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SmoothWallGate: An Evolution of Opinions

Yousef Abu-Salah, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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*This opinion piece will be separated into two separate sections detailing the time before and after Andy Rhea began reworking the stock filtering settings, which provided a substantial change that has changed the perception of SmoothWall heavily.

Pre-Change:

Following its implementation, SmoothWall was utterly despised by the student population. The new internet filtration system had infamously taken MSMS by storm, and the student body opposed this development. I was alongside them, as I adamantly despised and resisted this new alternative to Lightspeed.

The primary reason that I hated SmoothWall so much in its beginning weeks was in its effects on the media and websites that I loved to visit most. Anything from ESPN to my beloved Pokemon Showdown was blocked, with seemingly no reason as the stock settings had still not been dealt with. Pair that with multiple internet outages and a much slower connection and my temper with SmoothWall had reached an all-time high.

“I absolutely despise SmoothWall. It’s blocked the majority of my Youtube playlist along with some of my favorite websites, and it even blocked most of the internet games that I play in my free time. I also hate the fact that I have sign in again and again after I close my computer. I really miss Lightspeed,” Steven Chung, senior, stated.

The frustration continued for weeks and weeks as students began to complain more and more, steadily becoming restless and even angrier.

“SmoothWall is a direct attack on our human rights. That may be a slight exaggeration, but I cannot stand the injustice that we call SmoothWall. It has affected nearly all of the entertainment I use at MSMS, and that doesn’t make me feel good. Quite the opposite,” Advaith Sunil, MSMS junior, stated.

In response, Mr. Andy Rhea hosted a Q&A to discuss SmoothWall and student, teacher, and administrator complaints.

In this Q&A, many details about the process and reasons why Smoothwall was chosen over Lightspeed. In this brief discussion, it was revealed that the main reason of the move away from Lightspeed is primarily due to the fact that the license of Lightspeed ran out and its difficult method of control for the admin. Due to the fact that the default block settings were up for a while, most games and other popular websites weren’t accessible. Popular social media and other media platforms were blocked due to liability issues for the school, which essentially showed that there was no possible way to ensure that a student following school rules. This would lead to parents discovering their kids’ activity on the network, and the blame would lie with MSMS.

Following this meeting, SmoothWall would have a great deal of change in its settings, leading to an era we call “Post-Change.”

Post-Change:

SmoothWall has now been improved leaps and bounds above what it used to be. Following the removal of the stock settings, online games, as well as YouTube videos, have both been open to all students of MSMS. With this change, student perception of SmoothWall has improved marginally. It is by no means loved or even preferred to Lightspeed, but it has changed enough that it has become tolerable for the majority of the student population.

I still am not a big fan of SmoothWall (is anyone?), but I’m glad it’s not as bad as it was when it was first implemented, and I understand the reasons behind why things are the way they are,” Alex Whitwam, an attendee of the original Q&A with Mr. Rhea, stated.

“At first, I hated Smoothwall. I constantly wished back for the days of Lightspeed. I still do. But, SmoothWall is not that bad. I can play Fortnite and other stuff again, so I’ll survive,” Smith Patel, senior, said.

For now, it seems that SmoothWall is on an upward trend. There are still infuriating internet outages and occasional bugs, but it is still much better.  This article was originally going to be a rant on their atrocity of SmoothWall’s initial stages; however, the recent changes have at least eased my anger to a relatively normal level. You’re safe for now SmoothWall…

 

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