New Tantramar Community Concerns moderator makes Facebook group private to prevent trolls

Two groups both alike in dignity, in fair Sackville where we lay our scene, from old Facebook group breaks privacy, amidst a town versus town rivalry. The Tantramar Community Concerns Facebook group is officially going private on the orders of the new moderator. They posted that the “public thing is not working well.” Based on the group’s recent posts about and towards students, however, I am curious to see how/if this will impact students wanting to join the group. 

People seem supportive of the moderator’s decision as one commenter replied, “Good idea, maybe that will slow the flow of toxic vitriol towards others.” 

The moderator stated, “That’s the goal […]. I mean some poor member would post something and some troll that was not even on the page would go after them.” 

I must agree; in the latest posts involving the community and/or Mt. A students, there has been a lot of turmoil in the comments section. It is well-known that students and townies have largely shared an apprehension towards each other. So much so that there is an annual hockey game based on it. The recent comments made from both parties in the group do raise the apprehension to animosity. 

Some students have commented that they do not feel welcome in the Sackville community. On a post about students running in the streets, one commenter made insensitive remarks about students. A student replied, stating that they felt like the commenter had “contempt for students.” Another commenter on the same thread replied that “I guess students aren’t part of this community.”

A third student reported that “the community members,” presumably not including students, are “the key contributors on this page.” This comment is interesting, since recently, it seems to be the moderator who is making the majority of the comments on the page.

A meme posted in the group back in 2021 highlights how students may be viewed: the “Virgin Sackville Hater” who is described as someone who “complains about the town [and] makes zero effort to connect to the community. Acts like they were forced to come here despite school being the single largest financial investment of their life to date. Low-key classist. Just here to get drunk or walk the stage.” When referring to the Community Concerns group, it is arguable that most students are viewed as the “Virgin Sackville Hater.” 

A recent post regarding St. Patrick’s Day weekend wanted to warn people of students in the street so drivers could “adjust accordingly” to not “put blame on anyone.” Many commenters were upset about the students’ behavior and thought they were acting irresponsibly. 

One commenter stated, “I don’t want people to get hit by a car [because students] are running in the street nor do I want any drivers to have to deal with the trauma of hitting someone. This is part of the problem, having people around who do not give two shits about anyone but themselves.” 

Another replied, “maybe Mt. A. should have a prerequisite to attend courses that they take [a] mandatory road crossing course so they are able to cross the road as safely as my preschooler. Some people of Sackville are putting this on the drivers. These are adults we are talking about. Do we have to hire crossing guards and/or start handing out [tickets for] J-walking, drunk in public place[s]. Fine[s] not paid [should lead to] expulsion. Put this responsibility on Mt. A not citizens of Sackville.” 

A third commenter came in defense of students stating “Lights and crossings make walking a more enjoyable and safe experience for all pedestrians. Not just students.” However, the former party rebutted, stating the problem is the drunk students and they should be expelled for their behavior. 

Another post, from the end of January, warned people that students were going in front of cars shouting out “free tuition.” Commenters were not ecstatic about this behavior. Many implied that these students were dumb, out-of-line, and a waste of a university education. There were, however, community members who came to the defense of these students. They argued that the students’ behavior says more about the cost of an education than the students’ intelligence. 

“Although I do not agree with their tactics the message is clear. Tuition is too high. Soon the only people able to go to university won’t be all the ones that deserve to go, only the ones that can afford to,” someone commented. 

One commenter had an opinion that many people had a strong reaction to. They stated, “This was not put up for argument, this was put up before another local hits one of these students and is traumatized for life. Or, before one of our children hear[s] these students whom they look up to, and believe would make proper choices, [and] follow their lead. It is not a laughing or argumentative matter. It is disgusting and childish behavior and hopefully will be investigated and addressed by the faculty.”

Many students took issue with this statement and argued that the commenter was being insensitive to the student who was involved in an accident earlier that year. After all, would the injuries inflicted on the pedestrian not be equally traumatizing to the driver who hit them? “As someone who is connected with those directly impacted by the incident—I can tell you it is not a situation to make light of nor to joke about. Hopefully your next comments can address your regrettable words over using sarcasm on concerned community members,” a student commented. 

The moderator responded to the above, calling the students’ comments “pack-like attack behavior” and noting that they were getting out of hand. She later reported suspending these students, stating, “They do these attacks in groups. So, I have watched their pattern, they all like each other’s posts and attack on one person like a gang.”

In my opinion, based on the initial post, while there was animosity present in the comments made by the students, it was not to the extent that it should be considered “gang” or “pack-like” attacks. Furthermore, the moderator did not remove the original comment that incited the incident, yet they removed the students. Regarding any other incidents involving students, their claims cannot be falsified, as they have removed student comments from the page, as well as the students they consider “repeat offenders.” However, many posts made by community members that seem biased against students remain in the group, as they are attacking “the subject matter” and not one individual. 

The moderator of the group has stated that they do not tolerate “name-calling” in the group, although this statement leaves ambiguous implications for some of the comments stated above. It is clear based on their comments about students’ versus town members’ behaviour in the comment section that there may be a bias against students within the administration of the group. As a result, with the Tantramar Community Concerns group going private, the extent to which this will impact students wanting to join the group is up for debate.

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