Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Turns Out Chowhound HAS Defeated Stamford Talk, But Not in a Bad Way

Wow. The Chowhound moderators sent me an email I have to admire. It was well-written and, unlike the previous emails to me, didn't sound like the writer was gritting his or her teeth in an attempt to be civil. They made their point and shot me down dead, but in a nice way. I respect that.

Here is the story. I finally had the Napa and Co. burger last month, so when I saw a thread this week about where one can find good Kobe beef in the FC, I posted about Napa and Co.’s burger, hoping maybe this time Chow would allow it. You may recall that last month my post about the burger got rejected and I learned that Napa and Co. is banned from Chowhound for life. That post was the most-commented-on in the life of Stamford Talk, proving that this town loves to eat and gossip.

I went back to the thread later, and my post wasn’t there. I thought maybe I hadn’t actually hit “post my reply,” so I wanted to try it again. I hadn’t gotten an email to tell me to shut my trap, so I really did think I might have quit out of Firefox before my post went through. I made a new account under my other gmail account and posted. I didn’t post it under Stamford Talk, because, if the post had gone through, I didn’t want Chow to think I was being a harasser. When my second post disappeared, I figured the ban must be in effect, and I put up yesterday's post called “Chowhound Cannot Defeat Stamford!”

Well, I got a very long email from Chow today. You can read it, but basically, they firmly told me that they know I posted under a different name and that I should stop because they are trying to do the best job they can. First of all, how did they track me down!?! I used a totally different email, under the gmail account I have in my own name! I don’t see how they could do that- is it my IP address? Do they know my name? Well, now they do, because they knew my fake name was under my email. I have to admire their tenacity, although it does remind me that anything I do on the internet is obviously very easy to track.

Second of all, I think Chow is right. I do need to lay off. Their email gave a satisfying explanation about why I can't post about Napa, and now I will stop bothering Chow. (I'm the type of person that if I don't know something, I sometimes obsess over it.) I respect their hard-line approach, even if it does get my goat a little bit. I appreciate their site and I don't want to screw it up. I also don't want to get banned from Chow, because I have met some great people through it. Also, I don't like getting in trouble. I like pitching fits and being argumentative, but I don't like being reprimanded and punished.

Chow says they have banned Napa because people associated with Napa were doing fake posts. It’s their site, and if that is what makes them ban a resto, fine. I have to guess it was a higher-up that posted fake stuff, because I don’t think Chow would punish a resto if customers posted overly positive reviews. I don’t see how they can tell, but they zeroed in on me, which proves they have superhuman powers.

Chow has defeated me. I’m officially scared of them. It is frightening to me that Chow can hunt down fake people via the internet. Still, I’m impressed with their ruthless moderating, because I’m sure it’s one of the reasons their site works so well. The discussion threads are simple, easy to read, and a fabulous forum to discuss food in the FC and beyond.

I’m still afraid Chow is going to ban me, in which case I’ll have to access the board on my computer at work under a friend’s email (but I won’t post about Napa!). If they find me out, well, maybe they should get a job with the state department and hunt down terrorists.

Chowhound, if you are reading this, touche, and my apologies for riding your hienie so much.

12 comments:

Lambira said...

hmmm. the mystery solved. what a stupid thing for Napa to do because they didn't NEED to make stuff up...

while I think it's good that Chow is so diligent, it seems like banning legitamite posts about a good restaurant just because the restaurant itself messed up, isn't really fair to the Chow community.

I might not like the Napa owner's shady online ethics but it don't change the fact that that veal gnocchi is the closest thing I'll have to a religious experience...

StationStops.com said...

Definitely you IP addresses - I can imagine them already having software check this automatically for them, especially since they admit previous problems with review spam.

They probably never wanted to mention why Napa was banned so as not to encourage any other restaurants to spam.

Anonymous said...

More than one person can have the same IP address. I work for UBS, and we have literally thousands of people who have the same IP. Perhaps chow is misguided in their research.

Anonymous said...

I doubt chow is misguided in their research. They WANT people to post as much as possible on their site.... more posts = more page hits = more advertising dollars. There's no reason they would want to intentionally remove a lot of posts and threads like this unless there was a really good reason for it. I think you can bet that they wouldn't be giving up those advertising dollars unless there was a darn good reason for it.

Ali said...

Did you see today that someone posted on CH asking for suggestions on what to order at Napa? Shockingly, it has been up for 1 hour, but no replies.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how Jim Leff (Chow founder) is throwing out names of people with alleged multiple usernames when he himself posts reviews under his name and also acts as Moderator/Dictator.

Anonymous said...

I think their reasoning is good actually. At first it annoyed me but I have to appreciate that they keep their site so honest. I love your blog by the way! I found it a few months ago and check it all the time. Great job! From one Stamford foodie to another - thank you!

JR said...

I'm torn!! Burger or veal gnocchi...which should I go for first??? Mmmm...Napa...

Anonymous said...

You can't go wrong either way. The burger is great, but that Gnocchi might be my favorite thing on the menu. Melts in your mouth.

Stamford Talk said...

Ali, I checked out the post you mentioned on Chow, and it's still up, but with no responses. It's at:
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/508022
but I sure as heck am not going to comment on it.

The post was put up by lisette, a Chow regular who must not know that Napa is verboten. She will soon be receiving a note from the chow mods... and then, she will know. And, then, she will find this site.

Anonymous said...

Maybe lisette is also an owner of Napa.

Whitemist said...

Actual it is not an IP address...When you go to a website they have your computer make and model and what platform you are running and your IP...The IP can change with a DSL account so that would not help them. I thought it might be cookies originally, but I cleared my cookies and the block was still in effect. So you could do it if it was another computer even with a different IP. Sorry thats hacker 101 and I was hoping they weren't that sophisticated, but they are.