VERY offended! [General]

2010 Jul 22
I am VERY offended by a "Questionable" tag I have received. I will no longer be posting here. This site has for months seemed quite cliquey to me but I continue to read the posting and forums because I love local food and enjoyed reading *some* peoples posts.

The post I am refering to is Elgin Street Diner. I noticed that a new member-Dita's post was flagged Questionable and another member's post that was along the same lines WAS NOT. So, I asked "Why is Dita's post questionable and Snoopy Loopy's not? Well, no answer was given, instead a gold member decided to flag ALL our posts questionable. nice.

I also had a questionable post on another restaurant. It was when I first started reading this forum and so I realized the reason it was questionable was there may not be enough info. SO, I went back and replied (since that's the decent thing to do unlike the person who decided to flag us all) and gave more details. And still my post is flagged Questionable.

Anyways, I feel like lots of you are foodie wannabes and honestly I was hurt and offended. I think I will continue to read the other Ottawa food blogs I read and comment on where I dont feel shot down so much.

And... I do recall this topic being on the Forum a little while ago. Following the guidelines listed there, my Elgin Street Diner post WAS NOT QUESTIONABLE.

2010 Jul 25
Notwithstanding the hurt feelings, this is a helpful discussion.

Inappropriate and questionable posts have the potential to be damaging: They can disparage a quality vendor unfairly, and they can also dishonestly promote a vendor that cannot stand on its own merits.

However, censorship (or more appropriately here, "censureship"), while well-intended, can have unintended effects (noted above and elsewhere on this site). Some good-hearted folks get turned off, and I'm not comfortable simply saying, "Well, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." Or "you are way too sensitive." Others, like myself, are reluctant to post out of concern of offending community standards that can be hard to read from the patterns of posts that are flagged as questionable or inappropriate.

The challenge here, as in most policy quandaries, is to strike the right balance between these competing interests. Where the right balance lies is something about which reasonable minds might differ. I personally favor a balance that puts more responsibility on the reader to judge the merits of a review or comment for himself or herself.

Some might argue that attaching labels to posts and graying out the text amounts to the open discourse I favour, particularly when the right to attach these has an element of democracy to it. But arguably, such labels, in their brevity, amount to a "drive-by posting" that is as "questionable" as the drive-by posting it is meant to redress.

I prefer the idea above of having a better way for the larger community to respond to reviews as an alternative to labeling posts as questionable/inappropriate. However, that would require some technical changes to the site, which might also have unintended consequences.

The best solution I can see here is a combination of:

1) Restraint in the use of the questionable/inappropriate tags; and
2) Respectful and substantive discourse as an alternative to such tags.

The line of argument will often get lost in the "buzz" page, given its un-threaded structure. But it will get faithfully captured in vendor page, where it is more likely to be read by a wider audience.

Mark