The Intersection of Commenting and Bullying

This post was authored by Emma Specter ’15 and Spencer Kaye ’14, co-editors-in-chief of the Thrill, along with David McCabe ’14, the Thrill’s founder and editor-in-chief emeritus. 

Yesterday, a post we published entitled “Editorial: On Send-Off” attracted a lot of attention. While comments on the post started out fairly neutral, they quickly devolved into a mess of ugly, juvenile slurs, most of them directed toward members of two campus Greek organizations. We’ve closed commenting on the post and done our best to moderate any hurtful comments, but we think it’s important to address the issue head-on.

In the above comments, groups of Kenyon students were referred to as “posers”, “girls who cry in the corner at parties”, “ugly clowns” and — most disturbingly -“self-conscious whores.” Many readers were disgusted and disappointed with the tenor of these comments — we at the Thrill want to echo those sentiments and make it very clear that we neither condone nor tolerate this nasty, misogynistic bullshit.

Across the country, we’re seeing more and more instances in which young people are being bullied with the same kind of language that some of our commenters were using last night. That scares us for a few reasons. It’s terrifying to think that college students are engaging in behavior that’s awful by middle-school standards. But  we’re more worried by the fact that anyone here thinks it’s okay to make Kenyon (even a part of Kenyon as small as a blog comments section) an unsafe space for any of their peers. And here’s one more of the many reasons why we shut down comments last night and are now writing this post: Right now, there could be a prospie reading those hateful remarks, experiencing a feeling of creeping dread as they realize that maybe the “dream school” where they thought they could make a fresh start isn’t a whole lot different from high school.

It’s not our place to deliver a lecture on mutual respect beyond that, so we’ll just say this, to commenters who take advantage of the anonymity we offer in order to personally attack members of the Kenyon community — we can’t stop you from being ignorant, hurtful jerks, but you’ll have to do it someplace other than the Thrill. 

26 responses

  1. Thank you Thrill, for creating an environment of anonymous commentators where mob mentality runs rampant and then white knighting with a post like this. Your feet do not touch the ground we walk on. We are not worthy of your presence and your esteemed moral standing. It’s also amusing for you to take the comments about a greek organization as misogynistic because they make fun of certain women, the double standard of me saying that some guy is a “poser” or “cries in a corner” wouldn’t be perceived as hatred toward men as a whole, so why is that the case with women?

    • It was the whores part that was misogynistic, get your shit together Anonymous User #4. Also are you saying the thrill shouldn’t allow anonymous commenting, or what? Because you literally just left an anonymous comment so clearly you don’t have too much of a problem with it.

    • I like User #4, I agree with you very much.
      Soo much but hurt goes around Kenyon.
      We can make fun of men but it’s misogynistic to make fun of women
      Why U No Make Sense Kenyon?

      And please look at this hypocrite leaving an anonymous comment
      Don’t be upset about anonymous comments if you’re doing the same thing.

  2. the comments that went followed that previous thread are the reason I am not returning to kenyon. I took a year of absence and now I can see that this school is not right for me. while I had hoped that the small community would foster some sort of family vibe for myself, I can see that regardless some people, perhaps including myself, are still not welcome back at kenyon. so congratulations, I am transferring in the fall. enjoy yourselves.

  3. [This comment has been moderated for its direction of a personal attack against a member of the Kenyon community]

      • I have to agree with you. Andie Anderson wrote everything that I wanted to write about this. As a working class student at Kenyon who completed an Honors thesis, I cannot even begin to express my disgust about the misappropriation of funds in this case. Welcome to privileged Kenyon, where privilege perpetuates privilege.

      • Hey Thrill Staff:
        If you’re going to modify that comment, you need to modify the one above it!

    • Two things:
      1. I don’t see how this is relevant to the above article in ANY way, other than the fact that it is exemplifying what the Thrill is upset about – you are using commenter’s anonymity to personally attack someone on an unrelated issue and make rude remarks.
      2. You are complaining about the same thing that you are doing by complaining. You are publicly calling out a fellow Kenyon student (whom you probably don’t even know) in a hateful manner.

      • Okay, so some of this is hateful. However, I think the author raises a valid point about class status and privilege on Kenyon’s campus. Maybe it would be best if we try and start a productive dialogue about this instead of commenting anonymously?

      • I would like to point out that the Thrill cannot censor the POV publication and there is a nicely veiled reference to this situation and student in that publication as well. Perhaps we do need a dialogue on campus.

      • Dialogues do nothing.
        It’s just the wishful thinking of the naive
        “Maybe if we discussed this, somebody will take action”

        1. Discussions/dialogues only attract people who are already part of the cause.
        2. Most people won’t try to bring up unpopular opinions during these discussion/dialogue events; they fear the majority and will be uncomfortable to speak up.
        2. Much of what people truly think/believe comes out on anonymous forum posts like this.

        Kenyon is full of weak sauce, butt hurt, privileged kids.
        Toughen up kiddies

    • [This comment has been moderated for its direction of a personal attack against a member of the Kenyon community]

      • Welcome to free speech on Kenyon’s campus. Miss Anderson simply expressed an opinion about a nasty situation on campus. But honestly, who cares now? By next week, this will all be ancient history!

  4. Morals are all good and well, but they perpetuate falsity and lies. And there is nothing I detest more than a lie, not because I don’t lie, but merely because it appalls me.

  5. In the end what this is all about is comments that were personal and lacking any compassion. Regardless status, GPA, gender, beliefs, etc. most should have a central core of compassion for all people and understand that their beliefs are, to this point in their life, pretty shallow and insulated. College is all about spreading wings and LEARNING to fly. The world after college is quite different to what most have experienced to this point. So those of us who may feel we are “worldly” and can comment on someone else’s shortcomings better wake up because those very people who are being commented on will probably be in a decade your boss! And they will be very willing to point out all of your shortcomings.

  6. And while we are talking about privilege, what about privileged haute ghetto housing for select and ‘kindred’ groups (and I don’t mean sororities and fraternities).

  7. Andie Anderson lied to the Collegian. Her behavior is despicable. All I did was substitute her name for the one she used in The Collegian.

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