Should flags be made public?

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posted on Jul, 19 2008 @ 03:12 PM
I've made a thread in the past asking this question, and for the most part, people said that it was a good idea.

Some said that incorporating this would be too complicated, but I know all it would take would be to add a name to a list once someone flags the topic. Others said that there would be a privacy issue, but privacy isn't an issue when dealing with a conspiracy website. As much information as possible should be revealed on this site as long as it doesn't interfere with one's security, and seeing who flagged seems more beneficial than decremental. In fact, people can already see what users flagged what topics by clicking on their user page - this would just make things a little bit easier.

I did not see a "Suggestions" forum on ATS, so I'm hoping this is in the proper forum to ask this type of question. Moderator input is appreciated, but I'd like further user input as well. I believe this can only be positive for the majority here on ATS.

posted on Jul, 19 2008 @ 03:17 PM
At the moment you can't see who flagged such and such thread. But if you go to a member's profile, you can see a list of the last 8 threads flagged by that member.

Btw, suggestions can be submitted via the "Complain / Suggestion" feature in the member center

posted on Jul, 19 2008 @ 04:16 PM
reply to post by Hellmutt

Yeah, I already mentioned that you can see their flags by clicking on their user page. I will take your reference, though, and send a feedback through the "Complain / Suggestion" feature, so thanks for telling me that.

posted on Jul, 19 2008 @ 05:29 PM
I don't think that would add to the "Flag" concept in a positive way.

I could see people starting to flag other posts because the author had flagged their post. The "flag system" was started to show appreciation for a good post. Just knowing somebody appreciated your post/thoughts should be enough.

It could change the whole concept of the flag system from one of appreciation of an informative/interesting post to one of "paying back" a member who flagged your post. Then some people might stop flagging other peoples posts if they don't see that member flagging theirs.

I personally think it's better the way it is.

[edit on 7/19/2008 by Keyhole]

posted on Jul, 19 2008 @ 06:45 PM
reply to post by Keyhole

Otoh, to think that there is not a "buddy system" of flagging and starring is to be naive, imo. People star and flag just because they are a friend of the author.

I see no problem with "mousing over" a star or flag to see who the donor is.

posted on Jul, 19 2008 @ 07:27 PM
I really don't see any reasons that flags should be made public. The whole point of flagging a thread IMO is to flag it so you can look back at it later. It shouldn't be made person except for perhaps maybe the OP of the thread. I don't think that it would be necessary to make the flags public any further to the extent of that.

posted on Oct, 25 2008 @ 12:56 PM
If the star and flag system remains anonymous (secret) then there will always be doubt and uncertainty as to how it functions and who or what is controlling the system. The people who are in control of the system (the used car salesmen) can tell us that the car was last owned by a little old lady from Pasadena, but we have only their word on that and no proof.

Suppose the system is made more transparent. The system is still controlled by the same small group of people who have access to the hardware and software. For that reason there will still be a group of people here and elsewhere that will claim conspiracy or foul play.

To quote the site owners, "we're damned if we do, we're damned if don't".

The only solution is the elimination of the star and flag system. But if that happens, then how will people know what to read and what to ignore? How will people know what is popular and what is not? How will people know what to think and what to do if someone else does not tell them what to think and what to do?

ATS grew into the position they are in today without the aid of the star and flag and wats systems. They managed this in part because past members took the time and made the effort to think for themselves. If the star and flag system were to be removed today then the current members would once again have to start thinking for themselves. Many of the current members do not have the time or ability to do that, so current membership would begin to dwindle.

If current membership begins to dwindle then the revenue they help generate will dwindle accordingly. If it dwindles too much then ATS would have to stop its expansion. If it continues to dwindle then ATS would have to pull back from projects already started, until they reach that point of equilibrium where the membership is once again primarily composed of people who are willing and able to put the time and effort needed into the work that they do here.

If that were to happen then ATS would be the "old" ATS, a much smaller forum populated by people who were sincere in their quest for truth and who took the deny ignorance concept seriously. But ATS has no desire to be the "old" forum. They have made it quite clear that they wish to be a large, profitable, multi media information and entertainment distributor. Since that is their goal, the star and flag system will stay in place as it facilitates that goal. At least until something better comes along.

As far as the content being starred and flagged by members goes, my Grandpa used to tell me, "boy, if you aint good nuff without it, you sure as bleep wont be good nuff with it"

posted on Oct, 25 2008 @ 01:03 PM
Flag or not to Flag, That is the question.
........... I see both points clearly and each side has a valid reason, But It is all still in the hands of the powers that be......... Give it a little time and we will see there decision...........

posted on Oct, 25 2008 @ 02:15 PM
Flags are semi-public, as the last 8 threads you've flagged are listed in your profile.

posted on Oct, 25 2008 @ 04:04 PM
reply to post by Hellmutt

LMAO at your avatar!

As to the flags.. I'm fine with it the way it is. Jsobecky is right, there's definitely a buddy system. I have a close friend who joined ATS this year and I try and support his posts through replies or flags. Yes part of it is because I'm his friend so it's human nature. But I would not flag a thread (even from a close friend) if I 100% thought it was nonsense. Likewise, I try and support newer members in general (through flags/replies) just because they are new! Long time contributors have the posting history and social networking already in place. It's not like I avoid their posts... just pay a little more attention to newbies so they feel welcome.

Personally, I think the flagging system is fine the way it is.

posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 11:09 PM
Scramjet 76, please understand that I am not targeting or attacking you in any way. I am simply using you and the groups mentioned below as examples only. For that I wish to thank you for your sincere and honest contribution to this discussion.

As I understand it, the OP's concern is that the star and flag system could be misused by certain peoples or groups in order to elevate one point of view to front page status, while lowering another point of view into obscurity.

That type of power, being able to manipulate the "page rank" of certain views or opinions, is frightening to some people. Imagine having that type of power over Google, or CNN, or, as we are discussing here, ATS, the worlds largest and number one portal for CT and Alternative Topics.

Now I would like to use you as an example, please do not be offended, this is not an attack against you. You state that your staring and flagging habits are biased. You tend to star and flag friends and new members as opposed to long time contributors. I believe that many people do this and that you are not alone in your habits. But suppose you (or they) had ten friends? Twenty five friends? One hundred friends?

Now it is no longer just a couple of buddies being polite to each other, now it is a group of people. Perhaps this group is organized in some way. Perhaps the thing that makes them friends in the first place is membership in some non ATS organization, say, the Mormons, or the Military, or the NRA. Publicly they lead their ATS lives just like the rest of us, but privately they are united in their star and flag habits.

Let us add to the danger of the situation. Suppose that this imaginary group of people has a leader with an agenda. The leader, and only the leader, is actively reading the contents of ATS and from that content determines how they would like the front page of ATS to look, the stories and discussions they would like to see there, the articles they would like Google to take special interest in and so on. The leader emails the members of the group (let us call them MOUSEKETEERS) and the group of Mouseketeers run over here and star and flag threads and posts as per their leaders instructions (without even reading the contents of the post, as you take the time to do, Scramjet 76)

This is an extremely simple thing for any group of organized people to do (religions, militaries, governments, all of those people we talk about in our CT discussions, and let us not forget "board wars". Members from other forums could infiltrate ATS and use this system to attack ATS and us).

This is a valid concern of the OP and of many other people. Requesting a greater degree of transparency is not unreasonable. Giving the membership the ability to track and trend who is starring what would be a good thing. It would give us, the membership, the tools, the ability, and the responsibility to deny ignorance for ourselves. Currently we are in the dark and ignorant about this subject. That cannot be considered a good thing.

And let us never forget, no matter how transparent the owners are or allow the system to be, there will always be groups of people who will shout foul. Just because we roll our mouse over a star and see a members name pop up (or something) there will still be those people who say that it is "fixed" or "rigged" or in some way false. Should that be used as a reason to not implement a greater degree of transparency? Personally, I think not. They (the owners) can never win. But the day they stop trying to win is the day we all lose.

(continued in next post)

posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 11:10 PM
To Hellmutt Super Moderator who made this statement:

Flags are semi-public, as the last 8 threads you've flagged are listed in your profile.

I must say that I am ashamed of you. Are you seriously suggesting that concerned members wade through 150,000 member profiles to find the 100 people who are driving a certain thread to the top of the list? Also, what about the last eight hundred threads flagged by that member? That is valuable data.

Which brings me to my conclusion. Anyone who as spent any time here is aware of the fact that the site owners are very interested in demographics. They keep very accurate records and statistics. Primarily this information is used for marketing purposes, but tracking and trending habits are also used for things like page layout, overall site design and so on.

As such, I find it all but impossible to believe that the data that is being requested by the OP (who is staring and flagging what) is not already on record and readily availible to the owners. This is priceless data from a managerial point of view. Not only priceless, but required. The owners and management simply have to know who is staring and flagging what in order to insure that the above hypothetical Mouseketeer scenario never takes place here.

If they do not have that data readily availible to them then they are being irresponsible to their membership and in their stewardship of this board. If that is the case then they need to be called on it and a system needs to be implemented asap.

If they do have that data readily availible to them and they are withholding that data from their membership then they are being irresponsible to their membership and in their stewardship of this board. If that is the case then they need to be called on it and a public inquiry into why that data has been kept from us needs to made asap.

Since no one has actually asked, point blank, allow me to be the first. Does ATS keep records of who stars and flags what? If no, why not? If yes, why is this information not made public?

As I have said, they are "damned if they do, damned if they don't"


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