I must say I watched this whole Mizzou fiasco occur, and I wanted to speak my own two cents. A lot of people criticized Campus Basement and their actions. However, I’d like to take a step back and say maybe we should re-consider. I actually think how they responded was well thought-out and professional.
When I first read the post I thought it was a bit inappropriate, but then again it’s a college humor website and this generation has a different sense of humor than mine. But as I watched the barrage of comments roll in, I realized it was going to be a disaster. The large number of commenters were saying it was “Rude and offensive.”
Campus Basement took down the article. The tension settled a bit. A few hours later, the article was back up with a disclaimer claiming “The views of this article do not represent those of Campus Basement.”
This is something worthy of discussing. A lot of films put up a similar disclaimer before a movie. For example, I remember watching Borat for the first time and thinking how could FOX allow this? They too had a disclaimer. A lot of people think putting up a disclaimer will shield them from any responsibility. I don’t think it does. It really shouldn’t excuse you from blame. I noticed on Campus Basement that they allow anyone to post and it goes live without an approval process (although, they shortly changed that rule after this fiasco). This kind of openness is “nice” in theory, but leads to this type of event.
Something I don’t believe anyone even considered was Campus Basements dedication to the First Amendment. They gave a perfect place to discuss a very important topic. However, the page became riddled with trolls and offensive comments. I truly want to believe that Campus Basement didn’t take down the article originally because they were protecting freedom of speech. They respected the authors right to leave their text where it is.
After another few hours, the article goes down, indefinitely.
Even after the article was down and Campus Basement issued a response on Twitter, numerous Twitterers reposted a cached copy of the article. That drove me nuts! Why would the community so angrily posting about getting the article off the internet, then share it over and over again on other sites?
Campus Basement, I applaud you for responding in a swift manner and not lashing back immaturely as many did. The taunting from large organizations (hint: Jschool Twitter) as well as others could have been returned with an equally offensive taunt. However, you responded confidently and professionally. I wholeheartedly respect that.
Campus Basement, please do not take this article down. I realize this is a sensitive subject, and has been quite a controversial one as well — but it was most certainly a valuable learning lesson. I look forward to reading some comments below. Thank you.