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Freedom Of Speech, ATS, and Ending The Eternal September

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posted on Aug, 14 2008 @ 07:24 AM
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reply to post by EyesII
 


Is the US government limiting what you can say on ATS?

(well, okay, you never know, I suppose, but in general terms the answer is no)

Anyway, as such, ATS can choose to disallow us from saying the word "trout" and it's all good. ATS can forbid us from making negative posts about the current administration and they have every right to do so. What "freedom of speech" means in the USA has absolutely no bearing on what the term means on a privately-run discussion forum.

Unfortunately no one ever acknowledges this simple fact - seemingly not here, and not on any other discussion forum I've ever joined. The site owners make the rules and that's how it goes. I read the rules here before joining and found them to be agreeable, so I agreed to follow them and joined on up. If I didn't like how the terms & conditions were laid out, I wouldn't have joined. I've avoided sites because I didn't agree with their terms. It's just that simple.

I never could understand why this exact same complaint is repeatedly brought up with much rage and indignation over and over on every single site I've participated in. It's not hard.
A private website is not the US government, ergo you're not entitled the same type of free speech you are (supposed to be) entitled to in regards to government censorship.

Do you raise hell at the local libraries because you're expected to keep your voice down? Do you demand your whims are catered to at a G-rated movie because you're not allowed to stand at the front of the theater and repeatedly list Carlin's 7 words?




posted on Aug, 14 2008 @ 08:11 AM
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reply to post by anachryon
 


Anachryon:

Thanks for your post.

I am simply voicing my opinion here.

I agree with you that this is a private held board and the US laws stop at the front door (my acceptance of the T&C). This is very similar to how golf courses can legally keep woman from joining. All perfectly legal dispite that action could be construed as sexual discrimination. The Govt has determined that what the golf courses or Knights of Columbus, or other "selective" group entities are doing is private and allowable; as long as it is private. The Govt considers these types of entities to be private and as such they can issue their owne rules which over ride the rules of the land.

What I, and many others are doing is simply voicing our opinion. We need the owners to acknowledge that the users are upset about this, and see what the owners can do about the complaint.

I don't think anything will come out from the complaints as the owners already are dead-set in not changing the T&C. (That's my opinion based on my observations.)

Frankly, I don't care what the owners do here. If I were ever to "feel" the partiality of this site, I may choose to not come back here. At this point, I am on the fence as to how this site is controlled. I see it. I don't like it, but at this time, it is not affecting me yet.

There is another thread similar to this one where people are complaining that the mods can issue one-line posts and have no consequence with management. (I consider that an abuse of power) Yet if a user sends out a oneline post, the warnings and deleted posts start happening.

It seems as if there are two (or more) different rules here on this site. When I feel that the double standard is strangling me then I will leave. I won't even bother looking back.

ATS is responsible for driving away some popular (yes, it's debateable if they were looney) posters here. Sleeper and John Lear are two that I saw as being driven to the point where they did not want to be here anymore. (Can we (I) blame the posters for feeling this way and leaving?)

I am voicing my opinion. Simple as that. Nothing more. Is that allowed in the T&C? I think so.

I don't expect ATS to change because of the numerous users who complain about censorship, or one-line posting moderators. I think it's too far gone for that now.

-EyesII



posted on Aug, 14 2008 @ 08:19 AM
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Originally posted by EyesII
I am with you and am just as upset as you and many others are about the incomplete concept of "Freedom of Speech" on this Board. There is no "Freedom of Speech" here.


Ooohh! I just wanted to make it clear that I am not upset in the slightest about the limitations to speech we have here on ATS. I think they are necessary and justified. I could join any one of hundreds of internet boards where anything goes, but I prefer a place with ground rules.

In fact, if I were upset about it, I would leave, not hang around and complain about it. This is not my house. I don't make the rules. I have agreed to rules that were made by others in exchange for the privilege to post here and hang out and learn. There is no way I'm going to agree to the rules and then carry on about them.



I think moderators should not moderate a thread they are posting in.


I actually have never seen a mod moderate a thread in which they were participating, but as has been stated, they have now made that a hard rule of moderation. It won't be happening in the future.



The T&C should be altered, but again, why would someone look to diminish their "powers" for nothing.


I can't help but wonder what alterations you think would be appropriate...



posted on Oct, 15 2008 @ 10:35 PM
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First off, to the owner(s?), management, moderators, and the like:
You have my full support in doing whatever the eff you want regarding censorship, moving threads, locking them, or whatever - it's your site, I'm here only part time because I foster some retarded fantasy that this is a sufficient means of distributing my art and opinions, to the ends of making the world a better place. ...I think I need to do some reflecting after this post...
Anyway, WHERE IS THE TRASH BIN FORUM?
i've been searching all over and have failed.
Trying to coral threads that you think are bad will reduce your site to useless dribble.
I had a post which I feel was wrongly suppressed to the Trash Bin Forum.

I am going to be speaking here as if I have certain rights - I don't. Like I said, this is your site, not mine. But for the sake of efficiency of communication...

If I'm going to bother to write something and post it because I want the world to see it - the least you can do is write something more than "read this post..." when you remove it. I understand that some members will react in unproductive ways. But some of us will not. I think this issue deserves the extra effort of putting up with the numbskulls in order to show some respect to those who will return it.

My recently trashed thread was certainly a bit provocative, in that it was written in a voice dripping with irony and sarcasm - often referred to as "political satire". Linguistic tools such as these exist largely to make communication more stimulating for the participants and thus encourage the dissemination of information. While trashing my thread may have been appropriate per ATS policy, please at least review it. i say this because if you find that trashing it was an error, there is an implication that there may be a deficiency in whatever policy training moderators receive.

As for my post... I'm babbling all this at you because my personal experience of disappointment was amplified by circumstance. I was watching the debate on cnn and became so infuriated by some of McCain's manipulated conclusions that I had to express myself. ...Could find nowhere to do so on CNN's website and really have nowhere I regularly go that has as much discussion as ATS. Thus, I arrived very pleased with ATS and the opportunity for expression it provides me. You can infer the rest...

ok, while not very organized, I think I've vomited my emotions enough that I can return to life without a grudge or resentment. ...now I've got to go tell everyone the true nature of the conspiracy and all this nonsense we all talk about here....



posted on Oct, 16 2008 @ 05:58 AM
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I'd have to agree with SO's interpretation of what "free speech" is all about. IMO (backed by the Laws of Nature), free speech is an inherent Human Right, very much like the inherent Human Rights as expressed by the US Constitution & the Bill of Rights...The only inherent limitation is self-responsibility not to denigrate anyone else's equal Rights while exercising your own.

In short, the Bill of Rights is not a "license to commit offenses on others," but a method to ensure that every person has the freedom to live their own lives & the opportunity to govern themselves without externally-imposed limitations. If the US Government Officers would actually stick to that legally-binding Oath of Office, then they'd probably end up eventually losing their "job security" & that's why they commit so many offenses against that Oath!


At least I feel that the ATS Staff is actually living up to their own T&C's even while enforcing them...And that's where the Staff has left the Government way behind in their dust cloud.


[edit on 16-10-2008 by MidnightDStroyer]



posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 05:38 PM
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I'll present my opinion in the simplest form possible:

ATS is not about free speech, it cannot be and limit the scope of debates. You can of course demand courtesy and prohibit foul language, as there is no real topic that needs foul language or that cannot be done with courtesy. Fine. Makes for a softer read, but, what really gets my goat is that you can hope to market a site with a 'Deny ignorance' slogan and yet say certain things are out of bounds. It's classic marketing. It's lieing.

No matter how much rhetoric is thrown around, this just won't fly in a site with the type of content ATS is built on. We conspiracy theorists will take the trip wherever the pursuit of truth takes us, yet ATS does not seem to want to go the full way.

However I respect the fact ATS is a business and has to obey the law if it wants to remained acredited officially as one. ATS is not a revolutionary movement and I accept this. However, you guys have backed yourself into a corner that is not easy to back out of.

I'll end with two words of advice that might help the current situation: subtle tolerance.

Peace.



posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 07:13 PM
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Originally posted by Zepherian
However, you guys have backed yourself into a corner that is not easy to back out of.

I appreciate your opinion. However, we've been in "that corner" for nearly six straight years, and have enjoyed consistent and considerable growth both in participation and general awareness through traffic. The only topics we restrict are sex, drugs, and hacking... perhaps since the audience attracted to those topics tends not to be on ATS, that has been a factor in our consistent growth?



posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 07:15 PM
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Originally posted by EyesII
I am with you and am just as upset as you and many others are about the incomplete concept of "Freedom of Speech" on this Board.



Lol...
And where is there 'complete' freedom of speech?
A forest?
Go into any public building and start cussing or insulting people.
Start talking about how you sold illegal drugs to the guy outside.
You will be tossed out - I guarantee.

So where is this magical land you live in where everyone has 'complete' freedom of speech in public areas?



Originally posted by EyesII
There is some freedom to say what you want, but when the T&C are violated, the censorship hammer comes crashing down to edit, delete or remove the violating post. This is what happens in a comminust country or website.


No, this is what happens in most public areas where rules are in place...



Originally posted by EyesII
I think moderators should not moderate a thread they are posting in.


I thought that was already a rule...



posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 07:19 PM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


My measure of success is not growth, that's a banker's paradigm, my measure of success would be truth. It might not look as good on the balance sheet but it's much better on the soul


That was the corner I was talking about, not so much profitability but credability. In the long run the latter will affect the former, although I'm not surprised it hasn't done so yet or might not do so for a long time. But it's a karmic universe, sooner or later...



posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 07:42 PM
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Originally posted by semperfortis
Saying that you just wanted to "express your opinion" is nothing more than an excuse. We all have TONS of opinions that WE know are better kept to ourselves.


No actually we don't.

I'm autistic and the filters in my brain that tell me those things do not work like other people.

When I am dealing with other people I may as well be dealing with an alien race in terms of understanding what will offend or be funny or whatever.

I'm in my 30s and have a exeptional IQ but in terms of social skills I'm a 12 or 14 year old and more or less that's the way it is. I do learn things all the time about how the strange minds of the rest of the race function. And I store that info away and try to add it to my programs but I'll never understand you people if I live to be 200.

Vas



posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 07:46 PM
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reply to post by Vasilis Azoth
 


Don't overanalyze it, even between so called normal people the chances of knowing whether someone will find something funny or offensive are hardly betting material


(This was meant to be slightly funny btw, as it was applied use of irony)



posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 07:46 PM
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reply to post by Zepherian
 


The "truth" you are looking for but seem to be missing is that this site has rules, as most public areas do.
If you don't like the rules, there are plenty of forums out there.

I see this whole argument as being as ridiculous as someone walking into McDonalds, talking about drugs loud enough for everyone to hear him/her, and then being tossed out. Then throwing a fit that they don't have 'freedom of speech'.

Get over it.
This is a public forum, but it is not owned by you or me and it does have rules.



posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 07:54 PM
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reply to post by TruthParadox
 


You're failing to factor in what the theme of ATS is. The correct analogy would be me walking into Macdonalds, buying a cheeseburger, sitting at the table, eat it, then, in the middle of the meal be asked to take the cheeseburger elsewhere because McDonalds dosen't wan't to offend the Hindu.

ATS' whole focus is to deny ignorance and get to the bottom of things. To, a priori close paths is to walk all over what the very site is presented to be. It's no great leap of logic to realise that this is an unjustifiable position, it's something that can't really be asked of the membership.

Now, I fully understand why ATS can't allow the debates. Because it will be destroyed by them, either by someone in enough power that sees the site as a liability or just normal laws against things like drug use. I'm not telling the guys at ATS to break the law or go against odds they can't win here, I'm just giving a simple overview of what the problem is, which I do apologise for being different than what it is officialy presented as.

It's not my fault ATS decided to sell pork in a kosher restaurant.



posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 08:04 PM
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Originally posted by Zepherian
It's no great leap of logic to realise that this is an unjustifiable position, it's something that can't really be asked of the membership.


But it is justifiable by the very fact that the owners decide the rules and the members decide whether to stay or leave.

You disagree with the rules, but that does not make it unjustifiable.



posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 08:30 PM
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reply to post by TruthParadox
 


That is not justification, that is power. I very much doubt the owners want to get up on a soapbox and say "Hey, this is how it is, the whole deny ignorance thing, well, we can't do it, sorry. We can fake it, and we want you to pretend not to notice".

This sort of atitude would destroy the site, which is why they seem to want to sugarcoat the obvious issues they have with a couple of very thorny topics and sell them as something else, as a moderation issue. Sorry, but I don't buy that, there's not that many stoners that would want to get off their high to stare at the grey pages of ATS predominantly left brain threads. I've never read a drug experience post on ATS, and I've been here 8 months with a decent activity level. I'm not saying there are none, just that I've never read one.

This is how I see the whole drugs and zionism thing, again regardless of the merits of the actual topics, I don't really deal directly in either, as I've not yet tried psychadelic drugs and I speak more of elitism than zionism, I'm not very well read on Jewish history or Isreali politics.

The problem is obviously pressure, these are two issues the TPTB in the western world at least, if not in all the globe, simply don't want people talking about. And this fact alone, and it is a fact, this pattern is held all over the media of the world, should tell people something, if they remember that the most important truth is usually found where there is the most effort to hide.

And I'm not talking flying saucers. Or am I? I don't even know anymore, it's all become a blur



posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 08:45 PM
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Originally posted by Zepherian
That is not justification, that is power.


It is justification.
If you own something then you make the rules.
They are not forcing anyone to participate or to be under their 'power'.



Originally posted by Zepherian
I very much doubt the owners want to get up on a soapbox and say "Hey, this is how it is, the whole deny ignorance thing, well, we can't do it, sorry. We can fake it, and we want you to pretend not to notice".


It says deny ignorance.
That does not mean that you can say anything you want nor is it some kind of promise that you can violate the rules.

Actually, 'deny ignorance' could be used against those who violate the T&C as they are clearly ignorant of the rules.

Saying "you can not discuss illegal drugs on ATS" does not promote ignorance. There are many places where you can read and learn about such topics.

I myself am not ignorant of illegal drugs OR the T&C.



Originally posted by Zepherian
This sort of atitude would destroy the site, which is why they seem to want to sugarcoat the obvious issues they have with a couple of very thorny topics and sell them as something else, as a moderation issue.



The drug related topics I've seen have one thing in common.
Every other post is removed or edited.
Seems like a moderation issue to me...



posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 08:56 PM
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reply to post by TruthParadox
 


I'm not going to argue with a legalist, I did enough of that in school, and it's a pointless exercise. I've long ago realised that those that chose to focus on the law usually forget the ethics, and those that focus on the ethics tend to bend the laws.

If you're wondering what I'm on about regarding these forums, the laws would be the T&C and the ethics would be the deny ignorance mantra which makes people think that ATS is a site where one can find knowledge on all subjects conspiratorial, which is almost true.

Fortunately I'm not in a position to have this topic directly affect me, so I'm bowing out of this one, having said my due.

Au Revoir [squiggly motion with the sword]



posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 09:01 PM
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Originally posted by Vasilis Azoth
I do learn things all the time about how the strange minds of the rest of the race function. And I store that info away and try to add it to my programs but I'll never understand you people if I live to be 200.

Vas


Dont feel bad. I am not autistic, (at least no one has ever labeled me that) and I wont understand people if I live to be 200 either.

One of the reasons you may have trouble with social rules is because a good percentage of socialization is lying, pretending you believe other peoples lies, and fluffing one another up with compliments that you rarely really mean. Its considered really poor form to state your actual opinion the vast majority of the time in terms of personal relating.


If you arent a good liar, or just dont enjoying lying and being lied to, a lot of the casual social stuff just isnt very much fun.

Freedom of speech is sort of like that. It isnt really true, you never really are free to speak in the vast majority of places you go, but it makes a lot of people feel good to think that they have that freedom. Some of us end up feeling lied to, but, its because we arent playing the same game the same way.



posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 11:07 PM
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Ok, so we have freedom of speech with restrictions.

This is not FREEDOM of speech it is restricted speech.

These restrictions are for our own good are they?

There is no such thing as free speech, it has never happened and never will happen. The internet provides us with the only real avenue for freedom of expression and yet the first thing that any site does is set up a clique of regulators to impose a code of behaviour on any contributing members. This happens despite the fact that there are no laws on the internet, no police, no accountability, it merely reflects humanity's inability to come to terms with the concept of freedom.

Freedom is the void that mankind abhors.



posted on Mar, 2 2009 @ 07:53 AM
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Originally posted by Zepherian
My measure of success is not growth, that's a banker's paradigm, my measure of success would be truth. It might not look as good on the balance sheet but it's much better on the soul

What good is a truth if no one can find it?

The underlying strategy has been to create an environment where people feel free to discuss nearly any topic in the wide open, without fear of flaming or gratuitous insults. The result of that strategy is that, for the most part, the topics receive attention rather than the posters... which has in turn created content of interest... which has resulted in attention, traffic, and more contributors.

We make no claim on truths, we leave that up to our members.



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