Tag Archives: online gossip

Wesleying Unofficial Orientation Series: WesTech

If you’re an entering freshman, being familiar with technology and internet is important, especially in this day and age.  The internet is your gateway to the world even when you’re within the Wesleyan bubble, but it can have both it’s limitations and it’s advantages.  It can only help to learn these as quickly as possible.

The first thing you should know: WesTech.  It refers to “staff members work in partnership with students, faculty and academic and administrative staff to incorporate the latest and most efficient technology into teaching and learning,” you might think.  No, that’s ITS and how they describe themselves.  Here’s what our Wes Lingo post says about WesTech:

WesTech is a word that will pop up every once in a while (via the ACB): “WesTech refers to everyone not DKE/Beta or mostly the ‘very Wesleyan’ population. It comes from the idea that Wesleyan has unattractive girls and bad sports and thus might as well be a technical school: WesTech.” Apparently, however, this is a term used mainly by other schools to make fun of Wesleyan, and has been appropriated by the sports teams as a label of pride (sports teams doing the ironic appropriation? Only at Wesleyan). A Techie was a term generally used by athletes to describe a “typical” Wesleyan student (artsy), or a “Techie.”

Now that you know what it means, this is required viewing: WesTech State of Mind.

[UPDATE: Library section added.]

ACB gets influx of new users with the closing of JuicyCampus

You might notice that if you go to the now-defunct juicycampus.com, it redirects you to CollegeACB. CollegeACB was created earlier this year (I guess, technically, last year, but this school year) by Aaron Larner ’08 and Andrew Mann from JHU, but is now owned and operated by Peter Frank ’12. Most of the Wesleyan ACB activity switched over from its old home on LiveJournal to the CollegeACB site soon after it was created.

Despite these efforts to draw in the old JuicyCampus crowd to the site, CollegeACB distinguishes itself quite clearly from JuicyCampus in its recent press release:

The site is devoted to promoting actual discussion, not provoking salacious posts or personal attacks. Its mission statement reads: “The College ACB or College Anonymous Confession Board seeks to give students a place to vent, rant, and talk to college peers in an environment free from social constraints and about subjects that might otherwise be taboo.”

Such a philosophy sets the ACB apart from Juicy Campus, a website that fostered superficial interactions, often derogatory and needlessly crude. By contrast, the ACB consistently hosts a higher level of discourse—while still making room for the occasional gossip post.

Other differences between the ACB and the now-defunct Juicy prove more than superficial. The ACB employs an innovative user-moderation button, which allows for easy yet unobtrusive regulation. Any post that might be threatening, libelous, or otherwise illegal, is immediately brought to the webmaster’s attention.

Read the full press release here.

Problems with Juicycampus & other "online rumor websites"

Holly Wood ’08 sends in an article that prominently features JuicyCampus.com… you know, the gossip website that made an attempt a while ago to take away posters from the Wesleyan ACB and failed miserably.
The header of JuicyCampus says “C’mon. Give us the juice. Posts are totally, 100% anonymous.” In contrast, the CollegeACB header says “Speak your mind. The anonymous confession board gives students a place to vent, rant, and talk to their peers about things that might otherwise be considered taboo.
The Reader’s Digest article recounts:

When Vanderbilt University freshman Chelsea Gorman was raped near campus in the spring of 2007, her life was shattered. She told only her close friends about the ordeal and left school for the rest of the semester after she began suffering panic attacks, but by last March she was back in Nashville and putting her life together. Then she got a phone call from a friend. The story of her rape had been posted on the Internet.

“Chelsea Gorman Deserved It” was the title of a message posted on juicycampus.com, a popular website dedicated to anonymous gossip about college students. “Everyone thinks she’s so sweet, but she got what she deserved,” wrote the unnamed author of the post, who went on to express envy for her rapist. Suddenly the whole campus knew about the devastating attack, and Gorman’s fellow students talked about it in front of her.

“The business model of these sites is hate,” says Parry Aftab, a lawyer who specializes in Internet privacy and security issues. “They’re promoting it. They’re encouraging you to say outrageous things.”

Smear someone in a traditional media outlet, like a newspaper or a talk show, and you can end up in court. But the law that Congress passed in 1996 establishing basic Internet regulations prevents website hosts from being held responsible for what outsiders post on their sites. In other words, the law says that the kind of defamation that would get the New York Times sued is fair game on JuicyCampus.

I’m not sure that this is so far off from something that could happen on our own CollegeACB. The article goes on to discuss other websites that encourage invasive gossip, ways to deal with online harassment, and the possibility for legal action.

Maybe next time you write on CollegeACB, think before you post?

[EDIT] Check out our previous coverage of JuicyCampus:

[ /EDIT by Justin, 4:37 PM]