The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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Feven Getachew
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Michael Lozada
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Plans back online without Secrets

It’s no secret–the popular cyber-forum site GrinnellPlans is incomplete.

On Dec 15, Ian Atha ’09, who owns the server space hosting Plans, disabled access to the website after receiving a cease-and-desist notice. Three days later, on Dec 18, Plans returned. Although the core of Plans was up and running, most users quickly noticed that the oft-used Secrets and Notes features were not.

After operation had resumed, Atha said he decided with Plans administrators to temporarily disable Notes, a discussion board for Plans users, and Secrets, a service that lets users post anonymous messages that must first be approved by Plans administrators.

“We wanted to get Plans back up as soon as possible, and the way we could do that is by temporarily disabling Secrets and Notes,” said Plans Administrator Mark Root-Wiley ’09.
Atha, who received the notice when, would not comment on the source of the notice or the reasons behind it but in an e-mail to the S&B in December wrote that “the cause is not yet to be communicated, but it was not libel/slander. Also, it was not about particular content, but about alleged practices.” Atha declined to comment further.

Root-Wiley declined to comment on the content of the cease-and-desist notice or whether it was related to Secrets or Notes. “During the time that [Plans] is down, we’re going to be looking at the terms of use,” Root-Wiley said. “Until that point we felt that it would be appropriate to have Secrets and Notes not up and functioning.”

Root-Wiley said he does not expect any changes will be made to Secrets and Notes and predicts they will return by the end of the semester. “You can expect to see them up sometime in the next two months,” he said. “[But] it’s kind of early in the process of figuring that out, so I can’t guarantee anything.”

Plans users, such as Leah Krandel ’09, have lamented the absence of Secrets in particular. “I’m totally miserable because that was my favorite study break,” she said. “Now I’ve had to resort to going on Facebook, which is totally inferior.”

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