It may be getting darker outside earlier, but Wesleyan students’ days are getting brighter thanks to Wes Compliments. The Facebook page, which was started on Nov. 18, anonymously posts compliments sent in through Facebook message and email. The person who created the compliment page for Wes did so with the intention of bringing joy to University students.
“I wanted to start a page for Wes because I thought it would be a good contribution for the Wesleyan community,” wrote the Wes Compliments moderator in a message to The Argus. “Who could possibly dislike having something awesome written about them and THEN have everyone see it? It is definitely an ego boost and I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Everyone should be able to feel good about themselves.”
The idea of an anonymous compliments page originally came from Queens University. Dozens of other schools, including Georgetown, Stanford, and Hamilton, have adopted the idea as well.
The anonymity is part of what makes the concept work so well, as it allows people to say nice things without fear of awkwardness.
“I also believe that everyone at Wes has a lot of positive things to say about other people but just don’t say it,” the moderator wrote. “It could be the fear of being awkward and telling an acquaintance that ze’s so fucking hot and you’d jump zer bones anytime, anywhere or maybe you’re embarrassed to tell your roommate from freshman year that you thought she was the most amazing person because the only time you two ever talked was when she was taking care of you after being blackout drunk and projectile vomiting everywhere. I think it’s a happy medium between not saying anything and telling a person outright.”
The anonymous acts of kindness are generally appreciated by recipients.
“It felt like I’d just been handed 100 dollars,” said Mike Creager ’15, who received a compliment on Wednesday. “It was the best feeling ever. It made what was turning out to be a bad day into a really really good day…It made me look at the world with an even more positive attitude.”
Other students agreed, and expressed curiosity about the authors of such kind words.
“I thought it was really nice and it really made my day,” said Siri Carr ’15. “It was an unexpected little pick-me-up. I am very curious as to who it was.”
With all of the positive vibes, the moderator receives about 50 compliments per day. The high level of activity on the page led to Facebook banning the moderator from several features even though ze passed a profile picture identification test in the early days of the page.
Despite lots of speculation (including investigations into who the page friended first and who might have talked about starting a compliment page), the moderator has managed to keep hir identity a secret from even hir closest friends. Ze hasn’t let the popularity of the page—it has over 1500 Facebook friends—get to hir head.
“I do feel a little mysterious though and it’s nice to be ninja when I’m checking the page right next to my friends,” ze wrote.
Additional reporting was contributed for this piece by Arts Editor Adam Keller.