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Sep 3, 2012 06:36 PM

Latest missive from Chowhound team

Did you consider that "how kosher is it?" (ie by whose standards something is deemed kosher and what those standards are) is necessarily and unavoidably entangled in a discussion board on kosher food? I would suggest that it is possibly the most important aspect of the discussion, as it also involves the Jewish moral imperative not to place a stumbling block in front of a blind person. I see no valid reason to prohibit discussion of how kosher something is articulated in your policy. Don't turn this very valuable board into The Forward for food.

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  1. As far as I can tell, this is a verbatim reposting of a policy they've had for years. I understand why they have it (they don't want to get stuck refereeing arguments that they do not see as relevant, even if the kosher-keeping consumer views the same discussion as critical), disagree with it, and know that my disagreement is going to make zero difference in their policies.

    1 Reply
    1. re: GilaB

      I'm grateful that they will not change their policy. I want to be able to post about places I like that I believe to be kosher without being attacked by someone that has a different standard. If someone is concerned about kosher standards, they should either contact the certifying agency or their rabbi for discussion. There is no need for endless debate here on whose standards are "right", and I doubt anyone serious about kosher is making their kashrut decisions based on the opinions of anonymous blog posters.

    2. I understand your concern for "how kosher it is". Chowhound hasn't stopped anyone from stating whose hashkocha it is under. That is considered information only. The problem is that usually people than want to write how the food is not kosher enough for them. That is not the purpose of the board. We do not have to turn this valuable board into Vois iz neis for food.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jeffrosenbaum

        I agree with Jeff. You don't want The Forward, others don't want Vois iz neis or Yated. That's why the policy exists, and that's why it's not going to change. You're not a rabbi, and even if you are, you're not the rabbi of everyone on the board, so who are you to determine what is a stumbling block for posters. If a Conservative Jew comes on the board and wants to ask about the food at a restaurant under Conservative hashgacha that his rabbi allows, he should be able to get feedback on the food without harassment from frumer than though posters telling him that the restaurant is treif.

      2. There's been no recent change to our policy -- we just reposted the sticky posts on every board so they would have newer dates on them and people would be more likely to read them.

        It's fine to discuss the factual information of whether or not something is under supervision. But we're a food site, not a religious one, so questions of whether a given supervision is or isn't acceptable isn't really one we're focused on answering. Those debates inevitably involve some people declaring that the standards other people keep are insufficiently kosher to count, so they involve a lot of hurt feelings and anger. There are lots of things people can disagree about on Chowhound, and do so in a fairly friendly, straightforward manner, but the issue of whether a given certification is good enough hasn't proven to be one of them.

        These issues are important, but they're a little far afield for our narrow scope. While posting what certification the restaurant has is fine, different posters will have different views on whether it meets their own needs and restrictions. We ask that people do that checking on their own, and be tolerant of others without attempting to convince anyone else about which is right or wrong.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Jacquilynne

          I agree with that, Jacquilynne, but I am still stumped as to why the Chowhound team sees it necessary to delete posts about Bar Mitzvah locations as we really do need to share about venues that are amenable to folks bringing in their own kosher caterer or to the entire kosher experience. I still think those posts should stay and have never gotten a response to my request to expand the parameters of the board with regard to queries of that nature.

          1. re: cappucino

            We get a lot of general purpose event planning posts on every board, and they range from fairly focused on food to food as an afterthought to a beautiful setting to get married outside to we've already arranged the food and we don't care about it at all. But we're a food site, so a lot of those are pretty far off-topic for us. We generally differentiate between questions having to involve the actual cost/quality/taste of the food at a venue or from a caterer vs. those that don't specifically relate to the food.