Archive for the ‘About Us’ Category

Best Week Ever for Stanford Blog

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

Last week, we logged our highest volume of visitors ever. The cool thing: this week, we received no special press coverage, executed no special fliering campaign, sent out no e-mails, held no special events, and basically just kept blogging away amid the many exciting things happening here on campus and in the world. Yep, this is real growth, folks. Very exciting.
Check it out:

President Hennessy, Chronicle of Higher Education Respond to Recent Blog Postings

Monday, May 21st, 2007

After blogging about Harvard’s co-option of our GER system and the criticisms of the U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings, I heard back from both President Hennessy and the Chronicle of Higher Education.
What follows is a recap of what each of them said.
Hennessy said in an email to me that he likes our blog, which is totally awesome. Regarding my stance that Harvard basically stole our pre-existing GERs, The Prez said, “We all learn from one another and imitation is a complement!”
Hennessy also concurred (that’s right, the President of Stanford University and I see eye-to-eye) that the college rankings are detrimental, calling them, “a disservice.”
As for the Chronicle of Higher Education, they informed me of a packet of articles they released just this morning– I know, fresh off the press– analyzing the entire college ranking phenomenon. They too found methodological flaws. Lots of ’em.
Read on if you’d like to hear more about President Hennessy’s reaction to and the damning report from the Chronicle of Higher Education on college rankings.


Citizen Journalist or Blogger: What’s in a Name?

Monday, May 14th, 2007

I’m having somewhat of an identity crisis here: Who am I?
At this moment, as I add content to this site, what — at the most fundamental level — am I doing? Am I doing “reporting?” If so, what kind?
I am at an event right now at Cubberley Auditorium featuring Bill Keller, Executive Editor of the New York Times; Gary Pruitt, CEO of the McClatchy Company; Marissa Mayer, Vice President at Google; and Harry Chandler of the L.A. Times. It is moderated by Joel Brinkley, a visiting professor in the Department of Communication.
The talk is called “Pressing Times: Can Newspapers Survive in the New World of Journalism?” Among other things, the three of them have jumped between various terms for people who write in this medium right here: we are alternately bloggers, at other times citizen journalists.
Keller was critical of bloggers, saying that we could never equal professional journalists for various reasons; Keller even implied that bloggers uniformly do not fact-check. Chandler, meanwhile, continually used the phrase “citizen journalists” as if to lend us more credibility as a part of the fabric of journalism today.
So, ultimately, what is the role of a blogger? Do you think that you, as a blogger, are more or less credible than a reporter for McClatchy or the New York Times? Or are we not even comparable — are we totally different things entirely? If you’re not a blogger yourself, what do you think when you read a blog: can you trust our reporting — are we really a subsection of journalist (citizen journalist) as Chandler said?
What exactly does blogger vs. citizen journalist mean and imply? I know for sure that no one from the L.A. Times could cover this event the way I am now, but perhaps they wouldn’t ever want to.
I’m not sure what to think, but I’d love to hear your opinion.

SpamBots suck… and here’s what we’re doing about it

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

The spam filter built in to MovableType, which is the blog software Stanford provides to student groups seeking to create their own blogs, catches a good 75% of the spam we receive every day from evil spam robots who flood our Comments system with links to increase their ranking in Google search results. Over the past three weeks, for example, the filter caught 497 spam comments.
However, this isn’t good enough, and until now, we’ve been manually deleting the spam that slips through the filter. At one point, the volume of spamming was so high that our database broke and I had to re-install the entire blog (remember the “routine maintenance” post?). Luckily, this time, we moved to an industrial-strength database so that the Blog won’t break, no matter how much pressure the SpamBots apply.
Given Anthony’s prodding, we’re stepping up the effort further. After scouring the internet, I believe we’ve found a suitable plugin that requires human verification for commenting, but that I think won’t overburden our users with mental (or visual) gymnastics. It’s called TinyTuring, and all it requires is that you type in the first letter of the sentence it provides you with before posting a comment.
We’ve installed it on the Blog, so give it a try and let us know if you experience any problems with it. On this end, we’ll be waiting to see if any spam comments slip through. We’re three hours into using this plugin and so far… no spam.

Thanks, Daily!

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

We’re pleased and grateful that the Daily chose to cover us in today’s issue and are eagerly watching our visit statistics to see just what the “Daily premium” is for being featured in an article. We’ll let you know.
Have a look at the article and let us know what you think. It begins:

On any given day, a reader of the Unofficial Stanford Blog might find a first-person account from one of the living wage fasters, a discussion of the University’s installation art or political commentary from an opinionated student. Since its launch on Feb. 10, has acquired a following, with 33 separate bloggers writing hundreds of posts, 500 unique visitors a day and 11,000 unique visitors since Feb. 28.

Just a brief comment on why we’re here. Our big commitments are to creativity and open-mindedness; the former because the medium is so flexible, and the latter because Stanford is such a diverse community.
There is so much going on here — so many thoughts, so many activities — that it’s impossible to cover everything and from every perspective. What this Blog ensures is that, if you or your group wants to be heard, you have access to making that happen (signing up is easy), and a lot of flexibility in how you do it. Links? Photos? Audio? Video?
Folks, this is the 21st century. Let’s make good use of it.


Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

Stepping onto the padded carpet
chalk thick in the air
This place is my home
but it feels strange, unfamiliar
The apparatuses I used to spend
hours upon hours sweating over
Now seem hollow and distant
nothing like they used to be.
My hands, once thick and callous
now are soft, tender and pathetic.
My body, once limber and powerful
now moves with an ungainly trepidation.
My strength will return, be it weeks or months.
My weakness will banish. The rings and bars
will once again be my weapon of choice.
I’ll stand tall once more.

A Swift Kick in the Butt

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

Kick in the Butt
Growing up, I’ve wanted to be many things: archaeologist, astronaut, scientist, science writer. But I never really wanted to be a doctor. It was stagnant, it was done for the money, and most importantly, my mother wanted it. So I fought against it. Yet I ended up majoring in Biological Sciences, where everyone either goes on to Medical School or graduate school in a bio-related field. But I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Sure, I had some ideas, but it was hard to figure out who would be paying me to do these things.
Then I saw Paul Wise speak at a SAID dinner, and he changed my mind. He said that if you work in any policy related field, you have to have “statistical compassion”. You’ve got to feel just as good about seeing a drop in child mortality rates late one night, as you would after saving someone’s life after an 8 hour surgery. I realized that I needed that hands on experience.


It’s Official: We’re Unofficial

Sunday, March 4th, 2007

We’re inching our way up the Google search results page for “Stanford Blog” and are now the top result for “Unofficial Stanford Blog.” Tomorrow, we expect to receive our 2,000th unique visitor [reached at 1:16AM].

Hello World, This is Jason

Sunday, March 4th, 2007

Hi everyone, my name is Jason and I’ll be a unofficial blogger for Stanford. I’m very excited to get started. I’ll be blogging mostly about how we can improve ourselves and also improve the world we live in. I look forward to seeing what you all think about it.
A little more about me – I’m a junior, a Bio major, I like asking strange questions and I’m on the gymnastics team here at Stanford (We are having our last meet this weekend, so come to Burnham Pavillion this Saturday!)
PS – I love xkcd comics.

Sign up to blog!

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Thanks for your interest. We’re here to bring a new level of personality, diversity, and creativity — not to mention technology — to the Stanford media space, and we’d love for you to blog with us. Registration is easy and open to all current Stanford students, and you should expect to hear back from us within 24 hours for further instructions.
This is a free-speech space open and dedicated to all student voices. Please read thoroughly our Agreement so that you understand your responsibility to respectful discourse.

If you have any questions, please e-mail us at blogforstanford at gmail dot com.

Join us!

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

As we said in our first post, “Hello World!“, we’re here to help connect Stanford’s blogging community, and bring talented people together to breathe fresh air into campus dialog. E-mail us at blogforstanford at gmail dot com with any questions or click here to sign up to blog.
We have only been in existence since Winter quarter and we currently receive an average of 200 unique visitors and 350 page loads per day. Woohoo!
Work with some of Stanford’s most passionate bloggers and help build our collective impact on campus dialogue.
Send us your link and help us build a network of Stanford bloggers, no matter the topic. You can also subscribe to our all-campus blogger discussion list, or join our group on Facebook.
It’s easy to get for you or your group. We have plenty of space and the best URL.
E-mail us at blogforstanford at gmail dot com to express your interest or sign up to blog here.


Hello World!

Friday, February 9th, 2007

Welcome to the early stages of the Unofficial Stanford Blog. You can call it our “beta” release, but then… that might just be gross.
What are we here for? Well, no blog written by Stanford students for Stanford students has yet garnered the critical mass necessary to be a force in the dialog here on campus. And that’s a shame simply because, by virtue of being online and subject to minimal editorial control, a blog with a critical mass of legitimacy and readership would have the opportunity to make campus dialog more spontaneous, more intimate, and — clearly — more diverse.
So, we’re here to do that, and we’d love for you to contribute. You can already tell that we’re going to be talking politics. We’ll probably also be talking sports, and… well, you can bet we’re going to be taking advantage of YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, and everything else that makes the web great. We’re obviously not going to stop at just text, so… film studies majors, please do apply.
While we’re at it, we’re hoping also to inspire more people and more student groups to join us with their own blogs. This way, we could build a whole network of Stanford blogs and, well, that could be pretty cool. You’ll notice that our URL is If you or your group is interested, we can make it very easy for you to have your own blog past that third slash. That is, if you don’t want to just contribute to the Unofficial Stanford Blog.


Staff of The Unofficial Stanford Blog

Monday, January 1st, 2007

The Unofficial Stanford Blog is committed to being an open publication, meaning that any person at Stanford can sign up to blog and contribute as much as he or she wants. However, to keep the blog up and running smoothly, TUSB has a leadership team responsible for maintaining the blog. If you are interested in joining The Unofficial Stanford Blog in an official leadership position, email Josh at jbfreedman at stanford dot edu or blogforstanford at gmail dot com.
The current staff for Winter 2010*:
Blogger-in-chief: Josh Freedman (jbfreedman@)
Blog Supervisors:
Charlie Dunn (ccdunn@)
Darius Richardson (dariusr@)
Blog Contributors
Elaine Albertson (elainea1@)
Ian Bardenstein (ibard@)
Chris Rurik (crurik@)
Leslie Wu (lwu2@)
Former staff
Jason Shen
Christian Tom
Darius Tahir
Galen Panger
*Updated January 2010.

About The Unofficial Stanford Blog (TUSB)

Monday, January 1st, 2007

The Unofficial Stanford Blog is a student group devoted to the authentic expression of Stanford voices and perspectives. We are a community of students, faculty and staff passionate about blogging and dedicated to innovation in online content and distribution. We exist to make life on campus more engaging, transparent, and fun.
TUSB is the brain child of Galen Panger ’07, who discovered that was not registered on Stanford webspace. He quickly registered it and with the help of some friends created a student group to create a space for students and other Stanford affiliates to speak openly about things they cared about. The Daily wrote about TUSB in April.
After graduating, Galen went on to work at Google and left Jason Shen ’08 and Christian Tom ’08 as co-presidents. Christian and Jason worked over the summer to transfer the URL to make way for a Stanford Blog Directory that is run by Ian Hsu, Director of Internet Media Outreach and member of TUSB’s board of directors.
Following their graduation, Christian and Jason transferred the blog to Josh Freedman ’11, who is currently working with a team of bloggers to improve TUSB and continue to further its mission of being a powerful institution for free speech and open expression on campus.
Staff and Contact
TUSB is open to any member of the Stanford community. If you’re interested in blogging, sign up here. If you want to email Josh or the TUSB staff, email blogforstanford at gmail dot com or jbfreedman at stanford dot edu.
While TUSB is open-content, we maintain a staff to maintain the blog’s infrastructure, mission, and content quality. To see the list of current staff, click here.
Guidelines for Blogging
Please see the post on rules and tips for blogging.