November 23, 2008

Mads Wants To Know...

Mads wants to know: What's with all of the comments lately? Why is this blog turning in to anonymous message board?

We've been under a lot of pressure lately from concerned readers and other figures on campus to change our commenting policy. We're considering some changes, because we feel that comments lately have been taking away from the purpose of this blog.

Before we change anything, we want to hear what you think!

Check out our letter in last week's Misc for more.

Update: Thanks for all of the comments. They're really helpful, for the most part. Keep them coming, and feel free to email us at madsvassar@gmail.com.

53 comments:

JohnWojcik said...

You make a good point!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Vassar needs something along the lines of the (no longer active) Oberlin Confessional?

http://oberwiki.net/Oberlin_Confessional

Anonymous said...

people are bored

also a lot of shit is going down on campus this year

Anonymous said...

perhaps get some moderators? people that help you in keeping comments... less fiery? so you don't have to do all the work yourself.

inb4 "blah blah blah free speech"
this is mads' blog, it can be moderated however he sees fit

Anonymous said...

People are trying to turn Mads into Bored@Butler.

Anonymous said...

I think maybe the problem is the mission of the blog. Is the purpose of Mads to "inform and entertain" readers with your own posts and commentary on Vassar life? Or is it to provide a forum for venting the opinions of the readers on very broad topics?

Allowing people to just vent anonymously is really problematic, because it obviously spawns hate speech (that's just human nature; especially among young college students). So if you want to allow people to comment, they must be forced to set up real Google accounts and post their names (and keep their e-mail addresses on record). Free speech is maintained, but people must be held accountable for their beliefs.

Additionally, the mission statement of entertaining and informing is very broad - one person cannot do that effectively, even without the extensive moderating that this blog requires. Maybe you should take the "informing" part out of your little blog and leave that to the Misc, while you remain a venue for posting lighter and less controversial items on campus life.

The question you're asking about commenting is a good one, but as I say above, it really leads to a host of other questions about the nature and purpose of this blog.

Anonymous said...

I mean, Mads. If you make any comment minimizing/eliminating changes, no one is going to have any reason to read this anymore.

Anonymous said...

i think people are really getting sick of the open commenting policy on this blog. the policy either needs to change, or readers will no longer read this hate speech.

Anonymous said...

I'm missing the hate speech. Has someone used the n-word or something when I wasn't looking? What I see is some thoughtful comments, some throwaways, and some very impolite comments. I don't understand why anyone has complained. I don't understand why anonymous comment should be disabled.

Anonymous said...

lol @ 11:47. you have a big problem with anonymous comments and you comment anonymously. only on mads, man only on mads

Anonymous said...

11:48, are you kidding??!! madsvassar has played host to some despicable comments - people calling other people shitheads and communists and assholes, you name it. it's not so much racism, but it's just the number of personal attacks. and madsvassar is incredibly irresponsible for not moderating them. free speech is not a right on a private blog, nor is it being taken away by removing the ability to comment anonymously. if i still want to go and call someone a shithead i can. but with my name attached.

Anonymous said...

he called me a shithead, gasp...a commie. WAAA!
CALL THE WAAAAHMULANCE!!!
I've seen much worse on the internets. grow a pair.

Anonymous said...

12:18, the internets is srs biznis. shithead and asshole and meanie words makes me cry. why do you makes me cry 12:18?

Anonymous said...

this is so silly and imature, guys.
my mom says that some of the stuff on this site is really offensive and shes an alumni and she reads it
also, dont call each other names anymore.
thats just mean, and it could really hurts someone's self image
and finally, you cant think you know everything. its just not right and thats NOT how you make friends around here. I know. Even though I am a freshman I have met some of the best friends Ive ever made.

Anonymous said...

i know you think that you may see some of the rudest sayings on here, but just go on some porn sights or something and then you'll really get grossed out or offended.

open ur minds 2 info outside ur world

Anonymous said...

i remember when people called me names in middle school. now, middle school is back. Mads, you are just like a mean bully from the playground who makes his friends laugh at that girl who didnt brush her hair or the boy who fell down in ice cream

Anonymous said...

mads, i just wanna say that i love this site. its my favorite site and i check it like 5 times a day and its my auto-site when i open the internet and stuff. dont let haters get you down. ur fly.

Anonymous said...

nbody can tell ME what to do




or what to be




or WHO i am.

Anonymous said...

life is lived by those who get out there and shake it

Anonymous said...

mads, this site is my life

Anonymous said...

jeez, its the friggin internet. Nothing is sacred here. Things could get a lot worse.

Anonymous said...

you guys do not understand because you are mean poopie heads! the internet is srs bisiness!

Anonymous said...

mads, this site is offensive and you're right to be considering serious policy changes. it's not about 'haters' and 'nonhaters,' it's about constructive criticism. you need to take action before the administration gets involved, because i have to tell you, i sit on a college committee through the vsa, and one dean was very vocal and very upset about how anonymity is allowed and encouraged here. and not one person in the room, faculty students or admins disagreed.

Anonymous said...

guys, i read the internet for hours at a time and when i read mads i sometimes laugh and i sometimes cry, but some people pay for that when they go to see a movie and movies are NOT illegal as far as i am concerned so dont try and tell other people what to do because american is a democracy and we love to let all of our friends feel free and loved here so dont try and tell us about YOUR agenda because we have never met you and we don't even know what YOUR agenda is.

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_(group)

Becca said...

I love you, Mads.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mads,
First of all, I loved your column in the Misc -- very well written! Frankly, I don't think people on this campus are mature enough to handle anonymous dialogue, and it seems that anonymous commenting has taken over this blog in recent weeks. I think it would help if you turned on moderator-authorized commenting for now, at least for a short period of time, until people get out of this present frenzy. This blog has so much potential, but lately it's just been weighted down by ridiculous arguments and offensive hate speech.

Thanks for being concerned about this!

Anonymous said...

Complete ditto 11:29 :-)

Anonymous said...

turn off anonymous commenting

Anonymous said...

I think the amount of effort Vassar administration puts into worrying about boredats and blogs should be spent elsewhere- i don't know, like worrying about our endowment, or workers' health benefits, or ARMED robbery and how we should consider boosting our security/ways to keep our students safe.
Clearly blogs will ALWAYS come back, so let's just get over it. This is so much better than boredat, so people need to chill. If Mads moderates this, people will go back to Boredat, I mean Faceliss.

Anonymous said...

off topic comments that are rude and pointless should be noted, so readers can skip it them. Blogs that go something like this:
Announcement of some band
anonymous: They suck
anonymous: no they don't stop hating I love them.
Instead:
anonymous: I don't like so so because it comes off screechy.
anonymous: To me it sounds unique and different.
I would just rather read blogs where comments are explained rather that just name calling.
Sometimes I feel like I am reading the 10 year old emotions of kids commenting on hannah montana vs jonas bros.

N. Middlebrook said...

Just get rid of the anonymous commenting option, all it does is allow a veil for cowards to hide behind. I think you'll see a bit more logic and a ton less nonconstructive comments if you just force people to put a name with their opinions.

Anonymous said...

if i were a prospy and read through the comments on this site, I WOULD STAY THE FUCK AWAY

Respire said...

Or even an identifiable alias.

Mads, I really do think you should have some help with this

Anonymous said...

I really think that you should either (A) get rid of *anonymous* commenting, or (B) make it so that comments must be approved by the moderator (Mads)

Anonymous said...

get rid of anonymous commenting. gone. forever. this forum is hugely irresponsible to our community mads. you need to fix the mess that you (unintentionally) created.

Anonymous said...

Mads, don't change a thing! If any of these whiners don't like your comment policy, they can start their own blog with their own comment policy. Then we'll see where students prefer to go to post comments, a blog that is monitored and censored or one that is not.

But seriously, how did we get here? From the Berkeley free speech movement to Vassar students demanding that other students be censored?

Like many others, after reading the Misc article I came here expecting to find all kinds of "hate speech," but so far I haven't seen a single example. Those of you who favor censorship use "hate speech" as a catch-all for opinions you disagree with, but are too cowardly to actually argue against.

I also don't buy the public relations angle. Do we want prospective students to know what Vassar is really like, or do you want to be part of a PR campaign to paint this place as some sort of Eden? I see nothing wrong with the truth. That way prospectives can make an informed decision about coming here.

Tom H

Anonymous said...

I'm uncomfortable with how directly the administration has opposed and even shut down forums for speech on campus. This isn't an appeal to the bill of rights I'm making, but it is an appeal to the broader idea of free speech. For students, the administration definitely serves a quasi-governmental role. They can administer punishment, provide rewards, and we expect them to maintain order. These all sound like things governments do. Because they play this role, I think we can make a strong argument that some clear declaration of our right to speak out, and express our dissent from this quasi-government, is needed.

I have been appalled by some of the things written in the comments on this site. Some of them have been racist. If you don't understand that, may I direct you to the facebook group "Why is that racist? Pick up a book and find out your goddamn self." But I don't mean to be glib. If people don't express these thoughts, then they will never be confronted with opposition to them - their racist ideas will go unchallenged, and they will go on thinking they have said nothing problematic.

So we need a forum like Mads. And if people want to speak anonymously, then they should be allowed to do so. I just don't think we should let the administration pressure us into silence.

Anonymous said...

free speech is not about writing anonymous comments on the internet. the problem with anonymous posts is that people feel free to say really hurtful things, often putting down an entire group of people, that they would be too ashamed to actually say in real life, and rightfully so. saying that not allowing anonymous posts on a blog is like getting really fucking wasted, running your mouth in a way that you wouldn't when you are sober, and then yelling FREE SPEECH when the bouncer throws you out of the bar. or something.

Anonymous said...

Why can't free speech be anonymous? If anonymously is the only way discussions happen, I think it's way more important to have them than to know who said what.

Julia said...

I think that if you could find a way that you need to put in your vassar email address in order to comment, so people would be forced to leave their REAL name, you would find a lot less bullshit and hateful comments left purely to be contentious. Also, I hate to say it but Mads Vassar has become 2 things and 2 things only- a campus calendar and an outlet for anonymous hatred. It's pretty pointless for me to read this at this point. Please return to actually blogging about things instead of posting dates and times. Let us know what you think. It is your blog after all and it was way more interesting when you had something to say.

Anonymous said...

free speech is a right in our country; there is no debate about this.

however, it is certainly not a right on a private blog or even at a private college. anyone who has taken psyc 101 knows that people act differently anonymously than they do in public. you are not affecting people's right to free speech by changing a commenting option --- to the contrary, they can still say whatever the hell they want. they will simply be held accountable for what they say. it can be publicly agreed with, challenged, accepted or rejected. and that's called healthy dialogue.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Julia (5:15)!

Anonymous said...

Doing anything except forcing people to sign their names and e-mails makes this blog incredibly irresponsible. And for those people who say that they cant find any hate speech here... I suggest you look at some of the Kick Coke posts, or posts about Security, or posts about virtually any major issue. This blog allows people to be pithy and reactionary and to do so under the cover of anonymity. MadsVassar, you need to own up to that, like it seems as if you want to do, and make a real change if you want to blog responsibly in this community.

Anonymous said...

As a Mexicana who proud of her cultures y sensiteve to the hatee speech. Thanks you to y Mads y Vassaritos.

Anonymous said...

guys, lets just think about this. we are here at vassar college to learn. we came here because either we saved lots of money or our parents did or because of a scholarship or financial aid or work study or because you have like a wealthy grandmother or grandfather. why can't we just realize that we have this lucky opportunity to better ourselves instead of hurting other people. it is so hurtful to wake up one day and find out that someone on mads is calling you names or talking about how slutty you are. god. its so disrespectful of other peoples way of life and i dont even know where you grew up, in a barn or something, because that is what we call bad manners.

when peoples feelings get hurt then they start getting mad and upset and saying shit back to you, so dont say shit in the first place and that way we wont have a problem anymore.

plus, mads, you are doing a great job, hun, keep up with the good work.

Anonymous said...

omg 7:28 i *heart* you so much. thanks for bringing it back to the bigger picture.

Anonymous said...

So what's next? Should we say that because college aged students are too irresponsible in their sex lives, that the college ought to have chaperon's on call so no one gets their feelings hurt? What those of you who are calling for censorship seem to be saying is, "I'm too irresponsible to be trusted to make anonymous comments so please ... stop me before I do it again! I need an authority to tell me what to do! I can't act responsibly!" What you're calling for is a chastity belt for the brain, an even more intrusive panopticon. Well, speak for yourself. No one is forcing you to come here and read comments. If you don't think your delicate sensibilities can take it, then go else where.

Anonymous said...

9:40, no one is calling for censorship. but an overwhelming number of students feel that this blog should absolutely force people to list their names/e-mails if they want to comment. censorship would imply moderating comments or something like that, which i do not support. that effectively means that mads gets to shape the dialogue entirely, which i don't think is fair. but he should surely exercise the power to have posters be held accountable for their words.

kevin said...

YES. make these over-privileged white kids state their names before making obnoxious comments.

Anonymous said...

We're not all white, Kevin

Colin said...

True, but most of us are white, and most of us come from considerable privilege. Just saying.

T-Rex said...

what is WRONG with being white?
what is WRONG with having privileges?

I feel that the only problem we have to deal with here on Mads is hate speech