This is a comment that I would have posted in a certain other topic if it hadn't been locked. My guess is that in general, it is very easy to make internet posts that might be read as hurtful or rude simply because the screen in front of you isn't a human face. I'm not calling mr. sausage or anyone else here rude, btw. It's just that it's easy to make a "Oh, boy. I can't believe you people eat eye of newt. Bleah!
" comment because we can't see the faces of the people with whom we are discussing it. Would you have put that the same way if you were sitting across the table from someone who had just enthusiastically described their mother's recipe for eye-of-newt casserole? Of course not. But on the internet, our inhibitions are down somewhat. It's . . . it's like road rage. People are used to grumbling curses at other drivers, provided the windows are rolled up.
Unfortunately, getting used to doing that makes us more prone to other actual actions, such as cutting people off, flipping them the bird (as it were), or other even more dangerous things. (The recent McMissile case in Virginia comes to mind. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/21/AR2007022100871.html?nav=rss_metro
I've been "online" now for 5 years, and have seen several instances of i-rage, I guess you'd call it. "e-rage" maybe? Every time I've made a post or sent an email when I was angry, I've regretted it. I haven't seen that sort of thing on roadfood, but then I'm not around a whole lot. Suffice it to say, if we're angry we should probably take a few deep breaths and walk away (as I do now) before posting. And if it's a critical remark we're planning to make, take a minute to think about how it's going to sound to those on the receiving end.
As to the restaurant review ratings . . . I haven't read the reviews in question, so I can't say whether they were truly unhelpful, or whatever. If you want to suggest that all reviews, because they took the trouble to write them, should get a positive review, well . . . that seems silly to me. Why have the option to rate the review at all? On the other hand, if anyone out there is slamming reviews, perhaps they might consider the scale they're using to judge them if it seems that people are posting "unhelpful" willy-nilly.