It seems that no matter how hard we attempt to drive home the point that Civility
without being Disagreeable
are intended hallmarks of the discussion and debate on our websites, we continue to experience the occasional rising
tide if ill-mannered contributions from new and experienced members alike.
The Evolution of Online Civility and Decorum
Several years ago, we (ATS sites) went through a difficult and painful transition as we worked hard to redefine ourselves as a singularly unique
destination where the issues and topics are more important than bickering, flaming, and insults. While rudeness is overwhelmingly popular throughout a
staggering majority of "discussion boards," and even embraced by many, we define ourselves as a "social content community" where such activity is
discouraged. The reasons are three-fold:
1) Important Issues Can Stand Out:
Most of us take the issues we discuss here very seriously. By distancing ourselves from typical online
trollishness and habitual rudeness, we signal to the world that we are serious about meaningful debate.
2) Anyone Can Feel Free To Raise Any Issue:
If one posts an idea of fantastic proportions on typical "discussion boards" that do not inhibit
rude behavior, all manner of insults and immature responses will result. Many of our topics such as UFO sightings/abductions and paranormal
experiences are deeply personal and without such rules of decorum, many people will shy away from sharing what might be important experiences.
3) It Makes Sense:
As human beings sharing potentially important thoughts, ideas, and theories, it simply makes sense to engage in polite
discussion. Hiding behind the anonymity of an online pseudonym just to hurl insults is childish and cowardly.
Taking Control Of Ill-Mannered Contributions
On the heals of our new system to manage inappropriate contributions to debates in the 9/11 Conspiracies forum, we're launching a new warning system
with similar intent in all other forums on AboveTopSecret.com, BelowTopSecret.com, and AbovePolitics.com. The new warning removes the offending post,
and replaces it with this image:
The author of the post is fined 1,000 points, but no warning flag is applied to their account. The hope is that just one reminder will be needed to
help people realize our intent, and there should be no need to engage in longer-term punitive action. However, repeat offenses may result in account
termination without any warning.
We will be slightly more lenient toward a degree of intensity in posts on AbovePolitics.com as political debate can very often become passionate (for
good reason). However, our leniency would only apply to posts that also contain important points that contribute to the discussion.
The Above Network Sites Are Not For Everyone
Let's face it, many people spend time in online discussion boards expressly to entertain themselves with their audacious and rude behavior. Others
may feel many of our topics are important, but simply aren't able to moderate their rhetoric and/or passion to fit within the confines of civilized
debate. Our sites are not for these people, and in fact, these groups also have a difficult time understanding our intent. However, there is no
shortage of venues for these types, sad as that may be.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation and your continued efforts to ensure that our topics remain the lead issue in all discussions.