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The Group Effect on ATS

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posted on Jul, 17 2008 @ 07:51 PM
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I'd like to talk about the possibility of a group effect (for lack of better term). This group effect, if it exists, affects most of the people here on ATS.

I was reading this topic the other day, and I found the response to be overwhelming. I did a personal experiment of my own (non-scientific, so take it for what you will) and asked a bunch of random people outside in the middle of town and on the light rails whether they were feeling more tired than usual. On the day that it was hot out, around 7/10 would say they were feeling more tired than usual. A couple days later when it was cooler, around 3/10 said that they were more tired than usual. Of course, I went further than that.

It turns out that when somebody on the light rail said they were feeling tired, despite the day it was asked on, most people said they felt tired; however, when I asked outside (which was hotter than in the light rails since those are air conditioned), I always got mixed responses. So, I asked some of the people on the light rails who responded after somebody else why they said they felt more tired than usual. A couple of people gave genuine and understandable responses (not enough sleep, long day at work, etc.), but what I found interesting is that some of them were not tired and that they only said that because a bunch of other people before them did. Another person said he said he was tired because "if the business man says he's tired, then I'm tired too". Obviously, this type of influence is a proven fact in the real world, but is it also here on ATS?

Are people influenced to flag, star, respond, etc., not based on the content of the post, but the status of the user? Do ATS Points, a flashy avatar, certain sentence structures (lots of periods/commas, no letters capitalized, many exclamation marks and emoticons - you get the gist), etc., all affect whether one gives the thread attention? A lot of the times, I see topics with a lot of flags and little replies, and the topic has little to no content, but the user has a lot of ATS Points and/or is well-known here in the ATS community; on the contrary, I see topics with little flags and average replies, and the topic has ample content, but the user who created it is either new or little-known. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but generally speaking, it seems like I keep seeing the same users making the highly-flagged topics while some extremely significant topics get ignored because their flag count is low.

Also, I don't care if you flag my topic (12.21.12 already tried to bring up the possibility of me behind a flag conspiracy in a previous thread of mine), but I would like member input. Am I crazy, or is there really something like this going on here? If there's something I haven't fully explained or is confusing, just ask.




posted on Jul, 17 2008 @ 08:12 PM
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Indeed plenty of good topics are snowed under by sometimes less important, it is sad to see that.

but it doesn't matter much to me how much points someone has but if I agree with his or her words or not and if its important to me.



posted on Jul, 17 2008 @ 08:14 PM
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I posted in that thread by simply reporting on my personal experience and presented no theories as to the cause nor even commented on the veracity of the claim. I was simply interested in adding my piece of the puzzle.

Suggestion is powerful. Suggestion by authority even more so. The "businessman" example gives credence to this since the person was even aware of the source of it.

Frankly I'll comment on anything where I think I have something worth relating to others or I'll inquire on whatever is interesting enough to me. It seems reasonable to ask whether a user's perceived status elicits more responses-- whether it's a response to a post within the thread or a response to a thread started by a high-status user. My gut says this is in fact the case and the effect is somewhat strong. I don't think think this "status effect" is limited to ATS. Mind that I've never made any formal, organized reseach effort on that topic (or should that be all too obvious already).



posted on Jul, 17 2008 @ 08:24 PM
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It reminds me of the sociological theory that states if someone falls flat on their face in the midst of a large group, the individuals will all look at each other, waiting for one to react. If that person falls in the midst of only one or two people, they are more likely to help immediately.

"Group mentality" on ATS? Hmm, I am probably less inclined to "star" a thread with 185 stars, to be honest. I can certainly see a snowball effect when someone is getting flamed for their ideas.

As far as avatars and whatnot, I do like to see someone's personality through their posts. I find I almost create a "voice" to people I am familiar with. When someone changes their avatar, I'm honestly sometimes a little baffled.

Do I want to make friends? Well yeah, I wish ATS was a meeting I could go to and have a few beers with you all and discuss what we all thought and researched. But as far as a "group?" Eh, I'd rather rattle the cage than jump on the bandwagon.



posted on Jul, 17 2008 @ 08:25 PM
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Good thread. I think much of what you're talking about is just pure human nature, wanting to belong, looking for patterns, banishing coincidence. I think most of us tend toward identifying with unusual pheonomenon, and I see a lot of good folks that make an effort to empathize with others here, share in their story, offer solutions. We can only help if we're engaged in the event.

I post on threads that I think I might have something to contribute to. I don't really have a sense of many people here, so not prone to going to this or that thread on the strength or perceived lack of it of the poster. I'm more likely to post in threads that are well thought out and written, such as yours, than threads that look to me like they just created something off the cuff to incite a response. I'd love to get into RATS, but not willing to create an inflammatory thread for points, and don't want to join twitter.

Survival-oriented threads will draw my attention most of the time, because they involve action items -- stuff we can do NOW. I like that.

Cheers



posted on Jul, 17 2008 @ 09:04 PM
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Originally posted by SonicInfinity

Are people influenced to flag, star, respond, etc., not based on the content of the post, but the status of the user? Do ATS Points, a flashy avatar, certain sentence structures (lots of periods/commas, no letters capitalized, many exclamation marks and emoticons - you get the gist), etc., all affect whether one gives the thread attention? A lot of the times, I see topics with a lot of flags and little replies, and the topic has little to no content, but the user has a lot of ATS Points and/or is well-known here in the ATS community; on the contrary, I see topics with little flags and average replies, and the topic has ample content, but the user who created it is either new or little-known. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but generally speaking, it seems like I keep seeing the same users making the highly-flagged topics while some extremely significant topics get ignored because their flag count is low.


The reality is that there are sheep (I know people hate that word but insert your own) at ATS - members who are easily led or influenced by stylistic choices, images, emotionally evocative content or just tend to be groupies of other members or a certain subject matter. There is almost a formula for success that some members tend to use when developing an OP. However, those types of OPs all tend to look and sound the same and the quality content in those threads tends to come from the responses of more thoughtful or informed members.



posted on Jul, 17 2008 @ 10:54 PM
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reply to post by SantaClaus
 


I know, this applies for stuff like fights, choking, and other things. The snowball effect is also rather prevalent, but remember that it can also be "positive", as in a user getting overpraised.

reply to post by argentus
 


Sometimes I wonder if people makes threads just so that they can get ATS Points. I know it sounds silly that somebody over, say, 100,000 would have the need to continue to rack up points. 99% of the time, though, people with that many points usually deserve a lot of credit, so who knows.

reply to post by kosmicjack
 


I've noticed this as well. Some people tend to make topics a certain way based on what forum they're posting in, meaning they have a general feel for the way people in that forum react. I haven't done any of this myself, so I really can't tell how people will react until I've posted.



posted on Jul, 18 2008 @ 02:18 PM
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Any other opinions? I know there has to be some more people out there that strongly agree or disagree with this.



posted on Jul, 18 2008 @ 03:11 PM
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Sonic, I don't know if I would call it a group effect or not.
The experiment you tried was a very good idea though.
The thing is, ATS has thousands of members, and that thread got no where near that many replies. Those who posted represent a small percentage of members.
The thread flagging..well..
Sometimes a topic is posted, a good one, and just for information purposes, it's really good. So flag it for others to read.
Lack of posts either is because no one has more to add to it, or perhaps they are at work and no time to post.
I think a lot of times, what new threads are posted, are either successful or not depending on the "FEEL" of the boards that day.
You may have spent a long time researching something to post, but a news headline may get all the attention. Or people are feeling the need for entertainment..so they feed the trolls.
Just my 2 cents.



posted on Jul, 18 2008 @ 03:41 PM
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reply to post by SonicInfinity
 


Good thread SonicInfinity,



Are people influenced to flag, star, respond, etc., not based on the content of the post, but the status of the user?


You hit the nail on the head here - I have been observing this since I started here in April of this year and it really annoys me. Not that I will loose any sleep over it, it does need brought out in the open for others to see, and even those that S&F due to the poster and not their content. It's not sinister, just a subconscious popularity contest going on in the wings. I.e. Keeping in with the Jones'.

Certain members, I will not name, get stars for breathing it seems - there very much is a group think, or group effect going on at ATS. Owners get stars and flags for just being owners - no offense intended, they don't ask for them. Its just gullibility and immaturity on behalf of some members who wish to be in with the John Travolta crowd - slick that hair back and pretend you are somebody!!

Some fantastic threads have disappeared into obscurity without little acknowledgement, yet an established member posts BS, and its the breadwinner.

Points = popularity, it does seem!! Though, I'm not so sure about the avatar issue - means nothing to me - just pixels on a screen!

But hey, just my observational opinion.

Star and flag for you (just for the record)!


Breifne



posted on Jul, 18 2008 @ 03:45 PM
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Access, I understand where you're coming from, and most of the topics I see that have a lot of flags are worth reading, but sometimes I wonder if people flag topics just so that they could be a part of the "I flagged the topic!" crowd.

I agree that a "feel" during the boards does often determine what gets noticed or not. Sometimes, topics just have bad timing.



posted on Jul, 18 2008 @ 03:49 PM
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reply to post by Breifne
 


Agreed. Some users, despite whether their stories are more important that others or not, seem to have people who automatically star and flag their threads. This why I have stated in a previous thread that we need to make the flagger's names public, that way we can see who is flagging what. People before brought up the issue of "privacy", but this is a conspiracy site -- paranoia is at its base. If there is no conspiracy or group effect going on, what harm would it be to make the flagger's names public?



posted on Jul, 18 2008 @ 03:56 PM
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Best example of group mentality are the "evil" masons and the Holly Rollers aka radical christians on this site.

They are to be found in many threads on this Board.



posted on Jul, 18 2008 @ 04:05 PM
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reply to post by SonicInfinity
 


Yes, I agree with making flaggers names public - there should be nothing to hide and flagging has its conditions of use. A thread earlier in the month had 20+ flags and it was a hoax from day one - people were even flagging to annoy other posters!! Hmm.

Those threads that pose serious questions, raise issues that require thought and aptitude, question the status quo and even expose officialdom for what it is through validated research should be flagged.

My flags are few and far between - those posters that put effort in and ask legitimate questions, irrespective of tenure, get my vote.

My sentiments exactly.

Breifne



posted on Jul, 18 2008 @ 04:15 PM
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I think it's fair to say that it takes all kinds on ATS to make this site what it is and isn't. That's the interesting thing about a site like this. If you have issues and come on this site, you will find a mix of behaviors or personality types and possibly even cyber friends. I have few to none and probably have more that ignore me. (Casper?)

I can't read very well and my memory is awful. I would say your OP is a typical observation and true to some extent. Yeah, there are those who do appear to have a clique cult type status and this could all be another conspiracy of this site or these groups. So, I guess that's what we can expect...whether it's true or not.

These pretzels are making me thirsty?
(mood)

I actually hate some of those emoticons..maybe that's due to my upbringing and personality?

I think some of the mods fail at doing their jobs when they let some things slide due to their own opinion of that persons stature and topic (just my opinion)

The old saying is: If you don't like it.......leave. (?)

You're right but you're wrong.(?)

You're smart, but, you're stupid (?) etc.

I like your friendly avatar, but, that doesn't really mean it's the real you(?)

I met a girl on line once and should have kept it that way.

I met her in person and lost a great cyber friend.

So are we all here for real or even human?



posted on Jul, 19 2008 @ 12:32 AM
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reply to post by Breifne
 


Exactly, flags need to be used sparingly. If the flagger's names were public, that would kill all paranoia about who's flagging what. I don't mind my name being made public.

reply to post by aleon1018
 


...what? Am I supposed to address all of that? >_>

I've never believed in there being a clique of users here on ATS, although I do believe in disinfo agents occasionally swaying public opinion (but there's no way to ever prove who one is unless he comes out and says it).



posted on Jul, 19 2008 @ 03:35 AM
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Are people influenced to flag, star, respond, etc., not based on the content of the post, but the status of the user? Do ATS Points, a flashy avatar, certain sentence structures (lots of periods/commas, no letters capitalized, many exclamation marks and emoticons - you get the gist), etc., all affect whether one gives the thread attention? A lot of the times, I see topics with a lot of flags and little replies, and the topic has little to no content, but the user has a lot of ATS Points and/or is well-known here in the ATS community; on the contrary, I see topics with little flags and average replies, and the topic has ample content, but the user who created it is either new or little-known. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but generally speaking, it seems like I keep seeing the same users making the highly-flagged topics while some extremely significant topics get ignored because their flag count is low.


That's Sales & Marketing 101.
Yes, yes, yes, and yes. BUT. That's not me trying to say people here are constantly engaged in it. I'm sure it happens sometimes, but I think a bit more highly of people's intellect here than I do the mainstream. But again, what you're saying is part of the ancient art of SALES.
You know who really eats up that kind of aesthetic (HYPE)? A lot of music fans. Even in the underground, which is where I specialize...people will jump all over it time and time again if it's got that subliminal communicative that indicates importance, popularity, and so on.



posted on Jul, 19 2008 @ 03:14 PM
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For anybody who wishes to address the flags issue, I made a topic
here.

reply to post by Orion Crystal Ice
 


Ancient art of sales? So some users here treat topic making in the same manner they would treat commercials or products? That's a little bit unsettling.

[edit on 7/19/2008 by SonicInfinity]



posted on Jul, 19 2008 @ 03:46 PM
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No, it's just that you highlighted big parts of the very same principles and things that sales and marketing think tanks consistently employ to reel in people.









 
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