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Jim Leff | Jan 31, 200406:04 PM

The Chinese thread is not acceptable. We will not tolerate more of this sort of bullshit, which has gone on here way too long.

The mission of Chowhound is to elicit as many chow tips from as many people as possible so that 1. we all eat better, and 2. great places connect with an appreciative clientele, so there's more incentive to open great places. This can only happen in a spirit of great tolerance for different viewpoints. Each time a poster is bashed for their opinion, it makes several thousand readers-along swear to never post. That means less tips.

The postings of a small clique of posters on this board are often harshly combative and intolerant. For ex, I am an alleged food "expert" (whoopie), but I NEVER respond to a dissenting opinion by telling anyone they're full of shit, and I refuse to permit others to do so on my site. This not a debating club, and we don't chase people away with flames on Chowhound. A "king of the hill" attitude - where the loudest parties push and shove to defeat opposing viewpoints - subverts this community; instead of a forum where all feel empowered to chime in, it becomes a fiefdom of self-reinforced opinions with fewer and fewer making the effort to do battle with a small aggressive clique. That means less tips.

I obviously believe in passionate opinions, but passion should extol chow, not eviscerate other posters. If you like Restaurant A, make your best case for it and chill out. If others don't like your picks, that is NOT criticism of YOU. Engaging in endless haranguing rebuttal once you've already put your opinion out there is inappropriate. Make your case and let others make theirs; they do not have to be proved wrong for you to be right.

We aim for the richest possible mix of opinions. Every opinion needn't "clear" through a handful of self-appointed authortities. In fact, hounds with vastly different sensibilities should be regulars, with everyone feeling on the same level playing field. There are no unimpeachable food authorities on Chowhound, including me!

So here's the deal. We've been lax in enforcing our "no personal attacks" rule on this board. That will very much change. Anyone who can't respond to a dissenting opinion in a tolerant way (or, even better, just chill out and let others have their say) will have their posting deleted (reminder: Chowhound is a moderated site and we explicitly reserve right to delete anything anytime without notice or explanation...them's the house rules).

Those reading along who've refrained from posting in the past because of the nasty dynamic here: this is the time! Post up a storm and spread the word; let's grow a rich and diverse chorus of voices here for benefit of all Chicago hounddom. If our moderators miss nasty/angry junk, send the problem URL to (bookmark that address!) so we can keep this board a friendly open playing field for all hounds who'd like to participate. I want all to feel equally comfortable and empowered here.

There is vast deliciousness still unreported, out of reach for us all, and the only way to gather more data is to foster an environment where masses of hounds consider it fun and enjoyable to chime in and contribute to a tip trove for the good of all. That requires friendly tolerance, not flames. Each harsh response repels 1000 prospective contributors. Hounds must have their say and then chill out while others have their's. Its not a damned boxing ring.

If anyone has issues with any of this:

1. Tough. The Chow Team and I reserve right to set boundaries, and that's that. The site's not run via referendum, and if you can't live with our policies, find somewhere else to go.


2. if you need to vent, do so on Site Talk, not here disrupting the chowy discussion. All replies/references here on the Chicago board will be deleted.


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