On Facebook

We have 2 separate Facebook presences: a business page and our group.

Our business page is where you can *LIKE* us and keep up with news/updates from us and from area restaurants where we share their updates.

The Facebook group is a community with over 11000 members (as of August 2017) where you get to interact with other area folks interested in locally-owned restaurants in a moderated forum.

The group has proven to be so popular that in April 2017 we’ve started a section here on this page for a set of Frequently Asked Questions and a set of guidelines.

If you have additional questions not answered on this page, don’t hesitate to Contact us!

Group Owner: David E. Turner — Co-Admin: J. Scott Wilson, Karen Webster Turner, John Love and Stephanie Collins Asmuth.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Admin / Moderators

Send a personal message to David E. Turner on Facebook. We are always looking for folks interested in helping out. Just be sure you have a firm grasp of the guidelines listed here in the FAQ beforehand.

General Questions

Even before they opened in Spring 2017, there was an enormous amount of discussion about Howardz sandwich shop in Gastonia. There were some unique difficulties with their opening and it caused a lot of confusion.

That was all fine but by May we started seeing a LOT more discussion and debate in the group over some trending problems, such as the way some food was prepared offsite and brought in, etc. but mainly over their consistent inability to open on time. This led to heated threads and times when we had to attempt to calm things down.

This led one of the owners of Howardz to post concerning everything. This thread also became very heated with people taking sides and some being chastised harshly over bringing up the issues to begin with.

Things continued, with many more posts pointing out the same problems..along with many posts supporting the restaurant, its owners and the food.

By early July the decision was made to begin clamping down on posts about Howardz, as those discussions were overwhelming the feed. Shortly after our announcement, Howardz posted a reply to our announcement on their page (refer to screenshots below – click the permalink if you don’t see the images). In their reply they equated our group’s activity with demonic forces.

We found that to be quite offensive to not only ourselves but also to our group members. We have defended their rights to post honest reviews and constructive criticisms throughout this ordeal.

At that point a decision was made to officially forbid posts about Howardz, and we removed their listing from our website. We blocked their page and have no idea if they have posted anything else about us, the group or the website.

We wish them and their restaurant nothing but the best.

We try to be as hands-off as possible when it comes to what is posted as long as it’s on-topic. Some items, however are a matter of common sense and a few others are based on prior experience in what effect those topics create in the group.

Not allowed: all of the following (but not limited to):

  • Pornographic posts
  • fake coupon scams
  • fake/joke reviews
  • direct sales (unless directly related to local restaurants, and even then it’s best to ask an admin first)
  • political discussion
  • discussion on controversial topics such as restaurant rules on guns or the personal stance of restaurants in regards to topics such as LGBT rights
  • “soapboxing” (for example: making a post to complain about “drama” in other posts or to complain about other aspects of the group, it’s moderators or members)

Also not allowed: No one can advertise any food vendor services unless the subject is a legitimate business, registered with the County, etc. No unregistered/uninspected home kitchens/bakeries allowed.

We look for signs that a profile is a fake profile or a “Spam bot’. We do this by looking at when the profile was created, odd typos, number and location of friends, and other publicly-listed profile information.

A profile-acting-as-a-business will be blocked. A profile that uses an obviously fake name will be blocked.

We err on the side of caution in order to protect the group from potential spammers.

If you request to join and have been declined or are worried you will be, contact an admin.

Typically: No.

There are the occasional exceptions, and regional/smaller chains are more likely to be ok vs. National chains.

Rule of thumb: If the restaurant is listed in our website directory, it’s allowed in group posts/reviews.

However, especially when there is a new opening, we are inundated with posts that become overly heated and it overwhelms the group so those are especially not allowed.

Simply put, we all know what to expect from an Applebee’s, or a Ruby Tuesday, or a Denny’s, so why spend so much time discussing those in a group whose focus is on the locally-owned small business who can’t compete advertising-dollars-wise with a National chain? It defeats the entire reason for the group’s creation 5 years ago.

Fast Food Chains: No. Let’s just keep those discussions out. If you have a bad experience at one, contact them via their Facebook page and it’s reviews sections.

Members

In order to keep new posts/reviews flowing through the group feed, we sometimes will turn off commenting on certain posts.

Typically, these posts are either:

  • A negative restaurant post/review
  • A recommendation post
  • A post on a controversial subject

We *do not* censor posts/comments that meet the guidelines listed on this page. We are, however compelled to limit commenting on these type of posts because all too often after a dozen or more comments they tend to devolve into a combination of either personal attacks, or rude commenting/trolling.

The group operates best and is enjoyable by all when it isn’t focused on divisive posts that become “bash fests”.

Turning off of commenting and any other moderation of posts/reviews by the group admin are at our discretion and are final.

Generally speaking, no.

There are too many members and posts made on any given day that off-topic posts will take away from the purpose of the group as a local niche.

That’s not to say there may be some instances where it would be appropriate. We would ask that you check directly with an admin before posting if there is any doubt.

Our goal is to see that the vast majority of conversation be about locations inside the Gaston County limits, so generally, no.

There are some exceptions. You have some locations just outside of the county, and some locations that are a cuisine/experience that differs from anything available inside of Gaston.

What we suggest is to try to be mindful of the goals of the group when considering mentioning locations outside of Gaston. If you’re unsure whether it would be appropriate, it probably isn’t.

 

Restaurant Owners / Staff

If the review follows our guidelines as laid out elsewhere in this FAQ, then it is up to you to communicate with the poster in whatever method you wish. We will only intervene if the guidelines are not followed.

We will decide to turn off commenting if the thread reaches a point where the issue has been resolved, or when each side has had a chance to “say their piece”. We do this in order to allow threads to drop down the page and allow newer posts more of an opportunity to be seen.

Negative review posts almost always inevitable devolve into any number of inappropriate paths and we do our best to prevent that.

IF you see a post/review about your restaurant that you feel doesn’t meet our review guidelines or is otherwise “crossing the line”, please contact an admin and we will address it accordingly as quickly as possible.

What we will not do, is censor any reviews/posts that meet the guidelines laid out in this FAQ. The onus is on you to address negative reviews.

We have a limited number of slots each year for local restaurants for “featured status” here on the website. There is a fee and you can contact us for additional information.

This also includes you in a month as a “featured” restaurant in the Facebook group and page, and puts you on the short list for possible locations for future Menu mob events.

Featured status *does not* give you immunity from negative posts/reviews.

Yes. Due to Facebook group settings, your restaurant business page can’t be a member, however you are welcome to join under your personal profile and post information, news/updates, events and specials for your locally-owned Gaston County restaurant.

You can post a maximum of once per day. If there is a special occasion/event and you would like permission to make extra posts, contact us beforehand. If you have photos to post, add them all into one post or share a gallery from your business page.

If you manage a local franchise of a chain restaurant, contact us as we may need to set additional limits in order to ensure the focus in the group remain on locally-owned businesses.

TIPS/TRICKS
  • Be sure to say which restaurant you’re posting about!
  • Tag your business page whenever possible (use the @ symbol to create a linked tag, ie @GastonEats would create a linked tag to our page)
  • Use a photo/graphic whenever possible in order to attract more attention to your posts. A short video works even better!
  • Be ready to engage with group members and answer questions. This “human touch” will go a long way towards attracting more people to your restaurant.

 

 

Reviews

  • Be sure to include the restaurant name/location near the top of your review. Tag the restaurant if possible (Using the @ sign).
  • Only post reviews of locations within Gaston County. There are some possible exceptions, check with admin first if you are unsure.
  • Be honest, but also fair. If it’s a majority negative review, don’t post while still upset. Give yourself a cooling-down period.
  • Do NOT post accusations of food poisoning or claims that a meal out made you or others sick. Same goes for allegations of foreign items in your food (glass, bugs, etc.). Those circumstances should only be discussed directly with restaurant staff/management.
  • Do NOT post reviews of Fast Food or National chains. (Not sure, ask).
  • If you have a connection to the business beyond just being a customer, you must mention that as a disclaimer. If you do not, and proof is provided to an admin that you are otherwise connected, and especially if your review is a revenge/vendetta driven review, you will be removed and blocked from the group permanently.
  • Try to include a mention to all segments of the experience. The service, the appearance of the location, the meal itself, pricing, etc. … you may have had to send your steak back twice and want to make sure everyone knows about it, but if the wait staff was great and other parts of the experience were positive..be sure to include that information.

We *DO NOT* discourage honest negative reviews. If you are going to post about a negative experience, the onus is on you to be honest and fair in your review.

  • Be prepared to have people disagree (or agree) with your review, sometimes vehemently.
  • People will make suggestions on what you should/should have done differently.
  • People will suggest other places you should have gone.
  • If a staff/manager/owner of the restaurant are in the group, they very well may contact you either publicly or privately.

You have the option to turn off commenting on your review if you want it to stand on it’s merits without discussion.

We try to monitor and step in if there are personal attacks or comments that do not meet the group guidelines. If you see comments that need to be reviewed by admin, tag one of us.

If the comments on your review “get out of hand” or continue beyond the point where the content is beneficial to the group flow, we will turn off commenting on your review. This is NOT a condemnation of your review or a show of bias on our part. It is just a necessary step in order to keep the group manageable and enjoyable to it’s members.

 

 

Typically: No.

There are the occasional exceptions, and regional/smaller chains are more likely to be ok vs. National chains.

Rule of thumb: If the restaurant is listed in our website directory, it’s allowed in group posts/reviews.

However, especially when there is a new opening, we are inundated with posts that become overly heated and it overwhelms the group so those are especially not allowed.

Simply put, we all know what to expect from an Applebee’s, or a Ruby Tuesday, or a Denny’s, so why spend so much time discussing those in a group whose focus is on the locally-owned small business who can’t compete advertising-dollars-wise with a National chain? It defeats the entire reason for the group’s creation 5 years ago.

Fast Food Chains: No. Let’s just keep those discussions out. If you have a bad experience at one, contact them via their Facebook page and it’s reviews sections.

No.

This has been something we’ve been openly accused of on many occasions and frankly is quite offensive. There has not been a single occurrence in the group where we have tried to protect a restaurant from negative postings/reviews based on any personal preference, payment, or friend/family ties.

Anyone who feels that isn’t the case is welcome to contact us directly to discuss it in private.

Making an accusation of admin bias in a group post/comment will get you permanently banned from the group.  

 

 

 

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