# What Is #rantchat?

If we follow each other on Twitter, then undoubtedly you have seen me tweet with the hashtag #rantchat.

Over the last month or so, I have, surprisingly, received a lot of positive feedback on #rantchat either through tweets, DMs, or in person. I felt it would make sense to write about what #rantchat is in an FAQ style.

1. Is the whole purpose of #rantchat just to rant about something?
2. Yes! Everyone has a bad day. Everyone gets irked about something. Don’t hold it in, #rantchat! See what happens in the next question.

3. Why did you start tweeting to #rantchat?
4. Primarily, I got tired of the #RainbowsAndUnicornChat where everyone tweets about how awesome everyone is and how much learning and growth they got out of every single edu-chat they participated in. There’s nothing wrong with being friendly, and nice, and a little gushy, but really? I would be scared for myself if every Twitter chat opened my eyes to how I can teach better. It would tell me that I never actually reflected once in my $$n$$ years of teaching. And that would be a shame. I could be overly harsh about that, but I tend to reflect about the events of each day (teaching or otherwise) in my daily daydream sessions. Maybe people should make more time for that rather than blindly jump from one task to the next. Anyway, this is starting to become a #rantchat of its own. See how this works?

And another thing (sorry can’t stop now)! I also got tired of all the bandwagon-y, soundbite, contextless, edu-evangelism chats. “Homework is bad.” “Down with worksheets.” “Standardized tests are the devil.” yadda yadda yadda. In short, all of these types of statements are decidedly one-sided and “mistake the finger for the moon”. My soundbite, contextless, one-sided #rantchat responses are:

• “Assign homework, but don’t grade the blasted thing.”;
• Blame the teacher for using a worksheet as a substitute for teaching.”,
• Blame the teacher for using a worksheet as the only way to convey knowledge and understanding.”;
• Don’t blame the teacher who wants to use a worksheet as a way to provide additional, optional practice.”;
• Blame the people who use standardized test results as the predominant (only?) metric for assessing knowledge and teacher competency.”;
• Blame the people who created policies that encourage (economically force?) teaching to the test.”

You see the focus? We can’t blame a screwdriver for not working like a wrench. That’s a user issue.

5. Is #rantchat yet another education chat?
6. It can be if you want it to be. But there are more things than just education to rant about. You can rant about if your favorite coffee shop short-changed you on that quadruple espresso you ordered. My #rantchat tweets tend to be edu-centered, but occasionally, I’ll have non-edu-centered rants.

7. Is there a set time for #rantchat?
8. Nope! #rantchat happens whenever you’re ready for a #rantchat. Just fire away, and tag your tweets with #rantchat. Surely, there will be another commiserating soul who will join you or at least retweet you. If you want to rant at a specific time on a regular basis, by all means go for it!

9. Are you the moderator of #rantchat?
10. I’ve always been amazed at how respectful edu-people on Twitter are about encroaching on someone’s hashtag. Nobody owns #rantchat and nobody should own #rantchat. Everyone has a bad day from time to time; everyone has something that rubs them the wrong way; everyone has the right to rant about something. So rant away, no need to ask for permission! If your message resonates with others (and is seen by others), then others will jump in. If you rant in vulgar and otherwise crude and hateful ways, expect to be unfollowed or blocked by me and others.

If #rantchat gets to a certain size where we have regularly, colliding #rantchat tweets, then I would bring about a little bit of structure.

11. But I want a little structure to #rantchat. Can I start a #rantchat in the form of a Twitter edu-chat with Q1/A1 style responses?
12. Absolutely! @ me and I’ll gladly retweet it (given that the topic is within my sense of reasonable and professional and that I saw it on time). If I don’t retweet, assume that I didn’t see it on time. I’m not on Twitter 24/7.

13. I wish I could do a #rantchat, but I think I’d get fired. How can I #rantchat?
14. Without getting into an overly long write-up about this, we all have our constraints in life. Some have it worse than others. Some have it more unfair than others. At this point, I would say find a face-to-face friend to rant to. If you’re in NJ and want to get together, by all means, let’s try to meet up! Eventually, I’ll rant for you on Twitter, but I have to square away a few legal matters on that first (I don’t want to get messages that give specific names, times, and events, nor do I want to hear about illegal acts committed or planned, etc. — I would go straight to the police with those kinds of messages. It’s a huge can of worms. Or is it a can of huge worms?).

15. What’s an acceptable #rantchat?
16. I leave that to your judgment. When I #rantchat, I try to keep the matters generic and free of personally identifiable detail. I’m not interested in calling out specific individuals or organizations by name — maybe they were just having a bad day of their own. I may, for example, rant about “students” but no specific student by name.

17. Is there an archive of #rantchat?
18. There’s an archive in the sense of whatever is stored on Twitter and by the Library of Congress. Check out this blog post from Twitter’s blog. I don’t create periodic #rantchat archives. I don’t see the point. It’s a rant. Say it. Get it out. Move on.

19. I have a rant about #rantchat. Can I rant about that?
20. Yes. #rantchat supports meta-ranting.

21. But wait! I have a question you haven’t answered! How can I ask?