When You give to a Community & it Slaps you in the Face
I used to be a regular contributer, to Chowhound circa 2004/5. Then they (Jim Leff in particular) annoyed me one too many times and I left. You can get a sense of my feelings about them and their book in the post and the comments you'll find here.
A few months ago, Chowhound was bought by CNET and I recieved an email inviting me to rejoin. I decided to give them another chance and have been posting regularly ever since, always happy to share information with fellow hounds.
On Tuesday I paid my first ever visit to Delfina and I was blown away by the whole experience. The food was all-round excellent and so I took some of my own personal time to write a post sharing my wonderful dinner for Chowhound. We were comped some dishes and I came right out and explained that fact in my Chowhound post. I had no idea why Delfina did that - it was my friend's birthday and another dining companion was a regular there so that might have been the reason. Whatever, being comped every dessert on the menu did not sway my opinion: I even mentioned that I didn't really like their profiteroles and that I thought Coco500's vacherine is better. Almost everything else got a solid stamp of approval from me. I get comped things all the time in all sorts of restaurants and so do others on chowhound and their posts don't appear to be deleted because of it. I went out to lunch shortly after writing my post and when I returned, I found they had deleted it and all the following replies. I was confused, why did they do this? It seemed unecessary to me. I wrote a post asking why I had been deleted but, of course, that was deleted as well.
I shouldn't be surprised. Checking in on the Chowhound small print the following disclaimer is found:
"We're a moderated discussion, so we reserve the right to delete anything at any time without notice or explanation. If you choose to participate in our discussion, please bear in mind these house rules, and don't expect every posting to be published and preserved. If you prefer a more anarchic discussion, check out one of the food Usenet newsgroups (but don't be surprised if you find them confrontational, spammy, commercial, and digressive... the hallmarks of unmoderated discussion)."
Although there are no clear guidelines as to what is acceptable and what isn't on Chowhound, this statement suggests that they will delete "confrontational, spammy, commercial, and digressive" posts. As you would expect from me, my post was not even remotely close to any of these things.
Because I do not know why I was deleted - I am not sure how to continue from hereon in. Time is precious. Maybe they are planning to delete all my future posts. Who knows? I can't run the risk of wasting my time trying to find out by putting effort into trying to give my time to a community that simply shows me their scissors and goes snip, snip, snip. No worries. Although I liked the very casual way I could make recommendations on Chowhound, I can just as easily continue to write my restaurant reviews here, on this blog. And I shall. Goodbye, from me, Chowhound.
Conversely I love the sister CNET website CHOW, reborn from the ashes of the magazine with the same name. They are taking a refreshing and innovative approach to writing about and photographing food. I am also really enjoying their blog The Grinder. But do you trust my opinion on this? CHOW kindly invited me to their swanky launch party, so maybe I'm just shilling them in return for the ticket they sent me?
What do you think about Chowhound? Do they rile you too? Or maybe you are one of those people who actually enjoys the mental abuse they doll out? I am sad to have to leave again, there are so many great contributors, but I just can't operate under their undefined terms. Anyway, one less thing to worry about. I am going to have much less time on my hands shortly and this simply means there will be one less thing to have to pay attention to on my long list of things to try and do every day.