It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Just want this term clarified, if someone could help

page: 1

log in


posted on Aug, 20 2008 @ 07:18 PM

I'm thinking of something after I noticed this edit just now. In addition to the obvious unwanted edits of spamming and vandalism, I also have noticed that I consider deletions of content to often seem like an issue, specifically when it's not obvious why the deletion was made, and there's no Summary comment, and no comment in the discussion page. To me, that isn't a good way for a collaborative wiki to work, since it makes it hard for other users to understand why an apparently destructive action is happening. I think that has a somewhat undermining effect on the sense of collaboration and interaction that needs to be present to some degree, here.

So here's the term I'm asking for your opinions about, that relates to this topic (I'll explain): "conspiracy theorist". How would you, in a roundabout way, define that term? I think it's a fairly key term in tinWiki, and many might agree. What is a conspiracy theorist, when is it appropriate and correct to use the term, who is _not_ a conspiracy theorist, and when should the term be avoided? I'd appreciate very much any kind of feedback, and the reason is that I noticed a deletion that I just don't see how makes any sense. I may be somewhat extreme in this regard, but seemingly deliberate acts that seem to not make any sense in terms of basic principles in the context, that's just something I have problems with. Of course I could be the one who doesn't understand what's going on, which is also why I ask for input, but my own impression is this tiny edit is sort of opposed to meaning and clarity. My problem with things that oppose meaning and clarity is, perhaps, precisely why I find tinWiki such an inspiring project -- tinWiki is exactly about trying to cut through profound meaninglessnesses and the randomly chaotic. Or something thereabout. I think there is enough opposition to meaning already, in society...

All this is about two tiny edits, in Third rank. A user contributed content today, which is a good thing. But also, for whatever reason, deleted stuff that it currently makes no sense to me why was deleted. There was no Summary comment or discussion comment. The deletes were: a link to a page that is not gone or anything (so it's not a broken link), and a term was deleted from the article text, namely, then, "conspiracy theorist". The link went here, and the term was deleted from "The Third rank, as the term is used by, among others, conspiracy theorist Linda Kennedy ..." I'm thinking, in tinWiki, why does it make sense to delete where a conspiracy theorist is described as a conspiracy theorist?... Sure, those are two tiny words I'm talking about, that were removed, but that tiny delete is also opposed to the principle of what tinWiki is all about. That is my perception. I have problems with stuff that for no understandable reason causes what is in principle destruction. When meaning gets opposed, it seems that's something I am not ok with.

So these deletes are not ok with me until I understand their use, if they've got one...

Come on, help me out a little bit . . . I'm smarting from nonsense...


posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 10:47 AM
I want to say first that I applaud your call to use the discussion pages and edit descriptions. I think that one of the really exciting things about wikis in general is the opportunity to create a cooperative article. One of the most exciting things about tinwiki in particular is the opportunity to do so on topics which are by their nature controversial. It provides a place where we can work out a common set of references so that discussion between differing viewpoints is possible, to the benefit of Truth rather than censorship. But to realize this potential it is essential that we use the discussion pages as intended.

As far as the article you reference goes, my guess is that the member-editor felt that the term "conspiracy theorist" was derogative and removed it for that reason (for what it's worth, although it seems to be a badge of pride here, in mainstream American culture it is often used as a blanket term implying unreliability). Perhaps the situation could be remedied by using [[Conspiracy Theorist]] so that the tinwiki article outlining how the term is used in tinwiki and more generally here at ATS is made available to people who read negative connotations into the label.

EDIT to add: This didn't of course address the question of what a conspiracy theorist is or when the term should be used or avoided. I just read through the TinWiki article and found that while it starts out strong, it could use a lot of filling out; in particular it could address the issue of how different groups use the term, how it has been used in popular culture or political discourse, and how it is used by those who apply it to themselves. Also, and this is something that should definitely be discussed on the Conspiracy_Theorist discussion page
I don't think that it's correct to call whistleblowers conspiracy theorists: only some whistleblowers blow whistles on conspiracies.

[edit on 21-8-2008 by americandingbat]

posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 09:08 PM

Thanks for the reply, that was great to read. Yes, I, too, thought in those terms, that the sentence got that part deleted from it because it was seen as derogatory, or such. My thought about that, though, is, the whole encyclopedia is pretty much 'derogatory' like that to begin with; I mean, the logo here is a tinfoil hat... You know? By the way, the deleted term in the article actually was linking, like you suggested it also should.

Absolutely do I agree that not all whistleblowers are conspiracy theorists. Not even those who whistleblow about conspiracies are necessarily conspiracy theorists, in fact. I'd say that a conspiracy theorist is someone who theorize about conspiracies (or maybe about just one conspiracy). The person doesn't even have to tell anyone, which would mean the person was a conspiracy theorist but not a whistleblower (assuming the person discovered something that could be whistleblowed about). Actually, I think perhaps it was I who added the new category "Whistleblowers". I also, some time farther back, created the category "Freedom fighters" because I considered that many people who are relevant to have articles about in tinWiki aren't actually conspiracy theorists (or whistleblowers, either, for that matter).

The term "conspiracy theorist" does not in itself have any negative meaning in it, and in no way means neither "loon" (if I spelled that right), "tinfoil hat wearer", "paranoid", or, as you said, unreliable. The negative aspects of the term comes only from the impression that is associated with that term. If a description term does in practice amount to libel or thereabout, then of course I think some alternative term should be used instead. So, if tinWiki articles should not describe conspiracy theorists as such, then some or other alternative term should be introduced. I'm sure it's possible to come up with something that could be used.

About Linda Kennedy, specifically, I don't know very much about her, but my personal impression from the brief looks I have taken on the information she puts out, is that she doesn't just whistleblow and that's that, but that she does contribute more than simply revealing something she happened across. My impression is she works and investigates and tries to make sense of things, and my impression, at least, is that such types of activity is what makes a person a conspiracy theorist. I could be wrong about that, and could also be wrong about what Kennedy actually does, but right now my impression is that she's basically among the biggest conspiracy theorists 'out there' (which is, for the record, not meant derogatorily).

Maybe, just to throw something out with regard to all of this, these are three categories:

- Whistleblowers
- Conspiracy theorists
- Freedom fighters (the category I started...)

And the second category on the list may need to be renamed, if in practice it's unusable because of a derogatory effect (maybe some would claim it borders on libel?)

Anyway, yes, the discussions are so important to a collaborative wiki like this, I totally agree with what you say, there. To try and make the discussions a little bit more user friendly and such, I've created some Template messages for the discussions, based on such discussion template messages I saw in Wikipedia. If you have suggestions for ways to make it easier, in various ways, to use the discussions, feel free to share ideas and to also go right ahead and make improvements if it's nothing very dramatic or such. Dramatic stuff is good to talk about first. :-) Also, there are some 'sandbox' pages for trying out stuff in and for collaborating and sharing ideas in, before big changes are actually made, in for example important pages and so on. Definitely feel free to use the standard sandbox page, linked to from the Community portal, or you could also create new sandbox pages to experiment on if there's some page you want to try out things for. Add a slash to the normal URL for that page, and write something like 'sandbox' or whatever after the slash, and you will have made what I think is called a 'sub page' (?).

Anyway, thanks again for the feedback.

My conclusion is, if "conspiracy theorist" can not be used, that should be 'decided' and an alternative term should replace it. Simply removing key descriptions/terms from articles and information content is generally not ok in an encyclopedia. Is my sentiment here.

How did this all come across?.....


new topics

log in