Posted December 12, 2013 by Cooper Point Journal in Campus Life

Inside Evergreen Confessions

By Abraham Tadesse

With over 2,150 comments already posted, the Evergreen Confessions Facebook page is taking the campus into a more honest place by the use of anonymous comments. Confessions range from No. 2135, “The hottest guys WORK in the greenery. Multiple.” to No. 2145: “shout out to my vibrator for doing things no penis has ever done, including, but not limited to, being pink and spinning around. I <3 you forever.”

Students at Evergreen are going a little crazy. And it’s creepy, beautiful, painful, sexy, trolling-lightly, sarcastic fun. After the reading the first 1,000 comments, I felt the secret-keeper of Evergreen needed to be interviewed. Arguably one of the nicest people I’ve met in a long time, I shot the shit with the Evergreen Confessions anonymous administrator via Facebook, and discussed how they keep people anonymous, handling confessors and what they feel about the time-space residency of dark matter.

AT: Where did you get the idea to start a confessions page?

Evergreen Confessions: A lot of my friends from high school go to Western and talked a lot about their confessions page, and I just thought to myself, “Why doesn’t Evergreen have one of those?” I got bored enough and made one.

AT: Are you the only administrator/moderator, and does anyone help you out?

EC: Yep yep yep. My partner reads them with me sometimes and helps me decide what to approve or deny, but I am the only mod. I get too selfish and want to read every single one that I could never have another mod.

AT: Have you noticed any confessions about you that others have written? Do you censor those?

EC: Yes, definitely. I get ones directly to the “admin,” although some of them clearly think someone else is the admin and I just laugh. I always publish them regardless.

AT: If possible, could you explain the step-by-step process of submitting a confession?

EC: So, basically, I used to use Google Docs, or a forum or something where users could anonymously submit their posts, but then my friend pointed me to the site that I go through now, which is 100 percent anonymous. I know who no one is (unless they just straight-up message the Facebook page, which does happen and then I get really embarrassed for them), but when it goes to the site, I log in as the admin, see “You have 37 new confessions,” then I can read through them all, and either click “accept” or “deny” or edit the text, but I have only started doing that recently to add a warning label to the more dark ones that could be triggers to people. 100 percent anonymous.

AT: I feel it was super awesome and appropriate of you to post your use now of starting to write “TW” (Trigger Warning) for triggering posts. What made you take that approach?

EC: I actually got a suggestion submitted to the confessions, that I didn’t post because it wasn’t a “confession,” that suggested labeling the ones that could be possible triggers, and I was like, “Shit. Why didn’t I think of that?” So I decided to take their advice and start doing it. I love when people make suggestions.

AT: Do you get any funding?

EC: Nah.

AT: Are all confessions left up at your discretion?

EC: Yes indeed they are. I usually accept about 99 percent of them.

AT: What’s the process of picking one confession over another?

EC: I accept most. Confessions that directly call out another student, user or person in general in a way that is negative, I never post. I’m not about getting anyone’s feelings hurt, no matter how much you may dislike someone. I don’t post things that aren’t direct confessions or are just people looking for a club or a hookup. It’s a confession page, not Craigslist missed connections. So basically, “I am in love with cats,” or “I wish I had a dog,” “I love smoking weed” – as long as it’s in the form of a confession, gets accepted. Shit like, “Where are all the parties at?”, “Anyone know where to meet girls?”, or “Tits. Tits. Tits.” isn’t going to get accepted.

AT: What’s the most common confessional archetype?

EC: Sadly, things about people being lonely and wanting friends/affection. It makes me want to give out lots of hugs, but it’s definitely what I feel like I see the most of.

AT: Student question No. 1: How do you manage oppressive/sexist/homophobic language on the Evergreen Confessions page? Doesn’t this anonymous form of communication excuse people rather than foster an open and inclusive dialogue where individuals can be held accountable?

EC: It definitely has become an outlet for some individuals to express rather offensive beliefs. As much as I may dislike or disagree with a confession, if it is worded as such and doesn’t call out a specific person, I post it in an attempt to keep the page as far away from my own bias as possible. However, recently I have begun to deny the more blatantly offensive posts that were only submitted to cause fights in the comments, which honestly I have stopped reading because the fighting bothers me.

AT: When it comes to serious posts that reference self-abuse and suicide, has there been an instance where you felt for the confessor’s safety you needed to contact the proper authorities?

EC: I feel quite conflicted in these situations. On one hand, I have absolutely no way to know who this person is, or how to help them, and while the post breaks my heart, I also feel as though I have to accept it because they are choosing to confess such a personal thing. I post it and honestly hope that the comments on it help them through their times. I am going to also add some help numbers to the main confession page, as well as some general guidelines, so hopefully that helps.

AT: Also, when it comes to these very graphic and triggering posts I’ve seen some of the best in humanity coming from non-anonymous Facebook users giving hope and advice and even email addresses/phone numbers for the individual to contact.

EC: I love this more than anything. It gives me such feels for the great people at Evergreen and honestly is one of the things that gets me through the rather negative posts.

AT: Student question No. 2: Did you have worries starting this confessional?

EC: I honestly didn’t think it would get so big. Like, hot damn. I freaked out when I hit 100 likes and now it has over 1,000. Weirdness. I guess now my only worry is that someone somewhere will find out who I am and like, hate me, or something, because I wouldn’t want that.

AT: How do you keep yourself anonymous? Meaning, has anyone found out your real identity?

EC: I feel like a ton of people know who I am. All my friends know, anyways. We have a good laugh about it. Apparently one of my friends overheard some kids talking about it and just laughed and when they looked at her she said, “Oh it’s just funny because my best friend made that page,” and they were just like, “Psssh, yeah right.” Like, is it really that big of a deal? I did get a confession about someone apparently having sex with me, but I have no clue who that person even is, so I think a lot of people have a lot of different ideas about who I am.

AT: What are some of your favorite confessions?

EC: Oh god. The one about the guy eating out his girlfriend…the Jolly Rancher one. I cringed. So. Hard. Also the one about the fear of chameleons. Cracked me up. Oh, and the one about the person apparently sleeping with me that I don’t know. News to me.

AT: You’re not a cop, right? (lol)

EC: Most definitely not. I walk among you.

*In the spirit of Evergreen Confessions, the identity of the moderator for Evergreen Confessions page has be kept anonymous.