Starting this week, Tyler Blackmon ’16 — moderator of the popular campus Facebook page Overheard at Yale — will pass the torch to two new administrators: Wade Southwell ’19 and Xinyu Guan ’18.
Blackmon created the page, on which Yale students can post quotes and photos “overheard” on campus or generally pertaining to the school, in January 2013. Blackmon, who cited his upcoming graduation as reason for the turnover, selected the new moderators through an application process at the beginning of this semester.
“I just put the application together, solicited responses and met with the new leaders over coffee,” Blackmon, who is also a staff columnist for the News, said. “Only two people put in serious applications, and those are the two I went with. It just so happens they seem more than capable of handling the group moving forward.”
The moderator’s job, according to Blackmon, is to take inappropriate submissions down as needed and to keep a frequent eye on posts. Moderators are not expected to follow any specific rules or keep a time commitment, but are only tasked with enforcing the “BNBR” rule — “Be Nice Be Respectful” — as noted on the page’s description.
Blackmon said that he hopes this respect will be mutual between posters and moderators alike.
“I hope that everyone remembers the moderators are students and human beings,” Blackmon said. “They’re nice people and they deserve your respect.”
Southwell could not be reached for comment and Guan declined to comment for this article.
The online application, which was posted on Jan. 7 and closed Jan. 18, requested basic identifying information as well as multiple free responses about past experience that could be relevant to the job, when to take down a post, how to keep objectivity and suggestions for improvement.
“I liked the idea of an application rather than [Blackmon] just passing [the job] to his friends or the Overheard at Yale community doing a vote,” said Darby Mowell ’18, who is Guan’s suitemate. “I’m confident in [Guan] because I know her to be a genuinely fair and caring person.”
Other students, such as Janeen Thomas ’19, said they were not particularly excited or concerned about the change in moderators.
Okoduwa Aboiralor ’19 said he was surprised at the fact that only two students applied, adding that he might have sent in an application himself if he had known about the lack of competition.
“I wasn’t so heartbroken that I didn’t apply because I figure it’s a lot of responsibility to moderate a page that’s so frequently posted on,” Aboiralor said. “I’m glad for them and I’ll just keep enjoying what’s posted there.”
Blackmon said he anticipates the page will evolve over time but that he hopes it maintains its original purpose of circulating news and anecdotes overhead on campus.
Overheard at Yale currently has 8,200 members.