Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of this site?

Rate My Teachers (RMT) was established in 2008, and 10 years later is being reimagined. Today RMT is about helping students answer a single question — what do I need to know to maximize my chance of success in a given class? Everything we do with the new RMT we view through the lens of that question.

Working with educators and developmental psychologists, we created a new survey. We then tested the survey questions with over 1,100 students to see whether the information it gleaned would be useful to them. Based on those responses we rebuilt the site from the ground up. We hope you like it.

RMT lets users share experiences about how teachers and professors teach their classes. Students are not alike, and what may prove challenging for one student may be facile for another. For example:

What kind of tests does the teacher give? Are they available for extra help? What technology do they allow in class? What if I’m bad at multiple choice and great at essays? What if I’m an email person but the teacher prefers in-person meetings after school?

We don’t always get to choose our teachers, but if we can walk into a new class knowing a little about their approach we are in a better position to succeed. Teachers benefit from having students arrive with a more clear-eyed set of expectations.

Who can rate teachers and professors?

In the early days of RMT, ratings could be made by students and parents. But the only two parties with deep knowledge of how the class operates are the student and teacher. Parents sometimes left kind comments, but more often it was to express displeasure at the way a teacher worked with their child.

We want the new RMT to be a place where students can come to prepare to take a teacher’s class. If a comment helps in that effort, great, but if not, it’s not aligned with the mission.

No matter what, always take ratings with a grain of salt. While we do our best to make sure only students complete surveys, there is a limit to the effectiveness of any verification process.

How soon are my ratings posted?

Most quantitative ratings are published immediately. Written answers to questions are moderated before posting.

Didn't people use this site just to flame? Aren't most of the ratings negative?

Absolutely not. While the new RMT takes an entirely new approach, over 65% of the ratings on the legacy RMT are positive.

What do teachers and professors think of this site?

Well, that depends on the teacher! Before relaunching we received a lot of emails from teachers telling us they like the site, and we've even had some telling us how the site has helped them. We also received some pretty hateful emails saying things too inappropriate to print .

We hope that teachers (and their students) find the new RMT much more useful.

How do I find a teacher or professor?

We've tried to make this site as intuitive as possible. Once you know your country and state/province, you can search for your teacher or professor's name.

How do I add and review a teacher or professor?

If your professor or teacher is not yet listed, first login. If you do not have an account you can create one. From there you will have the opportunity to add a teacher.

Why was my rating removed?

Ratings are sometimes removed due to improper comments, but more commonly they are removed after having been identified as originating from the same source (spamming of ratings, also called “astroturfing” ). Remember, rate each teacher or professor only once!

Some of my comments were removed. What comments are OK?

Comments should be objective and specific. Remember, your audience is someone who is once walking into the class for the first time. What do you wish someone had told you beforehand that would have given you an edge? For example:

Do the tests come from the study materials or is there something else hidden in there? Did an extra credit project save your grade? Remember, it’s not about the teacher as a person. It’s about how the class works.

Quantitative answers (the radio-button survey answers) are checked to make sure they’re not manipulated. Written answers are all moderated by a human moderator. We reserve the right to remove written answers or an entire review.

If you’ve had a bad experience with a class, insults are the wrong way to go. They don’t help the next person and will likely be removed. If you channel that feeling into making sure the next person has a better shot, and if they do the same in a class that frustrated them, over time the information for everyone will be much more useful.

Guidelines for posting can be found on this page.

What if I see a rating that I think should be reviewed again?

Every now and then a bad rating gets by us (live people occasionally make mistakes). You will see a flag associated with each rating. When you click on the flag, the rating is sent back to us to review again. If it should not have been accepted, we will handle it. If the rating meets our guidelines and terms and conditions, we may approve it again.

Can I be sued for posting a rating?

While RMT serves six countries, in the United States at least, almost anyone can be sued for anything, particularly if the plaintiff is willing to give false testimony. If you do  libel someone, it may be possible to identify you using a  Doe subpoena.

I'm being accused of libel because of the rating I posted; what should I do?

The good people at The Electronic Frontier Foundation have some resources that may help you, here.

What if I see an error with a teacher or professor, like if the name is spelled wrong or even if it isn't a real teacher?

Please let us know! After you click on a teacher/professor, you will see a 'Flag teacher' link just below the teacher's name. Just click on that link and tell us what is wrong or what needs to be changed.

How much does this website cost me, and why do you require ad blockers to be disabled to use the site?

The site is free to use, and we don’t have a moral objection to ad blockers. That said, we believe that our work has value, and we rely on advertising revenue to fund our moderators, developers, and operating expenses. Permitting ad blocked browsing would devalue that work.

What is your privacy policy?

You can view our Privacy Policy here.

I've seen Login or Create an account? What's that all about?

You don’t have to create an account to use the site, but you do need an account to provide a rating.

I'm having trouble logging into my member page and/or adding ratings. What should I do?

Ratemyteachers.com uses cookies for its login process, so please make sure your browser has cookies enabled, then restart your browser. Unfortunately we can't help debug individual browser problems.

Teachers' And Professors' FAQ

You are infringing the copyright on my name!

Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. 

Why were some of my ratings removed?

We remove ratings for a number of reasons, but it usually results from one of our automated spam filters thinking there were multiple ratings coming from the same source. When we detect this, our system will usually automatically remove the duplicate ratings. Also, if our system detects multiple ratings coming from the same source, it may require new raters to login before rating for some period of time.

How do I get a rating removed from your site?

We generally do not remove ratings. This site is for people to report on their experiences. That said, you will usually see a flag associated with each rating. When you click on that flag, the rating is sent back to us to review again. If it contains profanity or anything else that violates our site guidelines and terms and conditions, we will handle it. If the rating is not found to be in violation, we generally approve it again, and the flag disappears. If you are convinced you have been libeled, you might ask an attorney about filing a Doe subpoena.

But one of these ratings is false and it's hurting my business. I want to send you a letter demanding that it be removed.

We do not accept demand letters because it is not our role to determine whether a review is true or false. You might dispute the truth of a review, but your disputing it does not necessarily make it false. Still, we believe your voice should be heard, so you are always free to post a public response to any review on this site. Also, if there is a red flag next to the rating, you can click it to have the rating reviewed. If there is no red flag, it means the rating was already reviewed and re-approved, and will not be reviewed again.

If you won't accept a demand letter, I have no choice but to sue you.

The Communications Decency Act (the “CDA”)  protects the provider from liability for the statements of others on this website: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” 47 U.S.C. § 230. Federal courts have applied this standard on its terms: “By its plain language, Section 230 creates a federal immunity to any cause of action that would make service providers liable for information originating with a third-party user of the service.” Zeran v. AOL , 129 F.3d 327, 330 (4th Cir. 1997).

The ratings on this site are written by our users, not by us. Thus, under the CDA, we are not the “publisher or speaker” of the ratings, even if they contain false information ,and we are not liable for defamation, libel, fraud or any other tort claim based on such activity.

I think my demand letter would put you on notice that the review is false and defamatory. That makes you liable.

Zeran,129 F.3d at 227, and the cases following it uniformly hold that it is not up to us to determine whether your demand letter is correct or the review is correct.

But you lost your CDA immunity by aggregating the user ratings into an average.

The most instructive case on aggregate ratings is the California Court of Appeals decision in Gentry v. eBay, which held that such ratings do not transform a site into an information content provider. 99 Cal. App. 4th 816, 834 (Cal. App. 2002).

But you lost your CDA immunity by editing the rater's original comments.

Under  230(c)(2)(A),  “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of (A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected”

I'm going to sue you anyway. Taking down the review is cheaper than paying a lawyer.

Twenty-eight states have passed strict anti- SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) Laws, authorizing expedited motions to dismiss and giving rise to counterclaims seeking attorneys' fees and liquidated damages. See: Profs Get Hit with Anti-SLAPP Payments for Suing Website.

I'm not in the United States, and I'm going to sue you in my own jurisdiction.

The United States has enacted strict laws protecting US companies from lawsuits brought in foreign jurisdictions. Even if you win a judgment under your local laws, it will not be enforceable in the United States. See, SPEECH Act of 2010.

I'm planning to pose as a student and rate myself to increase my overall rating.

We use automated algorithms and human moderators to detect and remove phoney reviews. Also, posing as a student or hiring a firm to post positve ratings is a practice known as “astroturfing,” and is illegal. If you are caught, you could be liable for damages.

Why do you allow people to post anonymously?

The Supreme Court of the United States has held that anonymity of speech is protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution (see McIntyre v. Ohio,  514 U.S. at 337; Talley v. State of California , 362 U.S. 60), also see here

United States courts have consistently recognized that the right to speak anonymously extends to speech on the Internet (see Doe v. 2theMart.com and  Doe v. Cahill).

Why were some of my ratings removed?

As mentioned above, we use automated algorithms and human moderators to combat “astroturfing.”

How can I identify the writer of a libelous rating?

If you are convinced you have been libeled, you might ask an attorney about filing Doe subpoena. Subpoenas or other legal process should be obtained from a court with the appropriate jurisdiction. Subpoenas issued to us pursuant to a state court other than Maryland (where VP Limited, LLC is domiciled and has its primary place of business) are generally not enforceable under federal law.

More Questions?

Please use the Contact Form.  Note that we do read every question and comment submitted, but we do not guarantee a response.

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