Friday, November 3, 2017

Holiday Plans?

Mexico or Hawaii for Seattle were the number one or two, depending on whom you asked, the choice of holiday destinations.  Rain wearers love sun and sand as the green gets old after a rainy fall and winter.    My family never went to Mexico and I have never been for no reason other than my Parents went was I was young, hated it and that ended that.  Hawaii was then the number one place after I grew too old for Disneyland.

I have never had an urge to go to Mexico, love the people and the food well the real Mexican kind yes, the stuff we call Mexican like its Chinese counterpart not so much.  It was well into adulthood when I discovered both cuisines in San Francisco and never looked back.  But today my true love is Indian and Thai and then Greek/Middle Eastern.  Our tastes do change even when we do not. 

Perhaps it is one too many Narcos story or the concept of the wall, the trek of Immigrants who put me at pause, as  if they don't want to live there why would I go there?

Then we had the last years death by alcohol and other odd tales from Mexican resorts that once again puts the blame on Mame aka the "victims."   Yes when one goes to an all inclusive resort in the fun and the sun a nice sparkling water is all one needs.   I am the first to admit when I holiday I drink less as I need to get around, but all inclusive resort means just that and in turn you are walled in and off from the rest of the village so ostensibly safer and in turn you can let down your hair and relax.  Well as Frankie says, relax don't do it when you want to come.  They just didn't mean Mexico.

Then I read the article below about the resorts and the role Trip Advisor took in preventing warning to potential Guests and other Tourists to the area.  You may not stay at said resort but a red flag warning is just that and like working with Harvey Weinstein it would be great to get a head's up there.

Ask the family about the little boy at the Disney Resort killed by an Alligator.  They knew.

The Millwaukee Journal Sentinel did an excellent piece about the subject and is worthy of looking through it and reading the horrific stories of sexual assault, robbery and abuse that took place at what are four star resorts.    And all of this before Trump, god only knows what treatment Americans would get there!   In all honesty this can happen anywhere and does so no it is not Mexicans are rapists but this now fuels that fire but poverty, anger, misdirected assholeness does play a role.  Again look to the now 100's of women coming forward about varying men in power.  Irony that only one man came forward about one man and in turn the hammer hit quick and hard.  When women do the same they get "well you should not have had a drink with him"  "you should not have let him in the house" "go in the car with him"   Okay so change the pronoun to her and then would we have the respect finally for girl on girl action?

So what does this mean for many Mexican villages and towns that make their living from largely vacation dollars?  And in turn the earthquakes that have rocked Mexico also puts into question their long term financial viability. Add to that of course the drug cartels and crime that has led to this in the first place.  When people cannot get jobs, get an education and provide for their families in ways that legal, long term and viable you get that.   We are in a very vulnerable  place when it comes to Mexico, the wall, NAFTA, DACA and of course Immigration in general.  This is not going to help anyone but getting one's house in order would start by allowing people to tell their truth and in turn actually listening and in turn investigating.  If wrong then the penalty phase to begin, if right, the penalty phase to begin.  Either way people need respect to be heard, businesses need legitimate claims and reviews in order to function properly and orderly.  Obfuscating facts means this goes on for years and more get hurt.  It is no holiday to find yourself drugged and raped and in turn no one will listen.  But that is a problem it seems everywhere. 

TripAdvisor apologizes after removing claims of rape and assault to keep its forums ‘family friendly’

By Rachel Siegel The Washington Post November 2 2017

Just after midnight on Dec. 9, 2010, Kristie Love posted on TripAdvisor about the Iberostar Paraiso Maya, a Mexican beach resort between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. In the post's title, Love included three things: the name of the resort, the date of her stay, and the word “Rape.”

After a night out with friends, Love, now 35, wrote of how she went back to her hotel room to find that her electronic key card had been deactivated. On her way back to the lobby, Love stopped to ask for directions from a uniformed guard. That guard then raped her, she said. Later on, the hotel staff would not call the police.

Love's story was published Wednesday as part of a lengthy investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel documenting repeated instances where the travel and restaurant website, which includes reviews and public forums, removed posts warning of alleged rape, assault or other injuries at Mexican resorts.

Love told the Journal Sentinel that a TripAdvisor moderator spotted her post and decided it went against the company's “family friendly” tenets. TripAdvisor refused to show the Journal Sentinel which posts it had deleted, the newspaper reported.

The post went back up online in October — seven years after Love's original submission. But the post was republished chronologically alongside other posts from Dec. 2010 — on the forum's 2,608th page.

Love was hardly alone.

The Journal Sentinel spoke with more than a dozen travelers who said TripAdvisor blocked their warning messages after they traveled to Mexico. In July, the newspaper began investigating the death of a Wisconsin college student in Mexico. That reporting uncovered widespread safety issues, including those tied to tainted alcohol, at Mexican resorts.

Another woman told the Journal Sentinel that in 2011, she had been raped by a security guard in the same resort complex. Four years after that, Jamie Valeri, now 34, said she was sexually assaulted at the same resort after she and her husband suddenly blacked out in broad daylight after only a few drinks.

Valeri told the Journal Sentinel that she too had tried to write a warning message on TripAdvisor. But her post was deemed “hearsay” and was subsequently removed.

Had Love's 2010 post been preserved by TripAdvisor, “maybe we wouldn't have gone or maybe that wouldn't have happened to me,” Valeri told the Journal Sentinel.

On Wednesday, TripAdvisor posted a statement in response to the Journal Sentinel article, which included an apology to Love, “the sexual assault victim reported on in the article, who had her forum post removed seven years ago on TripAdvisor.”

The company said that seven years ago, “all language needed to be G-rated,” but that the policy has since changed "to allow more descriptive reviews on the site about firsthand accounts of serious incidents like rape or assault."

“We will continue to work to improve and evolve our moderation and publishing guidelines as we work to provide the most accurate information in the travel industry available online,” the statement read.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Journal Sentinel described another instance in which a woman posted on TripAdvisor asking whether she and her husband should vacation in Riviera Maya. They had read about vacationers who blacked out there and were assaulted, robbed, raped or even died of problems with alcohol.

Fifty-five responses came in. Twenty-four of them were positive, four were irrelevant, and the remaining 27 had been taken down, replaced by a TripAdvisor message saying the deleted posts were “determined to be inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community,” were “off-topic” or promoted language or topics that weren't “family friendly.”

The Journal Sentinel investigation identified other policies that the newspaper said “obscure the public's ability to fully evaluate the information on its site.” Mysterious algorithms dictate the hotels and resorts that appear with each customer search, the article aid. TripAdvisor gets commissions from certain hotels when customers book or travel. And some users have “special privileges” that enable them to delete posts.

The Journal Sentinel said TripAdvisor would not disclose how those distinct users are selected, or how many negative reviews — including those warning of serious dangers — are blocked from public viewing.

“Once we determine that content should be removed and violated our guidelines for publishing, that information is no longer publishable or promotable by TripAdvisor,” TripAdvisor spokesman Brian Hoyt told the Journal Sentinel.

TripAdvisor told the Journal Sentinel last week that the company is creating a new “badge” system used to alert travelers to major news stories warning of health and safety concerns at hotels and restaurants.

Speaking of Love's post warning about safety concerns at Iberostar Paraiso Maya, Hoyt told the Journal Sentinel that “it's the kind of information we absolutely want published.” Hoyt also acknowledged that “about a dozen” deleted posts would be republished.

TripAdvisor's scope is vast. According to its website, TripAdvisor has 390 million monthly visitors and 500 million reviews and opinions. It manages 49 sites in 28 different languages and has 96 million members.

Keeping a grip on such a wide user base has also tested TripAdvisor's ability to screen for unverified posts alleging harmful information. The Washington Post has reported on the risk of users being sued for writing negative online reviews. Another article also noted businesses that taint their online profiles by posting their own positive reviews or paying guests to write similar endorsements.

Hoyt told the Journal Sentinel that the company uses an array of screening aids to weed out fake reviews and has about 300 employees dedicated to that line of work.

“We're not an arbiter of fact, but we're trying to provide the most accurate picture,” he said.
Still, some users maintain that their painful stories of rape, assault, blackouts or other injury were wrongfully taken down.

Those include parents of people who died at Mexican resorts and were blocked from warning others on TripAdvisor.

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