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Should posters be required to disclose their business relationships?


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Should posters be required to disclose their business relationships?

Bob Martinez | Jun 25, 2013 03:17 PM

On one of the regional boards a poster started a thread by asking an extremely general question. I'm going to paraphrase because I don't want to link to the thread but it went something like "Where can I get the best food in the city?"

A number of us were puzzled - the question seemed overly broad. It turned out that the poster is a professional food tour leader.

The implication, which he hotly denied, is that he was looking for destinations to put on his tour. Those tours aren't cheap - he charges $59 per tour.

A number of us said that he should have disclosed his professional interest. The moderators disagreed and made the following statement -

"We request, but don't require bloggers and journalists to disclose when they're planning on using information from a question in an article and even if the poster is planning to use this info to help plan tours, this seems pretty similar to that."

With all respect, the "request but don't require" policy is toothless. Unless the tour leader discloses their business how are people able to decide whether they want to respond to the question? Some people might not mind helping the tour leader make money. Others would find it objectionable to use Chowhound as a platform to solicit money making suggestions.

Without requiring disclosure, we don't have the information to make an informed decision. I suggest that the policy be amended - disclosure should be mandatory.

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