You know how it is when somebody verbally traps you into a corner because you misspoke. People hold you to the letter of your word even though that was not the intent of your word? I fell into this trap in EatGR and it has been bothering me for a while. I want to correct that today and move forward.
Our group goal has always been to discover and celebrate/highlight what is good about local restaurants in our Grand Rapids coverage area. At the same time that we are celebrating these restaurants , we know that they will not always be perfect. An order will be wrong, an employee will have a bad day and will provide less than stellar service, and sometimes worse. On any given day at any given moment an otherwise good restaurant might look bad. I get it. I also get that this is usually not the norm. That experience is typically an outlier, but as humans we sometimes take that bad experience and paint the restaurant as a whole with it.
To avoid this, we reminded people that we are not a “review” group. The truth is that real “reviews” are few and far between, and the word that I should have emphasized these last three years was “complaint”. Despite this minor English faux pas on my part, most people understood what I meant: If you have negative thoughts about a restaurant experience, they don’t belong in EatGR. If the intent of your negative comments is to help the owner or manager to improve things, you need to talk to them directly. If the intent of your comments is to shame the restaurant in front of God and the world, then take it to YELP. We don’t roll that way.
Now, a few English majors out there pointed out that if you delete negative reviews that you have to delete positive reviews as well. Unfortunately, these people were not telling me this to be helpful. These people actually knew that the intent of my words was to keep things positive, but they were looking for something else. These are, by and large, people who want to make negative comments in the group but know that is not what we do. This is their one chance to take my bad choice of words and make it work for them…..and it worked. I was pressured on three separate occasions to pull down positive reviews because they were, indeed, clearly real reviews.
After pulling down that third positive review about a month ago, I realized that I had made a mistake. Even though I would prefer that people not post a 500-800 word full out review, the comments that were made by all 3 individuals were pro Grand Rapids restaurants. That is, at its core, what we are trying to do at EatGR. By pulling the comments down, I gave power to people who wanted to be negative in order maintain group consistency instead of correcting my unintentional error.
If you read the FAQ, the word “review” has been replaced where appropriate by the word “complaint”. This was done about a month ago to reflect that our goal is to keep things positive and eliminate a loophole for those whose intentions are different.
Apologies goes out to:
Shawn Kohlhaas for his lengthy dissertation on Propaganda Doughnuts.
Robert Deel for his in depth analysis of 2 Scotts BBQ.
Lori Taylor French for her detailed coverage of Osteria Rossa.
Again, I would prefer that we not have such extensive commentary about 1 dining experience, but I cannot refute that these three commenters made positive comments and clearly care about local restaurants.