Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Note about Slanderous Anonymous Posts

I am totally cool with anonymous posts - in fact, I get lots of perfectly nice and constructive comments from posters named "Anonymous" (my sister, who doesn't have a Blogger account, occasionally posts under this name). Anonymous posts in and of themselves do not bother me.

I also don't mind critical comments, whether or not I agree with them, and whether or not they are even critical of me. Some of y'all have had some quite constructive things to say (Dan's enthusiastic un-recommendation of Cafe Hon is one good example). I learn from these comments, and it helps me to be more critical in my critiques as well.

What does bother me is the occasional critical, even slanderous, comment posted by that brave soul known as "Anonymous". To wit: last week while I was in the Netherlands I got an interesting comment about the folks at Mirchi Wok and Mango Grove, whose dishes (not as much whose service) I raved about a while back. I then got an interesting comment slandering the owner, Mr. Rowit Chalwa, talking about how he is a crook who overcharges his customers (to paraphrase the commenter - these are definitely not my thoughts - Indian-Americans apparently are too docile to say anything, them being Indian and all). The commenter then went on to describe how anyone who questions the bill will either get the silent treatment from Mr. Chalwa or a browbeating - the comment really wasn't clear on this. The best part? The commenter is Anonymous.

I cannot verify if the comment is truthful or merely slanderous, but see for yourself - it is repeated word-for-word here (this time the commenter isn't anonymous, calling him/herself "SaidLikeItIs"). Maybe it's true, maybe not, but the only disappointing thing I found about their service was the slowness. I haven't found anyone else specifically saying these things, except one person (here - it's the one comment of four like it). One person was disappointed in the food at Mirchi Wok. I agree - Mango Grove's is a bit better than Mirchi Wok's, who left me longing. And maybe I'm being PC, but the comment's dismissal of most Indian-Americans as "spineless" seems a bit, well, racist to me. As far as the bill goes, it's always a good idea to watch your bill and make sure you haven't been overcharged. And if they complain, definitely do make a stink. Make a big stink. But you don't need to insult a whole ethnic group to do so, and you certainly don't need to go by your secret identity of "Anonymous". Don't need your birth name and SSN or anything, but Anonymous could be anyone.

So starting now, if you want to slime someone, have the guts to put a name to your comment (signing up for a Blogger, TypePad, Wordpress or other account helps) and refrain from attacks on an entire ethnic group. Otherwise, I ain't publishing your comment.

UPDATE: I really don't want to discourage Anonymous comments here - feel free to comment, Anonymous! I'm just saying if you are going to call someone out, don't just go hide back in the woodwork. But even if you do post with no identity, I will not post any racist, sexist, or otherwise bigoted things here. Just won't.

UPDATE TWO (JUNE 29. 2008): I took a gander at the above-linked slanderous review and found this interesting tidbit from a more supportive patron, quoted here:

BTW as for the previous review …some feeble try at defaming such a strong foundation….looks like she has a complex about being Indian .I witnessed this lady customers horrible behaviour and all the guests in the restaurant were applauding when the cops walked her away for her vulgar behaviour and vandalism. I am glad the restaurant owners are choosy & vigilant for not letting such characters get away with typical “Gimme some free food or I’ll scream” behaviour. This way civilized patrons can get the great dining experience they come back for.

Explains a lot.


Charissa said...

I've had a few of these lately - from someone who lives in the Odenton area and works in the city. How about yours?

John said...

I have no idea where this person is from. But I'll probably just hit "Reject" if they post again.

Pigtown-Design said...

I haven't had that problem (cross thumbs) but a lot of the design blogs I read have had scathing comments! And, of course, they're all anon. COWARDS!

John said...

Yep, aren't they shameful?