Monday, January 24, 2011

Message from Peter Frank

I want to alert you that I’m selling my stake in CollegeACB, and that new managers will take over control of the site in the next day or so.

I’m proud of the growth of the site under my watch – from use at only a few schools, to the largest college anonymous confession board in the world, with over 20 million monthly pageviews from over 400,000 unique visitors. Mostly, though, I’m proud of the occasions when the site has helped people share feelings and discuss sensitive topics in a sincere fashion that might not otherwise have been possible.

We’ve certainly had our share of controversy, but we’ve responded to users and have deleted over 30,000 posts, while preserving the site’s essential identity as an open anonymous forum.

I know that the new managers share my goal of raising the level of discourse on the site, and I’m excited to see their progress in the coming months.

Thank you,

Peter Frank

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On Moderation

There seems to be some confusion about my level of moderation. Hopefully this post helps to explain how posts are removed from I do not remove posts or threads at my own discretion, even if they exist only to attack me.

There are two ways in which posts/threads are removed.

1) Students self-moderate and posts are removed automatically. Under each and every post/thread, there is a "report" button. Every time a logged in user "reports" a post, that post's "report" value is increased. When it reaches a certain threshold, that post is automatically removed. I don't see individual reports, everything is managed by values in the database.

2) Students e-mail us directly. Upon e-mailing (the only approved method of communication), one will receive this reply:

This is an automatic e-mail reply that addresses 90% of the inquiries
we receive.

Under the federal Communications Decency Act of 1996, web service
providers such as have no responsibility for
user-generated content. Moreover, does not have any
legal obligation to remove offensive posts. However, we sincerely
seek to raise the level of discourse on the site and, therefore, we
voluntarily offer to remove offensive posts as follows:

1 – To request that a post be deleted, please click on the
following link to make your request: You must
include the specific post numbers that you want deleted. And please
note that you may not submit a deletion request on behalf of others.

2 – You will be given a ticket link that allows you to keep
track of the status of your request. If the post is not deleted
within a day or two, the reason will be set forth on the link, above.

3 – We do not otherwise respond to requests that posts be
deleted. Please do not call our voicemail or attempt to contact us in
any other way -- email is always your best option.

If your e-mail is not related to removal of posts, we will attempt to
respond to you as soon as possible, usually within a day or two.

After filling out the post deletion request form, their request will make its way into a queue. I'll usually go through the queue and respond to requests several times daily, but it will occasionally take over a day for me to make it through all of the requests.

Upon filling out the post deletion request form, one is given a ticket link. This link allows them to view the status of their request. If the requested post/thread is not removed, we will always give a reason viewable through their ticket link. Some common reasons we don't remove posts include:

-Not referring to specific post numbers. An example would be someone requesting a topic such as "Hottest Sorority Girls" be removed, without referring to specific post numbers that mention them by name.
-Threads dedicated to discussion of an organization (as opposed to an individual). An example: "What is AXO's Reputation?"

This obviously isn't a perfect system, but every person contacting us is a) given a deletion request link, and b) given a ticket link to view the status of their request. When we don't remove the requested post, there will always be a reason viewable in the ticket link.

I also want to address the varying levels of discourse on different boards. For schools on before the closing of JuicyCampus, there is generally less "trash-talking" than other schools. Why is this? It's not a reflection on the students themselves, but rather the culture associated with the ACB. For some schools, it is a forum to procrastinate, ask for advice, etc. For others, it has been used as a continuation of the "Juicy Campus" culture of trash-talking and gossiping. At it's core, is a student controlled open forum that can be used for anything. You'll notice that the categories we suggest are separated into: "Advice, Sex, Issues, Academics." We have never called for salacious gossip.

If we were to shut down right now, there would be countless replacements up and popular within weeks, if not days. We already have competitors who tout that they will never remove posts, no matter how libelous. The concept of the ACB has existed long before my involvement with the website.

I hope I have addressed at least some of the issues that students have with the website. I'll do my best to eventually answer any thoughtful questions and suggestions left through comments to this blog.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Record Day

CollegeACB had a record day yesterday. We saw over 900,000 impressions -- unreal! It's hard to judge the number of unique users (due to multiple connections through a single router, library computers, stuff like that), but it was likely a record number as well.

Thanks, everybody!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Every time a (non logged in) user posts a new topic or reply, they must fill out an anti-spam filter. Here's some info about CAPTCHAs.

A CAPTCHA is a program that can tell whether its user is a human or a computer. You've probably seen them — colorful images with distorted text at the bottom of Web registration forms. CAPTCHAs are used by many websites to prevent abuse from "bots," or automated programs usually written to generate spam. No computer program can read distorted text as well as humans can, so bots cannot navigate sites protected by CAPTCHAs.

reCAPTCHA is digitizing old NYTimes, and every time a user fills out a CAPTCHA you are helping. Logged in users do not need to fill out a CAPTCHA, but the vast majority of posts are made from users who are not logged in. Combining the total number of replies and topics, we can estimate the total number of successful CAPTCHAs at 799,087.

That's quite a number. If we figure an average of 10 seconds per CAPTCHA, that equals out to:

2,219.68 Hours
92.48 Days
55.5 Work Weeks (40 Hour)

It would have taken a human being, working 40 hours a week, over a year to do the same amount of reCAPTCHAs. That's kind of cool to think about. I wonder how many days/weeks of NYTimes we've helped digitize.

Take care,


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Common E-mail Themes

Addressing some common themes from e-mails:

We get e-mails every day asking us to remove posts. We almost always comply, and our system allows us to delete objectionable material very quickly while letting people check the status of their request. Often the e-mails are well written and courteous, but usually we see some combination of the following:

"You have 24 hours before I contact my attorney."
You don't have a lawyer. Roughly half the people who e-mail us claim to be "contacting their attorney." Sorry, but both of us know you don't have a lawyer, please quit pretending. And the fact that your uncle's friend is a lawyer doesn't count.

"I'm going to sue you."
No you're not... well, you're not going to win anyways. Feel free to try though, I guess. Actually, just kidding, please don't sue me.

"You're clearly a horrible person."
I certainly don't think so, but everyone is entitled to their opinions. Our site doesn't call for salacious gossip, we let students dictate discussion. While I concede that the level of discourse is nowhere I'd like it to be, I'm passionate about giving an open forum for discussion where people can share without fear of retribution.

"These sites are illegal, that's why JuicyCampus got shut down."
First of all, there's nothing illegal about running a site like this. Second of all, JuicyCampus was not shut down, they voluntarily closed due to lack of revenue. It had nothing to do with any legal pressure.

"Awesome site brah!"
Thanks, Joebin.

"Take off XYZ University, no one likes it here."
I don't think you speak for everyone; perhaps you and your friends don't like it.

Anyways, thought I'd address some common e-mail themes in a public space.

Take care,
Peter Frank

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

ACB Blog

I'll be updating this blog much more frequently. I will also be allowing comments, and will try to respond to as many as possible.

Take care,
Peter Frank

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Server + Better Code

We're now on a dedicated server which will offer better stability and speed.

Our code was also optimized by Dewey Gaedcke, founder of Any lag during peak hours should be gone.