posted on Apr, 29 2007 @ 09:58 AM
So I've been here just over a week. I wanted to make a couple of statements about how I feel about the ATS galaxy of sites.
My experiences up to now with forums have been either with hermit crab hobbyist sites, or what I've learned here are called "trash forums." I had
never been on a site with such strict rules of conduct that are so consistently enforced.
I left the first trash forum I had been on after 16 months because of factionism. People would make alliances and hound other members if they didn't
like or agree with them. There were also members that were intellectual bullies, demagogues, or just plain argumentative for the sake of being
argumentative. Always had to have the last word, would get insulting if you kept disagreeing and condescending as all-get-out. One of the worst
offenders was a 16 year old who thought he knew it all. He was brilliant, yes, but had absolutely no life experience and he got to be just a bit too
much to take.
When my ex's evil girlfriend started cyberstalking me and printing out things I'd said on the forum to use against me in court, I had to quit and
delete my account.
I was invited to another forum via my MySpace. That lasted less than a week. It seemed like a great, fun place to be, but there was a member there who
decided to make it his personal mission to show how I was wrong about domestic violence. Any time I'd post to help another member out (most members
on the board were female) he'd post something contradicting me and "showing" how women are just as guilty of domestic violence as men are. It was
clear he had no real knowledge or understanding of the subject, but had gone off and spent a good 16 hours looking for one article by a member of the
movement that certain circles refer to as the Father Supremacists, and kept using that one lonely article (that had been discounted in serious
circles) as "proof" that I was wrong. He was absolutely insufferable! I have some very serious issues in my life right now and I go on the internet
to relieve stress, not add to it. It got to the point on this second forum that I was dreading logging in because I didn't know what I'd find.
I made one joke about another member's post and got warned that I was being unfriendly. The joke was meant to be an icebreaker for a new member, not
an insult, and was clearly a joke (I used the laughing smiley), but the new member went ballistic and I got an official warning. The Father
Supremacist hounded and insulted me and though I complained to the staff that he was being overbearing and asked for an Ignore User function, I was
told that he was entitled to his opinion and wasn't hurting anyone. The unfairness and uneven enforcement of the forum rules based, again, on faction
and personal likes and dislikes of the administrators made me quit and have them delete my account.
I spent a couple of weeks trying to find another place to go. I stumbled across ATS from a Message Board Directory I found on Wiki.
At first I was really worried because this is SUCH a big site. I wasn't used to so active a board, with so many members and so much subject matter. I
was also concerned at first because I was only used to the free-for-all anarchy of a barely-moderated trash site. I read the T&C and was worried
because I tend to use "colorful" language and I thought that I might get in trouble for using milder words such as "ass" and "hell."
I decided to join anyway to give it a whirl. And I'm glad I did.
Sometimes I really have to think about what I want to say and watch my sailor-mouth, but that's not a bad thing now that I'm experiencing it.
I've seen a couple of people get warned here and I have noticed that the rules are evenly enforced, and not used arbitrarily. I like the fact there
is an Ignore User function (though I've yet to use it, just knowing it's there reduces the stress I feel at seeing posts by certain members). I love
the Friend/Foe buttons, the points system, and the fact that applause is a part of the board, but only mods and admins can give it.
I haven't gone off into ATS too much, I've been having too much fun on BTS. I've got my feet wet a bit on AbovePolitics, and can see that I will
probably gravitate more towards subject matter there than on the conspiracy-oriented ATS.
I was sort of taken aback at first by the fact that not every post is answered. The community here is much larger than I'm used to and at first I
felt like I was talking to myself, or butting in on conversations I wasn't invited in to. But I'm starting to get my feet, and WolfofWar's adding
me to his Foe list got the ball rolling for me. It made me feel included and get over the trepidation I felt in my first couple of days. Thanks,
I don't know why it took me so very long to find this place -- I've been on the internet since the early 1990s. I have no idea how I missed this
board for so long. My mind has been changed about a place with lots of rules -- I can see the wisdom for having a strong set of T&C, and when they are
evenly applied they enhance a site rather than detract from it.
So, to the founders and the staff of this place, kudos to you, my friends. I feel like I've found a new internet home. Here's hoping we have a long
and interesting fellowship.