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Yik Yak, After Complaints From Schools, Suspends Its Service In Chicago

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the best-kind-of-publicity dept.

Communications 167

The Chicago Tribune reports that Yik Yak, a mobile app that can (among other things) be used for anonymous communications, has drawn complaints from several local schools, who are unhappy that students can use it to bully or pester others. "'The problem, as you might imagine, is that the anonymity is empowering certain individuals to post comments about others that are hurtful, harassing and sometimes quite disturbing,' Joseph Ruggiero, head of the Upper School at Francis W. Parker School in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, wrote in an email to parents last week. ... In light of the controversy, Yik Yak's co-founder said the company was disabling the app in the Chicago area and will attempt to specifically prevent it from being used on high school or middle school grounds."

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167 comments

Windy City is MURDER CAPITAL of the world (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441059)

And Cubs don't win! Much!

Re:Windy City is MURDER CAPITAL of the world (0)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 4 months ago | (#46441265)

Eh, Every team has a bad Century or two. Right? We'll get that first world series championship in wrigley any year now. Just you watch.

Re:Windy City is MURDER CAPITAL of the world (4, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 months ago | (#46441311)

It's not even on the top fifty cities in the world by murder rate [wikipedia.org] . Thirteenth if you limit it to just US according to this page. [wikipedia.org]

In terms of absolute numbers, yeah, Chicago is quite high. But for the third biggest city in the nation, that's not exactly stunning. It's a purely manufactured crisis, to sell news, to increase spending on law enforcement, to justify gun control.

Re:Windy City is MURDER CAPITAL of the world (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441383)

Per 100k it's 62.5 which is way up there. And if you exclude the non-black population it climbs to number 1 at 250/100k.

Re:Windy City is MURDER CAPITAL of the world (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 months ago | (#46442145)

The second link I gave says the number is 18.5 per 100/k from 2012, so I'm going to need some citations for that.

Re:Windy City is MURDER CAPITAL of the world (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#46441469)

But the problem with Chicago is the causes of violent crime are fairly obvious and relatively easily remedied, but local politics are so horrible the governments in almost total gridlock. Combine that with rampant corruption, that's willful and obvious and you have a real problem.

Re:Windy City is MURDER CAPITAL of the world (2)

Nehmo (757404) | about 4 months ago | (#46441559)

But the problem with Chicago is the causes of violent crime are fairly obvious and relatively easily remedied, ....

What are these obvious causes and how can they be easily remedied?

Re:Windy City is MURDER CAPITAL of the world (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46442021)

Armed criminals who know that lawful victims must be unarmed. Allow lawful citizens to start packing.

Re:Windy City is MURDER CAPITAL of the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46442123)

Got gun problems? You need mo' guns! Why? Because that has worked out so well in american schools, malls, and movie theatres.

Re:Windy City is MURDER CAPITAL of the world (5, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#46442717)

It has certainly seemed to have - how many attempted massacres have been stopped because somebody in the audience shot the attacker before they could do much damage? I know there was at least one just in in the wake of the Colorado "batman shooting", but you never hear about them because they a couple people getting shot doesn't rank up there like a massacre.

Re:Windy City is MURDER CAPITAL of the world (1, Insightful)

Aighearach (97333) | about 4 months ago | (#46442153)

What about all the low-murder-rate cities where guns are banned? Seems it might not actually be so obvious at all once you switch from partisan sound bites to statistics...

Re:Windy City is MURDER CAPITAL of the world (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 months ago | (#46442169)

When are causes of violent crime not obvious? It's not like people dying from being shot in Juarez mexico is too mysterious. "Relatively easily remedied?" How? Getting rid of all the guns and knives? Making everyone rich? Installing a morality-enforcing chip on everyone? Nuking the city?

Re:Windy City is MURDER CAPITAL of the world (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#46442727)

Eliminate the black market (legalize - it's the only way) to take the big money out of violence.
Equalize gun ownership between criminals and law-abiding citizens (if you can't realistically get rid of them, make sure anyone could be packing)

Proceed from there if your violence issue are still excessive.

Re:Windy City is MURDER CAPITAL of the world (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 months ago | (#46442751)

Okay, so you're obviously convinced that there are magic bullets out there for any issue, so I'm not going to try telling you there aren't, but what about that is supposed to be easy to remedy? I don't think political gridlock in Chicago is what keeps Chicago from eliminating the black market, legalizing... everything?... and giving out a whole lot of guns. I think that goes well into "Most sane people would object to doing that."

Re:Windy City is MURDER CAPITAL of the world (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 4 months ago | (#46442395)

I'm afraid Wrigley Field is cursed...

anonymization (1)

Kkloe (2751395) | about 4 months ago | (#46441069)

it works great :)

Re:anonymization (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441109)

Schools are all about control, and don't appreciate anything that removes control from them.

Re:anonymization (2)

Kkloe (2751395) | about 4 months ago | (#46441209)

It may be so, but you can see how good it works with being anonymous for the people it should protect when in fact it doesn't because people are jerks when they think they can get away with it.

Re:anonymization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441355)

Yeah, what a tragedy. Anonymity will single-handedly lead to bullying in schools.

Re:anonymization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441991)

When instant messaging, E-mail and discussion forums didn't exist, they'd just put notices up on the school notice boards.

Re:anonymization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441227)

Would've had more impact if you were an AC.

Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone! (5, Insightful)

JBMcB (73720) | about 4 months ago | (#46441089)

If only there was some way to prevent people from harassing me on this app. I could uninstall it, or just not use it - naw we'll just pressure the company to disable it in my whole area.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (2)

alvinrod (889928) | about 4 months ago | (#46441177)

What I don't get is that with this app there's actual evidence of the bullying that teachers can address. Sure it's "anonymous" but how much does anyone want to bet that there's enough information available that it wouldn't be too difficult to determine who was sending the messages?

I suppose it's just easier for them to sweep the problem under the rug rather than actually bothering to deal with it.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (3, Insightful)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 4 months ago | (#46441253)

When it comes to schools, and particularly the "How dare you accuse my little angel" parents, you need to do a hell of a lot more than "determine" which student sent it.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (1)

Nehmo (757404) | about 4 months ago | (#46441601)

When it comes to schools, and particularly the "How dare you accuse my little angel" parents, you need to do a hell of a lot more than "determine" which student sent it.

Maybe in some cases of litigiously prone parents that would be the response. But most school administrations in America persecute individual students at whim, without much to justify their actions. Moreover, in this case we're dealing with young (at most high school age) kids who would quickly crumble upon confrontation.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (2)

SeaFox (739806) | about 4 months ago | (#46441391)

What I don't get is that with this app there's actual evidence of the bullying that teachers can address.

Unless these messages are being sent during school hours from school property, I don't see how teachers have any responsibility in the matter. It's private messaging between people and they have their right to speech. If folks are feeling harassed or defamed, maybe the parents of the kids need to work this out or seek the appropriate legal action -- at which point I'm sure someone will bill them $50 to say "just uninstall the damn app".

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (2)

immaterial (1520413) | about 4 months ago | (#46441563)

The whole point of this app is that it's location-based - it connects you to people in the immediate vicinity. So presumably yes, most of this is happening on school property during school hours. On the other hand, that should make it fairly simple for Yik Yak to use geofencing to disable it on school grounds if a school makes a complaint (from what I gather, this is what they're working on right now).

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441653)

The whole point of this app is that it's location-based - it connects you to people in the immediate vicinity

That doesn't sound very anonymous...

Re:Help, I'm being harassed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441409)

It's not anonymous enough that you can't catch people under certain circumstances. I work at a school where the app made its rounds one day and by the next morning there were threats of shootings at the school.

Kid was caught, went to juvie, and was expelled from school. Happened at several other schools in the area too, so there is a way to track it in at least some instances.

It seems extreme since it was just a kid goofing around, but with things the way they are these days every threat is taken seriously. And with a threat if this type it is immediately out of the hands of the school and dealt with by law enforcement.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (4, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | about 4 months ago | (#46441489)

Maybe that's the problem. The schools don't like evidence that bullying is going on there.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441269)

If only there was some way for me to sum up and simultaneously dismiss a complex social phenomena that has a damaging effect on the lives of thousands of vulnerable young people with a single glib post on Slashdot...

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 4 months ago | (#46441277)

It's pretty easy to dismiss such a non-issue.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441287)

Except the problem isn't the kids not using it, it's the kids using it! When someone posts "Mary's a slut, she f*cked the whole football team last night" or "Paul's a loser, and should just kill himself.", Mary or Paul not using the app doesn't stop the gossip from spreading and them having to try and defend themselves, which is pointless when teens are involved because more often than not the mob mentality sets in it's too late.

There is no way these developers thought that this app would be use for compliments and pay it forwards, they knew the controversy it would cause and went ahead with it anyway.

If even one kid ends his or her life because of a rumor started on this app, I hope these creators realize that they gave the bullies another avenue to ruin someone's life and can live with themselves and that their own children never are on the receiving end of bullying.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 4 months ago | (#46441323)

oh get over yourself. Bullying will happen, It sucks but its reality. These app creators have no reason to feel responsible for someone elses actions

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (1)

mikael (484) | about 4 months ago | (#46442033)

It will be the problem of the creators when it is discovered or even alleged that drug dealers, money launderers, prisoners, gang leaders are using this systems for communication.

If you check the US federal communication laws, you'll find that any provider of a communications system must be able to provide call and communication logs upon request from law enforcement agences, failure to do so can lead to prosecution.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (2)

Aighearach (97333) | about 4 months ago | (#46442171)

Sorry grandpa, you remembered something right, but you forgot the details. That is for telephone calls. For internet communications, you only have to provide the logs you do have, on request. You do not have to have those logs. But as we know, for example from lavabit, if you don't have logs and the law enforcement agency is high enough on the food chain, they might get a warrant that requires you to give them access to your service instead.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46442525)

It's amazing how much schools have changed. Back in the '90s when I was in high school there was no such thing as bullying. Now it's everywhere thanks to electronic bullying apps and social media.

Sigh. I've got that feeling that I'm surrounded by retards. Again.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441291)

There's no possible way I can be harassed if I don't have the app installed!

Why is everyone else laughing at me?

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (5, Insightful)

immaterial (1520413) | about 4 months ago | (#46441295)

If only there was some way to prevent people from harassing me on this app. I could uninstall it, or just not use it - naw we'll just pressure the company to disable it in my whole area.

And when the whole school is abuzz about how you supposedly raped someone behind the gym last Friday, or fucked Mrs. Fingerwood, or like to use your phone to surreptitiously record other dudes in the locker room, or that someone is planning on stabbing you during the lunch period, or whatever... ignoring the app does what for you, exactly? There's plenty of room for debate about how to deal with the issue, but what happens in the app doesn't stay confined to the app so your specific argument is bogus, +5 insightful or not.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (1, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#46441373)

All those sorts of rumors were common in my high school (pre mobile phone), phones have nothing at all to do with it. And nothing ever came of the rumors - gossip was fun, but no one really took it seriously (and in my school, most of the rumors were true).

Did some precious perfect snowflake get his wittle feelers hurt? Maybe it's time to grow up. Has the new generation somehow lost the natural skepticism towards anonymous rumors? Somehow I doubt it.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (4, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | about 4 months ago | (#46441449)

Did some precious perfect snowflake get his wittle feelers hurt? Maybe it's time to grow up. Has the new generation somehow lost the natural skepticism towards anonymous rumors? Somehow I doubt it.

Yes. And they've been teaching kids in the last 15-ish years that "thin skinned" is the only way to be. Don't stand up to bullies, don't defend yourself, let the authorities handle it for you. Oh and of course if you do stand up to defend yourself, it's all your fault automatically no matter what. Because "zero tolerance."

MOD PARENT UP (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441515)

Yeah, it's complete insanity.

We are working on raising the second generation of "learned helplessness" at this point.

Try going to a PTA meeting and watching a 40 or 50 year old parent try to talk to a 21 year old mother who was taught never to defend, never to stand up, and never to admit that good people can make terrible mistakes. She's literally incapable of common sense, and the older generation is literally incapable of reaching her.

"Zero tolerance" is killing our whole culture, one child at a time.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441609)

Yes. And they've been teaching kids in the last 15-ish years that "thin skinned" is the only way to be. Don't stand up to bullies, don't defend yourself, let the authorities handle it for you.

This is total BS. Reporting threats and assaults to the authorities is standing up for yourself. As an adult, if your neighbor makes a threat to you, do you go over to his house one afternoon and beat the shit out of him with a crowbar to "stand up for yourself"? No. You report his threats to the police.

Kids these days are taught to stand up for themselves by not remaining silent, AND their peers are taught to stand up for one another in the same way: so much bullying happens behind adults' backs and it is ignored because kids are afraid to speak out, or because they think that's just the way things are (worse yet is when an adult KNOWS it is happening but behaves just as sheepishly, passing it off as "boys will be boys" or some other excuse). Kids nowadays do FAR MORE to stand up to bullying than they did 15 (or 30, or 50) years ago (and part of that is because we're finally making the authorities do something about it rather than have children's reports fall on deaf ears).

(The necessity for immediate self-defense excepted here. I agree children should never be punished for fighting off someone who is attacking them - but that's another good reason to report bullying ASAP, do that the perpetrator has a record and the "who started it" is easier to determine.)

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 4 months ago | (#46441779)

As an adult, if your neighbor makes a threat to you, do you go over to his house one afternoon and beat the shit out of him with a crowbar to "stand up for yourself"? No. You report his threats to the police.

I think most people would just sell their houses and move. If you have enough evidence to put some wacko behind bars then maybe it is worth going to the police, but otherwise they're going to show up, talk to the guy, reveal that you called them in, and then leave. It isn't like they can arrest somebody because somebody claimed that they were threatened by them.

To some extent this is why gentrification exists in the first place. People move to expensive neighborhoods because creepy people usually can't hold down a decent job long enough to live there. So, they terrorize poor people instead.

No, I wouldn't break into the creep's house at night and smash their head in with a crowbar either. That just ends badly for you, since the police will actually take action in that case. If they smash your head in they'll do something about that as well, but most people would prefer not to wait for that to happen.

And people wonder why voters push for "stand your ground" laws...

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (1)

s0nicfreak (615390) | about 4 months ago | (#46441801)

I think most people would just sell their houses and move

And this is exactly why bullying works in schools but not so much in the real world. People are unwilling to pull their kid out of the most convenient school, and schools don't want to lose students because schools are paid based on attendance.

But having empty houses is bad for the whole neighborhood, so wacko-threats-neighbor is forced to cut it out or leave.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 4 months ago | (#46442207)

Yup, for the most part most of the folks who get made fun of in school just arrange their lives in adulthood so that the folks who made fun of them aren't around any longer. They might run into each other at work, but the workplace isn't going to tolerate nonsense because it costs them money, and if the "jock manager" gives the "nerd producer" too much grief the company will probably figure out which it needs more. The bullies who make it to the executive level aren't bothered with pestering the help - they're too busy flying to golf outings.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 4 months ago | (#46442233)

they're going to show up, talk to the guy, reveal that you called them in, and then leave.

That is why it is effective. You've shown them that it is officially recorded that they made a threat. If they act on it, they'll get caught. And, you're not intimidated; further, you're going to Do The Right Thing. It certainly isn't going to make them like you. But in the US, this really IS how people usually respond to threats from neighbors. Your idea that people actually freakin' sell their home to escape threats is absurd. Most people who "own" their home have a mortgage, usually with terms that include penalties if they sell at the wrong time, and "can't" simply sell and move. Further, selling and moving is epitome of being successfully bullied. Most people are not that easy to run out of town.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 4 months ago | (#46442523)

It really depends on the nature of the bully.

If they come across as being tough but rational, then calling the police will probably have the effect you describe.

If they come across as being nuts, then calling the police might get you shot the next night. Sure, the police will know who did it, but nutcases aren't always the best appliers of logic.

I know somebody who lived near somebody who was seriously nuts, and it was really frustrating for them. They just tried to stay out of it, and capture video evidence of anything too crazy. I think the guy finally managed to get his house condemned which got him out of the neighborhood. Either that or he managed to do something to get himself arrested. I do remember a story of him stopping by my friend's house and mentioning the medications he was given when the police hauled him to the asylum which had to let him go after a day. He was asking if my friend could feel the energy waves.

In this case no harm came to anybody (though when his alarm went off due to smoke detection the firemen who entered the house didn't appreciate the booby traps they found.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 4 months ago | (#46442213)

Reporting threats and assaults to the authorities is standing up for yourself.

I totally agree. The "thin-skinned" response is to "just ignore" it. Which really means, do nothing at all to stop it or stand up for yourself. Just go cower in the corner when you're threatened.

Standing up for yourself by reporting it takes real courage. It takes being thick-skinned enough to know that it might get worse, before it gets better, but that you're being a part of creating positive change, and changing the bully culture.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46442251)

"Let the teachers and administrators handle it for me" made perfect sense to me as a kid, when I was bullied. I told them, the kid was suspended, it stopped. I never had to get into a fight or any of that other horse shit "character building" crap that makes no sense to an intelligent person. I paid attention in school and never got into (too much) trouble, and am successful. They dealt with their problems with their fists and aren't. Enough said.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (1)

immaterial (1520413) | about 4 months ago | (#46441485)

No, all of those things I listed are things that potentially require investigation (by the school admin or even by the police), not "hurt feelings." The fact that rumors of rapes and assaults (that you yourself acknowledge are often true) were ignored in your school is not something to be proud of. "Grow up."

Phones do have something to do with it - these systems allow for easier and stronger anonymity, and make it possible to spread such rumors faster and wider. They are powerful tools - and like any tool can be used for good or evil. But yes, it does tie into the larger issue of how to deal with rumors, threats, and bullying among children. As I stated earlier there is plenty of room for debate on how to deal with this stuff.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (1)

s0nicfreak (615390) | about 4 months ago | (#46441807)

Passing a note around the school is only traceable if someone knows who wrote the original note, and someone can recognise my handwriting. Messages posted via a cellphone are a lot easier to trace.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 4 months ago | (#46441555)

The rumours weren't transmitted more or less instantly all over town, and it had to be done by voice (face-to-face), written note, or landline telephone, all three of which communication methods were much more likely to be overheard or intercepted by parents/teachers.

CC for everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441705)

I say give 'em all handguns and let 'em sort it out for themselves. Screw the safe-school mantra, let's empower the weak ones.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441925)

Pre mobile phones, spreading a rumor required some human to speak to some other human. Or write a note, or graffiti, whatever. But it wasn't, generally speaking, 'anonymous'.

If you haven't learned yet that anonymity makes this sort of thing a hundred times worse, then you're not paying attention [penny-arcade.com] .

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (4, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | about 4 months ago | (#46441929)

gossip was fun, but no one really took it seriously

I remember taking it seriously --- as the victim of harassment and I remember others being hurt.

Did some precious perfect snowflake get his wittle feelers hurt?

This is the language of harassment --- belittling the victim --- and I have never heard it used in any other way.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#46441947)

no one really took it seriously (and in my school, most of the rumors were true).

So SOMEONE took them seriously. Gullible child that you were.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46442129)

> Did some precious perfect snowflake get his wittle feelers hurt?

Spoken like a true bully.

You're why we can't have nice things.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 4 months ago | (#46442193)

Did some precious perfect snowflake get his wittle feelers hurt?

You must be one of those sadistic psychotic narcissists I read about on slashdot!

http://science.slashdot.org/st... [slashdot.org]

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441713)

"or like to use your phone to surreptitiously record other dudes in the locker room"

LOL. Careful, the 'pro gay' thought police will be after you, you're getting too near the truth...

Gays perving over other men in the locker room? They'd never do that! What's the magic phrase they use? Oh yeah... "Don't flatter yourself."

Sure, we believe you.

Re:Help, I'm being harrassed on an app on my phone (2)

jxander (2605655) | about 4 months ago | (#46441715)

There's nothing particularly "techy" about kids starting rumors. And removing one messaging app is certainly not going to stop bullying at schools.

It's just a symptom, with dozens of core issues that should be treated instead. From better parenting, to accountability, to a better teacher:student ratio ... plenty of ways to address the problem. Deleting an app really isn't one of them, be it from an single student or an entire school.

No escape. (1)

westlake (615356) | about 4 months ago | (#46441359)

If only there was some way to prevent people from harassing me on this app. I could uninstall it, or just not use it - naw we'll just pressure the company to disable it in my whole area.

Everyone in school sees these posts. Everyone in school talks about these posts. Uninstalling the app on your kid's phone doesn't solve the problem.

Re:No escape. (1)

s0nicfreak (615390) | about 4 months ago | (#46441811)

Neither does blocking the app in their area.

Re:No escape. (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 4 months ago | (#46442255)

Neither does blocking the app in their area.

Actually, yes. Yes it does. Heavy-handed it may be. But the app is an anonymous way for people to communicate based on physical location instead of some sort of network ID . So banning it in a location absolutely solves the narrow problem of the app being used in this way.

Fuck Yik-yak for caving in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441757)

First of all it's a bunch of SCHOOL DISTRICTS that are complaining,
that's NOT the same as when the FCC, IRS or even the state is making
threatening movements.

My answer if I was doing Yik-Yak would be ... Wow students are saying bad
things about each other (and mostly about you) using our service .. how
unfortunate, I really wish people were nicer to each other ... so why don't you
come back with a court order and pray we wont fight you, and until then please
either shut up or fuck off, or both, thank you so much for calling, don't
call again :-)

Goodbye Anonymous Cowards (4, Interesting)

Buck Feta (3531099) | about 4 months ago | (#46441113)

The trend towards de-anonymizing the Web (and other mobile communications), frankly, sucks. I don't want to sign into Facebook to comment on a Detroit Red Wings news article. I don't want to sign into Google+ to comment on a youtube video (only to have them tell me my name isn't real). I imagine and fear the day when our global unicast IPv6 address is tied to our DNA or some other biometric. Governments don't want us to be anonymous, to communicate without knowing who it is that's sending and who is receiving.

Re:Goodbye Anonymous Cowards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441187)

Yes. But de-anonymization is inevitable, in part because of people who abuse the privilege. While the use and abuse go hand in hand, the abuse will always give ammo to people who want to live in a panopticon.

There are so many forces (both governments and companies) that want a real life ID tied to everything you do online, and so little understanding among the public about why that's a bad idea, that there's only one place this path goes...

Re:Goodbye Anonymous Cowards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441347)

there's only one place this path goes...

Darknet.

More realistically, there are 2 possible stable outcomes: its easy to transmit any data anonymously / privately OR all encryption is on a strictly white list basis.

As long as you can connect to anyone and send encrypted data, you can build a darknet.

If the internet got a white list, it would be profitable to setup another network (the real internet) that didn't. The only thing that will stop such access is laws against providing access to, and accessing networks that to not obey the government approved cryptography whitelist and taps.

Please do keep an eye on anything heading in that direction. I don't think its inevitable, but it is a real threat.

Re:Goodbye Anonymous Cowards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441499)

(both governments and companies)

and organized crime.

Re:Goodbye Anonymous Cowards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441869)

There is no abuse of anonymous communication.

Re:Goodbye Anonymous Cowards (5, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#46441219)

The current decline in anonyminity isn't driven by government. It's driven by corporate interests, for the sake of more efficient marketing and advertising.

Government and business interests can both oppress people, but in different ways and for different reasons. Sometimes they collude, and then we are screwed.

Re:Goodbye Anonymous Cowards (2)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#46441315)

The current decline in anonyminity isn't driven by government. It's driven by corporate interests.

It is also driven by content creators who are sick of seeing the space they set aside for reader comments torn apart by trolls and Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory [penny-arcade.com] rudeness. A site admin dropping in a Facebook-authenticated comment system isn't doing so in order to make lots of money for Facebook in selling your data, he's doing it because he's heard that forcing a modicum of self-identification cuts down in flame wars.

Re:Goodbye Anonymous Cowards (3, Insightful)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 4 months ago | (#46441335)

It also makes the quality of the comments worse (trivial, inane garbage), doesn't actually fix the 'problem' (it's not even a problem to begin with), and allows for easy tracking. What a great idea.

Re:Goodbye Anonymous Cowards (2)

Raenex (947668) | about 4 months ago | (#46441767)

A site admin dropping in a Facebook-authenticated comment system isn't doing so in order to make lots of money for Facebook in selling your data, he's doing it because he's heard that forcing a modicum of self-identification cuts down in flame wars.

Or he's a lazy slackass that thinks "everybody uses Facebook".

Re:Goodbye Anonymous Cowards (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 4 months ago | (#46442315)

as a developer I can tell you that the main reasons that facebook-auth is used for comments are:

* Site doesn't have to require sign-up, or ask users to trust the site
* Site doesn't have to protect user data
* Social Networking checkbox is now checked
* Free advertising for your site on the facebook pages of people who post comments
* Can save money using drop-in comment system, you don't have to integrate a signup plugin and a comments plugin, or buy an integrated solution

Most of these sites would be using a comment service provider like disqus if not facebook.

It would be great for devs if everybody wanted a custom comments system for their sites :) Even just integrating OSS would allow for more billable hours than integrating facebook.

Re:Goodbye Anonymous Cowards (1)

T-Bucket (823202) | about 4 months ago | (#46442107)

Its true, I wouldn't want my name attatched to the Wings either.

Re:Goodbye Anonymous Cowards (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 4 months ago | (#46442285)

What I'm curious about is the use-case for this sort of anonymity. In the case of slashdot or something, this is like using anonymous coward to post. Why is that even good? Here it is only good because sometimes people without accounts say something useful, sometimes even people involved in the posted stories. But in general, a slashdot user id is already as anonymous as you want it to be. Never post your name, and nobody will know it. What is the use case for an extra level of anonymity? Generally, it is to say something offensive that you're not willing to stand up and say openly, even with your pseudonym.

The pseudonym already allows for legitimate speech, unpopular opinions, politics, that sort of thing.

So leaving aside paranoid concerns about DNA-locked ipv6. What is the actual use case for fully-anonymous messaging? Obviously it isn't being used to communicate with people you know...

Next up: Paper and Scotch Tape (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441225)

Time to prohibit paper, pencils and Scotch Tape. Because someone could tape a hurtful note to your locker.

And of course we all know that it's impossible to obtain a new email account anonymously, with which one can send hurtful emails.

While we're at it, we have to ban chalk because someone could write an insult on the sidewalk.

Re:Next up: Paper and Scotch Tape (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 4 months ago | (#46442343)

If they're waiting around skulking behind corners waiting until nobody is looking, you can spot them "up to no good" before they even post it. And if they don't skulk around, they won't be anonymous. So, no, it is not actually the same thing at all.

Slippery slopes are always lies. In the real world, you're not constantly clinging to the side of a cliff where if you move an inch in either direction, you slide all the way to the most extreme possible position, like banning chalk.

And if the message is offensive enough, an administrator might even put out a call on the PA for teachers to pick up line 2, and tell them all to keep an eye out for a student with chalk-covered hands.

YikYakLeaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441267)

Someone should start a website that outs the bullies. Anonymously of course.

Ob (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 4 months ago | (#46441309)

Just seen on a wall at Francis W. Parker School:
Joseph Ruggero is teh faggert.

Sharpie (1)

Trentula (1684992) | about 4 months ago | (#46441349)

Is sharpie going to stop selling markers in this area? I remember someone writing on a bathroom stall that I was a faggot. No idea who.

Re:Sharpie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441531)

Probably the guy whose dick you sucked.

Bullies (2, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#46441363)

Francis Parker School in Chicago is where the 1% send their kids. So, there is a substantial number of entitled little turds who have learned from their parents that bullying is one of the perks of being rich and powerful.

It does not surprise me that this has happened at that school.

I have first-hand experience there and far poorer inner city schools, and there is behavior at FP that you would never see in the inner-city school.

Re:Bullies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441439)

They use real mink-lined handcuffs?

Brother, I went to an inner city school for a few years. You learn where not to go, and what not to see, pretty fast.

Re:Bullies (4, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#46442307)

You learn where not to go, and what not to see

The difference is, at the inner city school, the kids have next to nothing. It's gladiator school.

The kids at Francis Parker on the other hand, have every advantage. If you sit in the coffee shop across Clark Street facing the window at 7:30am, you will see the line of Bentleys, Aston Martins, etc, dropping off little Trevor for school. And those are the less wealthy families. You can tell the really wealthy families because the children are dropped off by a non-white driver, sitting alone in the front seat (and yes, I have seen little Driving Miss Daisy caps on the drivers). They don't give little Mitt a lunchbox, they give him a platinum visa so he can pop down the street at lunchtime and eat on proper tablecloths and terrorize the wait staff. The parents treat the faculty of Francis Parker a little worse than they treat the undocumented aliens they hire to do their lawn care and nannying.

Anyone who believes there are no social classes in the United States just needs to spend an hour at Francis Parker to learn the truth.

Re:Bullies (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#46441611)

You are probably right about the rich kids/entitlement disorder link,

but I knew some poor kids when I was growing up who could bully with the best of them.

It extends across socioeconomic lines, and it smells like the childish rehearsal of Darwinian nature for the adult mating competition.

Way to shoot the messenger (3)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | about 4 months ago | (#46441463)

So someone anonymously said something. It's not like that's never been done before. It's not like that's a new issue in society. Haven't we come up with better ways to deal with this by now?

For instance, I can post anonymously right now on this very platform. How is that wrong?

If schools didn't act so stupidly they wouldn't have to be funded by corporations.

Re:Way to shoot the messenger (1)

fermion (181285) | about 4 months ago | (#46441781)

Kids have little impulse control. This why 10 year old students are not allowed to bring toys to class, and are usually told to go to bed without distractions. Increasingly though older students are demanding to use their communication devices 24 hours a day. This does cause a problem because the lack of impulse control means that most kids, especially teems who parents are increasingly unable to control every aspect of their lives, end up spending much of the night online, sometimes being bullied, to the point where a few have committed suicide, even though it was just a matter of uninstalling an app. They do not have the ability to just turn it off or uninstall it. This is why Facebook grew so fast, and is not falling fast as teens find other shiny things. Lack of impulse control. Therefore anything that is going to succeed in the market. If /. were for kids, there would be a problem with some stuff here. But it is not. Apps that are targeted to kids do limit content.

Re:Way to shoot the messenger (1)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | about 4 months ago | (#46441887)

I think facebook has not fallen so fast because it's funded by advertisers. Those advertisers still don't have any viable alternatives. It will take them jumping ship before the bubble will pop.

Re:Way to shoot the messenger (1)

mikael (484) | about 4 months ago | (#46442097)

For instance, I can post anonymously right now on this very platform. How is that wrong?

At the first level, slashdot will log all the IP addresses of all submissions - that's part of the general infrastructure of discussion forums. At a second level someone can contact the maintainers if anything offensive has been written. Then at the third level, they can hire a lawyer and request the IP address of the person submitting the comment. From there they can escalate the complaint with the originating ISP, the authorities and the individual concerned.

Good luck (3)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 4 months ago | (#46441479)

Good luck eliminating every piece of bad behavior the kids can come up with. And good luck to the hothouse flowers when they are pushed out into the real world. This belief that it is a good idea to punish everyone because there are a few bad apples is one of the many things I hated about school, and continue to hate about people who want to apply it everywhere else.

Re:Good luck (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#46441669)

And good luck to the hothouse flowers when they are pushed out into the real world

"My boss is bullying me! He said I'm lazy and I need to work harder."

Re:Good luck (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 4 months ago | (#46442373)

Good luck eliminating every piece of bad behavior the kids can come up with.

Gee, we can't stop all murders, so why try? Derp!
That is a really pathetic straw-man. Surely you can do better than, "we can't stop everything bad so why stop anything."

Also, are you absolutely sure that not having this app at school "punishes everyone?" It might actually be a distraction to all the kids who are focused on learning at school. In fact, it might ONLY punish kids who don't care about school, even while they are there, and care more about bullying other kids. Surely the kids who are engaging in constructive conversations with their peers will be happy to do it using some sort of traditional IM where they choose a pseudonym that is "anonymous" to the outside world, but known to their peers.

CHIMPcago, that's why... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441659)

... because SHITcago is full of blacks. And it's blacks and other third world scum who are full of hate, and like hurting others.

freedom destroying idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46441727)

Shutting down this service should work quite well in convincing these foolish students that when they become adults, they should further give up their freedom of speech.

A small price to pay (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 4 months ago | (#46442017)

"'The problem, as you might imagine, is that the anonymity is empowering certain individuals to post comments about others that are hurtful, harassing and sometimes quite disturbing,'

I'd rather have this happen than have the police state alternative. Kids need to learn to deal with bullying on their own terms and today's PC society won't allow it. I think most of the real damage from bullying comes from politically correct policy and faculty, who make it nearly impossible for the underdog kids to hash it out with their peers without the threat of all kinds of imposed 'consequences'. It doesn't take much to set off these PC types, so the arena is quite limited indeed. No wonder kids are encouraged to bottle it up these days, and then explode years later in a columbine.

I don't see why yikyak or any business should shut down just because schools complain.. Since when do schools have (or should have) any authority outside their walls? This is more of that left wing blame-chain game they play, where they get to shout 'goose' when their target is tapped on the head. The proof of the fallacy is that their argument could be used to target any provider of two way communication, or anyone who funds them.. or... It's just a question of how far up the chain their target is.

Re:A small price to pay (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 4 months ago | (#46442387)

As an adult I don't have to deal with "bullying" on my own terms; if somebody manages to lie about me in a way that harms my reputation, there is a legal remedy for that.

And the business is not going to "shut down." They're going to disable the (location-based) service when the location is a school. That makes sense. Schools are full of children, who are supposed to be there to learn.

They can still use the service in a more appropriate place, such as a park, or concert, or the mall, where it actually makes sense to have location-based anonymous messaging. The main use-case for this app is obviously to "hook up" at concerts/malls, not to bully at school. At school you already mostly know who everybody is, so the legit uses of it there are hard to find. Plus, it is totally normal not to be able to use all apps in all locations. You also have to turn your electronic devices off in a courtroom, library, etc.

Re:A small price to pay (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 4 months ago | (#46442529)

With your example, unless you're extremely wealthy, no, not really. Most people cannot afford to sue over every slight, though many are trying these days. Libel/slander are not the only ways adults bully each other, but if we (re)learn to let more of it to roll of our backs, we'd be better off as a society because we wouldn't feel the need to wield big brother/big sister against each other out of passive-aggressive spite.

I see no reason why being a school gives them some kind of special dispensation to dictate what's broadcast over the spectrum. What stops this from expanding to cell service? Radio? TV? The same argument could be made there. I said that yikyak shouldn't shut down over this, that's all. Obviously they can do what they want, but I think they're doing society a disservice by kowtowing to the crowd that always (ab)uses the omg-the-children excuse to make it easier for them at others' expense.

On the contrary I could see several uses. Just because everyone knows everyone doesn't mean there's no room or use for anonymity. The kids have phones already. There's a really simple rule that works just fine for handling problems: If the kid's repeatedly distracting, throw him out of the classroom. If it happens multiple times, call the parents. If there are policies that prevent this rule from working, change the policies. Stealing/wiping/dictating software loadouts on students' phones is pure control freakery on the part of the faculty and is totally unnecessary. This mentality isn't just limited to the school system either. The whole government bureaucracy is oozing with it.

Banning tools never fixes social problems.

Well there you go (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 4 months ago | (#46442359)

What good is any app that can be so easily crippled in such a fashion? Anonymous is a useless gesture here. Then again, untraceable communication is very elusive in every medium developed so far. Need more ad hoc networking outside the ISP and their wire

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