In February, Boston magazine raved, “Boston’s Best Yelp Reviews Are Written by Third Graders,” praising the project of Taryn Snyder’s classroom in Boston Teachers Union School in Forest Hills. For the past few years, to help sharpen their writing skills, the young reviewers have described their favorite restaurants in enthusiastic detail, like this 2017 rave by student Amiyah: “I just want you guys to know that if you are looking for a place to have fun and eat good food, you should go to my favorite restaurant Bertucci’s… My favorite is the pepperoni pizza because they give you a full pizza.” Full pizza? We’re in!
Adorable, right? Nope, says Yelp, which has now banned Snyder from posting her classes’ reviews based on a couple of stipulations: one, that posters have to be 13 or have parental permission; and two, that they have to have firsthand knowledge of the places they’ve visited. Good news for those of us who expect a certain standard of Yelp reviews, which as chefs will tell you, are paragons of fair and authoritative critical assessment—where a restaurant would never be given a one-star review because the server took an extra minute to bring out the check. Yelp integrity: restored!
The AP reports that Snyder told the Boston Globe that “the students loved publishing their work and have grown as writers from the experience.” She plans on moving all their work to another website. Please send us the link when that’s up, but really, couldn’t a few parental permission forms clear all this up? We feel like we sign about a dozen of these things for our grade-schoolers weekly anyway. In the meantime, we defy any current Yelp users to come up with something as gastronomically delightful as “Prepare for your taste buds to explode!” from one of these kid-penned reviews.