Muse Interviews

Yorfess, Yorfessions

Callum Tennant talks with Yorfessions co-founder discussing the thinking, (and banter), behind the page

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Image Credit: Yorfessions

After appearing on our Facebook feeds in 2017, the anonymous confession page, Yorfessions, has quickly become a key part of student social media interaction at the University. Originally Yorfess, the page allows users to share stories, comments and observations about uni life. Having gone viral early this year after the infamous ‘egggate’ scandal hit Reddit, the site has seen its fair share of controversy and been hit by several temporary bans. Early this week Nouse sat down with one of its creators.

Why did you start Yorfess?
I guess we wanted a fun platform for the students. I’m not going to lie, we also saw the similar popularity on similar platforms. Started it as something fun, something funny to do. We didn’t expect it to get as big as it
did. It was fun for us at the start, but then it did become a lot of work. But it’s fun for people and people enjoy it so why not continue? It was just me and a friend to start with.

At what point did you think, okay I need help with this?
When it was growing quite rapidly, past the first few hundred likes. We thought let’s see if there’s other people who want to join the team. We sent out an ad in May 2018, but in total we’ve had about three to four adverts. Now we’re on a team of about eight, from different backgrounds , genders , years. We don’t just want a group of, for example, 20-year old rugby lads. Diversity wasn’t a priority, but it was a nice bonus.

Do you think it’s now become a key part of student life?
Yes, it definitely has. It’s cool for me. It doesn’t affect me as much as I realise. I go around uni and hear people talking about it, or maybe see them on their phone, and it’s nice. It’s weird to see how enthusiastic people are. At the end of the day it’s because it’s so fun. It’s a nice procrastination platform too.

How do you think it helps students?
Our main priority is to provide entertainment; the top posts we look for are funny posts. We do have a bit of advice posts, but
when it comes to subjects like mental health we generally try and stay away from that. Because we’re not professionals, and because there are professional people in uni and we, and students also, don’t have any professional training to deal with it. But general day-today advice, we can allow them, and let people give advice, also because the comment section is always quite lively.

Do you think it can be harmful?
We’ve seen attempts for it to be harmful or ways it could be, but we always try and avoid that. It’s not our aim to make any controversy. If any post does come out that we deem to be harmful we’ll get that shutdown. It’s not in our interest, we are trying to provide an entertainment platform.

Are you still in control of it, do you think you’ll ever relinquish it?
Yes, I believe once I’ve graduated, I won’t be present, and I think it’s important to be present. I hope it will be a platform
that continues as long as the University does. I do believe I will relinquish all control at some point… just not quite yet.

What’s your favourite Yorfess?
Uh… gosh. That’s a hard question. I’ve been there a while. While our main priority are funny posts one of my favourites was egggate. Even though we found out it wasn’t a horrible situation in the end, it was still nice
to see people come together like that. And it did at the same time get a lot of attention, it was also funny to see that we were attracting a lot of Americans, seeing them chip in to a University page was weird, it provided us with a lot of laughs.

Has it been difficult to stay anonymous? Have you ever name-dropped in order to get something?
I personally do not find it hard to stay anonymous. Some of my editors do (smirk), we prefer to keep it a secret because it’s nice for the admins to stay anonymous too because the submissions are anonymous. I like it not to have a face because it’s going to keep on going. The face is the goose.

What are your future hopes for the platform?
To be honest with you, I don’t have any big concrete future hopes. I’d like it to stay a nice community as it is. If we build a group of editors who always post the right stuff, I’m happy with that.

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