Before splitting these parts last week, we posted an inquiry from a Chowhound reader who was perplexed that his post about the restaurant Ici was disappeared from the erstwhile message board. Comes a devoted Chowhounder (whose screenname will be kept private) to explain the double-secret Chowhound policy and reveal the existence of the ominous "banned list":
Back when Ici first opened, there was some issue about whether Laurent (or someone associated with him) was shilling for the place on Chowhound. So they put them on the banned list.Another tipster informs us that Mara's Homemade was on the banned list at one point, explaining, "Chowhound's policy is to never outright accuse a restaurant of shilling. Too many potential legal risks. The posts just vanish without explaination."
In the insufferably annoying, but yet to be adequately replicated, world of Chowhound, one of the stupidities is that there's no way of knowing what restaurants are banned, so you can write a whole post only to have it vanish into blackhole AND you never know if the general silence on a place means no one's been there or that there's a ban in place. Also, they don't distinguish between long-time posters w/ recognized cyberfootprints and spammers -- surely, the "Chowhound Team" can tell the difference.
Brasserie 8 1/2 in Manhattan is under a similar fatwah, and once someone innocently asked which of five restaurants accepting a given gift certificate she should go to. All references to Brasserie 8 1/2 (including mine) simply vanished from the thread without a word of explanation, leaving the false impression that it was less worthy of consideration than the other distinctly mediocre restaurants on the list. How hard would it be to have a list of banned topics?