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The obsessive tormenter who made professors’ lives miserable

Like many instructors, Janani Umamaheswar occasionally checks Rate My Professors to monitor her course reviews. The site offers a loose barometer of how you are doing as a teacher, especially early in a career in academia. Since users post anonymously, including criticisms and rants, the site can also become a fount of anxiety.

When negative reviews do appear, any professor might speculate: How often are people checking my page? Could this reflect poorly on my future employment? And in particular, who posted the criticism? They might run down the mental list of students who received low grades or did not get a requested extension or rarely spoke in class. They might wonder if a user is even a former student or if they ever took their…

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