John Tesar, Blogging, and Truth or Dare

Before I start this conversation, let me be honest: I don’t have the answers.

First consideration: Over the last year, bloggers have “criticized” writers on SideDish for “regurgitating press releases.” My comeback is this: SideDish is a combination of news, opinions, restaurant reviews, and foodie events. What one reader might consider a regurgitated press release could be another reader’s dream wine dinner come true.
First example: Sarah Eveans post on Friday based on a press release from Flavors From Afar.  I’m sure some people glazed over the headline while others jotted down the information and readied to get their oil changed. In reality, a interesting discussion on the regulation of olive oil broke out. Several educated readers took issue with statements made by the folks at FFA. One commenter issued a “dare” to the Krabills. (It’s interesting stuff. And I plan to try and make it happen.)
First question: Should we post press releases announcing foodie events and news?

Should we post press releases announcing foodie events and news?

Second consideration: Anonymous bloggers. Blogs are typed talk radio shows. Anybody can “call” in to rant or rave. The only difference is that the words typed in a blog remain in cyber space forever. Anyone can be anyone and say anything. Freedom of speech? Yes. Fair? I don’t know. Train wreck? For sure.
Second example: Chef John Tesar left the Mansion. After we reported the news, comments to the post ranged from supposed inside sources claiming JT was a mad man to comments from folks who claimed to have worked alongside him and he is the best ever. Money quote from “Truth”:  “Enough senseless gossip and hating. Blogging need some rules and accountability if journalists are going to keep supporting it.”
Second question: SideDish is your blog. Your forum. What would you do? Rules or rumble? (A young, but wise and balding sage once told me, “The Internet always wins.”)

SideDish is your blog. Your forum. What would you do? Rules or rumble?

Go now. Be thoughtful and provocative.

20 comments on “John Tesar, Blogging, and Truth or Dare

  1. Re: second consideration, depends what the rules are and depends how far you let folks “rumble.”

  2. What kind of rule can you make? No cussing? Big deal. You have to use your own name? Can’t inforce that. You can’t have a negative opinion? Forget it. I just can’t think of anything that will stop the rude behavior. People are just going to do what they’re going to do.

  3. Also, I think you’re handling it pretty well right now. Deleting the stuff that’s over the top and calling out the questionable.

  4. Yes, you do have the almighty option of turning off the comments. I would say no rules, but you have a delay, like broadcasting where you review the comment and make sure it’s not over the top. Of course, that relies on subjectivity on your part, but someone has to be in charge and that’s why you are paid the big bucks! :)

  5. Yes, of course. Like my friend says, “The Internet always wins.” Some blogs moderate the posts–they remove any they deem unfit. I don’t want to do that. I mean I’ll take down silly, meaningless posts that don’t add to the conversation, but I am not going to take down someone’s opinion. However, I get plenty of e-mails from people who want me to do it. So, I’m just asking for your opinions.

  6. Those same people who want you to take down posts they don’t like wouldn’t email you to take down a negative post that benefited them.

  7. Keep doing what you’re doing: “I’ll take down silly, meaningless posts that don’t add to the conversation, but I am not going to take down someone’s opinion.”

  8. On the rare occasion where someone truely goes over the top with a profaity laden rant, clearly libelous statements or a pack of bald faced lies, do us all the favor of editing or removing the post. It might help them see the error of their ways and improve their ability to communicate with the rest of us. You shouldn’t have to constantly be cleaning up one person’s messes though, so if they persist in such behavior on a regular and frequent basis, either permanently block them or put them in time out (block ‘em for a month).

  9. actually it might be more informative to leave up “libelous” posts and to just point out what’s known to be factually inaccurate.

  10. Then there’s me – a silly meaningless person who may not add much to the conversation per say but did make one quasi significant contribution a while back.

    I’m the one who started and promoted that whole humorous lampoon of Lisa Garza being a Star Trek alien (Romulan, Vulcan, etc.) due to her over the top look and slightly grating personality – and I just wouldn’t let up – nor would other bloggers once it got going. Someone at D Mag must have gotten the humor of it all because if you saw in last issue you would have seen and known that:

    Probably without me (unless I’m delusional) there would have been no “separated at birth” reference to Lisa Garza next to a photo of an alien. Or Ms, Garza’s ability to now command the hefty fees she does when she works Star Trek conventions.

    Had there been a censorship policy in place – this kind of comedic humor would have surely been sadly missed. I vote keep the rules as they are.

  11. Hey Squinty, nobody said anything about outlawing humor, sarcasm, irony, biting wit, mockery, scorn, contempt, ridicule, spoofs, lampooning or satire – yours was clearly appreciated as many of us piled on. I mean, we all love an all out food fight in the cafeteria once in a while.

  12. Instead of choices that either reinforce your status quo, or tear it to shreds, why not put some thought into another alternative, as practiced by your other competition.

    Such as: we will not regurgitate press releases without valid comment beforehand, and if we can’t, then we will not do it at all. Winess Peg ignoring the Flavors press release, and TG today giving lede-headlne comment to the sill Tesar presser.

    You are missing the fact that, buy pushing pressers out, as you did with the EVOO goof, you look like shills. Any further posts will look like shill-work, even if it’s unrelated to a press release. Witness the howls you got about Neighborhood Services. few will take any D review of it seriously now. Hell, even Tim (helpfully) helped out to try am remove that taint.

    Lastly, walk down the hall and have a confab with Tim, Eric and Adam about snark and how to deal with it. Repeat same to Sarah. If you are going to dish it out here, and on other forums under codenames and only ID yourself in the comment itself, then be ready to be called on it.

    Don’t dish out steaming piles of it unless you can’t handle it back. You aren’t 14 yrs old Nanny, so quit treating others that way. Quit calling your competiton names — already you have called the new DMN “carrotop” for goodness sake. I repeat: you are not 14 yrs old in the schoolyard, you are supposed to be a journalist. Blog as you would would want to see it in print in D. It would do this place a world of good. IJS

  13. Don’t listen to him tinkerbell – if you grow up you’ll never throw food across the table again!

  14. Billusa99, well thanks for the lecture, dad. I was joking about carrot top because that picture is not a picture of Leslie Brenner. The wrong picture was circulation. TG pushes her share of releases and so does Eatsblog. I have taken an anti-PR people stance many times. As for shilling for FFA, that is just a wrong accusation. If we had to fact check every release it would be a full-time job. Plus I think the majority of what you are talking about came out in the comments section. Why don’t you who knows so much about food, the food business, the magazine business, and journalism, sign your name to your opinions? The “blogging industry” is a work in progress and all media outlets are struggling with how to get a handle on it and differ from the competition. I don’t know what you mean about other sites in the comments section, I always sign my name when I post.