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An over-enthusiastic monitor...

...deleted a post inquiring about an NYC restaurant simply because it included the restaurant's Health Department rating, which as every New Yorker knows is conspicuously displayed in every restaurant's front window.

I think this is overdoing it, and the post should stand.

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  1. It's a long standing rule that health issues are not allowed. If it's good today, it could be bad tomorrow and the reverse. Makes sense to me.

    1. Health department inspection ratings are prominently displayed virtually everywhere in the US. CH doesn't allow discussions of health violations/issues. <Shrug>

      6 Replies
      1. re: carolinadawg

        Agreed - on public display, covered on TV, radio, and print media, but to CH, Lord Voldemort. Stupid!

        1. re: greygarious

          I really disagree. The fact that someone has a low score or even got shut down temporarily IS generally a temporary, single occasion thing. These posts hang around forever and someone can take that one piece of totally outdated and worthless info and make a "buying decision" based on it. Hurts the restaurant and the diner can be deprived of some really good (and safe) food.

          1. re: c oliver

            I've always disagreed with this policy. A health violation is no more a singular event than a restaurant having an "off" night and thus trashed via a Chowhounder's review. However, health issues *can* have more serious ramifications for the patron. I don't know why it's something we shouldn't be talking about.

            1. re: PegS

              They CAN but that's not a given. Why brand a place forever? And if one is that concerned they can check it out themselves. Right?

            2. re: c oliver

              Who even said it was a low score? And at what exact point in the alphabet does this public information become censorable?

              1. re: knucklesandwich

                Has nothing to do with censorship. As long as the city health department makes the information available, then it's not censored. This is a privately-owned site; the owners get to make the rules. You don't have to like them; god knows I can't stand many of the site's rules. But it is what it is.

        2. personally I think a good strategy is to go somewhere that just re-opened after a bad rating. that's when it'll be the cleanest until the old habits creep back in.

            1. It's an idiotic policy, and one that I hope will change sooner than later. The letter grade might well be "temporary," but so are any number of things diners could report about a restaurant, including (but not limited to):

              "I had to wait a half hour past my reservation time."
              "No one told me how much the specials cost"
              "My burger was not cooked to my specifications"
              "The music was too loud"

              I could easily provide dozens of extant examples of any of the above, all of which are ephemeral complaints, and none of which (as far as I can tell) gets deleted.

              40 Replies
                1. re: small h

                  And others may or may not counter those comments. But a ding from the health dept seems to live forever. I live in a "magic house" but clearly many don't.

                  1. re: small h

                    All of your examples are unverifiable personal experiences that can be subjectively evaluated by 'Hounds.

                    Health Codes are a "Legal Status" and have a genuine impact on business.

                    1. re: Kris in Beijing

                      Both those things are true. Neither of them explain why it is Chowhound's policy to protect businesses from the "genuine impact" of publicly-available information.

                      1. re: small h

                        In the Land of Litigation, could you imagine a restaurant with non-US locations suing Google and CHOW to erase a thread mentioning a low grade when/if there was proof that the low grade only existed for 48 hours, based upon the European Right To Be Forgotten?
                        I don't have a problem with CHOW staying away from Health Dept issues.

                        Someone, somewhere, would probably assert that CHOW is a "mandatory reporter" on food safety like teachers are for child safety.
                        Not a morass into which ~I~ want TPTB to wade.

                        1. re: Kris in Beijing

                          <In the Land of Litigation, could you imagine a restaurant with non-US locations suing Google and CHOW to erase a thread...>

                          Nope. I could easily imagine that restaurant asking, though. And Chowhound complying.

                          <I don't have a problem with CHOW staying away from Health Dept issues. >

                          So you've said. I do. Hooray! Two people have freely expressed their opinions.

                          1. re: small h

                            >>Hooray! Two people have freely expressed their opinions.<<
                            So, can I ask you to further elaborate without completely frustrating you?
                            Obviously, I see a legal ramification where you see, hmmm, maybe "freedom of speech whist presenting fully available public information"?

                            1. re: Kris in Beijing

                              <So, can I ask you to further elaborate without completely frustrating you? >

                              You sure can. And as luck would have it, I started a thread a few months ago that presents my position on this topic in (way too much) detail.

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/967897

                              1. re: small h

                                That thread was interesting, and I had previously read only a few of the posts.
                                I guess since the (current) CHOW policy is agreeable enough to me, I don't frequent those threads.
                                .
                                Now, get me started on Zombie posts… I've probably made over a dozen suggestions about date-marking older threads!!
                                At any rate, CH isn't really our playground, we just get to visit as often as we wish.

                                1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                  <Now, get me started on...>

                                  I have so many peeves that I couldn't afford to keep them as pets anymore. They are now feral peeves, running in packs all over the neighborhood.

                                  1. re: small h

                                    Here's a current thread about other food sites that may please you more:

                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/981489

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Is this an "if you don't like it, leave" post? If so (and apologies if not), that's rarely a helpful contribution to any thread.

                                      1. re: small h

                                        Why not? I've been looking into other sites myself. And there are many in that link I'd not heard of.

                                        I've never seen any subject that has people gobbling up wrong info more than food safety. Over the years I've begged the mods to not even allow those conversations. Turn 'em loose on a restaurant getting dinged by the health dept and they'll be passing that on forever. I've long wondered my CH's legal liability is.

                                        Have you come across a lot of places where you wanted to post about their inspections? Is it a real issue for you for that reason?

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          <Why not?>

                                          Because it comes off as rude and dismissive, implying that rather than try to improve something I generally like, I should abandon it.

                                          <Have you come across a lot of places where you wanted to post about their inspections? >

                                          No, but I want to be free to discuss restaurant news here. That was the topic of the thread I linked to earlier.

                                          <I've never seen any subject that has people gobbling up wrong info more than food safety. Over the years I've begged the mods to not even allow those conversations.>

                                          I'm with you on this. But it's a different issue.

                                          1. re: small h

                                            But here's the part of my post that concerns me:

                                            "Turn 'em loose on a restaurant getting dinged by the health dept and they'll be passing that on forever."

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              I understand your concern; I just don't share it. Here's why: I just plugged my address into Yelp and searched for "food poisoning." 35 restaurants came up in a one-mile radius (and a tailor - weird), all of them save two still in business.* Now, Chowhound's influence is miniscule compared to Yelp's. So how have these 33 restaurants survived?

                                              *And I am willing to bet cash money that their demises can't be blamed on Yelp.

                                              1. re: small h

                                                Hi,

                                                Out of curiosity I also searched Yelp for food poisoning in Reno. There were pages and pages of complaints including MANY of our often visited spots. So, yeah, I'll gladly acknowledge that that accusation, which as we know is impossible to really nail down, isn't going to put anyone out of business. I'm talking more about the health department inspection kinda stuff that I think - but don't KNOW - could hurt a place. I just don't think it's necessary for either type of thing to be here. But, hey, that's what makes the world go round, right? Sorry if I got grumpy. AND looking at all those Yelp criticisms made me REALLY grumpy :)

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  Whenever I think CH is getting out of hand, I read the comments in Yelp or a political board my Dad follows. Vitriol. Ad hominem. And the *%#*ing. Sheesh.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    I just don't see how a Chowhound post that mentions a DOH grade would have an effect greater than the DOH grade itself. Perhaps there's some portion of the population that a) reads nothing but Chowhound and b) cares desperately about DOH grades. But I can't see those - what, 12? 13? - people being powerful enough to make or break a restaurant.

                                                    1. re: small h

                                                      Does that bring us full circle? If it doesn't matter, then why post about it?

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        <Does that bring us full circle?

                                                        No, no it most certainly does not. My point is that posting about DOH grades on Chowhound does not harm restaurants, and to use that as an excuse to ban those posts is stupid. My point has never been that posting DOH grades "doesn't matter." Of course it matters, just like posting about whether the food is good, or the music is pleasant, or the hostess is polite, matters.

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          The deleted post was not about the Health Dept. rating. It included that information, but the subject was simply a request for info from other CHers who might've been there recently.

                                                          1. re: knucklesandwich

                                                            Sometimes the mods, when deleting something, will send you an email that includes your post. Then you may be edit it to be acceptable to the current policy.

                                            2. re: small h

                                              Quite a few Hounds frequent other food sites in addition to CH. It isn't an either or proposition.

                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                Is it possible you think I don't know this? I know this.

                                                1. re: small h

                                                  Your post seems to have been deleted; now my response and yours make no sense.

                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                    Looks to me like it's there. At least when I click on his.

                                                    To me the point is that as we've always said it's their party and we are invited guests. They make the rules. We play by them. The health dept. inspection thing has been clearly prohibited, in writing, for a long, long time.

                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                      My post is still there. But you chiming into a conversation that was over and done with two days ago, just to state the obvious - yes, agreed, makes no sense.

                                                      1. re: small h

                                                        I don't consider a two-day-old post to be stale, and I only replied as I did because your post suggested that you didn't know that there was an alternative to "love it or leave it." Sorry you felt attacked.

                                                1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                  ahh but TN/SR only solves a symptom, not the issue.

                                2. re: small h

                                  It's an idiotic policy, and one that I hope will change sooner than later.
                                  ______________

                                  And why do you presume that Chowhound policies should be anything but idiotic?

                                  Is there somewhere on the site that states that all Chowhound policies shall be non-idiotic? Link please. Thanks!

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    When they unveil the "Jr Board" everything will be 100% Non-Idiotic -or- we refund your subscription fee!!!

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      I will thank you to refrain from suggesting that I have presumed anything. I have merely opined. Harrumph.

                                    2. re: small h

                                      You could also and description of the food being good or bad. Doesn't mean that will always be the case. Places change. Why not let readers figure out that relying upon an old post can be hazardous to your dining experience? Current info is what I crave.