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Thursday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Feb 23, 2024 11:25 AM

Yesterday's most active topics included Yale becoming "text flexible", MCPS's Virtual Academy, and Wisconsin Avenue development. Concluding today is a look at a day in the life of one of DCUM's most active trolls.

Yesterday's most active thread was the one about the soccer club merger. The rumor that started that thread finally turned out to be true with official announcements of the merger. The most active thread after that was titled, "Per NYT, Yale now ‘test flexible’" and posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. I was disappointed with the effort put into the initial post by the original poster. While the title referenced a New York Times article, there was no link to the article. Nor was an excerpt provided, but rather a short, one-sentence summary. Yale University has decided to once again require that standardized test scores be submitted by applicants. However, the policy that Yale describes as "test flexible" will allow applicants "to submit scores from subject-based Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests in lieu of SAT or ACT scores." I have discussed a number of test-related threads in this blog and this thread has much in common with previous threads. The various points of view are well-established. At one end of the spectrum are posters who believe that standardized tests are the best method of identifying the students most likely to be successful in college. These posters often claim that test optional policies are simply a ruse allowing admission of less prepared minority students. At the other end of the spectrum are posters who oppose tests which they believe may be biased against minorities and subject to gaming by affluent families who can afford extensive test prepration and test retakes. As was the case earlier when Dartmouth University reversed its test optional policy, this policy change is being cast as being in the interest of underrepresented minority students. The theory is that such students have not been submitting their scores because they believed them to be too low. However, schools would have viewed the scores in context of the students' background and given weight to scores even if they were lower than those of more privileged students. Therefore, by not submitting test scores, these students were actually hurting their chances. This sounds great in theory but I am skeptical about how it will work in practice. The Supreme Court decision prohibiting race from being a factor in admissions was based on evidence that Harvard University and the University of North Carolina were admitting minority students with lower test scores than White or Asian students. Now, Yale and Dartmouth are essentially saying that they plan to do exactly that. When asked about the legal implications of this by the New York Times, Yale's dean of undergraduate admissions basically shrugged it off. As a result, I am somewhat suspicious that the claims about URMs are a cynical cover story and the real motivation for dropping test optional policies is to appease certain stakeholders who are likely to benefit from requiring test scores (or at least believe they will benefit). So it will be interesting to see how this plays out in practice.

The next most active thread yesterday was posted in the "Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)" forum and titled, "virtual academy 2022-2023". This thread was started way back in May 2022 by a poster asking some basic questions about the Montgomery County Public School's Virtual Academy which is an online school provided by MCPS. Back in 2022, the thread only reached 5 pages before it disappeared into obscurity. But, apparently it was not obscure enough because it was revived 10 days ago by a poster warning that due to funding issues, MCPS was considering phasing out the Virtual Academy. The poster urged others to contact the Board of Education and ask them to support the program. Since the thread was revived, it gained an additional 27 pages. Nine of those pages were added yesterday, accounting for the thread's being among the most active. I don't have time to read all 32 pages of the thread or even the 9 new pages. Based on skimming the thread, it appears that the virtual academy itself has been caught in controversies concerning covid school closures and the upcoming election for members of the Board of Education. Many of the program's detractors seem to have been influenced by experiences with online learning during the school closures. They think that such learning is ineffective and encourages cheating or lack of participation. They point to a study that, depending how you interpret it, either shows the Virtual Academy performing poorly or better than some in-person schools. They also consider it to be a waste of money. On the other hand are posters who have had positive experiences with the Virtual Academy and consider it essential for their children's education. These posters have various reasons for choosing online education, but almost across the board it seems those actually using the academy strongly support it and overwhelmingly are happy with it. Yesterday, the Board of Education held a hearing to determine the fate of the academy and, based on forum posts, both sides are declaring victory. I may have some details wrong, but as I understand it, the academy will be continued but phased out for younger grades. It will primarily be a high school program. They say that politics is the art of compromise. If so, the MCPS Board of Education must be made up of top notch politicians based on how they seem to have forged a compromise that has pleased both sides.

Next was a thread titled, "Wisconsin Ave Development Project" and posted in the "Metropolitan DC Local Politics" forum. The original poster linked to a plan by the District of Columbia to redevelop a stretch of Wisconsin Avenue running from Tenleytown to Friendship Heights. The plan is to develop mix-used structures that will contain up to 9,500 new housing units, retail, and entertainment. The original poster says that she loves the idea of developing that area. Other posters are not so sure. The first poster to respond expressed doubt that the demand for this much housing actually exists. Most of the posters seem to welcome some sort of change to the area, but they disagree about exactly what type of change. Suggestions range from big box stores to keeping the area as a "village". One concern, which in my opinion is very real, is that not enough attention is being given to the impact of this plan on schools. All the public schools in that area are full or over capacity already. What will be done with the new students who will arrive as a result of this development? Another concern some posters express is about the type of housing that will be created. A lot of the newer housing in DC has been in the form of "luxury condominiums". What posters seem to really desire are three-bedroom apartments in which families can easily live. One poster's fear was that what will actually be created are "fake" two-bedroom units in which one bedroom is a small, windowless room. Similarly, many posters would much prefer townhouses be built rather than apartment buildings. In many ways, this debate is similar to that surrounding the "missing middle" initiative in Arlington that I have discussed in other blog posts. There are already single-family homes in the area and there are already apartments. What is missing is something in-between. Whether that desire can be satisfied with large apartments or townhouses is up for debate. But, whether developers are interested in either of those options is unknown at this point. Development is nearly always controversial in DC, and nowhere more than Tenleytown. So, I suspect that this is not the last thread on the topic that I will be discussing.

For my last entry today I am going to do something different. Rather than discuss a thread as I normally do, I am going to discuss one of the more active DCUM trolls. Because almost all DCUM posters are anonymous, I make up names for trolls whose posts I begin to recognize. One of these is a poster who I've dubbed, "Rude Poster" due to the normal rudeness of his posts (I assume the poster is male though I really don't know). Rude Poster's tendency is to write short, often meaningless, and repetitive responses. I don't believe I've ever seen him actually start a thread. He will often sock puppet responses to his own posts and will frequently repost if he notices a post of his has been deleted. I had the idea of keeping a list of each of his posts for a single day just to demonstrate the type of things that he posts. I did that yesterday and was a bit disappointed because it was far from his craziest day. So, many may read these posts and wonder what is wrong with them. But, believe me, this is as mild as he ever gets. Most days are far more insane. It was also a relatively low-posting day for him with only 30 posts. He normally will post 40 or more times. Each of the lines below represents an entire post, though I have omitted any quoted text that he included (he normally doesn't quote). Some of these posts made a bit of sense in context, but most did not. I laughed at this list because I actually found it somewhat poetic when viewed this way. His concluding post was an outstanding summary of his day's work. With all that said, welcome to a day in life of the Rude Poster:

Wow you’re a big baby OP


So weird

I think it’s fine for now

Come on and braid my hair

It’s da just

I think it is what it is


Does he exercise?

This a good one



Being ridiculously good looking and sporty

I think it has to do with origami

I think it is what it is and I as what it was



It’s pretty hot

I love coaching it’s oikevorijsnj

It’s like origami

Or arincini

Ptryyy hard

It was tough


That is a kewl story



Ridiculously good looks

Sooo kewl

Wow some anxious shit-talking weirdos congregate to this site though

Anon says:
Feb 24, 2024 12:34 AM
LOL, thank you for introducing us to Rude Poster (actually, it seems likely that many of us been previously introduced, unfortunately). I appreciate this deviation. I can't recall if I suggested this previously, but I'd also love it if once every week or two or maybe once a month you looked at the posts that had been most active over that longer period (but which never made the cut for a single day's blog post). Bring those "slow burn" most active posts to the fore as well (but only if it can be done without much additional work/effort on your end).
Jeff Steele says:
Feb 24, 2024 10:28 AM
I'll see if I can do something like this easily.
Avalon says:
Feb 24, 2024 07:39 PM
I actually feel pity for the "rude poster" because their writing style implies a lack of intellectual capacity & maturity, resembling that of a teenager.

Their comments consistently lack any substance, which raises doubts about their ability to contribute meaningfully to real-life discussions, as well.

It's no surprise they frequently post here, though; their writing style reflects the classic "pick me" & "look at me" attention-seeking behavior.

It's unfortunate they feel the need to approach others with such a rude, sensationalist, intolerable & egregious attitude in order to garner the attention they seek.

I guess they figure if they can't get attention through compelling content, they'll resort to this method.

Jeff Steele says:
Feb 26, 2024 08:28 AM
That is a pretty perceptive analysis. Probably spot on. The poster seemed to have abstained on the day I captured his posts, but normally he also engages in tremendous fat-shaming, posting things like "oink, oink", emojis of pigs, and calling posters pigs. That probably reflects his own insecurities.
Amomynous says:
Feb 26, 2024 12:12 PM
That alone is reason enough to out them and I'm glad you did. Is this a troll who is adept at disguising their identifying info and therefore preventing you from blocking them for more than a short time?
Jeff Steele says:
Feb 26, 2024 12:19 PM
This poster is very successful at evading blocks, but I don't want to say more than that.
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