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Chowhound now allowing advertising posts?

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Is Chowhound now permitting blatant advertising posts from restaurants and PR agencies?

There are two blatant examples on the Miami board, under the guise of "Photo Story". Hah!

They are nothing more than press releases. Take a look:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/986122

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/986120

Long-time board regulars have flagged these for several days, but no action.

So, either ads are now allowed, or someone seems to be asleep at the wheel.

  1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/985121

    Welcome to the new chowhound.

    Some of these threads may eventually be deleted but many are now permitted.

    1. There's a paradigm shift going on @ Chow/Chowhound. These threads will explain:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9851...

      http://www.chow.com/food-news/154068/...

      1. I see. Well, while I'd welcome more participation from actual industry insiders, these particular posts are not from an "industry insider" of any type. Although their username and the name of their website is "Miami Food Reviews," their website is used almost exclusively to post material written by the restaurants themselves, press releases, and verbatim quotes from restaurant websites. It's pretty much the definition of spam.

        They also use content that doesn't belong to them, as at least two of the photos used on their website are mine, for which they do no not have permission. I've now also confirmed that they have posts which falsely claim to have been authored by Melissa Clark (the cookbook writer and NY Times columnist).

        Now they're using Chowhound as a platform to republish that material - which is not in any way an opinion or discussion - and it seems the answer from Chowhound is "we don't care" (I flagged their posts as spam days ago - they remain up, though one of my comments in response was deleted).

        More participation from industry insiders would be a great thing. This has nothing to do with that ostensible goal. If Chowhound wants to become a bulletin board for posting press releases, that's about the last thing I need to read more of, and will probably be the end of my participation in and visiting of this site.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Frodnesor

          I wondered if those posts contained "repurposed" material. You might want to flag the posts beyond calling them spam, use "Other" and explain they are using your photos, if you haven't already. Bringing your insider info to the fore, so to speak.

          1. re: mcsheridan

            I should have been more clear: the posts they have put up here on CH do not use my photos - others on their website do.

            1. re: Frodnesor

              Thank you for that clarification.

        2. Just clicked on those urls and they've both been removed.

          1. Ooh, look! It's spam+! Now with extra illegality!

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/986467

            I flagged the above post about 5 hours ago. I'm sure I'm not alone. Yet there it sits, all spammy and illegal and all. What's next? Chow escort ads?

            4 Replies
            1. re: small h

              Too late. I believe jrvedivici has already been offering his.... services on several threads '-D

                  1. re: linguafood

                    I'll take this as an endorsement for the Jr Board!!!

                1. Yeah, isn't it great? How about a self-nomination to the best warm lobster roll in CT by the restaurant's GM himself? Nice.
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7916...

                  You know what really sucks? I actually LIKE this restaurant and the lobster roll looks and sounds fantastic, but GEEZ, I don't even know who I'm talking to anymore here. If someone is posting items featured at their own establishment, why are they not required to a) sign up with the NAME OF WHERE THEY WORK, b) maybe have a dollar sign next to their name and c) self-identify? How else, besides applying common sense, do we see this is really nothing but a damn ad? What's next? Every other purveyor of hot lobster rolls in the state of Connecticut will post pics to this thread to do the same?

                  CFByrne nailed it--it's the social media equivalent of posting press releases. And I really hate it! So much for keepin' it real.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: kattyeyes

                    Thank you, mods, for removing the self-promotional posts on the thread in question. Now, if you could just work on setting the ground rules straight so that this isn't happening every time we turn around these days ...

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      Looks like this is a work in progress now. I was pretty exhausted following the 500 or so post topic that exploded when the changes began, but maybe, just maybe, things are being dialed back just a little? Sigh! One can hope.

                      1. re: Midlife

                        Sighing and hoping with you ...

                  2. It looks to me that the mods are starting to deal with -- i.e., delete -- the blatant advertising posts pretty quickly. I flagged one on my home board this morning and it was taken down within a few hours (presumably others flagged it too). Same thing occurred a few days ago with a new poster who put up multiple posts on his product. And, I've seen some pretty hostile backlash on some of the regional boards in reaction to posts of this ilk. So, I would think that PR professionals and resto owners will start thinking twice about whether this is an effective way to promote their restaurants/ products.

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: masha

                      I wish CH would update us then on what's flaggable and what's not.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Anything is flaggable. Doesn't mean the mods will agree that it should be taken down. I've generally been including some editorial content -- along the lines that the post is a "blatant" ad that "crosses the line" even under the new policy, and note if the same poster has put up multiple posts flogging his product/establishment -- rather than just tagging it as "spam."

                        1. re: masha

                          OH, I know we can waste our and their time flaggin any and every thing but I'd like a little more current advice from them.

                      2. re: masha

                        I spoke too soon. After taking down the offending ad, this replacement post went up, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1187..., evidently based on some content guidelines from the mods. If this passes muster, I am really disappointed.

                        So on to plan B (backlash): although I live in the western 'burbs of Chicago and always have a hankering for NY style pizza (grew up out east), this is one establishment will never patronize.

                        1. re: masha

                          Why? If CH allows it, why would you punish the business?

                          1. re: c oliver

                            Because the post is still just advertising even if it is more subtle than the original post. I'd rather go to restos that build word of mouth through their patrons' reviews on CH or similar sites, traditional restaurant reviewers, or even paid advertising.

                            And, I will note that, although the poster says they've been serving NY style pizza for 5 years I've never once heard of anyone recommend them -- and I assiduously read ever post re NY or eastern style pizza that appears on the Chicago CH board and on the lthforum site. So I am fairly skeptical about their product.

                            1. re: masha

                              Oh, okay. So you're not punishing them. Cool.

                            2. re: c oliver

                              You could make an argument in favor of being critical of the product or business advertised as a basic deterrent against advertising. Even if the rules now allow advertising, this is still a forum and presenting a fundamentally biased and self-interested report on your own business begs for a critical retort to balance it out.

                              Here's an example, where I responded to an advertiser (shill, really, since the post did not originally disclose the affiliation to the product recommended) of a product I was familiar with - and generally like:
                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9239...
                              I don't advocate lying about a business or product, but countering spam with an informed and critical review potentially makes CH less appealing for spammers. Frankly, even if the PTB allow spamming, spamming still isn't particularly considerate of the users of a forum - I see no reason why said users (i.e. us) should respond with open arms.

                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                I make a distinction between spam and unpaid advertising.

                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_(el...

                                Don't get me wrong. I REALLY don't like it that it's being allowed (and maybe even solicited). And if I see one, which I haven't unless pointed out to me, I'll certainly give it a keen looking over, but I won't boycott a product just because CH is giving this platform to advertise.

                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                  The last few months I decided to open my mind and started reading and now posting some on Yelp. There are some knowledgeable sounding people there who seem to think highly of the pizza, specifically that it's NY-style.

                                  Again, there's a difference between "spam" and "promotion."

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    What's the relative difference as far as you're concerned?

                                    Generally speaking, I associate 'spam' with high-volume unpaid promotion sent to people in a medium not usually given to advertising - email, phone, regular mail, etc. Just my offhand definition.

                                    To be honest, that distinction doesn't interest me as much as the distinction between promotional threads or posts that add something substantive to CH vs promotional threads or posts that don't.

                                    I'm in favor of business affiliates being able to reference their business during the course of a discussion that's relevant to it - posts that are essentially intended to contribute to the discussion more than to promote a business (despite incidental promotional potential). I'm accepting of threads or posts that are more distinctly promotional in intent but which still add non-promotional information to the mix and foster dialogue. The Andrea Nguyen thread would be a good example. And I oppose threads or posts that add nothing significant to the site beyond their promotional intent.

                              2. re: masha

                                This is the kind of post that I really don't like being included on the site. It is just straight-up spam and contributes nothing. You might as well allow posters to advertise penis pumps and dead Nigerian princes and be done with it.

                                1. re: masha

                                  That's sad. And I don't blame you a bit.

                              3. This is the most ill advised decision yet from this site.
                                I'm fine having professionals be able to enter discussions more easily. There had been excess moderating with the Bovinova guy as one example.

                                But the onslaught of first time posters essentially getting free advertisements and decreasing the value of information is just ...well, its mind boggling that TPTB even considered it.

                                This post:

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/986467

                                is particularly disturbing to me. Their offer probably violates a number of health, safety and commercial fishing violations.

                                I guess CH is heading towards becoming the Craigslist of the food world.

                                29 Replies
                                1. re: meatn3

                                  Did you flag it? Seems completely wrong to me also.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    I flagged it the day it appeared.

                                  2. re: meatn3

                                    Yeah I can't believe that post has been up a few days, or allowed at all. What's that all about?

                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                      Agreed - totally UnF'inBelievable.

                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                        You got me...I remain flabbergasted by the decision to let it remain up.

                                        The poster claims sportsman (iffy in this instance) status so not commercially licensed. Who knows what standard of handling was used. Then he mentions venison and dove...in many states selling game you shot is illegal.

                                        At least with a business there are regulatory bodies in place to keep proper handling in check.

                                        I am so disgusted that CH is allowing this. I got a feeling the mods have been given very few guidelines on this brilliant new tactic. Wouldn't be surprised if they quit in droves.

                                        1. re: meatn3

                                          You make great points and I'm now making a 180 in my opinion on this. If this is an example, then it's bullshit. Your comment about the mods' guidelines on this seems quite correct. This particular one just screams somebody getting sick...and I'm certainly a 1%er when it comes to NEVER getting sick. (Well once.)

                                      2. re: meatn3

                                        What on earth is that about? Allowing this to stay up is really ill-conceived. Are the mods just not being allowed to use any judgment at all? You can let productive conversations with professionals stay up without keeping this nonsense.

                                        1. re: meatn3

                                          Maybe that post is staying up as evidence. Their sale of fish and game is illegal in California.
                                          http://www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/cal...

                                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                                            Evidence is saving a copy of the post for the authorities out of the publics eye.

                                            Potential liability is keeping the post up and continuing to support, advertise, promote the illegal activity.

                                            Ipse??

                                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                                              That is the only reason to keep it up. I'm no website expert, but I feel certain there must be a way to preserve the post for legal reasons and still remove it from the board.

                                              Your point is very generous. I remain skeptical. No disrespect to you intended.

                                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                I would not count on CH to drop a dime on these guys but hope at least one CA Hound sees fit to do so.

                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                  You want someone to financially support this? I'm shocked. It seems like an accident just waiting to happen. Or am I misunderstanding?

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    I think she meant reporting the poster to the proper authorities.

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      To "drop a dime" is to turn someone in, not financially support them.

                                                      Back from the days a public phone call cost $ .10, to drop a dime is to make a phone call to rat someone out.

                                                        1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                          Pay phone--remember those? LOL.

                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                            LOL, exactly! Perhaps I worded it a bit awkwardly but I wonder how old bisquitboy is?

                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                              HEE HEE, old enough to know better! Maybe he's just funnin' with ya. ;)

                                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                Funnin' wit-cha. Though it doesn't seem that long ago when working as a field eng, that I knew where all the clean quiet payphones were in NE, when the cell plan was maxed

                                                              2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                The days of putting dimes in your penny loafers so you always had money for a call!

                                                                1. re: meatn3

                                                                  Totally remember--plus dimes look prettier (to me). :)

                                                                  1. re: meatn3

                                                                    I remember shiny new copper pennies in the loafers. Thus the name "Penny Loafers".

                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                      Yeah, but forget that phone call. Wasn't going to happen with a penny.

                                                                      Although you could buy a string of licorice at the penny candy store. ;-)

                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                          I had pennies in mine in grade school. But I thought the teens sporting dimes for calls were quite the thing! Once I began junior high and my world became larger my Mother agreed to upgrade to dimes. Being able to make a call got me out of a few potential jams.

                                                          2. re: meatn3

                                                            The post in question has been removed. Curious what prompted that action after so many days...

                                                            Regardless, thanks CH for taking it down.

                                                              1. re: meatn3

                                                                Thanks for the heads up. Maybe real proof that it was illegal tipped the hand.

                                                                However, in the past, discussion of underground, unlicensed restaurants used to be taken down. But they're now allowed since the folks that run them are not publicity shy. So illegal status is not sufficient reason for deletion.

                                                                1. re: meatn3

                                                                  It was illegal anyway. The mods should have known. That's how I submitted my flag.

                                                              2. This post has brought up a number of different examples, but I want to close the loop on a few things.

                                                                Our goal in inviting professional voices is to encourage more experts to join the discussion, not to post advertisements. Over the last few weeks we've worked with some new posters to try to improve their understanding of what does well on Chowhound. We've stressed that they must disclose any business interest and we've asked them to join the conversation.

                                                                If those improvements aren't made, we've removed posts that haven't delivered enough value. Over time, we hope this process will happen a little faster, especially as more examples are available to guide the way. Your flagging of posts has been very valuable for us to stay on top of the newest areas to investigate, so please do keep that up. Thanks all.

                                                                1. A suggestion. If CH is to allow professional posts and promotional posts could the "rules" not species the posts will be automatically deleted unless there is a full profile for the poster which states their professional affiliations etc.

                                                                  The CH Profile page could be modified for the professionals to better collect this data including links to their email and professional web sites. It could include a profile with drops downs like: Owner; Chef; Consultant: FOH; Writer; Critic; Blogger; PR etc etc.

                                                                  CH could go further and tag the posters name as a different colour or with a "P" to designate professional like the CH red diamonds to indicate staff.

                                                                  This gives good background info which a professional should be proud to share. If they don't want to share this info its then obvious their motives are less than sound. It helps the mods by introducing a form of self censorship, and it helps the reader understand the posters influences and purpose.

                                                                  41 Replies
                                                                  1. re: PhilD

                                                                    Thanks for the feedback, Phil. We're definitely thinking about how to improve the profile page and allowing folks to declare their interests outside of Chowhound makes sense there.

                                                                    Having that status follow them to every post or comment as the staff icon does may be a little more confusing, as not every contribution will require that distinction. We'll continue to think on it, and in the interim we'll be asking for any posters to disclose their personal interests in the subject being discussed.

                                                                    1. re: patsully

                                                                      I don't really understand the logic of the profile not being relevant to each post. Wouldn't the professional perspective always be relevant. Less shades of grey always makes moderation simpler. I think trying to draw the distinction just introduces complexity.

                                                                      1. re: patsully

                                                                        You invite Business interests and then expect ethical behavior from them? That is truly delusional

                                                                        1. re: patsully

                                                                          IIRC, the 'rollout' said that professionals could post as such or as individuals.

                                                                          Also, what about that dollar sign idea? I think that's superb.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            Yep, we expect that many professionals have long been a part of the community, but have avoided discussing subjects related to their business interests. If they do, we'd like them to be open about it.

                                                                            The dollar sign is a lot like Phil's suggestion, but I think a bit misleading given the posts are not paid placements, which would make sense with that icon. Thanks again, we really do appreciate the good ideas and we'll continue to keep an eye on new posts to learn from them.

                                                                            1. re: patsully

                                                                              Whatever. You're losing us one by one. I'm now posting restaurant reviews on Yelp and home cooking of eGullet. I encourage others to look outside of CH.

                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                Really? I encourage others to have patience and stick around. As you demonstrate, one can be a member of more than one site.

                                                                                When Chow dumped the restaurant database and maps I joined Yelp. I am still here on Chowhound.

                                                                                Why toss the spaghetti out with the pasta water?

                                                                                1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                  There is a reason the saying "Misery enjoys company" exists.

                                                                                2. re: c oliver

                                                                                  Chowhound, a site not developed or paid for by me, is not exactly as I want it! I'm leaving...

                                                                                  1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                    I wish I had the courage to leave-I enjoy reading the posts and participating

                                                                                    1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                      So she is under some obligation to continue posting here?

                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                        None whatsoever. That is my entire point. Stop whining about it and leave already.

                                                                                        1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                          She's under no obligation to do that either. If non-food-centric drama bothers you so much, I'd suggest you reevaluate your posting style and the threads you pay attention to.

                                                                                      2. re: jpc8015

                                                                                        You're a content provider. Without posters, there'd be no CH.

                                                                                        1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                          There are enough people who don't give a rip about the changes that any loss of content will be inconsequential.

                                                                                          1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                            We're talking quality and you seem to be talking quantity.

                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                              I think the banh mi thread that you have been so active in is a pretty quality discussion. Ms. Nguyen was not able to post that sort of content under the old rules. I'd say its a marked improvement.

                                                                                              1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                You know of course that the Bánh mì thread is an exception to whats going on now. Most of the other "contributions" from commercial interests have been Shills at best and Illegal(Tuna for sale) at worst.

                                                                                                1. re: chefj

                                                                                                  I had not seen the rogue traveling tuna salesman. That is clearly out of bounds...but a bit comical.

                                                                                                  There was an "ad" over on the LA board where a young lady had started a business teaching people how to make Indian food. Now, I'm not in LA but I have always wanted to make Indian food at home. If she were in my area I would totally hit her up. I thought the post was appropriate and well placed but some people absolutely lost their minds over it. Really? If you don't like it just move on.

                                                                                                  1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                    I found the 'rogue traveling tuna salesman' thread quite comical, said the girl who once ordered $500 to be overnighted from a reputable company in Honolulu for a Christmas Eve Seven Fishes family celebration. I take my tuna very seriously and that thread made me giggle.

                                                                                                2. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                  but unfortunately, she is the exception

                                                                                                  1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                    How many exceptions are there? Chefj just told me that the banh mi thread was an exception and now you are telling me the Indian girl is THE exception.

                                                                                                    If they're all exceptions then isn't there really no rule?

                                                                                                      1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                        Shoot...I thought you were replying to my comment on the Indian girl selling her classes on Indian cuisine...my bad.

                                                                                                      2. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                        I am a lay person-non food professional-
                                                                                                        she seems to be intelligent and writes well. Her cookbook has just been published and ppl seem to like it. She also answers questions, etc.

                                                                                                        1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                          Not many. Have you been reading this board since this all started? If so, you know there are many more abuses than contributions You can back track and see.
                                                                                                          The Squid Ink Shill be the newest that I have seen

                                                                                                          1. re: chefj

                                                                                                            I wonder if the squid ink example is a good example of not all publicity being good publicity. The counter comments to the post undermine the marketing message. If someone wants to promote a product on CH they better make certain it's good or else their assertions will be tested by people who call them out.

                                                                                                              1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                some of us are not aware of these posts.
                                                                                                                what did they do or say?

                                                                                                                1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                                  I tried to find the thread but it appears to have been deleted.

                                                                                                                  Anyway...longtime chowhound poster starts a post about pasta rocks and how ridiculous of a concept they are. Representative from Pasta Rocks chimes in defending her product and is tarred and feathered then paraded through town as a clown. The whole thing was pretty comical.

                                                                                                                  http://olivelle.com/index.php/seasoni...

                                                                                                              2. re: chefj

                                                                                                                I just looked at that. I assume it's been flagged by one/some of you. Shocked that it's still standing. If this is going to be allowed even encouraged then I think the site is sliding slowly downhill. Very disappointed in CH.

                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                  Edit:

                                                                                                                  Oops didn't realize who you were replying to, thought you were replying to cowboyardee

                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                    I did and pointed out the idiotic attempt at hiding the fact that it is a Business.

                                                                                                        2. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                          At some point it may become consequential. Just something to think about.

                                                                                                          1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                            At some point the sun will explode killing life on Earth so it is really all pretty inconsequential. Just something to think about it.

                                                                                                            First World Problems.

                                                                                                            1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                              Want to read a thread about the use of the term First World/Western World Problems on Chowhound? Sure ya do!
                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/912386

                                                                                                              1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                I will go back and read every single one of those replies.

                                                                                                              2. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                This entire site could be dismissed with that tired, silly and meaningless phrase. So what?

                                                                                            2. and stuff like this? it's just an ad from the restaurant

                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/987157

                                                                                              flagged it since it started

                                                                                              The mods also deleted a bunch of posts discussing it

                                                                                              25 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                                                Looks really interesting. I actually think its a good example of why this new policy could work. It looks like an enthusiast who is starting up, the idea looks iterating from a food perspective, I would even give it a go but I am a little out of their range.

                                                                                                I sense that the owner is going to engage via the site and they sound pretty straight forward. If its great food an added voice in the Chow community, if it is bad it will get savaged.

                                                                                                Compare and contrast it to some of the crass ads from others, no engagement, promoting obviously commercial crap. This looks interesting and different. What's not to like?

                                                                                                1. re: PhilD

                                                                                                  Gotta disagree with you on this one, Phil. A Kickstarter campaign? So not just advertising their place but soliciting donations? IMO that takes it WAY beyond acceptable. Unless, as some have suggested, give those their own board.

                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                    It could be interesting.

                                                                                                    Years ago on E-gullet there was a thread following the journey of a couple trying to start a restaurant after moving back to their smallish hometown. It was very enlightening. It is a process with a great deal of bumps in the road and not for the faint of heart.

                                                                                                    Several years later I was a few hours from their restaurant and made it a point to dine there. Excellent food which never would have been on my radar if not for that thread.

                                                                                                    1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                      But were they soliciting donations to get their place up and running? That's the issue with that one. And if you allow one and the word gets out....

                                                                                                      1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                        it all depends on how it is done

                                                                                                        1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                          Of course. But the problem is these guys aren't starting off by telling the first stages of an interesting story, sharing bits of insider knowledge with the community and promising a long interesting journey.

                                                                                                          They're starting off asking for money.

                                                                                                          In other words, bring something interesting to the table for a while and I'm a lot more willing to forgive the incidental advertising or even subtle soliciting. Start off with soliciting, and its very clear that you're not looking to contribute to the community but to take from it.

                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                              Exactly. If c oliver or MGZ or someone familiar said, "Hey - check out this blog post I did." or "I'm going to open a restaurant, want to help?" I'd be much more open to it than someone signing up only to promote their agenda.

                                                                                                              From CH's posting guidelines:

                                                                                                              "Please don’t spam our community with information about your restaurant, product or blog. It’s okay to talk about them here, but please participate in the conversation, don’t just come here to post a bunch of self-promotional items. Shilling -- posting fake recommendations and reviews -- is also forbidden; if you’re connected to a business or website, you must disclose that each time you post about it."

                                                                                                              1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                Caveat #1: "Unless it is determined that we need ad-click revenue. Then? Shill away!"

                                                                                                    2. re: blimpbinge

                                                                                                      We understand the desire to figure out how this shift in policy affects the site, but we do still want to keep our boards focused on the topic at hand. We're asking everyone to bring questions and discussion of site policies here to the Site Talk board. We definitely understand why the discussions happen in response to posts that were previously not permitted on Chowhound, and we do our best to move them to the Site Talk board when we can, but often the discussion doesn't really make sense when we do that, so it ends up just being deleted.

                                                                                                      1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                        Okay, but it seems like (and I mean this respectfully) our questions aren't getting answers - here or anywhere. Why is A post deleted but B post stays up? Both are blatant spams, both are one-and-done posters, etc. Can you please clarify what is allowed and what isn't? There's a shady weirdo trying to get people to contact them privately so they can sell them things - I've flagged it, but it's remained up for days. Kickstarter campaigns seem to be exactly wrong and against the spirit of the new rules - especially one like that where the spammer never even comes back to chat. IMHO, the cookbook authors and their discussions, Q&A's, etc. are okay, but "Give me money" posts are not. Can one of the mods clear this up for us?

                                                                                                        1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                          And why is the Michelin man allowed to troll the boards, but we can't question their motives?

                                                                                                          1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                            I missed that, but just got a funny visual on reading your post. ;) In any case, this one bids you peace.

                                                                                                            The formerly tight boundaries are so out of bounds currently, I can't imagine it will be long before he shows up here, too.

                                                                                                            ETA: He must be a CH, right--he's kind of, um, inflated!

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                            1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                              Again, we really don't encourage users to confront other users they suspect of shilling. Please Flag the posts, but accusing a brand new poster of shilling pretty much guarantees to drive them away, whether they actually are a shill, or not. If you have a strong reason to believe a poster is connected to the business (for example, their last name is the same as the business owner's) and can find a way to ask them if there is a connection in a polite and friendly way, that's usually fine, but otherwise we ask you just to Flag and move on.

                                                                                                              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                "accusing a brand new poster of shilling pretty much guarantees to drive them away, whether they actually are a shill, or not"
                                                                                                                _______
                                                                                                                That's the point. The now-official CH policy does not drive actual shills away, but rather just encourages them to edit their posts for more transparency.

                                                                                                                Meanwhile, posters are hostile because they want the mothaf***ers gone. Shame about non-shills, though (and even then, those naked wine pod people are disturbingly cultish if they somehow aren't shills).

                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                  Or lets them stand because it's not obvious enough what their motive is when someone shows up JUST ONE TIME to post about their AWESOME restaurant, pizza, lobster roll (fill in the blank) when no one else on your local board has ever mentioned it. Let's all just take it on faith no one has any ulterior motives, even though it's obvious to everyone else reading along.

                                                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                    We're definitely not asking you to "take it on faith" with any post you read on Chowhound. It's up to each user to determine which tips and posters they trust, and if it's obvious to you that you shouldn't trust a poster, that's totally fine. We just ask you to either Flag it for our attention (and we still do our best to ferret out shills) or to simply pass by without comment.

                                                                                                                    1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                      No, but you as The Chowhound Team are "taking it on faith," and I find that ill-advised.

                                                                                                                      1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                        Please explain how a Kickstarter request is allowed?

                                                                                                                  2. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                    That does not clarify the rules about spam posts. Could you please tell us specifically what is allowed and what is not? The moderation has been very uneven on these types of posts. It would be helpful to know, so we will know what to flag and what to ignore.

                                                                                                                2. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                  it's the "believe me, not your eyes" method.

                                                                                                                3. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                  Please address the issue of alienating the key member of our board servorg? there's going to be a flood of others and it is hard to tell real posters from scammers...so many new folks "first time posters" hocking all sorts of stuff...lots of old reliable hounds MIA and a funny synergy now with other food writing and advertisement compromising journalistic integrity.

                                                                                                                  1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                    we aren't as easy to monetize.

                                                                                                                4. re: blimpbinge

                                                                                                                  I agree. This is just an ad.

                                                                                                                  Allowing restauranteurs and chefs to respond to criticism and defend themselves is one thing. The thread you provided should just be placed as an ad, or label it as an ad so I don't confuse it with a useful thread.

                                                                                                                  I understand it increases CH usage, clicks, and possibly pay. But it dilutes content and usefulness of CH.

                                                                                                                  Also, on the LA boards, a particular "inflammatory poster" is being allowed to "close down" and "recreate" a new handle every few months (currently on his 3-4th handle in less than 1 year). Emailed the mods about it and they said as long as 2 accounts weren't open at the same time it's fine.

                                                                                                                  I'm in the makes the entire site less useful and worthwhile camp.

                                                                                                                5. I have always valued the Chowhound boards for their focus on us ordinary foodies where we could pose questions, give feedback and share ideas and recipes.

                                                                                                                  I would sincerely hope that this board does not turn into an advertising tool for upstarts. If this happens, you will lose a large following who rely on the unbiased opinions of readers.

                                                                                                                  Please, this site is NO place for advertising businesses!

                                                                                                                  When I want to research a product or restaurant, I want to hear the experiences of REAL people!

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: Heuchera

                                                                                                                    I second those emotions wholeheartedly. But seems to me, this site absolutely is now. :(

                                                                                                                  2. Hey guys, we've created a new post for feedback on the Moderation changes: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/987477 Please direct any additional thoughts there going forward.