posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 05:18 PM
First off I would like to say a little about what ATS is for me. I originally stumbled upon it several years ago when I got into reading conspiracy
theories on the net - just for fun mostly. I came for that, but I continued to come back for the discussion. I love to discuss, debate, and learn
about most every issue I can think of. I learn the most through discussion. I mostly lurk just to read the different viewpoints on issues (it is
often said the best way to learn an issue is through the side you disagree with). This brings me to what I would like to look at; the substance of
Every week I notice an increasing amount of replies that don't really contribute to the discussion. The dreaded one liner; except that it is
now a few more sentences long. We are almost all guilty of it at one time or another, which is fine, but it seems to be getting excessive.
The best hypothetical (barely) example I can think of is in the Breaking news forum. You will see a post of a news article detailing something such
as Bush Asks for War Funding. A reply such as "Just more money for GB and his Masonic buddies to screw the middle class out of money and
raise the price of gas for us all!!!" would fit nicely. What I find even more amazing is that these posts often get 2, 5, or even 10 stars! I
know this is an extreme example, but it gets my point across that replies often say nothing about the topic at hand (often in Breaking News I am sure
that 90% of repliers did not even read the news article). Discussion without substance is just empty rhetoric, which contributes nothing at
all. ATS is about user generated content, and I wouldn't call that content at all.
So this is where I come in. I would like to actually study this. I will pick a common characteristic that many threads share, and analyze
the replies to every thread sharing that characteristic over a certain time period. I may or may not limit it a certain forum or group of forums. I
will need to develop a system of post qualities that will define them as contributing or not. I may or may not record the amount of stars that went
to empty rhetoric v the amount that went to contributing posts. I may do two sets of data (ie- December 2007 and December 2002) to see if the amount
of substance has changed over time.
My basic goal is as follows:
-To find out what percentage of replies are just empty rhetoric.
My Secondary goals are:
-To see where on the board this is most prevalent.
-To see where stars are allocated in terms of this.
-To see if this has changed over time.
So this where you come in. I have a list of things I would like a range of comments on from staff and members, after all this is for all of you.
1-What topic should I choose?
2-What boards should I use for data?
5-What standards should I use to define a post as empty rhetoric or a contribution?(most important)
So far, I am thinking:
1-Topics involving George Bush
2-Maybe breaking news, skunk works, and current events?
3-One month, possible two as I suggested earlier.
Primarily I would like input before I begin from mods, as they are the authority on relevant contributions; however, all users are welcome to join in
on the discussion. This is still in the kind of planning stage so I have some random points to end:
-THIS IS NOT A KNOCK ON ATS. This is a wonderful place and people are free to say whatever they want, I am just using ATS as a tool to learn how
people discuss issues. This is just a much a study of man as it is a study of ATS.
-I think this has the potential to be a great tool for the 3 Amigos to set board policy and get a good feel for how the community acts regarding this
-At the very least it will be a great learning experience