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Freedom Of Speech, ATS, and Ending The Eternal September

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posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 12:55 PM
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Originally posted by NovusOrdoMundi
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.

Agreed. And when a moderator tells a member that they shouldn't be at ATS anymore because - after years here he still doesn't think like the moderator in regards to politics - then that moderators opinion has definately affected his/her ability to moderate fairly.




posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 01:04 PM
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reply to post by FlyersFan
 


Thats not what happened.

Gools said:

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.


Changing ignorant rhetoric does not mean changing so that one agrees with the others politics. It simply means, despite the length of time jsobecky has been here, Gools feels there has been no change in position or compromise.

Wasting time at ATS does not mean jsobecky should leave ATS. If that were true, Gools should leave ATS as well because "so am I having any kind of interaction with you."

Making an observation doesn't change how you moderate, nor does it imply that it affects your moderating, except in the minds of those that don't agree with that particular moderator.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 01:22 PM
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Originally posted by NovusOrdoMundi
Gools said:

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.

Changing ignorant rhetoric does not mean changing so that one agrees with the others politics. It simply means, despite the length of time jsobecky has been here, Gools feels there has been no change in position or compromise.


Change in 'IGNORANT' position or compromise... to what? Gools way of thinking? JSO doesn't need to change anything and it's just Gools opinion that what JSO says is 'ignorant rhetoric'. Gools also was very clear that JSO shouldn't be here and that he (Gools) can't be impartial when it comes to JSO because of where JSO stands (those stands being ignorant according to Gools)

As I said before, I have no history with Gools and have no opinion of him/her one way or the other. However, the post that he/she made said a lot. It said he can't be impartial no matter how he claims otherwise - IMHO.

NovusOrdoMundi - I agree with you that Mods can express opinions in threads they participate in. BUT when their opinions mean that they can't moderate (judge) fairly, then they shouldn't be mods.

Gools may have just been upset and may do fine most of the time. (I have no idea - I haven't paid attention to him/her and his/her posts). However, what I saw posted by him here says that there could be a big problem with moderation and fairness. A mod is basically telling a member that the members opinions and stand on politics is ignorant and Gools further stated that Americans discussing (vile American) politics is revolting to him. Those are petty strong feelings.

Now that Gools has openly confessed his rather strong feelings, how on earth can we trust him/her not to be biased? How can JSO come here and post freely without Gools words ringing in his ears? How can JSO feel welcome? How can any American who wants to discuss American politics (and there are forums for this) feel welcome? The strong pro-canadian pro-euro poltiical bias, along with the anti-American politics bias, is now out there for all to see.

Mods have opinions and feelings. But they are MODERATORS and JUDGES and have to act like that. Otherwise what good are they and what good is it to have mods?



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 01:38 PM
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Flyers Fan, I think what you're missing here is that the Terms and Conditions don't care what Gools thinks or what JSobecky thinks or what anyone thinks/believes or has a bias for.

The absolute limit of Gools' ability to "moderate" lies within the bounds of the TAC and that has nothing to do with "being" moderate at all.

Whether Gools is political or not doesn't enter into the equation, we wrote the terms and conditions this way for exactly this reason. We would be hopelessly lost trying to run this huge site if we were limited to only allowing "moderate" personalities to join the staff.

In other words, Gools doesn't need to "be" moderate in any way to enforce the Terms and Conditions of ATS.

It is a seemingly convenient argument to falsely assume that a moderator who is passionate in his or her views will oppress or unfairly enforce the TAC on those who are passionate in the opposing view point, that's just not the case. We've had that happen exactly once in ten years and we "de-modded" the individual toot sweet. We will not tolerate the abuse of the TAC by anyone and it's really OBVIOUS when it happens.


Hope that clarifies it a little.

Springer...



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 01:42 PM
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Originally posted by FlyersFan
Now that Gools has openly confessed his rather strong feelings, how on earth can we trust him/her not to be biased? How can JSO come here and post freely without Gools words ringing in his ears? How can JSO feel welcome? How can any American who wants to discuss American politics (and there are forums for this) feel welcome? The strong pro-canadian pro-euro poltiical bias, along with the anti-American politics bias, is now out there for all to see.


And...your pro american bordering on xenophobic attitude is there for all to see after you typed this.

So who's right? How can anyone outside the US post on here without you ringing in their ears? How can they feel welcome? Do we say that people can only post opinions on their own countrymen? On their own politics? Do we deny peoples opinions?

Hell, think about it, half the board would be gone. Everyone in this thread would be gone. All those people in the US who think Europe is some festering cess pit of Islamic fundamentalism would be gone. Anyone who decries what goes in the middle east would be gone.

The only person left might be Jedi, and his Star Wars collection - no, wait...that would have to go as well because Star Wars was a pseudo reflection of Cold War politics, and someone might get offended by it.

You're arguing semantics for the sake of it. You are trying to condemn someone for expressing an opinion solely because you didn't like it.

Jump off the bandwagon, and judge yourself by the standard you are trying to set here.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 02:01 PM
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Originally posted by neformore
And...your pro american bordering on xenophobic attitude is there for all to see after you typed this.

I'm not a mod. My pro-American attitude is just fine. BTW .. what is 'border xenophobic' to you is just plain non-antiamericanism. (two negatives .. yeah, I know .. but that's what it is)

Another BTW - if you didn't have some bias of your own when you read Gools post, you'd see his post for a whole lot of anti-americanism. Which is what my post was responding to.


You're arguing semantics for the sake of it. You are trying to condemn someone for expressing an opinion solely because you didn't like it.

Uh ... wrong.

I'm stating that since Gools expressed his opinion, which he's allowed to have, how can anyone who has an opinion opposite of his feel like they'll get a fair deal?


Originally posted by Springer
In other words, Gools doesn't need to "be" moderate in any way to enforce the Terms and Conditions of ATS.

On paper that's true. But being a paranoid conspiracist .. I can't help but wonder if a person's bias comes into play when handing out warnings or not handing out warnings.


Hope that clarifies it a little.

Yes. Thank you.


Springer ... we belong to a summer swim club. It's nothing special and nothing fancy. Just a little 200$ a year pool to swim at. The members are members. The life guards and staff are life guards and staff. Lines are not crossed. Members are not allowed to be life guards or staff because the lines get blurry. Would the member-guard be a paying customer or a staff member that can be disciplined.

See? It's kinda the same here.
From here it looks like the mod/member lines get blurry.
Are there lines?
Should there be lines?
Should there not be lines?



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 02:19 PM
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Originally posted by FlyersFan
I'm not a mod. My pro-American attitude is just fine.


His pro-Canadian attitude, if that is what he has, is just fine as well as long as it remains as a member and not as a moderator. He doesn't have to drop his own bias as a member simply because he is a moderator.

I've been a moderator on a few forums, and although none were near as large as ATS, it is quite easy to separate your opinions and bias as a member from your duties as a moderator.

We all have bias. Thats just something we have to deal with.


Originally posted by FlyersFan
if you didn't have some bias of your own when you read Gools post, you'd see his post for a whole lot of anti-americanism


Maybe your bias made you see something that wasn't there?

I'm an American. I saw nothing wrong with what he said.


Originally posted by FlyersFan
Springer ... we belong to a summer swim club...


Another analogy would be in regards to our politicians. They're politicians, they're in charge of running the country, but they're also citizens of the country. As such, they are entitled to their opinions and bias that regular citizens are entitled to. Those opinions and bias only become a problem when it crosses over in to their duty to run the country in the interests of the people and the constitution.

Replace "politicians" with "moderators"; "citizens" with "members"; "country" with "ATS"; and "constitution" with "T&C", and you have the same situation going on here.

The only 'lines' should be that moderators can voice their opinions on subjects as members, and others should respect those opinions as if they are coming from a regular member. It is only if you see a moderator truly blending his/her bias and his/her moderator duties that the argument against a moderator having an opposing opinion should come in to play.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 02:25 PM
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Originally posted by FlyersFan
I'm stating that since Gools expressed his opinion, which he's allowed to have, how can anyone who has an opinion opposite of his feel like they'll get a fair deal?


There are mods who have VERY different views than me. The opposite side of the spectrum. I have "tangled" with a few of them from time to time.


I trust ATS staff to choose people who are able to separate their personal opinions and feelings out when moderating.

But moderators aren't robots. They have feelings and biases. They are going to like some people and dislike others, but it would be against all moderation ethics I know of to moderate based on personal feelings.

If ATS moderators did that, I probably would have been banned some time ago.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 02:37 PM
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reply to post by FlyersFan
 


There is a rock solid line. Staff never "work" in threads they participate in, we ALWAYS call in other staffers. NO warns/disciplinary actions get handed out for anything other than violations of the TAC.

Like I said, it's OBVIOUS when a staffer goes "rogue" and it's dealt with immediately.

This is a non issue in reality, paranoia aside of course.


Springer...



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 02:45 PM
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reply to post by FlyersFan
 


So then according to your example you would suggest to us that we do one of the following:

1) fire all the mods and only ask non-ats members to mod here
2) when a person becomes a mod we must expressly forbid them from interacting with any members and/or posting their opinions in any way

Being that ATS staff were ALL (with the exception of Simon obviously) members first, that would make for a very interesting exercise.

Perhaps full automation then?



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 03:28 PM
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I need to step in because this concerns me directly.

Had I made the same comment to Gools that he made to me, my post would have been deleted, I would have been warned, both or maybe worse.

I have had very little interaction with Gools over the years. The only previous time I did, he came down on me unwarranted and unprovoked in a thread that I had authored.
He accused me of trying to make it seem like I came up with some idea on my own (I did); he obviously didn't like being me being clever.

After he made the personal attack on me that time, he disappeared until now. I was flabbergasted and taken aback when it happened. That was several years ago.

I have asked what his most recent post added to the thread. The topic here is free speech and responsibilities associated with it.

I ask again: what did his post add to the discussion? How was it relevant? What provoked it? And most importantly, why was it allowed to stay?

NovusOrdoMundi, your assessment that what Gools said wasn't bad doesn't count. You complained to the mods (by your own admission) until they effectively silenced my voice in this thread.

Flyers Fan is right: I do feel very uncomfortable after the attack by Gools. And it was an attack, no matter how any mod wants to sugarcoat it. I am not being "paranoid", Springer. The TAC does not apply equally to all members; this is quite obvious. And nefermore, it was a lot more than Gools "expressing an opinion". NGC2736, you wrote that

"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 asked you how Gools' attack helped build community. You refused to answer.

I ask Gools again: what is it supposed to mean, I'm wasting my time here on ATS?

The fact is, Gools made this issue personal. And coming from a Super Moderator, this member now feels ostracized.

The wagons have circled around a fellow mod. Gools' actions and words have been condoned and encouraged by the staff. It is a sad day for ATS.

I now expect the thread to be closed.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 03:35 PM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
NovusOrdoMundi, your assessment that what Gools said wasn't bad doesn't count. You complained to the mods (by your own admission) until they effectively silenced my voice in this thread.


This thread? I never complained about your voice in this thread. What ever any mod said toward you was by their own admission. I had nothing to do with it.

The only time I complained about anything you said was that one post in the Tony Snow thread where you hurled out at least 3 insults and only received a post removal for it.

Since when am I responsible for everyone else's posts? My complaining made the mods jump on you. I got Rilence banned. I'm responsible for everyone's post removals and warnings in the Tony Snow thread. Enough. I'm responsible for my posts and my posts only. You're responsible for your own posts, the mods are responsible for their own posts, and everyone else is responsible for their own posts. Stop laying it on me.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 03:40 PM
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Originally posted by FlyersFan
From here it looks like the mod/member lines get blurry.
Are there lines?
Should there be lines?
Should there not be lines?

This is not a new issue, see this nearly four-year old thread: Above Top Secret Moderators Are People Too!

All of our staff were members who were passionate about the ideals of ATS before they joined the staff. And likewise, many of them had expert-level experience on one or more ATS topics.

There are lines, and we work hard (as Springer said) to establish and maintain them... however, misconceptions and mistakes happen.

There should be lines, and there also should not be lines. Consider this important example of two possible scenarios...

(1) -- A police officer, in full uniform and associated paraphernalia of cuffs, weapons, and radio, speaks passionately about political issues in a public square full of onlookers.

(2) -- A person, of no obvious importance, is speaking passionately on political issues at a local bar, but only later you find out he's also a police officer.

In scenario #1, you'll be unlikely to engage the person in a discussion, but in scenario #2, you would be. In both cases, it's the same person, but your perception of the circumstances are what colors your opinion and reaction.

Most, if not all, of our staff very much want to be participating as described in scenario #2, but nearly every time, the perceptions they encounter are as described in scenario #1. This is the dilemma that faces our staff nearly every day and makes it more and more difficult for them to participate in discussions.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 03:48 PM
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The problem is, police officers do not have a nice big avatar beside them declaring them to be "Super Cop".

Everybody here knows who the mods are. They don't have anonymity.

And it still doesn't explain or excuse his words.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 03:50 PM
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reply to post by jsobecky
 


Whoa up Hoss. I didn't write that. It's part of the T&C, which I have nothing to do with except following it.

Now if you feel Gools violated this part of the T&C, make a complaint. If you want, address it to my attention, and in my status as a moderator, it will go from there. I will personally bring it to the site owners attention, if need be. But I will not be one of those working it.

I refused to moderate events in this thread, because I posted in this thread. We don't generally ever moderate in a thread we have been participating in, no matter how hard someone tries to pull us into such a position. It's unethical.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 03:50 PM
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Originally posted by Djarums
So then according to your example you would suggest to us ...

Actually, I'm not suggesting anything. I'm giving another example to show what I'm trying to say. That is - lines can be blurry.


Originally posted by Springer
This is a non issue in reality, paranoia aside of course.

Paranoia is what it's all about ... this is a CONSPIRACY site afterall


I have no idea about this 'other thread' that's being discussed ... all I was talking about was what I saw in the one post by Gools here. NovusOrdoMundi saw nothing wrong with it. I did. It raised flags of concern for me.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
....

Obviously it's a campaign year.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 03:51 PM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
The problem is, police officers do not have a nice big avatar beside them declaring them to be "Super Cop".


"A police officer, in full uniform and associated paraphernalia of cuffs, weapons, and radio, speaks passionately about political issues in a public square full of onlookers."

Couldn't the uniform, cuffs, weapons and radio be compared to the avatar?



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 03:54 PM
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Originally posted by FlyersFan
NovusOrdoMundi saw nothing wrong with it. I did. It raised flags of concern for me.


Just a matter of perception and opinion is all. I'm not defending anyone or going against anyone.

Make a complaint. Thats what I did when I felt the moderating was unclear or wrong in the Tony Snow thread.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 03:55 PM
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Originally posted by NovusOrdoMundi
Just a matter of perception and opinion is all.

Yes. Absolutely. I wasn't diss'n you NovusOrdo .. Not at all.
I see it one way. You see it another. No problem.



posted on Jul, 14 2008 @ 04:03 PM
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Throughout this thread I hear people talking about "offense" or "offending". I would like to point out that "being offending" is something that happens inside your own head, it is the result of YOUR belief system and not external influences. As such someone cannot offend me unless I choose to be offended.

I does not sound like most of the posters here are opperating from that assumption.




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