Anonbot was started because West Side, known for being soul-crushing, needed a space where anyone could get things off their chests. For a while, it was beautiful—a small community of anonymous West Side students who were submitting anonymous confessions. We saw people coming out as queer on Anonbot before coming out to anyone else. We saw people dealing with suicidal thoughts (and others helping them get through it). We saw people talking about their crushes, aspirations, and stream-of-consciousness thoughts.
But as Anonbot grew, the lack of proper moderation turned the bot from a friendly community of anonymous West Siders into a place where people spread rumors, told lies, and said awful things. This hellscape didn't last long before it burned to the ground: on February 18th, 2019, a series of vague and unrelated posts led people to believe a school shooting was going to happen the next day. Police were called.
Anonymous communities are, by default, breeding grounds for abuse. The only way to prevent abuse on a platform where abuse is the default is by setting and enforcing clear rules, no matter what. We didn't do this, and as a result, Anonbot spiraled out of control until it reached the point of threatening the physical safety of West Side students.
Anonbot will not come back. But we're keeping this website and the Instagram page public as a reminder of what unmoderated online communities look like. This was the worst of West Side. This was Anonbot.