Culture

The NYT’s abandoned cooking group on Facebook has boiled over

Members say the 77,000-member group has taken a turn for the messy since The New York Times left it to fend for itself.

Young rat (Rattus norvegicus) climbs into the dish with the leftovers of food on a plate on sink at the kitchen. Fight with rodents in the apartment. Extermination.
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The New York Times Cooking Community is a private Facebook group with more than 77,000 members. The purpose of the group is self-explanatory: share your love and appreciation for cooking, baking, and other kitchen tricks with people around the world. While including NYT Cooking recipes is encouraged, too, it’s not obligatory. What moderators don’t want is politics, though. But now the group, which was originally created in February 2019, has "lost all control," according to journalist Erin Biba. The reason? The NYT has abandoned it.

@erinbiba / Twitter

Hasta la vista, baby — Moderators from The Times, as BuzzFeed News reports, have jumped ship and "decided to completely abandon the 77,000 member group to its own recognizance and take their name off of it,” Biba says. Adding that she finds the whole situation “hilarious."

Members of the cooking community can submit their own names and become moderators, which will undoubtedly change the official and rather decorum-compliant nature of the group. "I can't stop laughing at the [New York Times'] ineptitude," Biba wrote.

What changed? — In the wake of the drama initiated by its disowning of the group, the NYT issued a statement explaining that “the interest in this group is about much more than recipes or the NYT. As it continues to grow and change, it should be run by people who are an engaged and informed part of the community.”

“And so,” the outlet said, “it is time to hand this group over to you, its members."

How we got to this shipwreck — Moderating a massive Facebook group is taxing work. It requires patience, attention, and the ability to keep hundreds, if not thousands, of people with different proclivities and interests civil with each other… or at least try to. As The Takeout noted, the group had only four moderators. None of whom were full-time.

Four moderators attempting to keep order in a crowd of over 77,000 people is a Herculean task, to put it mildly. From now on, according to The Takeout, 10 to 20 volunteer moderators will be responsible for moderating the group.

Of course, mutiny is breaking out among the group’s members. As The Takeout reports, some members of the cooking collective have suggested that people should ditch the group for good, presumably due to the chaos unfolding. Others have suggested members create their own splinter groups. We don’t have a horse in this race, but we do enjoy watching other people’s drama unfold, especially when there are rolling pins, knives, and tenderizers close at hand, and family recipes on the line.