The issue of topics critical of Masonry on AboveTopSecret.com ##UPDATED 2009##

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posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 11:37 AM
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This thread has been updated with a new REMINDERPOST, and the warning blurb at the top of each thread in this forum has also been updated.

 

 



There appears to be a continuing lack of comprehension as to the nature of AboveTopSecret.com especially as it applies to our "Secret Societies Forum." I've started this new thread to prevent further topic derailment within existing threads.

Before I respond to existing comments, a summary of what brought us here is important...

A one year old thread, pinned to the top of the forum index, titled, ATS Secret Societies Posting Guidelines - ALL MEMBERS READ begins with: "The purpose of the Secret Societies Forum is to discuss the conspiratorial nature of organizations and members of those organizations that have in the past or currently are shielding their activities from the public at large."

A more current thread has several updates, including: this post that reminds everyone, "This Secret Societies Forum is no different than the rest of ATS." And also this post linked at the top of every page of every thread in this forum, which indicates, "the environment that is AboveTopSecret.com will be inherently antagonistic toward Freemasonry and a long list of secret groups and fraternities."


Now, some current commentary that begins here...



Originally posted by AugustusMasonicus
My remarks regarding reprecussions may have been minconstrued by yourself as I was not refering to ramifications from the Above Top Secret staff but instead from legal authorities.

Not misconstrued at all. If you or any one else has issue with material posted to AboveTopSecret.com from a legality standpoint of a criminal or civil nature, you should not be posting threats in threads, you should be contacting the ownership of The Above Network, LLC. Our discussion forums are for collaborative debate, not for threatening postures.



Originally posted by Rockpuck
The bias treatment is so far beyond what I would have, at one time, considered below ATS standards.

There is no "bias" as you would think. AboveTopSecret.com (as we keep saying) is a venue for speculating on conspiracies, not for defending groups upon which some conspiracy theories are based.


Well sounds like an issue, but according to ATS rules and regulations, being a Mason I do not have the freedom of speech to question your story, so I will, and everyone else reading it, take it as fact and be on my way."

You're intentionally injecting errant meaning into what I and several other staff members have been saying, as well as our long-tradition of operation. At no point do we now or ever desire a one-sided conversation devoid of informed counterpoints. However, the terms & conditions must be followed... overly antagonistic and threatening posts are inappropriate on ATS no matter what the subject.


I find the overhaul of the SS forum to be nothing short of disturbing in regards to the principles this site was founded on.

Really? The principles upon which this site stand is the support a venue where anyone can raise a broad spectrum of exceptionally provocative issues without fear of being inappropriately attacked by intensely antagonistic and bellicose responses. In the past, we've been forced to take similar action in the Aliens & UFO's forum, Skunk Works forum, Conspiracies in Religion forum, 9/11 forum, Political Conspiracies forum, the War on Terrorism forum, and several times in Secret Societies. What you see here is no different that what we've done in other forums, it's just that this time our action tends to offend your personal sensibilities as we seek to restrain acrimony on a topic for which you feel passion.



Originally posted by Fitzgibbon
the tenor on the board as of late certainly seems to be that negative and incorrect assertions and associations directed at Masonry are welcome while defense against or correction of the same are not.

Once again...

AboveTopSecret.com is a venue for speculating on and discussing conspiracy theories and is not now nor ever will be expected to be a destination dedicated to the defense of Masonry.

It's unfortunate that there are Mason members who are unwilling to fathom the idea that the core ideals upon which ATS was founded will tend to attract topics that are often highly critical of Masons and Masonry. We welcome your participation in the debate and need your balance in the search for where the truth might lay. However... your participation must be within the confines of our Terms & Conditions and with the understanding that ATS is an inherently unsympathetic environment to certain groups.

And those speculating on Masonic conspiracies also are held to the same standards of behavior related to ganging up. We've banned seven members found to be "plotting" the stalking of Masonic members wherever they post on ATS, and other off-ATS discussion boards. This is exceptionally unsavory, and resulted in an instant permanent account ban.


[edit on 19-1-2009 by SkepticOverlord]




posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 12:35 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
Our discussion forums are for collaborative debate, not for threatening postures.


Debate's a two-way street, SO. Typically, the accused are permitted to address the shortcomings of the accusations, something that in my two years on ATS the Masons here have tried to do respectfully above and beyond by and large. Have there been instances where that hasn't been the case? Certainly. Defecation happens. But those occasions are rather exceptional and certainly aren't the rule.


Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

Originally posted by Rockpuck
The bias treatment is so far beyond what I would have, at one time, considered below ATS standards.

There is no "bias" as you would think. AboveTopSecret.com (as we keep saying) is a venue for speculating on conspiracies, not for defending groups upon which some conspiracy theories are based.


Fine. But we're either allowed to debate or we aren't. You've elsewhere referred to an incident (or incidents; it's pre-me on ATS) where apparently there were in fact organised responses by Masons and by implication, you tarred the present crop of Masons with that same brush despite the fact that there isn't anything cohesive about the recent Masonic replies to things. Yet when we as individuals and individuals alone reply to things said about Masonry, it's asserted that we're acting in concert. Talk about damned if you do and damned if you don't.


Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
At no point do we now or ever desire a one-sided conversation devoid of informed counterpoints. However, the terms & conditions must be followed... overly antagonistic and threatening posts are inappropriate on ATS no matter what the subject.


Fine although the Obelisk thread would make one pause to consider that though.


Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
The principles upon which this site stand is the support a venue where anyone can raise a broad spectrum of exceptionally provocative issues without fear of being inappropriately attacked by intensely antagonistic and bellicose responses.


Dandy. But somehow the uncoordinated responses of Masons spread across this continent (and the World for that matter) elicits a slap-down even when your own moderators have tried to intervene asking the same questions or making the same points that the Masons have.


Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

Originally posted by Fitzgibbon
the tenor on the board as of late certainly seems to be that negative and incorrect assertions and associations directed at Masonry are welcome while defense against or correction of the same are not.

Once again...

AboveTopSecret.com is a venue for speculating on and discussing conspiracy theories and is not now nor ever will be expected to be a destination dedicated to the defense of Masonry.


Fine. Nobody's asking for the ATS staff to defend Masonry. But is ATS about free debate or not? So long as Masons aren't working in the concert that seems to be a legacy, what's the issue? If someone lobs a turd into the pool, are we just supposed to pretend that the turd is really an O'Henry© bar? Is that debate? Does that some improve the quality of discussion on ATS and make it more palatable?


Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
It's unfortunate that there are Mason members who are unwilling to fathom the idea that the core ideals upon which ATS was founded will tend to attract topics that are often highly critical of Masons and Masonry.


Criticism's no biggie. Life's littered with criticism. What's vexing is being warned-off when you attempt to correct false or misleading criticism. Is Masonry in general above criticism? No and I don't think any Mason that's posted here on any kind of a regular basis in my time here has suggested otherwise. But it sure isn't off the deep-end either (though it seems it'd be sexier to the ATS demographic if it were).



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 12:44 PM
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Methinks this site is more about making the owners money than it is truth.I find it ironic that a site that is supposed to "Deny Ignorance" is more concerned about letting people wildly speculate than the truth.If people want to believe that Freemasonry is a hiearchiacally controlled institution run by reptilian shapeshifters from the 12th planet, then that is certainly their perogative.However to allow debates to remain one sided,and not to allow individuals to at least present their case,factually and respectfully is an abomination.

[edit on 17-2-2008 by masonica_esoterica]



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 12:52 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

Not misconstrued at all. If you or any one else has issue with material posted to AboveTopSecret.com from a legality standpoint of a criminal or civil nature, you should not be posting threats in threads, you should be contacting the ownership of The Above Network, LLC. Our discussion forums are for collaborative debate, not for threatening postures.


If I may interject:

Again you misunderstand the meaning of what Augustus is saying. He's not talking about legal action to be taken on the part of ATS in any way, shape or form. He is stating the the member who authored the "Problem Lodge..." post should seek the authorities to deal with the issue, not counsel from ATS Masons, as it appears is his intent.




There is no "bias" as you would think. AboveTopSecret.com (as we keep saying) is a venue for speculating on conspiracies, not for defending groups upon which some conspiracy theories are based.


Is challenging someone's logic or asking for clarification defending a group? If someone on the board said "All Christians paint themselves purple and chant the "Barney" theme song while murdering cats on the anniversary of the day Judas betrayed Jesus" I would meet that post with the same skepticism and challenges of logic and sources as I would on a post about Masonry -- or any other topic for that matter.


You're intentionally injecting errant meaning into what I and several other staff members have been saying, as well as our long-tradition of operation. At no point do we now or ever desire a one-sided conversation devoid of informed counterpoints. However, the terms & conditions must be followed... overly antagonistic and threatening posts are inappropriate on ATS no matter what the subject.


I have yet to see a "threatening" post in this forum. Antagonistic? Perhaps but not "threatening."

The problem is that the way it seems is that you do desire a "one-sided" conversation about it, you just don't want to come out and say it... probably due to the term defined in my sig.

You shoot yourself in the foot:


AboveTopSecret.com (as we keep saying) is a venue for speculating on conspiracies, not for defending groups upon which some conspiracy theories are based.

At no point do we now or ever desire a one-sided conversation devoid of informed counterpoints.


Kind of contradicting yourself, aren't you? If this place is not for "defending groups" and one side of the issue is a "defensive" one, then obviously you support one-sided discussion...


Really? The principles upon which this site stand is the support a venue where anyone can raise a broad spectrum of exceptionally provocative issues without fear of being inappropriately attacked by intensely antagonistic and bellicose responses.


But even if the responses are not "intensely antagonistic and bellicose," you seem to have a problem with it. Even if we attack positions and sources rather than the individuals posting it, as is appropriate in debate, you still seem to have a problem with it.

You can't have ot both ways, SO. Either we are not welcome here as defenders of what we believe and know to be true (or false) -- and you *DO* favor one-sided discussion -- or we should be held to the terms and conditions as individual members not as a group. Furthermore we should not be singled out for Moderator attention simply because we belong to a "group."

One would think that someone such as yourself would appreciate the contributions of ATS members that have unique perspectives with regard to the subject matter.

Perhaps I was right to consider not returning after the last "incident."


It's unfortunate that there are Mason members who are unwilling to fathom the idea that the core ideals upon which ATS was founded will tend to attract topics that are often highly critical of Masons and Masonry.


SO, I don't know if you are aware, but when I came to ATS I was not a Mason. I was actually pretty close to "Anti-Mason," due to ignorance, obviously. So I know what it is to come here and post critically of Masonry... I also have done countless hours of research specifically about topics that crop up on the ATS SS forum. I have a somewhat unique experience here and unlike you, I have spent years researching Masonry and the conpiracy theories that surround it.

My point is I was an ATSer before I was a Mason. The fact is that each Mason here is here because they found ATS and are interested... you act like we coordinate or attemtpt to "gang up" on people, which I think is ridiculous. We each have our own opinions and we share them. The fact is that we all have had a similar experience so we have similar things to say in regard to what is being discussed. We don't "conspire" to debunk theories -- frankly there is no need for that anyway.


We welcome your participation in the debate and need your balance in the search for where the truth might lay.


Do you? What if the Truth is that there is no Masonic conspiracy? Do you still welcome that kind of participation? Are you interested in that Truth?

You keep posting:

"The purpose of the Secret Societies Forum is to discuss the conspiratorial nature of organizations and members of those organizations that have in the past or currently are shielding their activities from the public at large."


So, what if there is none? I have yet to see anyone discuss those particular topics... at least not past the point where this question is asked: "What makes you feel that way or leads you to that conclusion?"

Then it goes to attacks and crying about "bullying" or some nonsense like that.

That's not debate; that's just posting bile.

I have no problem with speculation, but there has to be some reasoning behind it. Without Reason, speculation quickly becomes nonsense, especially in light of facts that contradict the speculation. Denying or discounting demonstrable facts in favor of unreasonable speculation is stupidity, IMHO.


However... your participation must be within the confines of our Terms & Conditions and with the understanding that ATS is an inherently unsympathetic environment to certain groups.


Do you mean the original Terms and Conditions, or the recent additions specifically written to target Masons and our activity in these threads?

The latter, I'm sure. Which is unfortunate, because the very fact that those additions were made ("forum gangs") is proof of the fact that you do not want us to participate -- at least in any meaningful way.

[edit on 2/17/08 by The Axeman]



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 12:53 PM
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Originally posted by masonica_esoterica
Methinks this site is more about making the owners money than it is truth.


Money and truth neednt be mutually exclusive.





I find it ironic that a site that is supposed to "Deny Ignorance" is more concerned about letting people wildly speculate than the truth..


This site has thousands of people and with that you will have thousands of versions of "truth".



If people want to believe that Freemasonry is a hiearchiacally controlled institution run by reptilian shapeshifters from the 12th planet, then that is certainly their perogative.


Exactly. Case closed.



However to allow debates to remain one sided,and not to allow individuals to at least present their case,factually and respectfully is an abomination.

.


You can say whatever you want within the limits of general ettiquette.

As a mason you´d also want to practice tolerance though and not have to defend against every silly claim made.

By attacking silly claims these silly claims are given importance.



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 12:57 PM
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Originally posted by Fitzgibbon
Debate's a two-way street, SO.

When we see what looks like an aggressive pile-on from Mason-supporters within threads that are critical of Masonry... that's not even close to two-way... it's an attempt to get a one-way focus.

Your contributions to the topics are always welcome... with the understanding of the environment in which you post AND the Terms & Conditions.



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 01:06 PM
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Originally posted by Fitzgibbon
Fine although the Obelisk thread would make one pause to consider that though.

Obelisk? I thought you said it was a cairn. No matter, you guys effectively shut that thread down and a week's worth of research now sits rotting in a closed thread. I'd repost it but I've been told it will be closed if I do, and the effort to repost it seems all the more futile when all you guys are going to do is get on the thread and insist that Obelisks aren't Obelisks, by the dozens.
I just spent a week reading through material I uh... found in some Lodge Parent Directories, and I've got some things to tell the world, but like I told you in the u2u, if we can't even discuss an obelisk and its Hermetical Iconography, then ATS isn't the place to discuss this anymore.
The reason for that is what SO is trying to deal with, every thread on that forum turns into a masonic gangbang, and it's running people off the forum. SO's forum, mind you.



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 01:08 PM
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Originally posted by twitchy
I just spent a week reading through material I uh... found in some Lodge Parent Directories, and I've got some things to tell the world, but like I told you in the u2u, if we can't even discuss an obelisk and its Hermetical Iconography, then ATS isn't the place to discuss this anymore.

If you have something new, that doesn't repeat what's in the closed thread and/or expands on some important points within closed threads... new topics, within the T&C, will be welcomed.



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 01:14 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
When we see what looks like an aggressive pile-on from Mason-supporters within threads that are critical of Masonry...


So what you're saying is that it's OK to participate, but there should be a limit on how many Masons can post their thoughts on the topic?

What, in your mind, constitutes a "pile-on?"



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 01:18 PM
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Originally posted by The Axeman
So what you're saying is that it's OK to participate, but there should be a limit on how many Masons can post their thoughts on the topic?

We've provided sufficient information that will serve as a guideline for maintaining civil discussion on ATS topics within the "ATS environment." The picking of nits won't result in productive responses, if at all.



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 01:27 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

Originally posted by Fitzgibbon
Debate's a two-way street, SO.

When we see what looks like an aggressive pile-on from Mason-supporters within threads that are critical of Masonry... that's not even close to two-way... it's an attempt to get a one-way focus.


Are you suggesting Intrepid's part of that selfsame problem? If Masons and Masonic-supporters were 'piling-on', how did that thread reach the length it did if this piling-on was so evident and egregious?

And if debate's the intention of ATS, how do you respond to "the fight with the masons is a hobby of mine"? Kinda speaks volumes, don't it?



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 01:36 PM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


Thank you Skeptic!

I've had enough of pro-anything people immediately disregarding an opinion/fact when they are involved in aforementioned society etc.



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 01:36 PM
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Originally posted by Fitzgibbon
And if debate's the intention of ATS, how do you respond to "The thread is an observation, the fight with the masons is a hobby of mine."? Kinda speaks volumes, don't it?

So does selective quoting. I fixed it for you though.



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 01:37 PM
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I fail to see the logic in how there is no set limit on how many antimasons can make blatantly untrue claims, and all support each other, or attempt to derail threads/troll (note that I am not claiming ALL antimasons do this) and they are all considered unique individuals who all come to ATS of their own free will and post their own opinion, but when a handful of masons refute certain claims, then their is to be a restriction of how many of us can post, we are told we are to star things that we agree with and not to post our own thoughts, and told that we are a "forum gang" when multiple masons post.

I post on ATS because I have general interests that mirror those of the sites.Historical/Archaelogical conspiracies, mystery/initiated systems throughout history, governmental conspiracies and coverups, use of alternative medicine as opposed to pharmaceuticals, philosophy,studying different world religions to draw parallels,etc...The fact that I am a Mason has nothing to do with why I have come to ATS, at heart I am a conspiracy theorist.However, it is irresponsible journalism to not allow one with direct firsthand knowledge to refute claims that they KNOW to be false.

Here is an example:

Assume that there is a terrible auto wreck, and you want to know details.Who would you rather get your details from, someone who knows firsthand from being on the scene of the accident, or someone who claims to know because of their brothers firends cousins uncle saying that he heard such and such....

Regardless I feel that the vast majority of Masons that post here have been more than patient and polite in their responses on these forums.

Maybe all of the Masons on ATS need to go on strike for a month off of the Secret Society forums, as our contributions are less than welcome, and let people wallow in the ignorance of their Satanic/UFO/Reptilian/Baphomet/Demonology theories.

The only Heiarchy of individuals that I see trying to control the information on these boards are a handful of indviduals on the staff of the site whose views of Freemasonry are hostile.



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 01:43 PM
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reply to post by masonica_esoterica
 


Masons can make blatantly untrue claims as well.

That's called a conspiracy.

We are on a forum titled "Above Top Secret."

What kind of discussion board do you think this is? My little pony?

This is a CONSPIRACY discussion forum, get over yourself.



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 01:45 PM
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Originally posted by Fitzgibbon
And if debate's the intention of ATS, how do you respond to "the fight with the masons is a hobby of mine"? Kinda speaks volumes, don't it?



From a behind a scenes point of view I can see that staff is trying to be impartial as every action taken by staff is discussed by several moderators from both sides of the fence...long before that action is taken.

The idea of the SecretSocietiesForum is to discuss conspiracy-theory, also anti-masonic conspiracy-theory. This has been stifled in the last months as there are more masons present (or more posts by them) than conspiracy-theorists. That cant be and neednt be helped though.

The original intent of the Forum is thereby derailed, making it look as if there are masonic "gang ups" happening (at least thats what it looks like in the eyes of the suspicious conspiracy-theorist).

Apparent "Pile up" and "gang up" cant be changed. But as long as the general rules of internet ettiquette are followed - and that includes "attack the topic, not the person" - two-way-debates can and will continue.



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 01:46 PM
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If I were to walk into McDonalds with several of my friends and demand a whopper be served to me there, and all my friends started in on the manager about how unfair it is to only serve Big Macs there, I'd feel pretty damned embarassed when the manager pointed to the Burger King across the street...
www.google.com...



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 01:49 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
Not misconstrued at all. If you or any one else has issue with material posted to AboveTopSecret.com from a legality standpoint of a criminal or civil nature, you should not be posting threats in threads, you should be contacting the ownership of The Above Network, LLC. Our discussion forums are for collaborative debate, not for threatening postures.


Axeman responed to this statement earlier and I wished to add further clarification. If a poster makes statements which purport felonious activities are allegedly occuring in his lodge do you feel that Above Top Secret is the proper forum for the reporting of said actions? We are speaking of serious crimes, embezzlement of millions of dollars, illict arms manufacture and threats upon the life of another. Not to diminsh this website and its staff but I feel the States Attorney General or the local branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation may be a better avenues to resolve such serious issues.

Advice and help were proffered and duely declined. Requests for evidence to substantiate the seriousness of the allegations were never answered and only met with stonewalling. I personally do not see how this topic could have been approcahed in a different manner then the one in which it has manifested.

Furthermore, I do not believe anyone on the 'Problem Lodge...' thread constructed posts of a threatening nature. Frustrated and annoyed I will agree upon, but threatening I do not see.



Originally posted by The Axeman
So what you're saying is that it's OK to participate, but there should be a limit on how many Masons can post their thoughts on the topic?

Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
We've provided sufficient information that will serve as a guideline for maintaining civil discussion on ATS topics within the "ATS environment." The picking of nits won't result in productive responses, if at all.


I feel that Axeman posited a legitmate question that I myself have thought hard upon. I am certain that you have noticed the recent decline in postings by Masons on the Secret Socities forum and I feel that this is a direct corollary to that falloff. Not to be antagonistic but I find your response to Axeman to be somewhat obtuse and vague. If we, as Masons, have thoughts or comments that add to the discussion and we post them, at what point does it become 'too many' Masons or a 'gang' of Masons? Thank you in advance for your replies.



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 01:49 PM
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Here is another perspective to look at it from.Imagine that you are in a court of law.Assume that one side (plaintiff,defendant, doesn't matter your choice) is allowed unlimited witnesses, and to introduce an infinite amount of what they feel is "evidence", while the other side is told that they must limit their witnesses to one or two, and the amount of "evidence" that they are allowed to produce on behalf of the defense of their position.

Could you imagine the riot that would ensue?It would be considered a slight to everyone who worked in the legal and judicial communities to ensure a fair trial,and people would be rightfully outraged.

The same is being done here to Freemasons, and noone seems to care in the least.Ask yourself if this was being done to people of any other identifyable group if you would not be incensed, if it were done to ,blacks,latinos,asians,people of differing world religions,or organizations.

What if we were told, I am sorry but only one or two buddhist may respond to claims against buddhism,more than that would be a forum gang and is against ATS rules....and then people were posting that Buddhists are involved in blood drinking human sacrafice and worship satan,and that reptiloids control them...people would be outraged.

So why are they not outraged when the same claims are leveled against Freemasonry and Masons are not to refute claims for fear of warnings, and bannings.

This is not a fairly structured environment.



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 01:50 PM
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The thing that is weird is, and I have read all the anti-masonry babble out there, is that I am a Master Mason. I am friends with many Masons, including 33rd degree Masons. For years. I have never ever once seen or heard anything remotely evil or NWOish etc. Know what I saw? Bunch of mostly old fellows, really nice people who try to help other people. Charity. There is absolutely no evidence to the contrary. As a conspiracy buff myself, and a seeker of truth, I would never lie about it either. As a matter of fact, if I had seen or heard anything of this nature I would immediately quit Masonry and let people know.
So This is why Masons get annoyed at constantly reading this trash-talk. It does not exist. period. You can talk and babble silliness all day, and it still will not be truth.





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