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NEW: Civility and Decorum are Required

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posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 10:24 AM
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It seems that no matter how hard we attempt to drive home the point that Civility and Decorum and Disagreeing 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.




posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 10:35 AM
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Bill, I'm not going to tell you what to do. You can and have obviously managed this site very well for yourself..but, here is my opinion. If you start banning people for personal attacks, people will start taking notice. I hate to say that when it's my luck I'd be one of the first to get banned...
I'd get too emotionally involved in a topic and for the first trime during my stay here at ATS, I'd attack someone.


However, my point is that if you were to make an "example" out of a few people, people would be more careful as to how they worded their responses. That's just my two cents on the matter.



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 10:37 AM
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I don't intend for this to be inclusive of Skeptic's post, but I would like to add that posting a reply out of context of the thread topic and/or flow of discussion is as well detrimental to the converstaion.

I would like to see more thoughtful posts from the best membership the web has to offer...


Originally posted by Speakeroftruth
However, my point is that if you were to make an "example" out of a few people, people would be more careful as to how they worded their responses.


In my opinion, directing attention to people getting banned detracts from the flow of thought. This board, correct me if I am wrong, is about the stories and discussions...not the people who are no longer here.

[edit on 18-12-2007 by MemoryShock]



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 10:40 AM
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Originally posted by MemoryShock
I don't intend for this to be inclusive of Skeptic's post, but I would like to add that posting a reply out of context of the thread topic and/or flow of discussion is as well detrimental to the converstaion.



Well, that is something that everyone here seems to be guilty of;I know I certainly am. It is aproblem that has been addressed repeatedly, but I think it's just the nature of the medium. People tend to take segments out of another person's post to respond to...



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 10:41 AM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


Sounds good to me, the new graphic is nice lol.

The leiniancy thing can be good, some post really do contribute to the discussion and inside that post the poster lost control and said something stupid, fine them.

If it is just a blatant personal attack or someone being rude for the sake of spite, I understand they will rightfully be given a warning, and to many fines leads to a warning, to many warnings still leads to a ban?

SoT:
I don't think banning people has ever been a good "example" making process, usually for the most part its someone annoying that everyone knew they where being banned soon any ways, banning even more people for no major offense will most likely just make people mad, not afraid of the big bad amigos with a knee jerk ban hammer!

By the way SO, who is the old woman in the new graphic? .. First thought was it might be your mother??


[edit on 12/18/2007 by Rockpuck]



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 10:41 AM
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Thanks SO. Nice to see Admin grabbing this problem with both hands and doing something about it.

Hey, is that Marks mom?



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 10:43 AM
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Well, that's part of the reason why I'm not a moderator,I suppose...
My tolerance for personal attacks and ignorance is not very high..



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 10:43 AM
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This is great! I was finding myself participating less and less in meaningful discussions on ATS, and spending more time engaged in silly yet light-hearted banter on BTS. I post on ATS because I want to share and learn from others, not be insulted and disparaged.

Here's hoping this will improve the situation on ATS



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 10:48 AM
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Splendid!

Miss Manners wielding her softly padded, delicately scented ban-hammer.

What a perfectly marvelous idea.



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 11:11 AM
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YES YES YES!!!

I too, was witnessing ALOT of this type of attitude, and had declined from from posting in a few boards, for this reason.

To be honest? I felt like it was going to be a 'shooting duck gallery' (no pun intended with my username) should I step foot in and give one iota of an opinion. In other words, I cringed at the mere thought of posting in 911 threads and a few others, for fear of 'instantly being attacked' for my opinion, should it not agree with others.

As well as the fact that, the 'rudeness' factor jumped up too many notches, and quite frankly, I got sick of the back and forth needless bantering. (I saw it in other forums; by God, I don't want to see it here)

SO, You have the right idea: STIFFER fines for penalties; tightening the reins!

"Give them an inch, and they complacently take a mile."

Mabey, just mabey I'll type in these boards now, without fear of undo reprisal from 'Callous know-it-alls' or 'Fear-mongering insenstive Trolls' who have been polluting our boards to no end.

Thankyou for cleaning the waters. Bout time.

~Ducky~



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 11:17 AM
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Well it has gotten that bad and noticed.

Like my good friend and ATS member FyersFan said in a post it "comes in waves."

Wise words.



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 11:18 AM
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reply to post by Rockpuck
 
, Lost, et al:

The lady in question is none other than the existentially polite etiquette columnist, Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners.

As for this idea, I'm a little on both sides. I can sympathize with the Amigos and their frustrations in reigning in the rampant abusers of "forum decorum", that elusive and often slippery ideal of public 'net discourse.

Unfortunately, there is also no way of policing a site like this without injecting the personal biases of the 'good cop'/'bad cop' disciplinarians. As Bill points out, the poster/responder format yields heightened sensitivities and the personal roguish attacks can cut deep.

But - we are faced with the unavoidable reality of dealing in small, virtual sound-'bytes' from posters without the benefit of real-time exchange, face-to-face contact, gesturing and other cues of human communication. The result is that the interpretation of intent is highly subjective and borne by the interpreter alone. No jury of your peers, here - and little opportunity for recourse.

If the 'cop' is leaning on one side of the argument over another - then he/she alone decides that one side is "impolite" or badgering, while the other side is merely defending themselves.

This is not to suggest that this idea has no merit. On the contrary it is a welcome, and, sadly, a necessity. I'm all for it and commend the leadership for trying to implement, maintain, and encourage civility on the board. My only concern is that like the humans and their frailties that will be subject to 'discipline' and censorship, etc., those meting out such justice are only human themselves, and thus can not help but make biased, judgmental decisions in enforcing their policy. It can't be helped, I know.

I wish the Amigos and their mod assistants all the best and thank you for trying to make ATS an even better place to hang one's hat than it already is.

I hope you all are up to such a challenge... and kudos for the effort and the aforethought.



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 11:24 AM
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I think this is a good move. Although, it will force me to use the ignore user button more frequently. Some posters on here can just bait me into wanting to give a personal attack.


Must....resist....



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 11:43 AM
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......................... crickets .......................... crickets ...........................

Hear that?

I just expressed my displeasure with someone's remarks with "deafening silence"!

It's much more effective than rude comments, AND, it doesn't lower you down to that person's obviously sub-par level of schoolyard debate technique.

Being rude is stupid & ignorant. Two oxymorons with respect to ATS.

Great work-

2PacSade-



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 11:54 AM
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Originally posted by Karlhungis
I think this is a good move. Although, it will force me to use the ignore user button more frequently. Some posters on here can just bait me into wanting to give a personal attack.


Must....resist....


You know what I do to people like that? I place them on ignore.



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 12:12 PM
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I love Judith Martin.

Her visage will be a welcome addition to the board.



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 12:27 PM
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apc

posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 12:29 PM
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Miss Manners bwahah!

I think the points system should get looked at if a point deduction will continue to be the primary means for dispensing "punishment." Beyond some sort of personal gratification from having a bigger number than the other guy, they're pretty much useless other than the small sums needed to change personal aesthetics. But I don't see how docking points from some bunghole will alter their behavior. That is of course unless I'm completely missing some aspect of the system.

[edit on 18-12-2007 by apc]



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 12:34 PM
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How about a nice little ditty to recount when replying...

Keep your head
Keep your cool
You'll keep this forum
As your tool

Lose that temper
Get all mad
Lose your points and
then get banned

Save yourself
From ire and lash
And post a bit
With undue class

Don't commit
To what you'd do
Just think twice
Maybe they will too.

Thank you, that was original ya know. I'll be here til 2012, try the veal!



I find it hard to not "get into it" with some posters. I hate being called ignorant. It may apply sometimes, but, no-one wants to be repeatedly called that. I was called hateful, ignorant and provocotive in an earlier thread. I made sure to bite my tongue and pass on to the topic. It was hard, but, I had no problem thinking of the results to that action.
Think twice, post once.

Good luck all. That includes you too SO. You guys have to absolutely hate having to do this stuff. It sucks.

Peace all,
Cuhail



posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 12:39 PM
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Originally posted by Outrageo
Unfortunately, there is also no way of policing a site like this without injecting the personal biases of the 'good cop'/'bad cop' disciplinarians.

No jury of your peers, here - and little opportunity for recourse.


I understand your concerns. Sure, these decisions are made by humans. (Believe it or not we're just members too). Still, I think the situations you'll see this feature used are on out and out rudeness. You've seen this stuff before.



Hey! Why don't you go out to the swingsets and let the grown-ups have a discussion.

Words like that you would never say to another adult face to face, yet those (nearly) exact words were used in a discussion here recently.

[edit on 18-12-2007 by dbates]





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