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Feb 6, 2013 08:32 AM

Misuses of the Not About Food board

Perhaps I’m off base with this and if I am I’m sure plenty of you will let me know. However I have a genuine concern regarding the use of the “Not About Food” board. The majority of the threads on that board are exactly what they are intended to be….chat or conversation regarding topics revolving around food but not directly involving food which is fine.

I just find a problem with several posts I’ve read on that board regarding topics such as “I think I have food poisoning what do I do?”, “I think I gave my room mate food poisoning” or more recently is a post about (what I assume is) a college age girl living in a dormitory who had a conflict with a food delivery person and is now concerned for her personal safety.

It seems to me that when people are seeking medical advice or personal safety issues they are straying way off the topic and intent of the spirit of “Not About Food” board. I routinely see people offer advice regarding food poisoning which on the surface can seem accurate or correct however I always comment on such topics that none of the responses should replace proper medical diagnosis and follow up.

To think that there is a girl out there truly concerned with her safety after an altercation makes me sick to my stomach (as a father of a college age girl myself). The fact that she is relying on a post on this site I think is a HUGE mistake even though most of the advice was correct, notify campus security. It’s just I think with all the moderating that goes on this site the Mod’s might want to notify these type of posters that Chow is NOT the most reliable source of information regarding illness or personal security issues.

Am I making sense? It seems people are over reaching the purpose of this board/site and should be directed towards more appropriate places for questions that can literally be life threatening.

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  1. I agree and it makes a good deal of sense. Given the policies of moderation, I think its easy enough to notify the Mods using the FLAG option when a thread concerns any of us, for any reason. The Mods will decide from there.

    9 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      I guess maybe that's why I created this thread. As a personal rule try not to flag many or any posts. The only time I have is when it's a first time poster who trashes a restaurant. You can flame me all you want I don't care and I try to keep it that way. I personally feel moderation is a little heavy....but who am I to complain I'm thankful to everyone for the work they put into the site for my personal enjoyment.

      It just seems with a topic of "I have food poisoning what do I do" it's kind of out there.....without having to be flagged. Flagging seems more useful for a rude or off color comment buried in the body of 100+ threads. I just think it's a good use of moderating to nip these type of threads in the butt from their inception. Like I turns my stomach to think people might be relying on the information received for potentially life threatening scenarios.

      1. re: jrvedivici

        The mods don't read or review threads unless they're flagged, so there is no way for these type of posts to be "nipped in the butt (bud?)" without someone flagging it.

        1. re: carolinadawg

          Which was my point too.

          Flagging only guides the moderation team. Flagging is there for any number of reasons, including a duplicate posting.

          How could any of us know what is going to be posted in advance. Every Board has a description of what the board parameters are. Not everyone pays attention or cares.

          Moderation is the most helpful tool and if you don't feel comfortable using it, jrv, someone else will.

          1. re: carolinadawg

            Just to clarify... the moderation team is more likely to review threads that are flagged, but we do read threads that aren't flagged and do actively search out problem posts. We really appreciate all the help we get from our fellow posters who choose to flag posts, but we don't rely exclusively on flags.

            1. re: The Chowhound Team

              Thats not what I've been told before, but I suppose thats good to know. What percentage of posts are read by the mods, that aren't flagged?

              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                It's always been my assumption (correct me if I'm wrong) that if a thread is getting an extreme amount of activity, there's a way for mods to pick that up and visit it to see if it's in bounds or not, without a member flagging it.

                1. re: The Chowhound Team

                  So to clarify from the Mod's perspective would you want us to flag a thread/subject if we felt it was inappropriate or ill-advised to be posted here, such as "I think I have food poisoning what do I do"?

                  As I've said I don't flag don't get to comment on the reason for a flag do you? It's just click and done, correct?

                  1. re: jrvedivici

                    If you think something should be looked at by the moderators, please do flag it. We'd rather look and sometimes decide to do nothing than miss potential problem spots altogether.

                    You can leave a comment with your flag to let us know why you're flagging something.

          2. "It seems people are over reaching the purpose of this board/site and should be directed towards more appropriate places for questions that can literally be life threatening."

            Just an example of one more facet of natural selection at work in the promotion of the fittest. If you get all your information from forums such as NAF you will probably end up getting on one of the Darwin Award Winner emails that come around periodically.

            1. We try to use our judgement in deleting things from Not About Food. If things have a food-related aspect to them, even if it's tangential, and are going well, we try to leave them up. Threads that have gone poorly in the past and that we catch early (before we'd have to delete lots and lots of people's contributions) are more likely to be removed.

              We do try to avoid getting into the realm of specific medical advice, but we don't always see every thread, either.

              We do hope that everyone reading and posting on Chowhound is aware that they're getting advice from strangers on the internet, and are taking it with the appropriate grain of salt.

              3 Replies
              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                "...getting advice from strangers on the internet, and are taking it with the appropriate grain of salt."

                Recommending salt in a public forum? Don't you know the danger of too much sodium? Egads and little fishes!!!!

                1. re: Servorg

                  Dare you to flag the Mod's post regarding the salt! (having flash backs of the kid in A Christmas Story sticking his tongue on the frozen pole). Go ahead Servorg I double dog dare you!! lol

                  1. re: jrvedivici

                    My cheek is already aching something fierce from the force my tongue is putting on it, so the two dog dare and my comeback of "You are too" will just have to serve as my "swan song" for this topic.

              2. I was thinking the same thing when I saw that thread yesterday but then I told myself- well, I suppose she's better off posting here with its mature/ civilized crowd instead out there on the wild frontier Internet getting all kinds of wacky advice.

                1 Reply
                1. re: miss_belle

                  And I don't fault a person for asking a question.

                  You just never know how helpful it might be. If that poster was hesitating to report their food delivery experience to college security, plenty of CH's suggested they do just that.