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Freedom Of Speech, ATS, and Ending The Eternal September

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posted on Jul, 13 2008 @ 07:35 PM
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Originally posted by NovusOrdoMundi

I understand and agree with that. Personally, I don't mind that the thread was closed.



Being the OP of the thread, I had a problem with it being shut down. Not with the moderators who made the decision, but with the members that caused the decision.

The thread was only up one day, how many members log on everyday? How many members were denied a chance to chime in and wish condolences, or relive a particular Tony Snow moment?

Novus won in this debacle and I was among the losers. It's not everyday someone gets to be the first with "breaking news." I had 90 replys in just a few hours, It could be well over 200 by now.

It's not about the points....well yeah it is!





posted on Jul, 13 2008 @ 09:44 PM
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I'm slow.

Disregard this post.

[edit on 7/13/08 by NovusOrdoMundi]



posted on Jul, 13 2008 @ 09:48 PM
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Originally posted by NovusOrdoMundi
So have we established anything of value?

Please re-read the opening post. Everything is covered.

As previously mentioned, the intent of this thread was to address the issue of the inherent responsibilities of free expression.



posted on Jul, 13 2008 @ 10:01 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
Everything is covered.


Yeah, I'm a little slow. Short memory and all.


Anyways, I think I am done with this. Thank you SO for clearing this up.


Thank you everyone else for this....interesting...."discussion"...

[edit on 7/13/08 by NovusOrdoMundi]



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 03:06 AM
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reply to post by NovusOrdoMundi
 


Don't tell the Truth, you will only be punished.

That Truth might be self-evident, but by expressing it you have purchased a punitive act against your person.

The more you tell the truth, the more you will be punished by those who do not wish to hear it. They would rather shoot the messenger than hear the message.

This is what it means to be an American at the Dawn of this 21st Century?
You can no longer speak freely (or unguarded) in America, so what makes you think the rules would be an Different on a American-Run Website?

...Not to mention it was an American who just passed away.... in America

But don't worry mate, I'm with you. I Tell the truth no matter who it hurts and how much. The end results of willful ignorance are always far worse.

We mustn't let our Ignorance be our Muse, we mustn't become Ignoramuses.






[edit on 14-7-2008 by TruthTellist]



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 09:01 AM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


Your always going to get the sort of discussion that has taken place in this thread in the wake of some members reactions to Snow death . Hell I consider myself to be a level headed guy but I was just about ready to throw my lot in on the matter .

Onto the issue of Freedom of Speech . Freedom of Speech has to be responsible managed which means that it cant be a licence to make misleading or wrongful accusations (Sometimes known as Slander outside of ATS in certain cases) and personal attacks e.t.c . This requires maturity amongst the people who practice Freedom of Speech . Some members are lacking in the maturity department hence some of the reactions on the thred concerning Snow death .

Another example of the immaturity I am talking about is those who claim that the T&C violates there right to Freedom of Speech . Outside of ATS I cant commit a crime and use Freedom of speech as a defence . So if you follow the logic that the T&C violates your right to Freedom of Speech then no one on this planet has such a right .

You do not have to post what you think it is perfectly OK to not post or say something if it wouldn't add something constructive , respectful or sensible to a topic .



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 09:58 AM
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Originally posted by intrepid
WE have to watch VERY carefully what we say or we get, "This, and from a moderator."


Yep ... case in point ...


Originally posted by Gools
This is an excellent example of why you get no respect from me and probably never will.
For somebody who has been around ATS for so long you sure have not changed your ignorant rhetoric over the years.
You're wasting you time here on ATS and so am I having any kind of interaction with you. .


Moderators may have opinions but they are supposed to be able to moderate in an unbiased and fair manner. THAT'S THEIR WHOLE PURPOSE. Reading this above post of Gools, I don't see how that's possible for him (or her .. not sure if Gools is a girl or a guy) It seems that there is an agenda or expectation from Gools - JSO has been around ATS for years and yet has not fallen into lockstep with the left wing element here so therefore he's ignorant and he shouldn't bother coming to ATS anymore. That's what it looks like from the post.

Gools .. is that how you feel about everyone who is on the right side of the political spectrum? None of us have 'changed' and so we shouldn't bother coming here anymore? Do you not respect anyone on the right side of the political spectrum? If so .. how can you moderate?

INTREPID - You guys are moderators for a reason - because you are supposed to be unbiased on the boards that you moderate and you should be able to moderate - like a judge. I understand that you all have opinions and if you are expressing them in a thread that's all fine and great. But I have seen a few mods who, based upon their behavior, aren't moderator material. Not you Intrepid ... but a few others.

Before you say 'hit the complaint button' I'll ask this - where do the complaints go? To the mods. Is mod land like the brotherhood in blue? Do you guys really take care of problem mods?? Not accusing .. just wondering ..

Oh .. people here are referencing the death of Tony Snow. I have no idea what's going on with that so I'll just say this ... much like Ted Kennedy's cancer, I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Like 'em or dis like 'em... I wouldn't wish it on them. I also dont' think the world is better off or worse off because Tony Snow is dead or because Kennedy has brain cancer. In the grand design, it doesn't matter.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 10:27 AM
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Originally posted by xpert11
Another example of the immaturity I am talking about is those who claim that the T&C violates there right to Freedom of Speech . Outside of ATS I cant commit a crime and use Freedom of speech as a defence . So if you follow the logic that the T&C violates your right to Freedom of Speech then no one on this planet has such a right .


So... As long as a person obeys the "laws" of the environment, whether on ATS or in real life, "freedom of speech" is in practice. Is that what is being said here? Because the "laws" of ATS are different than the "laws" of real life.

In real life, I can express hatred for another group. I can talk about illegal activities, I can swear and I can personally (verbally) attack someone. I can call them names. And I can organize and recruit for a movement. I can lie, I can be offensive, I can verbally bait other people, politically and otherwise, and I can speak in any language I want. I can deliver one-liners, and spout racist crap. I can display overt affection and advertise just about anything I want.

So, I think that Freedom of Speech on ATS is different than Freedom of Speech in real life, in that, as long as ATS members abide by the rules and "laws" that we volunteered and agreed to follow when we signed up, then there is no problem with free expression here, within those constraints.

My confusion (and I fully own that this has been MY confusion) comes with the phrase "Freedom of Speech on ATS". Because when I think of the term Freedom of Speech, I think of the first Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.



And ATS (by way of the T&C) HAVE made "laws" abridging the freedom of speech here. But within the structure of the T&C, there is freedom of expression.

I just think instead of claiming that ATS is a Free Speech zone, it is more accurate to say that ATS is UNBIASED in the content it allows. That, I have found to be pretty true.

By the way, lest anyone be confused, I am NOT demanding free speech here neither am I claiming that ATS violates my right to free speech. I have yet to see anyone in this thread do either of those. So I'm not sure why that's even a topic of discussion. A request for clarification was the impetus of this thread.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 11:00 AM
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A short essay on Freedom of Expression

As a moderator, I see things all the time that I disagree with on a personal level. Yet, when we are discussing them due to a complaint, I will often defend the posters right to that expressing of an unpopular opinion.

But there is a dimension here that many seem unwilling to step into too deeply. Morals. To be moral. To act moral. To speak in a moral manner. And the concept of moral behavior will vary from person to person, and culture to culture. As well, there is a wide generational gap on the meaning of morals.

But in the end, you have to take into consideration the morals of staff as well. Were this place run by web bots, there might well be some T&C set up that could be clearly defined. ( And no doubt most of you would finda way to trick the little devils in short order.
)

As humans, we make moral decisions every day. Do I get to work on time, or stop and help that old lady on the freeway change her tire? Do I spend an extra hour at work benefitting the company I love or leave now and make my daughters recital? Do I vote this way for reason X, or that way for reason Z? And moderators make moral decisions as well.

When a thread is debating, without heat and rancor, it almost never sees a mod unless they are there in the debate. But when the the heat goes up, like firemen, we are on the scene. It's the job we volunteered to do in an effort to keep this community alive and well for years to come.

And when we arrive, we have to make decisions, in the best interests of the whole community, yet within the T&C. It sometimes doesn't matter if the fire was started innocently, we still have to decide how to best contain the blaze. Because if we fail, then ATS will burn in the combined anger of a thousand egos.

There's a part of the T&C that is not often mentioned, so I'll quote it here:


8) Right of Community Management This is a privately owned discussion board community. The Owners and senior moderator staff reserve the right to take action against any member who is deemed to be devoted purely to disruption, whose actions represent behavior contrary to community building, or whose content is contrary to the core ideals of AboveTopSecret.com.


*Bolding is mine*

So you see, by the wordingof the T&C the senior staff is charged with making certain moral decisions for the good of ATS, and to take those actions needed to follow this portion of the T&C. Deciding what is "community building" is a moral judgment, and senior staff and owners set this tone in their examples on the board.

So the question then becomes; is such behavior as verbally dragging a corpse behind the vehicle of a post, and claiming the right of Freedom of Speech to do it, really community building, or is it another way to show contempt not only for the dead, but for any like opinions held by all the living propponents of the deceased here on ATS? And since such posts belittling the dead are offensive to a majority, just as pedophilia and necrophilia and some others, does it go against the core ideals of ATS on those grounds as well? Moral decisions again.

As much leeway as possible is given. Posts are made by staff asking for calm and civility. Posts are deleted and even warnings handed out, all in an attempt to restore order to the thread; to keep the conflagration from spreading. Even threads that 98% of staff find offensive are given this chance for life, if those participating will do so in a civil and intelligent way. But as anything in life, emotional responses tend to outpace thoughtful ones. Especially when politics are concerned.

In the end, staff has to decide when the sludge is too thick, and take action based on the varied morals they have, to best further the goals and aims of ATS. Is it perfect? No. Does it infringe on some aspects of Freedom of Speech? Yes. But we all know that if some moral decisions aren't made, time to time, then we'll lose all the good things about ATS. Like a lovely garden gone wild, soon there will be no fruits and vegetables, only weeds and thorns.

(Feel free to substitute the word "ethics" in place of "morals" where needed to avoid any spiritual overtones, as the two are practically interchangeable in modern usage.)

NGC2736



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 11:02 AM
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Originally posted by FlyersFan
Do you guys really take care of problem mods??


I put up a pretty big complaint about this topic by submitting complaints, posting about it in the Tony Snow thread, making a thread and u2u'ing at least 3 mods, and it seems to have been solved.

I can't speak for other issues but this problem appears to have been taken care of



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 11:18 AM
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Originally posted by NGC2736
And since such posts belittling the dead are offensive to a majority...


Who decides what is offensive and what is not to the dead, and on what guidelines do you make that decision?

We have clearly seen that "morals" and "respect for the dead" do not reign true simply because someone, no matter who the person is, is dead. They are dependent on who the person is that is being discussed.

For example (and I am going to use BH's example for this), lets say there are two threads up, one for the death of Tony Snow and one for the death of al-Zarqawi.

Someone says in the al-Zarqawi thread:

Good. We are rid of yet another evil man.

Being a former Al-Qaeda member, a man who beheaded the innocent, and a man who launched attacks on US troops in Iraq speaks volumes about who he really was.

This is good news.


**based on my post of Tony Snow**

Then someone says in the Tony Snow thread:

Good. We are rid of yet another corporate tool.

Being a former CFR member, a former member of the Bush Administration, and a former employee of FOX News speaks volumes about who he really was.

This is good news.


**actual post of Tony Snow**

Who gets to decide which is "morally" acceptable? Is 'grave dancing' on Zarqawi any better simply because the majority consider him a bad person? But then how do you really use the 'moral' excuse to moderate people who truly believe Tony Snow to be a bad person?

Maybe Tony Snow didn't behead people and suicide bomb, but aren't there other ways to be an "evil" and "bad" person?

The way that is set up, it looks like either anyone who is American deserves respect, or it looks like only the majority is right and everyone else should base their opinions off of what the majority believes or refrain from posting. Or both.

I understand what SO's opening post says and the issue has been cleared up, I just figured I would pose this question for others to potentially see the other side of the argument a little better without having to sort through 6 pages of pretty much off topic discussion.

[edit on 7/14/08 by NovusOrdoMundi]



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 11:20 AM
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reply to post by NovusOrdoMundi
 



Originally posted by NovusOrdoMundi
I put up a pretty big complaint about this topic by submitting complaints, posting about it in the Tony Snow thread, making a thread and u2u'ing at least 3 mods, and it seems to have been solved.


Solved? Well, that's one way of describing it, I guess.



reply to post by NGC2736
 



Originally posted by NGC2736
8) Right of Community Management This is a privately owned discussion board community. The Owners and senior moderator staff reserve the right to take action against any member who is deemed to be devoted purely to disruption, whose actions represent behavior contrary to community building, or whose content is contrary to the core ideals of AboveTopSecret.com.


I said I'd stay out of this thread, but I must ask:


How is it that this post is still allowed to live?


Originally posted by Gools
This is an excellent example of why you get no respect from me and probably never will. For somebody who has been around ATS for so long you sure have not changed your ignorant rhetoric over the years.
You're wasting you time here on ATS and so am I having any kind of interaction with you.


What possible redeeming or beneficial qualities does it possess? What did it add to the thread? Forget the fact that it was entirely unprovoked.

I ask this in all sincerity. I have asked for clarification on it several times but have been ignored.

This is my absolute final post in this thread.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 11:25 AM
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Originally posted by FlyersFan

Gools .. is that how you feel about everyone who is on the right side of the political spectrum? None of us have 'changed' and so we shouldn't bother coming here anymore? ...


ABSOLUTELY NOT! (ask any of my conservative friends or fellow staff members)

It's amazing to me how many people just don't get it or more seemingly REFUSE to get it. Why does it seem so far beyond reason to some?

I absolutely HATE the partisan game.

I don't play the partisan game that people like Jsobecky love to play, pitting right versus left by splitting hairs eight ways to Sunday and playing semantics. Twisting what I say to fit your agenda or "playing dumb" gets zero respect from me.

If someone has spent any time here on ATS they should understand "the game" and that it is rigged against all of us.

If you must know and need labels to understand stuff, I'm what you would call an extreme right wing on many things economic (minimal taxes and small to no government) and what you would call extreme left wing socialist on certain other things economic (social safety net including health care/prevention - but it must be well managed like a company).

The same full spectrum goes for my views and ideals on social issues and personal issues, I'm all over the spectrum. A good idea is a good idea. Blind obedience to ANY kind of ideology is the stupidest thing known to man but people persist in doing it. I reject them all!!!

To call me "liberal" is to limit everything I stand for into a little caricature devised by the media and powers that be to control us - FOR THAT REASON it's insulting.

How dare you try to limit me in that way? It limits who I can get along with (as evidenced by this thread) and gives somebody reason to dislike me based on a bunch of artificial assumptions. I only seems to run into trouble with people who have demonstrated clearly that they play this game by labelling me into some imaginary opposing camp. Everyone else I seem to get along fine with.

This disease of the political divide is largely and American phenomenon and it rears it's ugly head on our boards every two years. In Canada we have 5 (sometimes more) political parties to choose from. It's much the same in Europe. Think what you will of such a system, but at least it's not the winner take all blue-cola/red-cola, damn the torpedoes, cheerleading for your team to win at all costs disease going on in the US right now.

What pisses me off the most is not that someone doesn't fit into one of those categories, it is that they buy into them!

How ridiculous is it that you get all pissy when your partisan assumptions are challenged and then accuse us of being partisan. A totally ridiculous situation that seemingly goes unnoticed and is even done to someone who doesn't come from your country (apparently a major sin to some of you - but that's a whole other topic) and have absolutely no interest in who wins control of your criminally corrupt government apparatus.

How can I moderate?

By understanding the political divide and making an effort to divorce myself from it.

Who are you to judge my moderation if you don't or you can't?
.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 12:02 PM
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Originally posted by Gools
If someone has spent any time here on ATS they should understand "the game" and that it is rigged against all of us.

In YOUR opinion. And you just dropped a ton of bricks onto an ATS member who doesn’t agree with your opinion. That’s not moderation.


This disease of the political divide is largely and American phenomenon and it rears it's ugly head on our boards every two years. In Canada we have 5 (sometimes more) political parties to choose from. It's much the same in Europe. …. A totally ridiculous situation that seemingly goes unnoticed and is even done to someone who doesn't come from your country (apparently a major sin to some of you - but that's a whole other topic) and have absolutely no interest in who wins control of your criminally corrupt government apparatus.

Wow .. America’s way of politics is a ‘diseased’ way and is ‘ugly’, but Canada and Europe are better and not criminally corrupt? How moderate of you to say so.

Oh .. if you have ‘absolutely no interest’ in who wins American elections, then do not participate in those threads. (isn’t that what you ‘moderators’ always tell us little people?)


How ridiculous is it that you get all pissy when your partisan assumptions are challenged and then accuse us of being partisan.

Well .. how ridiculous it is of YOU to get all pissy when Americans don’t share your views that America should have a political system that runs like Canada and/or Europe.

How ridiculous of you to go on a rant about Americans discussing politics and politicians during a political year … and how dare they discuss it on a discussion board with forums for just such chatter! OMG how dare they?



By understanding the political divide and making an effort to divorce myself from it.

From what you have posted here … I do not see you divorcing yourself from political bias. In fact, it seems very evident that you are STRONGLY attached to the Canadian/Euro system and that you find the American political way revolting. Again – with these kinds of emotions, which obviously you have not divorced yourself from no matter how much you claim to have, how can you ‘moderate’ and ‘judge’ fairly?


Who are you to judge my moderation if you don't or you can't?

I'm one of those little people that you are supposed to be moderating.
From your statement it seriously looked like you are incapable of it.
Perhaps you were just letting off steam and so what you said wasn't
really how you felt. At any rate ... when someone says what you said
and how you said it, it certainly looks like an agenda and a lack of
moderating self control on your part.

I’ve never had a run in with you so I have no agenda and I am not biased in one direction or another in regards to you Gools. However, from everything you have said here and the intense anger you have displayed I must state that I think it would be good for you to take a vacation from ‘moderating’. (much as you think JSO doesn’t need to be at ATS unless he falls in lockstep with your political thought process)

And I'm exercising my free speech to say so.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 12:08 PM
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I rest my case.

Have a great day people.
.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 12:17 PM
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reply to post by NovusOrdoMundi
 


I'm not defending any set of actions here, nor am I condemning any poster, or taking sides on the problem at hand. My post was to try and enlighten members of how things work. It may be that, in some opinions, this way is wrong.

But some method must be used. To avoid chaos, decisions must be made. And those decisions are based on mixture of rational reasoning and collective ethics. (We are seldom all of one mind, despite having a moderator named "The Borg"
Therefore we most often use what I would call "peer compromise" to reach solutions.) Civilization is always based on the compromise between total freedom (anarchy) and complete control (totalitarianism). ATS, as I have seen it from the perspective of a member and later as a mod, is a community (virtual civilization) where the meter is kept as close to the mark of anarchy as possible without letting chaos be the order of the day.

I will not be drug into another round of "What did I do wrong?", or "This isn't defined well enogh to suit me." or "How come this is allowed here, and not here?" type debates. I didn't post for that reason. The limits of the FoS have already been better discussed than I would attempt. With that in mind, I will not try and sort out the issues of any particular situation. I'm not ignoring any questions by doing so, simply stating that they were not within the scope of what I was posting, which was a way for members to better understand the need for, and reasoning behind, the process of making decisions.

And the ultimate decision each of as humans have to make, and we do this each and every day of our lives, is the one of deciding to be a part of a community, even one with flaws, or living on a desert island with complete freedom, or some point in between. We all compromise the ideal of complete freedom to remain in society, or even relationships.

("Honey, does this dress make my butt look big?" - "No dear, it looks fine." *if you're going for the hippo style*. Do you add that last part and prove you're not only a MENSA failure, but a really lonely guy sitting home every Saturday night, or do you censor yourself and have a relationship that doesn't involve pictures with staples in vital areas?)

I restricted myself to the ethics of this community when I agreed to the T&C. I further restricted myself when I chose to accept the position of moderator. I am naturally free to cease those restrictions, should I so choose, but I must also lose some or all, depending on which restrictions I choose to lift, of the benefits of this community. It is thus with all levels of society/civilization, from cosmoplitan to jungle villager.

In my opinion, it is therefore fruitless and in bad form for me to complain about restrictions I chose to accept. I accept being a part of this community, even when I am not entirely satisfied with the restrictions, because the value of being a part of it dwarfs those few areas that I am not allowed, mostly because of peer acceptance, to fully express myself.

And when I can't stand not speaking my mind, I have a diary, though we macho men use the term "journal", to protect our fragile egos.


Note: jso, I'm not ignoring you, as I said, I'm restricting myself to that portion of the topic that I have spoken on in my post.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 12:19 PM
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Originally posted by FlyersFan
That’s not moderation.


As has been emphasized God knows how many times, moderators are members first and moderators second. That means moderators are entitled to their opinion as well.

What Gools said about jsobecky was nothing serious. If a regular member had said it, it wouldn't warrant a post removal or warning. If a regular member had said it, jsobecky would have responded in a different way and debated it. Instead, since a moderator said it, the reaction by everyone seems to be to jump off a bridge in disgust.

Moderators are entitled to the same opinions you and I are entitled to. When their opinions affect their ability to moderate fairly, then it becomes a problem. I have been here over a year, and to this point, I can't point out anything concrete that clearly points to moderators moderating based on personal opinion.

People should debate moderators as they would debate members. Moderators, like members, have a right to an opinion. Moderators, like members, have to stay within the T&C. There is no difference in the two, and the debates should reflect that.

Pointing out someone is a moderator is just an excuse to avoid debating them. You know, kind of like claiming free speech - its just an excuse.

[edit on 7/14/08 by NovusOrdoMundi]



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 12:26 PM
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Originally posted by NGC2736
I will not be drug into another round of....


I realize that, and I'm not trying to drag you in to it. I'm just trying to allow as many people as possible to see the other side of the argument. It is all too easy to go with the side claiming morals, so I am simply reiterating my point.

The questions of my post, and my post in general, wasn't really meant for you to respond to it. It was simply to make a point.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 12:34 PM
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reply to post by NovusOrdoMundi
 


As well, my post wasn't for you alone, though it was titled in reply to you.

And I support your position of questioning boundaries. We all defines the limits of our universe, though some methods are better than others. (I remember my little brother finding out if he could fly by jumping out the hay barn window.
The ground was a defining moment.) I have found no problem with your approach.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 12:34 PM
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Interesting, but is true that when the topic of politics comes around it bring the worst of the people involved in the discussions.

No wonder my blood pressure was out of control when I was more involved in political debate.


Now, when freedom of speech border or become an insult to others?.


When the person that doesn't like somebody's opinion call it an insult.


Then again opinions are like butt holes everybody has one.



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