A Mammoth Exclusive!
Earlier this school year, as she set up her Infinite Campus security preferences, U-32 freshman Nora Dillon had a hard time picking eight “likes” and “dislikes” from the available choices.
“I don’t like poodles, or skydiving, or any of that stuff,” Dillon said. “But I just kept trying more combinations.”
When Dillon finally did access the program, what she saw surprised her– the screen still showed familiar Infinite Campus menus, but the background was black, and an odd message popped up:
“Bitcoins/cash/snacks=profish. Click it / for your ticket.”
Dillon was unsure whether to answer, but couldn’t help but ask, “Who’s this?”
“Silk,” came the reply. “Dr. Infinite.”
Luckily for the public, Dillon came to the Chronicle with this information, instead of the authorities. She is the first student to give the media a glimpse of what is known in underground circles as the “Deep Campus” or “Dark IC”, a hidden corner of U-32’s grading portal where academic “success” is bought and sold in an unregulated digital marketplace of proficiencies.
Dillon put one of the Woolly Mammoth’s senior investigative reporters in touch with her contact, a self-styled “scorelord” with the codename “Infinite Silk.” What follows is a Mammoth exclusive: the first interview from the shadowy world of “Dark I.C.”
Woolly Mammoth: So… Thanks… Again. You really didn’t have to do this.
Infinite Silk: Just keep it DL. I want my voice modulated. Stealth.
WM: Done. Your voice will be unrecognizable.
IS: And make sure that photo I sent you is pixelated. Like my face all blurry, you know.
WM: Of course. Now we’d like to begin with the basics: how did you get into Dark I.C.?
IS: Well it started with e-portfolios– some younger kids on my bus got mixed up with that, and they found a button, you know, clicked it, one link led to another, chat groups, and ‘bang-bang’: I’m in.
But the money really cooked up this year. Some boneheads on my cross country team got “1’s” on some assignments. I said I’d see what I could do, went deep… and just slicked it, you know? Made them pro, got money.
WM: Made them “pro”?
IS: Proficient, dog. Like straight 4’s, baby, ‘cross the board.
WM: But didn’t the teacher notice when you changed the scores?
IS: Nothing to notice on their end, whiz. But the parents “got four-eyes”, like we say, follow me?
WM: I understand. But this sounds like a small deal… how did you go from there to being, as you say, a “scorelord”?
IS: Oh, quick. Quick fast in a hurry. After I helped out my cross country team, I hooked up some kids I knew through strings– violin, cello, you know– and got them pro, and it just grew from there, like a brand. Like Nike for shoes, or Beats for headphones– people know “Silk” means “Proficient.” ‘Quick and Slick’, like I say. ‘And Infinite.’
WM: Do you have competition? Are you the only “scorelord”?
IS: I wish, man. Sorry to say, but it’s tight out here. Prices are weak– I used to get a ‘five dollar footlong’ or maybe even like a school t-shirt, you know. Last girl I set up, doctored up her whole chemistry thing, you know, and got two bags of Baked Lays chips from the cafeteria. Harsh. Hard to take, but it’s that damn Krampus, he-
IS: Infinite Krampus. Stole his name partly from me, which is weak, you know, the ‘infinite’ part, and then he goes out like some vigilante, like Anonymous or Wikileaks, that kind of thing, just practically giving away proficiencies, with some political idea to it, like ‘bring down the system’ stuff, a lot of talk about the top ‘one percent’ of grade earners, you know– he’s not in it for the money. More like Robin Hood. In his mind, anyways.
WM: You sound bitter– have you and Krampus had any face-to-face confrontations, or you do just compete for customers?
IS: Oh– no, man– no bitterness. Me and K are tight, like brothers, you know. Came up together in Berlin, both in last-band computer science, java, on white days, you know. We’re just playing, like a game. Cat and mouse with the cops, but mouse v. mouse on the Dark IC, like we say, you know. Click it to pick it, baby.
WM: Huh….. Well, ok. We have some other interviews to do this band, so I guess we’ll just say thank you, again, and also ask, what’s next for you, and for Krampus? Do you think you’ll get caught? Will Dark IC grow?
IS: Scorelording will maybe wait more ‘til winter, but we’ve pretty much got that Power Law beat, baby. Stay tuned for the team up. Silk and Krampus: one law, one mouse, one low price. Profish, baby. You know it. And what’s twice times Infinite? You tell me.