Class Blogmeister Is Safe – It’s Yahoo Groups That Has A Problem!

A “messy learning” opportunity reared it’s head this week that bears mentioning. Those of us that use Class Blogmeister as our classroom blogging tool love it for many reasons, but the safety features David Warlick built in give teachers confidence that students are in a safe environment. Student blog posts don’t appear on their blog until the teacher approves them, and comments coming to students are filtered the same way so that students don’t receive inappropriate comments.

Long before I started using Blogmeister David set-up a discussion board in Yahoo Groups so that users could discuss issues and ask questions. This was a nice feature, but technically it is not actually part of Classblogmeister, just a group you can subscribe to IF you choose. Students don’t see what is on the Yahoo Group and so anything that appears there has nothing to do with the actual blog.

Recently the Blogmeister Yahoo Group has been receiving a fair amount of SPAM comments with very sexually explicit material. Teachers that have received these comments have been frustrated by them as a whole, but a few have over-reacted and stated that they will now drop their blogs on Blogmeister. I’m wondering if some don’t understand that they could just unsubscribe from the Yahoo Group and never receive an email from it again … problem solved, but believe that somehow this is going to get to their students … no it won’t … this is a totally separate entity. This would be like deciding not to use the internet anymore because you received an email that had inappropriate content. Or canceling your cable or satellite TV because you got an inappropriate email … one doesn’t have much to do with the other.

We have all had students write inappropriate notes and pictures on paper in class … do we stop having students write on paper? Years ago I had a student poke another student with their pencil and the lead broke off under the skin and they bled some … do we stop using pencils? We had a student hit by a car while crossing the street in front of our school a few years back … did we stop having students cross the street or stop cars from driving on it? No. AND remember this email issue didn’t effect even one student.

Technology is new to many of us and TV shows get great ratings scaring people with images and stories of kids being contacted inappropriately on the internet. My brother was approached by a pervert on a city bus when we were kids … we rode the same bus the next day … and yes my parents reviewed safe behavior (and my brother did all the right things  BECAUSE my parents taught us to be safe) and admonished us to be vigilant.

Let’s not over-react here.

Learning is messy!

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6 thoughts on “Class Blogmeister Is Safe – It’s Yahoo Groups That Has A Problem!

  1. Hi there, tech teacher from Hong Kong posting in. On a vaguely related note I was looking to get set up with blogmeister and sent off an enquiry last week on their website to get registered but no word back yet.
    Is there usually a good response from them or have I gone about it the right way?


  2. Hi Colin – Pretty typical, David gets busy on the road and gets behind. Bug him again and he will come through! You did fine. I had the same thing happen, so did my wife, he comes through!

  3. I guess this is a problem with society on a whole (including teachers). I wonder why people jump to conclusions or actions instead of stepping back and thinking…

  4. You’re right! And, this is why children will always need parents and teachers: to reinforce safe, sensible behavior in real life, online, where ever.

  5. Thanks for blogging about this, Brian. While I did not receive any of the emails in question (kudos to my IT department!) I do not see that it is difficult to delete emails. The benefits of the Classblogmeister Yahoo group far outweigh the inconvenience of the spam comments and as you say, the Yahoo group has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the way Classblogmeister runs.

  6. I subscribe to that group as well- the thing is- if I see a spam message for dodgy videos in the subject line I don’t actually open them to see just how dodgy they are. Surely people wouldn’t open them to look!

    Water off a duck’s back. Click delete- that’s why its in the keyboard!