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Originally posted by darcon
I know we are going to get criticism, but from what illusion wrote, he was a bit ticked that he missed the opportunity to be on the nominee list. Which is understandable.
Originally posted by nerbot
Seems like anyone who wishes to address any issues regarding a subject involving illegal drugs has been unfairly labelled a "stoner".
I'd love to know what Simon Grey (Founder & Chief Properies Officer), Stephen Melzer (Chief Financial Officer) and Jeff Lombardy (Director of Sales) have to say on this matter too. Do they ever show their opinions here?
And why such little imput from moderators, have they been told not to post? Understandable I suppose, but 1400+ replies in a 1 day kinda says "important" to me.
Originally posted by blupblup
It's more about the fact that site has a lot of members... ALL of them (us) deserve a say in this as it will affect all of us.
Unfortunately... those "running" this thread (not the owners) are trying to be democratic, when in fact they are just acting in a rather more dictatorial/fascist manner.
Originally posted by interestedalways
I very much appreciate the intent behind what these members are trying to do. And many have posted well thought out intelligent responses.
But this is like Electoral Votes, and I for one don't feel to happy about that aspect of the political system.
I dunno, either.
Originally posted by Walkswithfish
It's disappointing to watch so many great minds get caught up in this seemingly trivial and rather insignificant subject of drug discussions when there is so much going on around the world right now that is far more worthy of your time, intelligence and efforts.
Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
Here is the opening post I put into the D.I.S.C. forum.
This will help prospective member participants to better understand the problem before we begin examining possible solutions.
The problem we face with suffering drug-related topics in the forums is multifaceted, and has been ongoing for years. The same issues apply to hacking and sexual topics, however, the recent influx in vocal proponents of drug topics has made the topic difficult to avoid, and support at the same time.
The core issues are three-fold...
Our first, and still important, reason for refusing drug-related topics has been concern over the automatic categorization of the ATS domain by Internet filtering software. In some respects, our now massive scale (nearly 7 million posts, 2+ million distinct pages, and 3 million monthly visits) has mitigated some of the potential problems this might pose for ATS accessibility. However, it is still a concern -- and we need to be mindful that this was a significant factor in our ability to grow to our current size.
Those who enjoy casting aspersions will assume the policies were to line our pockets as traffic and ad revenue grew. However, a minor amount of research will show that the policy was put in place long before any advertising appeared on the forums. The original goal was to ensure that as many people as possible would have access to the topics discussed by our members.
Today, it's unlikely that our entire domain would receive an "automatic score" that would harm access to the entire site -- but still possible, and needs to remain a concern. However, it's much more likely that individual pages or entire threads will be filtered. And, the possibility exists that exuberant system admins at schools, libraries, and businesses may opt to restrict our entire domain based on data from filtered pages.
Invasion of the Stoner Thread Snatchers:
This is the cause of our recent decision of no-tolerance. Our staff has the luxury of a bird's-eye-view of the forums that few members are able to notice. Over the past several months, we've noticed a disconcerting rise in the number of drug-related threads that are nothing more than thinly-vieled attempts to inject druggie culture into ATS discussion. Additionally, on more than one occasion, our staff has spotted online discussions by disruptive detractors, organizing to do just that -- screw with ATS by spamming drug topics. Over the past 10 days, a startling rise in gratuitous drug chatter occurred, prompting our behind-the-scenes discussion, which resulted in: A) a unanimous decision that drastic change was needed, and B) a very-close-to-unanimous decision to enforce a no-tolerance policy, even knowing the drama it will cause (and now, has caused).
We've seen first hand, in many more cases than members would normally be aware, an impossible-to-manage number of immature stoner comments in threads on drug related topics. We've seen both public and private complaints from thread-starters that the stoner replies are ruining what should be a good thread. The analogy I used previously in this thread is apt: Drug-related topics, of any kind, are like a bright porch light that attracts the wrong kind of moths to fly about and irritate us... they're impossible to kill as more will come... they fly about and pester everyone... it's impossible to enjoy the porch... they ruin the fun everyone is having on the porch... and the only sure solution is to turn off the light.
Four years ago we killed the "Political Mud Pit" which was a no-holds-barred forum for wide-open political debate and mud slinging. At first, it was an engaging concept, but eventually the rancor grew horrible, and it spilled over into other threads and forums. Even though we tried to contain the mud-slinging in one forum, it ended up setting an intolerable tone across all forums. We cut out the cancer by killing the forum and strictly enforcing a political trolling rule. We didn't kill political discussion, but we severely penalized partisan sniping... and things quickly improved... and the more intense political trolls moved to other sites. The drug-related topics are somewhat different, but this illustrates how one forum or one type of topic can cause spill-over into the board at large.
I'd prefer to be able to discuss conspiracies, cover-ups, and ill-conceived government policies as it relates to drugs. I'd also prefer to be able to discuss how some currently illicit bit inexpensive drugs are being vilified by big pharma with government support. But it has become impossible to do so without our staff being overwhelmed with whacking stoner moles at the detriment of being able to devote appropriate time to other topics.
Google Brings Fifty to Seventy New Members Every Day:
Here is our ultimate problem. No matter how hard we work right now to solve topical or tonality problems in the forums, we encounter a relatively high pace of new members every day. The majority of new members discover ATS via search, become enthralled with one or more topics, and choose to join in the hope of participating. If we discover a solution to supporting discussion of drug-related topics in the coming weeks or months, we also need to ensure that solution applies to new members as they encounter those topics on ATS. The cycle is vicious and well-known to our staff, and here is a relevant sequence of events as an example...
-1- user finds ATS drug topic
-2- user joins and becomes a member
-3- new member posts about personal use of drugs
-4- staff takes action
-5- new member gets pissed, claims we suppress freedom of speech
-6- staff takes more action
-7- new member gets more pissed
-8- new member is banned
-9- new member creates more accounts to complain and disrupt
Any solution that re-introduces drug-related topics to ATS must also address this problem, or we're right back to where we are now -- one topic resulting in issues that occupy an inordinate percentage of our staff's time.
So there you have it... a more detailed and candid look at our problem.
We (ATS) solved how to have a very large discussion venue with a relatively small amount of the flaming and gratuitous sniping seen nearly everywhere else. As difficult as that was to make happen, I believe this -- supporting serious discussion of drug-related issues while discouraging the stoner moths -- will be much, much harder.
I now leave this in the hands of our members who are concerned about finding a way to support these topics. Select someone to organize the effort of picking no more than six total members (five plus the leader) to participate in the D.I.S.C. brainstorming.
Originally posted by skeptic1
reply to post by blupblup
Hopefully, and I can only say hopefully because there are people on that list who shouldn't be on it for various reasons (some you've already mentioned), the committee will take its lead from the members.
At least, that should be how it goes. If not, that is a big, big problem.