OP/ED: Ending the Dark Days

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posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 08:25 PM
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I've read through this entire thread and don't know what to make of it. You talk of problems. Partisanship. Etc., etc.

Recently the amount of my own replies to threads has decreased dramatically. Why? I can look at a thread title and author and know what's going to be written. I can look at the responders to the thread and 98% of the time know what they will be saying. Very, very few people ever want to listen to what someone else says, or examine what they are saying. The mystery, the anticipation, is gone, at least for me.

People will never change. Youngsters under the age of 30 purport to have the wisdom and experience of many years of life; they analyze and criticize with fodder from a textbook as their ammunition. Others are set in their ways. ATS mods will never change people, neither by tightening up the rules or by rearranging the topics. Can't be done. The best you can hope for is a small community of like-minded individuals (individuals? an oxymoron?). Might as well join Oprah's book club.

Another thing: where do some of you get the time to write so much? I daresay that my lifestyle allows me to be online as much as anyone here; yet I am constantly amazed with how many posts some people have.

One more thing and I'll shut up. I have never seen a site where the words "Prove it" are so detested. Wild allegations are made in some threads, and when proof of them is asked, one of two responses is invariably given:

1. This is a conspiracy board, we don't need proof

or, my all time favorite,

2. Prove that what I say is not true.

Just my .02




posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 08:34 PM
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Originally posted by Shadowflux
Personally, I don't think it's a problem of opinions, rather it's not a problem at all. It's simply the result of a community getting larger and is indictative of the success of ATS, which has already shown it's ability to expand and evolve by the fact that it's gotten this far and reached this many people. *SNIP*

It's a problem all right. It's the mindset of the membership. It's each individual realizing that ther's an agenda out there beyond Democrats and Republicans. We embrace the political party line all too often and forget the bigger picture.
Who benefits from the people of this country's divisions? Seems to me, those divisions keep us shackled.
And, we don't even see what's being done to us.

There's nothing the moderators or administrators can do to fix trhis problem. It is something each of us must do on our own. We don't need new titiles and ideally we wouldn't need as many mods as we now have. It's not something ATS can teach.

But, it can be learned from reading quality posts that deny ignorance.



However, I must agree, somthing should be done. *SNIP*


I hope I am not putting word's in SO's mouth here.
I don't think this is a call to any changes to the ATS community as a whole.
I see it more as a call to action to each member to open their eyes and see what is going on in this country and the world. Right now the people who really are in charge in this country are doing a great job. The term "dumbingdown" comes to mind.
We need to see beyond the politics that keep us pigeonholed. The best way for the government to keep us under its thumb is to keep us divided.


We would all lose if ATS adopted some form of educational segregation. We cannot reprogram our members, deny hyprocrisy. *SNIP*

Amen to this!



posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 08:35 PM
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I see a couple of problems in here. If I understand what Soficrow is trying to say, she thinks that ATS and ATSNN is here to teach members?....

What exactly is there to teach, and who should define exactly what members should learn?.... Should the majority of ATS and ATSNN who are liberal define what "new members and everyone should learn?" i think that is a bad idea.

Soficrow, i see what you are sugesting as indoctrination.... Everyone is biased towards their own views. You might think your views are correct and they are the truth, but for other members who have experienced and learned things you haven't, they will probably see things differently from you.

If something like this is introduced, ATS and ATSNN will just go down the hill and will become even more biased towards the opinion of one group, instead of being what ATS and ATSNN is supposed to be, a place where people with all sorts of ideas gather to discuss them.

BTW, what exactly would these new titles, if members pass whatever tests, provide as a whole to the members? I see these titles will be a new way to separate members even more, and more so since you have to pass a test, i wonder what questions would be in this sort of test...anyways imo, this is a bad idea...but what do I know right? I must be a government agent infiltrated in here because my ideas are different from the majority of members in here.....


[edit on 17-3-2005 by Muaddib]



posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 08:57 PM
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Originally posted by Muaddib
I see a couple of problems in here. If I understand what Soficrow is trying to say, she thinks that ATS and ATSNN is here to teach members?....

What exactly is there to teach, and who should define exactly what members should learn?.... Should the majority of ATS and ATSNN who are liberal define what "new members and everyone should learn?" ...Soficrow, i see what you are sugesting as indoctrination....

BTW, what exactly would these new titles, if members pass whatever tests, provide as a whole to the members?



Maudib - reading the posts really does help clear things up. But...

I'm talking about skills, NOT indoctrination - it's about intellectual self-defense. Here's a quick synopsis.

I think SO is right. There IS a conspiracy to polarize people and keep them polarized. And the weasels know all the tricks. They sneak in here and do schtuff to keep everyone at each others' throats.

....A LOT of manipulation occurs here camouflaged as 'debunking' and 'debate' - and the un-prepared are sucked in or left floundering, with no recourse but to resort to name-calling, because they know at a gut level they're being abused.

The manipulations work because people don't recognize the tricks and don't have the skills to 'block' the blows. Which is why I recommend teaching "intellectual self-defense." The first part of self-defense is knowing the moves - else how can you block them?

I think people need to learn the 'moves' in order to protect themselves. ...The only reason I recommended testing and titles along with it was for 'motivation.'



Intellectual Self-defense posts on ATS:

Arguing: logical fallacies to avoid


www.rickross.com...

Coercive persuasion and thought reform are alternate names for programs of social influence capable of producing substantial behavior and attitude change through the use of coercive tactics, persuasion, and/or interpersonal and group-based influence manipulations (Schein 1961; Lifton 1961). Such programs have also been labeled "brainwashing" (Hunter 1951), a term more often used in the media than in scientific literature. However identified, these programs are distinguishable from other elaborate attempts to influence behavior and attitudes, to socialize, and to accomplish social control. Their distinguishing features are their totalistic qualities (Lifton 1961), the types of influence procedures they employ, and the organization of these procedures into three distinctive subphases of the overall process (Schein 1961; Ofshe and Singer 1986). The key factors that distinguish coercive persuasion from other training and socialization schemes are:

1. The reliance on intense interpersonal and psychological attack to destabilize an individual's sense of self to promote compliance

2. The use of an organized peer group

3. Applying interpersonal pressure to promote conformity

4. The manipulation of the totality of the person's social environment to stabilize behavior once modified

Thought-reform programs have been employed in attempts to control and indoctrinate individuals, societal groups (e.g., intellectuals), and even entire populations. Systems intended to accomplish these goals can vary considerably in their construction.

From: Coercive Persuasion and Attitude Change
Encyclopedia of Sociology Volume 1, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York
By Richard J. Ofshe, Ph.D.



.Edit - add Ref. Dark Days. (The black band on ATS)

[edit on 17-3-2005 by soficrow]



posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 09:05 PM
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How about these?
Perhaps they will explain and educate on some of the "tactics" used, as insinuated by yourself, soficrow.


I mean geee, if we are going to make aware and educate on how to defend oneself, then lets reveal them all?
Fallacies




seekerof



posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 09:16 PM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
How about these?
Perhaps they will explain and educate on some of the "tactics" used, as insinuated by yourself, soficrow.


I mean geee, if we are going to make aware and educate on how to defend oneself, then lets reveal them all?
Fallacies





Erm. I am not insinuating anything. I am saying it outright: There are people here manipulating individuals and the group - it's part of a larger conspiracy.

Good link - thanks. But I don't know why you're insinuating I'm withholding references. ...?

I ran several searches here - I know good threads exist because people have posted them - only found what I posted above. ...I haven't made any attempt to create a block of links or resources - but hey, it's a good idea.


Arguing: logical fallacies to avoid

www.rickross.com...

.



posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 09:22 PM
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I think that of the two, the blue medal looks classier and more prestigious on a muted background.

[edit on 17-3-2005 by MaskedAvatar]



posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 09:30 PM
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Are we still on about the silly looking little black band across the title? It looks like bad coding instead of a statement, honestly. I used to wear a synthetic rubebr band on my wrist to protest the rubber tree debacles back in the late eighties, I eventually took it off because it looked stupid and didn't really get my point across to anyone. SO, all the cartoon guys and black bands, what are you trying to do here? Can I put a little band on my posts, maybe a little blue star or something? Ad NAUSEUM...

Bottom line is, if you don't like a thread, stay off the thread. ATS has not become some din of evil and debauchery, it is a discussion site, and we discuss things here.
Polarization? Welcome to the internet.



posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 10:09 PM
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Originally posted by MaskedAvatar
I think that of the two, the blue medal looks classier and more prestigious on a muted background.



"Muted"?
Muted as in be quiet? Make no comments? Do not speak till spoken to? Get your permission first? More cryptic messages?

Where is my decoder ring at?



IMHO, its interesting that you say what you do above, because if I remember correctly, your name was on the list of finalist for that same "blue medal". Correct me if I am wrong here, but apparently you feel that you would have worn it in a more "prestigious" and "classier" fashion, correct? Just going by your past few encryptic references.



seekerof



posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 10:12 PM
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Originally posted by MaskedAvatar
I think that of the two, the blue medal looks classier and more prestigious on a muted background.




Thanks MA. I do enjoy your posts. They're pertinent, pointed and always relevant, if oblique.


Twitchy You're special too but FYI - this IS a conspiracy site and we are discussing the greatest conspiracy since the privatization of the Federal Reserve - namely the manipulated polarization of the American people. ...It's not just "Welcome to the Internet." Really. Take a look around, please. There's much more than that going on. Trust me.



.



posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 10:19 PM
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Originally posted by soficrow
There are people here manipulating individuals and the group - it's part of a larger conspiracy.


www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 10:34 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

Originally posted by soficrow
There are people here manipulating individuals and the group - it's part of a larger conspiracy.


www.abovetopsecret.com...



Kay guys, this is a call for a BIG research project. Check it out.

I'm in if I qualify as a senior member. ...IMO - this is very important. It needs to be done - and ATS is where it's at.


.



posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 01:29 AM
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Hoo boy. Where to start? Well, I guess with the original suggestions made by Sofi. I don't think we can make anybody do anything, here's why...

It's been said already, but I'll reitterate with a comic twist.


You can lead a whore to culture but you can't make him/her think.

What we want is a humanity (and by proxy an ATS) that can think for itself, without resorting to sound-byte philosophies and pre-fab enemies. We want to be taken seriously as individuals, not lumped in with a group of people that we ourselves may despise. It burns me up every time someone labels me liberal, my political allegiance is granted on an individual basis, the same as my personal allegiances. To suggest otherwise is to question my intelligence, and to question my intelligence is an insult, pure and simple. I respond to insults in kind, against my better judgement, and the perpetual cycle continues.

The labelling is obnoxious, widespread, and it incites a great deal of anger. It is the fault of both sides for engaging in it, and moreover it is the fault of the conspirators for making it so acceptable to de-humanize people. Since we can't stop the conspirators from wanting to play us off each other, we must stop ourselves, and if possible each other, from falling into the two neatly defined categories. We have to reject the categorical denial of our 'selves', and more than that, we have to somehow punish those who reinforce the stereotypes.

I believe a better ATS (indeed, a better world, a better humanity) is possible, but it will require an enormous amount of personal effort on the part of the mods and the members. The mods can only do so much without being perceived as squelching free speech, therefore, the burden of action falls largely on us, the members. We have to send clear signals to the partisan weenies that their influence is unacceptable, unwarranted, and will result only in their isolation from the community.

That being said I've used the ignore feature to simply reduce the partisan clutter. I realize this is the lazy way out, but I simply don't have enough hours in the day to dedicate signifigant portions of my time to reading and responding to the same, tired old crap from unrepentant partisans. I realize that this is contrary to denying ignorance in a way, but it is also critical to that idea. If I don't see the weenies, I don't play into their hands. I decided that my ignore list will be a rotating batch of malcontents, rather than a permanent prison. That way, if members reform their ways, I will be able to see their progress and respond positively to it. I would recommend the same strategy to anyone else.

The mods can play a decisive role in this struggle, by doggedly removing threads from ATS that do not belong, and by strong-arming the manipulators into compliance with the agreed upon rules of civil discussion. Perhaps we should simply state that partisanship has no place at ATS - an ultimatum to the partisan weenies to take it outside to PTS or lose their posting priviledges all together. If the admin believes that partisan cliques are ignorant, and fermenting ignorance in other members with their incendiary posts, then their threads should be relegated to the mud pit to prevent their caustic influence from spreading.

We need to agree upon the difference between personal opinion and partisan opinion. Everyone is entitled to their personal opinion, that's what makes ATS function, but those who regurgitate the opinions of the bought-and-paid-for political pundits, are of no value to their fellow men, and of no value to the ATS community. If we wanted Rush's opinion, or Hannitty's opinion, or O'Reilley's opinion, we would turn on the damn TV. We come to ATS to converse with our fellow human beings, and too often we end up confronting the very visage of slavish stupidity that drove us to the alternative media in the first place. We're trying to get away from mainstream, politically acceptable discourse, not wallow in it. If you, the individual, really and truly echo the sentiments of your favored TV personality, down the line and without exception, you have been programmed to do so. There's no nice way of saying it.

It seems that many members think ATS is a heathen country, in need of their own brand of political salvation. I'm a man, an individual, my heroes are Diogenes and Simeon Stylites, long-dead outsider philosophers. How am I supposed to engage in reasonable conversation with people whose heroes are contemporary mouthpieces for the control schemata I so desperately despise? It's frustrating, and difficult, and largely fruitless. The only way people change is if they change themselves. Presenting facts and logical analysis gives men the tools to shape their own beliefs, but it can't give them the will to do so. Badgering with emotionally charged opinion and insults only crystalizes resistance and resentment on the part of the defendant.

People have been trying to change me my whole life, and all it's done is galvanized my resolve. It's reasonable to assume that every time I try to change someone else, the same process occurs, and that's counter-productive. I don't think ATS can really change people, all it can do is encourage people to change themselves through positive reinforcement and by rewarding outstanding contributions made by individuals. SO touched on this in chat the other night.

Seekerof presented a very good link, containing informaton more people should read. In case people skipped over the individual sub-links, let me post a few of the ones I think are most applicable.

www.nizkor.org...



posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 04:12 AM
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As Reliable As Any Bathroom Wall


Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
The only way to "end the dark days" is to realize that by engaging in stereotype-laden divisive debate, you're playing their game. If we are to acknowledge that the polarization of issues has been a systematic strategy, we have to learn to stop the knee-jerk reactions to "the other side".

“It's us versus them.” “I'm right and you're wrong.” “You believe that? Then you're an idiot!” “Screw you! No, screw you!”

Ah yes, life at ATS.

Despite some of the best management I've ever seen on any website, the truth is that any board with open membership will attract all kinds: fools and sages, lovers and haters, scholars and dogmatists, youngsters and oldsters, logicians and romantics.

And of course, trolls. Lots and lots of trolls.

After all, the Internet has now replaced the TV as the babysitter of choice for busy, overworked parents who can't be bothered to supervise their own children.

Thus we are left to care for them ourselves and attempt to potty-train them by wire. No easy task, that.

“Kids, it's ten o'clock. Do you know where your parents are?

All that said, the only certainty is that there will always, always be disagreement in any Internet discussion forum, and that there will always be people willing to rent their minds and opinions out to the lowest bidder.

Only One Front In An Ongoing World War


Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
This is a far deeper issue than any feature or posting strategy can solve here on ATS.

Indeed. Dare I say, the most effective strategy involves the shameless use of Propaganda to engage the enemies of free thought on their own terms.

No one ever said the battle against ignorance would be free of irony.

Here's some of my propaganda, though it is admittedly nowhere near as sexy as the products the pros sell...

I strongly recommend studying the following subjects:
Disinformation | Information Warfare | Propaganda | Psyops | Public Diplomacy



posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 04:32 AM
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Kikzor is a more than a little obtuse in the examples given.
I like my examples much better.
    Poisoning the well- broaching a subject then withdrawing.
    A potential home buyer (prospect) discusses a home for sale with the seller. After bantering back and forth and gaining concessions the abruptly (or not) changes their stance and leaves.

    The next potential home buyer meets staunch resistance to any proffered concession. Both parties are losers. The new potential home buyer may lose a purchase or a concession and the buyer risks losing a sale.

    This is poisoning the well.

    Straw man
    To me this has always been the 'obvious' target. During a discussion a sudden appearance of a common foe or a point of view that begs attention.

    In politics, when all else fails, a dramatic call in favor of education seems to be the #1 choice.


This (proper debate education) and the other cure alls for good debate cure not much at all, if anything. The problem at ATS, as in all groups, is sub-groups. I don't participate in these elections (WATS, etc.) much more than just a whap to three posters the beginning of each month. I can't say that any wearing the badge are not deserving. All I've seen post some really good stuff even if I disagree with a lot of it.

I have noticed some of the 'almosts' that give me the shakes. Within these sub-groups there are gaggles of people that juice each other up to promote the groups agenda. All agendas eventually end up political by nature. Many at ATS have seen it happen. There must be a couple watcher types that announce new 'dragons to fight' to others in their respective groups.

I wonder sometimes what ATS is going to do when an obvious sub-grouper gets WATS. That will add credence to the sub-group agenda pursuit and further their goals. It will happen and it will be interesting. Do WATS holders get warnings? Do any get banned?

This is a strange topic- I find myself totally in agreement with Muaddid and Seeker in the same thread. Heretofore I could have said 'I NEVER agree with Muaddid, but alas, no more.


jsobecky brings up interesting points re: prove it. This is not my experience in general yet I have seen a fair amount of it.

The ones that grate me are the ones that either slap back that your proof is bogus or that their proof is beyond reproach. If I can't hold it in my hands or see it in the clear (not pics) it has to pass the *sniff test.*

Wyrde calls on MODs for help- it won't work except in the most blatant cases. Besides, I think a couple of the MODs are supporters of sub-groupers.

Anyway, good to air out concerns once in awhile. Glad SO brought this up, I was thinking it was only me

.

.



posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 04:46 AM
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WATS Immunity?


Originally posted by JoeDoaks
I wonder sometimes what ATS is going to do when an obvious sub-grouper gets WATS. That will add credence to the sub-group agenda pursuit and further their goals. It will happen and it will be interesting. Do WATS holders get warnings? Do any get banned?

I can only speak from my own experience, so consider the source.

As far as I know, there are absolutely no perquisites to getting WATS other than the badge. I felt rather self-conscious when I had it, but that's about it.

Moderators didn't treat me any differently, and I am certain that if I would have engaged in ban-worthy activity, I would have been banned.

WATS is a recognition granted by ATS members to ATS members. Unless I was left out of the loop somehow, that's all it is.

No more, no less.

Posts Instead Of Personalities


Originally posted by JoeDoaks
This is a strange topic- I find myself totally in agreement with Muaddid and Seeker in the same thread. Heretofore I could have said 'I NEVER agree with Muaddid, but alas, no more.

That means you are abandoning at least one of your prejudices and evaluating the opinions instead of the people who hold them.

I recommend continuing down that path. It leads to good things.



posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 04:48 AM
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To fight amongst ourselves at this juncture is tantamount to an ant colony of mixed genetic heritage, adrift on a river and consuming itself because of petty ancestral rivalry. It will lead us inexorably into the depths, because cooperation is not a luxury, but a necessity for those beings at the mercy of larger forces.


This is, in my opinion, the most important point I made. I wanted to say it again for any who might have missed it the first time around. I did say the mods have a part to play, but moreover, it is the responsibility of ALL parties involved to place their own survival first, and in so doing, recognize the need for communal effort.

I also said the burden of action rests on us, the members, because we are the ones committing the most grossly evident offenses. The mods are entitled to their opinions, but they are tasked with never allowing those opinions to interfere with their volunteer work. They are here to keep the peace, and maintain the flow of information, and in some cases to educate people as to the rules of the road so to speak.



posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 06:35 AM
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Originally posted by Majic

Posts Instead Of Personalities


Originally posted by JoeDoaks
This is a strange topic- I find myself totally in agreement with Muaddid and Seeker in the same thread. Heretofore I could have said 'I NEVER agree with Muaddid, but alas, no more.

That means you are abandoning at least one of your prejudices and evaluating the opinions instead of the people who hold them.

hmmm- had to re-think this, you hit the nail. (third re-type)


I publically acknowledge this bias (prejudice to you).

I have my bias.

Wyrde good 'quote' Reminds me of the stories (true or not) of Easter Island.

props to you!

.

.

[edit on 18-3-2005 by JoeDoaks]



posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 07:24 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow
............
....A LOT of manipulation occurs here camouflaged as 'debunking' and 'debate' - and the un-prepared are sucked in or left floundering, with no recourse but to resort to name-calling, because they know at a gut level they're being abused.
..........


I am sorry...are you actually saying that even though it can be proven that some theory is wrong that the debunking is just manipulation?...reading again your response..... it seems that is what you are saying....

So, if something can be proven to be wrong, according to you, the debunking is just manipulation and it is a lie..... is that how we deny ignorance?....

I do hope this is not what SO has in mind, or that he thinks this is what is going on, because SO has been one of the people who has helped in the debunking of some theories in these same forums.....



posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 07:35 AM
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Originally posted by Muaddib

Originally posted by soficrow
............
....A LOT of manipulation occurs here camouflaged as 'debunking' and 'debate' - and the un-prepared are sucked in or left floundering, with no recourse but to resort to name-calling, because they know at a gut level they're being abused.
..........


I am sorry...are you actually saying that even though it can be proven that some theory is wrong that the debunking is just manipulation?



You need to read that sentence again - and think about it. Key word is camouflaged.






So, if something can be proven to be wrong, according to you, the debunking is just manipulation and it is a lie..... is that how we deny ignorance?....




No. I feel like you are attempting to twist my words and misrepresent my ideas. It may be an honest mistake... If you want to know what I think - please read my posts. If you still are left confused, please ask specific questions rather than leaping to unfounded conclusions.


.





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