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The "Starred and Flagged" Conspiracy

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posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 12:38 AM
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As I do with nearly all the new threads I make now-a-days, I'm putting up a disclaimer that all discussion in this thread should be kept at a high decorum. I would like it if people would not try to deter the topic at hand. Also, I would prefer people to not degrade my intelligence for bringing up this subject (usually with false accusations and unnecessary smilies).

I do not believe that there is a "starred and flagged" conspiracy, but I am beginning to lean in that direction. Whenever I like a thread, I will flag (and sometimes star, if I remember) the thread, and I will also try to get in on the conversation, unless it's a huge conversation already and I do not have any new information to offer. To my best recollection, I do not believe in all my time on ATS that I have ever actually POSTED in the topic that I was starring and/or flagging a topic (if somebody wants to go through all my posts to prove me wrong, be my guest, but what I do know is that if I do not remember it; therefore, I am pretty sure it was rare).

Before the starring system came out, I do not remember a time (outside of admin threads that were asking for it) where a user would casually make a response and add at the beginning or ending "flagged". Even after the starring system came out, at first, I did not see anybody saying that.

However, it seems like in almost every thread I'm going in, people are saying this. If the first user that popped in your head was "DimensionalDetective", then I do not blame you. I do not believe he is a paid informant, a secret disinfo agent, etc., and I do believe that he is a hefty contributor to ATS. I rather enjoy reading all his topics, but it seems like in most of his topics, I keep seeing users saying stuff like "starred and flagged", "s&f", etc., and it gets rather annoying. If somebody likes the thread enough to star and flag it, he or she should just do so and be done with it. What use does it say to say "starred and flagged" in a topic? To let the original topic creator know that he made a good topic?

But would not one's response in the original topic creator's topic be enough? I understand "going the extra mile", but come on now. It almost gives an unfair advantage. If one enters a topic with a lot of flags and a lot of "starred and flagged!!
" messages, won't a person immediately think that the thread is instantly deserving of being starred and flagged without first fully reading all the content that the topic has to offer? I'm sure most of the time, it is understandably justified, but I just do not see the point of it.

Personally, I would love it if the data of who was starring and flagging a topic was to be made public, that way we could see exactly who is starring and flagging what topics. After all, ATS is about discussing the truth, so why not be truthful? Who knows, we may see the exact same people flagging certain threads made by certain users -- we won't know unless we try.

[edit on 6/5/2008 by SonicInfinity]




posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 12:41 AM
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reply to post by SonicInfinity
 


I like this thread and I agree with you. Would love to see who's flaggin my threads, even if its in a U2U

Starred and Flagged



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 12:47 AM
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Originally posted by OzWeatherman
I like this thread and I agree with you. Would love to see who's flaggin my threads, even if its in a U2U

Starred and Flagged


"Starred and Flagged"? I don't know if you're sincere or just mocking me. lol, j/k

I'm not sure if a U2U would be public enough, though. Shouldn't everybody be able to see it? I do not see the harm of everybody being able to access it.



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 12:48 AM
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Starred and flagged!

What if you conspired to write this to get more stars and flags? Now thats's a conspiracy!?!

I suppose the star nad flag system was intended for researchers to gain credibillity or street credit. I also imagine there are groups on here who conspire to help each other out to help steer opinions here on ATS.

Plus you also got to wonder about the ones who come on here claiming to be aliens.



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 12:53 AM
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Originally posted by SonicInfinity

"Starred and Flagged"? I don't know if you're sincere or just mocking me. lol, j/k

I'm not sure if a U2U would be public enough, though. Shouldn't everybody be able to see it? I do not see the harm of everybody being able to access it.


Lol....dont worry it was sincere


Yeah it would be better for evryone to see it I guess. I really think ATS should take notice of this thread and let us be able to see who is flagging us. Although I could see it turning into the tag teaming/ disinformationist accusations increasing.



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 01:14 AM
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Originally posted by 12.21.12
Starred and flagged!

What if you conspired to write this to get more stars and flags? Now thats's a conspiracy!?!

I suppose the star nad flag system was intended for researchers to gain credibillity or street credit. I also imagine there are groups on here who conspire to help each other out to help steer opinions here on ATS.

Plus you also got to wonder about the ones who come on here claiming to be aliens.


I really don't care how many stars and flags this topic gets; I just want to know the truth. I also am starting to believe "there are groups on here who conspire to help each other out to help", although I'm not sure if it's because they want to steer opinions, they want the topic to be seen, or they want to become "popular".

And yeah, any topic where the creator of said topic claims to be an "alien" should be move to skunkworks asap. Not once have I seen solid proof of such a claim, and I probably won't see it any time in the future (although I'd love to be wrong on this).

[edit on 6/5/2008 by SonicInfinity]



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 01:19 AM
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As I recall, the post star and thread flag option was brought it to replace the old "Way Above Top Secret" award. Where a user received votes from other users and they were tallied monthly, with the winner getting an award on their avatar.

The problem, as I see it, is that these flags and stars aren't tallied and are pretty much useless except as an ego boost.

Edit to add: With the WATS award, you only had three votes per month

CT

[edit on 5/6/2008 by Conspiracy Theorist]



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 01:40 AM
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reply to post by SonicInfinity
 


I rarely let people know I star and flag them. But the way I see it, flags could be used to bump topics up to the front page, and stars could be used to grab people's attention.

I tend to read posts with stars more than I do posts with no stars, and I tend to read highly flagged threads. Perhaps if "someone" wanted to steer public opinion, as you said, they could do so with the flag and star system by having people flag and star topics and posts favorable to them to condition the "on the fence" or "middle ground" posters here to be influenced or drawn in by a particular poster or topic.

Its certainly possible and I think you may have something here. Its most definitely possible to use the system as a tool to steer public opinion and create publicity for certain posts and threads. We have no proof, of course, that this is going on, but it can certainly be done.



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 01:50 AM
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Originally posted by 12.21.12
Starred and flagged!

What if you conspired to write this to get more stars and flags? Now thats's a conspiracy!?!


THAT is exactly what I was thinking. Don't worry, I'm NOT going to S&F this thread. Heck, I'm not even going to reply to this thread because I don't want it to make the front forum page!



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 02:00 AM
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Originally posted by CreeWolf
THAT is exactly what I was thinking. Don't worry, I'm NOT going to S&F this thread. Heck, I'm not even going to reply to this thread because I don't want it to make the front forum page!


That's because you're clearly in on the conspiracy. A person not involved int he conspiracy wouldn't feel the need to comment...



Oh, and "Starred and Flagged" for the OP. Sometimes I wonder the same things...



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 08:14 AM
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Originally posted by SonicInfinity

Before the starring system came out, I do not remember a time (outside of admin threads that were asking for it) where a user would casually make a response and add at the beginning or ending "flagged".


well yeah because there wasn't a flagging system, so why would anyone add "flagged" to the end of their post? that wouldn't even make sense.

anyway before stars and flags there were WATS awards. and people would let everyone know if they had awarded one of those.



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 08:34 AM
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Starring and Flagging posts and threads provides for the "ranking" of subjects for inclusion on the ATS front page. The topics and threads seen on the front page aren't there due to an arbitrary decision by some admin. The readers and contributors, with that system, are actually the ones driving the content on the front page.

Aside from that, I don't get why some posters feel the need to announce, "I starred and flagged your post!!!11!!" Looks like sucking up to me.

[edit on 5-6-2008 by MrPenny]



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 08:41 AM
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reply to post by SonicInfinity
 


I was just talking to a staff member last night about the possibility of seeing who starred what (at least the person who received the stars) possibly by moving your mouse over each star to see who gave it. However, he said it would be a database nightmare and that makes sense. As for flags, we only know if we happen to be in someone's profile and noticed on an offhand chance one of our threads is one they starred.

Just a side note, I don't think it's fair Dimensional Detective is specifically named in your OP. I have never talked to him but he seems very nice and a solid poster. It's not his fault if people often say 'starred and flagged' in his threads. That only shows he is a consistently good thread starter making topics many people are interested in. Just my opinion and I hope it doesn't offend you. DD can't control what people write on his threads.



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 10:10 AM
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reply to post by malganis
 





anyway before stars and flags there were WATS awards. and people would let everyone know if they had awarded one of those.


As I posted earlier, with WATS you only had three votes a month. So I guess its like comparing apples and oranges.

CT



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 10:41 AM
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I don't think you need to be a rocket surgeon to understand some folks just have more charisma than the norm. I believe that most USA americans don't know what critical thinking is and to sort out irony and diffused thinking. Maybe also other nationalities also., but I have only a small sample from Guam I could use from a two year habitation near Agat.
So I just take a stab here.



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 11:36 AM
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Originally posted by MrPenny
Starring and Flagging posts and threads provides for the "ranking" of subjects for inclusion on the ATS front page. The topics and threads seen on the front page aren't there due to an arbitrary decision by some admin. The readers and contributors, with that system, are actually the ones driving the content on the front page.


You're close. Threads are flagged. Posts are starred. The flagging determines which threads are seen on the front page. Starring a post does nothing other than show the poster how many people think (s)he made a good post, whether they agree with the content or not. I know that's not how it always works, but that was the design.

There's also tagging, which is a different deal altogether. So flag the threads you think are important, star the posts you find well done, and tag the threads to help others find similar information. Plenty to do here, folks. Hop to!



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 12:15 PM
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Originally posted by MrPenny
The readers and contributors, with that system, are actually the ones driving the content on the front page.


Thats the point that I think a lot of people are not understanding. The readers and contributors are certainly the ones that drive the content to the front of the page, but what if there were hired people or other political groups with agendas that were roaming this site and flagging threads useful to their agenda, as to steer it to the front page, possibly knocking down other threads which hurt them, and starring posts, as to catch the casual reader's attention?

I believe that is what the OP's point is and people seem to be missing that. The flag and star system is understood. I don't think we need any more explanations on how it works or why its in place. The point is its possible that it is being taken advantage of by people who want a specific topic noticed or a specific post noticed for political reasons outside the realm of 'open and honest discussion' as provided here at ATS.



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 12:33 PM
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Originally posted by NovusOrdoMundi
The point is its possible that it is being taken advantage of by people who want a specific topic noticed or a specific post noticed for political reasons outside the realm of 'open and honest discussion' as provided here at ATS.


Any number of highly improbable things are "possible". If there really is a group paying people to flag and star threads and posts on ATS for political reasons, well there's a group I'm not too concerned about.

Now I'm not directing this at ANYONE specifically, but there's an inclination among many to speculate that everything that happens that isn't exactly what they'd prefer is somehow the result of a hidden hand pulling the strings and guiding the action. For obvious reasons, we probably have a higher percentage of those people here than you'd find on say, a gardening site.

We have stars and flags because members wanted a way to show their support without posting a one-line "I agree" or "Good post" deal. Can such a system be manipulated? It's possible, but I'm not sure your ROI would be very high if you were the one funding it. And I'm confident that if there was any inkling that an organized, paid group was manipulating ANYTHING here, the clamps would come down.

The top people on ATS are devoted to a free exchange of ideas above all else. All else. I'm convinced of that, or I wouldn't be here.

Remember, you can only flag a thread once, or star a post once. Unless you had a veritable army, the effects are going to be insignificant and offset by the other members participating.

[Edit for typo]


[edit on 6/5/2008 by yeahright]



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 12:48 PM
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Originally posted by yeahright
Any number of highly improbable things are "possible".


I'm not claiming its probable. Just that its possible.

I'm not speculating, I'm not calling conspiracy, I'm not saying the flag & star system is of ill intent. I know full well that it is a member demanded system and that its original intent was one to assist researchers and reward positive contributions.

All I'm saying is its possible it could be taken advantage of.


Originally posted by yeahright
Remember, you can only flag a thread once, or star a post once. Unless you had a veritable army, the effects are going to be insignificant and offset by the other members participating.


I don't think thats necessarily true. If you see a thread with 30 flags, or a post with 30 stars, would you say that would catch your attention? Assuming your answer is 'yes', isn't it then safe to assume that all you would need are 30 people?

I can't stress enough that there is no proof that this is going on and that I'm not claiming it is going on. Its just that the potential is there.

The best thing anyone can do is to research and fact check posts and topics before they go off and agree with it simply because it was posted by someone they like or because it was worded intelligently.

Fact checking everything not only makes you more aware but it contributes to the discussion in a positive manner overall. Whether there is manipulation gong on or not, it can only help you and everyone else involved in the discussion.

[edit on 6/5/08 by NovusOrdoMundi]



posted on Jun, 5 2008 @ 01:03 PM
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Originally posted by NovusOrdoMundi
Fact checking everything not only makes you more aware but it contributes to the discussion in a positive manner overall. Whether there is manipulation gong on or not, it can only help you and everyone else involved in the discussion.


And that's worth a star right there.

You bring up an interesting tangential point - if the posts with flags and stars garner more attention and are subsequently more closely fact-checked, then this speculative possible army of flaggers would have their efforts dashed upon the rocks of implausibility. That is, assuming we're concerned because the flagged threads (or starred posts) contain erroneous information. If it's good info, then they're doing us all a favor, hypothetically.

Or something.






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