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posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday March 10 2015, @09:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the why-we-can't-have-nice-things dept.

Jonathon Mahler writes in the NYT that in much the same way that Facebook swept through the dorm rooms of America’s college students a decade ago, the social app Yik Yak, which shows anonymous messages from users within a 1.5-mile radius is now taking college campuses by storm. "Think of it as a virtual community bulletin board — or maybe a virtual bathroom wall at the student union," writes Mahler. "It has become the go-to social feed for college students across the country to commiserate about finals, to find a party or to crack a joke about a rival school." And while much of the chatter is harmless, some of it is not. “Yik Yak is the Wild West of anonymous social apps,” says Danielle Keats Citron. “It is being increasingly used by young people in a really intimidating and destructive way.” Since the app’s introduction a little more than a year ago, Yik Yak has been used to issue threats of mass violence on more than a dozen college campuses, including the University of North Carolina, Michigan State University and Penn State. Racist, homophobic and misogynist “yaks” have generated controversy at many more, among them Clemson, Emory, Colgate and the University of Texas. At Kenyon College, a “yakker” proposed a gang rape at the school’s women’s center.

Colleges are largely powerless to deal with the havoc Yik Yak is wreaking. The app’s privacy policy prevents schools from identifying users without a subpoena, court order or search warrant, or an emergency request from a law-enforcement official with a compelling claim of imminent harm. Esha Bhandari, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, argues that "banning Yik Yak on campuses might be unconstitutional," especially at public universities or private colleges in California where the so-called Leonard Law protects free speech. She said it would be like banning all bulletin boards in a school just because someone posted a racist comment on one of the boards. In one sense, the problem with Yik Yak is a familiar one. Anyone who has browsed the comments of an Internet post is familiar with the sorts of intolerant, impulsive rhetoric that the cover of anonymity tends to invite. But Yik Yak’s particular design can produce especially harmful consequences, its critics say. “It’s a problem with the Internet culture in general, but when you add this hyper-local dimension to it, it takes on a more disturbing dimension,” says Elias Aboujaoude.” “You don’t know where the aggression is coming from, but you know it’s very close to you.”

 
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  • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday March 11 2015, @10:23AM

    by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Wednesday March 11 2015, @10:23AM (#155977) Homepage
    That's a good analysis, quite insightful. However, I'm not sure full openness is that useful, as it might encourage cliques.

    A half-way step is that moderators are known only to the recipient of the moderation. This has the useful (IMHO) side effect that if you post A/C, you don't get to see who moderates you.

    In the last 24 hours, I've *up* moderated 3 posts by posters who are my *foes*, and I would have no objection to them knowing that whilst I may disagree with almost everything they say, when I agree with it I'm prepared to support it.
    --
    Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by GeminiDomino on Wednesday March 11 2015, @01:12PM

    by GeminiDomino (661) on Wednesday March 11 2015, @01:12PM (#156035)

    A half-way step is that moderators are known only to the recipient of the moderation. This has the useful (IMHO) side effect that if you post A/C, you don't get to see who moderates you.

    On the other hand, that opens up a whole new kind of "false flag" trolling.

    "Hey, GeminiDomino, what's going on with those mods? You're being a right git, but it's not trolling!"
    "Oh, that's just FatPhil, he got his panties in a bunch over a flamewar a few days back, and has been revenge modding."

    --
    "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday March 11 2015, @03:12PM

      by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Wednesday March 11 2015, @03:12PM (#156098) Homepage
      If I had partaken in such behaviour would you not be right to out me?

      Metamod through shame.
      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
      • (Score: 2) by GeminiDomino on Wednesday March 11 2015, @04:44PM

        by GeminiDomino (661) on Wednesday March 11 2015, @04:44PM (#156143)

        Sorry, I thought it would be obvious by describing it as a "false flag," but the point is basically that you, in that little narrative, would have done nothing of the sort.

        --
        "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday March 11 2015, @05:27PM

          by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Wednesday March 11 2015, @05:27PM (#156167) Homepage
          Ah, OK, sorry, I'm being a bit thick. That's not a term I am particularly familiar with (I think I've only seen it during the "gamergate" fuss, which was something I didn't get too involved in).

          However, as both participants in this exchange have accounts, the matter of whether I did in fact mod-bomb you can be settled by a site admin with one very simple query. Were punishment for a false accusation to be something similar to a false "spam" moderation, karma-death and/or a ban, would you risk it? (This is one reason I like the inability to edit comments - once baseless accusations are made, they cannot be retracted - evidence remains clearly visible.)

          And in other news, I upmoded another foe earlier today! I'm beginning to wonder whether I choose my foes wisely!
          --
          Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
          • (Score: 2) by GeminiDomino on Friday March 13 2015, @10:54PM

            by GeminiDomino (661) on Friday March 13 2015, @10:54PM (#157551)

            However, as both participants in this exchange have accounts, the matter of whether I did in fact mod-bomb you can be settled by a site admin with one very simple query.

            A valid point, but the solution suffers from scalability issues - n1 posted the other day about staff members' workloads, so something needing human involvement to settle it might be less of a disincentive knowing how busy that they already are and that it might fall through the cracks.

            --
            "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
          • (Score: 2) by GeminiDomino on Friday March 13 2015, @11:54PM

            by GeminiDomino (661) on Friday March 13 2015, @11:54PM (#157580)

            Well it looks like [soylentnews.org] they're going to be handling any mod-bombing by human hands after all (I hadn't seen that story yet when I posted my response).

            --
            "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"