LTH Home

LTHForum: Threat or Menace?

LTHForum: Threat or Menace?
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
     Page 1 of 2
  • LTHForum: Threat or Menace?

    Post #1 - May 16th, 2007, 8:13 am
    Post #1 - May 16th, 2007, 8:13 am Post #1 - May 16th, 2007, 8:13 am
    I started this post in "Total Media Domination" but I think there's a worthy discussion to have (which would almost inevitably result anyway) so it should have its own thread.

    Last week was LTH-Lovin' Week with the Sterns and John T. Edge, this week is LTH-Is-The-Problem Week. ("The only thing worse than being talked about...") Two pieces which raise legitimate questions about the effect we can have on restaurants. Your thoughts?

    1) Reader blog discussesthe Coal Fire firestorm here. I won't comment on this since I'm already quoted at length in it, enough of me already!

    2) Ronnie S.'s media roundup mentions this, but I will too-- MJN mounts a defense of Rick Bayless in the face of the recent slams from LTHers in New City here. I'm less interested in how anyone feels about Bayless than in the bigger questions he raises about anonymity in reviewing and so on:

    Michael Nagrant wrote:The nature of public Internet forums is that people can hide behind e-monikers and badmouth chefs, which, in a forum like LTH, a significant local tastemaker, has consequences... Folks who choose to go negative have a responsibility to use their real names, just as any journalist would. I'm an occasional poster to the forum, and I added a tagline with my real name almost six months ago, because I believe, even in an informal public space, you must be accountable.


    My response to that is that my real name-- one click away from any post, or less if you put two and two together-- doesn't particularly mean anything to people, it's Mike G+6000 posts that add up to an identity as far as any other user of this forum is concerned. To me the menace is not when a real person with 200 posts slams a place, but when someone does so in their first post-- that's when there's an ax to grind and we don't yet know what it is or who's really behind it. That's when the internet is being used anonymously and shadily to cause trouble or stab someone in the back-- and it does happen here, no question.

    But I don't know, maybe I'm being naive about whether any of us have a meaningful and responsible critical identity, individually or in the aggregate; about whether the fact that I know someone is a real person means anything to you if you don't visit as often as I do; maybe it's all spray paint on the side of a building when you spout off on the Internet. Your thoughts?
    Last edited by Mike G on May 16th, 2007, 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #2 - May 16th, 2007, 8:15 am
    Post #2 - May 16th, 2007, 8:15 am Post #2 - May 16th, 2007, 8:15 am
    Michael Nagrant wrote:The biggest issue I have with the thread is that these accusations are submitted by folks named "Gypsyboy" and "dddane." Like him or not, you know who Phil Vettel is and who he works for. The nature of public Internet forums is that people can hide behind e-monikers and badmouth chefs, which, in a forum like LTH, a significant local tastemaker, has consequences. Certainly Bayless can withstand baseless insults, but some small restauranteurs cannot. Folks who choose to go negative have a responsibility to use their real names, just as any journalist would. I'm an occasional poster to the forum, and I added a tagline with my real name almost six months ago, because I believe, even in an informal public space, you must be accountable.

    I really have to take issue with this. Whether or not you know who these posters are, they are accountable, because you can post right here and challenge their statements. This is fundamentally different than what Phil Vettel does, and even if you can now comment on his blog posts, it is still quite a different world. I would say they are more accountable than Vettel, whether or not you know who they are. Their virtual reputation is more important than their real names, and you can easily click through to see all the posts they've ever made here.

    Furthermore, because LTH as a community puts a great emphasis on face-to-face interactions, these people become "even more accountable." I've actually met Gypsy Boy, although we haven't had too much time talking. But having met him, I have a little more context for his posts, and for many other people on the board, I have even more information on which to judge their writing.
    Joe G.

    "Whatever may be wrong with the world, at least it has some good things to eat." -- Cowboy Jack Clement
  • Post #3 - May 16th, 2007, 8:53 am
    Post #3 - May 16th, 2007, 8:53 am Post #3 - May 16th, 2007, 8:53 am
    With a mere 1000-odd posts, I'm merely chatty around here (plus much of my contribution is in the Shopping and Cooking, usually less controversial).

    I'm personally not worried. I trust the voices here, and the "system" works: isolated slams and slurs fall off the bottom of the list (where they can be found on the Search button, sure), and a new poster who disrespects a sacred cow gets a lot of response. If the topic veers back to positive, the mods could change the title to [Not really so bad, we all say]. I haven't seen this happen, but it doesn't seem to be outside of our code of conduct.

    In the case of a certain highly-praised local chef, reviewing the recent rants, it's mostly damning with faint praise, and lamenting the overcapacity crowds which have always been there. I truly don't think it's declined so much a failed to climb (not naming names to prevent this from becoming an echo thread). It's seemed pretty even-handed to me, for the most part. I'd still put it as a destination for visitors, but not for those seeking the foodgasm.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #4 - May 16th, 2007, 9:38 am
    Post #4 - May 16th, 2007, 9:38 am Post #4 - May 16th, 2007, 9:38 am
    Like any other community, you soon learn who's opinions to pay attention to and which should be taken with a grain of salt...regardless of whether you see their entire name or just a posting handle.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #5 - May 16th, 2007, 9:56 am
    Post #5 - May 16th, 2007, 9:56 am Post #5 - May 16th, 2007, 9:56 am
    Like him or not, you know who Phil Vettel is and who he works for.


    I don't know who Phil Vettel is or the full list of who he works for. And I believe he protects his identity closely, as he should.

    I submit that despite using only my middle name, I am, and most regular posters are less anonymous than Phil Vettel.

    -ramon
  • Post #6 - May 16th, 2007, 10:04 am
    Post #6 - May 16th, 2007, 10:04 am Post #6 - May 16th, 2007, 10:04 am
    Mike G wrote:1)
    Michael Nagrant wrote:The nature of public Internet forums is that people can hide behind e-monikers and badmouth chefs, which, in a forum like LTH, a significant local tastemaker, has consequences... Folks who choose to go negative have a responsibility to use their real names, just as any journalist would. I'm an occasional poster to the forum, and I added a tagline with my real name almost six months ago, because I believe, even in an informal public space, you must be accountable.


    My response to that is that my real name-- one click away from any post, or less if you put two and two together-- doesn't particularly mean anything to people, it's Mike G+6000 posts that add up to an identity as far as any other user of this forum is concerned. To me the menace is not when a real person with 200 posts slams a place, but when someone does so in their first post-- that's when there's an ax to grind and we don't yet know what it is or who's really behind it. That's when the internet is being used anonymously and shadily to cause trouble or stab someone in the back-- and it does happen here, no question.


    It seems to me that first-time posters are just as likely to praise a restaurant with hyperbole as to tear it down. Both approaches tend to elicit skepticism from the board, enhanced by the fact that the new poster has yet to earn credibility.

    MikeG wrote:But I don't know, maybe I'm being naive about whether any of us have a meaningful and responsible critical identity, individually or in the aggregate; about whether the fact that I know someone is a real person means anything to you if you don't visit as often as I do; maybe it's all spray paint on the side of a building when you spout off on the Internet. Your thoughts?


    In my view, it's only "spray paint on the side of the building" (or scrawling on the bathroom stall, for that matter) if the comments are taken out of the context of the democratic and lively debate that the board engenders. The exception proves the rule in this case: ever notice how most of the inappropriate posts are so inarticulate and ill-informed as to be beneath the notice of the collective board? I can think of a lot of examples where these things fade away and are lost to history (especially given the limitations of the search function.) The only posts that stay active are those where there is a truly lively interest and discussion going on. The existence of such a discussion invariably brings out different opinions and a reasonably fair appraisal of the merits and shortcomings of the restaurant in question as in the Coal-Fire Pizza thread. Phil Vettel and other critics do not engage in a public dialogue that shapes their work. Journalistic standards must therefore serve that function.

    To me, LTH is kind of like Wikipedia. Sure, I know that some of the material may not be strictly accurate, but I can make my own judgment about that, being an educated adult. This is an internet reality that the traditional media may or may not accept. As long as slander is not involved, I see no problem.
    Last edited by Josephine on May 16th, 2007, 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #7 - May 16th, 2007, 10:04 am
    Post #7 - May 16th, 2007, 10:04 am Post #7 - May 16th, 2007, 10:04 am
    Ramon wrote:I submit that despite using only my middle name, I am, and most regular posters are less anonymous than Phil Vettel.

    -ramon


    I agree with this. Most regular posters here have links to e-mail, websites, AIM, etc ... and most have at least a handful of photos including their face posted in various threads. I've never seen a photo of Phil Vettel's face (not a criticism - I understand the reasons for that). But I do think that regular posters here are a pretty transparent lot - despite my screen name, which is probably on the far end of the obvious -> cryptic spectrum.

    But for the record, I do think that this may be one of the few instances where navel-gazing might be a useful function.
    Last edited by nr706 on May 16th, 2007, 12:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #8 - May 16th, 2007, 10:07 am
    Post #8 - May 16th, 2007, 10:07 am Post #8 - May 16th, 2007, 10:07 am
    Ramon wrote:
    Like him or not, you know who Phil Vettel is and who he works for.


    I don't know who Phil Vettel is or the full list of who he works for. And I believe he protects his identity closely, as he should.

    I submit that despite using only my middle name, I am, and most regular posters are less anonymous than Phil Vettel.

    -ramon


    While Phil Vettle is the food critic for the Chicago Tribune. I once witnessed a conversation where a restaurant insider gave very specific information on what Phil looked like with specific idiosyncrasies. I have heard of restaurants posting photos in the backroom of known critics to look out for just like a police blotter.

    The food world is really very, very small.

    Regards,
    Last edited by Cathy2 on May 16th, 2007, 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #9 - May 16th, 2007, 10:08 am
    Post #9 - May 16th, 2007, 10:08 am Post #9 - May 16th, 2007, 10:08 am
    Ramon wrote:
    Like him or not, you know who Phil Vettel is and who he works for.


    I don't know who Phil Vettel is or the full list of who he works for. And I believe he protects his identity closely, as he should.

    I submit that despite using only my middle name, I am, and most regular posters are less anonymous than Phil Vettel.

    -ramon


    Ditto

    Hmmm... when was the last time anybody saw a picture of Phil Vettel? I know my mug, along with many other LTHer's, is plastered all over this site. So, I'd say that we are much less anonymous than Mr. Vettel.

    Flip

    edited to add: Ask anyone who has met me, the only people that do not call me Flip are family, or soon to be. So, as far as I'm concerned I don't hide behind anything.
    "Beer is proof God loves us, and wants us to be Happy"
    -Ben Franklin-
  • Post #10 - May 16th, 2007, 10:18 am
    Post #10 - May 16th, 2007, 10:18 am Post #10 - May 16th, 2007, 10:18 am
    Furthermore, I don't know much about Vettel's personal eating habits, like I do about so many LTHers. I'm talking about the places that they frequent, the kinds of foods they cook at home, and the types of food that they're really passionate about. I know his opinions on restaurants from well-edited articles that he writes, but I don't know his personal relationship with foods like I do of LTHers.

    Professional newspaper restaurant reviewers are faceless people I can't really get-to-know or have a trustworthy interaction with. Their reviews provide significantly less value for me, and frankly, I rarely finish reading them.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #11 - May 16th, 2007, 10:31 am
    Post #11 - May 16th, 2007, 10:31 am Post #11 - May 16th, 2007, 10:31 am
    Three things:

    1. The author of a negative post has no obligation, nor should they, to use their real name. The moderators have the job of figuring out if a negative or positive post is written by someone with an interest, and they tend to do a rather good job.

    2. I know the real name of, and in most cases have met, every person MJN mentioned and every person who has posted in this thread at this point. It's not particularly hard to find this information. But knowing it doesn't make me any more or less likely to put stock in their opinions.

    3. Mike G. is exactly right, your identity on LTHForum is your body of past posts. Read someone's past posts and you'll get an idea for who they are and what they like. If it's someone with only a handful of posts, take what they say with a grain of salt. It's pretty simple. Vettel, to me, is far more anonymous than anyone posting in this thread.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #12 - May 16th, 2007, 10:38 am
    Post #12 - May 16th, 2007, 10:38 am Post #12 - May 16th, 2007, 10:38 am
    gleam wrote:Three things:

    1. The author of a negative post has no obligation, nor should they, to use their real name.


    I agree with this position, though I think that MJN's belief (and I hope he corrects me if I'm wrong) is that if you state a strong negative, you should man-up and show the strength of your convictions by putting your real name out there. In this sense, his concerns seem more aesthetic than ethical.

    My preference has always been to use my real name, simply because it's easier, but I understand how anonymity might be preferred, especially for a new poster (and people do get stuck with the names they choose when they register). The "mask" of a screen name may make it easier for some people to break into a discussion with a group of strangers.
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #13 - May 16th, 2007, 10:45 am
    Post #13 - May 16th, 2007, 10:45 am Post #13 - May 16th, 2007, 10:45 am
    I don't think there's any real need to "man up" and use your real name. Real names are meaningless to almost everyone, and it's as easy to make up a real-sounding name as it is to come up with a username. Much more important is if you "man up" and reveal that you are, in fact, the cousin of the owner of the competition.

    It's up to the reader to determine the value of any individual review. Knowing a poster's real name, for me, isn't part of the equation.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #14 - May 16th, 2007, 10:54 am
    Post #14 - May 16th, 2007, 10:54 am Post #14 - May 16th, 2007, 10:54 am
    gleam wrote:I don't think there's any real need to "man up" and use your real name.


    I'm in agreement, as mentioned.

    I must admit, though, that unless there's some psychological advantage to having a screen name that's different than your real name (and although I proposed one such advantage, I'm not sure it's valid), I don't really get the point of having a screen name that's different than your real name. I'm not against it, I'm not for it; I just don't get it.

    On one level, it's almost as though the whole "tradition" of screen names dates back to an earlier period of Internet history, when maybe people didn't trust online communication as much as they do now, or when companies like AOL almost seemed to actively promote having a screen name that was different than your actual name.
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #15 - May 16th, 2007, 10:55 am
    Post #15 - May 16th, 2007, 10:55 am Post #15 - May 16th, 2007, 10:55 am
    eatchicago wrote:Furthermore, I don't know much about Vettel's personal eating habits, ... I know his opinions on restaurants from well-edited articles that he writes


    This is well-edited?

    Phil Vettel wrote:But if we want to be the restaurant town we think we are, we have to support the efforts of small but serious independent restaurants, from our Copperblues to our Aigre Doux.

    That last phrase rhymes, by the way.
  • Post #16 - May 16th, 2007, 10:57 am
    Post #16 - May 16th, 2007, 10:57 am Post #16 - May 16th, 2007, 10:57 am
    It's an interesting question whether Vettel's need for anonymity has actually prevented him from sharing more about his tastes that would bring his writing on the relatively narrow $75+ restaurant beat more to life, as an LTHer's take on the same restaurant can be informed by all the other things we write about-- or as Roger Ebert's review of a new movie is informed by all the other ways he lives, breathes and eats movies in print. It's also an interesting question whether the new Trib food blog will allow him (and other people) to finally do that in a way that reviewing the De La Costas of the world over and over has not. The idiosyncrasy inherent in blogging may well allow a lot of journalists to escape their institutional voice and role and become more rounded personalities over time. (Whether Trib management, which has a history of chasing off well-liked personalities-- Siskel, Bob Greene-- will be entirely happy about that is another question.)

    To bring it back to LTHForum, though, this week has brought us face to face with the knotty question of what happens when we start to have power, given that we're sort of a battleship which anyone can come up to the deck and steer for a moment. The problem with anonymity is less in and of itself, than the fact that the anonymous Internet encourages a kind of constant ratcheting up of rhetoric-- if I say politician X is a lily-livered scoundrel, you top me by bringing up impeachment. And if you bring up impeachment, the next guy has to top that by advocating assassination-- and pretty soon assassination is the baseline, the moderate position. That's ugly, and it's why, rightly, wrongly or maladroitly, I tried to steer the Coalfire discussion away from a hypothetical discussion by people who hadn't actually been there themselves of just how awful the management handled its unforgivable screwups and whether hangin' was good enough for them. I don't know that we, as posters, need a rulebound code of ethics, but I think we do need an inner sense of fairness which recognizes the megaphone effect of what we say here, that acknowledges the tendency of things to spiral on the Internet and refrains from piling on when we don't have personal experience-- or when what we say will only add fire to a situation which is hot enough already.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #17 - May 16th, 2007, 11:02 am
    Post #17 - May 16th, 2007, 11:02 am Post #17 - May 16th, 2007, 11:02 am
    From my prespective, Nagrant misses something when he calls LTH a "tastemaker." For high profile places like Frontera, etc., I have many source of information, and will visit, if they intrigue me, regardless of pans on LTH. LTH really comes into play with places like TAC or La Unica, that I would never otherwise hear of or visit. So, sure, if a place I've never heard of gets panned here, I probably won't go, but I wouldn't be there anyway. Thus, while there may be exceptions, on the whole, LTH only boosts places; I just don't see it doing the kind of harm Nagrant imagines.

    Jonah (my real name)
  • Post #18 - May 16th, 2007, 11:07 am
    Post #18 - May 16th, 2007, 11:07 am Post #18 - May 16th, 2007, 11:07 am
    David Hammond wrote:I'm in agreement, as mentioned.

    I must admit, though, that unless there's some psychological advantage to having a screen name that's different than your real name (and although I proposed one such advantage, I'm not sure it's valid), I don't really get the point of having a screen name that's different than your real name. I'm not against it, I'm not for it; I just don't get it.


    I misread your first paragraph, I didn't realize I was just disagreeing with Mike again.

    For me, and I suspect for a lot of people here, it's just their entire identity. I've been known as gleam online for nearly 15 years, so it has become as much a part of me as my real name. Another example of nickname as identity: One of my friends calls one of our mutual friends by his nickname, because that's how they first met. It doesn't matter that they see each other in real life once every week or two. The nickname is a part of his identity, and it's a part of mine.

    I suspect more people in the world know who "gleam" is than know who "Ed Fisher" is, but a very large number know both.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #19 - May 16th, 2007, 11:24 am
    Post #19 - May 16th, 2007, 11:24 am Post #19 - May 16th, 2007, 11:24 am
    I wanted to use my name of MikeG, the one I am known with most other places online but some piker took it already.


    To be fair, he's done it proud :)
    I used to think the brain was the most important part of the body. Then I realized who was telling me that.
  • Post #20 - May 16th, 2007, 11:43 am
    Post #20 - May 16th, 2007, 11:43 am Post #20 - May 16th, 2007, 11:43 am
    nr706 wrote:
    eatchicago wrote:Furthermore, I don't know much about Vettel's personal eating habits, ... I know his opinions on restaurants from well-edited articles that he writes


    This is well-edited?

    Phil Vettel wrote:But if we want to be the restaurant town we think we are, we have to support the efforts of small but serious independent restaurants, from our Copperblues to our Aigre Doux.

    That last phrase rhymes, by the way.


    Perhaps I should have said just "edited" as opposed to un- or self-edited discussions here.
  • Post #21 - May 16th, 2007, 11:44 am
    Post #21 - May 16th, 2007, 11:44 am Post #21 - May 16th, 2007, 11:44 am
    Jonah wrote:From my prespective, Nagrant misses something when he calls LTH a "tastemaker."


    I'd like to think that as LTH Forum gets more widely known and is mentioned in the press more often...and especially as the GNR Awards start to be recognized outside of our immediate community, LTH Forum is, slowly but surely, becoming a "tastemaker". I don't particularly see anything wrong with that. I wish such "tastemakers" existed in other cities that I visit instead of having to rely on bland, mainstream press or Chowhound reviews of local eateries.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #22 - May 16th, 2007, 11:46 am
    Post #22 - May 16th, 2007, 11:46 am Post #22 - May 16th, 2007, 11:46 am
    David Hammond wrote:
    I must admit, though, that unless there's some psychological advantage to having a screen name that's different than your real name (and although I proposed one such advantage, I'm not sure it's valid), I don't really get the point of having a screen name that's different than your real name. I'm not against it, I'm not for it; I just don't get it.

    On one level, it's almost as though the whole "tradition" of screen names dates back to an earlier period of Internet history, when maybe people didn't trust online communication as much as they do now, or when companies like AOL almost seemed to actively promote having a screen name that was different than your actual name.


    I'd prefer people not just google my full name and get back a bunch of posts without context. I've written plenty of stupid things over the years, and in the context of a community, it's forgiven, or at least muted by more thoughtful posts. I know that someone, with little effort, can find out all sorts of things about me online, but at least, I hope, that during that effort, they find out that I'm more than just a hat-wearing-to-restaurants yahoo :D . Then again, I really didn't give my screen name much thought to begin with and so be it.

    -ramon
  • Post #23 - May 16th, 2007, 12:09 pm
    Post #23 - May 16th, 2007, 12:09 pm Post #23 - May 16th, 2007, 12:09 pm
    gleam wrote:
    David Hammond wrote:I'm in agreement, as mentioned.

    I must admit, though, that unless there's some psychological advantage to having a screen name that's different than your real name (and although I proposed one such advantage, I'm not sure it's valid), I don't really get the point of having a screen name that's different than your real name. I'm not against it, I'm not for it; I just don't get it.


    I misread your first paragraph, I didn't realize I was just disagreeing with Mike again.

    For me, and I suspect for a lot of people here, it's just their entire identity. I've been known as gleam online for nearly 15 years, so it has become as much a part of me as my real name. Another example of nickname as identity: One of my friends calls one of our mutual friends by his nickname, because that's how they first met. It doesn't matter that they see each other in real life once every week or two. The nickname is a part of his identity, and it's a part of mine.

    I suspect more people in the world know who "gleam" is than know who "Ed Fisher" is, but a very large number know both.


    Ed,

    I've been called Flip or Flipper by my friends, coworkers, and teachers for around 20 years now. Often, even after knowing a person for years, when someone else uses my REAL name it takes a few moments for the person they are speaking with to realize who they are talking about. Most recently, when my fiance was talking to a friend of mine, and referring to me as Brian, she would get a funny look until they realized that she was talking about me. In fact, there a number of people that I see on a weekly basis that don't even know that Flip isn't my name.

    Ironically, use of this nickname has led to countless instances of my surname being mispelled. btw, in case I'm still hiding behind a moniker it's Filipowski.

    Flip

    edited because I wish I had a grasp on English
    "Beer is proof God loves us, and wants us to be Happy"
    -Ben Franklin-
  • Post #24 - May 16th, 2007, 1:09 pm
    Post #24 - May 16th, 2007, 1:09 pm Post #24 - May 16th, 2007, 1:09 pm
    Michael Nagrant wrote:The biggest issue I have with the thread is that these accusations are submitted by folks named "Gypsyboy" and "dddane."


    Well, in the first place, it's Gypsy Boy, two words separated by a space. Both words capitalized. Always been that way on this and every other board I post on. Responsible journalism entails getting even the details right.

    Second, I find the precise language of interest. Nagrant writes that "these accusations are submitted by folks named...." Maybe if he had written a bit more precisely and said "...submitted by people with names like..." Gypsy Boy and dddane were hardly the only people criticizing Bayless. More to the point, the phrasing makes it sound as if dddane and Gypsy Boy doing no more than making accusations (by implication, unfounded). I'd also be more open to the criticism if it accurately represented my contribution to the thread or what I'd written about Bayless.

    What bothers me more is that Nagrant either didn't take the time to read the two reviews I linked to (of Frontera and Topolobampo) or he ignored the fact that I make a particular point of recognizing and applauding Bayless for many things. Nagrant also failed to place my post in the context of opposing its GNR renewal, which is what my post was all about.

    What difference does it make if you use your name? No one knows who you are anyway. Certainly, no one knows who I am. As others have said, we are the sum of the posts we make here, at least to those who don't know us personally. Whether I use my real name will matter not a whit to 99.99% of the people who read LTH. Regular readers of LTH soon discern personal tastes, preferences, writing styles, etc. among the posters. All to the good. They should long ago have learned to weigh and judge what they read. To do otherwise is to fail in one's obligation as a reader.

    This is LTH: it is not Holy Writ. (Unless GWiv says so :D ) If you can't or won't read critically, don't blame the posts. There are and ought to be differences of opinion here; indeed, were we all in agreement, what would be the point of the board? As Jonah said above, "I have many source of information, and will visit, if they intrigue me, regardless of pans on LTH." If someone is so uncritically accepting of a single post recommending or criticizing a restaurant that they visit (or avoid) a place based on that one post, perhaps the poster is not to blame.

    Finally, Nagrant says that "I added a tagline with my real name almost six months ago, because I believe, even in an informal public space, you must be accountable." I am nonplussed by the notion that adding a real name to a post somehow makes the writer accountable in a way that using a handle does not. I do not know Ed Fisher. Never met him. Wouldn't know him if I tripped over him. So what? Whether he signs his pieces gleam or Ed Fisher, the same person is still accountable. And his writing gains credibility and respect in my eyes based on what he writes, not how he signs his posts.

    Are all of my posts wise and correct? Um... :oops: But they are all as accurate and even-handed as I can possibly make them. I work hard at that--as I suspect most regular posters at LTH also do. Why? Precisely because I am already accountable. Adding my name makes me no more accountable than using a handle. I am just as open to criticism coming from Ed Fisher as I am to criticism coming from gleam. If the criticism (or the post) is valid or useful or informed, I don't care what the name of the person is who wrote it.
    Last edited by Gypsy Boy on May 16th, 2007, 2:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #25 - May 16th, 2007, 1:18 pm
    Post #25 - May 16th, 2007, 1:18 pm Post #25 - May 16th, 2007, 1:18 pm
    germuska wrote:
    Michael Nagrant wrote:The biggest issue I have with the thread is that these accusations are submitted by folks named "Gypsyboy" and "dddane."

    Furthermore, because LTH as a community puts a great emphasis on face-to-face interactions, these people become "even more accountable."


    oh yippy I got a mention! though I really disagree with his comments and the biggest of points are missed... (outside of the fact that I wasn't really badmouthing anyone, just questioning judgement maybe)...

    I'm obviously just one example here... but Mr. Nagrant probably should've found a better example. I think it would take the average person not even 2 minutes on google to find my real name if they really wanted. Actually, if you google for "dddane" you'll find my real name in the first 6 or 7 results (and no disrespect, but I'm questioning why a journalist picking me as an example couldn't have tried this for himself before picking such a poor example to pick on). I'd suspect another 10 minutes of handy Internet detective work would probably tell you where I worked, as well as my address (though probably my old address since I recently moved), etc etc. You could probably find 300 pictures I've taken of various travels, etc etc.

    I'm a big believer in this: nobody is anonymous. In the United States--and thus basically on the Internet--information is free, and free flowing at that. I don't really see a point in hiding it too much. Every handle has a real person behind it... everyone's name, address, and phone number are public. And really, your income, the magazines you subscribe to, and what kind of shopping you've done on the Internet is publicly available information as well, believe it or not... (yes, hard to come by for the average person, but many people in many careers can freely and easily get to the information... someone not in mentioned career could get the information for very little $).

    My biggest argument with him is most people use the same monikers across the board that is known as the Internet. (though of course some people are hard to trace because they create handles specifically for the purpose of being anonymous, most people don't do this I don't think)... I've been calling myself "dddane" for well over 10 years now, since I was in high school and back in the days of IRC ... I have a web site dddane.com, which these days only redirects to my dddane profile on myspace (though if you google, you might find links to mentions of it in the sun times and one or two other media outlets...)... I use this handle on just about every web site I've ever registered on.

    Many sites are no longer masking names even... For instance, I suspect that the biggest single factor that sites like Myspace are popular are they no longer do mask it. Myspace is nothing new--I've been on similar sites (friendster.com, for instance) for *years* longer than myspace. The only thing myspace did was took your full name, and then allowed people to find you by that. You can no search for an old high school friend and not have to remember that his Internet handle is PaCoWsKi (yEs, YoU diD hAvE to TyPE iT liKe ThIs iN ThE 90s), you can remember that his name is Aaron *****. any other sites have done the same thing now.

    And I really want to know: who cares if someone knows my name? If Rick Bayless knows that Bob Jones on the Internet is writing things about him, what is that going to change? It doesn't matter if it came from bbbob or Bob Jones, it's still someone he doesn't know, and the comments have still been said.

    But more importantly than whether it was anonymous or not, sites like this are a forum for debating such issues. Should they take reservations? Should they not? Should Rick Bayless sell his soul to Burger King and Macy's? Sure I can say it's dumb they don't take a reservations or he should or shouldn't set up shop w/ corporations that don't necessarily convey the quality of his work, but then someone can come back and justify why he should. And that's the whole point of sites like this.


    Mike G wrote:what happens when we start to have power, given that we're soft of a battleship which anyone can come up to the deck and steer for a moment


    ... hmm, maybe they'll take 20 seconds and google for all of us and post our pictures in the kitchen
  • Post #26 - May 16th, 2007, 4:43 pm
    Post #26 - May 16th, 2007, 4:43 pm Post #26 - May 16th, 2007, 4:43 pm
    I have about 3 or 4 different "handles" but only because ones I wanted to use were already in use.

    Katman (my last name, which was what I wanted ) was in use from the getgo - a guy who is very into audio components, apparently. So when I had to use one, I picked LeeK - which I was at work, to distinguish me from LeeN - or Lee in Chicago or Lee in Evanston (back on Gail's recipe swap at Epicurious.com)

    So on LTH and Chowhound I could get that, but when I finally got around to doing LiveJournal it was already taken, so I took leeble (someone in college called me that) but on AIM I had to take leebleleek (both were taken)

    Many women have picked out gender-neutral names because they didn't want to get too many "wanna" messages ;)
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #27 - May 16th, 2007, 5:18 pm
    Post #27 - May 16th, 2007, 5:18 pm Post #27 - May 16th, 2007, 5:18 pm
    dddane wrote:... hmm, maybe they'll take 20 seconds and google for all of us and post our pictures in the kitchen


    From what I hear around here, we seem to give ourselves away pretty readily, even without the hand signals and lapel pins.

    Now, I really don't want to come down hard on MJN, because I like his writing, his expansive idea of what is worth writing about, and his stewardship of Hungry Magazine -- but I'm surprised that no one has commented on the irony that we can't have this discussion on the New City website where his article was posted. That would be accountability.
    Joe G.

    "Whatever may be wrong with the world, at least it has some good things to eat." -- Cowboy Jack Clement
  • Post #28 - May 16th, 2007, 5:49 pm
    Post #28 - May 16th, 2007, 5:49 pm Post #28 - May 16th, 2007, 5:49 pm
    This is a "growing pains" issue of every single truly successful online community. It is another signal that LTH has arrived.

    One of the other communities to which I (and a few other LTH members) belong has brought major multinational corporations significant pain. You think a pizzeria has it rough? Imagine if somebody slips a decimal and sells airfares for 10% of their cost? Is it a sale, or a mistake? Then imagine if a readership 50-100x the size of LTH sees it.... It's a customer service nightmare.

    The combination of technology and globalization is bringing the world together at a frenetic level of acceleration, and compressing time just as fast. Entrepeneurs who can understand this phenomenon can leverage it to their advantage: look at fRedhots for an example. And they can do it completely above board.

    But here's the rub: they have to have a quality product, at least in the minds of a significant minority if not a majority... or it won't work.
    "Fried chicken should unify us, as opposed to tearing us apart. " - Bomani Jones
  • Post #29 - May 16th, 2007, 5:59 pm
    Post #29 - May 16th, 2007, 5:59 pm Post #29 - May 16th, 2007, 5:59 pm
    David Hammond wrote: I don't really get the point of having a screen name that's different than your real name. I'm not against it, I'm not for it; I just don't get it.

    It's like asking an author or occasionally a musician why they use a pen name.

    In my case, part of it is to divide my personal thoughts from my professional thoughts. An acquaintance (not particuarly a friend) of mine has blurred the distinction a little too much, and now people interested in hiring her consulitng firm and who are using Google to get some insights end up with far too much information about her personal life than is necessary to inform that decision.

    It's not hard to figure out who I am if somebody really needs to figure it out. [And if I get an internet stalker, hopefully she'll be an attractive single brunette who is about 40 years old and likes to travel and eat.] But it's the casual nonsense that I wish to avoid.
    "Fried chicken should unify us, as opposed to tearing us apart. " - Bomani Jones
  • Post #30 - May 16th, 2007, 6:40 pm
    Post #30 - May 16th, 2007, 6:40 pm Post #30 - May 16th, 2007, 6:40 pm
    threadkiller wrote:But it's the casual nonsense that I wish to avoid.


    Well, I don't feel like I've been subject to "casual nonsense," so I can't say that using my real name has opened me to that.

    I believe Leek makes a good point about women being bothered by "wanna" emails, which seems a very reasonable motive for anonymity.
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more