Help ATS with a contribution via PayPal:
learn more

UPDATE 2009: The Discussion Of "Illegal Activity" On The Above Network Sites (ATS, BTS, AP).

page: 1
28
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join

posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 07:39 PM
link   
UPDATE 2009: We've relaxed these rules a bit over the past six months, but are now going back to a strict interpretation.


 


This became a hot point in a recent thread, and continues to emerge from time to time. Lately we've been admittedly a bit lax about one particular aspect of the so-called "illegal activity" portion of our terms and conditions, and I think it's time for a clarification.

One topic that often sparks a great deal of interest and controversy is that of the discussion of illegal mind-altering substances... drugs. Many members attempt to interject anecdotal comments related to person use or advocacy of legalization into certain topics, and become confused or angered at our tendency to clamp down.

While I personally believe there are important conspiratorial issues related to the "War On Drugs" and related government malfeasance, there are four primary reasons we prefer to avoid this topic.

Reason One: Automatic Filtering Systems
Because we operate online, where certain organizations may choose to limit what their users see, we need to be mindful our our "bigger picture goals" of broad distribution of what everyone has to say. This issue is the potential negative effect certain drug-related phraseology will have on our domain as automatic filtering is applied to individual pages as well as an aggregate domain score for AboveTopSecret.com. Our founder, Simon Gray, is now a victim of this, as his employer chose to initiate such filtering, and he cannot visit the site or receive site email from work. I'm currently working with a large filtering firm to help devise better contextual filters... but it's a long up-hill battle.

Reason Two: Overzealous Politicians
This has been a "background" issue for months, but is increasingly becoming a major potential problem any site that might be labeled as "social networks" and is open to the involvement of minors. If we're increasingly seen as a place where "adult" topics are conversed, we could be forced to comply with revised regulations regarding the confirmation of a user's age -- which would require us to make every attempt to ascertain the legal age of all users, and proactively seek parental approval for the membership of anyone under 13 (but which may soon change to 18 thanks to the overzealous and clueless legislators).

Reason Three: Stoners
This may seem like stereotyping or "stoner profiling", but the all too often inane chatter and personalities attracted by discussion of drug use will end up detracting from our long-standing broader efforts to approach topics that are normally ridiculed with a new level of intelligence and civility. Quality professional writers, researchers, and journalists with important information in our genres are beginning to be attracted by the high-quality of material being exchanged by our members. The direct involvement with our membership if such experts has been a long standing goal of ours. But people such as these will not be attracted to a place where certain types of discussions are known to crop up.

Reason Four: There Are Better Sites Than ATS (Well, for those topics.)
There are well-established sites and organizations devoted to legalization and/or acceptance of certain drugs in many situations. Members who have a passion for this topic and desire for change will do better to focus their efforts with those groups and sites, not ATS.


All of these core rationales can easily be applied to topics about illegal drugs, computer hacking, hate crime/racism, and child pornography.


Years of work has gone into evolving ATS to the point where it is today. A critical part of our amazing growth has been our rather strict Terms & Conditions. We've attracted an amazing core of quality people with the ability to express fantastic and educated points of view on a broad range of provocative topics. The hard work to get us here has been 10% ATS admin/staff and 90% members with nearly 3.4 million examples of a new definition of what makes an expert -- the crowd at ATS. Together we're smarter than any one of us. Let's be certain that the broadest possible spectrum of people have access to the hard work and important contributions of our members.


This policy extends to all sites under "The Above Network, LLC" banner -- AboveTopSecret.com, AbovePolitics.com, TinWiki.org, and BelowTopSecret.com.


[edit on 20-9-2009 by SkepticOverlord]




posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 07:45 PM
link   
Thanks for the update SO. I understand the position that you three have to maintain this site to the highest standards, and I for one appreciate that you do.There is no need to discuss those topics when we have a wide range of topics to choose from.



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 08:17 PM
link   
I understand.
It was pointed out to me in a U2U from a Mod explaining why my thread was trashed. I understood completely then as I do now. In fact, I was pretty sure before I posted the thread. But it tied in to my interest in the Paranormal and so I risked it. I got some very intellegent responses from those stoners and straights, so, I'm glad I did it. I didn't get any "Warn" tags and I don't think I lost any points, so I was grateful it all worked out in the end.
But I learned my lesson and I don't think I've repeated it since. It's a big part of my everyday life, but, so is sex and I don't talk about that here either.

Thanks for taking the time to type all that, SO, and I'm sorry you felt you had to.

Peace,
Cuhail



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 08:23 PM
link   
Skepticoverlord I'm afraid that I need some clarification has the T&C changed ?
Can we no longer discuss the likes of the legalization of dope and the CIA ties to drug smuggling ?



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 08:30 PM
link   
Thanks Skeptic,

You've made the issue entirely clear for everyone, and created a post that can be used as a reference when this issue comes up again.
And it will.......

It's ATS policy like this that allows me to encourage young members of my family to research topics on these boards for school projects. ATS is an asset to everyone as a source of information, and I'd hate to see it being blocked from schools and such because the content was deemed unacceptable.:shk:



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 08:36 PM
link   

Originally posted by xpert11
Can we no longer discuss the likes of the legalization of dope and the CIA ties to drug smuggling ?


Yes, you can discuss such things as long as you don't say "it should be legalized because I do it everyday and I'm still fine" or "I know the CIA sells because I'm sure this dude I bought some from yesterday is an agent" and the like... it's pretty easy actually.



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 08:36 PM
link   

Originally posted by xpert11
has the T&C changed ?

No.



Can we no longer discuss the likes of the legalization of dope

This topic was always officially not allowed. Lately, we've been somewhat lax.



and the CIA ties to drug smuggling

Yes, as long as the discussion doesn't contain components that advocate legalizing or using illegal drugs. But even then, we'd ask that members maintain high standards of conduct and avoid "street" or "slang" terminology for the drugs being discussed.



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 08:42 PM
link   

Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

Can we no longer discuss the likes of the legalization of dope

This topic was always officially not allowed. Lately, we've been somewhat lax.


Can't you still say something like "The U.S. Libertarian Party advocates the legalization of drugs"?



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 08:47 PM
link   

Originally posted by djohnsto77


Can't you still say something like "The U.S. Libertarian Party advocates the legalization of drugs"?


Only if they decide it's okay to plug the Libertarian Party. I didn't know you were campaigning for them, dj. When did you switch?



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 09:36 PM
link   

Originally posted by Valhall
Only if they decide it's okay to plug the Libertarian Party. I didn't know you were campaigning for them, dj. When did you switch?


What if you're simply describing their platform or campaigning against them and wish to use that as a negative?



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 09:40 PM
link   
Thanks for keeping the board to high qualities standards SO, if is something I have learned from being here is that the amount of information that ATS hold is priceless and it should be protected so everybody can enjoy it regarless of age.



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 09:42 PM
link   
Just Say No

This particular issue has caused an incredible amount of grief for the staff and many members as well.

There is a long and tumultuous history of some individuals trying to circumvent the terms & conditions applying to the discussion of illegal/mind-altering drugs through various means, then giving the staff a hard time for enforcing them.

Those days are over.

Until quite recently, I had been a vocal advocate of a more "relaxed" interpretation of ATS policy regarding discussion of illegal drugs, but it has become clear that the problems it has given way to have become too great.

Alas, it's easier to "just say no".


The War On Drugs

I realize that some members will disagree with this policy, and there's nothing wrong with having different opinions about anything, including ATS policies.

But violations of this policy, especially deliberate attempts to "lawyer" past it, will not be tolerated.

In particular, wasting valuable staff time arguing over the removal of drug-related threads or posts is a non-starter.

Don't. Just don't.
:shk:



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 09:47 PM
link   
Well then there certainly is a change in the T&C.

If I say "George W. Bush killed 4000 people on 9/11" that's ok, even though murder is illegal.

But, if I say "Politician X proposed a bill to decriminalize marijuana" that's not OK, even though it's a description of a completely legal activity.



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 09:49 PM
link   
I think one thing that's clear is that the Admin here has been open about why some topics are against ATS policy. They didn't say, "My way or the highway." They pointed out why they are doing this. It's more than you'ld get from most sites.

Now, it's up to some to accept that or quibble. I'm sure we are going to see this. Fact is, it has been explained(WAY more than once). If you want to discuss this topic, do it elsewhere, where it's acceptable. Yes, ATS might be your favorite site but it isn't for this topic.

I await the "What if........" crowd.

To the "what if's", reread the OP. That should explain it.



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 09:51 PM
link   

Originally posted by djohnsto77
Well then there certainly is a change in the T&C.

If I say "George W. Bush killed 4000 people on 9/11" that's ok, even though murder is illegal.

But, if I say "Politician X proposed a bill to decriminalize marijuana" that's not OK, even though it's a description of a completely legal activity.


Sorry DJ, don't see how this is even relevant to this conversation. You might want to let this fly on AP.



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 09:54 PM
link   

Originally posted by intrepid
I think one thing that's clear is that the Admin here has been open about why some topics are against ATS policy. They didn't say, "My way or the highway." They pointed out why they are doing this. It's more than you'ld get from most sites.


Yes, but it was also stated that there was no change in the T&C.

If a certain topic is completely out of bounds, I'm 100% ok with that, it just be stated in the T&C and a change should be acknowledged.

A politician attempting to go through the legal process of changing the law is legal.

A politician committing mass murder is not.

Yet the first is being banned, while the second isn't?

Saying that's not a change in the T&C is simply wrong.



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 10:04 PM
link   
Drug Warriors


Originally posted by djohnsto77
Well then there certainly is a change in the T&C.

No it's actually been that way for quite a long time.

Currently, the relevant passage reads like this:


Originally posted by SimonGray

2e.) Illegal Activity: Discussion of illegal activities; specifically mind-altering drugs, computer hacking, criminal hate, sexual relations with minors, and stock scams are strictly forbidden.

It did used to say "illegal drugs", but there is little practical difference. As written either way, discussion of such activities is prohibited.

Finding the right wording can be difficult, because the "War on Drugs" and other legitimate conspiratorial and political issues have been repeatedly and flagrantly used as pretexts to derail discussion into the ins and outs of various drugs and what they can do for you.

The bottom line is that any staff member is fully entitled to remove any discussions of illegal activities such as mind-altering drugs under this provision.

Period.

The only thing that has actually changed is that we are now making it clear that this policy will be enforced as was originally intended.



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 10:06 PM
link   
Again, I'll say the discussion of changing the law through proper legal procedures isn't discussing illegal activity.



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 10:14 PM
link   
Legal Procedures


Originally posted by djohnsto77
Again, I'll say the discussion of changing the law through proper legal procedures isn't discussing illegal activity.

I think you're going to a lot of trouble to not understand what should be reasonably obvious.



posted on Aug, 30 2007 @ 10:14 PM
link   

Originally posted by djohnsto77
Yes, but it was also stated that there was no change in the T&C.

*snip*

Saying that's not a change in the T&C is simply wrong.


You must have missed the first paragraph of S.O.'s post:


Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
This became a hot point in a recent thread, and continues to emerge from time to time. Lately we've been admittedly a bit lax about one particular aspect of the so-called "illegal activity" portion of our terms and conditions, and I think it's time for a clarification.


It's not a "change" it's a reinforcement of what we should have been doing all along. It happens that at times that we, as staff, rely on the members. Why not? We are the best on the Net. Sometimes something like this is needed. Some just don't get it or have their own agenda and they don't care about the site, or it's members. Then we have to reinforce the T&C. It's sad but what are you going to do? Allow what we all have built here to deteriorate because of a few that have an agenda that they think is important?






top topics



 
28
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join