It Was The Heeeeat Of The Moment...
Originally posted by gypsyskyes
edit: Deletions necessary because posted in the heat of the moment
Not to single you out unfairly, but I see further irony in this.
If there is anyone here who can claim to have never made a post in the “heat of the moment”, I can claim them to be a liar and almost certainly be
right (apologies to all you Zen masters out there).
I know I've posted a lot of things on ATS in the heat of the moment, and without a single exception, I have later regretted doing so every damn
Go back to some of my earliest posts here and you can find some real embarrassing displays. Then there's the “election madness” period, and while
I would love to sweep all of my past stupidity under the rug while casually looking elsewhere and whistling a lighthearted tune, my own ignorance is
enshrined in these forums for all posterity to study and laugh at.
Fig. 1: “Can you hear them? The voices
of the ages say 'Majic's an idiot!'”
While the problem of the black band is not an easy one to solve en masse, it is actually pretty easy to at least confront on an individual basis, once
you decide it's worth doing.
We all slip now and then, sometimes a lot, but if we remember why we're here, we can, with practice, elevate ourselves above the muck of the endless
cycle of finger-pointing and name-calling and maybe, if we're both patient and lucky, learn something here that we might never learn anywhere
The Nature Of The Beast
ATS is the kind of place where people routinely bring seemingly wild claims to the discussion which can rarely be substantiated. Most of it is pretty
outrageous stuff, and a lot of it is offensive to someone
, even if it may not be presented in an offensive manner.
It comes with the territory. ATS cannot be a place where people feel free to suggest the improbable without also being a place where people are going
Even on “non-conspiracy” boards, passion and stridency -- and flame wars -- are hardly uncommon. A lot of that derives from the nature of the
medium. People who would never insult someone to their face in person go nuts when given the opportunity to insult people pseudonymously.
It's a way to blow off steam, and bless our hearts, we all need that now and then. And some of us need it all the time, it seems.
Furthermore, people are often driven to come to places like ATS by a sense of dissatisfaction, a feeling that something just ain't quite right with
the world. Sort of like Neo in The Matrix
: we are haunted by a nagging impression that things are not as they seem, and we ache to discover
Fig. 2: “It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes.”
Another major influence on the mix comes from the fact that ATS is a very international board, with healthy representation from nations all over the
world, and more coming every day.
The value of this wide range of perspectives to a community like ours is immeasurable, and is a major strength of ATS. However, it also guarantees
that national interests and conflicts will drive arguments here, and indeed they do, every single day.
Add these and a few other things together and it is no surprise whatsoever that ATS will be prone to flame wars, rudeness and general trollery.
Frankly, all things considered, I'm surprised there isn't more of it, but there are good reasons why ATS hasn't already sunk irretrievably into the
lake of fire.
Those Who Watch The Watchers
Of course, the most obvious reason is that ATS has a dedicated staff which diligently polices the forums, enforcing the
Terms And Conditions
all members agree to respect by posting here.
Fig. 3: The Thin Blue Line
While they are not perfect, they are very good. Consider how much practice they get. Most mods are here on a daily basis and are voracious readers who
stay up-to-date on what's going on in their forums. Very little escapes their attention.
The ATS staff is the most attentive of any forum I visit, and I get around. However, though their work is indispensable to ATS's continued operation
(the place would literally fall apart without them and cease to function), they aren't the only reason ATS isn't all leetspeak, profanity and
The bedrock of ATS, the foundation upon which it is built and the touchstone which guides the staff in their many decisions, is the ATS culture.
The ATS Culture
The ATS culture is the environment we as members create for ourselves.
It is the expression of our shared values, our communal sense of what ATS should be. It is the “vibe” you get when you read posts here, the
context for all discussion, the look, feel and smell of our shared online hallucination.
Fig. 4: Typical AboveTopSecret.com Members
While the staff seek to promote the best aspects of ATS culture, they are not the source of it. Like ourselves, they are contributors, but no
individual here, not even our beloved SkepticOverlord
, truly controls ATS culture.
That's something all of us do.
The Black Band Of Warning
The staff of AboveTopSecret.com have placed a black band of mourning over this website's logo. They have done so partly because they see the culture
of ATS threatened by a relentless torrent of social negativity and partisan political rancor.
But more importantly, they have done so because they see this torrent threatening far more. It threatens the viability of our entire community, its
Angry bickering and personal vendettas solve nothing. When was the last time you got someone to agree with you by insulting them? A rather uncommon
event, isn't it?
All this mutual abuse isn't just a distraction, it's worse than that. It obscures the truth.
And without that, my friends, all of this is utterly pointless.
There are no saints here, only sinners. I say these things not from a position of moral superiority. I'm one of the worst trolls on ATS, though I am
trying to get better.
I say these things as someone who also needs to hear them.
We will not remove the black band by complaining about it. Rather, when enough of us decide to Deny Ignorance
and place the truth above our
petty differences, the band will come off as a matter of course.
Ask yourself: “Is what I'm about to post going to make ATS a better place or a worse one?”
Fig. 5: It's up to us what happens here.