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Shocking Realizations and Accusations Lead 'RUNNERS PAGE' Into Dark Ages

  So, who exactly visits the RUNNERS PAGE? Once the webmaster said, "THE RUNNERS PAGE is privately owned and managed by students for students... I think the only people that would ever come here are the people that know the address from school-- current athletes, Southwest students and alumni." The most incredible recognition of the website was that it became the #2 bookmark on alumni Paul Seller's web browser. Says Sellers, "I use it to keep track of my boys." No one assumed, thought, or rarely dreamed that coaches of other schools visit student webpages. When a controversial article was posted putting down several events and people at the Conference meet, it was more of a shock than anything else that complaints were made by people that no one knew ever went to the student-based websites. Realizing the mistake too late, THE RUNNERS PAGE quickly took down all potentially offensive material, saluting the first amendment of the United States Constition by not abusing it with arguable "lawful immorality." The moral grounds of the matter were well established, while a legal stance on the matter was confusing to some. Nevertheless the article will remain down and an apology toward all those criticized was put in its place.
  But now that this shocking event has begun to settle, webmasters of student-owned and mantained running webpages are re-evaluating their own pages and habits. Says Erik DeLapp, "I love statistical anaylisis in running, and this page is a hive for information about our team, open to all other teams. It's like scouting out another team without leaving your home. Personally I don't really like the idea of people using our news as scouting information, but it is an internal conflict since I love managing the site." Some webmasters were even talking about the idea of changing their personal webpages from fact to fiction, and making up unusual meet results about fictional characters with similar names to Southwest runners that run not-so-similar times. Some webpages like THE RUNNERS PAGE have begun to consider simply taking down the site completely, in order to avoid any potential conflicts in the future. Between the information page stating "All articles express the opinion of the authors and all meet results are unofficial" and the contact page with a "suggestion box," the fact that complaints came through not email or letter but from outside, real-world, surprising names, is not comforting toward the students that run the webpages. Says one webmaster, "If someone had a problem with my page, I would want them to email me first and I would definitely listen and work it out, but I am afraid of even having a page if the people complaining hide behind school authority..." Another idea was to password protect all the news pages. Says THE RUNNERS PAGE, "The problem with password protection is that nobody wants to have to type in a password every time they want to check the team news. Plus people forget the password, or lose it. Most likely we will not embrace this idea but will definitely keep it in mind considering recent events."
   So why is this the beginning of the "Dark Ages"? It is not to say that appropriate censorship is something bad. However this offensive and biased "expression of opinion," which no one thought twice of before it became a school and administration related matter, has scared several authors into living on a small list of "modern norms"-- keep things brief and extremely data-centered, not writing any articles at all, or simply taking down their sites. While the possibilities on this list might not seem necessary, there are still authors who fail to see the fine line between appropriate and inappropriate material. THE RUNNERS PAGE is now adopting a very strict editing and review policy toward its articles, cutting and slicing out anything that might even seem to have a hint of offensive material. Says a RUNNERS PAGE editor, "I see the line between offensive and passive, and from now on we will stick as far to the passive side as we can... It is still in debate whether or not we should mention other teams by name, and while that may seem like going too far, I say it's better safe than sorry-- we want to stay out of trouble from now on and will go to the extreme to do just that."

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