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ATS Money & Ethics

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posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 05:47 AM
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Originally posted by TheShroudOfMemphis

Basically, my point was, why try to discredit other sites simply because they try to make money from their content or something linked off their site, especially if they have a different opinion or call out an ATS post specifically?


You seemed to have not gone back and read the historical record adequately. I suggest you look at what has transpired by going back to the first writing on the source you think is enlightening and see who has attempted to discredit whom.

Let me ask you something. Now that you posted this thread and asked your questions, made a few insinuations (and in the case of the above statement, some erroneous statements) how would you feel if the owners of this board responded by...

* posting your private email address here in public
* posting private communications here in public
* posting IP traces of you here in public
* attempting to post as much private information on you as they could find here in public
* and then insinuated that the whole reason you are a member here is to mislead people, and in general do the legwork of the Bush administration (which I just happen to know you'd really get a kick out of being associated with)

The above is what happened to ATS by your "enlightened one" just because the owners of ATS requested she abide by the copyright and creative commons requirements ATS has over a work she has, in fact, violated those terms with on her site.

They didn't demand she remove it. They merely stated they needed her to abide by the creative commons requirements, which could have been met with little effort and change to her own site. This is the response they got for that request...

* their private emails listed
* their private communications listed
* their IP traces listed
* insinuations agianst their characters
* and then...

this entire site - and that includes the members' ability to reason and all of our motivations for what we do here - was accused of being COINTELPRO agents working for the government to distract and mislead people. This behavior - if performed by anyone older than 5 (and that's pushing the limits by the way) IS UNETHICAL.

And it just continued to get uglier from there. The enlightenment that you speak of seems to have not shed enough common sense and moral fortitude on at least one person to understand how terribly UNETHICAL it is to post venomous emails from anonymous senders attacking other people when you don't have a clue who is saying the libelous crap, what their motivations may be, or whether a stitch of what you are saying is true or not.

Now, if this discussion board was dedicated to nothing but talking about how much you love your Ferrari, being accused of being a government COINTELPRO agent would be a short laugh-fest and then we'd get back to discussing which one of us is the better clutchless shifter, but this website is not dedicated to car-talk. This site is dedicated to conspiracies and alternative topics. This site is here because it is a place that members can research and discuss theories that include our governments lying to us, our governments starting wars based on false motivations, and our governments using the very tactics that your enlightened writer has accused this site of partaking in.

The accusations were aimed at hurting the very raison d'etre of this site - whether some one's making money off that or not. The attack was focused on the very reason this board exists, and its members come together in the first place. That is UNETHICAL.

Which led to the post by Springer, here about UNETHICAL behavior.

Now, in light of the series of events just laid out - and the fact the offending site has still not abided by the copyright requirements of the ATS member works plagiarized on their site, if you reread the latest long-winded blathering about the ETHICS of ATS - doesn't it almost seem like it's a diversionary piece aimed at twisting the situation and - dare I say - disinforming the reader???



It's true other sites have been discredited because they've been linked to a book or a DVD and only will those web authors have their view points acknowledged if they come to ATS and post, become part of the creating the ATS pages.



Absolutely FALSE. Alex Jones has never been required to come over here and post, and his "theories" are all over this website. Graham Hancock has never been required to come to this board and post, and his books are referenced through-out this website. And John the Seer hasn't been dug up and forced to post on this website, but we discuss The Revelation quite a bit here. The list could go on and on.

[edit on 1-27-2006 by Valhall]




posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 06:01 AM
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P.S. I believe they have a discussion board as well. But as outlined on their own site the minimum requirement to be a member on that board is to read a minimum number of their books.

I think the minimum requirement here is to sign up with a valid email, right?



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 06:07 AM
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Originally posted by Valhall
P.S. I believe they have a discussion board as well. But as outlined on their own site the minimum requirement to be a member on that board is to read a minimum number of their books.

I think the minimum requirement here is to sign up with a valid email, right?


Erhmm...yeah Valhall, but.... but... that would require you first ...uhm... uh...
buy the books ?!

In that case, I am damn glad I have a valid email address





posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 06:10 AM
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Well said Val. A well thought out and rational response.

I offer up this quote for our detractors;

As iron is eaten by rust, so are the envious consumed by envy. ~Antisthenes



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 06:29 AM
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Originally posted by 12m8keall2c

Originally posted by Valhall
the minimum requirement to be a member on that board is to read a minimum number of their books.

Erhmm...yeah Valhall, but.... but... that would require you first ...uhm... uh...
buy the books ?!


Not to buy. Only read.
There are things called libraries where you can read books and magazines etc. or borrow them home to read at your leisure


On the third hand, according to Finnish law it's totally ok to publish any emails etc. if you're the sender or the recipient without asking permission to do that from anybody. But it being legal doesn't necessarily make it wise or ethical. Though it sort of keeps people from writing what they think instead of thinking what they write. Most of the time, at least.
Perhaps someone who knows US laws could tell if same applies over there?



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 06:38 AM
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Originally posted by 12m8keall2c


In that case, I am damn glad I have a valid email address







Yeah, one that won't be made public.
Even if you disagree with the board.

Count,

I was not speaking of legalities concerning the atrocious behavior that has been displayed in retaliation to a simple request based on a singular legal issue, I was speaking of the ethics, or lack there of, displayed by said behavior. Also, my point was not that you need to buy their books - although I'm sure the hope is you will - but that there is a requirement over and above free access membership. And, by the way, it is my understanding that the minimum requirements are much more than just the books, but I'll leave the reader to figure that out for themselves.



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 07:05 AM
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I was wondering how long it would take for a "Jadczyk acolyte" to either join or emerge from the membership and create a public post based on Laura's blog. I suppose our lack of response was driving you and her nuts.

But, now that we you here pissing on our living room carpet, I suppose it can no longer be completely ignored.

Several members have expressed their opinions of your post and Laura's motivations, I'll cover a few other things.

First, Laura deceived you and her readers by publishing an April fools joke as fact; the IP information regarding our servers and hosting. It takes minimal effort to do an actual traceroute on our domain and discover that we're hosted by The Planet... and even less effort to visit their site and calculate how much an "enterprise-class" dual-xeon processor with fast Raid hard drive array and 4 gigs of RAM will cost on a monthly basis (with support). We have three of those and one lesser single-xeon server, we've always been very public about the nature of our hardware (lots of posts and announcements on our server upgrades). The material is available to easily do the math.

And, on top of that, an upgrade is coming soon to a new optimized server cluster with load balancer and hardware firewall. Do the math on set-up costs for that... go ahead... it's all in the open.

You and Laura are also wrong about the nature of our relationship with contributors. Our Terms and Conditions, Creative Commons Deed, and several clarifying threads make it clear that the relationship between author and ATS is one of sharing and collaboration, the core ethic of the Internet culture. We collaborate with our members who share their thoughts by presenting them in a sophisticated environment that is not only highly search engine optimized, but has the additional "business sense" to continue "pushing the ball forward." We didn't need to spend two months developing the Internet's only 100% free (and ad-free) podcasting service, but we did. And now several dozen members are enjoying this new channel of exposure to over 18,000 podcast fed subscribers.

Our ethics go back to what I mentioned about the core culture that founded the Internet, a culture of collaboration born from the ethics of share and share alike. AboveTopSecret.com will not establish an "official position" on any topic so that we remain a neutral entity that enables the broad range of discussion that occurs in our forums. Yes, we are a commercial entity that requires advertising to support the rising costs of our rising traffic. However, we never have and never will accept any advertising that will influence the editorial content of the discussions (and we have had several offers to do just that). Many other conspiracy websites embrace a narrow set of theories that surround products offered for sale on their site. While that is a fine business model for a degree of revenue, it becomes unethical when representatives of those sites come here and call ATS a COINTELPRO operation simply for having a position that conflicts with their materials for sale.

I'm sorry you've been hoodwinked by Laura's inaccurate statements and sensationalism. It's amazingly easy to spend a bit of time here and discover the truth about us, our standards, our history, and our plans for the future. It's all in the open, it's all discussed (both positive and negative), and when change is coming we let our members know.

Now, the next step in the game will be to observe how Laura twists the comments of myself and our members into a new installment in her deceptive game. She'll insult our members (again) by calling them "brainwashed shills" (or something similar), insult me (again), insult Simon (again), and lie to you (again).



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 07:28 AM
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Originally posted by Valhall
I was not speaking of legalities concerning the atrocious behavior that has been displayed in retaliation to a simple request based on a singular legal issue, I was speaking of the ethics, or lack there of, displayed by said behavior. Also, my point was not that you need to buy their books - although I'm sure the hope is you will - but that there is a requirement over and above free access membership. And, by the way, it is my understanding that the minimum requirements are much more than just the books, but I'll leave the reader to figure that out for themselves.


I know, I was just trying to make a point how things can also be taken and used in or out of context. I'm sorry if it seems that I'm trying to mud the waters, that isn't my intention.

And I wasn't saying that your point was in needing to buy the books, quite the opposite - I was just reminding fellow netizen that there still are ways to legally obtain and read books other than buying them outright.



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 07:33 AM
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No worries, Count. I think we both were taking opportunities to clarify. In fact, I think this whole thread is turning into an opportunity for various clarifications.

A steaming pile of crap can only sit in the middle of your coffee table so long before you have to take hygienic measures.



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 07:33 AM
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Originally posted by TheShroudOfMemphis
For all we know you have a few hundred dollars of expenses each month and then make a few thousand dollars for your own personal bank account while intimidating other websites or even your own members if they don't follow what ATS says is 'ethical' in regards to commercial websites promoting conspiracy.

May I ask what websites you feel we've intimidated? There have been none to my recollection.

If you're classifying our communications with Signs-of-the-times.org as "intimidation", you either have a very low tolerance for such, or have bought into the twisted reality presented elsewhere. All we ever asked (and will ever ask) is that they comply with our Creative Commons Deed.



Originally posted by TheShroudOfMemphis
Basically, my point was, why try to discredit other sites simply because they try to make money from their content or something linked off their site, especially if they have a different opinion or call out an ATS post specifically?

I think I explained above (in my previous post). And I've been on record many times with my opinion of "Conspiracy Profiteers" who capitalize on popular conspiracies by selling materials based on misleading analysis of important events. Not all conspiracists publishing their ideas fall into this category (for example, I don't think David Icke does at all), but many do.



So why not just come out and say, this is a website for making money so the guys who run it can make a living, that's why we wan't to build ATS pages and flood search engines with them?

If we were trying to "make a living" off ATS... things would be very different. For example, your thread would have been removed.




Why try to act like it's a charity,

We don't. However, if you search the post history, you'll discover that a significant amount of our ad surplus did go to an international illiteracy charity at one time.



The 'conspiracy' would be that ATS content is herded in a way which pumps up page numbers to increase search presence to dominate the internet world of 'conspiracy content', this can make ATS supported opinion seem like fact or the difinitive word to many people even if it's not entirely true.

The "search engine" issues are covered here: AboveTopSecret.com Search Engine Optimization Questions. Since we don't have an "official position" on anything, our search engine sophistication benefits our members who have theories they'd like to publish... like this thread you just created.



If ATS is purely for making money, then herding discussion makes perfect sense, it's good business but apparently that's not a proper topic to talk about because that's not what the founders are in it for?

Uh... you need to do some research on discussion boards. "Premium advertisers" avoid them, investors scoff at them, and the traditional media makes fun of them. If you were to walk into a business consultant with an idea based around building a business that centered around a discussion board, you'd be laughed out the door. It is not a traditionally profitable venture.



Or we don't want to acknowledge that because it would mean ATS isn't the beacon of integrity it portrays?

Well... I'm not sure we've portray that we're a "beacon of integrity", only that we make a conscious effort to be concerned about ethics by respecting the material or our members, and the material published on other websites.



Personally, i'd feel more comfortable knowing ATS is a money making business and that's why it's run like it is rather than pretend it's a full time hobby,

It's a full-time hobby that is run part-time (we all have jobs), that has recently turned a small profit (which will soon be reinvested in upgrades). Based on our future plans:
1- ConspiracyMasters.com with author revenue sharing
2- Weekly cable TV television series
3- ATS 5.0 coming soon
4- Podcast contributors of note
5- A surprise potential collaboration with another conspiracy site
ATS might evolve into a full-time venture for one or more of the "3 Amigos". But then again, it might not.


You've certainly enjoyed our infrastructure and "search sophistication". What brought on this suddenly semi-viscous critical position about how ATS is managed?



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 07:44 AM
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This is why there will NEVER be an utopia.

Who the F cares if a couple of people are making a bit of scratch for a lot of hard work?

Maybe Loura should try the business model.

Frankly its the owners of ATS and the IRS's business only, period.

SO has been kind enough to share all the upgrade info with us, EVERYTIME. pretty much putting it all out there.

Grow up and move on.



[edit on 27-1-2006 by SpittinCobra]



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 07:58 AM
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if they make a profit off of this im glad actually, they deserve it. the site is free to use, free to post on, and everything but the really top secret forum is open to anyone. and even the really top secret you just post more and unlock it lol.

i really enjoy coming here and im really glad they have made this site. this was helped me alot as far as being able to discuss and keep up with current events, along with hearing many different types of people opinions. in my opinion this is probably the best site ive been to on the net
so yea i hope they profit. keep doin ya thing guys



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 08:15 AM
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First as a member of this community, I was able to join this community just like everyone else here. In time ATS became a really nice place to hang out, with thousands of friends. The first thought I had, was "I wonder how much it costs to run this website" ... I was most amazed with the massive content available here.. More than that.. It was all totally FREE!! and available to me 24 hours per day 7 days per week.

Now as a staff member I still do not know much about the behind the scenes operations, costs, etc. Nor do I care.. You can't buy the quality available here at ATS, because it is FREE to all here, and I am sure it comes at great costs to those who own the many domains of abovetopsecret.com. I have seen the time the owners invest, and that alone is most impressive... If they make a buck or two along the way... Then they are very under paid.

As a staff member I don't make a dime.. nor do I want pay... I am here because I enjoy this community.. and I am willing to help in any way I can. an ATS staff position is rewarding, can be tough at times.. But is a great hobby!... You can't buy the good times I've had here at ATS .. At any price!!

Think of it this way.. and I believe many will agree with me... If ATS, owners, were unable to keep up with the operating costs for some reason, how many of you would be more than willing to make a contribution to keep all that there is here up and running as is? ... I would .. and I know many of you would do the same. BUT.. that has never happened, nor will it ever happen.. That alone should say it all!

This site is a success because of the grand vision the Founder of ATS had, and the tireless work and efforts SkepticOverlord put into all the Tech. aspects of this community... And I am sure it cost them more than time alone to get it all together, up and running. Through their efforts they've made a place for all of us to be, a place we want to spend time at, You can't put a price on that can you?



Gazz



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 08:25 AM
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I think this is the first time this year I have really been pissed off to read such a thread about ATS. Even with the sign-of-the-times rubbish which us staff can laugh at because it's just stupid and immature babble, but this is really scraping the toilet!

TheShroudOfMemphis, you have been a member for coming up to a year, surely in that time if you frequent this forum you would have seen myself, Springer and most especially SkepticOverlord state over and over the hardware we use. This website and it's sub-domains don't run off some $100 a month webhosting plan, we incur costs into the thousands every single month! We don't hide this fact, SkepticOverlord has mentioned who our host is, and what hardware we run. Go to their website, and you can see plain as day what that costs us.

Why are you so interested in our taxes, and what the IRS takes? Honestly, who cares. In case you didn't realise, ATS and it's business structure and organsation has changed since my post you quoted from 2004. We are now a Limited Liability Partnership. So yes, we do pay taxes, but not corporation tax, income tax as individuals. We are a partnership, not a company. So what the IRS takes from us (Inland Revenue for myself here in the UK) is our personal business as any working person should respect.

As for making profit and huge amounts of money, ATS is not a money-making machine. All three of us have plowed a hell of a lot of money into this thing without expecting return. I ran this website for years without even considering advertising until the popularity required better hardware to support it, and therefore I needed an income stream that could hopefully match the costing.

We barely make any actual profit from ATS, and do we use this to line our pockets... NO. We save it to further enhance ATS in anticipation we will need third-party support, new hardware, new software, etc.

If we wanted to make big money, with Springer's genius, SkepticOverlord's technical prowess and my... ummm.... good looks.... this website is not the way!

Anyone with a few brain cells will know we will turn a profit once ATS TV goes onto air. I honestly don't see a problem, in fact it's a pleasant thought unsurprisingly, that my hobby of near 15 years could benefit me financially and I can show appreciation to those who have helped make this website the fantastic place it is with more than just a long-winded Thank You.

But back to the basic point again, why is money such an issue for people. If members out there think I'm profiteering from the website I founded, think again! I am struggling to support myself financially, and am having to deal with an extremely large amount of personal and family debt.

This is something I've never mentioned, and to be blunt, is no ones business. But I really hope yourself TheShroudOfMemphis takes this in with the words of my business partner SkepticOverlord, the kind words of Valhall and the other members who are here not to talk about our underlying operations, but our core purpose of alternative discussion.

ATS is our hobby, we feel the collaborative discussion that takes place here is important to people the world over and thrive on making it as well known as possible, raising awareness primarily through our advanced Google ranking techniques. We are proud of it, people are jealous. It's unfortunate that this has caused controversy for some weird and unbeknownst reason, but it has.

Anyway, I'll stop my ranting now! I hope we can get back to normal, and get back to DENYING IGNORANCE!



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 08:42 AM
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I have been following this whole flap for a while without contributing anything, but what the hey.

There are a couple of things I can't work out about the LKJ lady in question.

1. Dis-info...?
How does she figure that ATS is a disinfo site? Everybody reads the info given, provides their opinions or responds with often contrary info and you, the reader can make your own mind up.

2. One-sided..!?!?
Having been here at ATS for over a year, I nearly fell off my chair reading this bold statement by the lady in question. ATS is the furthest thing from one-sided I have come across. There is probably a dozen different sides presented for each topic. How many news portals present dozens of sides and opinions of every important news story out there? Not a lot, and ATSNN is one of them.

3. The names Gray. Simon Gray.
Her take on Mr. Gray's bio reads like a Tom Clancy novel. I can only imagine you get the same amount of imagination in all her books.

4. TheShroudofMemphis....WTF!?!?
I remember this dude from when he first started posting on ATS. Argued side-by-side with him on occasion. Always enjoyed his posts and respected his opinions. What happened? What bugged you to make a post like that? This is the primary reason I am posting here, I just don't get it...?

5. Show me the money...
Remember conspiracy websites before 9/11? Quiet, peaceful places. Now they are beset by such traffic that their own success threatens to sink them. Bandwidth costs were the reason Rense went that way, David Icke has gone that way. It always amazes me to see how much ATS can do and yet provide FREE membership. If the head honchos around here have anything left in their pockets after those bills are paid I would be surprised.

So respect, where respect is due.



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 08:43 AM
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I could rabble on for ages as I normally do, but the sheer rudeness and ignorance of some people has left me pretty much speechless and it seems rather pointless anyway.. Just about everything that can be said has been..
However I think one word can describe the problem certain individuals have with ATS quite well..

Jealousy

[edit on 27-1-2006 by AgentSmith]



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 09:42 AM
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Originally posted by SimonGray
Anyone with a few brain cells will know we will turn a profit once ATS TV goes onto air.


I hope you all get stinking rich! I hope you smell of money! I don't see a problem. This is America. The land of opportunity. If more people operated under the ethics and standards I've seen displayed by the administration of this board, we'd have a great country again.


Originally posted by howmuchisthedoggy
4. TheShroudofMemphis....WTF!?!?
What happened? What bugged you to make a post like that? This is the primary reason I am posting here, I just don't get it...?


My main reason as well. I don't get it either. We aren't employees here. We freely choose to be here or not, to support the site or not, to click on ads or not, to post or not. We are here totally by choice. I give nothing that I don't want to give and I receive enormous value.

I suck up vast amounts of personal benefit and reward from this board without giving a thing that I don't personally wish to give. The time I spend here, I spend because I want to. It's for me. No one has even asked me to be here. And I'm sure there are those who wish I weren't.

Why do you feel you are 'owed' some kind of financial statement? What investment did you make (against your absolute free will) that affords you the right to know more about the finances?

What is driving you to call out the owners in this way?



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 10:08 AM
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Holy CRAP! Benevolent, do you realize this might be the third time you and I have agreed on something? I hope they get stinking rich, too. Not only because I think they totally deserve it, but also, maybe they'll replace my Fisher-Price control panel with Craftsman, or, if I promise to read the instruction manual carefully before attempting to use it, a Binford!


You know, it is truly sad that two out of the three Amigos had to pop in and fel the need to respond to this crap. Knowing the third one, I would have had to figure out a way to hang a warn on him for his short, two-word response to the garbage (Okies have such an earthy way of responded to fertilizer-quality nonsense). I think what is really sad, though, is a member of several months would actually start a thread attacking a board he knows he has enjoyed the privilege of using all this time, for free and without any threat of censorship or banning because of thought or opinion. Most who have known me since I've been here know that this is my first board ever stumbling into. Since, I've been to only a very small number of other boards just to see what they are like, and have been booted, simply for having differing opinions with that of the staff/ownership. Since back when this board was a small handful of close internet friends discussing the topics of the board's theme (the reason we got together in the first place), diversity of opinion has been the most cherished thing, and to suggest that the board has some sort of opinion or dierection is most annoying.
In case you haven't noticed, Shroud, this board is membership-driven, and this very thread is an example of that. Thank you for taking an active part in destroying a part of your own assertions. You are too kind.



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 10:33 AM
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I'm pretty sure that the intentions behind these 'revelations' published by the woman with the unpronounceable name are an attempt to divide members and make a vast number of them feel they are somehow being ripped off or conned. It's sad if any feel that way, but hopefully they will be able to see this is not the case.
I really don't see how anyone can be conned or ripped off anyway when they are given so much and have to give up nothing in return other than common courtesy and respect.
How many other opportunites are there to launch one's work to such a wide diverse audience for no financial cost?
It's just petty tactics derived from jealousy or maybe more sinister motives, like because ATS is getting too close to the truth on something.




[edit on 27-1-2006 by AgentSmith]



posted on Jan, 27 2006 @ 10:58 AM
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Originally posted by AgentSmith
It's just petty tactics derived from jealousy or maybe more sinister motives, like because ATS is getting too close to the truth on something.

Interesting.. but which thing? There are so many extreme conspiracy theories posted that it'd be a needle in a haystack. It would explain why someone hacked into the site though.



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