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

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posted on May, 5 2009 @ 03:01 PM

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.

I tend to echo this response...

To do otherwise may lead down a slippery slope of censorship. It's fine to attack the details of someone's theory, even if that's all you seem to long as you do it with civility, information, and just plain ol' courtesy.

While being mean and nasty about something may not directly violate the T&C...I'd rather see some kind of slap on the wrist for it, than any other, more serious attempt at censorship.

My thoughts are that we should encourage more POLITE discussion and debate on issues...rewarding those who do so (point awards, maybe bringing back WATS, etc.), and penalizing (but not censoring) those who argue more vehemently and with more venom (like point deductions, etc.).

This doesn't apply to personal attacks however, those are still clear violations of the T&C and should be treated the same as they currently are (imho)....

[edit on 5-5-2009 by Gazrok]

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 03:01 PM
Well first of all, I would like to thank the staff for allowing all of members to participate in this kind of discussion. It is these types of conversations and member-staff respect that make ATS the great place it is.

With that being said I have also notice the negativity and the harsh rhetoric that has been slowly rising above the general atmosphere on the boards. Although some of it has been leniency on the part of the mods regarding certain topics and quality of posts, it also has a lot to do with I think the influx of new members and their lack of knowledge when it comes to the T&C's.

It is every members responsibility to read and understand what they can and cannot do, and know the ways in which they are to compose themselves when interacting with a community as diverse in thinking and beliefs as we are.

The T&C is easy to find if you know how to navigate the boards, but perhaps it should be better integrated into the "new" member experience. If we make the reading and understanding of the full T&C our first priority with new members, we will most likely eliminate some of not many of our issues we are currently having.

Understandably, the longer standing members of ATS also have blame in this, since the influx in rhetoric and mindless negativity has disrupted the general flow of the boards and messing with some members who feel stronger about certain subjects than others.

I think integrating more general "knowledge" of the type of atmosphere of the boards that is desire, versus simply posting "don't" type posts will be a very effective tool of curbing negativity and rhetoric that we as a community deem non-worthy here on ATS.

Just my thoughts..


posted on May, 5 2009 @ 03:06 PM
reply to post by silent thunder

Very good post. I would add one thing beyond the commercialization of ATS, which is this:

In an increasingly fascist USA the very survival of an open minded forum, especially if it has broad social impact and a growing membership, will be put into question. Perhaps what is really happening here is that the ownership is scared for their own corporate survival in a country where anti-hatespeech laws are currently sitting in congress, iirc. So they could be trying to tone it down a little, to keep ATS under the radar (if this is the case, good luck with that one...).

And of course the more paranoid will have the usual "ATS is part of the CIA" angle to consider. I personally think it's a mix of your view and the fear of official persecution more than an actual conspiracy, perhaps with a bit of ego thrown in. But in this world nothing really surprises me.

What I do know is ATS is one of the canary in the coal mines. If this site, for whatever pretext, gets shut down or freedom of speech gets even more limited than has been the trend for the last few months, then it's a sign of a much bigger sociopolitical problem, of a climate of fascism, of the closing down of individual liberty by those that see themselves as our owners.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 03:08 PM
Seems that as far as outlandish threads, the population here is rather well self policing. Really outlandish threads are either ignored, ridiculed until the person shuts up and goes away, or are lampooned internally in the thread itself and treated like the joke it is.

One thing however, is the rather heavy handed and very arbitrary moderation. Simply put, a number of the so called moderators here can't keep their own feelings, politics or outlooks out of their job on the site.

Mind you, with the increased membership, many more don't know the unwritten rule of 'Don't feed the trolls', although in their defense, the trolls are getting as sophisticated in their trolling ways as spammers are at defeating email filters.

Repeat posts and things that came about 3 months ago are also a big issue (as mentioned in another thread). An awesome feature (if it is available) is how I've seen places like DIGG work. After you make the Title, you automatically go to a search page that looks for titles with the same element. then it asks.. is your post actually unique? While this won't deter some people, it may help a lot of others that are, shall we say, less than competent with the search box.

At the same time.. hey, theplace is being a victim of its own success

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 03:11 PM

Originally posted by InfaRedMan

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.


Yeah I agree. Everything is "I know it will happen." "its the truth" it should be "it is a possibility" and "it is plausible" (or whatever as long as you get my point.) As with every forum as it grows more negativity will arise. When it comes to policing trolls I guess the best thing to do is just dock points, ban, ect. and as users we can use the magical ignore button (thank god for it)

Thankfully I don't have to think up of a "solution" because I can't
or at least a concrete one. My opinion though? take out the stupid points system, which has nothing to do with this, enforce the rules a little more, and keep bringing it to everyone's attention.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 03:12 PM
Don't be how your being.Be different. Be how we would like you to be. This sounding familiar anyone?

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 03:13 PM
reply to post by tothetenthpower

Ad Absurdum: It was the terms and conditions of slavery that some get whipped and worked and others worked at whipping.

Was that harsh rhetoric? The T&C are unilateral and imposed, and I would guess not all people read them. I was certainly surprised, in a bad way, at just how far they go. While I do try and stay within the limits that dosen't mean that I agree with them in their entirety, and, to be frankly I'm quite insulted that someone would fail to realise that were it not for the habit of thousands of people posting here, the T&C would be worth nothing.

Regulation without representation? I urge people to actually read them, because I am pretty sure most people don't agree with all of them nor do they feel obligated in the same degree as the ownership feel that they have obligated themselves to. There is dissonance there.

But I suppose this would be another thread.

And to clarify, I'm not against ATS here, I'm just pro deregulation here. I do not see ATS viable with a militaristic control structure in the long term, when so many people are waking up to their own indvidual freedom. Should the owners listen to me it may actually go in their favour and allow ATS to be more than it is now.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 03:15 PM
If we cannot be totally free here, where is their left to go, I'm tired of being alone...

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 03:19 PM
reply to post by WarmthofSunlight

Thanks for the kudos.

You also bring up some excellent points and that's an angle frankly I hadn't considered. If that's the case (and it of course could be a combo of several things at once), the board owners have my sympathy.

Ultimately, all of us as citizens and freethinkers will face a point at which we've got to stand up for ourselves and draw the line somewhere. Its a very hard thing to know where that is. Do you decide to go over the wire and into the hale of bullets, or do you hunker down in the trenches one more day and hope the battle dies down? If you hunker down too long the juggernaut will simply roll over you. But if you jump out of the trench too soon, you'll get cut to bits. So Is now the time? Next week? Its...confusing. And frightening.

But the only way people can walk over you in the end is if you let them. If ATS goes down, or becomes seriously santized, due to "hate speech" pressure or some other kind of meddling, to me that really will be a sign that its time to take it to the streets. What a sad, scary world we are all living in now. It doesn't feel too good to have been right all along after all...

[edit on 5/5/09 by silent thunder]

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 03:20 PM
i second that, i love everyone especially little blonde spiritual chics hahaa

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 03:27 PM
If one is to supress negativity, how can others help change it?

Forcing people to bottle things up and refrain from expressing their true feelings is a very weak approach don't you think. Surely it's better to have tolerance and understanding of an individuals outlook on topics and their discussion methods.

I have to wonder who would be responsible for any kind of new censorship your "ending of the culture of negativity" would bring and what would qualify them over every other member here, all of whom are probably capable of sharing some kind of enlightenment within their posts. Even a negative post can convey a positive message, it depends on the reader.

If you really want to stop the culture of negativity here, you should close ATS.....negativity comes with the territory doesn't it? If you can't take the heat.......

I admit, I have been guilty myself of feeling negative here and posted brashly and without concern for others.....but not always, and I have learned from my mistakes.

Give others the free reign to make mistakes but also the opportunity to learn from them, help them don't penalise them.

Your choice....switch a light on, or switch it off, replace a bulb or remove the fitting.

Personally, I think more help and advice to all members for dealing with these issues would be far more beneficial than a negative approach.

It's a shame ATS doesn't have a "Karma" line that represents the positive/negative balance of the poster, something that Staff (only) could plus or minus for a positive or negative post. I realise there is the "applause" system, but it's more private and "special". I'm talking frequent and visible to all within posts. Give members something to be proud of and something to consider before they hit the reply button.

Interesting thread Bill, let's hope it turns out to be a positive one though, good luck in finding a solution.

[edit on 5/5/2009 by nerbot]

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 03:30 PM
reply to post by WarmthofSunlight

I'm sorry you feel that way my friend, but the truth is, moderation is required unless you want this place to turn into the FOX NATION. I'm not saying we need stricter guidelines, I am saying that rules that are in place are there for a reason.

As I said in my above post, there are thousands of individuals who post here, with a thousands of different mindsets, beliefs and understand of concepts. If you leave this place entirely to it's members, it would destroy itself.

The rules in place are what initially allowed ATS to develop the way it is, by keeping us away from each other's throats when discussion the variety of "difficult" topics that arise here; and removing the members and information that is deliberately false and misleading. Ignorance in this world is wide spread, how else deny it but have some sort of rule set in place?

I dare you to find a place that has this much of an open atmosphere which also has the kind of sophistication and detailed content as this place. It will be hard to find.


Edit To Add

[edit on 5/5/2009 by tothetenthpower]

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 03:32 PM
In response to your thread concerning the culture of negativity, I have an issue with all the Israel bashers on this site.

You write:

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.

There are quite a few people on this site who only start threads that take the position that Israel is this evil nefarious entity that runs the world and is bent on global conflict. These posters claim Israel is engaged in genocide, apartheid and any number of other nasty things.

I for one feel that healthy debate is wonderful, but these people are not here for healthy debate. They post an article - often from a pro-Iranian propaganda agency or an anti-Israel blog - which they cling to a fact and start threads like:

Israel's destruction in 14 days
In the above thread we get statements like:

Originally posted by Seany
reply to post by mrmonsoon

we can hope

we can hope

I searched the other day and found over 400 threads started about Israel. It seems that for some reason, while there are real genocides - see Sudan, Darfur, etc... - and real human rights violations - see China, Russia v. Chechnya, etc... - everyone wants to talk about Israel.

I am sure that this is not merely unbiased criticism of a particular government. There are hundreds of governments that are entitled to their fair share of criticism, but it seems that Israel is always the target.

I am certain that this is a propaganda campaign to foster anti-Semitism.


I can link dozens of threads to prove my point, but I am sure you are already aware of them.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 03:42 PM

If you leave this place entirely to it's members, it would destroy itself.

Well at least we know where we stand.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 03:48 PM

Originally posted by Exuberant1
Is ATS prepping its members for a crackdown on free speech, albeit in a roundabout way?

No. Nothing of the sort.

Originally posted by PrisonerOfSociety
The whole point in forums, is to let it grow and expand. Let users self police content if they aren't thick skinned enough to appreciate any comment, then they can just press ignore, case closed.

And is that why "forums," "boards," and "blogs" are vilified by mainstream media?

If we want to taken seriously by those who read our threads and posts, should we not do all that we can to ensure we are taken seriously?

The general perception among the population at large is that online discussion/comment venues are horrible places filled with insults, swearing, links to porn, and other undesirable madness. And there are plenty of examples to prove that perception accurate, even in the comments sections of some mainstream newspaper's web sites.

We've worked hard, for several years, to find a balance of policing the community properly, while also encouraging wide-open free expression... and it hasn't been easy. The issue now is a slow 12-24 monthlong creep of more and more habitual negativity, the source of which we're attempting to figure out. I think to some degree we have an increasing number of people who are simply entertaining themselves with figuring out how to post maliciously while remaining under the "moderator radar." And also to some extent, we're getting new members from online venues where such activity is normal, and old habits are difficult to alter.

Originally posted by twitchy
In contrast, what percentage of 911 'skeptics' do you figure are here just to engage in 'civil discussion of facts'?

Civil? A similar 10%... if that.

However, in this rather recent development (the microcosm of 9/11 debate), I think the activist posture of the "Truthers" is a fertile ground for angry rhetoric, which is in turn met with angry responses from the debunkers.

Originally posted by WarmthofSunlight
One good example was the alleged lack of civility in the drug use threads, which only seemed to be apparent to moderation, with very few of the user base even noticing such a thing.

Because discussion of personal use is not allowed, and such posts were removed immediately.

Originally posted by detachedindividual
I think it's potentially damaging to start restricting opinions based on level of "negativity"

I agree. Occasional, or even 50% of the posts from a typical member that are pointed criticisms of a theory (which may be interpreted as negative) is not the potential issue here. Those potential members who approach a level of 100% is the issue... and may be the root cause of the more widespread tonality concern.

Originally posted by WarmthofSunlight
What good is it to herd people into group behaviour, by, using the hegelian dialetic, classifying certain ideasets as "culture of negativity" and combating them, replacing them, presumably, with a homogenized culture. With drones.

Clearly you've not actually reading what I've been writing, or your simply ignoring what I've been writing to promote your preconceived notions.

Here's a reminder from the opening post: "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."

And my follow-up response: "Challenging any particular "side" of an issue to examine their predisposition for their "side" is an important part of meaningful and collaborative discussion. But when the challenges become subtlety disguised ridicule or scorn, then the line is crossed. And when a member makes a habit of crossing that line, for whatever reason, then it becomes a pattern of negativity that is ultimately disruptive."
"No one has any desire to limit free expression on ATS, and therefore, diverse opinions. In fact, our long-standing mission has always been focused on doing what we can to ensure that our members learn to not just tolerate, but embrace contrarian and diverse opinions..."

Originally posted by Parallex
I will suggest however, that the rising 'negativity' you are seeing, is also due to the polarisation of global society.

TO CONTROL OR NOT TO CONTROL? That is the question folks.

This isn't so much an issue of control, as it is of noticing a problem that may prevent some members from posting their best. We've already seen many comments in this thread that members have backed-off from making contributions precisely because of the problem outlined in the opening post.

Originally posted by wormwood13
The attempt to control the way people think or write is outrageous!

No such thing is happening, or being considered.

Originally posted by silent thunder
Why not level with us? Tell us that's what you are doing? Are you afraid we can't handle it?

No motive other than our constant effort to do our best to make ATS the best it can be.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 04:00 PM
Well, this has certainly got a few people fired up hasn't it?

I think the key to remember here is that ATS is not like other discussion boards. That is the whole reason that ATS is the only discussion board that I am willing to spend my valuable and limited free time contributing to, reading and being a part of.

I have to agree with the opening post from SO that there has been a culture of negativity brewing recently. I can't say that I know what the cause of it is though.

Having a lot of new members and an extremely large volume of traffic can't be the reason alone.

All it takes is a few people to start being 'rude' or argumentative - and you all know what I mean when I say that, so let's not get into semantics here - and the newer members will pick up on this and think that this is the norm here - which it certainly is not.

We all have a choice. We can be a part of this unique and fertile melting pot of ideas that is ATS and respect its ethos and the subsequent online culture that has developed here or we can go and find somewhere else to throw insults around, troll 'til our hearts are content or whatever else it is floats your boat.

I am in no way being disrespectful to the younger members here, but I have a suspicion that if one was to look at the demographics of the members who are actively involved in bringing about this 'negative' culture they would be on the younger side. No real evidence for this - just a gut instinct.

Take your pick, folks - are you one of us - by which I mean a civil, respectful, thoughtful contributor to the site?

If not, well, I wish you the best of luck in finding a new online home. I hope you'll be happy there.



posted on May, 5 2009 @ 04:03 PM
Well, I don't really know if I am to be any kind of an authoritative entity here to qualify myself to respond to this issue, for I have only been at ATS for about a month or so, but I'll give it a go. ATS, being what it is, probably one of the top, if not the top conspiracy websites on the web, sometimes I feel becomes misconstrued by people as to what it's purpose really is. As this site deals with many topics that in one way or another affects us all, there are a select few that deem it their personal agenda to become disruptive.

Why do they do this one might ask? What is their goal in the end? Are they being purposefully driven by another party behind the veil so to speak? Are their actions genuine and passionate, or have they been "endorsed" by someone who's only desire is to disrupt the truth and cause confusion, which keep the masses at each other's "keyboarded" throats?

We as an internet neighborhood must remember, that when those of us who are sincere and passionate in what we believe, and have come to ATS to share with others the information that has been made available to us, it is most of the time going to be up to us to carry the burden of proof!
The nay-sayers have always, and are always going to be with us! I have personally been a student of conspiracy theories for the last near 30 years, and let me tell ya, what I have encountered here so far at ATS has been pretty much "light-weight" stuff compared to other blogs and even chatrooms I have been to in the past.

Some of the problem with negativity is easily seen if one wants to look. Just look at any nomenclature on any subject, and the problem is pretty much self-explanatory! You're always and I mean always gonna have arguments on subjects like: secret societies, the new world order, ufo's, and politics. This is simply the nature of the beast! I learned long ago that when you're gonna bring out your information concerning any of the aforementioned, you better have a skin as thick as a rhino!

Now this by no means gives people the right be condecending or verbally abusive towards others, but sometimes that does happen. Is it right, no it's not, but that's no reason I feel to dramatically punish someone because they were expressing how they felt at any particular time. If we, or in this case, you guys here at ATS begin to enforce stiff penalties because of self-expression, how can any of say that we believe in the first ammendment?

Don't get me wrong here either, this doesn't give any of us the right to go and start using profanity, or language that is inflammatory towards another person simply because we disagree with their information. Nor does it make us who are the ones bringing the info to the table anybody's doormats either! I myself have been called an anti-semite (eventhough I love Jesus and God immensely), a troll, discredible, ignorant, and a few names I can't remember, but to me, that comes with the territory! I have learned that when people don't understand what they are being handed in the way of information, their first reactions are always the same. They become defensive, and then proceed into denial outta fear of what the outcome is going to be.

I can understand and respect you guys wanting to run a clean shipshape blog, and in the end you're gonna do what ya wanna do anyways as to keep everything as legal and constitutional as possible, afterall, this is your site, not ours, but it should be up to us as adults to respect what you have offered us, which is, a place to discuss what is really important! I just hope that people will learn that in the end, it's up to us to be our own internet police, and that there's no room for intolerant behavior! I myself am thankful for a place like ATS, and am sure many others feel the same way I do!

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 04:10 PM
I just call it like I see it. and ther has not been much positive to talk about since Jan. 2001. and before you get to exhuberant on all the talk and no corrective action - which what our leaders have choosen to do. well let me tell you what they are looking at - your 401K & all the Baby Boomer Retiring with Million Plus accounts... (the money has been spent, and the numbers in your account are fixing to turn in to non-existant dollars) - basically, as long as the Baby Boomers did not draw on their retirement accounts, the fraud could be hidden, and Now BB are drawing dollars and exposing the massive Fraud of Wall Street and it leads right back to Washington, DC... and to keep this all a secret... they decided to crash the markets and your account is fixing to get murdered. -(if my knowledge and analysis is correct... - its sort of like how do you get people to work.... you make them broke... and then they got a...

this is a minute peek inside my world... and yea, its wrong - illegal call it what you will, its how it works...

This is what I'm looking at the moment... we are on the fence of Heaven and Hell.... 3 days above 900 on close = more rally - not much more but a 5% or so... and then back down.... or we fail to hold 900 tomarrow and we come crashing back down.. after sucking in your retirement money...
we are on day two and we closed above 900 for a second day... 3 days above 900 we found someone to lend us money, and a new bull market will result.... if not then ... we go back to where we started and that be 5,000 on the dow... so be positive and we get another 5% on the stock market.... dont give them money and we reverse right here.... hello dow 5K...

I'm not a profressional stock trader... I just know a thing or two and its like stealing .... dont offer your moeny if you dont want me to take.

[edit on 5-5-2009 by BornPatriot]

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 04:23 PM
A few things can be moderated, and a few things cannot.

First rule in cyberspace on a forum, I have been a message boarder for many years since its birth.

Message boards have come along way from those days. Yet we used to call them chat boards.

Yet the first rule is its two dimensional. I notice allot of posts where people write one thing, expressing their thoughts beliefs opinions, etc. and seeing many people not really understanding, what was meant. Thats normal. Its how people react to it, that most of time start things off. I think a better response or no response to questions or snive comments is something EVERYONE should do. It take two to tango. Lets face it not everyone here is at the same maturity levels. patients and understanding is important.

Not to mention some people drink while message boarding. Some people are on narcotics or what not as well. I think their isn't much to be done. If people break rules give em warn or what have you, or if more severe hit that ban.

Also getting high power would be a result that would motivate or bring satisfaction to those who wish to destroy or create chaos. I think we are stronger then this. Not mention wiser as well. If everyone works together as a team we can nip bad comments in the bud quickly, or what have you..

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 04:30 PM
reply to post by silent thunder

1) These are hard times. We are going through a real rough patch and a lot stability is slipping away for a lot of people. This is not happy-happy joy time in the real world, and maybe that's getting reflected online.

I was thinking the same thing - I think ATS provides us all with a place to vent

I haven't even been here a full year - and I've noticed a change - even in me :-)

too much tinkering might not be the right approach - maybe just wait it out

you can monitor the levels of politeness, and enforce the rules - but you can't force people to be positive

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