EDIT: Greetings to those of you joining us via Julia Moskin. To get up to speed, the burger joint/gun nut/Yelp cyberbulying saga starts here, is updated here, w/ reflections on guns + restaurants + social media also here. Views expressed here are my own, but to be clear, I'm not the one slinging around the coprophilic maledictions.
So, yesterday, The Cod wondered if the Backstreets incident, revealing as it does that Yelp is populated by homophobes with complicated relations to poop, might damage the credibility of a restaurant review site that is the forum for the opinions of anyone with a smartphone and two thumbs. Seems as if Yelp has a bigger problem than just actual cyberharassment of a particular place by gun nuts after the owner called them a bad name. Not only are there weird and bad reviews of Backstreets from other folks, but a visit to our local pub, Nick's, revealed that some disgruntled gun nut Yelpers are not only slamming Backstreets, but also giving positive reviews to other spots in town. Here is a not subtle example. (See screenshot below.) Also, this guy, "Joe B," has been posting positive reviews of every other place nearby, comparing them favorably to Backstreets, as in this review of the Islander:
As an occasional patron of The Islander, I'd say that Joe B. has overstated its virtues considerably. So, if one were attempting to use Yelp to, say, find a place to eat, not only are there the false negative reviews of a place that hurt the feelings of gun nuts, but also false positive reviews of nearby places. TripAdvisor has the same problem. Maybe Eater can hire Gael Greene to cover the Clemson beat so we can get trustworthy reviews?