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

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posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:32 AM
reply to post by SkepticOverlord

I think drawing attention to the subject with this thread and maybe a forum is the best solution.

Policing negativity is all wrong.

Educating others to the truth is always the way on ATS.

Banning members who continually disrupt threads and disobey ATS rules is the best defense.

ATS is a great place and there is a lot of trust in it placed by its truth seeking members. This is the last place on Earth, that I want to think twice about what I say.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:35 AM
I say leave it up to the members, since they are what makes this site. I admit sometimes I may get caught up in a non-relevant and circular argument with another member of the opposng view, but I try to always present my cases in the most neutral manner. So I vote leave it up to us to be responsible and mature.

BTW, what does a 'troll' do?

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:35 AM
Skepticism: Accentuate The Positive

I'm hoping skepticism won't be confused with negativity, although the two may be easily mistaken for one another when dubious claims are at issue.

The most important core value in our community is a respect for the rights of all members to draw their own conclusions, hold their own beliefs and express their opinions in a welcoming environment.

In my opinion, any proposition which would erode that in any way or discourage people from honestly speaking their minds is an absolute non-starter.

Let's face it: people who accept anything they read at face value don't need ATS. Governments and commercial media concerns are quite willing and able to satisfy all the information requirements of the credulous and keep them up to date on what they're supposed to know.

The nature of ATS is such that we are constantly exposed to and discuss topics that don't usually fit in elsewhere, or that we simply express unconventional points of view about the manufactured news of the day and whatever else the media spotlight calls to our attention.

In light of the fact that the overwhelming majority of claims made in the media and on the Internet in general are patently false, it should come as no surprise that well-informed ATSers are likely to come across as "negative" for doing nothing more than expressing an honest opinion on an issue.

If that's "negative", then the alternative would be far worse, in my opinion.

Needling The Nattering Nabobs

That said, it's not possible to spend any substantial amount of time on ATS without encountering the atmosphere SkepticOverlord is calling attention to.

There are some members who have never met a topic they didn't hate, who have no kind words for anyone or anything, and seem committed to knocking any thesis or premise, no matter how well-substantiated it may be.

That goes beyond skepticism, which implies an open mind, to cynicism, which carries with it explicit negative baggage.

To the extent that such "nattering nabobs" post in accordance with the Terms And Conditions Of Use, there's no basis for moderators to take action -- nor should there be, in my opinion.

Does that mean ATS must be doomed to drown in a sea of bad vibes?

Not necessarily. By encouraging an atmosphere of scholarly, civil discussion, I think a lot of negativity can itself be negated.

Communities like ours have their ups, downs and radical mood swings just like any other. When news is generally bad, moods in our community tend to follow. Likewise, when news is generally good, the mood in the forums tends to lighten as well.

Except for some members who are going to gripe and grumble no matter what.

For them, however, leading by example can help, and a little love can go a long way.

Just sayin'

[edit on 5/5/2009 by Majic]

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:36 AM
I think community censorship would be a fine thing.

I've had the idea of whitelist and blacklists running through my head for quite a while now.

Sure the ignore feature is fine, but you can't ignore those you haven't read of yet.

If a few members were allowed to have their 'Ignore' lists available as a profile addition to those who wish it then viewers here would get to focus on content they feel is important and not have to tolerate too much of those with different outlooks.

For example, If a believer/sceptic I appreciated had a list of people on ignore then people with a similar mentality could get a copy of that list and cut off content which they don't feel is valid.

On the flip side if they had a 'white list' or list of friends I could get a copy of then stories that they commented on/flagged/starred would be of more interest to me than what random members feel is important at any given time.

Just my 100,000,000 Lira.


posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:37 AM
First, I would like to say that I agree fully with you about the spinelessness of some posters here. Especially how the Obama fans could dish it out but can't take it. I railed against the Bush administration since I joined ATS, and now I will rail against Obama since he is obviously no different. This is a conspiracy site, not a site for coddling government cheerleaders.

Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
What can we do?

I'm not sure, I don't want to see more rules and regs though.

What should we do?

Label those who seek to do nothing but bring negativity with a big "PLEASE DO NOT FEED ME, I'M A TROLL" on their sig line, with no ability on their part to remove it, lol. A kind of badge of shame that they must wear until they shape up, or everybody just ends up putting them on ignore.

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

I dunno, seems like that could be a slippery slope...

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:39 AM
Dear SkepticOverlord,

I have a very good idea that would obviously take some implementing but could work out well for this problem.
Institute a much more expansive system of ratings and personal rating (not the ineffectual ATS points we have now). The best such system I have seen so far is on the website Go to the forum sections and check out how each poster has a personal "Karma" rating that is similar to the user ratings on Ebay and other such sites. A person can give green karma or red karma to another person which brings their karma up or down slightly. A person who is a habitual agitator you will easily see as having a pejoratively red karma bar. These people and likewise their threads can be ignored. Furthermore, a system of rating threads should be instituted perhaps to the point where the populous of ATS can self-police themselves in the sense that perhaps if enough people give 'red karma' to a thread then that thread gets closed or at least pushed out of the main board or perhaps pushed to some sort of sub-level forum that no one goes to.
Basically, in essence my idea is to give the PEOPLE more control. In this day and age where we're all struggling with repression from our governments and such I think all of us are EXTRA wary of thought police and such and when you give more powers to your moderators it makes us all only more contemptuous towards 'the establishment' here at ATS. If you implement this system I speak of that gives more power to US the loyal denizens of ATS, then I think everyone will be a lot happier. Allow US to choose who is a negative and crappy poster and who isn't and this will make the moderators' jobs easier as well as a result.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:40 AM
It just seems to me that there are people on here from time to time that just want to twist the knife into someone else about what they feel passionate about. Take the on going 2nd Amendment argument- while both sides are posting their arguments-there are some that are just there to torture the other members. I have seen this in other threads from time to time as well. I believe that this comes from the newer members in the past 6 months or so. I find myself looking at their join dates to see if I should even respond to them.

If there was to be a change of any kind- I would like to see more Policing of the types of threads that are presented.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:40 AM
reply to post by sebarud

Probably because nobody (you?) ALERTED the STAFF about it? Now that I know about it it's dealt with.

Moving on...

With regard to one of my favorite sections of this site, the Aliens and UFO Forum, I have seen an increase (most likely due to an increase in traffic) of the age old "True Believer-v-Debunker Wars"...

Both sides have been increasing the negativity. While many "True Believers" complain about "Debunkers" hammering on every thread with repeated demands for evidence they already know the author can't provide, I have seen many threads started by the "True Believers" that are little more than flame war bait.

I have also watched many "True Believers" simply ignore plausible facts and or evidence simply because it refutes their world view or belief systems.

Without critical thought and healthy skepticism we become SUCKERS and fodder for the Charlatans. Without a willingness to suspend disbelief and engage in a civil discourse we don't have much to discuss and we will never know what we never learned.

When SkepticOverlord and I decided to put everything we have into the building of ATS it was with the vision that humanity could gather, investigate, research, collaborate and discuss the alternative topics that are either summarily ignored or ridiculed by the "mainstream media" in a civil and respectful manner.

For the most part the Membership of ATS does this better than any other site I've seen. We are on the right track.

It appears as though, as mentioned in this thread, when the population increases, the personalities that only seek to tear down increase proportionately. Maybe those personalities are just much more vocal than the rest of us and therefor seem to be greater in number than they truly are... Maybe that's all there is to this, maybe it isn't.

In any case, we are truly interested in what the community has to say and very interested in any ideas that may help to manage it.


posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:43 AM
I think that policing would be a wrong move for ATS. Most of the members here believe there is to much policing, and oppressiveness by our government. We need a place to discuss outlandish topics freely. I have friends and family who think UFO's and Aliens are very outlandish yet they are a cornerstone of our community here.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:44 AM
I usually don't involve myself with such discussions but I've been around long enough to notice the changes ATS has gone through over the years.

SkepticOverlord, are you saying you notice the same people derailing threads with negative responses on a continual basis? If so, just stay the course with what you and the mods are doing. As of the past year or so, you seem to constantly strive for "discussion forum perfection" and, honestly, in my opinion, you'll never have it no matter how well-intentioned your efforts. Like others said before me, people feel passionately about diverse issues we discuss here and, as such, will always inject that enthusiasm in a variety of ways. Whether or not it crosses the line is always your call.

I feel you will ALWAYS deal with this issue as long as this site continues. It's just the nature of differing human beings talking to each other. The question far are you willing to go to reign that in? How far is too far? Once you cross a certain line, will the free flow of conversation, ideas and basic exchange be hindered?

I don't envy you in your decisions.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:44 AM
I think all those negative people are just afraid. And as for the trolls, even though some scorn the idea, I 'ignore' them.

I would have been just as negative as some of these people, even just 3 years ago. But I never would have been as nasty as they get here. It is the nature of the internet. These people have no regard for who they are 'talking' to, or about, because they simply cannot see them. It stems from a lack of respect. And a lack of compassion.

As long as the internet is around and open to all, there will be people attempting to break down what they 'see' as ludicrous, or what they see as just not their style.

My input would be to increase the number of ignores!

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:44 AM
i say simply remind people we are on the same team and this is a sharing of information. it should be taken less personal/subjectively, and more objectively. it is a sharing and debating of knowledge, not ego. there shouldnt be ridiculing. but i'd really like to see how many people share this simplistic view

by the way thank you sir for your concern. it is a small factor in the posts i go to. the majority of people look really intelligent and in search for nothing more than truth

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:44 AM
This perceived problem with the negativity might also be mitigated by the addition of several dozen more slots to the ignore list.

I would be satisfied with thirty or so vacancies to be used if ever required.

I was a lurker during the Oct.14 GFL situation and I could definitely see the need for additional ignore space then.

ATS is so big now that ten ignores just may not suffice.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:45 AM
Though negativity can be disabling to some - don't forget that there are others who thrive on it - to the extent it only strengthens our resolve, and encourages us to be even *better* than *that* (the negative remarks or whacko threads).

Policing negativity isn’t going to erase it - what policing will do is create an artificial theater here on ATS where - imo - you’re not going to get the honesty you might have without *policing*.
For me - I want to see who’s going to be kind, who’s not, who’s going to be outlandish and who’s going to post something whacko - but have some good solid facts to back it up with, or even drivel for that matter.

Whatever we get - at least it will be *Real* and that will enable us to make our own decisions not only on how we act and react, but how to judge others fairly while taking in their threads and reactions.

If it aint broke don’t fix it...

(Was that Whiney Pooh who said that? - Probably not.)


[edit on 5-5-2009 by silo13]

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:45 AM
I propose a 'negativity' minus points system.

A simple click of the button if a post has left you feeling like you just wasted your time.

Majority rules.

50 - 100 negativity minus points on a thread/post and its automatically nuked. 1 vote per member.

The masses have spoken and the offending thread/post is but a distant memory.

We have the option to S&F a thread/post, a simple implementation of a negative click could give everyone a say, and majority rules.

Offenders of negativity/stupidity and so forth, would see their efforts come to nil and hopefully change their evil ways or move on to spammier pastures.

Quality wins, members have spoken and you cant argue with that

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:49 AM
reply to post by SkepticOverlord

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

Some threads have subject matter that is obviously a ploy to garner attention - these get flamed on a regular basis, and rightfully so...

Had a MOD tell me that what I consider garbage, others consider treasure...


If that is the case, we should define 'treasure'...otherwise, let the members police the asinine threads.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:50 AM
I will be honest here. The changes (censorship) over the last two years have actually diminished ATS for me personally. While I would not expect ATS to evolve back to its wild west anything goes days, I would appreciate it if you could create a Forum called the "Pit" or some other name that would indicated that what goes on in this forum is disgusting, NOT politically correct, negative and out right name calling.

With that forum established you could then add a button to normal post reply in the "Pit" rather than reply in the clean thread. This would then take the poster to the "Pit" and create a duplicate thread where "anything goes".

I would require members to sign up separately (maybe even age verification and or a fee) to view and or post in this area after multiple agreements and warnings to the nature of the content within.

Now instead of constantly policing the "Family Oriented Forums" you would have created an area for those not so "Family Oriented" to post their guile.

Just a thought.

I am not sure you could pull it off though heh.


[edit on 5-5-2009 by Xeven]

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:51 AM
I would not be in favor of heavier moderation of the board and here's why:

I visit other forums where the mods and contributors are much less tolerant of diversity of opinion and it is quite interesting to see how if someone steps out of the party line, they are immediately herded toward the "door" or insulted until they "get it". Now, one of the things ATS has going for it is a wide range of perspectives...after being around for a while you see where you agree or disagree with others regarding particular topics and have the opportunity to learn more and perhaps change your mind about aspects of said topics. There is no party line per se, except that conspiracies do exist!! It's a huge sand box, with plenty of room for diversity-just don't throw sand in your neighbor's eye, common courtesy!

Now, there will always be rude people, the T & C is adequate to hem in the most egregious of those who enjoy being abusive, so I would hope that we can use our own discernment in the process and ignore those who are exceptionally "negative" .

Institutionalization always leads to more control and orthodoxy. Don't do it!!

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:51 AM
I should further expound on my original idea by stating that it goes in line with the current technological climate and developments of web technology to have user generated content and user GRADED content. Just look at the explosion of the "DIGG" service in recent years, this is because in this day and age people feel far more strongly about having the control why do you think things like American Idol (as much as it is a heinous staple of junk culture) are so popular it's because people have the sense that they are controlling their destinies and lives so to speak. So implement the same thing, make it a dynamic environment where WE have control.
I know it would be an expensive and large endeavor (at least I'm assuming) for a site this large to implement such a wide ranging new system but I think it would be for the best. In fact if I were you, first test the waters by establishing a site-wide poll about how people would feel about such an idea. Similar to a screening, if the numbers are overwhelming then call your engineers and start designing a system where we can rate/grade both users and threads. The ATS points thing is dated and obsolete and has no real use to my knowledge. Be unique, make it intuitive and fun at the same time and I bet more people will flock to the site just to be able to use such a fun feature.
Expand the other 'fun' features of the design like ability to use points to buy gifts for OTHER people just like is possible in the aforementioned site ( so that instead of rewarding people with applause and useless ATS points we can reward them with real gifts that are purchased in a gift shop (medals, awards, plaques) that are displayed as little icons under the person's avatar area.

posted on May, 5 2009 @ 11:52 AM

Originally posted by dizziedame
I have confidence in our members to take care of those posters that are overly negative.
ATS is a great site. Please don't muddy the water with more restrictions.
I love you just like you are ATS.

The dame's right. If the Ts and Cs are kept in mind, then anything else is just making life tough on the mods and adding bureaucracy. 'Play nice' should be the primary rule of the sandbox.

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