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Bored@Baker: The right to do vs. the right thing to do

Any­one who has browsed Bored@​Baker quickly learns that anonymity can turn the best of us into jerks. How­ever, it also lets stu­dents share opin­ions they nor­mally wouldn’t. An open di­a­logue held on Tues­day as part of the on­go­ing Words and Their Con­se­quences se­ries dis­cussed stu­dent opin­ion about the web­site, as well as on­line anonymity, cyber bul­ly­ing, ac­count­abil­ity and the fine line be­tween free speech and hate speech. De­spite what you might think, the con­fer­ence wasn’t just a bunch of kids going around in a cir­cle com­plain­ing about bul­ly­ing. While this was dis­cussed, vocal par­tic­i­pants also showed up in favor of the forum. Sup­port­ers viewed the site as a place where peo­ple can dis­cuss cam­pus hap­pen­ings and offer views that would not oth­er­wise be stated. And this is a valid point. Like sev­eral stu­dents said, when some­thing hap­pens, you can ei­ther wait for some­one to write an ar­ti­cle about it in a few days or you can head over to Bored@​Baker and jump into a dis­cus­sion that’s al­ready started. The anonymity that al­lows dis­course that open, how­ever, can cut both ways, as those with more crit­i­cal views of the site sug­gested. While it al­lows posters to share opin­ions they wouldn’t or­di­nar­ily share were it at­tached… Read more »

BoredatBaker temporarily suspended

The Dartmouth Gos­sip fiends at Dart­mouth and other Ivy League in­sti­tu­tions will have to seek new venues to con­tinue their anony­mous post­ing — BoredatBaker.​com, the in­fa­mous on­line mes­sage board for Dart­mouth stu­dents, and its par­al­lel sites have been taken of­fline due to con­cerns re­gard­ing their con­tent, ac­cord­ing to an open let­ter writ­ten by Jon Pap­pas, the sites’ cre­ator. The sites have re­cently been used by a “small group of peo­ple” to post at­tacks on spe­cific in­di­vid­u­als “in a re­peated, per­sis­tent man­ner,” Pap­pas wrote. The at­tacks in­cluded per­sonal in­for­ma­tion — such as phone num­bers and e-mail ad­dresses — and ma­li­cious state­ments, ac­cord­ing to the let­ter. “It is clear that [Bored-at] is not ma­ture enough to mod­er­ate or con­trol it­self well,” Pap­pas said in the let­ter. Pap­pas wrote that the Bored-at sites are not and were never in­tended to be a venue for post­ing per­sonal at­tacks. “Since I dont [sic] have a so­lu­tion for this prob­lem right now, like I’ve done in the past, I’ve de­cided to take down the sites for the time being,” Pap­pas wrote. Per­sonal at­tacks be­came a prob­lem for some Dart­mouth stu­dents when the site launched in 2006, The Dart­mouth pre­vi­ously re­ported. The site was pre­vi­ously taken of­fline… Read more » taken offline

BoredatBaker.​com, the pop­u­lar — and con­tro­ver­sial — on­line mes­sage board for Dart­mouth stu­dents, was taken of­fline on Dec. 8 due to an in­flux of “racist com­ments and hate speech” on the site’s sis­ter forum for Co­lum­bia Uni­ver­sity, BoredatButler.​com, ac­cord­ing to site cre­ator and Co­lum­bia alum­nus Jonathan Pap­pas. Pap­pas, who cre­ated Bored-At on­line fo­rums for 11 uni­ver­si­ties across the coun­try, sus­pended all of the sites. “Re­cently, we’ve had a very small group of peo­ple ba­si­cally pa­trolling the sites post­ing racist com­ments and hate speech and they were just re­lent­less,” Pap­pas said in an in­ter­view with The Dart­mouth. Al­though the con­tro­ver­sial com­ments were posted only by “one or two” in­di­vid­u­als on the Co­lum­bia cam­pus, Pap­pas said he de­cided to take all of the sites down to pre­vent sim­i­lar at­tacks else­where. “I de­cided that if the pro­ject wasn’t ma­ture enough to han­dle those sit­u­a­tions, then [the sites] shouldn’t be up,” he said, stress­ing that his de­ci­sion to sus­pend the sites was not in re­sponse to any ex­ter­nal crit­i­cism. Users who at­tempt to ac­cess any of the Bored-At sites are redi­rected to a page ex­plain­ing the sus­pen­sion of ser­vice. Pap­pas said he plans to re­launch the sites after he makes changes to allow the… Read more »