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The antithesis of cyberbullying

'Barstow's Famous' and other compliment boards gain traction online

Staff Writer

LENWOOD • A Facebook page created with the seemingly sole purpose of hurling insults at a bevy of local teens — taken down shortly after one mother expressed outrage — is back, but not how you might think.

“Barstow’s Famous” was one of three pages that had a Lenwood mother calling for action last month after she discovered her teen daughter and her daughter’s friends were among the crudely derogated.

As of Monday, the page — or at least a page under the same name — operates in a similar way as the old: It posts a comment above someone’s picture. This time, however, the comments offer flattery, not revilement.

“I’m glad to see that it has changed,” the concerned mother said after hearing of the about-face.

The concept of what can only be described as the opposite of cyberbullying is rather new, but it’s catching on.

Last week, an article in the New York Times spotlighted a Facebook page created for students at Columbia University to submit praise about other students anonymously. “Columbia Compliments” is considered a “compliments board,” the idea of a 19-year-old junior at Columbia College, and it isn’t the first of its kind to spring up on a campus.

Compliments boards can be found at nearly 100 higher-learning institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, as well as a university in Singapore and a high school in Pakistan, according to the New York Times article.

Since the facelift to “Barstow’s Famous,” comments have gone from those not fit to print to “sweet caring boy, always has a joke when your down, amazing best friend and great little brother to his sister.”

The other two pages that had the mother worried, “Barstow’s Ratchets” and “Barstow’s Fakest,” are no longer up. Still, she remains only cautiously optimistic.

“My big fear is that someone else will come along and something else will take its place,” she said. “Hopefully, this will quell it, but who knows?”


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