Saturday, 2 May 2009

... "The Food Bloggers Code of Ethics"

A code for people who blog about food? A new website has posted a manifesto to legitimize food blogging to the world with a specific 'Code', as well as 'Review Guidelines'.

For the most part I agree and I feel I already adhere to these. But some I do not. "We will not use the power of our blog as a weapon." A mindless weapon no, but the critic is themselves a guerrilla force, outside the fighting influence of the Chef/General. We do not have the finances backed by a magazine or a newspaper to speak for the people. We must lash out when a restaurant fails, either to educate a restaurateur to improve or to punish those who don't care what they serve. My keyboard is my sword!

I hide behind some anonymity for safety - both personal and for the blog. I do not tell a restaurant I am coming to review them (often I don't even know myself I'm coming) and that is what the Association of Food Journalists also recommend. I want to be served like anyone entering a restaurant as a restaurant should be presenting their best at all times (with an understanding that things cannot always go perfectly). I understand and respect the idea of review a restaurant twice or thrice, but my personal economy and my availability to do so make repeat visits sometimes impossible (when will I ever be back to Neustadt Ontario?).

Again, I agree for the most part for the 'Guidelines' as well. But more problems exist: I will not sample a wide arrangement of items on the menu - my mandate is chicken wings. I will sample the fries or onion rings or deep fried pickles, but I will try to sample as many wing styles as I can. Anonymity is brought up again, and I do understand the need to protect against those food bloggers, or posters who use venom, ignorance, and intolerance to comment about a restaurant or its food.

So on the whole I pledge to honour The Food Bloggers Code of Ethics when and where I can. I think it is important to be seen not just as an armchair critic, but to take seriously what we do and why we do it. I am not a professional, but that doesn't mean I can't act professionally. Does this mean ALL food bloggers should have to follow these standards? No - not by anymeans. But at the core of this manifesto is respect, and that is one thing many blogs and many commenters forget.


1 comment:

Chris said...

I like those two sets of codes. I think you, I, and a good bit of the food blogging community follow the spirit of these just in the course of good blogging practices. But having them codified like this does cause one to reflect on how well we meet our own standards.

Thoughtful post, I like it!