It's that time again. We have to address the conduct in this forum.

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posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 08:16 AM
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STOP! Bickering!! ... Seriously guys, this is not a thread to be bickering back and forth about Masonry.. its about the T&C and the conduct on this forum........


Calm your selves.

Anyways......

Conspiracynut -- I know what you mean man, I believe I have only recieved one applause on the SS forum.. maybe two... but no more then that. I know not every post that we feel deserves an applause will get one, but I have seen many that DID deserve one (including your activity on the Obelisk thread).

Again to the others -- take it somewhere else. Not here.




posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 08:41 AM
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UPDATE FROM ADMIN




I'd like to step in and add to what Interpid has posted as a reminder to those who participate in this Secret Societies Forum on the Internet's largest and most-active social content website devoted to the discussion of conspiracy theories, AboveTopSecret.com.


We are Conspiracy Theorists

Yes... this website is the largest and most popular online venue devoted to the discussion of conspiracy theories. There are certainly many other topics on ATS, but the notion of hidden conspiracies permeates every topical category.

This Secret Societies Forum is no different than the rest of ATS. People who are concerned about the goings on of various groups have the opportunity to read and contribute to the vast knowledge base of nearly 85,000 posts on more than 3,400 topics. Like it or not, history is riddled with stories of of powerful masons (and others associated with similar groups shrouded in secrecy) doing questionable things, and this is the cause for concern by many, and the inspiration for this forum.


The Secret Societies Forum

Unfortunately, this particular forum has suffered in terms of civility from the point in which numerous members of various groups (most notably masons) started becoming involved in the discussion. We've had at least two events in ATS history in which confirmed organized groups of people from these groups were purposefully trolling this forum to cause disruption and post false information. The activity of those people are directly responsible for item 2.d (Forum Gangs) in our Terms & Conditions. Because of the increased tension within this forum, which appears to be connected to the participation of those defending Freemasonry, many members and staff of ATS tend to be somewhat leery of new participants that do little else on ATS but post in defense of masons.

There are numerous valid speculations of conspiracies involving masons and others. There are also numerous examples of good works being performed by members local Masonic lodges and other groups.


Going Forward

Masons... If you wish to participate in this forum, you must be mindful of the fact there there are indeed valid reasons for those who speculate on conspiracy theories to doubt the motivations of your group, and especially the very-wealthy and well-connected members of your group.


Conspiracy Theorists... We know there are valid reasons for your concern, but in turn we need to be mindful that many people do join Masonic lodges with the best of intentions for giving back to their community, being completely unaware of the conspiracies we discuss.


Style Counts

In the end, however, we are mostly a community of conspiracy-minded people. The topics and replies in this forum will tend to focus on subject matter that may anger members of the groups being discussed. If you would like to respond to what you believe to be inaccurate information, the tone and style of your response are just as important as the information you present... if not more so.



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 08:54 AM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


I certainly hope your not suggesting that the Brethren on this board are informed of eachothers activities, and even organized a "gang" like system to gang up on "anti-Masons" ......
The incidents in ATS history that your speaking of, must have been before my time here, or at least before I was a Mason.

I can be fairly certain that it is not the case....

I agree 100% the civilty of the debates need to be changed drastically.. of course emotions will always run high with those who firmly believe they are right.. or those defending an institution they base their lives around, surely that is understandable, but should still be kept within the bounds of respect for opposing view points..

To allow anti-Masonic rhetoric to run wild without ANY opposition at all... would be the opposite of what ATS stands for, ATS is lucky to have a community of Freemasons to answer questions.. there have been MANY great and productive discussions on Masonry.. as of lately more bickering then anything else, but even within the bickering.. for instance the wretched Obelisk thread .. there is a LOT to learn on history, and Masonry from several good posters..

It is the select few who ruin it for all.

Anyways, just my .02 cents SO..



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 09:18 AM
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Originally posted by Rockpuck
even organized a "gang" like system to gang up on "anti-Masons"

Yes. Many ATS old-timers will remember that is exactly what happened.



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 09:28 AM
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Hi SO. Welcome to the jungle baby!



Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
Like it or not, history is riddled with stories of of powerful masons (and others associated with similar groups shrouded in secrecy) doing questionable things, and this is the cause for concern by many, and the inspiration for this forum.


Operative word (by and large)? Stories. Fictional constructs. Where correct, no argument but is there something wrong with repeatedly setting the record straight regarding the also-rans?


Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
Because of the increased tension within this forum, which appears to be connected to the participation of those defending Freemasonry, many members and staff of ATS tend to be somewhat leery of new participants that do little else on ATS but post in defense of masons.


Is that a round-about way of suggesting Masonic sockpuppets? And the tension is a direct byproduct of having reasonably addressed a point, asking for clarification and getting a repeat of the initial assertion and simultaneously demanding the proof of a negative while no proof of a positive is forthcoming. Put any identifiable group into the same straightjacket and do you really think the arc of discussion will differ in any significant way?


Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
There are numerous valid speculations of conspiracies involving masons and others.


Speculation's one thing, trolling another altogether. The Masonic obelisk thread's a perfect example of the latter being posted under the guise of the former. The speculatee wasn't actually here for reasonable speculation but practically bragged about 3 pages or so into the thread that he was trolling. I'm game for reasonable discussion. If I don't know, I'll say "I don't know" and/or defer to some of the other Masons here who might. I think that's been true of almost all if not all of the Masons regularly posting here.

But by the same token, is it unreasonable to be taken aback when repeatedly accused of things so off-the-wall (and ofttimes accomplishable only by trained gymnasts)?



Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
Masons... If you wish to participate in this forum, you must be mindful of the fact there there are indeed valid reasons for those who speculate on conspiracy theories to doubt the motivations of your group, and especially the very-wealthy and well-connected members of your group.


If valid questions are raised, absolutely. As 'secret' societies go, as has been pointed out repeatedly in numerous threads, Masonry has precious few that can't be Googled. I think it safe to say that the Masons here are here to help 'deny ignorance'. However, it does get a little tiresome when certain posters seem to embrace it.


Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
Conspiracy Theorists... We know there are valid reasons for your concern, but in turn we need to be mindful that many people do join Masonic lodges with the best of intentions for giving back to their community, being completely unaware of the conspiracies we discuss.


Uh huh. But those people (the Masonic unaware, that is) aren't here to be able to add their two-bits. Even if they were, Masons as a group would be electronically tarred-and-feathered as having 'dog piled' a poster or thread just by virtue of replying. As much as I hate to break it to the audience of this thread (and forum FWIW), the Masons here are widely-scattered individuals whose one commonality happens to be Masonry. I sincerely doubt you could get us to agree on pretty much anything else. What we aren't is some sort of cohesive online cabal as much as anti-Masonic detractors would like to believe.


Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
Style Counts

In the end, however, we are mostly a community of conspiracy-minded people. The topics and replies in this forum will tend to focus on subject matter that may anger members of the groups being discussed. If you would like to respond to what you believe to be inaccurate information, the tone and style of your response are just as important as the information you present... if not more so.


As long as it's a discussion, bring it on baby! It's when it veers-off into the wild, wooly, woods of wooo that it cheapens ATS. If "Deny Ignorance" becomes a simile for 'repeat the same invalid assertion again and again and again until the other guy says something snarky', then guess what rabbit hole that dynamic is going to take you down?



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 09:30 AM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

Originally posted by Rockpuck
even organized a "gang" like system to gang up on "anti-Masons"

Yes. Many ATS old-timers will remember that is exactly what happened.


Likewise, before my time SO. Care to outline the Reader's Digest version?



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 10:03 AM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


I have actually been reticent to post on threads that other Masons have already responded to, even if I feel I have information that might be helpful or germaine to the topic being discussed, for just this reason. I do not want us (Masons) of being accused of piling on or 'ganging up' on the poster.

We are, however, all individuals with our own opinion and any type of self-imposed censorship is still just that. If an individual happens to make an assertion that does not sit well with the Masons posting here, who is to say what quantity of replies from Masons is acceptable? The obelisk thread being the example; not one Mason agreed that obelisks are Masonic, yet we are accused of dog-piling for our responses.

I think it is about perspective, if you posit a theory and several Masons debunk or disprove your statement we are 'piling on', but from my position it is only a reafirmation of fact and not meant to be construed as preconceived tactic from a sinsiter cabal.



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 10:14 AM
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First off, let me state that I am not a mason, never have been, and too old to consider it now. I never was much of a joiner type anyway.

I enjoy information. Learning is not something that stops just because you reach a certain age or level in life. Sometimes I think some of us are so wrapped up in what we already know that we forget how much we don't.

Masons should, IMO, be learning what the "other side" has to worry about with the group. To learn what they think they know and what they have uncovered through research on the subject.

Anti-masons should be using this forum to learn what average people in this group know about their own organization. To see the perspectives and reasons these people have for joining in the first place.

As long as people come to the table wanting to show what's wrong with those they see as enemies, no one gains anything, and the ignorance goes on. I am one who hates ignorance, and ignorant behavior, no matter who is doing it or for what reason. Ignorance is not benign, it harms everyone it touches in one way or another.

I doubt I will post much in this forum, because I will be trying to learn, from both sides. But I will also be alert to ANY disruptive behavior, from either side. And I will not let it slide. Most of you know what the T&C says, and you should be old enough to think before you post. DON"T TALK TO PEOPLE IN A NASTY WAY, PERIOD. And if you feel someone is out of line, hit the complaint button. (And take the time to explain your complaint, don't waste the staff's time trying to guess why you feel wounded.)

When I see one liners, snide comments, trollish actions of any sort, foul language, an attempt to derail, or anything else that violates the T&C, I will act on it without regard to whether you are a mason, an anti-mason, an "innocent bystander", or anything else. I take my job of keeping this forum civil very seriously. I don't want to stifle discussion, but I intend to completely stop rudeness in it's tracks.

I sincerely hope that I have occasion to give out more applause than warnings. We'll all be ahead.

NGC2736
Forum Moderator

[edit on 31-1-2008 by NGC2736]



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 10:25 AM
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reply to post by AugustusMasonicus
 


The biggest problem is not how many Masons are responding, the real problem is how many of the Brethren respond with waayyy to much venom .. clearly attacking (we all know what posts these are....)

We are naturally.. held to a higher standard.. which of course is not a bad thing, so long as we live up to these higher expectations, sinking to lower levels blemishes our community here on ATS.. We just need to do better to live up to our name..

Now if what SO was saying is that we act like a pack and we are collaberating in a conspiracy on ATS.. and perhaps ATS is better off without Masons, which he may find suspicious.... All I could do is shake my head.

But I seriously doubt that is what he meant.



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 10:35 AM
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Originally posted by Rockpuck


The biggest problem is not how many Masons are responding, the real problem is how many of the Brethren respond with waayyy to much venom .. clearly attacking (we all know what posts these are....)


I think you're absolutely right.

I've been a member of ATS for a long time (although I have no idea what SO was talking about concerning old timer Masons caught "ganging up"; perhaps that was before my time too?).

I will say that I've always at least tried to cordial to anti-Masons, and to respond to them patiently. Certainly, my temper has gotten the best of me on a few occassions over the years, but I don't think anyone could pull up a thread showing me insulting an anti-Mason, unless I had been insulted first.
'I don't have any problem with at all with critics of Freemasonry; but a large number of the self-proclaimed anti-Masons who who show up on ATS don't really care anything about debate or honest research, and are only interesting in maligning and character assasination. These folks tend to come and go: they show up, make a couple hundred posts in a few weeks, then fade back into obscurity. The regulars around here who are critics of Freemasonry tend to be much nicer and honest folks.



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 10:35 AM
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reply to post by Rockpuck
 


I personally want participation from masons. I don't want any gangs, for any side. But nothing is gained by a thread where everyone just congratulates each other on thinking alike. I also want anti-masons.

Above all, I want adult action and civility by everyone. I think all of you are capable of that. Choosing to act reasonable is one step beyond being capable, and something only an individual can do when they're ready to transcend the schoolyard phase of debating.



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 10:53 AM
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Originally posted by NGC2736
reply to post by Rockpuck
 


I personally want participation from masons. I don't want any gangs, for any side. But nothing is gained by a thread where everyone just congratulates each other on thinking alike. I also want anti-masons.


I don't think anybody's doing that (either ganging or backslapping) on either side of the equation.


Originally posted by NGC2736
Above all, I want adult action and civility by everyone. I think all of you are capable of that. Choosing to act reasonable is one step beyond being capable, and something only an individual can do when they're ready to transcend the schoolyard phase of debating.


Most of us do (and by that, I mean the more-or-less regular posters on this forum, not Masons necessarily). But that civility in discourse has to be two-way for it to function. It isn't reasonable to expect the Masons only (to the exclusion of everyone else) to solely adhere to this standard. I do my best (usually successfully) to follow this rule of thumb. But again, look at the obelisk thread. 20 pages of what? Unsupported assertion, allegation and demand from the OP for proof of a negative. For the most part, I haven't ventured in there for the simple reason that it had all the hallmarks of becoming the rhetorical tar-baby that it is. And for what? What greater ignorance has been either illuminated or dispelled? None. Not one by admission, certainly.



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 10:57 AM
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Here is my question, and I mean it in a respectful manner (I know it is hard to read intent in words at times, where in person you would have verbal and non verbal cues to ascertain the emotion behind the words), and I will try my best to get my point across to the best of my limited eloquence.Note that this does not reference any particular post,question or querant.

Situation and or Claim A is invalid.Assume this is one hundred percent factual, and many know from first hand experience that this is a claim and or situation is invalid.

Poster A posts situation or claim A.Claim A may have been posted out of good intent,the poster may have just had faulty information that he believed to be factual.(We will go with the best case scenario,and assume that the post was not blatant misnformation/trolling...I always tend to believe the best of people until the repeatedly and unequivocally give me reason not to)

Posters B through H know for a fact that poster A has posted something inaccurate so they all post informatively why this post is untrue and invalid, and they cite outside resources to the best of their abilities ( since we are already being utopian,every poster B through H has cited accurate material, that strengthens their position and informs and educates all who read it)

All posters B through H have their own unique histories (what we experience make us who we are) and though all disproving theory A to the best of their ability, all have unique perspectives, and post slightly different information.

This is great and how forums are supposed to operate, an exchange of ideas where people try to use KNOWN FACTUAL sources to help others learn more about the world about them, and the mystery that we all share called life.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Now take a look at the above scenario and suspend your belief that something is being posted that is untrue about Freemasonry by poster A.

Posters B through H all come along, of their own free will, with no prompting from one and other, and (as is natural instinct) defend truthfully something that they have a common interest in and love of.(Suppose that I posted a nasty rumor about a loved one, that you knew was not factual, would you not defend that person, and try to dispel the lies?)These posters all are of the same thesis, that the statement is invalid, but they all bring a little something different to the table,and all post the truth.

Should these posters have to worry that just because B through H ( 7 of them) posted, someone will misconstrue it as "pack behavior" or someone who is venomously against Freemasonry who just hates masons will report it as so maliciously in an attempt to get posting priveleges revoked, or users banned?

This is a huge concern to me.I collaborate with nobody to post on any thread.I am here because I enjoy history,philosophy,learning,and I am a conspiracy theorist at heart on certain subjects.I was not always a Freemason, and I weighed both sides before I put an application in.The only motive I have to refute something that I know is not factual is to educate others.Likewise I also am here to humbly learn.There is a stake in defending outright lies against Freemasonry that can be documented and proven false, and that stake is, people are far to fast to believe something as fact, simply because it was posted on the internet.I would like people to know the truth, as many good men that are sincerely trying to be righteous,ethical, and moral can be slandered by lies.

If you don't mind me asking how was it determined that the banned posters were intentionally involved in pack like behavior, or trying to run others off?



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 11:00 AM
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reply to post by NGC2736
 


As for "thinking alike" .... couldnt be further from the truth.. we Masons are a diverse group.. brothers, no doubt, always will be.. but our ideologies lie in the furthest corners from one another.. I know for a fact no Mason on here believes in the same political policies as me.. hell, ML and I have had plenty of open discussions (with other masons as well) on politics, the politics of Masonry, and it is clear evidence of our diversity.

We are also of varrying religions.. I know of at least one Jewish Mason on ATS, a Pagan or two, Christians ..

This adds greatly to discussions regarding Masonry in society..

HOWEVER

There are FACTS about Masonry that are just that -- undisputable facts.. and all Masons from all walks of Life know what is fact and not about Masonry (for instance "higher level" when there is no hierarchy, or Satanism) ..

ML:

We all loose our tempers.. unlike some popular beliefs, we Masons are Humans! Hell.. I know I used to be a little punk around here.. I tried to change, hopefully it shows.. and I certainly hope that other Masons who join will likewise join, mellow out and learn to co-exist with those who despise us.



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 11:00 AM
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I think this is, to some extent, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It seems reasonable to expect that those who are masons - for whom masonry is not necessary a huge but nevertheless significant part of their lives - would indeed attempt to defend their institution when it is accused of...well, anything you can think of.

Is it truly amazing and suspicious when someone posts something that is widely known to be factually untrue about an institution with millions of members, and then those members respond drawing from their own factual knowledge to explain any misconceptions? Yes, this should be done without venom, but is it surprising that it happens? But if I am reading this right, when masons respond to a post that accuses them of all manner of evil it is "piling on."

What is interesting is that these accusations of "piling on" until now come from the same members, and have until this point always existed in threads where masons AND non-masons agree on a topic. Is it is unclear to me that just because a large group of people are in agreement, that this equates to piling on. And if it does, then we have a problem because this happens on both sides of the fence. Anti-masons disagree with masons, and masons disagree with the anti-masons.

What is perhaps most interesting about this whole "forum gang" thing is that any cursory look of many different threads will show masons wildly disagree with each other, often with much venom. We are all on opposite sides of the fence on a ton of issues, for example, politics and the economy I know for sure. How is it this is a forum gang when we constantly disagree with each other, even in this forum? Does the fact that we are in agreement sometimes indicate a "forum gang" now?

There are both masons and anti-masons who spend their time only in this forum. I do not see the problem with this. Why should people be forced to go into other forums? While it _could_ be a sign of a troll, I would hope staff is looking at the substance of their posts instead of deciding that just posting in one forum must mean they are up to something. If an anti-mason wants to spend all day posting conspiracy theories I have no problem...as long as they are polite. If a mason wants to spend all day responding to the theories, I have no problem either (as long as they are polite).

[edit on 31-1-2008 by LightinDarkness]



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 11:05 AM
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reply to post by masonica_esoterica
 




I was not always a Freemason, and I weighed both sides before I put an application in.The only motive I have to refute something that I know is not factual is to educate others.Likewise I also am here to humbly learn.


Exactly! .. There are actually SEVERAL Masons on the forum who joined Masonry after visiting ATS.. Myself included.. about 6 months after I joined ATS did I join Masonry.



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 11:14 AM
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reply to post by Fitzgibbon
 


Trust me when I tell you that it WILL be a two way function. I personally don't give a hoot which side anybody is on. It's simple really, from here on, lack of civility will be seen by me as an attack on the core values of ATS. And I wouldn't have taken this unpaid job, and it is work, if I didn't think the values of ATS were worth working for.

If someone says something nasty to you, and for whatever reason I don't catch it, (I do sleep and eat,) then hit the complaint button and state your case, then go about the rest of your business as if it never happened. IT WILL BE DEALT WITH.

By the same token, if you lose your cool over words on a screen, and start dishing trash, I will be coming to a thread near you. There are no excuses.



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 11:22 AM
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reply to post by NGC2736
 


Well its great you are taking your job seriously.. many Mods in this forum have never been seen (harlemhottie? .. never seen her, anywhere actually.......) .. I am sure Intrepid will be relived that he has some help to do with this rowdy forum.. its a heated place, not for the weak at heart.


Sounds like youll be doing a fine job though, look forward to seeing you around.



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 11:23 AM
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Originally posted by Fitzgibbon
Most of us do (and by that, I mean the more-or-less regular posters on this forum, not Masons necessarily). But that civility in discourse has to be two-way for it to function. It isn't reasonable to expect the Masons only (to the exclusion of everyone else) to solely adhere to this standard.


Check this out:

www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 11:25 AM
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reply to post by masonica_esoterica
 


Well, I don't know what happened in the past, I wasn't a part of it. As you may have noticed, I am one of the new Mods here. I can't change the past, I wish I could, for there are a lot of things in my own that need changing.

If you, and others freely post what you know, I could car less if a hundred of you do it. If you have proof, then there's no worry from me. Even if you're just posting what you yourself have seen, it's still not a worry. But if one group starts the verbal high fives for putting poster X in his place I WILL slap a penalty for unsportsman like conduct. There won't be any end zone dances in this forum. And that applies equally to any other like minded individuals.





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