The recent takedown of the University’s top student-run confessions page on Facebook, and the resulting conflict between differing teams of admins over who runs the most legitimate page of its type, is testament to how nasty and vitriolic the struggle for the power of handling the task of moderating the largest page can get.
Within the resulting 12 hours of Yorfessions, the former incumbent for highest student engagement, having been shut down (allegedly as a result of lobbying by York Parties, following large amounts of complaints about their handling of student nights), there had emerged three different phoenix pages, all with similar numbers of followers and all promoting themselves as the rightful York confessions page.
The fallout since has led to numerous questions, including what is behind the desperation for power in being able to press publish (or not) on anonymised confession posts, which are usually rubbish anyway. Is it purely ego-driven, with some false sense of power being attached to the idealistic concept that they are somehow the guardians of free speech across campus? Whatever it may be, it seems like a rather useless excuse for all the drama that follows the now seemingly bi-annual taking down of one page and re-instatement of the next.
However, one must accept that there has been content posted by students onto the pages which has attracted attention and improved issues which would have otherwise not have had such a platform in previous years. The previous iteration of Yorfess attracted global attention following the post of a smashed goose egg (later understood to be much ado about nothing), attracting thousands of likes and interaction from around the world. At one point, a screen grab of the post was trending on the front page of Reddit, and led to hundreds of Americans liking the page and sharing their uninformed opinions on Derwent’s perennial asbestos crises, which was very amusing.
These pages clearly have the power and influence to reach and inform students all over campus, and for this it is inarguable that they add an element to university life. Just think about how many times you’ve been sat in Courtyard or V-Bar and either overheard or been involved in a conversation mentioning something somebody saw on Yorfess last night.
However, it is the content that makes these pages. It’s the students and their will to submit personal experiences and care for certain issues which are the lifeblood, not the admins who press publish or reject, and unless those in charge realise nobody is bothered about petty drama over who has such responsibilities, then these confession pages will die a sad death.
Featured image from Yorfess III on Facebook.