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So I think it is fairly difficult to correct for that in reading things like blog posts, but also fairly important to do so to appropriately make use of such data.

I'm not so sure. For example, once you get familiar with a film critic you get to know their likes and dislikes. You calibrate them against your own taste and then decide how useful their reviews are. You can even get finer than that. There might be a critic that you generally find reliable that has a particular antipathy for a particular genre. Maybe it's sci-fi movies. Once you know that you learn to disregard their lukewarm reviews for movies in that genre.

 

Getting back to food boards and bloggers, the key to assessing credibility of individual bloggers/posters is to become familiar with their body of work. It just takes time.

 

 

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Isn't that true for conventional reviews too? Sifton will remember the off fish no matter how many pristine pieces he subsequently receives.

One would think that professional reviewers would be better at their jobs than that.

 

I'm not so sure. For example, once you get familiar with a film critic you get to know their likes and dislikes. You calibrate them against your own taste and then decide how useful their reviews are. You can even get finer than that. There might be a critic that you generally find reliable that has a particular antipathy for a particular genre. Maybe it's sci-fi movies. Once you know that you learn to disregard their lukewarm reviews for movies in that genre.

 

Getting back to food boards and bloggers, the key to assessing credibility of individual bloggers/posters is to become familiar with their body of work. It just takes time.

But then that's not crowd sourcing any more, is it? It's jut using oakapple or Wilfrid as your trusted reviewer rather than Sifton, or reading multiple reviews; it's not looking at some aggregate rating somewhere, or scanning through a CH thread without paying too much attention to who exactly is speaking.

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As a chef, that is one of my biggest beefs with the blogging world. I don't want to get into a whole convo about that, but most bloggers--especially the Jersey ones--don't know what the f@ck they are talking about. Yet, they clearly drive traffic in the state. However, they don't feel the need to get things right, because they hide behind the notion of "this is just a blog post, not a real review." Rings a little hollow if they skewer you and get the facts wrong...When they are taking pictures and describing ingredients and cooking methods, they should make an attempt to get the details correct. In my view, that goes beyond coming on here and saying, "I had a shit meal at XYZ last night."

This is not (I hope) an equilibrium. Eventually people will learn to not trust everything they read on the internet. Everyone's still too enamored with this whole blogging thing to separate out people who are knowledgeable from people who aren't.

 

 

Oh, I think it's fairly easy to figure out who speaks with authoriteh and who doesn't. :)

 

 

Here's a recent review of one of a certain board favorite...

 

Can you guess who wrote it and which is it?

 

A dish called Beets and Butt eats like an Irish staple from the depths of winter. This is a hearty, come-home-from-the-fields dish that’s ideal for these cold days that turn dark before 5pm. This is served with a bowl of braised English ham hock that’s coupled with marrow butter, braised and pickled beets that offer a great contrast to the more mellow earthy flavors of the butt. A crispy English muffin (nice nooks and crannies) teeters on the edge of the bowl, giving you something to mop up the last bits of sauce with. I must say that of the three appetizers my students and I shared, none of us were able to get enough of that challah sandwich. Even Alisun, who’s from Portsmouth, New Hampshire and has never had chopped liver before, was hooked.

 

Cod is served “Irish Style” in an ale broth swimming with clams, onions, and yes, bacon. While the clams were plentiful and the cod was cooked beautifully—the fish was supple and almost silken—it was the smallest piece of cod I’ve ever seen on an entrée plate. It seemed like we got the runt of the fillet litter. The broth was rich and heavy with bacon and onions, which was great on its own, but it overwhelmed the delicate flavors of the cod. With a few tweaks this could be a great seasonal fish dish for winter.

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But then that's not crowd sourcing any more, is it? It's jut using oakapple or Wilfrid as your trusted reviewer rather than Sifton, or reading multiple reviews; it's not looking at some aggregate rating somewhere, or scanning through a CH thread without paying too much attention to who exactly is speaking.

CH doesn't award stars, for better or worse. Yelp does but I don't find them particularly useful. When you read the accompanying posts you get a feel for how random they can be. Sometimes the reviewer is a ninny. ("They put little umbrellas in our drinks. How cool is that!!!") Sometimes they have a massive sense of entitlement and mark a place down when it's not met. ("Our waiter was sooooo rude! He didn't ask us about our day or how many ice cubes we wanted in our cokes!!!)*

 

But if you find long threads about individual restaurants and scan down the list of comments you can get a rough idea as to the overall quality of the kitchen, service, and ambiance. The wildly enthusiastic posts and the overly negative ones cancel each other out. What's left is a general consensus that tends to be somewhat accurate. They get mainstream restaurants right. Their accuracy declines when the write about higher end restaurants (their lack of expertise shows) and cult foods (burgers and pizza.)

 

It's not as convenient as going to a single authoritative source but sites like Yelp and CH provide very broad coverage. If you're willing to roll up your sleeves and dig through the individual posts there's some good information there.

 

* I have said it before. Exclamation marks are the spoor of the ninny.

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But then that's not crowd sourcing any more, is it? It's jut using oakapple or Wilfrid as your trusted reviewer rather than Sifton, or reading multiple reviews; it's not looking at some aggregate rating somewhere, or scanning through a CH thread without paying too much attention to who exactly is speaking.

CH doesn't award stars, for better or worse. Yelp does but I don't find them particularly useful. When you read the accompanying posts you get a feel for how random they can be. Sometimes the reviewer is a ninny. ("They put little umbrellas in our drinks. How cool is that!!!") Sometimes they have a massive sense of entitlement and mark a place down when it's not met. ("Our waiter was sooooo rude! He didn't ask us about our day or how many ice cubes we wanted in our cokes!!!)*

 

But if you find long threads about individual restaurants and scan down the list of comments you can get a rough idea as to the overall quality of the kitchen, service, and ambiance. The wildly enthusiastic posts and the overly negative ones cancel each other out. What's left is a general consensus that tends to be somewhat accurate. They get mainstream restaurants right. Their accuracy declines when the write about higher end restaurants (their lack of expertise shows) and cult foods (burgers and pizza.)

 

It's not as convenient as going to a single authoritative source but sites like Yelp and CH provide very broad coverage. If you're willing to roll up your sleeves and dig through the individual posts there's some good information there.

 

* I have said it before. Exclamation marks are the spoor of the ninny.

 

I fully agree!!!!!!

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I'll agree that if you don't like the pork, it matters little whether it was braised or confit, or whether it was shoulder or the ham. Point taken. More to my point is when a blogger will attempt to deconstruct a dish by attempting to list ingredients. In doing so, they can be totally correct, partly correct or not correct at all. A person who is reading that blog post can get a totally different perception of a dish based on an incorrect explanation. I once had a 3 page thread on Egullet about a dish. The OP was wrong about most of the dish. What followed was 3 pages of, "why would any chef even ATTEMPT to put those flavors together." A paper's reviewer is likely to make a better attempt to get the details correct, regardless of whether they liked the dish or not. At the end of the day, it is the blogger's opinion and I do respect that--for the most part...lol.

 

As for Sneak and Wilfrid, I've said it before, I read their reviews frequently. They, as most of the real core members of the NY board, are heads and shoulders above the typical Jersey blogger.

 

Another big problem in Jersey is there are a handful of "bloggers/writers" that drive traffic that absolutely expect and receive comps. They NEVER..I MEAN NEVER...put it into their blog posts.

 

 

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Another big problem in Jersey is there are a handful of "bloggers/writers" that drive traffic that absolutely expect and receive comps. They NEVER..I MEAN NEVER...put it into their blog posts.

yup. plenty in NYC do too, of course

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I have to say I have been shocked recently by a New York blogger - moderately well known - telling me they never pay for anything. Maybe I am too shockable. Maybe I should stop paying for my meals.

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I have to say I have been shocked recently by a New York blogger - moderately well known - telling me they never pay for anything. Maybe I am too shockable. Maybe I should stop paying for my meals.
I thought this was restricted to people like Ozersky and Shaw, I would be interested to know how widespread this really is. Maybe it's just really easy to tell with those two.
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I have to say I have been shocked recently by a New York blogger - moderately well known - telling me they never pay for anything. Maybe I am too shockable. Maybe I should stop paying for my meals.

You should start teaching classes on food blogging.

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How many moderately well-known NY bloggers are there? Are you and Oak moderately well-known? (Serious question, cause I don't really follow this stuff.) I'm guessing Andrea Strong is well-known, as it Restaurant Girl. Do Bourdain, Reichl, Oliver Strand, Ozersky and others (who I would say are actually reporters) count as bloggers?

 

Why don't you reveal the source? If someone is accepting bribes, shouldn't it be public?

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How many moderately well-known NY bloggers are there? Are you and Oak moderately well-known? (Serious question, cause I don't really follow this stuff.) I'm guessing Andrea Strong is well-known, as it Restaurant Girl. Do Bourdain, Reichl, Oliver Strand, Ozersky and others (who I would say are actually reporters) count as bloggers?

(snip)

 

I'd put Ed Levine of Serious Eats in the group of well known bloggers as well. There are a number of people who follow specialized themes like Thai, bbq, etc as well.

 

Eater probably follows 15-20 blogs over the course of a few weeks, and a few active CH eG etc people also seem to have followings.

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