Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Administrator Interview w/ Ben Tan

On...How Often He Visits The Étudiant
Every day. A few [times] I'd say. I tend to do my updates all at once, of course, but I usually end up checking up on things later in the day.

On...What He Posts
I check out all those links at the top of the blog roll and get the top stories from each site. Sometimes you can tell it's a slow news day, but hey. At least we're not a celebrity blog.

On...What Others Post
As for other writers' work, I have yet to encounter a piece that I found inappropriate...although "Masturbation Blues" was probably the closest I came to actually censoring a post... However, despite the frank vulgarity that caused such a stir, I read the whole thing and saw that it was really just Chris's unique, slightly perverted way of placing a personal ad.

On...His "Funnest" Posts
Well, in recent years, I've been posting my movie reviews at the site as well as in Spin, and I always have a blast writing negative reviews. Of course, I didn't like paying 8 dollars and then watching a bad movie, but I get to vent for five paragraphs and just have a lot of fun with it. Many call my movie reviews "entertaining", and I'm pretty sure they're talking about when I rant about movies I hated. As for pieces that don't appear in Spin, I suppose I have the most fun writing CD Reviews. I don't purposely listen to bad albums like I do bad movies...I pick albums I've at least heard are good. Only real negative review I've done so far was Nirvana's Unplugged in New York. For the most part, the CD Reviews are a music appreciation course, a new look at all sorts of stuff I like, and that I hope others like as well.

On...Positives/Negatives/Tough Decisions as an Administrator
For the most part, it's nice to be in charge, and I can't say I butt heads much with the other admins, so there's no infighting, people. The toughest time for me was definitely the big gay marriage argument back in October. A lot of people wanted me to delete your posts, so offended they were. I strongly disagreed with what you had to say, but I didn't feel that your work constituted hate speech, so I let them stay up and start arguments and cause chaos and...you know what happened. Ultimately, the flaming got so bad that I threatened to disable comments, which I was ready to do if I saw one more insult. Then you apologized, and everyone basically agreed to drop it. My point is, I was under a LOT of pressure to do things I didn't want to do, nor did I feel were necessary.

On...Chris Mogni/Mogni Saga
Ha ha, it was a bit bizarre at first, this kid I didn't even know just hurling insults at all our content, and eventually the writers themselves. Of course, I don't tolerate insults towards writers or people writing comments, so once Mogni started doing that, I warned him. He continued with his "DeCarlo delenda est" and all that, so I banned his I.P. Which caused him to throw a hissie fit and start wakefieldetudiant.blogspot.com. Until he figured out how to get around that blocking. I kept on trying to prevent him from accessing the site, but it wasn't important enough - read: I didn't care - to warrant extensive research on how to absolutely block a computer from accessing a website. It got to the point where no one was listening to him anymore, so he just kinda went away. He's still on the forums, and when I joined, that caused a little tension, but we're on good terms now. I mean, we don't even know each other. We've never talked face-to-face.

On....The Evolution of the Étudiant
Well, the whole thing was Chris Morrill's idea. What he really wanted to do was an online newspaper, in the style of Spin, but with less opinion, more objective pieces. Spin was in a really sad state a few years ago, so when Chris told me his idea, I went along with it, thought it was a great idea with lots of potential. Obviously, the Étudiant has since evolved into a blog of a very different format, but it was certainly a change for the better. I think we have a really good thing going on, and I hope we can get more kids writing each year and keep this thing going.

On...All Things Spin
If you think the recent Spin issues are bad, bad content, bad layouts, whatever...remember that I've been writing for, and thus following, the paper for the last four years. Compared to the issues from the middle of my sophomore year, Spin is currently a fine newspaper of the New York Times's caliber. Mrs. Farrell needs to work on picture placement. When it's in the middle of text, it makes the article impossible to read. But content-wise, the articles of recent issues have been relatively good. Back in sophomore and junior years, Chris Morrill and I were vocal critics of the direction Spin was going in. There were just way. Too. Many. Opinion pieces. Like, ten crazy rants in twenty pages. And they weren't well-written, or entertaining, or anything. "It's Impossible to Park" takes up page 3, "Bring Back 9-Minute Break" was page 9. Now, the fact that Spin is a quarterly about a high school means it will never be the New York Times, but this was just ridiculous. That's why we started the Étudiant in the first place.

On...The Future
Students of Wakefield High, if you like what you see on this here blog do-hickey, do yourself a favor and help to keep it alive. Whether it's through comments, or even joining our staff, keep the conversation going. I'm not gonna be here forever, and neither are Glen, Chris, Matt, or whoever else is on our list of personnel. I just hope that this fine forum can live on, become bigger than any one person. This blog is the perfect place to exercise the First Amendment...take advantage of it!


  1. Wait, you almost censored me! You little bitch! Haha. No, but seriously that wasn't an ad! It was just a journal entry I wrote in like five minutes or so.


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