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 CollegeACB.com. 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 CollegeACB@gmail.com (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 CollegeACB.com have no responsibility for
user-generated content. Moreover, CollegeACB.com 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:
http://collegeacb.com/sb.php?school=wes&page=pdr_page. 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 CollegeACB.com 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, CollegeACB.com 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.