September 25, 2020

001BY HAILEY MERKT

Caution, there is offensive language quoted in the story below.

“All I wanted to do was expand this college and make it a better experience,” John said.

“Originally the page was created to get students connected,” Jane added.

John and Jane, (pseudonyms) are the creators of “Spotted at Conestoga.” They sat down to evaluate their successful Facebook page.

Both wished to remain anonymous because they want the website to be faceless rather than having it connected to actual people.

Spotted at Conestoga is a public page where attending students can privately message the creators about anything student- or campus-related.

The creators then evaluate the message and re-post the approved status, leaving the original poster virtually untraceable.

For example, “To the person who built what appears to be an inukshuk in front of residence … Thanks for making my wait for the bus a bit better. Sincerely, the girl who just had a really crappy shift at a fast food restaurant.”
“It’s a page that people can come and give ideas, thoughts and opinions on and not be penalized for what they say,” Jane said.

“This isn’t some new idea, we just started the one for this school,” John added.

Spotted at Conestoga is a spinoff of other trending university and college sites like, Spotted at Guelph, Waterloo, Carleton and Ottawa.

John and Jane believe that the anonymous factor is what gives the page its allure.

“I’m posting other people’s messages anonymously so they have the safety and security that no one is going to find out who says what … which is why we are also anonymous,” John said.

“As soon as I tell people I run the site, it increases their vulnerability.”

“It will move and shift everyone’s interest elsewhere … The site won’t have the same vibe,” Jane said.

Spotted at Conestoga was established on Oct. 17, 2013 and has since become a public outlet for over 3,500 students.

Though the site gives students a forum to be heard without being named, many anonymous posters have recently fallen victim to bullying.

Expressing an interest in a crush, asking for advice or just venting about a hard day has turned into an invitation for harassment.

Some students are making fun of the statuses, calling the students a “pussy” or “gay.”

This leaves the nameless poster two options: remain anonymous and accept the rolling wave of negativity or respond and be found out, which may come with the price of more public embarrassment.

The page creators are aware of this recent growing issue and feel bullying “is hard to avoid.”

“People will think of ways to bully, it’s inevitable, no matter where you are … I don’t post things that I think will come back to harm the original poster. I don’t post anything that defames, names or comments negatively on teachers. And definitely no racism or anything like that,” John said.

Offensive spinoff site “Spotted at Conestoga — Uncensored” has become a provocative public forum for bullies to cowardly call-out students without having to take responsibility.

This site has created an outlet for students to discredit and defame.

John and Jane said they have nothing to do with that site.

“It’s sad how many people still bully in college … It’s time to grow up,” John said.

The creators would like to see more inspiring posts but still welcome the everyday “ventors” who crave a public outlet for their frustration.

John and Jane posted the following calibrating comment less than an hour after their interview.

“I’d like to take a minute to discuss the purpose of this page. Spotted at Conestoga has increasingly been receiving complaints and annoyances from students rather than what the typical posts should be: Spotting funny/entertaining things around the college. If we can all make an effort to acknowledge this page’s efforts to get back on track and to focus on what college should be; than this page will be more effective in spreading a positive message, instead of a tainted source of voice-opinionated defamation.”

“Overall, we’re proud of the page … People have created relationships through Spotted at Conestoga,” John said.

One girl messaged John and Jane, thanking them for creating the site after an anonymous “crush post,” which connected her to a newfound love.

“The page has done a lot of good,” Jane said.

Many posts have done more than spark relationships.

A couple of recent posts have proven there to be good Samaritans.

“If you’re missing a TD bank card … I found one walking from residence to school today. It’s in the security office, hopefully you get it back,” read a post from Jan. 16.

“Thank you so much to whoever picked up my purse/wallet and brought it to the lost and found. My life is in there,” read another post from Jan. 15.

Once the Spotted creators graduate, they plan on passing the site onto two new responsible students.

“The site comes with a bit of power,” John said laughing.

“It feels a bit empowering to know the names and faces to the statuses.”

“But it’s all strictly confidential,” Jane said.

“Though, we are surprised by how many students trust us.”

Leave a Reply