Saturday, August 9, 2014

More on Chowhound's Policy Shift

It dawns on me, that what I'm reading in this Chowhound policy change announcement is not what others may be reading. This explains, for one thing, the initial happy acceptance of some people in that thread.

A fast reading of the announcement might make someone feel delighted that food professionals will participate and share their know-how. One envisions artisanal cheese makers dropping by to discuss their rennet, or Danny Meyer explaining how Union Square Cafe gets their bar nuts so darned tasty.

No. That sort of thing has always been allowed. We've had many known figures drop by to offer info or just to swap tips. Chowhound's always been the sort of hip venue where they won't be mobbed or hassled.

So that's not it, in spite of the careful wording of the announcment. Thing is, people don't realize the fearsome slime pit perpetually flowing, ala "Ghostbusters" weakest plot gimmick, beneath the streets of I observed in my previous posting that "it's easy to cultivate an overgrown thatch of weeds and scrub, but it takes a great deal of work to cultivate a really beautiful garden," and Chowhound's weed pile, thanks to its tireless moderators, is nothing short of epic. Chowhound is an artificially-created entity, in spite of how natural it may seem. It betrays no shadows of the crap continuously excised. As I posted just two weeks ago:
Every earnest effort eventually gets gamed...massively. That's why there's so little earnestness in the world (and why it feels so charming when it does occasionally arise). At a certain point, either 1. the operation's earnestness evaporates, 2. the operation gets so bunkered that it's no fun anymore, or 3. the operators shift their business plan to leverage the gaming (let's call this one the Yelp approach).
I had no foreknowledge of this announcement, but I guess I nailed it. This is a #3, but it's not even about revenue, directly (it appears that no money changes hands as a result of this policy change). It's simply wild flailing for traffic via the crazy notion that repelling parasites cuts into page view counts.

The community manager recently posted this:
Kneejerk deletion of anything that smacked of advertising was a whole lot faster and simpler than what we're doing now. Trying to help people understand the site and use it effectively is harder than telling them to go away.
So promoters and shills are just wounded children who need to be gently shown the way. Well, good luck with that....

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