Editorial: Online community should not be met with praise

The days of face-to-face, grown-up confrontation and solving issues rationally are numbered as a Web site where visitors can trash their peers increases in popularity.

At juicycampus.com, people can post comments about anyone anonymously, removing feelings of remorse or the need to own up to one’s beliefs. USF was included in this blog-like community this semester.

Visitors can find comments ranging from how hot Matt Grothe looks without his Gro-Hawk to the “biggest sluts and man-whores in Greek Village.” It only takes one click to agree with a statement or a few nasty words to reply.

Creator Matt Ivester said he created Juicy Campus to give students an online community where they could discuss things they have done during their college careers. Unfortunately, the Web site has turned into a place where people make anonymous, slanderous comments.

Sadly, many students have been eager to join, as posts about who has slept with whom on campus run amok.

The activity on the site seems to be nothing more than a sad attempt by former middle and high school stars to retain their one-time fame by trashing others while smiling to their faces. Instead of passing rumors through word of mouth, they choose to publicly humiliate and degrade classmates through an online community.

USF students need to be reminded of one thing — you’re attending a higher education institution, so act like it. Turning to an online community to make your gossip heard is nothing more than a childish act of cowardice.

Though celebrity gossip blogs may have made it “cool” to trash famous people, such individuals are public figures who take on that risk when they decide to star in a film, record an album or act on a reality show. The problem with this Web site, and similar sites like thedirty.com, is that anonymous posters are thrusting average people into the spotlight, forcing the private person into the public eye, and in none-too-flattering terms. This seems to be a gray area in terms of libel, as someone could easily post defamatory falsehoods on the site, thus publishing them for the world to see. But due to the anonymity of the site, it could be challenging to find and punish said poster.

Regrettably, for the victims of such comments, the nasty remarks never go away. Once something is online, the likelihood of the subject regaining control of it is slim.

It’s sad to say that all you have to do is make the wrong person angry to get your name posted all over the Internet, attached to rumors and other negative comments. It’s even sadder to say that there’s nothing you can do about it but hope that this sort of thing loses its novelty quickly.