Juicy Campus Dies – Holmes’ Posse Rejoices

Oliver Wendell Holmes HAS A POSSE!

Oliver Wendell Holmes HAS A POSSE!

Juicy Campus — often the target of anti-free-speech types in higher education has died. And I am glad.

Juicy Campus was a cesspool with virtually no redeeming qualities. (But that isn’t why I am glad it is dead) Compare to AutoAdmit, which actually had (and still has) some worthwhile discussions. The online defamation that took place on AutoAdmit was the exception, not the rule. AutoAdmit had tens of thousands of discussion threads and a few dozen were nasty and brutish — well, until it became famous for those few dozen — and then it attracted the cesspool crowd en masse.

Juicy Campus was just the opposite. Juicy Campus was launched as a petri dish experiment that proved John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory (hereinafter “G.I.F. Theory”). JC was launched as a cesspool, and it died because it never evolved into anything else.

Many attempted to exercise their censorial desires to tinker with the marketplace of ideas and shut down Juicy Campus. Tennessee State University banned the site (while their peers at Vanderbilt had a clearer view of the First Amendment). Attention-seeking government officials in Connecticut and New Jersey launched bogus “investigations” into the site. The investigations went nowhere. The Student Body President at the University of Florida cried to the teacher by calling on Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum to investigate the site. McCollum declined.

I personally disliked Juicy Campus. One would think that a forum with so many users could eventually spawn a single worthwhile conversation. It didn’t. Perhaps this is because the class of 2012 is more likely to communicate in text-messages than read a book. Or, perhaps, it was simply a function of the site’s branding. I believe that it was simply conclusive proof of the G.I.F. Theory.

As much as I hated the site, I declined to join the chorus calling for its government-imposed demise. I still believed that Juicy Campus had a right to exist — or rather that it might have a right to exist, but that neither the government nor the universities had a right to make that decision. The marketplace of ideas should have been left to make that determination — and it was.

The marketplace spoke. Juicy Campus couldn’t find advertisers because it was the online equivalent of a sorority gossip session over a few lines of cheaply-cut cocaine in a frat house bathroom. Despite the fact that Section 230 protected its operator and the First Amendment protected most of the speech on the board, it still collapsed under the weight of the marketplace. Quite simply, it was such a pit of idiocy that nobody, nobody at all, wanted to buy advertising on the site. That is quite a statement.

While censorship-minded academics will dance around their maypole and crank out worthless law review articles about cyber-bullying for victim studies classes, I’ll imagine Socrates, John Stuart Mill, and Thomas Jefferson grabbing Oliver Wendell Holmes from his celestial poker game to tell him to take a look, that they were right.

[T]he ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas…that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution. – Oliver Wendell Holmes

As much as I disliked the site, I am grateful to Juicy Campus for proving that our commitment to government neutrality in the marketplace of ideas is not only a sound vehicle for the protection of diversity of opinion, but it is also a sound theory for the squashing of those ideas that deserve to die. Good riddance, Juicy Campus.

7 Responses to Juicy Campus Dies – Holmes’ Posse Rejoices

  1. PG says:

    But then AutoAdmit failed the test of the market as well, if that test is not measuring the popularity of the site among non-paying users, but measuring its ability to attract and retain paying advertisers. JuicyCampus was started as a commercial enterprise and therefore shut down when it could not succeed on those terms. AutoAdmit seems to have a different purpose.

  2. Meredith says:

    They seem to be sprouting up on collegeacb, which is what the JC website redirected people to. Ugh.

  3. Ken says:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly both on the obnoxious nature of the site and on the need to resist publicity-seeking government efforts to regulate it.

    The best response to such gutter speech is more speech. Case in point: as of now, if you Google Matt Ivester, the guy who created Juicy Campus, the first result is my post calling him a douchebag. :)

  4. hawkhead says:

    AutoAdmit seems to have a different purpose.

    Indeed it does. I don’t think AutoAdmit “failed” the test of the market so much as it didn’t take the test in the first place.

  5. […] with the Stars? No freakin’ way. If freedom of expression means anything to us, then we must leave the marketplace of ideas to decide what expression should live or die. Sometimes, even often, we must pay an unfortunate price for […]

  6. PG says:

    hawkhead,

    Actually, AutoAdmit did attempt the market by becoming part of Google’s ad network, but Google dropped AutoAdmit like a hot, rotted potato when the racism and harassment on the website became well-known. Cohen therefore has had to subsidize the site’s existence instead of being able to monetize its popularity. Which isn’t surprising; the kind of online free-for-all that will attract a huge number of users also is likely to scare off advertisers, except perhaps those pushing porn and Viagra. Commercially successful sites have to find the right balance of freedom for users and respectability for advertisers.

  7. […] to take these actions. It is unfortunate, however, that they find it necessary to do so. The “marketplace of ideas” is capable of labeling the members of these groups as asshats and rejecting their hate […]

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