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);
(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.
slow pace of progress within ufology will only improve if ufology can attract more mainstream scientists and other academics.
Improve perceptions, lesson the amount of ridicule and the reluctance to be openly involved in ufological matters should be reduced.
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
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 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 thread:
(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
only praise. Take a look, for example, at the second of the two threads discussed in the Daily Mail article, i.e. the thread started by
“soygreen2k”, entitled Read here if you want the TRUTH about aliens and alien
. That thread was clearly indicated by its author to be a hoax/spoof (in his later post even if this was not clear from the original
posts themselves), but the thread still gathered 93 flags despite quite a few respected members of ATS expressing concerns. The members expressing
concerns had no direct way to influence the number of flags, e.g. by voting to remove one flag or to award some sort of negative symbol as a sort of
warning flag. Given the importance placed by ATS on feedback from its members and creation/rating of content by ATS members, this seems to be worth
thought. Perhaps some members of ATS have seen other rating systems on other websites that could serve as a source of inspiration??
(2) Add a fairly prominent "health warning" on the Skunk Works forum, in large text (similar to the prominence of the notice regarding close staff
scrutiny on the bottom of each thread on the "9/11 Conspiracies" forum, e.g. at the bottom of
), possibly along the lines of the following:
This forum permits the posting of the most outlandish and extreme speculative conspiracy theory ideas in a less intimidating environment than other
forums on ATS, embracing Einstein's view that "Imagination is more important than knowledge"
(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).
All the best,