(Say, wasn't that a character I used to run when I was a Dungeons & Dragons player in high school?)
We were just informed about your blog post today about anti-semitism and racism on the site (your blog entry is being discussed at http://www.xoxohth.com/thread.php?thread_id=147012&forum_id=2).
We think your assessment was accurate: those threads are a very small fraction of the site, and even in those threads the overwhelming majority of posters are responding to the racists harshly. However, there are some additional points we'd like to make:
1) The site is clearly divided into on-topic and off-topic filters. We are very strong believers in the freedom of expression and the marketplace of ideas. This is why we allow off-topic discussion and almost never censor content, no matter how abhorrent it may be. However, we understand that not everyone wants to be exposed to such discussions. Some might simply want to browse the site for threads directly relating to law school, employment, etc. Go figure. Hence the on-topic/off-topic filters – the default option is on-topic mode, and in order to see the offensive material in question, one has to pro-actively enter off-topic ("expert") mode. If an individual does not want to be exposed to discussion of politics, sports, or racism, all that individual has to do to avoid 99+% of that content is stay in school-related mode.
2) That said, some posts do slip through the cracks. We trust our users to classify threads as school-related or off-topic, and although the overwhelming majority classifies their threads appropriately, on a daily basis you can expect at least one or two threads to slip through the cracks. This is usually not a big deal, but over a period of months it can add up, as you can see by the number of threads that appear in school-related mode when you search for racist terms. However, keep in mind that typical users are not going to see a flood of those threads when they go to the site. The only time you'll see twenty or so racist threads on the site is if you proactively search for them, which is what your colleague took upon himself to do when he used the search box to search the entire site specifically for those various racist terms he came up with.
3) The very reason our student-run community has been so much more phenomenally successful than all of its competitors, in its single year of existence, is that it respects the merits of the free, uninhibited exchange of ideas. In fact, one finds overall a much deeper and much more mature level of insight in a community where the ugliest depths of human opinion are confronted, rather than ignored. And the majority of the school-related content on the site speaks to that fact. That is our community; take it or leave it.
4) This community, which for the above reasons has been the object of ongoing controversy, has given birth to some truly noteworthy academic studies. Just today, one of the administrators, Anthony Ciolli, released a working paper on the determinants of law school national employment placement at elite firms (available at http://www.autoadmit.com/studies/ciolli). Another respected member of the community, Aaron Chalfin, this past November published a study on how law schools are ranked by current and prospective law students, which received much attention across the law school admissions community (available at http://www.autoadmit.com/studies/chalfin). There is no other admissions discussion board on the Internet whose members possess such a collective body of knowledge and wisdom, and we attribute that to the hands-off moderating philosophy we have discussed in this letter.
Anthony Ciolli, Jarret Cohen Administrators
Naturally, I can't speak to the merits of the site (though Xoxohth was quite a guy, 18/00 dexterity, 16 intelligence, . . . — or am I confusing him with Fafhrd), but I thought I'd post the operators' response.
UPDATE: Two correspondents have admonished me that only strength could be 18/00, not dexterity. That's not how I remember playing it (and recall that the rules of D&D were always flexible), but a quick google search reveals many more strength 18/00s than anything else 18/00. Naturally, this is very important for understanding the proper social response to racism and anti-Semitism on law student discussion sites.