March 10, 2005

Rise to xoxo's defense!

Prof. Volokh has the right response to another law professor's suggestion that the managers of "clean up" the pre-law discussion board's content.

Yes, there's a lot of ugly and racist comments on that board. But as a formerly active participant on xoxo, I can say that the people posting such statements are thoroughly and routinely ridiculed as complete idiots by the majority of posters.

That doesn't seem to happen as often at some of the other places where these racists hang out online. Censoring the racism won't make it go away; it will shift it to other places where it's harder to see and where it might find a more hospitable reception.

As for this other law professor's suggestion that it might be a good thing if the xoxo participants were "encouraged to move to the more mature and civil prelaw sites," I say no way.

Before I started law school, I posted on the former incarnation of xoxo (which was then run by the Princeton Review) because it was a wide-open and mostly unmanaged discussion. In one sitting I could have the most sober and serious conversations as well as the most silly and immature bullshit sessions, all with the same group of people. The other, more "mature" boards were by comparison intellectual wastelands, partly because they were so "sober" and "mature." All the really smart people shunned those boring boards in favor of pr (now xoxo).

Bottom line: don't be messin' with my xoxo board until you really understand it. (Because when you do, you'll love it and won't want to change it much. Unless you're a rancid TTT.)

UPDATE: Anthony Ciolli and Jarret Cohen of have responded, and Volokh has posted it. A taste:

The very reason our student-run community has been so much more phenomenally successful than all of its competitors, in its single year of existence, is that it respects the merits of the free, uninhibited exchange of ideas. In fact, one finds overall a much deeper and much more mature level of insight in a community where the ugliest depths of human opinion are confronted, rather than ignored. And the majority of the school-related content on the site speaks to that fact. That is our community; take it or leave it.

Posted by Carey at March 10, 2005 03:21 PM


Posted by: Doc Lewis at March 10, 2005 07:10 PM

I also completely agree. Today's Leiter Report is shockingly weak.

Posted by: Grotius at March 11, 2005 11:16 PM