reply to post by neformore
First I can appreciate a good bit of what you are saying.
Second this is really meant to be more of a check up from the neck up type of thread for fellow members than it is an entreaty to the staff.
I posted it in Board Business to add a bit more seriousness to it.
What I am trying to do is to help some members see and find a line.
I will play Devil’s Advocate in some threads knowing full well that it’s such a passionate issue were people have strong opinions tinged with
strong emotion and I am going to get ganged up on. Why do I choose to play Devil’s Advocate on occasion? 1. Because when people are inclined to
overlook some very pertinent and relevant facts primarily for emotional reasons someone should be willing to speak to those pertinent and relevant
facts and. 2. As an American I feel everyone and everything deserves and adequate defense. 3. Some of the staff and fellow members genuinely
appreciate it because it A. helps raise the quality of the discussion B. can keep an important issue going and on the board highlighting it for other
members to see. In fact a good number of my rounds of applause from staff come from playing Devil’s Advocate and putting on a decent defense.
So I know what it is like to be naturally ganged up on in an emotional and passionate issue and never let it get the best of me. If you decide to
defend Roman Polanski in a thread (and I have) being then called a creep, and a pedophile, sicko, danger to society, etc., etc., are emotional
responses you tend to expect.
You don’t look to call the Staff ‘Waambulance’ and I never do and you don’t look to make your argument by calling them names back. You just
keep posting on the issues.
Yet when you are involved in enough such situations you can tell when a gang is naturally occurring as a mob.
Just like mobs will form on the street, they will form on the Internet and no that’s not a forum gang.
The people involved in that one situation on that one thread might privately communicate with one another regarding that particular thread and their
thoughts and even coordinate efforts in response to those individual circumstances that have thrown them together and displayed through their posts
that they have a like mind.
That’s still not a forum gang.
In my humble opinion a forum gang is a highly orchestrated thing where a group then forms of like minded individuals who are constantly on the hunt
for certain people on certain topics and then begin to alert each other certain people are posting on certain topics.
It’s now no longer a natural reaction to a singular occurrence; rather it’s a proactive coordination of efforts in an ongoing shared agenda.
Even that is almost acceptable and understandable if all those like minded people are going to contribute genuine substantive debate on the issue.
But when they gang forms and coordinates to simply pick apart a particular posters posts, look to isolate any exploitable trivial issue in those posts
and then start starring each other and claiming information that is proven to be false is actually factual simply because they are all prepared to
ignore the evidence to essentially bait, derail and flame, and that effort is coordinated through private behind the scenes communications that’s a
When they appear in thread after thread together gravitating towards a poster on their hit list, when 3 times more stars than posters appear on non
substantive posts within minutes and sometimes seconds that’s not naturally occurring that’s being orchestrated, and when you have seen flash mobs
operate on emotional issues, and then organized attempts to gang up on a poster there are tell tale differences like that.
Ultimately there really isn’t much that the staff can do in such situations especially if they are communicating through off site channels to
coordinate their efforts.
I don’t even attempt to alert the staff to it, but try to handle it directly by appeals like these, public appeals aimed at those doing just that
who do organize groups with U2U’s that basically say, “Star me, I will star you back I hate that guy” then the posts they are posting loose all
objectivity, the debate looses all substance, and the people doing it simply don’t care.
In my humble opinion there are two forum gangs at work in Middle East Affairs. Posting patterns, starring, tactics, timing, number of participants all
point to it.
What do I expect the ATS Staff to do about it? Nothing, what do I expect the people doing it to do, rethink and re-challenge themselves to provide
quality on topic posts that focus on the topics, the actual post, and not simply the poster, and efforts to bait and derail.
Will this appeal work? Hard to say, where things like ego and agenda are involved, but I remain optimistic that some people will rethink and be true
to the spirit of the site to deny ignorance and debate the topics and issues and remain civil and remain objective in their posts.
Call me an optimist, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
[edit on 1/3/10 by ProtoplasmicTraveler]