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Thread deletion policy proposal

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posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 03:55 PM
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Hello everyone. I'm finding the growing frequency that threads are being deleted to be somewhat troublesome. I would like to propose a policy change for your consideration:

I propose that in the event a thread is deemed inappropriate, instead of deletion it would receive the following treatment:

1) Thread will be locked to new posts
2) Thread will be moved to a read-only "locked thread" forum that contains only locked threads and a sticky up top explaining the purpose of the forum
3) A moderator or admin will add a final post to the thread clearly stating the reason why it was locked


Benefits
* Users will no longer be left wondering why a thread they participated in was deleted
* Fewer repeat-offenders, because it will be more clear what is and is not acceptable
* Fewer complaints about ATS censorship
* Less fuel on the fire of ATS conspiracy theories in general
* In the event that a member is banned, there will be a record of the reasons and process leading up to the ban

--

You'll of course recognize what I'm proposing as something that's often done already: Threads do get locked. But the current handling of lock vs. deletion is inconsistent, and I'd like to see the rules clarified.

As it is, it's frequently unclear why some threads are deleted but others aren't. For example, about a month ago there was a thread about behomian grove rituals that was deleted. Personally I suspect that it was deleted because some posts mentioned the use of children in the rituals. But, threads do exist that discuss child abuse that don't get deleted. Why is one thread deleted, but another is not? Thread deletions appear to be inconsistent, and to us members sometimes it's really not clear what is and is not considered ok. It would help tremendously if this process were more transparent. Once a thread is deleted we can only guess as to why...which not only leads to more people posting similar threads to also get deleted, it also encourages belief in ATS-related conspiracies. You know, for example, that when the behemian grove ritual thread was deleted, some number of users probably came away thinking it was deleted because it revealed some sort of "hidden secret truth" that people aren't supposed to know about. I recognize that the realities of site moderation probably tend to be far more mundance, but with the sheer quantity of threads that have been deleted of late, I think a growing number of members are starting to wonder why.

I don't want to pass judgement on the reasons for thread deletions. If a thread discusses illegalities that ATS does not want to be associated with, ok. If a thread critical of ATS simply annoys you too much to allow it to continue, so be it. If a thread is yet another copycat thread of which a dozen similar threads already exist, that's fine too. Or maybe after too much time a thread has degenerated into a fighting frenzy of irrelevancies totally unrelated to the original post. That happens sometimes. But whatever the reasons may be, we as users need to understand what those reasons are, and when threads simply vanish with no trace and no explanation, we're left with little recourse but to wildly speculate about even crazier conspiracies. This is especially evident given the recent excess of threads critical of ATS. Traditionally when there are multiple threads discussing the same topic, moderators will lock the duplicates and post a link to the main thread. But lately instead of doing this, these threads have simply been deleted with no explanation. This simply encourages people to believe that ATS is deliberately censoring threads critical of ATS, even though clearly threads critical of ATS are occassionally allowed to exist. It's the inconsistency and lack of explanation that's confusing for us.

So, please consider my proposal: lock and move threads and give explanation for it rather than delete them.

Thank you.




posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 04:03 PM
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The mods will U2U you an explanation if your thread gets trashed, when threads get locked the mods normally post why.
But don't post outside the T&Cs and dont post duplicate threads and they will not be trashed or deleted.

[edit on 18-12-2009 by zaiger]



posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 04:09 PM
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I have something better than that, I can't make an Avatar from my membership profile, It says that Abovetopsecret has closed this function, does anybody know what is going on.



posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 04:09 PM
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reply to post by hoghead cheese
 

click on the video and media link at the top left of the page. Just log in and upload it.



posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 04:23 PM
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reply to post by LordBucket
 


I think this is a fair and reasonable request of the site management. The only issue is when things are blatantly against the T&C's can they still delete? How can we devise a system that separates minor and major infractions that would lead to a deletion?



posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 04:33 PM
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reply to post by zaiger
 




The mods will U2U you an explanation if your thread gets trashed


Does no good for people who post in a thread that gets deleted, only the person who creates it.



when threads get locked the mods normally post why.


But that's the thing...sometimes they do, and other times they just delete the thread without any explanation. A lot of threads have been getting deleted lately, and it's getting to be often enough that it's annoying.

A casual lookthrough of my "previous 50 threads" list reveals 3 threads that have been deleted. I'm not going out of my way to post in questionable threads, but that's roughly 5% of all threads I post in wind up deleted. That seems like an awful lot to me, and that's just the threads that I've personally posted in. It's not uncommon for me to see threads show up in "recently replied to" that are deleted before I even get to them.

I don't know if it's overzealous moderators, or a deliberate push by people to create problem threads or what...but me as a user trying to read and posts in threads, I'm having a problem with the number of threads being deleted and not understanding why it's happening.

I'd rather see these threads locked than simply vanish.



posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 04:36 PM
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reply to post by LordBucket
 


Well really crappy threads get deleted all the time. I do not see the point in keeping all the garbage around.
Was there a specific forum where you see this done more that others?



posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 04:38 PM
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reply to post by badmoviefan
 




The only issue is when things are blatantly
against the T&C's can they still delete?


Why? What's the benefit to deleting rather than locking and moving threads to a graveyard somewhere? They'd still be available, so ATS can point to them and say "See? We're not censoring things needlessly, they're still there and with clear explanation of why they were locked." And since they're in the graveyard forum they're not cluttering up the rest of the site.



How can we devise a system that separates minor and major infractions that would lead to a deletion?


Why is deletion a desireable end result when these threads can instead be locked and moved?



posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 04:39 PM
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reply to post by LordBucket
 


If threads are offensive enough, or egregious enough to merit deletion, then it stands to reason that they don't want them searchable through google and other search engines ... which as I understand, is the vehicle that brings most of us here to begin with.



posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 04:46 PM
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reply to post by zaiger
 




Was there a specific forum where you see this done more that others?


Not that I've noticed, but I don't usually check which forum a thread is in when I read it. When I come to the site I typically check the "newst topics with replies" section and read those first. I only rarely browse by category.



posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 04:47 PM
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Originally posted by zaiger
reply to post by LordBucket
 


Well really crappy threads get deleted all the time. I do not see the point in keeping all the garbage around.
Was there a specific forum where you see this done more that others?


I had always wondered where all my threads I started went.

I love when threads are deleted, it adds more mystery to whatever was being discussed.

All kidding aside, it would be extra work for the mods, and we have like 11 posts per second (thats my guess) during EST prime time. It just isn't possible to police like you have suggested.



posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 04:48 PM
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Originally posted by LordBucket
reply to post by badmoviefan
 





Why is deletion a desireable end result when these threads can instead be locked and moved?


But what about joke threads or truly heinous content. I.E promoting, lets say, pedophilia. Do we need to keep it open without the ability to add our own ideas. Some should be deleted just as an act of maintenance and data space saving procedure or the reason of the thread having no true value for it's members. Most that I have found that have been deleted are not as far fetched as my example and I think you are right in the locking and allowing us to view even if we can't contribute. But where do we draw the lines?



posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 05:11 PM
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reply to post by schrodingers dog
 



If threads are offensive enough, or egregious enough to merit deletion


A convenient "what if" scenario, but a lot of the threads that get deleted aren't discussing anything egregious at all. For example:

Thread 536732: Titled "Many people are leaving ATS"
Thread 527739: Titled "Connecting ATS to the department of defense"

ATS management might not be thrilled about threads like these, but there's nothing "offensive" about them.

reply to post by badmoviefan
 



or truly heinous content. I.E promoting, lets say, pedophilia.


In my entire four years on ATS I've never seen a thread promoting pedophilia. But...there are threads that discuss it, and these threads don't neccesarily get deleted. For example, the thread I linked in my first post about the woman's website for child abuse and sexual fantasies that right away in the opening post makes reference to "sexual fantasies of abuse involving children" and "personal childhood experiences about sexual acts with adults"

Those are direct quotes from the opening post. That thread was not deleted. And yet, thread #525912 entitled "74 virgins, penis always hard, endless semen, this is Mohammad's promise?" was deleted.

Yes, both are discussing sexual content...but why was the thread about sexually related religious beliefs deleted while the thread about real life children having illegal non-consensual sex with adults not deleted?

Maybe there are good reasons. Or maybe there aren't. But when "offending" threads get deleted without explanation, there's no way for us to know what those reason might have been.

That's what I'm proposing a solution for. I want a system by which we can know why these decisions are made. Instead of deleting threads, let's just lock them and moderators can explain why they're doing it so everyone can know what is and isn't acceptable.

reply to post by sticky
 




It just isn't possible to police like you have suggested.


The process would be automated by a webscript, exactly like I assume the deletion process is already.


[edit on 18-12-2009 by LordBucket]



posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 08:11 PM
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I think your asking for something which is essentially a waste of bandwith / server space.

If a thread needs to be stopped and it isnt important enough to warrant a sticky or some such it may as well be deleted. Mostly the things that get deleted are extreme but random T&C violations, strong anti-ATS propoganda, duplicate threads.

There are so many duplicate threads on this site it isnt even funny, they shouldnt be locked, possibly there should be an option to merge for staff but I think youve already wasted enough of the volunteers time but not using the search function to look if the topic already exsists in the first place so they should have the right to bin it and make you repost in the correct place for wasting their time.

By the way you don't sh*t where you eat, the board admin do take critiscm (not well in all cases but they are human), but I dont see why they should allow threads which are created purely to cast ATS itself in a bad light, pretty sure that is covered in some form in the T&C, this is not supposed to be a place of unlimited free speech.

I'm also pretty sure you get contacted and told why when a thread you started gets binned / locked. Theres no need to leave notes all over the board explaining why the mods do every action they do, though to be fair there probably is something like that in place for the mods I would assume already.
[edit on 18-12-2009 by gYvMessanger]

[edit on 18-12-2009 by gYvMessanger]



posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 08:28 PM
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Originally posted by zaiger
The mods will U2U you an explanation if your thread gets trashed...


Not always... there's been times where I would get a U2U stating that "thread -------- has been removed to due violation of T&C". That's it, no further explanation, no detail as to why. I question this, send out my own U2U, and will either get the response "sorry, I can't help you; it's been placed in the trash bin and so I can't review it" OR something generic along the lines of "apparently it must have violated the T&C, or else it wouldn't have been removed."

Once in a very great while, I may get a message from a mod stating that a thread has been moved or removed, with specific reasons... but it's the above mentioned scenario that really gets to me.

And hey, in response to your comment about duplicate threads being deleted... are you sure you're on the same board as the rest of us?



posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 02:58 AM
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Some other boards I participate in do just what the OP suggests and it seems to work there, that is, they lock the thread, make a post noting the reason, and if a duplicate thread refer to the original. If some other reason they note the reason, and if any posts contain T&C violations those posts are also edited to remove the offensive material in the locked thread.

Now the downside I see to keeping locked threads instead of deleting them is this:

When I do a search on ATS I'm already getting too many threads. So if this change was implemented Not only would I get even more threads in my search results, but a lot of them would be junky, locked topic threads.

So to keep the locked thread around forever can have disadvantages.

One compromise would be to give the mods options when locking the thread. One option might be "lock and keep" and another option might be "lock and delete after 60 days"

The 60 days should be more than enough time for anyone who wondered why the thread got deleted to find out, in fact 30 days is probably enough.

And if it's eventually deleted it would address my concern of not cluttering up the search more with bad, locked topic threads, many of them probably duplicate threads that shouldn't have been created in the first place if someone had bothered to use the search before starting a new thread.



posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 07:23 AM
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Yea, typically if a thread is warranting deletion, the admin have a good reason for it.

It seems that deletion is used as a last resort for threads that are truly garbage.



posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 10:31 AM
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Originally posted by LordBucket

Thread 536732: Titled "Many people are leaving ATS"
Thread 527739: Titled "Connecting ATS to the department of defense"

ATS management might not be thrilled about threads like these, but there's nothing "offensive" about them.


Really?

If I let you into my home to talk conspiracies and alternative news and you accused me of the above I would be offended.

Quite frankly my respect for ATS staff and ownership has grown exponentially over the last month ... their ability to stay clear headed and repeatedly turn the other cheek in the face of this tidal wave of bitching, moaning and personal attacks, is impressive and uncommon. (this isn't directed at you btw)

If it was me I would have surely been more "proactive" ... if you catch my drift.

Thankfully though it isn't up to me, hence why the appropriate removal of a couple of threads seems to be the only consequence.



posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 02:40 PM
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reply to post by whatukno
 




It seems that deletion is used as a last resort for
threads that are truly garbage.


Why do you believe this?

It's not like you can see the threads after they've been deleted. That's part of the point. Once a thread is gone there's know way to know what was in it or why it was deleted. Simply assuming that if a thread was deleted that obviously it must have contained child porn or something is silly.



posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 03:15 PM
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Simply put, when a thread is deleted, it is because there has been a violation of the site Terms and Conditions that are so serious the usual board policy of trying to promote civilised discussion has failed.

The board staff is made up of nearly 60 individual people - all of whom except the board founders are volunteers, from all around the world, who would like this board to remain a place where people can discuss all kinds of subjects in a sensible manner and ensure that it most certainly does NOT turn into the comments section of Youtube.

The Terms and Conditions of ATS are there for everyone to see simply by following that link. Stay within them and there is never a problem.

Why posts and threads are deleted is between the individual who decided that they wanted to break the T&C, and the staff of the board. Problems are not discussed because we don't do witch hunts, and try to avoid public drama as much as possible because its counter-productive for all involved.

Its very very easy for people to blame the board for their lack of personal responsibiliy while posting and the things they do wrong. They cry censorship, they cry unfair treatment, they cry personal bias.

Why? Because they can. ATS and its staff are an easy target.

Frankly it would be nice if people decided to take their personal responsibility to the T&C seriously.

As I say, its T&C all the way.

Anything else that people may want to summise is hearsay.




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