Overheard is dead

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Ever seen a squirrel on campus? Heard a Freudian slip in a lecture? Watched some drunks prowling Princess St.?

No? Well, then you probably haven't been on the Facebook group “Overheard at Queen’s” recently.

Let's face it: the Overheard of today is a shell of its former self.

Overheard was once a place for words and dialogue — anonymous quotes that showcased a grittier side of Queen's homogeneity. Where our own mannerisms and shortcomings are put on display, helping us better understand issues on campus, and challenge the stereotypical image of a Queen’s student.

Now, the page is overrun by spammers, unoriginal posts and, worst of all, hatred. Commenting on a photo of a squirrel jumping into a trashcan might as well be entering Thunderdome; you’re going to have a horrid ensemble of trolls taking every shot they can at you.

The comments have become consumed by bigotry and people accusing others of bigotry. Commenters compete for internet karma through insulting and insinuating jabs levied against one another.

We’re all grown-ups. We don’t need to be lectured about the dangers of Internet bullying, but we do need to realize that everything we do on campus — even something as benign as engaging in an argument on Overheard — has some consequences on the broader Queen’s community and our own perceptions of each other.

I'm not trying to evangelize the Overheard of years past by saying it was a medium to deal with serious issues or contentious campus politics. But through trolling and flame wars, Overheard has degenerated into one of the least inclusive places on campus — one that manages to be simultaneously oversensitive and horribly vulgar.

This has only been made worse by the group’s admin, who seem more eager than ever to delete anything 'unfunny', including a string of topical posts regarding instances of sexual harassment.

In multiple instances, survivors posted tales and locations where they’d experienced harassment or assault. Support was almost always extended by the Queen’s community, but the admin still deleted the posts, making it seem as though these incidents on campus aren’t worth being “Overheard” as they don’t fit in with the stereotypical image of Queen’s.

My Queen’s includes more than Canada Goose jackets and pumpkin spice lattes. We're the victims of our own ruthless parody perpetuated by today’s Overheard. The page has forced us to become more defensive online and off, and is now harming the status of inclusivity on campus.

I see no other choice than to rip off my “overlord” bar and say this: Overheard is dead.

Sam is the Journal’s Production Manager. He’s a third-year politics major.

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