November 29, 2012

Dear Uncle Ezra Shuts Down Temporarily, Citing Need to Adapt to Web

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After serving the Cornell community for more than two decades, Dear Uncle Ezra –– a website through which students, faculty, parents and alumni could receive answers to any Cornell-related question –– is on leave.

Dear Uncle Ezra was founded in the fall of 1986 and responds anonymously to readers’ questions, grew so popular that it was profiled in national publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek.

The website has not posted anything since May 10, with the expection of a post that  states the website is “under construction” so it can more rapidly respond to its readers’ queries.

“‘Dear Uncle Ezra’ will be closed as we explore faster and better ways to respond to your questions. The internet has advanced by leaps and bounds and our old and antiquated ‘Dear Uncle Ezra’ site is far too slow to meet your needs,” it states.

Since its inception, Dear Uncle Ezra has inspired similar online services such as “Go Ask Alice!” at Columbia University and “Ask Ralphie” at University of Colorado Boulder, according to its website.

Students say they will miss the website and the wisdom it doled out.

Joan Campos ’15 said Dear Uncle Ezra was an accessible way to obtain answers to questions she had about the University.

“I am sad to see that it is going offline, and I hope it comes back soon,” she said.

Campos said that Dear Uncle Ezra served as “an easy way to ask questions that students were sometimes too embarrassed to ask, either because they didn’t know where to find the answer or were afraid that it was a stupid inquiry.”

She also added that the site helped her learn about “fun Cornell traditions and myths.”

Eleni Konidaris ’15 said she will miss Dear Uncle Ezra’s funny postings.

“Uncle Ezra was, by far, one of my favourite columns. It gave great advice that helped many students, including myself, especially the funny and random things one could learn about Cornell and fellow Cornellians,” she said.

Konidaris said she hopes the website will become active again in the near future.

“I will greatly miss [Dear Uncle Ezra], so fingers crossed it comes back online soon,” Konidaris said.

Sejal Shah ’15 loved Dear Uncle Ezra for the interesting facts that one could learn about Cornell among other things posted on the site.

“It’s really sad that Dear Uncle Ezra is temporarily closed. It’s a unique site that has great witty pieces of advice for students, helps answer questions, and provides ways to learn more about the Cornell community,” she said. “I do hope that the site is back soon.”

Laura Harter ’15 used the column as a valuable resource while she was researching Cornell as a potential school to join.

“To make my decision on whether to come to Cornell, I went on the Internet and looked up everything related to the school and one of the things that I stumbled on was Dear Uncle Ezra, which answered all my questions from surviving freshman year to the different quirks of college life,” she said.

“It is unfortunate that it has stopped running for future students to use and love like I did,” she added.

Original Author: Utsav Rai