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
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)