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Writing Fair Critiques


porcupine
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After having a nice discussion with other board members on the subject, I've been encouraged to start a thread. So here we go.

The issue is this: a diner posts about his experience, and a representative of the restaurant comes back with "why didn't you say anything at the time? We would have made it right for you!"

It's the comeback that bothers me. I feel it's disingenuous at times. A way to dodge what may be a valid criticism.

For example, a recent meal at Dino was... not so good. One dish was too oily, one was overcooked. We didn't complain at the time, and I didn't yelp* about it on the internet.

Hypothetically, now - please understand that I'm just elaborating on what could have happened in this case:

fair and valid: "we sent the dishes back, and the staff were gracious about it, and the kitchen fixed the problems"

also fair and valid: "we sent the dishes back, but the server scowled, and they were no better the second time"

also fair and valid: "every time we order these dishes they're oily or overcooked; I'm wondering what's changed at Dino?"

also fair and valid: "for awhile there, everything was overcooked and oily, but the past few times we've gone the kitchen seems to have gotten its act together, and everything was fine"

[what really happened? Dean pm-d me and asked for feedback; I gave it to him. No need to clutter the Dino thread with that. I'm sure he'll look into it.]

Here's another example: a few years back we had a bad macaroni and cheese at Ray's: The Classics. We didn't say anything to Elliot or Michael, though, and I didn't post about it. The next time we were there, it was bad again, so I asked Michael what happened. He told me that he re-formulated the recipe, because (he implied) it wasn't selling well. Parents were ordering it for their kids, and found it too complex for the wee palates.

I believe it would have been entirely fair to write something like this (though I didn't):

"The once delicious, fascinatingly complex macaroni and cheese has been reformulated into a kind of one-note pablum, mushy and boring."

In this case, hypothetically, would Michael be within his rights to ask me "why didn't you send it back"?

I believe the answer is "no". Sending back an overcooked steak is one thing. But what would you expect a restaurateur to do when you feel that a dish is just bad? Send out to the grocery store for different ingredients and have his staff make a whole new batch from scratch? From a different recipe? While you wait?

It isn't wrong to give an honest opinion based on fact. I'd call it a public service, if done fairly. After all, that's one reason why people read donrockwell.com - to get information. This site would be a waste without some honest negative critiques.

So, diners: think twice before you write. Know the subject, be reasonable, and be fair.

And industry people: think twice before getting defensive. If the comments are valid, take the criticism and work with it.

What do you think?

[now, where did I put that Nomex suit...?]

[thanks in advance to Dean and Michael for being good sports]

[check out the Cafesano thread for more; for the record, I don't agree with Rocks, though wrash was rather harsh]

*it tickles me that the word "yelp" is taking on negative connotations

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I believe this is absolutely fair. But I would take this one step further and either not post impressions I have of a meal at a restaurant that I have a relationship with the owner/chef/manager (see a certain Washington Post reporter's mea culpa). A case in point would be that there is one quite popular restaurant that I could fairly slam for mashed potatoes that taste like they came out of a box, but because I have a rather sullied view of the restaurateur I don't think it would be fair to anyone that read the review because I might be a little more harsh than I would be to someone that I did not know. I am not saying that my opinions carry all that much weight, but I do try and present them in as fair a way as I can, so in some cases it is best to just not write a review than to either bring intemperate derision or overwrought praise.

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After having a nice discussion with other board members on the subject, I've been encouraged to start a thread. So here we go.

The issue is this: a diner posts about his experience, and a representative of the restaurant comes back with "why didn't you say anything at the time? We would have made it right for you!"

It's the comeback that bothers me. I feel it's disingenuous at times. A way to dodge what may be a valid criticism.

Maybe they just care about your dining experience and are upset that any single person came into their restaurant and had a bad meal.

I have heard my fair share of complaints and criticisms throughout the years and I always appreciate the ones I hear in-house a ton more so I can remedy the situation immediately and make the guests happy and I can also make sure whatever went wrong for them doesn't go wrong for anyone else.

Everyone has the right to have a bad meal and then save their voice and their venom for when they get home and have their keyboard underneath their angry fingers. It's obviously far more popular these days to write angry things on the internet about businesses than to speak with an actual person in hopes that the business can use your feedback to immediately correct something that may affect other guests' experiences.

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Maybe they just care about your dining experience and are upset that any single person came into their restaurant and had a bad meal.

I have heard my fair share of complaints and criticisms throughout the years and I always appreciate the ones I hear in-house a ton more so I can remedy the situation immediately and make the guests happy and I can also make sure whatever went wrong for them doesn't go wrong for anyone else.

Everyone has the right to have a bad meal and then save their voice and their venom for when they get home and have their keyboard underneath their angry fingers. It's obviously far more popular these days to write angry things on the internet about businesses than to speak with an actual person in hopes that the business can use your feedback to immediately correct something that may affect other guests' experiences.

Seconded

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Everyone has the right to have a bad meal and then save their voice and their venom for when they get home and have their keyboard underneath their angry fingers. It's obviously far more popular these days to write angry things on the internet about businesses than to speak with an actual person in hopes that the business can use your feedback to immediately correct something that may affect other guests' experiences.

I don't know, things aren't quite so black and white all of the time. If I'm served something in a restaurant that's inedible (or undrinkable), I think I should, and I would send it back. Anything less than that though is a gray area. Whether I want to complain about something and wait for it to be remedied would depend on how bad the issue is, how much time I have, who I'm eating with or what the circumstances are, etc. There are many reasons why someone may not feel comfortable reporting a problem immediately. There are also situations where there can be a lot of small issues throughout the meal, which when added up in a review can end up giving the review an overall negative tone. But, what should you do? Complain about every little thing wrong with your meal as you progress through it? That doesn't seem reasonable. The point is, not everyone necessarily wants every issue to be remedied on the spot, or even after the fact. The fact that someone doing so would help you to improve in the future isn't the diner's responsibility - the responsibility to ensure that your diners have positive experiences falls squarely on you. And frankly, if that's your only goal, rather than to avoid bad PR, then you can use the information in the review to that end, right?

Ultimately, the goal on this site is for a multitude of people to share their experiences so that people can get a general impression of what eating in that restaurant is like, as well as more specific details like good times to go, which dishes to choose or stay away from, etc. Someone with a vendetta against a restaurant, especially when reviewing a restaurant with overall positive reviews, will stand out as such. We're all discerning folks, we can usually tell when something's not quite right. Outside of that type of behavior, I think negative reviews are fair game assuming we all try to be fair in them. Even a restaurant that excels has off moments or bad nights. Why shouldn't we be allowed to share that experience when it's ours?

I'm sure that the intent of the "why didn't you say something" responses from restaurant folks is quite often just as you said and I'm not attacking yours personally in any way. But, if the intent truly is to want to make amends or remedy the problem, well then do so by contacting the person at that stage. If you do, and your intent seems genuine, I bet the poster will follow-up on their review and note it.

Unfortunately, I believe some of the restaurant responses are not so well-intentioned and perhaps that is some of what's being brought up for discussion here. I certainly will never forget one of my first reviews on this site, if not my first. I had a really good dining experience at the restaurant overall, but there were some minor issues, a couple less minor than the others, but still my overall impression was high and I wanted to go back. I shared my entire experience, both good and bad, and I thought fairly and unemotionally. Apparently my review came off differently and I was lambasted at length in PMs by the owner, including having him accuse me of being a liar. The restaurant remains one of the highly recommended spots in our city and I've never been back. The silly thing is that I'm just the type of person who believes in sharing all fo the gory details, none of these things ruined my dining experience and would have kept be from going back, as I said in the review. If the owner had simply made an effort to address what he thought was my bad experience, I would have realized how the review came off and fixed it. Instead, he was quite simply a total asshole about it. To this day, it bugs me b/c I really want to eat there again, but I can only afford nice meals out so often so in the end, I just choose somewhere where I haven't been berated by the owner.

Maybe the bottom line is that we could all benefit from a little more understanding and attempt at fairness on both sides.

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I don't know, things aren't quite so black and white all of the time. If I'm served something in a restaurant that's inedible (or undrinkable), I think I should, and I would send it back. Anything less than that though is a gray area. Whether I want to complain about something and wait for it to be remedied would depend on how bad the issue is, how much time I have, who I'm eating with or what the circumstances are, etc. There are many reasons why someone may not feel comfortable reporting a problem immediately. There are also situations where there can be a lot of small issues throughout the meal, which when added up in a review can end up giving the review an overall negative tone. But, what should you do? Complain about every little thing wrong with your meal as you progress through it? That doesn't seem reasonable. The point is, not everyone necessarily wants every issue to be remedied on the spot, or even after the fact. The fact that someone doing so would help you to improve in the future isn't the diner's responsibility - the responsibility to ensure that your diners have positive experiences falls squarely on you. And frankly, if that's your only goal, rather than to avoid bad PR, then you can use the information in the review to that end, right?

Ultimately, the goal on this site is for a multitude of people to share their experiences so that people can get a general impression of what eating in that restaurant is like, as well as more specific details like good times to go, which dishes to choose or stay away from, etc. Someone with a vendetta against a restaurant, especially when reviewing a restaurant with overall positive reviews, will stand out as such. We're all discerning folks, we can usually tell when something's not quite right. Outside of that type of behavior, I think negative reviews are fair game assuming we all try to be fair in them. Even a restaurant that excels has off moments or bad nights. Why shouldn't we be allowed to share that experience when it's ours?

I'm sure that the intent of the "why didn't you say something" responses from restaurant folks is quite often just as you said and I'm not attacking yours personally in any way. But, if the intent truly is to want to make amends or remedy the problem, well then do so by contacting the person at that stage. If you do, and your intent seems genuine, I bet the poster will follow-up on their review and note it.

Unfortunately, I believe some of the restaurant responses are not so well-intentioned and perhaps that is some of what's being brought up for discussion here. I certainly will never forget one of my first reviews on this site, if not my first. I had a really good dining experience at the restaurant overall, but there were some minor issues, a couple less minor than the others, but still my overall impression was high and I wanted to go back. I shared my entire experience, both good and bad, and I thought fairly and unemotionally. Apparently my review came off differently and I was lambasted at length in PMs by the owner, including having him accuse me of being a liar. The restaurant remains one of the highly recommended spots in our city and I've never been back. The silly thing is that I'm just the type of person who believes in sharing all fo the gory details, none of these things ruined my dining experience and would have kept be from going back, as I said in the review. If the owner had simply made an effort to address what he thought was my bad experience, I would have realized how the review came off and fixed it. Instead, he was quite simply a total asshole about it. To this day, it bugs me b/c I really want to eat there again, but I can only afford nice meals out so often so in the end, I just choose somewhere where I haven't been berated by the owner.

Maybe the bottom line is that we could all benefit from a little more understanding and attempt at fairness on both sides.

That is just an outstanding post. Bravo!

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^^Venom and anger, seconded. Two responses that reinforce the fears of shy people who will not speak up in person, but will save it for the safety of their homes.

It is fear of confrontation that stops the in-person complaints. If you genuinely want to change things, become more approachable, or create a "safe" environment for confidential complaints.

Haven't we had this discussion in the past?

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I don't know, things aren't quite so black and white all of the time. If I'm served something in a restaurant that's inedible (or undrinkable), I think I should, and I would send it back. Anything less than that though is a gray area. Whether I want to complain about something and wait for it to be remedied would depend on how bad the issue is, how much time I have, who I'm eating with or what the circumstances are, etc. There are many reasons why someone may not feel comfortable reporting a problem immediately. There are also situations where there can be a lot of small issues throughout the meal, which when added up in a review can end up giving the review an overall negative tone. But, what should you do? Complain about every little thing wrong with your meal as you progress through it? That doesn't seem reasonable. The point is, not everyone necessarily wants every issue to be remedied on the spot, or even after the fact. The fact that someone doing so would help you to improve in the future isn't the diner's responsibility - the responsibility to ensure that your diners have positive experiences falls squarely on you. And frankly, if that's your only goal, rather than to avoid bad PR, then you can use the information in the review to that end, right?

Ultimately, the goal on this site is for a multitude of people to share their experiences so that people can get a general impression of what eating in that restaurant is like, as well as more specific details like good times to go, which dishes to choose or stay away from, etc. Someone with a vendetta against a restaurant, especially when reviewing a restaurant with overall positive reviews, will stand out as such. We're all discerning folks, we can usually tell when something's not quite right. Outside of that type of behavior, I think negative reviews are fair game assuming we all try to be fair in them. Even a restaurant that excels has off moments or bad nights. Why shouldn't we be allowed to share that experience when it's ours?

I'm sure that the intent of the "why didn't you say something" responses from restaurant folks is quite often just as you said and I'm not attacking yours personally in any way. But, if the intent truly is to want to make amends or remedy the problem, well then do so by contacting the person at that stage. If you do, and your intent seems genuine, I bet the poster will follow-up on their review and note it.

Unfortunately, I believe some of the restaurant responses are not so well-intentioned and perhaps that is some of what's being brought up for discussion here. I certainly will never forget one of my first reviews on this site, if not my first. I had a really good dining experience at the restaurant overall, but there were some minor issues, a couple less minor than the others, but still my overall impression was high and I wanted to go back. I shared my entire experience, both good and bad, and I thought fairly and unemotionally. Apparently my review came off differently and I was lambasted at length in PMs by the owner, including having him accuse me of being a liar. The restaurant remains one of the highly recommended spots in our city and I've never been back. The silly thing is that I'm just the type of person who believes in sharing all fo the gory details, none of these things ruined my dining experience and would have kept be from going back, as I said in the review. If the owner had simply made an effort to address what he thought was my bad experience, I would have realized how the review came off and fixed it. Instead, he was quite simply a total asshole about it. To this day, it bugs me b/c I really want to eat there again, but I can only afford nice meals out so often so in the end, I just choose somewhere where I haven't been berated by the owner.

Maybe the bottom line is that we could all benefit from a little more understanding and attempt at fairness on both sides.

I don't disagree with just about* anything you wrote here...it was a truly thoughtful post. I just think that the vast majority of negative online comments (very few on this particular site, thank God) on websites come from people who have an agenda and just don't give a shit about the people and families that have busted their butts to make a small business the best it can be.

They criticize restaurants online for simple missteps like they've never personally made a mistake. They hide in the shadows of anonymity.

Granted, there are probably plenty of restaurants (and other small businesses) that could not give a crap about your experience. They just want your money.

I can only speak for myself...I genuinely would much rather hear from a disappointed guest in person than read about it online. Maybe one of the complaints is the room temperature, the volume of the music, the weak drink, the flat soda, the seemingly rude host, the lighting, the slow service, the unintentionally underseasoned soup...things that can be fixed immediately? Put your turn signal on for the benefit of the car right behind you, you know?!

*I do disagree with a few tiny points, but I totally don't feel like nitpicking.

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Thinking about this a bit further...

As most of the people on DR.com (read: not Yelpers and the like) have valuable input and are respected by those of us in the local restaurant industry, wouldn't it be most fair to try and call or email the owner/GM/Chef of your negative experience and include their response time and their desire to make things right (or lack thereof) with your critique? It sure would weed out the truly caring restaurateurs from the money-hungry, unapproachable ones. It could really serve as a valuable tool to the readers of DR.com.

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I don't disagree with just about* anything you wrote here...it was a truly thoughtful post. I just think that the vast majority of negative online comments (very few on this particular site, thank God) on websites come from people who have an agenda and just don't give a shit about the people and families that have busted their butts to make a small business the best it can be.

They criticize restaurants online for simple missteps like they've never personally made a mistake. They hide in the shadows of anonymity.

Granted, there are probably plenty of restaurants (and other small businesses) that could not give a crap about your experience. They just want your money.

I can only speak for myself...I genuinely would much rather hear from a disappointed guest in person than read about it online.

*I do disagree with a few tiny points, but I totally don't feel like nitpicking.

Not to pick on shaggy, but a couple of thoughts.

First, having been accused of it myself, the whole "the vast majority of negative online comments (very few on this particular site, thank God) on websites come from people who have an agenda..." trope is, as far as I can tell, bullshit. I have a very hard time coming to grips with the idea that someone wakes up one morning, decides to spend a couple hundred dollars and several too-rare recreational hours making themselves miserable so they can write a negative post.

I mean, when someone posts a rave do we assume that they have an agenda? That they're trying to get free drinks, screw attractive staff members, get recognized at food-oriented charitable events by famous people (at least some of which are common responses to repeated gushes)? Now, that would be an agenda.

Do chefs and other staff lay on the flattery, bonhomie, and eau-de-vie in hopes of garnering those aforementioned gushes? Indeed they do. That's an agenda, too.

When someone has a bad meal, gets pissed off and rants? Maybe unfair. But not an agenda.

And dismissing "the vast majority of negative online comments" as the product of bitter agenda-burdened dyspeptics posting under the influence of too much bad wine is frankly dishonest. Perhaps if fewer people in the business clung that attitude, there's be fewer bitter posts on bulletin boards.

Second, I hate to say it, but I am unpersuaded by pleas for sympathy regarding the hard-working small-businesspeople who run independent restaurants. I cut loads of slack based on price, effort shown, the dishwasher quitting mid-service and so on. At least on-line, I'm...well...less judgmental than I used to be. But an establishment is either worth your time and money or it isn't. Sometimes your best isn't good enough, no matter how charming your backstory, in which case you should expect to hear about it. If you're good, it will balance out. (Extra credit: Are the servers, line cooks and dishwashers at funky, independent joints more worthy of earning rent money than their counterparts in soulless chains? Because I've never heard anyone say "consider the staff" when, say, Don is comparing a restaurant unfavorably to whaleshit)

And finally (to get back to porcupine's original and delightfully provocative post), I don't mind when an owner or manager says "I wish you'd told me at the time,' but basically, that's because it makes their life easier, and not necessarily mine. A lot of times, it's not possible to un-fuck-up a fuck-up. And a lot of other times, it's not worth the effort. If you don't want to read about it on-line, don't screw it up in the dining room. There is no obligation on my part to interrupt my night, flag down a manager, and cross my fingers in hopes that whatever reparations might be offered will sponge up whatever blots have been spilled on my night out. So, yes, I take management at its word that they wish I'd spoken up earlier. But I resent it when that thought is conveyed in a way that suggests that I'm the one who violated the code.

To echo choirgirl, I think most people are basically honest and sincere, that over time, good restaurants will accrue the reputation they earn, and that readers of forums like these are bright enough to make appropriate judgments when confronted with passionate opinions, positive or otherwise.

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Not to pick on shaggy, but a couple of thoughts.

First, having been accused of it myself, the whole "the vast majority of negative online comments (very few on this particular site, thank God) on websites come from people who have an agenda..." trope is, as far as I can tell, bullshit. I have a very hard time coming to grips with the idea that someone wakes up one morning, decides to spend a couple hundred dollars and several too-rare recreational hours making themselves miserable so they can write a negative post.

I mean, when someone posts a rave do we assume that they have an agenda? That they're trying to get free drinks, screw attractive staff members, get recognized at food-oriented charitable events by famous people (at least some of which are common responses to repeated gushes)? Now, that would be an agenda.

Do chefs and other staff lay on the flattery, bonhomie, and eau-de-vie in hopes of garnering those aforementioned gushes? Indeed they do. That's an agenda, too.

When someone has a bad meal, gets pissed off and rants? Maybe unfair. But not an agenda.

And dismissing "the vast majority of negative online comments" as the product of bitter agenda-burdened dyspeptics posting under the influence of too much bad wine is frankly dishonest. Perhaps if fewer people in the business clung that attitude, there's be fewer bitter posts on bulletin boards.

Second, I hate to say it, but I am unpersuaded by pleas for sympathy regarding the hard-working small-businesspeople who run independent restaurants. I cut loads of slack based on price, effort shown, the dishwasher quitting mid-service and so on. At least on-line, I'm...well...less judgmental than I used to be. But an establishment is either worth your time and money or it isn't. Sometimes your best isn't good enough, no matter how charming your backstory, in which case you should expect to hear about it. If you're good, it will balance out. (Extra credit: Are the servers, line cooks and dishwashers at funky, independent joints more worthy of earning rent money than their counterparts in soulless chains? Because I've never heard anyone say "consider the staff" when, say, Don is comparing a restaurant unfavorably to whaleshit)

And finally (to get back to porcupine's original and delightfully provocative post), I don't mind when an owner or manager says "I wish you'd told me at the time,' but basically, that's because it makes their life easier, and not necessarily mine. A lot of times, it's not possible to un-fuck-up a fuck-up. And a lot of other times, it's not worth the effort. If you don't want to read about it on-line, don't screw it up in the dining room. There is no obligation on my part to interrupt my night, flag down a manager, and cross my fingers in hopes that whatever reparations might be offered will sponge up whatever blots have been spilled on my night out. So, yes, I take management at its word that they wish I'd spoken up earlier. But I resent it when that thought is conveyed in a way that suggests that I'm the one who violated the code.

To echo choirgirl, I think most people are basically honest and sincere, that over time, good restaurants will accrue the reputation they earn, and that readers of forums like these are bright enough to make appropriate judgments when confronted with passionate opinions, positive or otherwise.

Hey, I'm a big boy and fully understand that replying to this thread could get some opposite views. I am not feeling picked on in the least. (Thanks for the consideration, though. I appreciate that.)

You're right. There is no obligation on the guests' part to provide in-person feedback...that's not contributing to your pleasant night out and certainly not the reason why you came out to dinner/lunch/brunch. I'm simply stating that as DR.com members, you all have a distinctly heavier influence on local restaurants that pay attention to this site. (I thought we were talking about this site specifically?)

Believe it or not, the OTHER sites out there have plenty of people that post negative shit based almost wholly on fabricated tales just because they got cut off at the bar, denied entrance because they were inappropriately intoxicated, etc... You can call bullshit, but you would be very wrong. It may be hard for you to come grips with, but it happens.

"A lot of times, it's not possible to un-fuck-up a fuck-up. And a lot of other times, it's not worth the effort."--You couldn't be more correct. Well said.

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I disagree with the notion, put forward by restaurant owners, that if you have a bad experience the management should be informed and allowed to correct it on the spot, and thus be spared any mention of the problem in a subsequent review.

Boards like DR are for the serious purpose of sharing information about food and restaurants with other serious people. Since nobody has enough time or money to try every place and form his/her own opinion, an important reason for posting and reading here is to share genuine information about, and form opinions about, places that one might wish to try before actually doing so, as well as keeping tabs on any downhill tendencies in places that may already be familiar. I believe that those who inhabit this particular section of cyberspace understand that the world of food service is not perfect, have a reasonable expectation that sometimes a restaurant experience will be less than ideal, and are not going to eschew a particular establishment simply because they have become aware it had a miss on a particular occasion.

Many people do not choose to speak up when something is wrong, and even those who do may find it inconvenient to do so. So even if the restaurant owner is willing and able to correct a problem on the spot, the diner's experience still is affected; correcting a problem is fine, but still not the same as not having had the problem in the first place. Thus, IMO, it is not only legitimate, but absolutely correct, to make note of the sequence of events in any review.

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I believe that I fully understand what this site is about and having met a lot of its members, I believe I understand the passion you, as a group, have for food and dining. No need to explain it to me, johnb.

I am simply stating that it would be nice to hear complaints in person and have a chance to react immediately than to read about it later. We, as caring restaurant workers, respect any of our guests' opinions and want to make things right as quickly as possible.

If I have a problem, I speak with a live person and give that person a chance to correct things. It's the polite thing to do. Just sayin'.

(I'm done responding to this topic. I was just trying to explain from our side of the fence and certainly not wanting to take part in a debate. Happy Turkey Day!)

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I believe that I fully understand what this site is about and having met a lot of its members, I believe I understand the passion you, as a group, have for food and dining. No need to explain it to me, johnb.

I am simply stating that it would be nice to hear complaints in person and have a chance to react immediately than to read about it later. We, as caring restaurant workers, respect any of our guests' opinions and want to make things right as quickly as possible.

If I have a problem, I speak with a live person and give that person a chance to correct things. It's the polite thing to do. Just sayin'.

(I'm done responding to this topic. I was just trying to explain from our side of the fence and certainly not wanting to take part in a debate. Happy Turkey Day!)

What I'm reading from shaggy is that he proposes that restaurants have the chance to make amends (either on the spot, or via email, etc.), AND that posters incorporate the restaurants' level of response into their reviews. So what's wrong with that? Seems like it would make reviews even more comprehensive and valuable, adding that extra piece of information.

I don't see him saying that people should be forced to do this; he's merely proposing it as an alternative. It would certainly distance restaurants responsive to customer service from those that aren't.

Cheers,

Rocks

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If I have a problem, I speak with a live person and give that person a chance to correct things. It's the polite thing to do. Just sayin'.

This implies that a diner has a social obligation to provide input to the restaurant on the spot when there's a problem and that not to do so is therefore impolite. I would have to disagree, for all the reasons eloquently stated by Waitman, johnb and others above. Context is critical. If I'm with someone in a restaurant, it is usually a social occasion and my focus is on the people I am with. Starting a talk with the manager or server about a problem can, in most cases, intrude on that focus. The situation is different if I'm with a bunch of fellow food obsessives, in which case a focus on the food is part of the social occasion, but I usually don't dine out with people like that.

Viewed in this way, I think the two issues of on-the-spot critique and posting negative comments online are separate.

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What I'm reading from shaggy is that he proposes that restaurants have the chance to make amends (either on the spot, or via email, etc.), AND that posters incorporate the restaurants' level of response into their reviews. So what's wrong with that? Seems like it would make reviews even more comprehensive and valuable, adding that extra piece of information.

I don't see him saying that people should be forced to do this; he's merely proposing it as an alternative. It would certainly distance restaurants responsive to customer service from those that aren't.

Cheers,

Rocks

Thanks for reading me correctly, Don.

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I’m not in the business and feel like I’m agenda free with two caveats:

1. I dine at some places often so want them to be as good as possible (for ex. my critique of Eventide).

2. I’m forced to dine at some places and so (a) want them to be better and (b ) feel like I’m providing a public service regarding them.

In two cases (my review of Eventide and a time I was slammed for a review) I didn’t complain in person because of the situation. One was a business lunch and the other was a “special thank you night”.

I like the idea of PMing the chef/GM and may do that in the future but wanted to highlight the reasons I might not complain in person.

I’ve enjoyed this thread and learned some things.

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Thanks for an interesting discussion so far, everyone.

I would take this one step further and either not post impressions I have of a meal at a restaurant that I have a relationship with the owner/chef/manager

Which is why I haven't posted about Dino - either way - in about two years.

I always appreciate the ones I hear in-house a ton more so I can remedy the situation immediately and make the guests happy and I can also make sure whatever went wrong for them doesn't go wrong for anyone else.

Thanks for illustrating my point. What would you do if you couldn't remedy the situation? Let's make it hypothetical again. (And let me make it clear that I've only been to your restaurant once, and I really enjoyed myself, but I don't recall at this time what sorts of things you have on the menu.) So, hypothetically, let's say you serve a beet and goat cheese salad [that's a safe guess; everyone does these days]. And let's say that I found the beets unpleasantly raw and the goat cheese too strong for them. So I complain, and send them back. Maybe your chef could send out the beets a little more cooked, but it's the only goat cheese you have in the house. What then?

And let's say a few weeks later I come back, and order the salad again, and am told "this is how we developed the dish and our customers seem to like it this way.*" Would it be wrong for me to post something like "although the beet and goat cheese seems to sell well, I've found it unpleasantly raw and unbalanced, with a too-strong cheese overwhelming the under-cooked beets"? That would be both a fact confirmed by you and an honest opinion from me.

Why is that wrong?

*btw, I have been told that, at other restaurants, and amusingly it's been after my opinion was solicited by the chef/gm/owner.

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What I'm reading from shaggy is that he proposes that restaurants have the chance to make amends (either on the spot, or via email, etc.), AND that posters incorporate the restaurants' level of response into their reviews. So what's wrong with that?

Absolutely nothing. Indeed, it was an example in my first hypothetical situation. But that isn't the point.

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This implies that a diner has a social obligation to provide input to the restaurant on the spot when there's a problem and that not to do so is therefore impolite.

johnb--"Boards like DR are for the serious purpose of sharing information about food and restaurants with other serious people. Since nobody has enough time or money to try every place and form his/her own opinion, an important reason for posting and reading here is to share genuine information about, and form opinions about, places that one might wish to try before actually doing so, as well as keeping tabs on any downhill tendencies in places that may already be familiar."

Banco--thank you for expressing what has always bothered me about the "did you talk to anyone while you were there?" response but i was never able to quite verbalize. while i absolutely believe thas some posts responding this way come from a sincere desire to improve their customer's dining experiences there are others that seem to come from a belief that a diner has no right to form an opinion unless the establishment was given a chance to correct their error, to have two bites at the apple, so to speak. and i've never understood this--if the diners say something to management, and management fixes the problem and yet management's remediation isn't mentioned in the online review (i.e. "we told the waiter it was overcooked and they sent out a second one that was perfect"), that's one thing, and unfair. But at least in my professional life, i do not assume that i am entitled to a second chance to fix my work before someone forms an opinion of my work product. And even if i'm given one, i believe the person is absolutely entitled to say that my initial product was poor but i fixed it later. i'm not sure that restaurants should be treated differently.

I do think porcupine (thank you for starting this thread and your thoughtful post, btw!) is correct in pointing out that it's possible that different standards apply to different sorts of restaurant problems. there are things that are clearly a gross error, and are fixable, such as an appetizer that never came, or something being inedibly overcooked or salty. but these are relatively rare. what happens to me more often is that i just don't think the food is good. for example, i tried the macaroni and cheese at a place that's recieved much praise here, and i simply didn't think it was good--in my opinion, there wasn't enough cheese and there was too heavy a mustard flavor. another time, i simply thought the paneer mahkani was too bland and one-note. i know how passionate people in the industry are about their food and respect their talent. accordingly, unless there's a clear mistake, i assume that the food i recieve is as the chef intended, that the amount of sugar in a dish was intended,etc. accordingly, i don't know that it would be appropriate/useful to point out the issue to anyone at the restaurant because what is occuring is just a difference of opinion regarding how the food should taste, but why then should that mean that i'm not entitled to voice my opinion of the meal?

what worries me about the frequency of the " did you complain to the staff?" response is that i feel that it has the effect of discouraging people from posting about their experiences, or to refrain from posting negative opinions. i know that it has discouraged me from posting, and i doubt that i'm the only one. like johnb, i rely on this board as a source of information about restaurant, a way of obtaining input from people whose opinions i trust regarding restaurants or dishes i may not have tried before. It is an amazing resource this way, but only if people continue to post frequently and feel free to express (politely of course!) their actual opinions.

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[How fair is a critique if you let the restaurant know in advance you're going to be there? Under what circumstances should you let the restaurant owner know you're a contributer to DR, CH, etc. and you're going to be there?]

["Not" and "no". ]

[Why are we writing in brackets?]

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[Why are we writing in brackets?]

[Cute. I use the brackets when I'm writing as moderator, as opposed to a regular old poster.

Ironically, I just heard from an industry insider, who cited this thread as an example of why they don't post more; they fear being beaten down.]

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[Cute. I use the brackets when I'm writing as moderator, as opposed to a regular old poster.

Ironically, I just heard from an industry insider, who cited this thread as an example of why they don't post more; they fear being beaten down.]

Well, sort of. It's not fear, though. Weariness, maybe.

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Well, sort of. It's not fear, though. Weariness, maybe.

So we have diners afraid to post for fear of a beat-down; restaurateurs weary of posting because they don't have the time to get into back-and-forths. Not a good combo.

[Again, please PM me and let me know what I can do to foster a more integrated environment - we're all in this together, you know; I don't consider the diner-restaurant relationship a "we vs. them" situation, and never will - that just doesn't reflect reality in the vast majority of cases.

This thread is important, but it also makes me sad, because I think it cuts to the heart of what I've strived for for so long - that we're all one big community, and that we're all in this together. I still believe that's true, but perhaps this website is now falling a bit short of the ideal - I intend to remedy that. Please voice your concerns to me.]

Cheers,

Rocks

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This thread is important, but it also makes me sad, because I think it cuts to the heart of what I've strived for for so long - that we're all one big community, and that we're all in this together. I still believe that's true, but perhaps this website is now falling a bit short of the ideal - I intend to remedy that. Please voice your concerns to me.

Cheers,

Rocks

I am not sure that we are, Don. It's nice to able to interact with industry folks, but in the end I am paying them for food and service, both with my money and my time. Both are in such short supply right now that I may not be inclined to return if they mess up badly enough the first time. I have one night a month, and would rather spend it catching up with a friend instead of chasing down my server or bitching to a manager. Why should it be my responsibility - and a reflection on my manners - if I choose not to make a scene? Banco had it right here:

This implies that a diner has a social obligation to provide input to the restaurant on the spot when there's a problem and that not to do so is therefore impolite. I would have to disagree, for all the reasons eloquently stated by Waitman, johnb and others above. Context is critical. If I'm with someone in a restaurant, it is usually a social occasion and my focus is on the people I am with. Starting a talk with the manager or server about a problem can, in most cases, intrude on that focus.

And the flip side - Waitman said

Do chefs and other staff lay on the flattery, bonhomie, and eau-de-vie in hopes of garnering those aforementioned gushes? Indeed they do. That's an agenda, too.

Yeah. It is an agenda. I've been on the receiving end of it at a few places, until I realized that this board is essentially just another media outlet and therefore worth massaging. Remember being in school & realizing that the popular kid isn't actually interested in being a friend, but in copying your homework? Like that.

The beat-downs, especially from other members, get tiresome. I can think of two occasions when I deviated from praising a sacred cow (Central and Palena) and it was absolutely not worth the hassle. (My dissatisfaction with Palena resulted in Logan Cox unpleasantly calling me out, and it's no coincidence that I haven't been to New Heights since he took over). My last few meals at Ray's the Classics have been subpar but I haven't bothered to say anything because it never happens to anyone else, why didn't I say something, and the Emperor is of course wearing clothes! There are diminishing returns on being honest here and it's reduced my posting considerably.

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Remember being in school & realizing that the popular kid isn't actually interested in being a friend, but in copying your homework? Like that.

I love this analogy, I think that it works on so many levels when it comes to people on this board. Name dropping of the various chefs board members are friends with has become tedious – ok, it always has been, but it seems to be at its apex at the dinners that I have attended. But my favorite suck-up that I witness in these parts is the pretentious gushing that uses the word “chef” as a proper noun without the definite article “the” before it. Such as: “I was delighted that Chef came by our table…” or “I was happy to receive a free plate of sacred cow from Chef” – for the love of God, even Queen Elizabeth is known as The Queen of England. But I digress…

The beat-downs, especially from other members, get tiresome.

I had a similar experience with deviating from popular opinion about a bar near the Convention Center and in response was blamed for causing the ensuing ruckus for responding to personal attacks. Granted, I find the online personalities of the people that mounted the attacks to be quite loathsome so I am not even sure why I wasted my time and ire in responding.

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At risk of being considered naïve, I always try to assume that posters, both customers and staff, are genuine in their concern. It both makes life easier and prevents distress over what might otherwise be interpreted as an attack. That said, I have had bad food and poor service at some restaurants and food purveyors that I have not reported for the reasons mentioned above. Whether or not this problem is solvable is debatable. As an example, and at risk of angering people, I'll mention our neighborhood listserver and the Dairy Godmother.

We have been in the DG twice, and on both occasions we were met by service with a snarl. The product is great, but the people behind the counter were rude, snapped at us, and acted as if we were imposing on them. One time, this person was the owner. For me, end of story - I'm not going back. I am not the only one who has had this experience, and a brave soul posted about it on our local neighborhood listserver, and inquired if people had other recommendations for ice cream shops. This person was immediately flamed by friends of the owner of the DG, (the debate raged for days,) and the take home message was, "shame on you for hurting a local, small business owner whom we all know and love." A few in the pro-DG contingent even admitted to the poor service but excused the behind-the-counter behavior due to stress from running the business. In other words, if I know you, and you have a local business, then poor service is excusable, and I'll defend it to anyone who says otherwise. I see the same viewpoints expressed here in regard to other establishments.

I see no solution to people defending their friends. It is human nature to do so. I suppose the issue is whether or not criticism of service is viewed as a personal insult or as constructive commentary that could help better a business. Perhaps we could all make an effort to view it as the latter.

Edited to add another thought - If places like this board were viewed as "safe" for people who want to post negative criticism, I bet that places like Yelp would fade away.

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...There are diminishing returns on being honest here and it's reduced my posting considerably.

That's a red flag for sure, and not the way it should be.

We are passionate people.

About food, about life, about our opinions on excellence. But beat downs like that Palena thread are not OK.

We all need to remember even the most cherished restaurant can have a bad night, a bad dish, a server off his/her game.

  • Coming from a place of curiosity and asking more questions about the context of someone's experience: OK.
  • Coming from a place of defensiveness and attempting to erase the legitimacy of another person’s data-driven opinion: Not OK.

I would ask everyone to consider which "place" you are coming from when posting a response to someone's review. The diversity of viewpoints and honest dialogue are what make this board strong; the strength of collective opinion and building of ideas a rare treasure.

We are passionate, people. Don’t let that divide us by muting us.

(emperor clothing)

(half off)

(everything must go)

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There will always be owners and chefs like the Soup Nazi, and there will always be customers that compare what they are served to an entree from the grocer's freezer.

There will also always be people who relish attention from someone with a minor amount of 'fame'.

There is no litmus test to prevent these people from joining; nor is their commentary always entirely useless. Fortunately, in a board like this they are easier to pick out and more likely to be called out/ignored as the situation warrants.

When all else fails, I think this is an important point:

Granted, I find the online personalities of the people that mounted the attacks to be quite loathsome so I am not even sure why I wasted my time and ire in responding.

The point of this board might be to foster communication, but sometimes its best to be silent, especially when there is a good chance the conversation won' t be constructive.

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My position, for what little it may be worth, is that now I only post about good experiences, and when I use this board to find a new place to try, I look for places with a good amount of relatively recent positive reviews. As I type this, I realize that means I value buzz and that's not necessarily good, since buzz can be manufactured. Of course there will always be bad nights at great places, occasionally the opposite, but this place is one of several tools for finding the information I want, although I like to think it's the best tool available.

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You guys are good. When this thread started I was firmly in the "just let the restaurant know if something is wrong, and they will be happy to TRY and fix it" camp.

But now I see, and agree with, that this is not always possible. I hadn't seen the light until going through this thread. We should all remember that, restaurants really do want to make you happy. So their saying, "just let us know while you are here" is indeed honest and heartfelt.

Now that I realize why this can be problematic and undesirable from the diner's perspective, we just need to figure out a more discreet way of finding out about troubles. Maybe something like a Staples "Easy" button that people can tap when there is an issue.

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So we have diners afraid to post for fear of a beat-down; restaurateurs weary of posting because they don't have the time to get into back-and-forths. Not a good combo.

Cheers,

Rocks

As one of those who's online personality can, on occasion, veer towards the loathsome, and whose idea of a reasoned discussion often includes (along with salient, highbrow points) calling a loved one a "fucking moron," (not personal arguments, mind you, just politics, religion, cooking and the other Liberal Arts), I'd like to suggest a couple of things.

If people are passionate enough about food to get on this board, and normal enough to have friends, lovers, favorites places, bad experiences, deeply held opinions and tempers, it's going to get heated. This is a good thing. Or would you rather read one more post about a fine experience at a Trader Joe's? A good knock-down drag out -- or even a little cat-fight -- drives traffic and makes the board more interesting. As an ex-moderator at another food board where management went out of their way to suck the life out of the postings, I'd suggest that a significant commitment to peace has roughly the same effect on a board's health as calling up the barber to bleed a pneumonia victim.

As a corollary, if you post something passionate, you should expect an equally passionate response. Often, and this applies to both sides of the civilian/industry debate, it appears that people will make strong feelings known and then be surprised when they encounter an equally strong response. I'm always surprised by people's surprise, in that case Of course, sometimes the respondent raises the stakes ("you're wrong and you're stupid") and then it's off to the races. But still, we're all here for a free and frank exchange of ideas, right?

And, finally, I think a little bit of skin thickening is a good thing. The arguments here are nothing compared to some of the political boards I used to hang on. I've been pissy and I've been pissed at, but rarely if ever in a truly vicious or even particularly ad hominem way. A little verbal fisticuffs makes the day more interesting and -- not occasionally -- Donrockwell more informative.

Not advocating complete anarchy or trolling for trolling's sake, but still we should be here to speak out.

I like the kind of straight-shooting at sacred cows this guy used to do, in another time and place. I wonder if he mentioned anything to management before he posted?

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Dear God. I don't even remember posting that. (I am Rosebud on egullet--I picked that screen name because it belongs to a Rosarian in Georgia on Gardenweb.com and I couldn't think of anything else at the moment I signed up). I joined Egullet to go to the special dinner Gillean threw at Colorado Kitchen for that crowd. I met people that night that I consider true friends to this day. For those of you new to all this, the changes at eGullet (I don't care if I get this right) prompted the creation of DonRockwell.com. That most certainly includes Waitman and Mrs. B.

Waitman and I have disagreed about certain sacred cows and I still love him to death. He and Mrs. B live within walking distance from Dame Edna and me and that has proved, over the years, to be a most felicitous arrangement--most recently this summer when the transformer fire at the Univeral building knocked out the power in my building. You should be so lucky to get invited to their house for a meal. They simply never serve bad food. Ever.

I suppose my point is that there is a whole social network here, which seems to keep expanding, that goes beyond the usual on-line group of critics. If you are genuinely a good person, you can tap into that. You just wanna be a jerk? That becomes clear to us, too.

Having said that, there are things I don't post here. Mainly because I could be wrong, or because I just don't think it's worth it to nitpick over what could have been a bad night or because some place didn't live up to the hype, in my opinion. Still, because of the people here, I know exactly where to get a wonderful meal at a reasonable price. YMMV.

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As one of those who's online personality can, on occasion, veer towards the loathsome, and whose idea of a reasoned discussion often includes (along with salient, highbrow points) calling a loved one a "fucking moron," (not personal arguments, mind you, just politics, religion, cooking and the other Liberal Arts), I'd like to suggest a couple of things.

And, finally, I think a little bit of skin thickening is a good thing.

That is probably true. Here's a little over the top lesson you for all you fucking morons :)

ETA:I hope I haven't offended anyone.

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I think what many may find tiring, especially new posters, is that you seemingly have to gird yourself to defend a negative post to the death. This seems to be the status quo, whether it is a "we were disappointed in...." tepid post, or a full-on, scorched earth review. And I think Don's bullshit detector regarding most flame-thrower posts is calibrated just right.

I think the potential for aggressive reaction does stifle many voices, particularly new ones. The attitude of "since that isn't MY experience, that couldn't have been YOURS" is pervasive and deflating

One of the great things about restaurants is that it's not manufacturing; it's a performance. Just as a musician cannot replicate the same piece in the exact same manner, there will always be varying degrees of execution in a restaurants kitchen and service dynamics.

Restauranteurs really do want people to speak up at the time, because it's the only way to correct an issue on the spot. Not because they fear a negative post, (that segment of the overall dining public is minimal), but because they truly want you to enjoy your evening and the meal.

If I have a larger point, I am struggling to articulate it.

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Disclaimers for the following abound, but I'll just get to the principal points I'd like to add to the discussion:

One of the reasons I tend not to post anything about rare occasions when I visit restaurants is that I eat out rarely. I'm reluctant to appraise a place here based on a single meal, especially if it's on a weeknight when an otherwise popular establishment is slow. The few times that I bother to write anything are either when I have a great experience that I want to share, or if I've visited the place several times and have a basis for comparison.

When I am dining alone, I don't hesitate to express displeasure to staff. For example, after an inordinately long wait, my hamburger arrives as seared tartare slid between buns that turn pink with the first bite (a condition many here prefer) even though I answered "medium rare" when placing my order.

If someone is treating me to dinner and I choose a restaurant that receives nothing but rhapsodic comments here, and it turns out to be a major disappointment and expensive to boot, the situation makes me feel very uncomfortable, especially if I sense that my dining companion is enjoying the food about as much as I am. On top of that, the last time we had gone out to eat together was at a dirt cheap place that was ten times better and we split the bill. I don't complain to staff; I don't complain to the friend. It would be ungracious. There was good red wine and excellent company.

Why post criticism here when the dining companion, knowing of my membership, might read it, too?

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We're not pros - we can't all go to a restaurant 3 times before writing about it. In fact, if the restaurant wasn't good the first time, what would compel me to go back? While we can't individually visit each restaurant multiple times, we can as a group - which is why I do value negative reviews, as long as it isn't overexaggerated. There are negative reviews and there are clueless reviews. Unfortunately it is frowned upon in this establishment to tell people that they're clueless. :)

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Edited to add another thought - If places like this board were viewed as "safe" for people who want to post negative criticism, I bet that places like Yelp would fade away.

No, I fear it goes the other way, DR.com becomes more like Yelp (gulp!). An undercurrent to all of this is that people who like to post negative criticism get drawn to places where they are free to do so without repercussion or blow back. It's a double-edged sword: you maintain an insular, closely knit group where criticism is welcomed, discussed, and politely "fuck you!"'ed when appropriate and everybody remains mostly friendly and shared knowledge is a valuable commodity, but you pay the price in diversity of opinion; or you expand active membership by making it friendly to newbies and foster vigorous back-and-forth and it's-my-valid-opinion-who-cares-what-you-think, but you end up with a greater amount of useless dreck, personal ad hominem attacks and wasted bandwidth.

It is a universal law of online communities that signal-to-noise ratio is inversely linked to population growth.

Edited to add: Sorry, Don, it's way I see it as someone who's been on here sporadically from "back in the day". Not sure this freight train has an emergency brake strong enough to halt the madness without rippin' her apart, but if anybody can do it I'm sure you're the guy for the job.

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No, I fear it goes the other way, DR.com becomes more like Yelp (gulp!). An undercurrent to all of this is that people who like to post negative criticism get drawn to places where they are free to do so without repercussion or blow back. It's a double-edged sword: you maintain an insular, closely knit group where criticism is welcomed, discussed, and politely "fuck you!"'ed when appropriate and everybody remains mostly friendly and shared knowledge is a valuable commodity, but you pay the price in diversity of opinion; or you expand active membership by making it friendly to newbies and foster vigorous back-and-forth and it's-my-valid-opinion-who-cares-what-you-think, but you end up with a greater amount of useless dreck, personal ad hominem attacks and wasted bandwidth.

It is a universal law of online communities that signal-to-noise ratio is inversely linked to population growth.

I would generally agree with this argument, except for the fact that it ignores the role of the moderator (what an apt word!) in filtering out the dreck, so that board growth and quality can intersect at a higher point on the graph.

ETA to recognize your ETA :)

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I would generally agree with this argument, except for the fact that it ignores the role of the moderator (what an apt word!) in filtering out the dreck, so that board growth and quality can intersect at a higher point on the graph.

ETA to recognize your ETA :)

I actually think Don has a light touch with the moderator hammer compared to other moderated boards where the admins wield their power as a political tool. His primary weapon (the thread lock) only serves to let the sides retreat to their corners, and in my experience those with little to contribute but rancor lose interest easily and don't come back for round two. I can't remember a case where he made a topic disappear without adequate explanation and for any reason other than outright lies or personal pissing matches (his reasons for doing so are irrelevant, this is his playground). So, kudos. My point about stemming a rising tide while allowing for organic growth stands.

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I actually think Don has a light touch with the moderator hammer compared to other moderated boards where the admins wield their power as a political tool.

OT, but you wouldn't happen to have any particular names in mind by any chance would you? :)

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The beat-downs, especially from other members, get tiresome. I can think of two occasions when I deviated from praising a sacred cow (Central and Palena) and it was absolutely not worth the hassle.

For what it's worth, there is a handful of people on this board whose opinion I totally trust and respect; when they post, I pay attention. Heather is one of them. If she says she had a bad experience, she had a bad experience.

I'm sorry I didn't come to her defense at the time.

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I see no solution to people defending their friends. It is human nature to do so. I suppose the issue is whether or not criticism of service is viewed as a personal insult or as constructive commentary that could help better a business. Perhaps we could all make an effort to view it as the latter..

you make an excellent suggestion, and i think that, and just trying to maintain a civil and respectful tone in posts, would go a long way.

However, while I agree with you that there's a natural tendency to defend one's friends, i do think that there's also a responsibility, particularly when you're going to attack another poster, to consider the possiblity that your friends might be less than perfect, that certain dishes at a restaurant might be better than others, and that even an amazing kitchen can have an off night or dish. On the flip side, I believe reviewers have a responsibility to remember that the people who make their food are real people, trying hard, with feelings. As much as i enjoy reading the hyperbolic reviews, i doubt that every dish called "inedible slop" was, in fact, inedible or even agressively bad.

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consider the possiblity that your friends might be less than perfect...i doubt that every dish called "inedible slop" was, in fact, inedible or even agressively bad.

These two points really stick out for a number of reasons, the first point is spot on. When one of my friends rubs people the wrong way with his bluntness, and name calling, he is on his own, but if he gives an honest opinion about a dish or an experience I will generally back him to the end (or he starts calling people idiots or some such name), which brings me to the second point and that is vague praise or degradation, they need to be called out for more details. Yelp, Yahoo, and other hit and run type of boards tend to have too much Go this restaurant is soooo good… or dont waste your money on this low grade dog food… kinds of comments, that serve only to… well, they serve some juvenile sense of getting your two cents worth. To me the most important aspect of a fair critique is not whether it is good/bad, a sacred cow, or your latest find at Trader Joes, it is the details. I reference the aforementioned Palena kerfuffle that Heather found herself in; had I visited the restaurant the night before and had a different opinion concerning the bisque and loved it, I would have known from reading her post how it was different from what I had been served and from this I might share how mine was different without attacking her for having had a different experience. Now if she had written Palena sucks ventworm nut and left it at that, I would ask for more details about why she feels this way in hopes at getting to the details (though if this is a pattern, I may just point that out as well).

I will have to respectfully disagree with Waitmans acceptance of pissyness, I am all for heated debate, but once you descend into name calling and digital yelling people stop paying attention to the original points, and it becomes personal I have no use for such base types of confrontation, especially so when it takes on the airs of bullying which so many of these fights tend to do.

Edited by Sthitch
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