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Shall we discuss the "Taking Back of Above Top Secret"?

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posted on May, 17 2005 @ 04:45 PM
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Winston

There exists also some less significant blurry divisions that may be reconcilable at ATS, or they may not be:

* people who care / people who don't
* real members / staff created not-real members
* quality conscious approach / anything goes approach
* people who know the ATS culture of 3+ years ago / people who don't
* focus on content / focus on style

Bells and whistles and games and news have been the focus to draw numbers to this site in the numbers game. The enormous task of developing an infrastructure that supports continued quality in the new member deluge - from the application process to the training of "staff" to the continual improvement of site content - may be beyond the scope or mission of the management team, and there has at times been a view that quality is immeasurable and subjective, which is untrue in the opinion of many of us.

We can always work on the bells and whistles, like so:
www.abovetopsecret.com...

Working on civilising the tongue to appeal to mature and knowledgable guests and members, and enhancing what we term the "knowledge base" can also be productive. And maybe fun.

Over and out, going to play with smilies.




posted on May, 17 2005 @ 06:47 PM
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Winston we all know you are Skepto. Anyone remember Freemason wink wink?
Skeptic Overlord....



posted on May, 17 2005 @ 06:48 PM
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Mr. Billybob,

Thank you for your considered response to what may ultimately be a thread in which these exchanges aid our mutual understandings.

I fear I see an unfortunate duality in the material you posted. On one hand, you complain that one of the staff doesn't like you, and on the other hand admit to instigating an episode of drama.



Nerdling,

Or to paraphrase one far greater than I, should we ask what we can give? Perhaps a portion of the underlying problem(s) lie in the desire to receive something from ATS.

I "want" nothing from ATS. I "hope" to gain knowledge.

But there is a hint of something important here. We need to take care with municipal metaphors, this is after all a benevolent dictatorship by the good graces of our beloved dictator, Mr. Gray. However, there does appear to be an undercurrent of a desire for a means to organize the citizens on the effort of community improvement. Perhaps here lies another gem within this thread to add to the Wiki concept.



posted on May, 17 2005 @ 06:59 PM
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Originally posted by Winston Smith
Mr. Billybob,

Thank you for your considered response to what may ultimately be a thread in which these exchanges aid our mutual understandings.

I fear I see an unfortunate duality in the material you posted. On one hand, you complain that one of the staff doesn't like you, and on the other hand admit to instigating an episode of drama.



Nerdling,

Or to paraphrase one far greater than I, should we ask what we can give? Perhaps a portion of the underlying problem(s) lie in the desire to receive something from ATS.

I "want" nothing from ATS. I "hope" to gain knowledge.

But there is a hint of something important here. We need to take care with municipal metaphors, this is after all a benevolent dictatorship by the good graces of our beloved dictator, Mr. Gray. However, there does appear to be an undercurrent of a desire for a means to organize the citizens on the effort of community improvement. Perhaps here lies another gem within this thread to add to the Wiki concept.

talk about propaganda, oh well Its ATS and i like it here so i dont really care



posted on May, 17 2005 @ 07:05 PM
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Originally posted by MaskedAvatar
Winston

There exists also some less significant blurry divisions that may be reconcilable at ATS, or they may not be:

* people who care / people who don't




Originally posted by phantompatriot
talk about propaganda, oh well Its ATS and i like it here so i dont really care



Yes. Soma works very well.



posted on May, 17 2005 @ 07:28 PM
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I like Ycons idea. Have all of us take a "Conspiracy Test". Then assign a title that relates to the score of the test. The test can be retaken after a certain amount of time has passed. Ycon, your a genious


Collaboration? Dosnt that mean the same thing as Unity?



posted on May, 17 2005 @ 07:29 PM
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Originally posted by Winston Smith
Mr. Billybob,

Thank you for your considered response to what may ultimately be a thread in which these exchanges aid our mutual understandings.

I fear I see an unfortunate duality in the material you posted. On one hand, you complain that one of the staff doesn't like you, and on the other hand admit to instigating an episode of drama.



it may appear as a duality, but i see it as very one-sided. the drama came after the moderation.
coming to ATS isn't 'free', as many would have you believe. yes, the server and site are privately owned, but that is just a thin shell to what is contained here. this is like a living library of alexandria or something grandiose like that. a collective diary of some of the finer minds in the world.
i personally am paid a good hourly rate for my intellect. i give it 'freely' here. yet, it comes at a very real 'cost' to me. my time, and my SOUL. so you see, i don't mind being 'dramatic' once and a while, if the cause is a good one. i feel the community that has been attracted to ATS is something that exists outside the site. it is a mindset of seeking that brings us here. so, because i have a signifigant investment in ATS, via my heart and soul, i care that it remains a place where information flows freely, unfettered by labels like 'biased', and 'unreliable'. i care that the information is allowed to influence and confluence freely.
the recent board reaction to political polarisation has made it become more of a series of canal locks than it is a sea of information.
i'm actually getting a little tired of the high and mighty air of importance around this cyberjoint. only a few quality members, like masked avatar, rant, twitchy, and their ilk, keep me coming back.

speaking of quality members, what happened to soficrow? anyone?




[edit on 17-5-2005 by billybob]



posted on May, 17 2005 @ 07:41 PM
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Originally posted by Major Discrepancy

Off with his head?




severing heads???? ACK ACK ACK................it's more like, 'walk the plank' to that future sharkbait.



.............................just sayin



I to like Ycon's 'test' idea! She is always 'thinking' in positive and forward moving ways.....

I don't think Mr Smith is S.O......
He seems KNOWN around here as a personage in his own right......so far I like what he is presenting, and I like HOW he goes about it



[edit on 17-5-2005 by theRiverGoddess]



posted on May, 17 2005 @ 08:22 PM
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Originally posted by phantompatriot
Winston we all know you are Skepto. Anyone remember Freemason wink wink?
Skeptic Overlord....

\
Are you attempting to say that you think SO was Freemason?!


My good member, you REALLY need to re-think your position on all of these assumptions.


m...



posted on May, 17 2005 @ 08:25 PM
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Originally posted by Springer

Originally posted by phantompatriot
Winston we all know you are Skepto. Anyone remember Freemason wink wink?
Skeptic Overlord....

\
Are you attempting to say that you think SO was Freemason?!


My good member, you REALLY need to re-think your position on all of these assumptions.


m...


of course not!!! look way back to winston smiths first few posts, and they are in a sense trolling freemason and FM was like U are skpetic overlord a few times in some other threads or something, and i believe him kinda because the way winston posts. Skeptic is cool but i think he may have been trying to get to FM so he would slip up and get banned.



posted on May, 17 2005 @ 08:49 PM
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Originally posted by phantompatriot
Skeptic is cool but i think he may have been trying to get to FM so he would slip up and get banned.


I am real-life friends with SO (and most of our management team here) and I can ASSURE you he is not/ was not "trolling for" FM as himself or as the non-exsistent puppet master for Winston Smith.

First clue should be how eloquent Winnie in comparison to S.O.

Second clue should be how NICE Winnie is compared to S.O. !


Seriously, I understand how it may seem someone who genuinely CARES about ATS should be staff BUT I would tell you there are MANY members with ZERO relation to staff that care as much or maybe MORE SO...

Just look at this thread and you will get a list of names.


m...

[edit on 5-17-2005 by Springer]



posted on May, 18 2005 @ 01:15 AM
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Back to the topic at hand...

I often see older members reminiscing about the way ATS used to be, sometimes in isolated posts, and sometimes in dedicated threads. Looking back to the beginnings of the Board Qns & Business forum, I see threads similar to this one dating back to mid-late 2003 (although most of them not expressing themselves as eloquently as Mr. Smith). Perhaps it would be constructive if, instead of just giving us misty-eyed comments about the "good ol' days", some of those long-term members explained in greater detail exactly what it is that ATS used to have, and what they think it has lost. Members like myself who have only been here a few months would be genuinely interested, and it would be valuable in the context of this thread.

ATS has become a vast database of knowledge, but that knowledge is spread across thousands of threads, and you have to do quite a bit of shoveling to sort the diamonds from the coal. That's why the Wiki approach would a great idea. This thread is not the first time the idea has come up, but perhaps in the past it was placed in the too-hard basket, as I'm sure it would be a major coding undertaking for SO. The forum reference indexes were a step in this direction, but perhaps we can go further. Within a wiki format, members could submit material on certain topics, issues or events and have it edited and compiled by moderators and/or FSMEs. The format would be static, like the articles on the main page, yet also fluid, in that the content could be updated and changed as new information comes to light, or old theories are debunked. Discussion threads would be where ideas are thrown back and forth, and the grain is threshed from the husk, before being submitted to the wiki file. By this method, ATS could well become the largest organized database of alternative topic information on the Internet. The research forum is great, but when reading submissions therein I've often found myself losing interest halfway through a thread because the information is not organized logically and lacks structure and direction.

Perhaps "Wiki@ATS" could even be set up as a separate subdomain.



posted on May, 18 2005 @ 02:46 AM
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The Point Of The ATS Exercise

It seems that Winston Smith is echoing a theme we are seeing quite often these days, which is an examination of what ATS is versus what ATS should be.

It's always a worthwhile question to keep in mind, and one I try to keep in my mind when I post. Yet nonetheless, I still find my posts unsatisfying more often than not, usually because I find myself drawn into discussions I would just as soon ignore, but lack the good sense to.

Ultimately, I suppose some of that frustration comes from seeing so little of what I come here for, and instead finding that a bizarre Free Republic/Democratic Underground, “tastes great/less filling” pseudopolitical dichotomy taints almost every thread, whether in PTS or not.

Saying something about it, or any of the other outrageous nonsense which pollutes the boards, seems no more helpful than throwing gasoline on a raging fire.

Yet here I stand, gas can in hand.

From Hot Dogs In Rachel To Tofurkey In New York

Some things which I think exacerbate the problems, if not necessarily the cause of them:

- An emphasis on being all things to all people. I seriously doubt there is a single topic that doesn't have a place somewhere in the vast ATS family of discussion fora, in some form or another. While it's nice to have a place for everything, I think this dilutes the underlying culture of ATS, and, ironically, leads to more “bleedover” and junk oozing into the “core” forums than if the other forums didn't exist at all.

- A point system which, though elaborately implemented and admirably modified, still ends up encouraging quantity over quality, with far too many threads started for their value as flamebait and “point pharms” instead of their suitability to what ATS supposedly stands for. Instead of thoughtful discussion, we end up with “point fever” -- as if points are somehow worth anything on a board full of noise.

- An apparent concern for board traffic, rankings and other trappings normally reserved for commercial websites. This, in turn, leads to ATS becoming more and more slick and “mainstream”, instead of the quirky little website so many of us fell in love with long ago.

Are these things good or bad? That depends on what you're looking for.

Why does ATS need to be “the Internet's most popular destination for news, discussion, and debate on government conspiracies, cover-ups, UFO's, and other alternative topics”?

Wouldn't it be better to simply be the best, even if not the “most popular”?

It Used To Be About The Conspiracies, Man

Perhaps ATS needs to focus on its roots, but even those can be reasonably debated.

Years ago, long before I joined the forums, I used to come to ATS as nothing more than a humble, anonymous consumer to read articles on Area 51, Bob Lazar, Aurora, UFOs, government coverups and stuff like that.

These kinds of things are still here, but seem to somehow get lost in the noise. Even the military and secret project forums aren't free from the insufferable dross of nation-bashing and penis-measuring contests which obscure the facts and derail otherwise fascinating threads.

Good people can reasonably disagree on what's wrong with ATS. My general assessment is that we're attracting the wrong kind of people here, and that the solution to pretty much all of ATS's problems is structuring the site and its policies to attract the kind of people we would like to see more of.

Of course, who that may be is itself a $64,000 question (I'm sure many of my fellow members would consider me undesirable), but there is, nonetheless a general sense that more courteous, thoughtful and knowledgeable people would be good, while more trolls, flamers and post-spammers would be bad.

No Greater Love Than This

What would it be worth to do this?

Are we willing to give up our precious ATS points? Titles? Structure the system to favor quality over quantity, and -- ideally -- select for positive things and select against the “bad seeds” who come here only to disrupt our community?

For my part, when I come to ATS, it is, as it has always been, to see if I can find a glimpse of the real “story behind the news” -- the stuff that doesn't make it into the “mainstream media” for whatever reason.

I keep looking -- when I'm not charging off on some pointless tangent in a pointless thread (far too common, I'm afraid, to my enduring shame) -- and occasionally find things of interest.

For what it may be worth, I intend to keep looking as my interests dictate.

Ultimately, that is probably the best any of us can expect or hope for.



posted on May, 18 2005 @ 03:21 AM
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.....and quality posters like majic.......


quality. what is it? it can drive you mad wondering.



posted on May, 18 2005 @ 03:31 AM
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Originally posted by billybob
.....and quality posters like majic.......


quality. what is it? it can drive you mad wondering.


true, it can, be quality is made up of well planned, detailed thread which contains good information. Thats what quality is in my eyes.



posted on May, 18 2005 @ 07:13 AM
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wecomeinpeace,

I believe some here (including myself) are endeavoring to express that "ATS" has not lost anything at all, but her membership has learned a more combative culture which threatens to replace the original collaborative culture. Perhaps the underlying approach behind the success of pointing out fallacies in popular conspiracy "theories" has mistakenly lead to an atmosphere of confrontation and challenge.


billybob,

Would you consider that the "board psyche" as a whole is perhaps taking itself too seriously, and as a result, there are cultural breakdowns? In one respect, this place is simply a collection of data, subject to the whims of its owner and technological competence of its managers. In the blink of any eye, an accident of failure or lost interest of the owner could remove this entire community from existence. (not that I believe either to be a probable event, but illustrating an example)

And as a result, has the "topic" of ATS evolved from "alternative discussion" to ATS itself as the topic? Which is more important, engaging in the intended topics, or being part of ATS? The implications of the answer may be far reaching.


MaskedAvatar,

Falling back to the municipality metaphors, isn't it the responsibility of the government to arrange an infrastructure of appropriate services to attract and maintain citizens? And likewise, it is the responsibility of citizens to take the trash to the curb, clear the sidewalks in front of their home, cut the grass, and generally not pester their neighbors.


Majic,

A wonderful and thoughtful piece. Thank you for gracing this thread with your contribution.

The balancing act of credibility versus popularity is at the core of your post, and an insightful core that is. I fathom that this problem may be far too complex for us to deconstruct here. For example, simply existing on the Internet with our wealth of interesting topics may attract less than productive members.

The solution may lie not in how people discover us, but how we treat them once they do. For example, when you're invited to a neighbor's home who is well-spoken and has excellent food on fine china, you will naturally behave different than when visiting the swearing neighbor who offers pizza on paper plates.

But I do heartily agree that we should look to the important topics. And this draws us back to the suggesting Wiki idea once again.



posted on May, 18 2005 @ 08:24 AM
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originally posted by Majic
Years ago, long before I joined the forums, I used to come to ATS as nothing more than a humble, anonymous consumer to read articles on Area 51, Bob Lazar, Aurora, UFOs, government coverups and stuff like that.


One problem in my opinion is that if you post anything on those subjects and others you get "Done before see these threads --- Closed" I can understand- as an example - you might get 10 Bob Lazar threads a year and probably most of it has been covered -- but sometimes someone may have a new idea or information and it should be able to be posted as a new thread.

Another is when you post something -- using myself as an example -- on chemtrails -- when I first joined I posted a thought on them stating clearly that I had not made up my mind on whether or not they are real but that perhaps they were not an evil conspiracy but were done to protect people from the harmful rays of the sun and I was condemmed by a few members who to this day I don't think read what I said and they just had a knee jerk reaction to the term chemtrail. (my old English teacher would be horrified by that sentence on a number of levels
) I am sure that a lot of people don't post because they are not willing to be attacked.

I can only wonder how many wonderful posts and ideas from different members are lost because of these reasons alone.



posted on May, 18 2005 @ 09:22 PM
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Winston, I have been thinking about what you and others have posted in this thread. The problem seems to be members are bickering and complaining more now then in the past. The spirit of collaboration has taken a turn for the worse. How do we teach members to restrain themselves? You could make a new rule discouraging members from bickering. You could delete and edit posts that are just a bicker. Personally I think that would be the wrong way to correct the problem. It would just stir-up more drama in the forums. Here’s an idea I hope ATS admins and senior staff will think about. Considering it would take a lot of continual effort to teach members to restrain themselves and considering there may always be bickering in the forums, maybe we should take the bickering out of ATS forums. Take the bickering to BTS or to a new forum in ATS. Simply put a new button titled “Challenge” in the same area as the edit and quote buttons. The challenge button can be clicked on when a member disagrees with a post. This would redirect the member to a forum elsewhere that would start a thread or if others have challenged that thread previously there would already be a thread. This could be one forum for challenges or if it becomes popular, have forums for each category. I think this idea would keep the ATS forums clean with the collaboration friendly atmosphere that so many members desire.



posted on May, 23 2005 @ 01:48 PM
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I dont know if anybody even rembmers me anymore, it's been many months since i've made a single post, and probably years since i was an active poster. IMHO one of the biggest problems on ATS, and one of the things that caused me to gradually move away to where i'm now more or less a lurker, is the sheer size of it. I think it's wonderful that ATS has grown so much and become so popular, but it takes away one of the biggest things that i was here for originally. When i first came here ATS was a community of people. We didn't all have the same ideas about things, and we didn't all agree all the time (or most of the time even) but we all knew each other, we all (mostly) respected each other. We all were intelligent enough that we could discuss the various topics that ATS has. Now, for me, it's just simply too large, it's been likened in the ATS council topic to a small neighborhood that grew up into a metropolis. Well Metropolitan areas are nice and all (i live in a large one myself) but they are impersonal, i came here for the community here, and that has by and large gone away. So now i just lurk and read things that sound interesting and rarely if ever post anymore. I've searched for a new place for myself on the web like the ATS of old but unfortunatly haven't been able to find it anywhere, it saddens me. I'm glad ATS is popular now and all, but i'd much rather see it the way it used to be.



posted on May, 23 2005 @ 03:16 PM
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Originally posted by Winston Smith
Perhaps the underlying approach behind the success of pointing out fallacies in popular conspiracy "theories" has mistakenly lead to an atmosphere of confrontation and challenge.



'Tis a pleasure to read your words, Winston. Thank you and well met.

Many here do seem to assume that "criticism" is synonymous with disparagement and detraction, rather than enhancement and collaboration. Given the premises of our culture, and its commitment to adversarial contention, the interpretation is not surprising.

Cultural norms notwithstanding, the "debunking attack" can be more than off-putting to a first time poster. In fact, I nearly vacated the premises myself when the boys opened fire, even though I'm an experienced - and confident - debater-cum-negotiator.

At present, the knowledge I use to survive at ATS is drawn from sociological and psychological studies in early childhood development, not philosophy or logic. Not quite what I had in mind when I joined.

On the upside, it's all life. The rules really are quite simple, as you suggested:



The solution may lie not in how people discover us, but how we treat them once they do. For example, when you're invited to a neighbor's home who is well-spoken and has excellent food on fine china, you will naturally behave different than when visiting the swearing neighbor who offers pizza on paper plates.



I also agree with your observation here:



... there appears to be far too much effort engaged in the dismantling of each other, than the dismantling of media-super-power deception.


I concur, and suspect most such effort results from tactics that require educated and conscious, if not strategic, response.


RE: the Wiki idea. I have great regard for ATS and what has been accomplished here. My one sticking point is the copyright agreement, which is industry standard and not open access. The stipulations sometimes affect the quality of my contributions. I certainly support a Wiki approach but hope the copyright terms might be revised.


billybob: Thank you for asking about me. FYI - I have been sick, and moving, and wrestling alligators in RL. Glad to be back, but will remain subject to frequent unexplained disappearances. Nothing nefarious. Just chronically ill.

.



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