Thinking and writing about food. Not always in that order.

I give crowdsourcing 4 stars for comic potential.

In Restaurants, Silliness, Things I hate on July 30, 2012 at 3:11 pm

NOTE: Sometimes, things just come together in beautiful ways. I was working myself up into a froth earlier today thinking about how annoying Yelpers are. Then I discovered these awesome videos of actors reading Yelp reviews.

Think about the last time you were stuck in a crowd — perhaps it was the Kenny Chesney concert at the Ohio State Fair or the restroom at Port Authority in New York. I’m sure you were thinking: I would find it very helpful if all of these people became restaurant reviewers.

You never know. The largish lady picking a scab off her elbow may be a secret gourmand. The gentleman with one crazy eye and a very Bruins-centric wardrobe could well be the next MFK Fisher. The young couple with the creative neck tattoos could have culinary interests that extend far beyond diet Mountain Dew.

But probably not.

There’s a good possibility that every one of those people has written a Yelp review.

That’s why Yelp (as well as Tripadvisor and a thousand other sites fueled by crowd sourcing) kinda sucks as a source of real reviews.These sites assume, very democratically, that every voice counts equally and every opinion is valid. But mainly, it puts the reputation of restaurant owners, chefs, and servers at the mercy of every yahoo with a beef, a laptop and an Internet connection.

Crowd sourcing is a great idea, except for one problem: it relies upon the wisdom of a big, anonymous, emotionally unstable crowd.

I pay attention to Yelp reviews, but generally only the positive ones. They tend to be specific and a helpful way to discover what’s good at any given restaurant.

Oh, I also read the negative reviews. Because they are hilarious and generally read like the Unibomber’s manifesto.

I’m convinced that 95% of negative hotel reviews are written by older English people. In my head, every negative hotel review on Tripadvisor is read with a British accent.

Fortunately, I no longer have to limit the dramatic readings of Yelp reviews to the voices in my head. Check out these awesome videos.

They’re the most positive thing to come out of a crowd in some time.

“I don’t think I’m gonna eat there anymore.”

“White dude working the tandoors, you go sir.”

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  1. […] feelings about the quality and usefulness of Yelp reviews is well documented. And I apologize to everyone who works in a restaurant for the fact […]

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