Freedom and Responsibility

I've been visiting the newly-launched "AIM Bloggers Forum," an online forum for all Asian Institute of Management initiated by, according to them, students and alumni.

The forum's heart is in the right place-- it wants encourage feedback from the all the AIM stakeholders and elicit change in the institute. However, in my last visit, I've been quite disappointed with the quality of posts in the forum. As of this writing, almost half of the forum posts are placed in the threads pertaining to AIM rumors (which reads like a gossip column) and AIM faculty (which reads like a mud-slinging campaign).

I'm disappointed because of the lack of responsibility of the forum posters. Here are samples:
I will just fill in the blanks -- He is a xxxxxxx. To his future student, specially the girls out there, better weara skirt and a plunging neckline to class.
Yes he can teach but he better stop talking after class. Not a good role model especially with the way he talks to students after class. Ladies beware.
From the grapevine.. A lot of dorm room hanky-panky has been goin on lately. You might just bump-in to your roommate having sexytime.. opppsss... need i say more.. we are watching you
And there are more of course.

I know maintaining a community is hard, but the moderators should show more teeth. Perhaps they should set the expectations in their marketing communications that have been filling my inbox lately. (e.g., make sure the people know what are the expected behavior and feedback to condition future members). People who post in the forums have a great deal of freedom on what to write about any person, so I guess it's only appropriate to stack some responsibility into that.

If things continue as it is, the forum can kiss its ambition of being a change agent goodbye and just be a regular run-off-the-mill gossip forum.


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