Originally posted by IsaacKoi
Having read through all the post on this thread, compared to many that have posted I'm probably:
(1) more bothered about how the mainstream media perceive ATS (and ufology generally);
Speaking only for myself, i would say that I am equally concerned about how the mainstream media portray
ATS (and alternative/conspiracy
websites generally) and less concerned about how they perceive
I think that you're perhaps assuming that there is no break between the two acts, whereas I'm convinced that the recent spate of activity in
reporting imputing a causal relationship between conspiracy sites and mental illness originates in just such a break, whether it's conscious or
In other words, I think the article about Robby Williams that inspired this thread could very well have emerged from a grudge held by editors of that
publication towards ATS for not granting sensationalist interviews about Mr. Williams' interests. Or for that matter, it could be that they got sick
of being made fun of as a legitimate media source here and decided to strike back. Those would be examples of a conscious break between how we are
perceived and how we are portrayed.
The other possibility – and I think this is more likely what's at play in the academic cases and perhaps in at least some of the more "serious"
media articles (I'm thinking of the NYTimes, International Herald Tribune and Washington Post articles that I've seen, none of which addressed ATS
specifically) I think we're seeing an unconscious rearrangement of concepts that comes from the discomfort of people whose views are being challenged
and who are trying to impose order on their worlds.
(2) more wary of having too inflated a view about the significance of ATS - or any other ufo/conspiracy website or forum - relative to the
significance of the mainstream media. While many may dislike, or even loathe, certain newspapers (e.g. the Daily Mail, the Sun etc), those newspapers
have far, far more influence in shaping views in Britain than any conspiracy discussion forum.
I suspect that this situation is no different from the US situation, but perhaps it is.
I agree absolutely. But I think that an alternative forum is more likely to sway a more thoughtful, active fraction of the public opinion.
Agree 100%. But how they matter is not always as clear as it seems on first glance.
The very slow pace of progress within ufology will only improve if ufology can attract more mainstream scientists and other
Improve perceptions, lesson the amount of ridicule and the reluctance to be openly involved in ufological matters should be reduced.
I think this is in the process of happening. I think the success of ATS is both part of and evidence of that process. I have to admit that I don't
know much about ufology, but from what I've gathered, a great breakthrough at this point would be more likely to come from disclosure processes than
from scientific progress.
For example, I think perceptions would improve if the lunatic fringe (if fringe is the right word given the number of lunatics in the field...)
and hoaxes were seen as being tackled more forcefully within ufology itself and not mainly by individuals that are considered as being outside the
I think it's possible that this is exactly wrong.
I think it might be better to put more energy into looking at the non-obvious hoaxes. I think that having ufo-believers spend all their time fighting
hoaxers may give the impression to those outside the field that the hoaxers are more important and significant than they are.
I think that this is one of the troubles that has plagued the 9/11 truth movement in the U.S., honestly.
There are quite a few steps that members of ATS (or even an individual member of ATS such as myself) could take to help improve the quality of
debate on ATS, but I'm still working on some relevant ideas (development of which is fairly time consuming since I'm acting on my own in my rather
limited spare time...) so I'll leave them to another thread on another day...
I think it's pretty important to make sure it's the individual members of ATS who are responsible for the quality of debate here, and let ATS itself
continue its background role of enforcing the T&C and occasionally promoting truly exceptional contributions. I also think the new Media Portal, with
the ATSMediaPro contributions of certain videos seminal to the conspiracy field is the kind of support role appropriate for ATS as an organization.
As for improving the quality of debate here, I highly recommend spending some time in the Debate Forum browsing through the fights there. Right now is
a good time to start, since we just started a Tournament and there are currently 16 active debates going on. The link in my signature will take you to
the debate I'm in about the impact of the media on the trial system in America, or you can browse the index of topics
I think that the steps that could be taken by members are probably more important than the steps that can be taken by the management of ATS.
However, there are a few possible concrete steps that could be taken by the management of ATS that arise from the Daily Mail article and this
(1) Consider ways in which the flagging system can be extended or adapted so that it allows for the expression of concerns from members rather than
This issue gets raised a lot. And what I think it comes down to is that any negative-rating system is too open to abuse. Yes, of course the
star-and-flag system can be abused also, but the downside of positive-rating abuse is much less than the potential downside of negative-rating
(2) Add a fairly prominent "health warning" on the Skunk Works forum
I'm gonna leave this for SO to address when he recovers from code-wrangling.
(3) Possibly post a thread (if it doesn't exist already) indicating:
(a) the types of material that will be moved to the Skunk Works forum and
(b) informing members of ATS how they can nominate a thread for such a move (assuming that this can be done).
I think the description of the Skunk Works forum should be sufficient for describing what belongs there. And to "nominate" a thread to be moved
there or anywhere else, simply hit the "alert" button on any thread, and explain in the automatic box that comes up where you think the thread
belongs and why. That will put the message into a staff-only forum where a decision can be made.
The other option that I've used in the past is to u2u a Forum Moderator responsible for the forum that the thread is in, alerting them directly to
the thread and to why you think it doesn't belong there.
I've used this once, when a legitimate thread on the Tuskegee Experiment was misposted into Breaking Alt News; the OP had admitted that it was
misplaced and therefore I wanted to make sure that the moderator who ended up with the thread on his/her plate was aware that it was an honest mistake
(I think there can be a point penalty for misposting threads to breaking news) and just got it moved to Medical Conspiracies, where it clearly fit.