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TeacherReviews.com Forced Offline

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the thin-skin-for-teacher dept.

Censorship 664

MrCawfee writes "Dylan Greene's site Teacher Reviews which allows students to post reviews of their professors. The site was taken down because a professor complained about comments made against him, and threatened to sue. Here is an exerpt from his blog: 'Yesterday and tonight I talked with a professor who was extremely upset with what written about him on TeacherReviews. He had several inappropriate reviews that made unfounded accusations and inappropriate untruthful remarks such as calling him "Bipolar Paranoid Schitzophrenic."' You can read his blog here."

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664 comments

hello last post (-1, Offtopic)

Bi()hazard (323405) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244783)

This is the last post!!

That's it, everybody out of the article, nothing to see here.

Re:hello last post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8244824)

Mods, please note that this post is relevant and on topic-it is performance art symbolizing the plight of TeacherReviews.com, which has been forced off the internet, just as all slashdotters' posts are being forced out of this article.

Further note that this post is an appendix to the previous post, and is not a separate post, and therefore does not violate the "last post" declaration.

VOTE BUSH (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8244791)

Or suffer as Kerry surrenders America to terrorists rather than fight them!

well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8244795)

That's good grounds for a suit. This lawsuit is fair.

Re:well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8244813)

Assuming that the post was wrong, of course. Sounds like he went nuts over it, so maybe the post wasn't far from the mark...

Schools (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8244802)

Some schools endorsed this. If you google, some schools even link to it [k12.oh.us]

Re:Schools (2, Interesting)

Trillian_1138 (221423) | more than 10 years ago | (#8245077)

Where is the link to it from that school webpage? I'm not trying to be difficult, just honestly can't find it....

-Trillian

PS Would also like to use this as an opportunity to complain that their site didn't render correctly in Mozilla. Just me, or anyone else have this problem?

Blog text - before it gets slashdotted (5, Informative)

a.koepke (688359) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244810)

What happened to TeacherReviews?

TeacherReviews.com is free site I run for students which lets students share opinions of professors with other students. I have been pressured to shut it down. I'm not sure if it will be down forever or just a short amount of time until some changes are made. Please read on to find out why and what I am going to do about it.

Yesterday and tonight I talked with a professor who was extremely upset with what written about him on TeacherReviews. He had several inappropriate reviews that made unfounded accusations and inappropriate untruthful remarks such as calling him "Bipolar Paranoid Schitzophrenic." These reviews should not have been on the site.

I immediately deleted this professor's reviews, as I always do those rare times that a professor complains. He still threatened to sue - and even threatened to get the involvement of the teacher's union American Federation of Teachers. A lawsuit is not something I have the time or money to be involved in, no matter how confident I am that the courts would side in the favor of free speech and the site.

This would be the first lawsuit against TeacherReviews, however TeacherReview, the precursor site to TeacherReviews had one lawsuit against in about four years ago. TeacherReview had a "no review is ever deleted" policy. The ACLU helped defend TeacherReview, and TeacherReview achieved a victory - the two professors involved settled just days before the San Francisco Superior Court hearing .

The purpose of Teacher Reviews has always been to help students find the best professors to take, however the quality and reliability of TeacherReviews has been diminished by the few users who have used the site to write insults, accusations, remarks that can be considered slanderous.

As I find about about these reviews, I always delete them. They no have merit, are not helpful to anyone, and are obviously the product of a bored student who just wants to harm the reputation of a professor. That is not the purpose of TeacherReviews.

There are over 36,000 reviews on the site - far too many for me to read and evaluate. Because of this, and the threat of lawsuit, I have elected to take down TeacherReviews.com for now - at least until I can make some needed changes to how the site works.

Here are some of the changes I hope to put in place:

* Instant review removal. As a rule, I have always removed reviews upon a professor's request. Today the system is manual and it is not obvious enough how it works. The new system will have a link for removing reviews next to every review. Anybody will be able to instantly remove inappropriate reviews. Some friends and I will evaluate these removed reviews.
* Easy professor removal. I believe professors should have the right to make their reviews be private. A professor will have the ability to hide all reviews from public view. Reviews posted will be emailed to that professor, but not shared with the rest of the world. The number of reviews and possibility other information will remain on the site.
* Hide Reviews from Google. One of the complaints I got from a the professor was that if you searched Google for his name, his reviews would show up pretty high in the list of found items. Normally this is a good thing, but if the reviews are inappropriate, then it is not approbate for the to be showing up in Google.
* Email notification of New Reviews. Professors should not have to regularly visit TeacherReviews to see if they have new reviews posted. This feature will give them the option of receiving email when new reviews are posted. Students will be able to use this feature as well. New reviews will also be available via RSS.
* Date-separated reviews. Today reviews that are two years old and older are listed along side of recent reviews. Since people change, I believe that these older reviews need to be identified as older reviews, and be put on a separate page.

These features I'm not sure about:

* Response from Professor. I don't know how I can verify that somebody is really the professor before I let them post a response on the web site.
* Non-Anonymous Reviews. This would remove me from lawsuits, but I don't know if students would be comfortable posting truthful reviews.

I have never made any money from TeacherReviews. All costs related to the site have come out of my own pocket. If there ever is a lawsuit, the costs to defend the site will also come out of my own pocket. Hopefully it will never come to that.

TeacherReviews has always been a part-time hobby for me. Because of the part-time nature it might take some time to add the new features I have proposed.

Thank you for your patients and understanding, and I appreciate any comments you have, especially about the situation and my proposed new features for the site.

- Dylan Greene

Re:Blog text - before it gets slashdotted (4, Funny)

omarius (52253) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244942)

"Slander is spoken. In print, it's libel."
--J. Jonah Jameson

Re:Blog text - before it gets slashdotted (4, Funny)

z01d (602442) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244943)


...and I appreciate any comments you have,...

He mean "sue", right?

Annonymous Coward, negative infinity - 2004. (0, Offtopic)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244815)

We gather here today to mourn the loss of Anonymous Coward. Anon been a great writer in the history of The United States, with The Federalist Papers and Primary Colors being two of his greatest works.

When the Internet came into being, Anon's greatest hour was realized. Many webboards at first welcomed posting for Anon with open arms, and Anon was even allowed to send e-mail freely. But, Anon's greatest foes, the lawyers would never let him sleep easy. Still, he fought on, trying to find what few places would still accept him, such as Slashdot.

But, when he came down with those horrible diseases of libel and slander, the doctors, er, lawyers, just weren't able to save him. Try the best they could, the logging of IP addresses just wasn't able to keep him alive. He gave a brave strugle, and for that we remember him. Dispite his ability to show his face, or give any contact info, you could always trust him to be at any political rally of any kind, and that he'd always be willing to fight the system.

His work in his name will be continued on Slashdot by his family, even though those who attempt to use their services should be aware that IP addresses are now logged and cookies are now fed on unsuspecting user in a way that the Anon we know and love never would tolerate.

Anon, we miss you.

FUCK YOU - ANONYMOUSLY! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8244855)

FUCK YOU!

Problem is... (5, Insightful)

centralizati0n (714381) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244828)

The problem is, a good system would allow exactly those kinds of comments. Slashdot, for example, allows you to post whatever you want, but you can get modded down and not be seen. A similar system would work for teacher reviews - if you want to read all of the "drivel" (per se) then go ahead.

Re:Problem is... (5, Interesting)

s20451 (410424) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244915)

I'm sympathetic to the prof, especially if he's new faculty. This could be the only exposure that his potential students get to him. A determined effort to slander his teaching ability -- when very people know him anyway -- could literally ruin his career, as tenure decisions are made in part on teaching ability.

I can't think of a scenario in which someone's career could be ruined by a Slashdot troll.

Re:Problem is... (5, Insightful)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244996)

If he's a horrible enough teacher that he warrants consistent bad comments then perhaps tenure shouldn't even be what his superiors are considering

Re:Problem is... (3, Insightful)

s20451 (410424) | more than 10 years ago | (#8245037)

How do you know the comments are accurate?

To say someone is schizophrenic when you are not an expert in the field is libelous, in any case.

Re:Problem is... (2, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244939)

Libel at -1 can still attract a lawsuit. And /., for its part, will immediately respond by standing up and... telling them the IP address the post came from, and that, coupled with the timestamp, equates to an ISP account somewhere.

Legal? (5, Insightful)

drcagn (715012) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244829)

Is this legal? I don't understand how user submitted reviews would get this site knocked offline. How is this any different from someone posting bad stuff about a teacher on a LiveJournal (or other blogging site) blog?

Re:Legal? (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244959)

Slander is slander no matter how it's printed and published.

Re:Legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8244999)

unless its opinion
then its legal because its still an opinion

and that sort of name calling would be considered, opinion.

Re:Legal? (4, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8245053)

Actually, slander is by definition spoken. When printed or published, it is libel.

Secondly, the method that libel is disseminated is in fact of the upmost importance these days. Thanks to the one teeny tiny good (and constitutional) bit of the infamous CDA, it is legal for people providing services on the Internet (e.g. fora) to have libellous statements therein.

The originator of the libel can be sued -- but no suit can be brought against the web site where the libel resides.

The professor hasn't got a leg to stand on, and the site -- and the offensive comments -- need to go back up.

And the blog dies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8244831)

Google cache: http://216.239.41.104/search?q=cache:Im6KWmeRTvUJ: www.dylangreene.com/blog.asp%3FblogID%3D378+&hl=en &ie=UTF-8

Prerequisite (4, Funny)

Ghoser777 (113623) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244833)

I'm pretty sure "Bipolar Paranoid Schizophrenic" (now spelled correctly) is a prerec for being a professor, so I'm not sure what he's complaining about.

Matt Fahrenbacher

Re:Prerequisite (1)

MichaelGCD (728279) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244962)

> (now spelled correctly)

Well, he'd know how to spell it if his english teacher wasn't such a bipolar paranoid schizophrenic...

Re:Prerequisite (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8244966)

Your post gave me an idea, why not search google for those terms.. but the only luck I had was using bi-polar [google.com] . There's no cache, but you can see the teacher's names, so could this be the guy?

David Corey Professor of Science (other) Overall Rating: F Reviews: 2 Classes: 2 Review this professor. Bi-polar ,boring asshole. Overall Grade: F, ...

Re:Prerequisite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8245019)

Being bipolar and being schizophrenic are two different things (the manifestations of which may be enough to confuse even some experts, however, as I've been made aware).

Read the DSM IV if you wish to find out more. I know that it's at the reference desk of at least our library here...

(That said, yes, I've had some bad [and good!] professors.... you never know...)

Ebay precedent? (3, Informative)

Neppy (673459) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244834)

Didn't Ebay just win a case that said they are not liable for the statements posted by users?
Wouldn't this logically apply to teacher reviews and make them nonliable for things posted by their users?

Re:Ebay precedent? (4, Insightful)

chunkwhite86 (593696) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244904)

Didn't Ebay just win a case that said they are not liable for the statements posted by users? Wouldn't this logically apply to teacher reviews and make them nonliable for things posted by their users?

It's a good precedent but as the poster stated - he doesn't have the time/resources to put on a legal defense. No matter how good the previous rulings are, you still need legal counsel.

Re:Ebay precedent? (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244972)

But that's only because eBay can deflect by coughing up everything they have about the user account that made the posting. A site that intentionally forgets what IP address made a post exposes themself to the liabilty for what they allow to published.

In a sense, those who bring forward Anonymous works end up accepting the slander and libel problems pn behalf of those whose identites they offer to hide.

Re:Ebay precedent? (2, Interesting)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244918)

Yep, but the guy also says in his weblog that he does not have the money and/or time to spend on any lawsuit that might start out of this.
He is taking the safe route for now, and taken the whole thing down so he can review the whole situation.

Re:Ebay precedent? (4, Interesting)

Trillian_1138 (221423) | more than 10 years ago | (#8245046)

IANAL. This is a personal opinion.

I don't think sites should be LIABLE for what people post, but because of the unique nature of the Internet, once something is posted on a site it's likely to stay there and be easily accessable, in ways past forms of communication weren't. That gives sites like Teacher Reviews, and even places like Slashdot, unique responsibility.

If I tell a friend that Mr. Example Teacher is an ass, word may or may not spread, and the comments may or may not be linked back to me. But it takes an active effort by many people for the comment to spread. And if it's not true, it will probably fizzle out. Even if it isn't true and does NOT fizzle out, rumors are very specific forms of communication that most people don't take serriously.

On the other hand, if I post a comment to Teacher Reviews, 30 seconds of my time has created something that may stay there for ever and ever. And, unlike rumors, there's no way for others to say, "I don't think this is true, but I heard that...." All the comments are posted as equals.

So I would say if something libelous is posted to a website, while the webmaster isn't responsible for the actual content, I would say they're responsible for removing it in a timely manner, once notified of the content.

Speaking of Teacher Reviews specifically, I think if a bad review of a teacher was posted (talks slow, bad assignments, boring) then Teacher Review does not have a responsibility to take it down. On the contrary, they have a responsibility to leave it up if they want to achieve their goals of a student-reviewed teacher database. But I would say labeling a teacher as a "Bipolar Paranoid Schitzophrenic" could be considered libelous. I don't think it's unreasonable that it be asked to be removed.

Bringing it back to Slashdot...

This site is in a very odd position, in that much of the postings here (for example, about SCO or Microsoft) could easily be considered as libel. But unlike Teacher Reviews, they're (usually) posted as jokes. And Slashdot has a moderation system and a reply system so posts that are blatently untrue get shouted down by more accurate responses.

I'd say Teacher Reviews, unfortunatly, took the only realistic course of action. They took the site down, and are taking time to regroup. I'd be sad if some of the suggested implimentations actually happen (hiding teacher reviews from Google, or non anonymous reviews) but I think things like emailing professors reviews or having a better process for review removeall are very reasonable.

All in all, I hope Teacher Reviews is able to continue. It's a great site and a very nifty idea.

-Trillian

PS I didn't find a way to work it gracefully into my post, but I think the teacher who threatened to sue, even after the review was removied, is an ass. I'll risk the possibility of getting Slashdot sued, and go so far as to say he sounds like one of those crazy Bipolar Paranoid Schitzophrenics you've been hearing so much about recently....

the site is down.. but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8244836)

The site was taken down because a professor complained about comments made against him, and threatened to sue.

Thanks for the link to the site though ;)

the real reason (1, Funny)

potpie (706881) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244837)

Apparently, SCO thought the comments were actually written about them and were infringing on their IP. And Microsoft thought the comments were too similar to comments written about Bill Gates that they had already copyrighted. And the RIAA believes that they were the lawful target of the comments, which were shared over the internet and used against somebody else.

Anyone else notice... (3, Insightful)

Ghoser777 (113623) | more than 10 years ago | (#8245020)

that if you make a tangential remark related to SCO/RIAA/Microsoft, you get modded up to funny?

Matt Fahrenbacher

Other sites? (1)

AvantLegion (595806) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244839)

Are there other sites like this one? I'm almost certain I've seen at least one other one before.

Re:Other sites? (1, Flamebait)

potpie (706881) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244880)

Here's one [ratemyteachers.com] [ratemyteachers.com]

And moderators: I posted this first... before you mod down for redundant, check the times of posting.

Re:Other sites? (3, Interesting)

Zycom (720889) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244956)

Here in Jersey, we use RateMyTeachers.com [ratemyteachers.com] . Halfway through the last semester, a teacher of mine actually told us to rate him on there. Its anonymous, so he could find out what people really thought about him and adjust accordingly.

Nobody did it. I think that says something about how much people respect him.

No more fun for me then.... (3, Interesting)

emily_the_dragonet (749396) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244842)

I liked that site. My school had tons of reviewed teachers, and you could read 'em and then there would be this moment of "Hey! I know who wrote this!" That was cool. If one teacher has one problem, he should get it removed and make the site check what's being posted more. He doesn't need to shut the site down.

totally inaccurate (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8244843)

I had that prof, and calling him "Bipolar Paranoid Schitzophrenic" is totally inaccurate; he was not bipolar.

Great (1)

chunkwhite86 (593696) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244844)

So not only is he punished with unfair accusations, but now we follow it up with a thorough slashdotting? Have mercy on the poor guy!

You don't need to delete all the site (2, Insightful)

Via_Patrino (702161) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244846)

You don't need to delete all the site, just delete the article the professor thought offensive, or mod it troll :-)

Re:You don't need to delete all the site (5, Informative)

tarth (445054) | more than 10 years ago | (#8245002)

That's not insightful. Read what he said... even after removing the offending content the professor still threatened a lawsuit.

Re:You don't need to delete all the site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8245050)

Uh...RTFA. He already did, but the professor still threatened to sue. IMO, the owner of teacherreviews.com is a pansy for backing down.

1st Amendment? (2, Interesting)

t0rnt0pieces (594277) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244853)

Doesn't the first amendment protect websites such as this? We may as well shut down every review website and magazine. Ok, maybe some slanderous things were said, but those comments were made by the reviewer and are not the opinion of the web site owner. Doesn't every similar website have that disclaimer?

Re:1st Amendment? (1)

Killswitch1968 (735908) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244912)

The 1st Amendment is a very popular amendment to trump with various legislation. One of the most common is the old "libel/slander" suits. And yes, it is stupid, just ask Somethingawful.com

Re:1st Amendment? (1, Informative)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244932)

I hate morons like you. the first amendment just protects people from the government, NOT private citizens or companies.

that is why boycotts of the stars at events durring the war were legal. you can say what ever you like and the government will not touch you (out side what thurgood marshal set forth about dangerouse speech). but that does not mean you are free from paying consequenses for what you say from other non-governmental groups or individuals.

Re:1st Amendment? (1)

t0rnt0pieces (594277) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244964)

So what? The point is that this site cannot be forced to be shut down. The only thing that can shut down a website like this (unless the owner agrees to do so) is a court order, ie the government. If this isn't a first amendment case I don't know what is.

MOD THIS +5 FUNNY (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8244965)

Very funny post. I like how the guy acts as
though the first amendment somehow means something
and we should do something accordingly.

Re:1st Amendment? (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 10 years ago | (#8245015)

Opinion is protected, yes. But the point made here is that untruthful things are being said -- and publishing untrue "facts" about private citizens (as opposed to public figures) is called libel.

You can call the professor an idiot, but you can't say he is bipolar unless you have medical evidence to back up your statement.

Re:1st Amendment? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8245048)

You can call the professor an idiot, but you can't say he is bipolar unless you have medical evidence to back up your statement.

It's in context as a general insult against the professor's pesonality. I don't see how that fails to qualify as an opinion.

E-Bay... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8244856)

E-Bay just won a court case where they were found to not be responsible for user feedback. Specifically not being responsible for policing or even being required to remove false feedback.

Just a few days later teacherreviews.com caves in? Typical.

Instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8244857)

Yesterday and tonight I talked with a professor who was extremely upset with what written about him on TeacherReviews. He had several inappropriate reviews that made unfounded accusations and inappropriate untruthful remarks such as calling him "Bipolar Paranoid Schitzophrenic."'


Students are apparently obeying the intent of the order, as they have since kept remarks about limited him to "What an asshole!" or similar.

i wonder why he caved in? (1)

0xfc (737668) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244863)

If it was my own paid for site, I would put damn well whatever opinion I had on it about a professor. Or other peoples' opinion for that matter. I thought freedom of speech allowed this? Was he using any school resources for this project? If he is currently attending that school, they can attack him from that vector easily. And I betcha this prof does not have tenure yet! What I am unclear on though, is when does it become slander/libel? I do hope those are the correct legal terms for what we are discussing.

Re:i wonder why he caved in? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8245016)

well since the site is a review site. its all based on opinions and therefore protected.

unless someone flat out says lies, like "he made me stay after class and tried to molest me" thats slightly different than name calling which is, opinion based.

Had something like this in the UK (0)

GonzoDave (743486) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244864)

The site FriendsReunited had to start moderating comments after people started using it to accuse old school teachers of being paedophiles

What's wrong with it?! (-1)

qat (637648) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244869)

Freedom of speach is a necessity in this country. If I think my teacher makes advances on the girls, then let others know... ya'know?

Not surprising (5, Interesting)

Killswitch1968 (735908) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244870)

Once profs have tenure their incentive to teach better is dramatically reduced. If they can get more grants doing research with no chance of being fired for imcompentent teaching then you can believe the grants will come first.

This becomes especially easy if the students can't voice their discretions publically. I don't think a single university publically displays the stats of student reviews after a semester with a prof. The profs can complain all they want but in the long run it's the students who will suffer.

All you need for anon posting is to log the IP (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244872)

True anonymous posting is simply imposible to allow because the web site operator ends up assuming the liablity for libel and slander when the eventual misbehaving trolls invade the site. The closest any web site operator can come is to know as little about their posters as possible, but to log the exact timestamp of the post and the IP address, so that if the site is ever bothered with a legal threat, those two pieces of information can be turned over, which when taken to the ISP starts a path that leads to the identity of the poster, or at least a service operator that (sometimes knowingly, sometimes not...) provides anonymity and will either A: be on the hook or B: continue the path that leads to the user...

Sorry, you've got to stand behind what you write, even online.

Re:All you need for anon posting is to log the IP (1)

MntlChaos (602380) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244973)

what about sites like cryptome.org? they delete all their logs. That's truly anonymous

Rating Teachers (1)

emily_the_dragonet (749396) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244883)

For more teacher reviewing fun y'all can check out this site. [ratemyteachers.com] They check all posts and students can become moderators too. It even has a sister site for canada I belive.

making student evaluations public (5, Interesting)

ArgumentBoy (669152) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244884)

I have some real sympathy for being able to "shop" online to get info about courses and teachers. But I'm a college prof myself, and have sat on a number of personnel committees, and have read a *lot* of student comments over the years. Many of those comments - perhaps most - are intelligent, or plausible, or reasonable expressions of feelings. Sometimes more than one of these. But sometimes they are simply irresponsible - 'get another career,' 'you shouldn't be allowed to teach anyone, anywere,'and sadly, a lot of 'you #@$$!, get #%&*$#.' Insults, psychiatric diagnoses, speculations about home life - these are rare, but not rare enough. It's bad enough that these go into personnel files and get read by peers and supervisors (yes, they really are, and they really matter). But at least these people understand what sorts of things, good and bad, students will say anonymously. Unmoderated posting of these things on the internet is a bad idea, personally damaging, and maybe harmful to careers.

Re:making student evaluations public (2, Funny)

cperciva (102828) | more than 10 years ago | (#8245013)

Personally, I think student evaluations should be made public. If a student completely fails to grasp even the simplest of concepts, and fails a course as a result, that information should be online as a public record so that people can choose to avoid that student in the future.

Oops. You're talking about the opposite type of student evaluations. My bad.

Re:making student evaluations public (0, Troll)

Peyna (14792) | more than 10 years ago | (#8245054)

We're in "No Child Left Behind" mode now though; so that means that we have to dumb everything down so everyone can succeed on the same level and past pointless standardized tests that see if 6th grades know 1st grade math and 50% of them still can't pass....

Re:making student evaluations public (0)

PhyreFox (576728) | more than 10 years ago | (#8245051)

Why don't the personnel committes just toss out the ones that aren't readable by children?

If your supervisors are tossing them into your personnel file despite their questionable content, maybe it's an indicator of how popular you are amongst your supervisors as opposed to the students.

Course, if you're already on tenure, you don't have a lot to worry about.

Obligatory Slashdotting Joke (1)

Senator_B (605588) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244885)

Hehe, looks like his site has been taken off the net too. In all seriousness, how much of a chance did his law suit have? Is this considered slander on the part of teacherreviews.com, or was the web site just scared of the negative pubblicity? When I first visited the site, I was suprised by the lack of unfounded, negative remarks made about the teachers I looked up. Maybe my case is the exception.

Speaking as a student (1)

gid13 (620803) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244886)

I don't know why it's such a big deal to this prof; almost nobody reads those things anyway.

However, those students who want to use such resources should damn well be allowed. I'm sick of the way freedom is slowly being repealed. Is "freedom of speech" just a platitude to placate us? Although I abhor racism, I don't even buy arguments against racist speech. There was a case in some American University where an "Anarchy Club" (what a concept, but whatever) wanted to link to the website of some South American group that had been classified as a terrorist group by the government. The university forced them to take the link down. Now how am I supposed to hear the other side? Since I can't judge for myself, I'm basically forced to take the terrorists' side, and I fucking hate that!

And how did they make me turn everything into discussion of terrorists???

Polyratings (5, Informative)

Shaklee39 (694496) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244889)

Here at calpoly [calpoly.edu] we have a third party ratings system at http://www.polyratings.com [polyratings.com] which does almost the same thing. I was looking on it the other day and there are comments about how they want a teacher to die, just random profanity unrelated to the class, among others. The site has not been taken down, nor has it even removed these comments which are still up for everyone to see. Anyone with a half brain ignores these comments and just goes to the next one anyways since they are probably from a disgruntled student who couldn't make the grade.

PARANOID?!?! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8244914)

I'm afraid people are talking about me behind my back, they're always there, there always watching, I'll just google my name..

Hmm, TeacherReviews.com? I'M ON THERE?!?!?!!?!?

WHAT? WHAT? I'M NOT A BIOPOLAR PARANOID SCHITZOPHRENIC! I KNOW, I'LL SUE THEM!

stupid idea really... (1)

technut (679011) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244916)

In my opinion if you have something worth saying then say it to their face, Its not really surprising every bitter student in earshot is abusing the site to post stupid comments.. Basically, get a life!

one example... (2, Informative)

tsunamifirestorm (729508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244917)

is ucsdprofessor.com good site for me (as a UCSD student obviously) and it would be cool if all universities had things like this.

They should... (1)

criordan (733016) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244937)

They should implement a moderation system similar to that of /. Obviously it wouldn't be perfect, but it would help weed out the reviews that are completely false or biased.

Moderation Law (1)

ev1lcanuck (718766) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244941)

(note: I'm not a lawyer!)

Websites are not responsible for any user submitted content as long as they do not mdoerate it. If they say that they review and/or moderate (site staff, not users) the content then they are legally liable for everything that is posted. This new system they are planning to implement sounds to me like it would make them liable if something were to slip through the cracks.

Personally, I would put up a disclaimer saying that the management is not responsible for the comments posted and then just leave it alone. HOWEVER, morally what they are doing is right and I am glad they are going to re-do the site. I just hope that they keep a close watch on what is and isn't there. I also hope they talk to a good lawyer with 'net experience.

That Pesky Thing... (5, Funny)

suwain_2 (260792) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244948)

Is that "Constitution" thing still intact? I seem to recall a portion of it with some silly notion of "freedom of speech" or something, or was it repealed?

Re:That Pesky Thing... (1)

DavittJPotter (160113) | more than 10 years ago | (#8245068)

Shit, friend, that old thing? We updated that old rag with a handy-dandy Patriot Act (Versions I and II!) to help keep you Safe and Free from Invisible Terrorists!

Re:That Pesky Thing... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8245069)

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Nobody is accusing the Congress of passing a law abrigding the web site's freedom of speech (or press?), so the Constitutional protection is not directly relevant. In America you can sue anybody for anything, and the threat of the expense of defending a lawsuit is not mentioned in the Constitution.

"Bipolar Paranoid Schizophrenic." (2, Informative)

PhyreFox (576728) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244952)

Bipolar: Relating to a major affective disorder that is characterized by episodes of mania and depression.

Paranoid: Exhibiting or characterized by extreme and irrational fear or distrust of others.

Schizophrenic: Of, relating to, or characterized by the coexistence of disparate or antagonistic elements.

Now considering I'm not a psychologist, I don't know about #1 and #3, but as the comments were deleted and he still threatened to sue, the "paranoid" label sounds appropriate.

damn right that bastard got ./ed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8244954)

he deserves it, censor their speech, and at least for a while we'll beat the cr*p out of your blog.

Chilling effect (5, Insightful)

joelparker (586428) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244975)

Today is a professor vs. teacher reviews...
tomorrow is a president vs. editorial reviews.

Maybe donate to the ACLU [aclu.org] and EFF [eff.org]
to help them protect our freedom of speech online.

Cheers, Joel

Student Reviews.com (1)

zekt (252634) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244982)

Can we now have a student reviews.com where any professor can get on there and bad mouth their students in front of everyone rather than keeping assessment results private and conversations confidential? Why not... same thing.

Re:Student Reviews.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8245042)

why not?

of course students are not public figures , where professors are.

but go ahead and make one.

oh you didnt want to do anything like work, just attempt to make a point. you failed.

No wonder he was upset. (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244989)

I mean, most of my professors expect correct English, at least usually...

"Dylan Greene's site Teacher Reviews which allows students to post reviews of their professors." The last time I checked, sentences needed a verb.

"Yesterday and tonight I talked with a professor who was extremely upset with what written about him on TeacherReviews." Try again, only this time you need a second verb. Probably "was," somewhere between "with" and "what."

Damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8244994)

I don't know about Bipolar Paranoid Schitzophrenic, but he's still a bastard for threatening to sue and getting a good site shut down. ...uh, oh. Look out Slashdot. You might be sued soon.

This is stupid (1)

headbulb (534102) | more than 10 years ago | (#8245007)

When someone can be forced to do something, because a user something disparaging.
As far as I am concerned this is covered under freedom of speach, and thus shouldn't even be an issue.

If someone were to say something about me I didn't like. I have a few choices.
1. Ignore them.
2. Defend myself (If they are being really loud about.)
3.Tell them to shutup and force it.

The last one is in a absurb way telling myself to shutup. By taking away one of their rights I am taking that same right away from me. (yah its kind of out there)

If some guy was threatening to sue me for somethign a user said, I would most likely investigate it and if true leave it up.

As for this guy he sounds like a crybaby. So someone said something you didn't like. So what get over it. By bring this in as a legal manner only brought that 'unwanted anttention".

Exactly the wrong response. (4, Insightful)

DavittJPotter (160113) | more than 10 years ago | (#8245024)

Unfortunately, the magic curse of "I'll sue!" once again forces something unpopular to an individual or a small group to conform or bow to their will. All this does is reinforce the power of frivolous and stupid lawsuits. Fine, the professor didn't like or agree with what was said about him. He could have had the site admin take it down for review, or asked for rational discourse. If indeed the slam was incorrect or unwarranted, then it shouldn't remain.

Now, this professor has forced a valuable tool off-line, thereby preventing other prospective students from finding out about difficult/unreasonable professors or classes they choose to avoid. Many of these professors *shouldn't* be teaching any more, and if enough students learn to avoid their classes, maybe it will help that school with some positive change.

Sadly, this seemingly paranoid and thin-skinned professor (oops, maybe he'll threaten to sue me now!) makes a huge deal out of a negative review, and now further entrenches the 'false' reputation he feels he doesn't deserve.

Forced? (1)

judicar (726669) | more than 10 years ago | (#8245041)

I don't think it is fair to say that the site was "forced" offline. It would probably be just as unfair to say that the admin was a complete pussy who caved at the first sign of trouble, but i'm leaning towards the complete pussy argument.

Pickaprof.com (1)

raven32 (714508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8245047)

We at WMU use a site called pickaprof.com. This site is very useful when picking your classes.

What about the flip-side? (1)

Savage Conan (736365) | more than 10 years ago | (#8245081)

I am a professor and do take great offense to irresponsible comments and criticism. What if teachers created a web-site that listed comments about their students. Even though we wouldn't be allowed to post their grades for a given class, we could still give some nasty reviews based upon attitude, and work ethic. Suppose that an employer looked you up and saw these teacher reviews and decides not to hire you based on these reviews.
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