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We must end the rising "culture of negativity" (SOLUTION POSTED)

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posted on May, 5 2009 @ 10:37 AM
Hello everyone...

Many of our senior staff and I have noticed an increasing trend on ATS over the past several months that needs to be addressed, and I'm calling it the "Culture of Negativity."

About six weeks ago, I posted a thread that received a number of excellent responses, it is: The Rise Of The ATS Invertebrate: or, it takes a spine to be a conspiracy theorist. While I still feel strongly about everything I said in the opening post, and it's all good advice for anyone posting online, I now believe the inspiration for that post was a big short-sighted.

While it's certainly true that harsh criticism of a speculative theory or debunking attempt is not a personal attack, upon further review, we're seeing an unsettling increase in those who appear to be here for no purpose other than to present harsh arguments from one side of whichever fence is their preference. Where a few pointed contributions on a passionate subject may be appropriate, even welcomed, when it becomes a posting pattern or even a defining style, then it's a problem.

Now, let me be clear that in now way is this an effort to initiate coddling of those who may be overly-sensitive, or an increased tolerance of those who may have outlandish or ridiculous stories. Indeed, some of the observed "Culture of Negativity" may be an accidental byproduct of enabling threads and topics that appear to be disingenuous. And this is a issue for which we're also very concerned.

So I want to open this important topic up for discussion amongst our members who are also seeing this "Culture of Negativity" creeping into discussions.

What can we do?

What should we do?

Should we (ATS) step into some moderate editorial oversight to better police obviously outlandish topics as well as those who post nothing but negativity?

Before we do anything about this... I'd like to read what you have to say.




After much discussion and debate, the measures we (ATS staff) will take to hopefully address this issue have been posted here.


[edit on 6-5-2009 by SkepticOverlord]

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 10:47 AM
Well this problem most be in threads or forums that I do not visit because so far I have seen no more that the right amount of debating, unless by the time I get to the forums the "offensive" posts has been erased.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 10:49 AM
That's what makes ATS so great... I love these outlandish topics.

It's part of what makes conspiracy theories. It's all about what is possible... if the world wasn't so negative or such a bad place people would be less negative.

There is nothing we can do about it... lying about it won't make things better.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 10:50 AM
I think trying to police negativity would only result in making people feel oppressed... When you try to control one's feelings, you essentially control who they are and what they say. I could see how this would result in a 'fake' vibe from people.

While policing negativity may provide some short term relief for people who can't stand negativity. In the long term it would result in a good number of people leaving this site and in addition; make people more unhappy than they already are.

Just my 2 cents...

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 10:52 AM
It all comes down to subjectivity. Topics that I consider outlandish, might be considered by someone else as logical. Then there are topics like "I've captured a leprechaun, and he won't tell me where his pot of gold is!" (a fake example of the outlandish) which, IMHO, should be stomped out as quickly as possible. As far as negativity is concerned, sometimes the truth, or the way things are, seems negative, and probably is.

The big question is where is the line drawn?

Full and open discourse is preferred, and sometimes that requires that the kooks and the clowns also have their say. They do serve as amusement.

[edit on 5-5-2009 by SpacePunk]

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 10:52 AM
What should you do? Pretty much nothing new IMO. Just carry on warning/banned/docking points for people who ad hominem, personal attack, or otherwise stink up threads with waste.

But let the skeptics or the negative people be, if they can present some form of argument.

Some of the recent changes on ATS have alienated members, I think you could alienate more if you try some more suppression.

The current T&Cs are pretty good, I don't think you need any special changes, perhaps just an increase of enforcement of the current rules for a while.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 10:54 AM
reply to post by SkepticOverlord

imo, it would be nice if ATS would 'get rid of' or at least somehow 'monitor' the threads that are obviously created by what some people call 'trolls' ... i would love to see less of these threads that are obviously created by people for no apparent reason, with very outlandish claims.

some people even comment on these saying, "don't feed the trolls."

And to people who say outlandish claims are conspiracy theories ... a theory is

1. the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another
2. the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art


an outlandish claim is usually not based on fact, therefore it is not a conspiracy theory imo

[edit on 5-5-2009 by baseball101]

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 10:55 AM
for my part, i never really see harshness or negativity as a problem unless it's either out of all proportion to the post, as in

member a: "i think i may have saw something in the sky"
member b: "where's your evidence you lying scumbag hoaxer"

or if there are 20 posters saying essentially the same negative thing one after another.

otherwise you reap what you sow. if someone says they have definitive proof of something and are roasted for not providing it, i say fair play. if you post inflammatory threads and get roasted, then fair play.

the negativity isn't a bad thing, it's all about a measured and balanced quantity.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 10:55 AM
I'm really not certain there is anything you can do. Increased population means you are going to get a more diverse crowd. I.E. the good with the bad. Many people are negative. Some are outright rude. Some sites that have huge populations where some of the comments just blow your mind. Short of intenstive moderation which can exceptionally painful for the staff, the population will need to police itself. From what I've seen at any rate, those who make inane and senseless or rude comments usually are called out for it.

This sort of board breeds the sort of attitudes you want to avoid unfortunately. I wish all topics could be discussed intelligently and debated logically, but people's emotions will get the best of them.

Usually it's easy to sort the wheat from the chafe though. My biggest issue is rude debunkers. The ridiculous (imo) ideas and concepts gain a lot of this, but even the more reasonable topics get too many "lol obviously fake can't believe people are so stupid as to fall for this" replies. Not sure what you can do about that though. Popularity and population is going to give you a lot more of all types of people. Not sure what you can honestly do about it.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 10:55 AM
Is it the expression of negativity that you have a problem with, or pointed negativity aimed from one poster to another?

Negativity in general?

Sorry, maybe I am completely missing the point here.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 10:56 AM
I find it to be conducive to good debate when you have to people that are passionately opposed to each other. While I have noticed a rise in personal attacks of late, I hardly think it is negatively affecting conversations.

What I find more disruptive is the "hijacking" of threads. People that think the way to get their point across is to post many times in one thread while virtually saying the exact same thing each time. Or saying nothing at all.

Unfortunately, I don't really see how it can be fixed.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 10:57 AM

Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

Should we (ATS) step into some moderate editorial oversight to better police obviously outlandish topics.


Why, for instance, is a thread not labeled HOAX and the OP immediately banned after admitting posting a "story" and having a good time with it?!

No wonder people get a negative attitude. Since you asked.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 10:58 AM

Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

Should we (ATS) step into some moderate editorial oversight to better police obviously outlandish topics as well as those who post nothing but negativity?

Personally I believe "Yes you should" but you will be darned if you do and darned if you don't. Cries of censorship come immediately to mind no matter how well intentioned they are. You can never please 100% of the people 100% of the time.

Personally, I feel much of my cynicism has been hardened by the many outlandish threads that ultimately lead to nowhere. Perhaps we need to enforce a policy where people say "It is of my opinion" as opposed to a culture that appears to post ambiguous material as though it's an irrefutable truth.

I see far too many people claiming to 'know' when the real truth is that they don't. It's their 'truth' and should be represented as opinion only. Not gospel. It's been my observation that it's this type of attitude that consistently inflames and dare I say "insults" the critical thinker... and ultimately the nature of the subsequent posting.


posted on May, 5 2009 @ 10:59 AM
I shall undoubtedly be judged elitist, but nonetheless:

I believe this fundamentally stems from the overexpansion of your user base. Just recently, you chaps posted a triumphant thread declaring ATS' user base to be at its highest point ever.

Is it possible for all these users to be of the same level of understanding or indeed intellect as those who would have sought out a more arcane site? I don't think so.

I belive that as you have propagated ATS wider than ever before, the inherent control over those who register as users has diminished.

For example take a look at facebook. 3 years ago facebook was reserved only for university students, and had an air of intellectualism about it. Over the next 3 years, as they expanded their user base, infantilism creeped in all over the site. Glittery applications appeared, language used in groups became base and crude etc.

There is a basic tradeoff between user volumes and user quality. In order for ATS to become big, the attitude of mutual respect between users diminished (in part through less familiarity). At the risk of being banned... could I reiterate that in recent times the last bastion of mutual respect has been dismantled by the management.

You, the ATS management, have to decide between user quantity and quality. I wish you the best of luck and admire your intentions, but I doubt you will ever have both.


posted on May, 5 2009 @ 10:59 AM
i say you handle it case by case. Include that lovely clause in the TOS that says "subject to change without notice" and empower your super mods to make those decisions.

With all due respect, i think in an atmosphere that ATS provides (one of intellectual stimulation and freedom of exploration) to ask someone not to be passionate about what they believe in is just plain wrong....and that their passion can be mistaken for "trolling" by members who don't agree with that particular point of view.

I also think there are tell-tale signs that someone is just being too harsh.

Circumvention of language filters, harsh name calling, hate speech, etc.

that the latter goes without saying.

So in a nutshell
i don't think it's possible to have something concrete that is 'fair' to anyone and everyone.

Leave it open for analysis.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:00 AM

Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
may be overly-sensitive, or an increased tolerance of those who may have outlandish or

For the purposes of the discussion can you define "overly-sensitive", and why you felt the need to highlight that?

Was it your need to temper the responses by others who might consider you "overly-sensitive"? Are you in effect heading off their criticism's because you do not want to be the brunt of the brutal nature of some of the people on this system?

When will humans see, that we are sensitive, we are humans, there is no over sensitive, it is out lack of sensitivity that is causing the issues here in the world discussed on this board.

I commend you on your sensitivity, and I see in you what I have in me.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:01 AM
I believe in the concepts of deconstruction. Basically, when something new is being birthed or evolved, what preceeded it has to dissolve first. Such things occur in both micro and macro scales across our entire race. Reaching new paradigms cause such things to happen. Such as the war between America and Britain because of the Declaration of Independance.

Changes are often accompanied by resistance and conflict. Growing pains, if you want to put a term to it. Something is changing, we are changing, this site is changing. To what? I can't say, which is the whole meaning of the term, 'Paradigm Shift'. I found it amusing that you used the phrase, 'Culture of Negativity'. This place is a micro scale of that very word. Just as change has those who resist it, this site will experience the same.

This is a rather intuitive opinion coming from me. I have no clue what it all means, but I can't help but feel that something is coming. This wave of resistance coming from both genuine members and disinfo accounts may just be the start of a shift.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:05 AM
I'm under the impression your not talking about negativity in general, but rather the posts that when read you picture an irate individual sitting at his computer. Maybe you could go give them hugs? kidding aside I've seen the negative posts, but not often enough to concern me. When people respond to these is when the thread crumbles to pieces. I stare at my replies a lot of the times now because I want to make sure they don't come off as angry as I tend to write in a negative fashion. Trying to stop may just invoke more of it though, the times are rough for some, and I've seen people return later in threads to apologize for their misjudgment.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:06 AM
reply to post by sliceNodice

I agree.

I would be less likely to place the amount of effort that I currently place into my posts if I thought that there was a chance that they night get removed because someone interpreted for being too 'negative'.

For example posts made to address another member's mistakes may seem negative, and may even have a hint of 'attitude' embedded in it - these could be interpreted as 'negative' and removed.

*Once this sort of thought policing is implemented I will be forced to stick to the various other conspiracy forums - most of which suck, but at least the posts don't get removed for 'negativity'.

This is unfortunate, as I would have to maintain a presence on several other forums just to get the sort of Variety of topics and discourse that I have become accustomed to from ATS.

It would totally suck, but It would be worth it not to have to worry about whether or not the awesome post I am working on will be removed because someone thinks it 'negative'.

I certainly couldn't call myself Exuberant while posting under such conditions.

I hope ATS doesn't do this.

This is probably directed more at individuals such as the charming fellow below, But this reeks of thought-policing because that is what it would be:

--- ATS' Enemy # 1 ---

[edit on 5-5-2009 by Exuberant1]

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:08 AM

Originally posted by 44soulslayer
Is it possible for all these users to be of the same level of understanding or indeed intellect as those who would have sought out a more arcane site? I don't think so.

Is it possible a person who is lost, can also be spoke through to you, without consciously being aware of it? I suspect you know this to be true.

So my question is, have you had enough, are you tired of being challenged? I fail to see what the logical training of a new member has to do with this issue, or the value of the discussions on the board, I think you need to ponder what you have written, from a Soul perspective.

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