Nearly one year after creating this thread, we appear to be encountering a reoccurring problem that inspired the need this thread and site-wide U2U
I've spent most of this day doing something I have neither the time nor inclination to do, peruse recent threads in the
forum. As a result, unfortunately, we need to update this
What I saw:
While I've seen a wide range of inappropriate behavior on "both sides" of the issue as it relates to threads about Freemasonry, I've seen a
consistent pattern of behavior that simply has no place on ATS -- apparent organized thread derailment.
Without fail, topics that begin with a critical analysis of one or more aspects of Freemasonry are soon inundated with rapid-fire defensive replies
from a select few members. And, those select few members appear to have 95% or more of their focus on those types of posts, within those types of
threads... or, rapid-fire atta-boy replies in threads with positive remarks about Freemasonry. In other words, an apparent dedicated single-minded
Freemasonry topics are not alone:
Over the years here on ATS, we've encountered similar problems. There was a time when the "Conspiracies in Religion" forum was overwhelmed with
over-zealous christianity apologists. There was a time when the Aliens & UFO forum was overrun with UFO debunkers. There was a time when the 9/11
Forum was overrun with belligerent "9/11 Truthers" and conversely, later overrun with belligerent 9/11 debunkers.
In all cases, we've taken steps to ensure that the core mandate of ATS was upheld: the civil and open debate of topics related to conspiracies,
scandals, secrets, and cover-ups. With the examples we provided above, sometimes the corrective action required an additional forum (Religion &
Spirituality on BTS, Skunk Works on ATS), and other times it required an unfortunately strict crack-down.
The ATS response:
No, we're not going to create a Freemasonry forum. Unfortunately, it's my opinion that we need to enter a time of strict enforcement to reign in
behavior that is counter-productive.
Admittedly, we're skirting and flirting with a very fine line... and this is somewhere I really do not want to go... but feel we must go so that the
spirit of our unique discussion format remans intact within the Secret Societies forum.
Leading up to this action, we've already had one temporary posting ban, and one permanent account ban of an individual who was previously banned back
when I first started this thread. It's my sincere hope that we have no more need to engage in any such action... but if we do, it will likely be
swift and without warning.
The new guidelines for topics dealing with Freemasonry:
1) The Secret Societies forum is for collaborative discussion regarding conspiracies, scandals, secrets, and cover-ups that are both contemporary and
historical. Any new thread not of that nature will be removed.
2) Threads examining attributes of Freemasonry and/or individual Masons that fit within #1 will not be derailed as we've seen in the past. Because
of the actions of a select few, we are now forced to make judgement calls on what we feel is thread derailment.
First offenses will get an
off-topic warning, second offenses by members who have been observed derailing threads in the past will result in immediate account termination.
3) We encourage informed and productive responses from members who are Masons in topics critical of attributes of Freemasonry. However, such responses
must be on point
and very-specific, with details that aid collaborative discussion, to the opening post and/or general evolution of the thread.
Personal attacks, topic-shifting, or even commentary on the nature of the posts from a member who is critical of Freemasonry will be considered
fitting within #2 above.
4) No general threads about Freemasonry will be tolerated on ATS. Use the Members Forum
of BTS if you wish to relate your personal positive experiences with Freemasonry in a new thread.
Yeah, this sucks:
If you're an overall productive member with a broad interest in many of our topics, but also hold a generally positive view of Freemasonry (or are a
Mason), this sucks... and I'm sorry, but our hand has unfortunately been forced.
Thank you, in advance, for your cooperation. I sincerely hope this is the last time I need to pay attention to this issue.