Anonymous confession board returns

Posted by Sandy Zhang

The popular Skidmore Anonymous Confession Board (ACB) has been resurrected by a group of anonymous students. This group is unaffiliated with SkidmoreUnofficial.com, creator of the original ACB.

In a September 2008 post announcing its arrival, the executive editor of SkidmoreUnofficial expressed hope that the ACB would allow students "to participate in some honest-to-goodness anonymous campus focused discussion." By October 2010, these hopes were dashed and replaced with feelings of hatred and disgust toward the ACB.

The executive editor subsequently took down the ACB. In an interview with the executive editor, the board was described as "always something that had kind of been mean-spirited and pretty bad. It was just awful, the enmity and inanity of the conversations people would have. The Missed Connections thread was the most frustrating thing for me to watch in the world. In the end it was a personal decision: I took it down because I had watched it turn into this weird, festering mass of enmity and sentimentality and I didn't really want anything to do with that. It would be myopic for me to call it a success."

In response to the demise of the original ACB, a new one has been created. Hosted at SkidmoreACB.com, the new ACB features a green and white interface and, same as its predecessor, allows anyone to post anything anonymously.

In the first post, titled Rules & FAQ, the creators reveal a set of rules for the board. They also attempt to set a tone for the nature of future discussions on the board. The creators emphasize their hopes for minimal moderation, respect, the importance to reflect before posting and that bias against any groups or person will not be tolerated. The administrators of this site could not be reached for comment.

Some topics on the new ACB resemble those of the old: Missed Connections, Crushes and Things You Would Like to Say to People But Know Better. Other topics reflect current events, such as the planned coffee shop in Scribner Library, the past snow day and Skidmore's new e-mail hosted client. There are also threads on how to get to the roof of Case and where different social groups sit in the Dining Hall.

The mood of the discussions has not yet turned malicious or hateful. Conversely there has been encouragement and humor among the conversations on the board. One thread was dedicated to helping students set up the new e-mail host on their phones. Another was to garner level of interest for an on-campus fencing club.

However, hints of hostility remain. Under the topic Things You Would Like to Say to People But Know Better, a post states, "None of your ‘friends' actually like you. You are a horrible, selfish, immature person. It used to bother me until I realized that you are going no where…." Another post (and subsequent posts in response), laments the sizeable presence of sweatpants on campus.

Upon discovering the new ACB, the executive editor of SkidmoreUnofficial said, "It isn't like I'm staying up at night worrying about this new ACB but I don't think people realize just how nasty and silly the whole thing is. I kept ours running on the site because it brought in traffic and I was vain but at a certain point waking up in the morning and deleting comments an anonymous stranger made about the new hairstyle of another anonymous stranger became an incredibly disheartening chore."

The return of the Anonymous Confession Board shows that our community has grown to need a forum for anonymous outlet and discussion. How we approach and engage this forum is up to us.

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