Have you ever had something you desperately needed to get off your chest but feared how people might react? UR Secrets and Confessions hopes you do.
The Facebook page is a safe haven for UR students who have a lot to say, but don’t want to do so openly. The page’s repertoire of confessions consists of everything from tales of heartbreak to cheeky and brazen rants. To shed some light on what goes on behind the scenes, the page’s administrators, who requested anonymity, spoke to the Campus Times.
One of the most important factors the admins consider before publishing a post is uniqueness. “We get a lot of similar things like ‘I like them, but they don’t like me,’ but we try to look for more unique stuff,” the senior admin said. An example would be this post from someone in MERT:
“To the people who treat MERT and AMR badly: If we get woken up at 3 am to scrape your drunk ass off of the concrete, I hate to break it to, but you are in fact NOT doing us a favor! You are entitled to quality care and compassion from your EMS providers, you are NOT entitled to abusing us because we show up to your shitty situation. Where do some of you get the idea that you can treat people like this?”
The senior admin sees this as a valuable viewpoint that students should be made aware of, but understands why the poster would not want to speak out publicly.
The veil of anonymity, however, often gets abused, placing the admins in tricky situations. “Some people try to use our page to start chaos,” the senior admin admits. In cases like this, they said, they are careful not to allow such posts to be propagated via the page. Some confessions that get submitted are insulting, harsh, and hard to believe. The admins told CT that they then have to figure out if those submissions are targeting someone in particular and whether the posts are appropriate and credible.
They also told CT of cases in where they’ve had to handle submissions on suicidal thoughts. “We do not necessarily want to post something saying, ‘Hey, I’m gonna hurt myself,’ but at the same time we want to be able to help in some way,” the senior admin said. In such situations, they try to meet with those people or reach out to them via anonymous admin messages on the page. In one particular case, however, Public Safety had to be notified and they were monitoring the situation. The individual eventually reached out to the admins. They tried to meet and talk, but the meeting never happened. “We hope the person is okay, because we haven’t heard anything again from them,” the senior admin said.
Managing an anonymous forum comes with its share of challenges. “It can get really tough finding the balance between school and the page,” the junior admin said. This sometimes causes long intervals between posts on the page, towards which not all readers are sympathetic. As a result, they often receive angry messages like: “If you don’t post, why run this page at all?”
Sometimes, the admins also get a lot of backlash over the posts they publish, like this recent confession:
“I hid $200 dollars and a letter with clues to another $100 in a book in RR new stacks 3. It’s in a random book in a random row. I left my phone number in the letter too. I can’t wait until the phone rings one day and someone claims the prize!”
One user commented: “why did mods post this without proof. this is sloppy.”
“We’re just students, we’re not perfect but we’re doing our best,” the senior admin said.
The senior admin will soon graduate. As the year progresses, a new admin has to be recruited to assist the junior admin, who will graduate in 2021.
“We had to fill out a long application which included a few mini essays,” the junior admin said. To choose new admins, however, they plan on doing a much shorter application form.
But that doesn’t mean that they will cut corners. “We need to make sure that we choose people who we trust will keep other people’s secrets safe,” the junior admin said.