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"Board of the Flies"

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posted on Sep, 16 2010 @ 06:18 PM
I was just reading another thread and was struck with the anger and blind vitriol of a few of the posters. I was even more surprised by the support being given to the worst posters in the form of stars and supportive comments.

The book "Lord of the Flies" came to mind.

I know most of you have probably read that book or are familiar with it. For those who aren't, it is basically a group of schoolboys who are shipwrecked on an island with no surviving adults. The book takes us on a journey in which these children change and turn into two groups. One is trying to hold on to some of what they came to the island with. The other is a group of vicious little thugs who actually end up killing the most innocent among them.

I was reminded of this book today while reading a thread here.

ATS seems to be the island. The absent adults are actually the absence of the real world. The rules of everyday life don't apply here beyond the intervention of mods for t&c violations. People here can say things to people that they would not say to others that they see and deal with every day. The topics are wide open; no subject is seen as too strange or odd to talk about. Much of what is talked about here would not be given any credence in the real world and would likely be dismissed with odd looks or laughter.

We actually have a degree of freedom here that is unusual because there are enough open-minded members that we have free discussion on nearly any subject. I think of this as an Island of strange and unusual subjects that the rest of the world has no real contact with. Some come and watch from a distance out of curiosity or quite often morbid fascination. These would be analogous to those that read the book. The members themselves are divided into multiple groups depending upon their interests and habits that are too numerous to mention but when it comes to individual threads I see a pattern form quite often.

This pattern is often the same, the hostile or violent group versus the more reserved group. Usually this group dichotomy emerges in political threads which are obviously a product of the already separated/ polarized groups that exist within the political realm. Another group that tends to follow this thread is the real/ not real...advocate/ debunker groups that form within UFO/ alien/ cryptid discussions. The third that I notice is the global warming/ climate change discussions.

These all seem to have the common trait of often falling into the angry split between the popular versus unpopular / cool versus uncool / strong versus weak / and so forth.

What strikes me is that there is so often an identical group mentality. No matter what the subject, the discussions often devolve into a hostile and angry group versus a calmer more reserved group.

I'm not pointing fingers at any specific group. Most end up on one side or the other eventually.

I have found myself in both groups on occasion and am not proud to admit that there are occasions where I could have been more thoughtful in my interactions.

The goal of this thread is to look into human behavior when it is in a new medium such as the internet versus face to face. What makes us act differently when the environment changes.

I am curious to know if others have seen the same behavior. This isn't intended to be a book discussion but any parallels with the book or any literature would be interesting.

This might be more suitable for social issues. If so please move.

edit on 16-9-2010 by badgerprints because: for note to mods.

posted on Sep, 16 2010 @ 07:52 PM
reply to post by badgerprints

I have found myself in both groups on occasion and am not proud to admit that there are occasions where I could have been more thoughtful in my interactions.

Yes, me too, but it's usually because we are baited by member "gangs".
And yes, there are organised gangs on ATS as you would expect.
They support eachothers views and star eachothers posts to draw greater attention to their opinions.

I have also noticed "many" members who only post in certain threads, never start their own threads,
and "always" debunk or derail the thread with the help of their gang.

They take a thread to the point where I for one just can't be bothered posting in anymore,
I'm sure that is their intention...

How do you stop this?
Hard to moderate, hard to ignore..

posted on Sep, 16 2010 @ 08:58 PM
I come to ATS to get a more in depth exposure than the 2 minute sound bite on various news media can provide. It spurs me on to search deeper for a more well rounded interpretation of events and news as they happen.

I very rarely post unless I have something definitive to say. Otherwise, your like roadkill to vultures.

That being said, ATS is a microcosm of society in general. To me its a litmus test of our overall functioning of a collective society. Right now we are still dealing with polarity and ego to the extreme. I feel certain when the behavior improves on ATS it will be a marker for society in general. So I will keep coming to ATS and watching the progress we make.

posted on Sep, 16 2010 @ 09:02 PM
The Internet is somewhat of a 'wild west' of sorts. People will say and do anything because of boredom and or lolz. Even being trolls in an internet message board.

If one wants to explore the jungle be prepared for beasts and insects, do not encourage the beasts and incects to use their survival instincts against you, let them be and move on to the exploring.

In other words, let the drama be, or you will only become part of it.

Troll fests have their place on message boards, just as gun draws had their place in the early wild west.

Raise yourself above it and move on to what suits you, that is my best advice to anyone.

posted on Sep, 16 2010 @ 10:39 PM
I know that being the internet these things go on. Trolls, glory groups, people that never contribute but tear down anything they can find to get their jollies.

I think I'm more interested in finding out whigh of these are normal people in everyday life but suddenly turn into something else behind the anonymity of the internet.
If people were identified and answerable in everyday life for what they do on the net, would things be vastly different.

I'm also interested in group behavior in an unregulated enviroment.

If every poster that was on ATS in a 24 hour period was suddenly placed in a room together with the doors locked and nametags on, do you think the same levels of hostility would be prevalent?

edit on 16-9-2010 by badgerprints because: add a question

posted on Sep, 16 2010 @ 11:30 PM
The trends can be disturbing sometimes, recently more so than normal.

One man’s hero is another’s villain and I think it’s wise to always remember what most people seek more than anything is validation.

Approval becomes the most important thing to them.

I don’t shy away from controversial topics here on ATS. I am prepared to sacrifice my stature and reputation always when it comes to voicing what I know is true to me. Notice how I said true to me, and not the truth? Because the truth is subjective and a matter of not just perception but often speculation, there really is no such thing as the truth, save in some very scientific oriented endeavors, with universally accepted fixed quotients.

Everything else though outside of that realm is fluid and a matter of perception.

Yet what I have discovered is there are few lone wolves when it comes to assailing others positions and perspectives.

Most need a support group to validate them and encourage them in that endeavor.

So when it comes to manipulating perception, to instill a unique version of the truth, that is highly embellished, you typically will see coordinated efforts where a support network is present, not just for encouragement but to make it appear like the perspective they want adopted as the truth by others, appears more legitimate based on the numbers of people who appear to be supporting that truth and purporting it as such.

Because such people do operate in that fashion it can at times produce a very skewered scale where it appears a vast majority have adopted a radical or disturbing perspective as their truth, but it’s all being manipulated to make it appear that such a majority exists when in fact no such majority does exist.

We live in a Hegelian world where thesis is always being presented against the anti-thesis to use synergy to create an outcome that is a byproduct of the collision of those two sides. So first it’s important to understand neither side is going to get precisely what they want or envisioned in the end.

Yet if you really want to determine the true numbers that support the varying shades of Gray, when you see one of those threads that just makes you scratch your head because it is so prejudicial, so bigoted, so extreme, rather than argue the case there in that thread, create the anti-Thread where you approach the same subject from the other side of the pole.

That will attract maximum numbers of those who support that side, primarily because it becomes a more inviting environment where they are likely to receive the validation that they crave, because it is there position that is being advertised first and foremost.

What you will see is two things then, one those people who would not enter the fray or debate when the numbers were stacked against them, and risk not being validated will now respond to the anti-thread. Two is the majority of those who were responding to the original thread promoting their take, will be afraid to post in the anti-thread for fear they won’t receive validation there.

When in doubt in regards to the true numbers create the anti-Thread promoting the polar opposite to draw out the silent masses afraid to post in the Thread.

posted on Sep, 16 2010 @ 11:34 PM
post removed for serious violation of ATS Terms & Conditions

posted on Sep, 17 2010 @ 12:07 AM

Originally posted by theAymen
cmon u depressed moron!
youv been here long enough and u cant notice negative threads a mile away.

I'm not depressed. Far from it.

I'm not a moron but everyone is entitled to an opinion.

I'm not talking about negative threads in particular but any thread is subject to the attentions of those that are not capable of dealing rationally with the rest.

posted on Sep, 17 2010 @ 10:15 AM
Yes. I was just commenting in the chat room yesterday about how much anger there has been on the board of late. There is always *some*, but recently it has been enough to make me cringe.

posted on Sep, 17 2010 @ 10:50 AM

Originally posted by badgerprints

If every poster that was on ATS in a 24 hour period was suddenly placed in a room together with the doors locked and nametags on, do you think the same levels of hostility would be prevalent?

edit on 16-9-2010 by badgerprints because: add a question

I would speculate that the answer is no. People are generally braver when they can sit behind a computer screen and know whatever they say, no one really knows who they are. In fact, that fact gives me confidence to say what I really believe and not what I think will stop controversy. In real life, people often try to avoid conflict, but on a message board like this, people say what they really think, which inevitably creates conflict. I think in real life, we would probably all realize that we all agree on enough fundamental issues that we can work together and make something really happen, and we would probably have more civilized debate, haha.

edit on 9/17/2010 by spacekc929 because: add

posted on Sep, 17 2010 @ 11:16 AM
reply to post by badgerprints

If every poster that was on ATS in a 24 hour period was suddenly placed in a room together with the doors locked and nametags on, do you think the same levels of hostility would be prevalent?

What an idea.

posted on Sep, 17 2010 @ 11:30 AM
reply to post by Stormdancer777

Different dynamic.

On the boards, the weapons are words, diction, vocabulary, and research skills.

In person the weapons are size, strength, conviction in the eyes, and risk-taking habits. Just to throwout a couple of examples (no offense to these members, purely speculation) ModernAcademia and Benevolent Heretic and Phage are very intelligent members that put of powerful debates. Many times I disagree with them. Many times I am proven wrong, or simply out debated. In a room things would be different, because I am large, and I can be angry, loud, and intimidating. This does not help my case, but it does hamper the ability of others to make their own cases. I don't want to promote violence and/or intimidation, but we can't ignore the different dynamics of situations.

I recently had the pleasure of getting into a heated debate about oil in the Gulf waters. It started with a thread here, escalated to Youtube with video and voice, then personal email, and then a personal meeting. The dynamic of the discussion changed at each level, and because we were both fairly open-minded and intelligent, the dynamic actually changed for the better at each level. We are now friends, we are keeping in contact, and we are helping one another with our projects. Both he and I expected more tension and argument when we met, but it didn't happen, because we were both sincere in our attempts to understand the facts and educate ourselves better. If either one of us had not been open-minded, we would both be worse off intellectually and possibly physically as a result.

On another note, I do not believe there are "gangs" of posters on ATS. I believe some people share certain opinions and defend them tenaciously. I find myself debating against some members at times, and supporting them at other times. To believe there is some collusion of "gangs" that coordinate their attacks in certain forums is paranoia. I guess on a place like ATS, we can expect a lot of paranoia, so I am not at all surprised.

posted on Sep, 17 2010 @ 12:33 PM
reply to post by badgerprints

Lord of the Flies is one of my favorite all time reads. Anyone out there that hasn't read this here is a link for a free copy, no download, no sign up or gimmicks so hurry here and grab it while you can.

Don't know what more I can add, badger pretty much summed it up nicely.

In some ways I identified the most with Simon.

Golding implies that the instinct of savagery is far more primal and fundamental to the human psyche than the instinct of civilization. Golding sees moral behavior, in many cases, as something that civilization forces upon the individual rather than a natural expression of human individuality. When left to their own devices, Golding implies, people naturally revert to cruelty, savagery, and barbarism. Source:

posted on Sep, 17 2010 @ 12:56 PM
I've kinda just given up, so I'm no different IRL, and I would probably tell you that you like men in a face-to-face discussion.

posted on Sep, 17 2010 @ 12:57 PM
reply to post by getreadyalready

First off OP S & F!

Second, getreadyalready excellent observation.

Human beings are social creatures and there is a Group/Hive mentality that arises when ones social, political, economic or ideological stance seems to be threatened. Maturity or lack of it will be demonstrated by some individuals who seem to be missing social skills when dealing with opposition. Lack of an ability to conceptualize the perceived oppositions point of view coupled with the inability to simply consider that the other individual/group may be right or partially correct seems to be beyond some.

Even if and when the other individual/group may be completely wrong, they still have a right to their beleifs no matter how Erroneous they may be.

This not only manifest and demonstrates itself among the less educated/savvy members. It also seems to be prevalent among some of our more astute and learned members as well. EGO?

It reminds me of the old saying:

Contempt prior to investigation.


posted on Sep, 17 2010 @ 01:11 PM
reply to post by getreadyalready

conviction in the eyes

No one would look into my eyes and speak to me the way I have been talked to on the forum.

I try to be polite, because of respect for the forum owners and participants, but in the real world I would never let a person get away with being rude to me,

and I am never a violent person.

posted on Sep, 17 2010 @ 01:23 PM
reply to post by Stormdancer777

Exactly. And for better or worse, you would gain a tactical advantage simply by your conviction.

Someone that may have a better argument than you may lose the debate because they were intimidated by you. OR, maybe an argument that would typically go their way couldn't, because the use their typical personal attacks or dirty debating tactics would be short-circuited by your mere presence.

Debating on an anonymous forum has its pros and cons, and debating in person has its pros and cons, and neither one is fair to all parties. We have to act differently in the physical presence of another human, or face the consequences if we don't!

posted on Sep, 17 2010 @ 01:26 PM
I've starred EVERY post so far....... Even TheAymen and I did'nt even get to read it. (I did see the quote in the next post). If I could give TheAymen two stars for proving the OPs point I would.

I think the anger that is being seen is a collective yelp from the masses caused by TPTB pinching and squeezing the life force out of us.

LOVED "The Lord of the Flies" movie especialy the facial expressions at the end.

posted on Sep, 17 2010 @ 01:29 PM
After a while you kinda realise that most points of view are relative to each other, and when you realise this, you really just lose the will to want to debate. No doubt debating is probably healthy for you, but I don't get it half of the time. Then, after a while, you sort of realise that everything that goes on around you is a product of the media or whatever, and then we all get trapped in it. That's when all the bickering starts.

This is why I maintain ignorance on a lot of matters, because a lot of matters are either out of our control or they really do nothing but turn man on each other. You can walk in the world with closed eyes yet not be sleeping. You can still use your arms to feel. That's the way I look at it.

posted on Sep, 17 2010 @ 01:53 PM
reply to post by Whine Flu

I don't debate, I am not good at it and no one seems to want to find common ground, so I just post a small opinion and let it slide,

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