete those, good or bad, if you report them. It is more difficult to get general I haven't been there but I hate it stuff removed, but from personal experience I know if you give a compelling enough reason and report those type of reviews, they will be removed ... and that is yelp, for heaven's sake.

                      Just sort of commenting in general, servorg, and not on your comment.

                      I do believe it is less than helpful for people who haven't been in a long time or never to give their opinions. I've cut back on posting about joints I haven't been to in years ... or at least issue a disclaimer about how old and unreliable that may be.

                      Usually it is if no one else made a comment. Someone wanted breakfast on Thanksgiving Day and the hotels are always open. I just wanted to suggest skipping the Oak Room where I've never had a decent meal for decades despite all the changes over the years. It has been consistantly bad. But I did say it was old info. I'd still bet $10,000 the breakfast there still sucks.

                      1. re: rworange

                        "You know, I really wasn't asking for the opinion on Chowhounds if they like the idea or not, only the official policy. And I wasn't asking about a wide range of issues, just one narrow issue. "

                        Another long standing "site" policy is that we all open ourselves up for all the unsolicited advice and "mission creep" that one could ever wish to have heaped upon them as soon as our post goes live. One can always report the replies for being "off topic" but I find that particular definition to be broader than ever in this day and age.

                      2. re: Servorg

                        It's okay, but probably not very useful, except possibly as historical data. However, the opinion of someone who has never eaten the food is definitely useless.

                        If a post involves a discussion about the changes at a place, and it is clear that the scope of the change might invalidate old experiences, then effectively, your experience level has dropped back down to zero. So, you should refrain from the discussion until you've tried it again, unless it is to ask for new feedback.

                  2. I kinda agree. I do not like chains in every single possible way, from how they make people fat, to their business practice, to their greasiness, to their impact on the environment. It's been almost a decade since I set foot into one of those. And I'm here to tell you, the food sucks.

                    However, I respect the people who love them. I know I have nothing good to say about these restaurants and the food, I do not plan to visit anyone of them anytime soon, so I never visit the Chains board.

                    What about those who say what is wrong with people who spend $400 on a freaking dinner at French Laundry? Or, how about "I never eat X at a restaurant because I know my version is so much better." "Stainless steel pan sucks because they stick horribly, others say." "Apple sucks because they're made for hippies."

                    It's impractical moderate them all, but you can filter what goes into your mind.

                    1. There's no blanket policy on this issue. Sometimes people who haven't tried a certain place are trying to be helpful in pointing out that it's widely regarded as terrible (or great), and other times, they're trying to stir up trouble.

                      As much as we wish people who don't like chains would stay off the Chains board, or who don't like fast food would simply not comment on those threads, we're not generally going to police McDonalds threads for people who don't like McDonalds. If someone is being particularly egregious and trolling, please report it and we'll take a look, but there's an underlying level of hostility toward chains that's built into the zeitgeist here, and we're not going to try to combat that.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: The Chowhound Team

                        This sounds like a sensible solution, though the Chains board encompasses more than just fast food, such as Costco and Trader Joe's so even people who don't routinely eat fast food do go to that board. Ultimately, I don't believe you can censor yourself when it comes to a gut reaction to a food. Some things sound appealing, and some things sound nauseating. Those are valid opinions. And we all make generalizations based on our experiences. I do not have to taste the latest iteration of a fast food burger, for example, to be fairly sure I won't like it. I have had fast food burgers in my lifetime, and except for the MacDonald's I ate in Egypt (where it was made to order), I haven't liked any of them. And if I want to comment that something doesn't SOUND good to me, why shouldn't I?

                        1. re: roxlet

                          i got an answer from the mods which is what I was asking for.

                          I just used chains as an example because that is where it it happens most often and there was another entire thread about the new fries with no one trying it but people doing their fast food superiority dance and saying how much they disdained it.

                          It happens on other boards and my comments about the unfairness of this to a business had more to do with local restaurants than chains.

                          ". Ultimately, I don't believe you can censor yourself when it comes to a gut reaction to a food. "

                          Ah, so when you sit down to a table at somone's house you are the person who blurts out "ewwww" if you see something you don't want to eat.

                          I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you would not be such a juvenile boor. Why does it make it different on the internet?

                          What value does your virtual "ewwww" add to your fellow diners other than giving you the release of a momentary rant?

                          And even if you made an involuntary social faux pax of verbally blurting out your gut reaction in front of others, keying a reply takes some effort ... and you have the benefit of deleting your gut reaction or asking the mods to delete it. Does that sound like something someone would not have the self control to self-censor?

                          Actually, those were rhetorical. I don't care. My only concern was if some nonopinions could be reported to delete like on yelp.

                          1. re: rworange

                            "Ah, so when you sit down to a table at somone's house you are the person who blurts out "ewwww" if you see something you don't want to eat."

                            Um, it's not a meal I'm paying for, or a restaurant I'm contemplating going to. But, yeah, if the restaurant was the "Tripe Cafe," for example, I would have zero compunction about saying that it sounded disgusting and I wouldn't eat there.

                            And why, pray tell, do you even bother to state your voluminous opinions if not to influence someone's choices? Isn't that the purpose of restaurant reviews both from CHers and newspapers?

                            If The NY Times tells me that the meal at a restaurant deserved no stars for a variety of reasons, I would likely not go. Restaurants are not sanctified places where the owners have pure motives in serving food. They're businesses, and if the food is bad, and I read, for example in that NY Times review that it's not worth going to, why wouldn't I add my 2 cents even if I'd never eaten there?

                            You may be annoyed that people challenge your opinions, for whatever reason, and in whatever way, but it's in the nature of a public forum such as this. Go figure.

                            1. re: roxlet

                              I don't write reviews. I write reports.

                              I have too much respect for the professional press to call the scribblings of an amateur a review.

                              As I have written many times, I write for myself to remember why I like something. If someone else benefits, all the better.

                              I also usually post a reply supporting someone who disagrees with my opinion because it gives the community a better view of what a restaurant is about. Of course, I only support those opposing points of view to people who have actually eaten the food.

                              Through Chowhound and the informed posts about people who enjoy foods I would have a negative gut reaction to, I've learned to enjoy foods such as tripe. Your disgust at a place called "Tripe Cafe" would have done nothing to educate me about why such a place existed or why tripe could be tasty.

                              How is that helping me to eat better. As I said, it is only to your personal momentary emotional release and helps no one.

                              Others who may not have tried tripe and think they hate it will agree. The voices of those paying to eat there, taking the time to report and educate people get invalidated. You lose. Others lose.

                              That is not to say that I may not be thinking "ewww". However, I have the respect for fellow Chowhounds to not post that as my opinion of something I have not tried. I also feel it would mark me as childish, rude and ignorant.

                              As to the NY Times and other reviews, even the watered down manifesto for this site writes

                              " Foodies eat where they're told. Chowhounds blaze trails. They comb through neighborhoods for culinary treasure. They despise hype"

                              The point of this site, I think, it to share opinions of food we have tried.

                              1. re: rworange

                                Blazing trails thru the magical world of chain foods since.... ?

                                1. re: rworange

                                  "As I have written many times, I write for myself to remember why I like something."

                                  For this, I suggest a diary. It is a very helpful tool to remember why you liked something, and maybe why you didn't. As far as posts supporting someone who disagrees with you, this is not a tendency I've noticed.

                                  I'm glad you enjoy tripe, you will further enjoy the Tripe Cafe. It's fictional, but that's OK too, since there's no chance I could put them out of business. But maybe I would inform you about what I dislike about tripe, and that might be informative too.

                                  Whether you call your posts reviews or reports, they amount to the same thing -- they are information meant to influence and inform. If not, a diary is an extremely good way of keeping track.

                                  As far as blazing trails, being the first to try BK's new fries doesn't strike me as discovering a culinary treasure.

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    No, if you don't like something about tripe in general that would not be helpful to me if you have not tried it at that particular cafe then how would you be able to know that there is life changing tripe being served there.

                                    No a diary would not help and is actually the antithesis of this site. What you are saying is don't share.

                                    I wrote professional reviews for a brief time. Didn't like it. What I like about Chowhound is the discussion. It is why I like Chowhound more than yelp. I always learn something from someone whether they agree with me or not. So you can believe what I'm saying or choose to persist in your own opinion about it.

                                    Perhaps you only post to influence people and make friends. Just like eating food, everyone has their own reasons.

                                    Margins are slim in the restaurant business. If an uniformed opinion so much as sways one person from stepping in the door, that is like stealing ... reaching into the register and taking the money for that dinner from the cash register.

                                    Why do you feel compelled to hurt businesses you haven't patronized?

                                    As far as blazing trails, at this point I feel like I am since most people would not have tried them. Listen, there's a lot of new stuff at that chain that I HATE. I've written about that. I like these. But in either case I have tried the food.

                                    People eat fast food. I do enough reports about joints that no one tries. I have way over 100 "first to try" flags on yelp ... and I actually tried the food unlike some. I spent a year in Guatemala writing about joints not even in Lonely Planet, etc.

                                    To me blazing trails means personal reports about food I've tried. That may include fast food. That may be a chain.

                                    It doesn't mean mindless following a restaurant reviewer even if it is the NY Times. That is what brought me to Chowhound, a local reviewer whose tastes were so opposite mine that I searched to find if anyone else thought that review was crap. I found Chowhound where a number of people agreed it was crap ... some didn't ... but at least I wasn't following one person like a lemming off the cliff.

                                    Long ago the advice on Chowhound was that you could make this site what you wanted it within the site rules. If you want to make this a site to emotionally release opinions about food you haven't tried that is what you will get out of this site. How dfoes that help you when you want to find something to eat?

                                    Well, I acutlly have to leave now to taste test some food for Christmas dinner which thanks to the help from Chowhounds who have actually tried these foods may have just saved my holiday dinner from Honey-baked disaster.

                        2. "To me blazing trails means personal reports about food I've tried. That may include fast food. That may be a chain."

                          Sorry, but this is simply your very own, personal definition of "blazing trails". If I'm the 1,000.000th visitor at the Taj Mahal & write about my experience there, it doesn't take away from the fact that millions of people have been there. I am most definitely NOT blazing trails.

                          And in the context of FF, which is a huge & highly popular industry (and not exactly some off the beaten path / not even in the Lonely Planet type of "place"), this makes even less sense.

                          1. At this point, we think this thread is about done, so we're going to lock it now.