Frequently Asked Questions
For Students, Parents and Reviewers
1-1) What is the purpose of this site? RateMyTeachers.com helps students, parents and faculty make informed decisions by promoting transparency within education.
1-2) What is RateMyTeachers.com? This free website lets users anonymously rate teachers and professors. Users can also post comments, and see the public comments posted by others. This site is also a useful scorecard, to find out what students are really thinking!
1-3) Who can rate teachers and professors? Is it limited to Students? We prefer that you only rate teachers and/or professors you have first-hand knowledge of. However, it is not possible for us to verify which raters have knowledge of which teachers and/or professors, so always take the ratings with a grain of salt. Remember, we have no way of knowing who is doing the rating - students, parents, regular people, dogs, cats, etc.
1-4) How soon are my ratings posted? Immediately!
1-5) Don't people use this site just to flame? Aren't most of the ratings negative? Absolutely not. You might be surprised to learn over 65% of the ratings on Ratemyteachers.com are positive.
1-6) What do teachers and professors think of this site? Well, that depends on the teacher!! We get 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 get some pretty hateful emails telling us how inappropriate the site is, how they are going to shut us down, etc.
1-7) How do I rate a teacher or professor? We've tried to make this site as easy to use as possible. Simply search for your teacher or professor's name; the site will identify your location; which makes the search experience much more simple. Another way is to browse from location; which means that you can browse your state, then your city, then your school or college, finally browsing the teacher or professor assigned to a specific institution. If your professor or teacher is not yet listed, you can Add a new teacher or add a new professor, and afterwards, the rating.
1-8) 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. Every new rating is reviewed, and we reserve the right to remove comments OR an entire rating. Please do not include insults or name-calling. You can find the guidelines on
Comments should be about their teaching skills.
Any allegation of illegal activity must be substantiated by including a link to a newspaper article or court case.
1-10) How do the scores work? All categories are based on a 5 point rating system, with 5 being the best. The overall rating depends on the individual score of each category.
Are the rating scores statistically valid?
Probably not. They are a listing of opinions and should be judged as such. However, we often receive emails stating that the ratings are uncannily accurate, especially for teachers or professors with over 10 ratings.
We urge consumers to get information from many sources, and to consider the reviews posted here just one source of information.
What if I see a rating that I think should be reviewed again? I know you said you review all ratings, but what if you miss one that is not OK?
You are right - every now and then a bad rating gets by us. You will see a red flag associated with each rating. When you click on that 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 is OK, we just approve it again.
If you don't see a flag, that means we've already reviewed and approved the rating a second time, and we have determined that the rating should not be removed.
1-13) Can I be sued for posting a rating? Yes, it is possible. It is also possible for you to be sued when NOT posting a rating; in the U.S., 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.
1-14) If I get sued, will I lose in court? "Proving adverse public character statements to be true is often the best defense against a prosecution for libel or defamation." - Wikipedia
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:
1-16) 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? You can report that to us immediately! 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.
1-17) How much does this website cost me? Nothing! The site is free to use.
2-1) I think I would like to become a school moderator. What do they do and how do I sign up? The School Admins handle the ratings for their school on a daily basis. This means: reviewing, accepting, deleting ratings-related actions. They also accept new teachers and make corrections (such as names) for existing teachers. To become an Admin, you must be a student at that school and have a RMT account.
I've seen 'Want to login or Create an account?'. What's that all about?
NO ONE has to have an account to use the site, but creating an account will allow you to track and edit your ratings. After your account is created, you can login to it before posting.
We get quite a few emails from people who made a mistake in rating a teacher or professor and want us to change them. (We don't change someone's rating. We can remove the entire rating or remove the comment, but we won't change them.) A member account gives the user a way to make sure their ratings are correct. We have a lot of changes planned. Some of them will be for members only, so if you want to use the site to its fullest, be sure and create an account.
2-3) Do I have to give you my name or email address? For most listings, you are not required to log in or enter your name or email address. We do require registration in order to rate some specific teachers or professors where we have seen suspicious rating activity. Creating a member account also gives you the ability to modify or remove reviews you have posted.
For Teachers and Professors
You are infringing the copyright on my name!
Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases.
This quote from the US government's copyright FAQ
3-2) Why were some of my ratings removed? We remove ratings for a number of reasons, but it usually boils down to 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.
3-3) Can I display your ratings on my own website? Probably yes. Please go to your listing page and click the "Add these ratings to your website" link, below the ratings.
3-4a) 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 with you. People rate you every day in their conversations and referrals, whether or not you are listed here. Having said that, you will usually see a red 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 threats of violence, we will handle it. If the rating does not contain profanity or threats of violence, we generally approve it again, and the red flag disappears. If you are convinced you have been libeled, you might ask an attorney about filing a Doe subpoena. Also, you can publicly respond on our site to the rating by clicking the "respond publicly to this rating" link just below the rating.
3-4b) 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 make it false. Why should we believe you over the reviewer? 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!
Think twice. The
Communications Decency Act (the "CDA")
is a complete bar to our 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 our company. 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 you might bring.
And finally, read the summary of legal protections for rating and review sites, and the organizations that assist in defending against baseless lawsuits, at:
RARPA Legal Information
3-4d) I think my demand letter would put you on notice that the review is false and defamatory. That makes you liable. No, it doesn't. 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. The CDA gives us complete immunity for the statements that others make on this site.
3-4d2) But you lost your CDA immunity by aggregating the user ratings into an average! Nope. The most instructive case on aggregate ratings is the California Court of Appeals' decision in Gentry v. eBay, which squarely held that such ratings do not transform a publisher into an information content provider. 99 Cal.App.4th 816, 834 (Cal. App. 2002).
3-4d3) But you lost your CDA immunity by editing the rater's original comments! Nope. 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.
Sounds like a
Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP)!
Twenty-eight states, have passed strict anti-SLAPP laws, authorizing expedited motions to dismiss and giving rise to counterclaims seeking attorneys' fees and liquidated damages.
If you want to drag us into court, bring your checkbook with you, because you'll be paying our attorneys to defend us.
A few more links you should probably check out before trying to sue:
Court punishes school for punishing student
Profs get hit with anti-SLAPP payments for suing website
3-4f) 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, e.g. SPEECH Act of 2010.
I'm planning to pose as a student and rate myself to increase my overall rating.
You may want to think twice about that. 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 it is illegal. If you are caught, you may end up paying $300,000 like this doctor.
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:
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 ).
3-6) 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 a
Subpoenas or other legal process should be obtained from a court with the appropriate jurisdiction. Our service of process address can be found at the
Maryland Secretary of State website
Subpoenas issued to us pursuant to a state court other than Maryland (where RMT Acquisition, LLC. is incorporated and has its primary place of business) are generally not enforceable. More info on this third-party website:
Please use the Contact Form. Note that we do read every question and comment submitted, but we do not guarantee a response.