Hi everyone, just a note to say thank you for your outpouring of support. We are still trying to respond to all of your messages, but we wanted to let you know that you were heard and very appreciated. It’s weird checking into Facebook without a pile of notifications waiting for me. It’s been a little eerie. I’m trying to remember what Facebook was like before you all came along. I miss the fun!
As you probably already know, some events took place at our Facebook group on Sunday that we take very seriously. The well-being of group members is far more important than all else. A group about food is supposed to be FUN, help build community, and we were doing a lot of both. It’s interesting because our rules were meant to negate the keyboard warrior/bully mentality, yet that behavior is exactly what took us down.
Let’s take things back to the beginning for a moment. When I created the group, I wanted recommendations on where to go for lunch with friends. I imagined that I’d post a specific request and if anyone eventually joined the group, they would recommend their favorite establishments in the comments. That’s it! The original intent of the group was supposed to be that simple, all about discovery – recommendations only. This was never intended to be “yet another review site”. Reviews never even crossed my mind as I’ve never used a review site! Ever! I come from a restaurant background, paid my way through college waiting tables and bartending, so negative reviews make me physically cringe!
Well, then the group exploded in membership and only recently, we felt a very negative shift. Let’s refer to the shifters as “the very small percentage”.
- The very small percentage with an “anything goes” mentality had a few names for us – sunshine, rainbows, butterflies, glorifying the good, and positivity only. Well yeah, I’d say that’s pretty much the definition of a recommendation. If you like it, praise it, if I see the same establishment recommended multiple times, I’ll try it.
- The very small percentage also feels the need to talk about their “personal preference” as if their palates are more refined and important than ours, but quite frankly, who cares? Not everyone’s taste is the same, that’s a given, so just tell me what you like. Again, if enough people like it, it’s probably worth a try.
- The very small percentage also feels the need to share it ALL about food/service/ambiance in an attempt to “help the establishment grow” from their very important feedback. If you really care about an establishment’s growth from a negative situation, find their Facebook page, hit the Message button, and share your thoughts directly. Helping them grow is not blasting them with your negative experience or your “personal preference” at a group of nearly 12K members. You feel justified when an establishment says, “thank you for your feedback”. But their response doesn’t mean your very public feedback was appreciated, or that you demonstrated proper adult behavior. It just means that they’re in the business of customer service, and there are no other words for the sarcassholes in a very public forum!
Although it went against my makeup as a human, I attempted to allow constructive reviews (if you don’t like it, that’s ok, chat about it, but be constructive) to please the very small percentage; however, THEY still could not be pleased, THEY were the loudest, and THEY led to the quick demise of our group Sunday afternoon, within a matter of hours. One fire led to another, the negativity spread quick, escalated to a level we take seriously, and we had to shut it down.
On the VERY BRIGHT SIDE, the vast majority of us enjoyed the discovery that comes along with the group’s recommendations. We discovered SO much together, and had so much fun chatting about our discoveries. Our list of “things we tried that were new to us” was long, and the list of “things we have yet to try” is even longer. Who knew that Tallahassee had so much to offer before the group came along?
So here is where we stand now – if we proceed, we will take it all back to our original intent – recommendations only. Not much would change because recommendations are the group’s core DNA! The recommendations are what showed up in your newsfeed 50+ times a day, and we are done entertaining the Nancys! We are no longer interested in the “it wasn’t for me” commentary, arguments about our rules, or negative reviews.
Side note – Anyone that has already opposed our rules in any way, pissed off enough members or moderators, and/or exhibited troll-like behavior (I see you!), will be removed immediately. We can no longer take the time, and now the risk, to argue. We learned a tough lesson – what starts out as a little bit of negativity will quickly blow up, so we will have a zero tolerance policy with posts and comments going forward to protect our group.
Even if what you’re doing is as simple as questioning our rules or giving someone your support that is questioning our rules, you are undermining our efforts, in front of the group, and the negativity spreads! Although everyone can see our posts, that doesn’t make this a “public forum”. Facebook is a membership-only platform with their own terms of service, as is our group, and rule breaker will be removed immediately at our discretion. Your agreement to the rules = your entrance. Your disagreement to the rules = your exit. The door works both ways.
Please pardon our down time while we continue to evaluate everything that happened and seek professional advice on if/when/how to proceed.
* Not So Random Image – Jeri’s Midtown Cafe Gouda Grits & Shrimp