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How can we get rid of these discussion-derailing pests?

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posted on Sep, 11 2006 @ 01:49 AM
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I have a small proposal that I think will go a long way towards improving the quality of debate on ATS.

I propose that we find some way of eliminating or at least severely discouraging statements of the following kind:

'If God didn't create the Universe, what was there before the Big Bang?'

'If God created the Universe, who created God?'

Both questions are unanswerable. More accurately, they are answerable, but never in terms that the opposite side understands. Most of the time, the people who ask them are well aware of this. There may be a few new, young members who think they're pulling up an original thought when they ask such questions, but anyone who's been on ATS longer than a month or two knows they're as common as mud.

These questions are toxic memes -- pests, if you like -- that prevent discussions on ATS from growing and elaborating fully and naturally. They pull everything back to fundamentals; the original point of the topic gets lost in the jabber and bang goes another thread. In my year or so on ATS, I've seen it happen so many times, I've lost count.

I propose that members asking either of the above questions (or permutations thereof) be docked a suitable number of points for such offences.

What do other members think?




posted on Sep, 11 2006 @ 06:03 AM
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I think that these types of topics don't have to be read if you don't like them and do have the potential to spark some interesting points (even if they don't always).

If they are frivolous, they are usually moved to BTS. That works. If it ain't broke....



posted on Sep, 11 2006 @ 06:18 AM
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This is a good post. Unfortuanately, you won't be able to ever get rid of those type of people in here. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and when someone writes a post to a thread they can give it. Unfortuanately, they sometimes get side tracked in their opinion...whether by accident, or on purpose.

Some people just can't leave well enough alone when it comes to someone saying something. Besides, some of those people who are giving their opinion to side rail a thread are obviously ones who are attempting to discredit or distort the thread. That's pretty obvious.

If you stick a grain of sand in an oyster, you change the genetic makeup of that oyster. It was supposed to be just an oyster, but because the sand got into it, it's now got to make a pearl.

Truth is very similar to that oyster. No, I was not trying to side rail your thread, just using an analogy.

By the way, in answer to your God/Big Bang Theory question.

My opinion...God creating the Universe and the Big Bang happening were one in the same event, Churches and Scientist's just Divided and Conquered the mentality of the people of the world, so there would always and forever be a debate on the issue and the people could not see eye to eye ever because of their passionate desires towards their own beliefs.

People have a tendency towards believing what they are taught without questioning the validity, some can be spoon fed...whether it's the truth or total B.S. and some people will guzzle it down, whether it's truth or total B.S.

Now, the job lays within your hands to keep this thread going. Post it to your signature, keep adding posts to it in answer to other people's replies, and when you do that, make sure you specifically pick a busy time of the day to do it, so people will see the thread keep popping up to the top of the thread lists.

I hate when a good thread dies off because of lack of interest. I've posted a lot of good threads and also replied to a lot of good threads and lack of interest usually lets them just fizzle out.


[edit on 11-9-2006 by SpartanKingLeonidas]



posted on Sep, 11 2006 @ 06:27 AM
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Restricting any sort of conversation on ATS would be detrimental.

If a member is behaving in a manner they should not, they use the Complain button and a Mod will deal with it swiftly.

If they are abiding by the ATS T&C, than you may have to simply ignore it. Your not going to agree with everyone, if you feel the discussion is a waste of time then simply do not view the thread.




[edit on 11-9-2006 by chissler]



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 09:46 AM
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Originally posted by chissler
Restricting any sort of conversation on ATS would be detrimental.

My point is that these back-to-fundamentals-type posts are detrimental to the development of potentially interesting threads. They're actually degrading the quality of the ATS experience.


If you feel the discussion is a waste of time then simply do not view the thread.

What if I started the thread?

This isn't about the threads that start around statements like 'who created God?' or 'what was there before the Big Bang?' If people find discussions of that kind of thing interesting, they're welcome to discuss 'em till their eyeballs turn square. I'm talking about a thread on a topic like, say, the influence of human culture on human evolution, or the relationship between God and alien species, being knocked sideways into a cocked hat by some yahoo who takes everything back to Square One by posting 'you can't talk about evolution because God created the world in six days' or 'God has no relationship with aliens because God doesn't (or aliens don't) exist'.

I hope this has made things clearer. Let me also add, for the benefit of my friend the hero of Thermopylae and anyone else who may have misunderstood me, that the 'pests' I'm referring to aren't the posters, but the statements themselves.



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 09:52 AM
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Every member on ATS has the right to express their opinion and take part in the discussions......with that said if you feel someone is intentionally derailing a thread please use the “complaint” function to make staff aware of the situation.

[edit on 12-9-2006 by kinglizard]



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 10:06 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
I propose that we find some way of eliminating or at least severely discouraging statements of the following kind:

'If God didn't create the Universe, what was there before the Big Bang?'

'If God created the Universe, who created God?'

Both questions are unanswerable. More accurately, they are answerable, but never in terms that the opposite side understands.


I may have the wrong end of the stick here, but docking points in regard to what you believe in isn't right. It's a 'you' and 'them' argument- if you think the thread is pointless, I wouldn't give it the time of day and ignore it and hope people see sense.

I can understand both sides of the argument, those who are religious and use the Bible as being fact and those who are of other religions or are atheists. A Christian declaring something as being true when deep inside you disbelieve- well it isn't going to be resolved, it's one concrete point vs another, hence, just ignore!



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 10:11 AM
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IT is not about the points, ok, think of this site as "Who's Line Is it anyway", the POINTS DON'T MATTER!

If you care more about the points, then you are here for the absolute WRONG reason, got it, get it good.

The answer in short to this thread, MATURITY!

You all know your age, act like it, don't like how you are responded to, perhaps it is because of the way you are presenting your self...


As for the trolls, they will get theirs.


[edit on 12-9-2006 by ADVISOR]



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 10:28 AM
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This applys to both sides of the road. I have equally seen trolls go into a religious discussion and bash practically everyone in there. Just skip over the parts you don't want to read. I agree with above posters, as long as terms & conditions of use are followed....every person should be allowed to speak.



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 10:51 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
'If God didn't create the Universe, what was there before the Big Bang?'

'If God created the Universe, who created God?'

Both questions are unanswerable.
...
What do other members think?


I think your proposition is unrealistic and would be detrimental to ATS.


"God" is unanswerable, yet there are thread after thread addressing "God" as if it's a given.


You can always use the ignore function to ignore a user or do what I do... Read the responses you wish weren't there, but use the power of your will to resist the temptation to answer or acknowledge them. Make a game of it! It's fun!
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but you get better with practice!

And finally, you can, in any thread, politely request of the other members to get back on topic or just discuss with the members who are talking about the aspect of the conversation you are interested in. There are many 'private' discussions within threads. I'd just skip over the posts that ask such (to you) unanswerable questions and talk to the people who are talking about your interests.



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 11:04 AM
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Sounds to me that you are talking about someone's beliefs and/or religion. Now, I don't agree at all with the idea of creationism, but some do and it's a very important, sacred belief to them. They have a right to it, plain and simple.

It sounds to me as if you are advocating discrimination and I don't think that you intended to do that. Think about it for a minute, you may think it's utterly absurd, I may think it's utterly absurd, but that's what we're all here for - to share opinions and discuss them. There will always be people who believe nutty things, ya know, the Square Earth Society, etc. but they do have a right to believe them. Consider this: when they speak up, the rest of us have a chance to educate them.

I was a group facilitator/therapist for 15 years and ran 2 groups a day. People often said stupid things, at least what I consider stupid, but that's what they were there for: to learn. They constantly went off-topic. The other counselors and I just gently reminded them that they were off topic. No problem.

We're all here to learn from each other and punitive methods rarely work.



posted on Sep, 13 2006 @ 06:00 AM
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Sorry.

You just can't get rid of me.



posted on Sep, 13 2006 @ 06:06 AM
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I also propose since we are on this topic that anyone who calls anyone else a racist just because they don't like their opinion about a certain topic be fined 500 points. If I have to read another "the only reason you're against this and that and this and that is because you are a racist" comment I think I'm going to barf. Uneducated cretins, all.



posted on Sep, 13 2006 @ 06:10 AM
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Originally posted by ADVISOR
As for the trolls, they will get theirs.


[edit on 12-9-2006 by ADVISOR]


Well, could we at least make a public spectacle out of them?

I mean come on!! We work so hard sometimes to keep to the topic, and look at how some of these threads turn out. If we could do just one thing to make this place better, it would be to rid this site of all of those people that don't contribute to the topics, but feel the need to fill threads with their mindless drivel.

Now how that would be instituted would be something for those with more powers and time than I have to surmise. I merely suggested a possible way out.

And notice, I've stayed on-topic throughout. It's not really that hard, when you're truly trying.

TheBorg

[Edited for P.S.]

P.S. As for the main questions presented as examples, I'll answer them later in another post, or send them via U2U if the poster so desires.


[edit on 13-9-2006 by TheBorg]



posted on Sep, 13 2006 @ 06:23 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
Both questions are unanswerable. More accurately, they are answerable, but never in terms that the opposite side understands.


Bold mine.

Therein lies the problem. We seem to be SOOOOOOOOOOOO set in OUR SIDE that, conversation, thought, a SHARING OF IDEAS has gone by the wayside. We've got to PROVE OUR SIDE. How is any benefit going to happen in that enviroment?

A little listening goes a LOOOOOOOOONG way.

Can we be a little less adversarial?

PLEASE!!!



posted on Sep, 13 2006 @ 06:31 AM
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Originally posted by TheBorg

Well, could we at least make a public spectacle out of them?



Making any decision by the staff public is going to turn into a drama-fest. I'm not sure if your familiar with picklewalsh, but his ban was made public to make a point. In a matter of seconds the board had members flocking to the thread to post their disgust for this decision. Problem was, it was the right decision.

Decisions to warn or ban members should be behind the scenes, would we really want to come to the board everyday and read why the latest person has been banned?

For a guy that is normally extremely vocal is his distastes for charachters like trolls, I have become very good at ignoring them. Rule of thumb: Ignore Ignore Ignore! If you come into a thread and notice a member acting in a manner he should not, well ignore it or contact them via u2u. By responding to them in the thread, you have only created two posts that are completely off topic and making it more difficult for the next poster to stay on topic.

Trolls are like the playground bully, when they get no attention, they put their heads between their legs and fade into the shadows.

[edit on 13-9-2006 by chissler]



posted on Sep, 13 2006 @ 06:52 AM
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Dont see a problem with it.
Technically speaking you dont have to read the post if its not to your liking.


Thats what makes ATS kinda cool...no thought police.
You police one aspect it creeps into all things, before there is no discussion.

If something seems boring...move on.


I for one want to know what started what...and whatever started everything...what started it.
If I were to start a topic, and if someone actually responded, then all the better...as long as there is interest, if not the post dies by itself.

Peace

Dalen



posted on Sep, 13 2006 @ 06:55 AM
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Originally posted by SpartanKingLeonidas
Unfortuanately, they sometimes get side tracked in their opinion...whether by accident, or on purpose.


Well, with any discussion, it is easy to go on "rabbit" trails.
After all, all things connect.

The trick is when you see a topic is leaning heavy in an area that no longer directly addresses the forum topic...have it moved to its on topic with all the post.
If not much topic or rather discussion, then let the small rabbit trails appear...they will die out on their own, or create a new thread at the same time helping to understand the thread from which they were born.


Peace

Dalen



posted on Sep, 13 2006 @ 06:57 AM
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Originally posted by ADVISOR
IT is not about the points, ok, think of this site as "Who's Line Is it anyway", the POINTS DON'T MATTER!


True...points may tend to be a hinderence...after all they are not all that necessary, but obviously they have a place in the community so it stands as it is.

In the whole scheme your right...look past the points and talk from your heart, and some good conversations are bound to pop up...or not.


Peace

Dalen



posted on Sep, 13 2006 @ 09:53 AM
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You know the absolute easiest way to keep a thread going the way you want it?


You steer it back in the correct direction, when you see someone steering it wrong.

Stop being lazy, and tend to your thread.

People have the right to voice their opinion. Just like I just did Mine.

If you don't like what someone says, that's really too bad.

Are you seriously suggesting ATS suspend the Freedom Of Speech?

Come now...that's the Governments job.

Yes, it is incredibly frustrating to have someone steer your thread away from the original topic.

Yes, it is incredibly frustrating for someone to hijack your thread.

Yes, it is frustrating to see someone else's opinion you don't agree with.

This is why you give them a chance to air their opinion, and then yyyooouuu reply.

Woah, what a concept.

[edit on 13-9-2006 by SpartanKingLeonidas]



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