In the beginning there was RYS (Rate Your Students), a blog started by "The Professor" on November 3, 2005. It was a slow grower. "The Professor" handed off moderating duties when it got busy. Lots of national press. From 2008-2010 Compound Cal joined as a moderator, and was the last man standing when he shut the place down on May 28th, 2010. (Famously, Cal wrote a great piece for the Chronicle that provides RYS-specific history.)
A number of RYS readers approached Cal about keeping that page alive, but he did not want the name to continue. Fab Sun (aka Fabio Sunshine, I'm not shitting you) got the nod, and College Misery started on June 24th, 2010.
What differed the most between the pages is that comments were turned on at CM, allowing us to flail madly, get off track, insult each other, and (more than occasionally) raise the roof on good ideas.
A number of conceits existed with the community, some that came from RYS, and some that were all our own.
- The blog was always run at a "compound" somewhere. In the RYS days, it was a desert location, filled with ravenous wolves, barbed wire, tar pits, and townie redheads. CM started in a shed on the campus of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, moved for a time to Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, where the large cache of compound guns caused less suspicion, and then after a hiatus in 2014, relocated at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. In March of 2015 the community took their weed, guns, leathers, and canned meats to Oilmont, Montana. In December 2015 they relocated to a non-descript strip mall site in Orlando, Florida, their final resting spot.
- There was always a hookah, but past RYS "personality" Compound Cash was likely to steal your weed.
- The page was dying. It was always dying. We were always teetering on extinction, and we liked it.
- Everything on here was written by 4 people. We were lonely. We had cats instead of families. We hit refresh all day to inflate our page counts. We made millions on the ads, when we had them, and then took that money, invested it, and now have spent it on trash.
- The graphics sucked.
- The moderators were always fucking things up, changing fonts, blurring images, capriciously picking and choosing who got to have a voice. Fab used to get hammered for being too big a dick swinger, and then the next day for being too much of a woman. Leslie K would occasionally generate lustful love letters and then misogynistic rants. She treated them all the same, just like she did her hubby, daughter, and son-in-law, with disdain. Terry P. had at least 2 recognized nervous breakdowns during office hours. The moniker "RGM," or Real Goddamned Moderator got used occasionally to depersonalize the position. Hiram ran the page one day, and you can guess how that went. After the 2014 hiatus Terry P. took over again and ended his tenure in mid March 2015 with the remarkable "Mediocre Reveal." Both Ben and Kimmie ran alternate pages during CM hiatuses.
- Thirstys were questions. Thursday was the Big Thirsty. There were others. Nobody but Cal ever knew what they were or cared.
- There was Yaro. Read this. Or this. Or this. Or this.
- There was Katie.
- Everyone drank.
- We didn't invent the term, but we like to say we popularized "snowflake."
- Our ethos was always, "Don't care more about their education than they do." (Yet all evidence shows we didn't quite measure up.)
- We solved all the problems of academe, and then we broke it again.
- In the 2371 days since the page first went online, we published 6346 posts, hosted 73,780 comments, were visited almost exactly 11 million times, and really really really wanted everyone to stop making cookies for their fucking students.
- Everything we did was out of love.
- There was a duck. The duck was popularized in CM lore by Terry P. It was often evoked to change the topic, defuse a tense situation, or because it was such a good looking fucking duck. The duck, as you must know, has left the building.