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.

77 comments:

  1. I understand that you refuse to delete ACB or individual boards, but if you're going to run a site with so much power, you should do a better job responding to complaints. You should figure out a way to allow comments to be anonymous, but not without consequence. Perhaps we should all be required to log the site from our student email addresses? The comments could still appear anonymous, but at least you would be able to know if a certain user was only accessing the site to slander others. You could give that individual warnings & eventually, you could disable that user… I don’t know, these are just ideas I’ve had. I’m just a concerned peer, friend, & community member. At this point, I'm even concerned about people who I can't stand! I’m certain that if something is not changed soon, this site will cause serious issues for URI & other colleges in Rhode Island. Someone could seriously hurt themselves or others & I'm honestly surprised it hasn't happened already. Peter Frank, if you read this, please take what I've said into consideration.

    Thank you,
    Amanda Tierney
    University of Rhode Island

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  2. awesome thanks for addressing this man.

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  3. What is that "certain threshold" for reports?

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  4. While I personally am in favor of having a log in thing to control users, on the other hand I know this would discourage many from using the site (and to competitor's boards) and I like the fact that you moderate.

    I do have a question about privacy though. Obviously we live in a legal-happy society where if you say something about someone (true/false/observation/opinion) it can be taken as libel/slander and be the grounds for a lawsuit. What is being done to protect our anonymity from subpoenas and such, such as IP addresses? There is precedent for this (including Google and a lawschool forum similar to ACB). You as the owner/operator of ACB are immune from liability because you are not responsible for content posted, but that doesn't mean the rest of us aren't. From a user perspective (and form a business standpoint for you), if a lawsuit did manage to go through against a poster (and their identity was revealed), I don't think anyone would bother using your site. I don't wanna get sued!

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  5. Good point about the IP things. AutoAdmit is the law blog were 2 women sued to have the IP addresses of "John Do" revealed.

    interesting article for reading: http://lawvibe.com/identifying-anonymous-forum-posters-is-a-real-possibility/

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  6. you're a terrible person and I hope you can't sleep at night thinking about the lives you've ruined

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  7. anonymous at 2:21, shutup. this site is perfect because it gives students a heads up about things pertaining to school. who to stay away from, what a look out for, etc. so, again, STFU.

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  8. you should delete this whole website. its only harmful

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  9. nonymous at 2:21, shutup. this site is perfect because it gives students a heads up about things pertaining to school. who to stay away from, what a look out for, etc. so, again, STFU.

    youre a fucking faggot. honestly if you have a problem with someone you should have the balls to say it directly to them. theres no reason to cuss them out in front of the whole school. fucking douchebag.

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  10. a lot less conflict comes from posting this kinda stuff on a website than confronting the person to their face. so yeah good job keep it up.

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  11. are you kidding me? this site is made up of pansy ass bitches that hide behind their computer screens and talk shit. most of the stuff they're talking about are all lies.

    this site needs to shutdown

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  12. This website only hurts people. Girls are being called whores guys are being put down. This site is ridiculous. People shouldn't be allowed to post anything they want on here. Comments should be screened, If that takes too long, then maybe more people should be controlling this website. It is not fair to innocent individuals whose reputations are getting slaughtered due to these immature kids.

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  13. Maybe it helps girls to think before sleeping with an entire frat, mmyes?

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  14. The moderation system that is in place DOES NOT WORK for schools like Oregon State. People are using automated bots to created hundreds/thousands of duplicate posts to shut down discussion.

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  15. I, for one,find this website nothing more than a lame excuse for spineless , insecure,and callous individuals who, while hiding behind their screens, attempt to slander those people that they don't have the courage to face in person. The mere lack of monitoring these harmful posts, and the source of them,merely provides groundwork for lawsuits that WILL be forthcoming......reputations are being destroyed, and individuals are being hurt by this malicious fodder being dished out by these crude,gutless kids.........additional screening is absolutely necessary, or you will continue to add fuel to an already escalating fire.

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  16. Dude, why are you so arrogant? People try and ask you nicely for help and you give them a bullshit email with a link to a broken website and don't help them. Try and put yourself in our shoes. This website has caused a lot of trouble for people (including me) People are obviously are using it to talk badly about people not for anything constructive. I've heard about girls wanting to kill themselves over things that have been written about them. I think you should monitor this site better. The idea is great but there's a line that should not be crossed and almost every post on your website crosses it.

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  17. I am the president of a company that hires college graduates and currently I have an intern that has showed up in a thread on this site that is causing a great deal of duress. Until today our organization was not aware of sites such as this.

    After reading just a few of the posts on this site I was compelled to comment, even some of the comments on this particular thread are outrageous, vile and egregious and I'm sure the parents of the child that posted the comments would be shocked at the behavior.

    There is no reason for this site to exist and hopefully our laws will catch up to the internet and this type of destructive use of technology will simply go away.

    We spent the better part of the day dealing with the ramifications of this website which cost us real money which is unacceptable.

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  18. I go to a small school. If a few hundred people read ACB, the entire college will hear about what is written. There are tons of posts referencing people by their full names, and I have witnessed firsthand how much it destroys people. I've had friends cry, seek counseling, transfer, fail classes, and come to hate what are supposed to be the "best years of life" because of websites where normally decent people feel they can say whatever vicious things they want because they're online and anonymous. No good comes from a website where no one uses their names and are encouraged to speak poorly about others. I understand your good intentions and do not place blame on you for what others say, but for many colleges there is NOTHING on acb except racial and ethnic slurs, degrading comments about women, and people harassing others by name.

    I'm sure you've read about the high school bullying that has led young girls to suicide. People are tortured by these things. If you really care and want it to be a constructive website, hire a couple of other students to help you monitor it so that posts can be removed within a day. College students are no less vulnerable than these younger kids -- in fact, it is a time of life where many are unsure of themselves and looking to gain independence and maturity. To feel like their peers hate them, and to walk around feeling like people are staring or judging them based on what is online, will bring anyone down eventually. Introverted, quiet, sensitive students are often those talked most poorly about because they are misunderstood. Just think about whether you want to have any hand in that, and whether you want to be remembered as the person where the buck stops for this website. You have one chance to leave an impression on this earth, and I think you should question whether you want to put your name on something that is deeply hurting so many young people. To have a forum where college students communicate constructively is good, but does not nearly outweigh the serious harm being done.

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  20. what happened to the website?! it's gone!

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  21. Honestly i hope that you have an entire team responding to requests, often people BEGGING you to take down hurtful and harmful posts. This is seriously degrading and the percentage of good that comes out of it is totally outweighed by the pure evil that dominates it. Please respond quickly and empathetically to people who have been hurt by this.

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  22. FYI your FB Profile looks rather foolish:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=45922998619#!/PeterFrank

    Now I could be rather cruel and make crude judgements about you (without even knowing who you are) based simply on your looks, but I won't--which is an unheard of level of discretion for CollegeACB :)

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  23. "I will EVENTUALLY" get to your message!!!! WTF, if you can't handle your own site, then you don't have any business running one!

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  24. wow some people are harsh on here rebecca its a site with over 500 schools u most likely couldnt manage that if its all u did. btw why isnt teh site workin

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  26. Thank you for clarifying with this post, as a student of First Amendment law, the implications of sites like CACB interests me.

    This comment is not meant to be snide nor snarky, but is earnest and I do hope it produces a response. What kind of PR team do you have in place for damage control? My personal exposure to CACB has only spanned two years, relatively a short time, and is only because of the demise of juicycampus.com. I'm ashamed that so many of my peers use CACB's forums as a medium for gossip and libel, but any grassroots campaigns to stop its use or at least prevalence have failed.

    I have witnessed its effects (eating disorders, depression, emotional distress, termination of employment, expensive therapy and counseling, etc.) I fear that it's only a matter of time before the manner in which CACB is used at my alma mater results in suicide. I simply am wondering what your response will be, as you must have considered this possibility (assuming you are an individual intelligent enough to develop this website) and someone who most likely has seen the recent rash of bully-induced suicides depicted in the news.

    ReplyDelete
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  29. I understand what you mean when you will not take down posts about organizations, but what happens when individuals are unfairly bashed in the comments about their sorority or fraternity? There is no necessary place for a website such as this one. We are in COLLEGE now, not high school, and should be over this ridiculous gossip.

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  30. One of these days, someone is going to commit suicide over things said on College ACB.

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  31. what is a thread link?
    i am trying to report an extremely disrespectful thread not only to me but to females in general. it says insert a valid thread link. what exactly is this?

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  32. This website is completely horrible. Even the threads that start out in a positive light are turned negative and hateful by people who think they're better than everyone and can hide behind the internet to hurt others. This website promotes cyber-bullying and should NOT be allowed to continue.

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  33. While this subject can be very touchy for most people, my opinion is that there has to be a middle or common ground that we all can find.

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  34. 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.

    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"

    Yes, by all means Mr. Frank, best to get out now, take the money and run. Why loose sleep over or feel bad for leaving behind your ownership of a 3rd party server replete with anonymous posters who slander and libel innocent people daily and voraciously.

    What an outstanding reputation you take with you Mr. Frank, in addition to your well earned sale income. It's just business after all, right? Time to move on to greener pastures (think all that $$$), and let all those harmed through your site ownership just lick their wounds.

    Mission Accomplished, Mr. Frank. Happy Sailing as they say!

    ReplyDelete
  35. As much as I think this website does A LOT more harm than good, I do defend the right to have a website like this. With that being said, I do not defend peoples reputations and self esteem being torn down. This site obviously does more harm than good and I find it very difficult to believe anyone really thinks this is a positive portal for students. And to defend it by saying things like "it should make girls think twice about sleeping with entire frats" is just flat out ignorance. What about the girls who are attacked because one person is mad at them? Do they deserve to have their "dirt" plastered for all to see? Whether someone has sex with 1 person or 30 people, it does not change how good or bad of a person they are. There needs to be more done to screen what is written on this site. It is a time bomb ticking until someone seriously hurts themselves or others as a result of the things being said on this site and its going to be a very sad day when someone does take it that far and does something irreversible. More needs to be done to make this site a positive tool for students, if thats really what the owners want out of this.

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  36. Stop its MEAN!!! Its harmful and where learning about Cyber Bullying and we found this and its not nice!

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  37. Stop using this stupid website for cyber bullying.

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  38. Do something other than cyber bullying people! And get a life,! What is soo fun about Cyber Bullying?!?!?!?!? The only reason people usually bully other people is because they do not feel good about themselves. There are many other ways to feel better about yourself than to hurt other people!

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  39. What is so fun about cyber bulling. git of twiter or or what ever u r using and git a life

    ReplyDelete
  40. How do you delete your login account?

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  41. grow up peep's, they are just words.
    a-hole's will aways try to hurt people
    because they are loser's, that is what they do.
    just remember, if your talking shit, your probably full of it\m/

    ReplyDelete
  42. Collegeacb.com serves no mission other than to libel and slander people anonymously. What hubris by owners and posters alike.

    New Owners listen up! You're no better than Mr. Frank, enjoining in a mission to publicly take down college students' reputation without truth being outed. You're a third party server, but act like a judgmental court of law. It's past time that The Federal Communications Decency Act of 1996 be revisited by Congress to address the black shroud anonymity. This site is shameful.

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  43. IT IS BAD TO USE THIS SITE FOR CYBERBULLYING. WHAT IS THE POINT OF IT. STOP, ITS MEAN.

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  44. If any one is using this site for cyber bullying then STOP its mean to other people.

    STOP CYBER BULLING

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  45. Do not cyber bully its BAD

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  46. Please be more attentive in removing reported posts. Even if something's up for just one day it can ruin someone's life. I'm learning how that feels and it's sickening.

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  47. Good bye collegeacb.com.

    We won't miss you!

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  48. Hey Peter, I hope someone attacks you savagely for what you have done. It's jerks like you who are destroying the college system and sooner or later, the U.S. college education system will become just like the public school system thanks to sites like these. I have personally seen people drop out of college due to bullying that has occurred from these types of sites. You know what's worse? These people can't do anything about these bullies and they don't even know who the anonymous coward is. Hopefully one day someone will give you exactly what you deserve, a punch in the face.

    ReplyDelete
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  50. There is no reason for this site to exist and hopefully our laws will catch up to the internet and this type of destructive use of technology will simply go away.

    ReplyDelete
  51. While I personally am in favor of having a log in thing to control users, on the other hand I know this would discourage many from using the site and I like the fact that you moderate.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Nice and informative posting for students

    ReplyDelete
  53. http://collegiateacb.com/main/

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  55. When we don't remove the requested post, there will always be a reason viewable in the ticket link.

    ReplyDelete
  56. that post is mechanically removed. I don't see individual reports; the whole thing is managed by values in the folder

    ReplyDelete
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