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
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.
opinion, any proposition which would erode that in any way or discourage people from honestly speaking their minds is an absolute
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
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
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
AboveTopSecret.com 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.
[edit on 5/5/2009 by Majic]