posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 07:29 PM
I thought it a timely moment in ATS's history to proactively revisit a reoccurring topic, that of the management of AboveTopSecret.com.
Disclaimer: Many members and former members that have run afoul of ATS staff for one reason or another will likely not agree with much of what you're
about to read. If you're one of those people, it might be best to simply stop reading now and avoid the inevitable.
Over the past year, there have been several new demands on the owners, staff, and hardware that keeps ATS up and running as a 100% free service -- a
service that is a relentless advocate of and source for free expression. The challenges have occurred in many forms: 1) We've had periods of intense
drama as long-standing staff and valued old-timer members disagree with what they perceive to be a "new direction". 2) We've had numerous issues
(most of it unseen by the majority of members) of stressful staff-events related to troublesome new members and off-site detractors. 3) And to top it
all off, our increasing popularity has presented a long list infrastructure issues that remain hair-pulling quandaries (see my avatar).
Today, we're at another cusp in our growth, the first being in April of 2003 when we moved to our first dedicated server and opened the technological
flood gates. That event literally illustrated the concept of, "if you build it they will come", as our traffic sky-rocketed simply because
ATS was more reliable.
But we've reached what appears to be a plateau -- there is a finite number of people who would seek out the kind of topics presented on ATS. The good
news is that thanks to all of your efforts, they're finding us. The bad news is that any entity must continue to grow, or there is risk of stagnation
and decay... and this is the nature of our current cusp.
Over the next year, we'll be taking some steps to alleviate some of the infrastructure issues, combined with a list of very exciting new features for
all members (and event guests). In addition, we plan begin our first-ever venture into the arena of promoting the ATS community via a number of
vehicles, including mass-market advertising.
And, this brings me back to the opening comments of this thread and the thread title: ATS = Altruism - Trust - Sincerity
Given that there will be the inevitable comments of; "the amigos are just in it for the money", or some other such knee-jerk reaction, I thought it
might be a good idea to preemptively put out some basic aspects of the vision that has been, and always will be ATS.
Altruism: The basic idea of "ATS" as an ethically managed vehicle for free expression is what brought us this far, and will never change.
Many of our members and staff are long standing contributors/collaborators primarily because of this. We see our commitment to altruistic ideals as
the cornerstone of everything ATS does now and in the future.
Trust: The basic idea that "ATS" can be trusted as a place to engage in thought-provoking exchanges on controversial topics will never
change. We do not now, nor will we in the future track or otherwise record the posting and browsing activity of our members or guests. We retain no
server logs. We only ask for your email address to register for membership.
Sincerity: The basic idea that "ATS" has no "official" position on any one topic is proof of our sincerity of supporting all angles of any
given discussion, even if an angle conflicts with the opinions of owners and staff. We may work to promote well-presented material that has a
particular position, but we do that to promote the quality efforts of our members, not their specific conclusions.
And let me make one thing clear... yes, I would like to make some money from ATS. Nothing would give me greater professional joy than to be fortunate
enough to derive enough income from this outstanding community such that I could devote 100% of my efforts to it, and you the members. And I believe I
can say the same for Simon and Springer. Right now, ATS is very far from that kind of revenue... but with some new effort... who knows.
So in the next few months, you're going to see some activity that may inspire some detractors to vocally cast doubt on the goals of ATS. If I
haven't already made it clear, let me close with this:
"ATS also equals Altruism, Trust, and Sincerity" is the single-most important idea in the minds of the "Three Amigos".
If at any point you feel we've lost the plot, feel free to direct us back to this post.