So, apparently RYS mods have gone soft. In the head.

I have recommended RYS a number of times because of its level of snark and honesty about being a prof, but it looks like there’s a new regime. I’ve been noticing it a bit over the past couple weeks, and this one really brought it home.

Someone’s dad posts about how is kid is having trouble adjusting to college.

Some profs respond, basically sympathetic, you know, explaining how college works, and so on. There are pros and cons, but basically they are saying the same thing.

Now, my perspective on this is different. I think the student is gaming the dad, and so I offer them the following:

Congratulations, Petey’s dad, on raising a snowflake who is already such an expert on shifting blame and lowering expectations. Petey has done a masterful job at creating a climate in which you are not going to say peep when he flunks one or more of his classes at the end of the semester. How could you? His teachers are all totally incompetent! Even if he did his utmost, he would be lucky to scrape a C- in that math class with that inaudible foreigner!

Petey is also charmingly arrogant, with his assumptions that someone 5 years his senior cannot possibly have anything to teach him, and just a teeny scootch racist and sexist with his assumptions about the quietly-spoken math TA. I bet he made his judgment about her in the first 2 seconds after noticing she wasn’t white, anyway. Jeebus, a non-white GUY would be bad enough.

Here’s my assessment of what probably really happened.

The English TA with the low GPA was probably making a point about screwing up as a freshman, and offering some words of advice (which Petey likely ignored) about coping with your first year in college, while saying something like “Hey, screwing up in first year is not the end of the world; look at me, I messed up as an undergrad, but I knuckled down and got accepted into a Masters program”. Petey ought to pay attention to this guy, who is quite likely to be the best role model for his own college career.

The nervous Math TA was likely spooked, you know, being young, female and foreign in a class with a bunch of yahoos. Did she leave for no reason? Or did maybe Petey and his cohorts heckle her just a teeny bit? Were they belching, farting, scratching themselves, yakking and Facebooking while she was trying to explain her syllabus? If the problem really is that she speaks too softly, it is easily fixed, not by bitching to his parents, but as people have said, by getting her a mic. Of course, the guys in the class, having smelled blood, would much rather make her cry than hear what she has to say.

The History guy is the pick of the bunch. I bet he scared the pants of little Petey with words like “late assignments will not be accepted” and the fact that he looked like he meant what he said. This guy is experienced enough not to try to be friends like Hippie English Guy, or to be intimidated like Foreign Math Chick. This guy has Petey’s number; he’s not going to take any bullshit, and savvy Petey has picked up on that. His only out here is going to be to try to accuse the guy of being mean and/or neglectful.

If Petey’s dad is smart, he will tell Petey to pull up his big boy pants and deal with it. I have a suspicion all of this is really about whatever bargain you made with him about his grades – were you going to buy him a car for a 4.0?

They decline to publish this, saying “We’re assuming that a lot of the issues have come about because Petey is a first generation college student. We were one, too, and our thoughts are that Petey just needs some time.”

Which I have to say, gets a major WTF from me. I am not butthurt about them punting my submission, because I get about 75% of the stuff I send in published, but the reason stinks. Because the mods were first generation college students, they aren’t willing to publish something that suggests a different interpretation of events?

They seem to have been taken over by the Nice Police, who are getting a depressingly strong grip on the internets these days. Over on ravelry.com, disagreeing with someone in any form at all is now likely to get you a warning for making a “personal attack”. I tell you, if those Nice Police bastards come knocking on the door of this blog, Ima get my canon, and like Borges, fill it up with shot made up of lead type, and fire it into their pansy asses.

Update: according to my blog stats, the RYS people have been here, and there response has been to get even more pansy-assed. Apparently, you can’t be mean to first generation college students. Someone over there has issues, man.

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9 thoughts on “So, apparently RYS mods have gone soft. In the head.

  1. Rhayden

    It’s unfortunate that your advice will go unposted because it sounds like you’ve nailed Petey to a T. The Nice Police need to kindly FUCK OFF.

    Reply
  2. Spacecadet

    My feeling was that kids who get into top universities are usually not the type of special snowflake who need their hands held. They tend to be high achievers and already know how to study. Petey has been pushed there by his loving parents who would like nothing better than to attend lectures with him and make sure he does his homework.

    I thought your interpretation of what happened in class was probably spot-on. Petey and his parents have a parochial worldview. Foreign instructors are out, whilst meeting kids from your own city is good.

    At least some of the replies on RYS made sense, so I hope Petey and his parents read them. Project “Get Petey into college” was a success but from now on it is up to him. He needs to figure out that people who do not look like him or talk like him may have something to teach.

    Reply
  3. Roger Wilson

    I feel badly that your specific point of view didn’t get published, but there were plenty of scathing attacks on Percival and Petey on that page under the rather harsh “F*&k Percival” heading. My favorite went: “You asked what you can do to help your son, so here’s the answer. Not a fucking thing. And giving him the impression that you’re going to swoop in and solve his issues with his first year instructor in whatever is actually doing the opposite of helping.”

    Reply
    1. whatladder Post author

      Well, I agreed with that, but I think none of the replies they published got at the underlying issue I was addressing.

      I think helicopters are more common at high-end universities, and the majority of them are still parents of younger than college age kids, but I can feel the gathering storm.

      Reply
  4. Sherry

    Give me a break. I was a first generation college attendee, and I did what I had to in classes. Yes, there were TAs with thick accents, we muddled through with our written instructions. For the most part I was happy with the diversity of a large university.
    My own 20 year old was sent off to college with the knowledge that this was his thing, mommy and daddy have been hands off. And he goes in and discusses things with profs and TAs all on his own.
    I do not understand the parents who think they have to fix things for there grown offspring.

    Reply
  5. scroobious

    Tangential but I think you’re off base about Ravelry. I’m very active there myself, I take part in a lot of conversations with a lot of disagreement, and I think for the most part it’s very accepting of differences of opinion. There are some individuals who get remarkably pissy about just having the disagree button clicked, but the site as a whole? No.

    Reply
    1. whatladder Post author

      Well, I am speaking based on my experience of the last week, where making a general comment got me reported for “finger-pointing” and a “personal attack”, even though my post contained no name or identifying information. The mod who did it refuses to respond to PMs asking for explanation, which kind of adds to the overall impression.

      And don’t you think this new “mod attack” thing is about enforcing an appearance of harmony?

      Reply
      1. P

        Well that’s depressing about ravelry. I’m all hot to learn how to knit as soon as my quilt is done, and that’s supposed to be the number knitters community.

      2. whatladder Post author

        Oh, no, don’t be put off. ravelry is AWESOME for knitting-related resources and info. It’s just the parts of the forum where they are talking about politics and how they don’t like the disagree button that are the problem.
        I would be a member of ravelry for the tools even if I didn’t post or read the forums.

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