Originally, I began browsing ATS paranormal and related boards
Over time, I read some of the political and religious threads and was struck by the 'sports politics' approach. For that's how it appeared to me
-- as if people approached politics in the same way as they supported sports teams -- fanatically, in many instances
I most probably shouldn't admit this, because ATS encourages political debate, but for whatever reason, I'd never been very interested in politics.
So maybe that explains why the 'my (political)team is better than your team' mentality leapt out from the ATS pages
As I see it now, ATS and most other fora are being used to 'sell' political teams, as they're also utilized to sway people from political brands.
'Forming and shaping opinion'
is how I've heard it expressed
My online personality has changed a great deal since I first began posting online several years ago. Not for the better, I might add
A certain stridency, a combatativeness, seems a requirement in face of what are often professionally-scripted based political posts in online fora
There are many who post for pay, or who're members of organisations who utilize online fora to 'win hearts and minds' at the same time as they
ruthlessly work to destroy the opposition
Subtle and/or ambivalent comments sink like stones in such an environment, quite often
influenced by what they read in a forum. People tend also to create forum-giants, to grant certain posters 'guru' and 'expert'
status and to grant them largely unquestioned credibility
The mass media operates on this belief and it used to be (may still be the case) that a 'well respected' newspaper could make or break a political
candidate -- could determine the 'winner' of an election. TV also
Internet news sources and political commentary have replaced print and tv to a large degree and now the war for hearts and minds is being fought in
The more sensitive, introspective and moderate posters are thrust to the wall as practised forum-gladiators battle it out to the steady thrum-thrum of
repeated, deliberate and calculated themes i.e., 'Dems Bad', 'Reps Good', 'Obama the Messiah/Anti-Christ --- phrased in a variety of contexts
It's a battle zone. The stakes are high. Money rides on the outcome and is invested in the online forum battlegrounds
Just as ancient Rome had it's favourite gladiators, so do forums create favourites. They have easily recognised avatars. They take the time to
develop forum networks. They have solid blue bars alongside their posts, indicating they're to be regarded with respect ... are popular ... are
credible, etc. What they write/say carries substantial weight. They're a valuable asset in the right hands. And they can rally a dedicated
support-group in minutes, posting in blocks, to discredit opposition
This can foster a brittle, defensive, competitive and strident forum environment, where 'enemies' seek to avenge and destroy across thread
boundaries and where the most sensational or challenging thread-title grabs the attention. In a way, it's a bit like verbal-gaming
Things change, yes. Five years ago, I was luking on ATS. ATS has changed and so have I
S & F to the OP