The New York Times is walking away from its 77,000 strong cooking community Facebook group, as moderating it is just too much work.
The 'New York Times Cooking Community'Facebook group has been a source of positivity, of swapping recipes and anecdotes for its thousands of members, over the last few years. However, a group this size requires moderation and that is a full-time job - in fact, it is several full-time jobs.
The NYT is looking for up to ten volunteers to take over the running of the group, it said in a post.
The post said: “One thing is clear: the interest in this group is about much more than recipes or the New York Times. As it continues to grow it should be run by people who are an engaged and informed part of the community. And so it is time to hand this group over to you its members”.
It would seem the NYT is no longer engaged with the group and, as all newspaper businesses struggle in the digital age, resources can only be allotted to the areas that bring in revenue. However, any publication would recognise the value in having such an engaged community on social media that would ensure quality distribution for its content. But at what point does the engagement become ‘too much’ and the audience too big to handle?
The organisation will be stepping back from the group and removing its affiliation, leaving a group of ten members to take the group in new directions.
A standalone subscription, NYT Cooking costs $40, and there was no requirement to be a subscriber in order to sign up to the group. One of the main rules of the group though does stipulate that members refrain from copying and pasting entire NYT recipes on the group page.
As the group membership grew it became subject, like all other digital spaces, to the vagaries of public discourse on race, identity, the cultural appropriation of recipes, the election and the pandemic. Moderation is often a thankless, exhausting task, and the mental health of those at the coalface can suffer as a result.
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