The ATS policy regarding short, one-line posts is the source of a great deal of controversy and misunderstanding among members, so I would like to
weigh in with my perspective.
Here is the official policy:
ABOUT ATS: Warnings for one-line or short responses
The crux of the policy is this:
One Line or less Responses or "me too" atta-boy comments contribute nothing to the discussion. These include rows of smilies,
"you're wrong", or other similar short responses.
The phrase I would like to call attention to is "contribute nothing to the discussion". That is the intent of this policy: to eliminate posts which
contribute nothing to the discussion.
Note that this can include posts that are longer than one line (such as posts with one word per line to "get past the restriction", pointless posts
with an extra line added such as "extra line added to avoid a warning" or multiple rows of smilies), but for convenience they may all be referred to
Failure to comply with this policy may result in warnings. Though the point cost is low (20 points), most people don't like being warned for any
reason, and that's what I want to help my fellow members avoid.
But first, let's consider why ATS has such a policy.
Contributing To The Discussion
AboveTopSecret.com is the premier website and resource for research and discussion of non-mainstream and "alternative" topics on the Internet.
Part of being the best is ensuring that the level of discourse remains high and that our topical threads are not polluted by the sort of content-free
posts that infest far too many boards on the Internet.
So it's important to remember that while the one-liner policy may seem unduly restrictive to some members, it is actually one of the fundamental
things that helps separate the Internet chaff from the ATS grain.
Context Is King
That said, there's a place for everything, even one-liners. Despite the policy, there are many situations where one-line posts are tolerated.
They are very common on BTS. The Three Word Story
couldn't be written without one-liners,
for example, and much of the discussion on BTS is riddled with them.
Is that a problem? Should the staff "crack down" on BTS and enforce one-line post warnings there?
No. BTS is intended to be a relaxed environment where members can let their hair down and have fun, so one-line warnings tend to be used only in cases
that are particularly egregious, such as post-spamming.
Where one-line posts are tolerated depends on the situation and the nature of the post itself, and that's what can lead to misunderstandings.
The Bottom One-Line
Members are free to post single-line responses without penalty if it is clear to all who read it that it's not junk. But that decision is left to the
discretion of the moderators who read the post.
The official and binding policy of ATS allows for any
single-line post to be warned. Thus any moderator who issues a warning for any
one-line or "content-free" post is acting within his or her authority.
The only sure way to avoid one-line post warnings is to avoid submitting one-line posts. However, if you submit a post that has meaning and
contributes significantly to a discussion, it is highly unlikely you will be warned, even if the post is only a single line long.
The ATS staff consists of fellow members who love our community and want to help make it better. This is a goal every member should share and assist
with by abiding by the terms and conditions we all agree to honor by being here, and by cooperating with the staff when we enforce them.
Submitting posts which contribute meaningfully to the discussion does exactly that.