New post-its make the opinion board a more colorful, but less peaceful space

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Emily Thissen

USC's color coded post-it responses for the Opinion board provide a new way for students to contribute.

The Opinion Board has long been a place for students to have discussion about anything that is relevant. From school issues to foreign policy, the board has witnessed countless post and responses tacked on it. Although the Opinion Board is an open forum for discussion, that doesn’t mean it is not monitored; USC has the right to remove any posts which (1) are not signed and dated, (2) are personal attacks against other people, or (3) are a part of discussions that have been dormant for one week.

These rules did a good job of keeping the Opinion Board open to everyone and making sure that there was a certain sense of responsibility when someone posted something. Where these basic rules failed, though, is that they didn’t set space boundaries for discussion and many times papers from one discussion would be placed over other conversation threads and a lot of paper would be wasted for responses that did little more than agree with an earlier argument.

While this overcrowding of the Opinion Board was going on, so too was there an epidemic of +1’s put up everywhere and, though this may have cut down on paper and space, it brought along the problem that people would agree but no one would further the discussion with their agreements, no new points would be put up.

Everyone must be more respectful not only to each other but of themselves.”

In an effort to keep the board comment focused, USC developed a new system of responding to posts on the Opinion Board this fall, Post-its. Yellow post-its are for responses that disagree on the topic, green are neutral or unsure about the topic responses, and blue shows support of the post’s stance on the topic.

Though this may have seemed like a smart idea originally, it quickly faced its issues when after the recent presidential election the opinion board was again flooded with posts, for both political sides and those trying to take the middle ground. Post-its were placed everywhere making the opinion board look less like a forum and more like a evergreen tree decorated with ornaments.

When first seeing this, it may sound like this was a fruitful, and insightful discussion that the whole school was participating in, but a further look shows a different image. There were multiple post-its which were in essence a direct attack on post writers and other members of our community. There were multiple unsigned post-its and it seemed that as fast as these were taken down more were put back up. This abuse of people’s privilege to have the opinion board and be able to discuss on it peacefully was appalling to witness.

This idea that came from USC is not a perfect system yet by any means, but it could be with refinement and time to acclimate to the new way of discussing. What is needed is for students to realize that an abuse of the power and privilege of the Opinion Board took place, and that to fix it.

Students need to take it upon themselves before posting a post-it, story or even a +1 to the Opinion Board to ask a few central questions: Will this further the discussion? Is it respectful to myself? My classmates? The faculty?

Just because the students can use the Opinion Board doesn’t mean it should be taken for granted.