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Is There An Unknown 11th Commandment Here?

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posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 08:43 AM
Several of us here on ATS have been wondering if there is some sort of unknown rule here on ATS that can get one banned. A rule that you either violate one too many times, or even once is enough, and no mater what your standing here, it automatically gets you banned.

ATS'ers are curious people. We tend to be very intelligent and do not accept everything at face value (it's a conspiracy site after all).

The problem is, we see someone banned from the site. On the surface this is not unusual. Spammers and Spambots get banned all the time. People with obvious violations of the T&C's, especially repeat offenders, and many other reasons that are very obvious and can be seen just by looking at the banned member's profile and at their posting history.

But then we see long time members with very good standing with ATS become banned. And we are curious people (Deny Ignorance), but there is no obvious reason for it.

We also understand that the T&C's allow the site owners to reserve the right to ban anyone they so choose. It's their site.

However the problem is we can't even ask: why? It's against the T&C's to discuss this and those threads get locked quickly of course.

This tends to drive us ATS'ers just a bit insane. As I said, we're a curious bunch. Many of us tend to be just a bit paranoid (some a LOT), and when we see long standing members, some who have been here for many years, suddenly get banned for no obvious reason we can see, it makes us go kind of batty.

In a lot of ways this is like walking up to someone that we know is very, very paranoid, and whispering in their ears: "They are coming." just for fun and watch the guy freak out.

Worse: we have no recourse to find out the "why" of it most of the times. Some of us try contacting the banned member, but they act just as clueless, with no idea of why it happened.

This makes some of us start wondering if there is some sort of "hidden" rule, an 11th commandment so to speak, that we're not aware of that can get you banned, without notice. And if there is such a rule......then how do we avoid breaking it?

This reminds me of someone being grabbed off the street and thrown in jail, but are not told what law it was that they broke. People around them also are not allowed to know what law they broke.

I know ATS is not a public street. It's more of a house party with the site owners being the owners of the house and all of us members are guests. Owners of the house reserve the right to toss any guest they want out on their ear if they feel like it, and do not have to tell the rest of the guests why.

But a good host to a party would explain why, especially if it was not obvious at all.

So I guess what some of us are wondering is this: we're guests at your party, and for the most part try to make sure we remain civil and follow the party rules. But we're seeing other guests that seem to be both civil and following the party rules, suddenly grabbed and thrown out the door.

The rest of the guests are starting to get rather paranoid and worried: what if I'm next? Should I stop posting and just lurk? Will my next post get me thrown out because I have NO idea what it was that Johnny (made up name) who just got escorted out the front door did so I can avoid doing it too?

Would it be possible to have things change so that if someone is banned, instead of seeing just "Banned" under their profile name, we see "Banned XX, X" where "X" is simply the rule number or numbers that they violated?

I'm not asking that we be allowed to discuss it, or pester the staff about it. Simply that it allows the rest of us terrified guests to see what rule it was that got them tossed out the door.


Note: because talking about people who have been banned is against the T&C's I have made sure NOT to mention or hint at any banned member's names in this post.

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 08:56 AM
Shall we look at it this way?

You have been caught cursing out on the playground at school. The staff and your parents come to an agreement that you should have after school detention. The principle then announces it on the loud speakers for everyone to know that you cursed and got detention. Children point and laugh and make fun of you. Now your parents are mad and want to sue the school for embarrassing you in front of your friends.

Make sense?

ETA - I do want to add that I hate it when I see a long time member banned. Heck, I have seen some even begging to get banned. I guess eventually this place just gets to you. Or you get into one too many heated arguments and you snap. Whatever the cause, I have cheered some bans and scratched my head at others.

(I think they are banning the good ones here and telling them about a better unknown site. They whisk them away and take them to a site with no trolls.)

edit on 22-6-2012 by Doodle19815 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 09:09 AM
reply to post by eriktheawful

I can sort of see your point here. A member was recently banned that did alot of posting on a thread I did, and when I reviewed the thread later I realized he/she had been banned. I was curious as to why, so I looked at their post history, and saw nothing that strictly violated T&C. Now, the member was a dificult person to carry a conversation with, and may not have contributed in a way that is standard to ATS, but none the less, they were voicing their opinion. Even in light of comments directly made to me that could have been taken as offensive, they were not made to be offensive, it was a battle of words, and I understood the point they were conveying. If that had a reasoning in the member being banned, I don't know, as you stated, we are not allowed to question these things, and I have to assume that the mods know what the are doing, and dealing with the issue in an appropriate manner...for example, it could have been someone previously banned, and it came to the attention of the mods.

Is there a solution to the curiousness of the problem? I don't know, that is for the mods and owners of this site to determine. I can only state that as a member of ATS with a curious mind, I do see it as a benifit to other members to understand why a member has been removed from this great place, if only to understand what it is that helps to keep them here and to not commit the same offense.
edit on 22-6-2012 by isyeye because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 09:42 AM
If the person is just post banned for a period of time you could wait till they unbanned and them send a message asking for details. They may be be forthcoming and repentant and confess their sins or they may just tell you to mind your own business.
Regarding the mods, I think their keeping the matter confidential is a good policy. There is no use dragging the matter out in the forums.

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 09:44 AM

Originally posted by Doodle19815
Shall we look at it this way?

You have been caught cursing out on the playground at school. The staff and your parents come to an agreement that you should have after school detention. The principle then announces it on the loud speakers for everyone to know that you cursed and got detention. Children point and laugh and make fun of you. Now your parents are mad and want to sue the school for embarrassing you in front of your friends.

Make sense?

ETA - I do want to add that I hate it when I see a long time member banned. Heck, I have seen some even begging to get banned. I guess eventually this place just gets to you. Or you get into one too many heated arguments and you snap. Whatever the cause, I have cheered some bans and scratched my head at others.

(I think they are banning the good ones here and telling them about a better unknown site. They whisk them away and take them to a site with no trolls.)

edit on 22-6-2012 by Doodle19815 because: (no reason given)

I would agree with you in a heart beat if it where children we are talking about. But we're all suppose to be grown adults here.

When John Doe breaks the law, is arrested, indicted, stands trial, and if found guilty and sentenced, none of it is held secretly. It's public record, and yes, people can be embarrassed from it unfortunately. Only minors tend to have records like these sealed from the public eye, for obvious reasons.

But what I'm talking about is not trying to smear the name of someone (all though I have no doubt there are those that would do just that if given a chance), but instead, educate the members that are still here. That is why I asked if it's possible to simply have under someone's profile name other than just the words "Banned" we have the added "X" being the rule number they broke that lead to being banned.

No posts, no big announcement, etc. Nothing to embarrass them, unless they find getting banned was embarrassing in the first place.

BTW - other posters: please do not post in this thread with something like: "Yah! Why did so and so get banned?" or any actual names of posters who have been banned from here. I'd like to have a good discussion (if the mods and owners allow it) without getting this thread locked because someone posted the name of a banned person and asked "Why?" as that is against the T&C's.

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 09:59 AM
I'll be glad to speak to that, in a generic way. That is, I'm not going to get into specific situations.

Deliberately perpetrating a hoax is an immediate account ban.

Posting links to, or images from porn or gore sites will get you an insta perma.

Obvious spammers get the permaban on sight.

Other than that, it's situationally specific. No always this or always that. We try to work with every member before dropping the permaban hammer. The rules are relatively simple (even though the T&C is admittedly long) and amount to - don't be a jerk. Don't be uncivil, don't plagiarize, don't try any stealth marketing, don't make any statements you know to be false. There's no site penalty for being wrong. There is for deliberately lying.

Frequently, what will get someone banned is a refusal to recognize that the Terms and Conditions are just that; the terms and conditions for participation. Not a list of "suggestions" that you can follow or not, as you choose.

Almost everyone who's been banned has been through post bans more than once. Some way more. Those post bans are invisible to the rest of the site. No one but staff knows who's on a post ban. Once we're convinced someone understands why they were post banned and we have been given assurances we won't have to revisit the situation, the post ban is lifted.

Sometimes, people go off the rails reacting in a most egregious way to a posting ban. Believe me, we're usually surprised when that happens, especially from someone who has given no previous indication they might react that way. Needless to say, we aren't inclined to lift a post ban on someone who shows no intent to participate in the way the T&C requires.

Oh, we get threats, physical threats, threats of legal action, the mailbox fills up with some horrible stuff, and we're left with little alternative. None of that is ever revealed publicly, and that's as it should be.

Anyone who claims they were banned without cause or without plenty of opportunity to modify the behavior that brought us to that point in the first place is either flat out lying, or has no capacity to judge reality.

So the 11th commandment is - all that stuff you learned in kindergarten about how to behave, apply it here and you'll be gold.

We're a discussion site. We're here as a staff to promote civil discussion. A consistent and repeated failure to remain on topic and civil is not a road to a long tenure on ATS. At some point, we determine someone either can't, or wont follow the rules and we free them into the wild. There are plenty of discussion sites out there who'll be pleased to welcome them.

Now you can believe that, or not. But that's the way it is.

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 11:03 AM
reply to post by yeahright

Thank you very much for your reply and candor on the subject (and not locking the thread, hehehe).

Having been a mod and system admin on another forum, I know how it can be, and have actually had to moderate other moderators from pulling out the ban hammer simply because they got into an argument with a member that was behind the scenes.

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 11:16 AM
reply to post by eriktheawful

If I could star you for that I would. I agree with you that sometimes it is frustrating. I myself posted in this forum not long ago about a thread I was reading along on and suddenly it disappeared! I was left with no explanation, I just couldn't locate the thread. It was like it just never happened.

I also see the side of the Mods though. I know they have a hard job to do and it must get frustrating at times. (Thanks Mods for taking on the task.) It only takes a few to ruin it for the rest of us. And yes we are all adults, but let us be honest, some can act childish. I could easily see someone suing for slander if their dirty deeds were posted for others to see.

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 11:42 AM
reply to post by Doodle19815

very astute.

except the last part. there is no troll-free zone on the internet.

The sad truth is, most bannings are a result of the members pushing us to the point where we've run out of options. There are some members here who are formerly banned members here under a new name. The fact that we let them back should indicate how open we are to having y'all here. Some of them will admit that the banning was a result of their actions. Others will say that we are crazy, draconian jackboot wearing, goose stepping nazis.

In the end, we merely moderate the actions of the members and they cause their own fate.

for those of you that worry about being banned, rest assured, you will have had plenty of contact with us, prior to that happening - unless, of course, you do the things yeahright mentioned (hoax, porn etc)

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 01:00 PM
reply to post by eriktheawful

I must commend you on your artfully crated query.
It should stand as an example that there are always clever approaches to talking about sensitive subjects... all that's needed is "effort."

At the risk of going in a direction that few wish to go (for reasons that will become obvious) I would like to add another "factor" that might lead to difficulties which end in a parting of the ways between our community and a member.

I will begin by pointing out that you recognize that there are some banned members which require little explanation. "Banning" is a result of only one thing.... behavior... (which is what the T&C are all about.)

Often, those members whose expressions demonstrate diligence and admirable effort can be counted upon to provide meaningful content and stirring discussions about a wide range of topics. We all appreciate those members because they are a large part of our being here. Many times, this earns them a great deal of respect, and admiration.

Sometimes, a member may overestimate the significance of their participation... which leads them to expect latitude where none can be given. It might, for any given member, lead them to believe that the community's goals and endeavors are so well-served by their input that they feel they should be empowered to "make use" of the community; by way of "testing hoax responses" or becoming "activists" for the cause of their choice.

The problem is not that they don't understand the limitations of their privileges; most, being warned, accept the constraints and move on to continue productive avenues of research.... but occasionally a 'cult of personality' spawns ego issues which makes the member react as if constraint is an outrage since they are so important to so many... even then, most of these members can be talked down from the ledge of oblivion.... but some are not inclined to swallow their prideful tendencies ... and lash out with disrespect, openly engaging in infractions, and even threats....

It's as if they were political celebrities who feel entitled to different set of rules, or special accommodations... failing to see how unfair that would be to everyone else who has come before, and everyone who will come after.

Sometimes, these members will return, somewhat surprised at their own behavior, and willing to try again.... how easy would that be if we went around telling all the other members the nature of their 'emotional explosion' or 'descent into irrationality?" We expect that your personal privacy is no less important than theirs... and thus we will not discuss the matter publicly. It is the least we can do, in my opinion."

So the answer to the question: "Is there an Unknown 11th Commandment here?" is a function of common sense.

The short answer is "No."

The long answer is that an 11th commandment is not necessary; as long as you follow the T&C... which begs the 11th commandment "Follow the T&C" as a de facto reality... but no one should need to be reminded that the Terms and Conditions are "terms and conditions."

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 01:08 PM
reply to post by Maxmars

best answer for the banning of the "big guys" possible.
I also noticed solicitation is one of the biggest no-no's that has zero wiggle room. am I wrong?

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 01:31 PM
reply to post by Maxmars

Maxmars: As long as I've been around the internet (I remember when AOL was nothing but text, Sierra Online was the biggest thing, and a 1400 baud modem was a must have!), I've seen exactly what you described, but it didn't even cross my mind.

While it's not the answer for every incident, I never did consider the "Prima Donna" part that can come into play. But you are very right, as I've seen this not only online, but in real life too like at the work place: "This place would fall apart without me here!"

I'd give you a star if I could.

As always, all mods who have posted on here I thank you for doing so (not kissing up, I really mean that). Some on here feel that the mods themselves suffer from a sort of "Prima Donna" type of attitude, but I personally know that it's a lot harder than that.

As for being "Clever" in my wording.......meh. I just tried to use that common sense you all are talking about. I wasn't sure if the thread would get locked quickly, or left open for discussion to tell the truth. Some subjects on here are very......."touchy" I feel is the best word to describe them. But I really wanted to ask as I really wanted to know.

I'm a big advocate of: "There are no stupid questions." but I also know that: "Yes Virginia, there are stupid questions. We're just too polite to point them out."

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 01:37 PM
reply to post by howmuch4another

It depends what you mean. We don't allow any member to solicit personal information about or from any other member. We don't allow members to "advertise" their personal sites, but do permit a signature link to a personal site, after a member has been a participating member in good standing for 6 months and receives permission from the owners.

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 01:50 PM
And the Three Amigos did spaketh:

"Thou shalt follow the T&C, regardless of station or race or creed, lest thou raise the ire of the Administration and Moderator Protectorate. Should this happen, not even the power of Creation itself canst saveth thou, for the Fire Of Eternal Damnation shall consume you for the remainder of Eternity......"

~S.O. Chapter 4 Verse 16, The ATS Bible.

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 01:55 PM
reply to post by howmuch4another


The reasoning is deceptively simple.

We will not sully this community with personal commerce.

Understand, it is a given that our hosts are businessmen who took a chance that a community of users such as ourselves would appreciate and make use of the opportunity to exchange thoughts and perspectives on subjects which used to be limited to some very unsavory or highly biased virtual gathering places. I personally thank them for it.

This is their business; not my opportunity.

In my opinion, attempting to capitalize on the presence of like-minded people here should be limited to those who actually pay the bills and work to provide the forum. And not allowing members to hawk their wares, or recruit compatriots makes this place safe from the horrors of psycho-marketing that infects nearly every other venue around.

Of course, communicating with the owners and negotiating an exception is something I have personally never tried... but they do appear willing to at least hear people out and may allow some to put a link to their blog, or some such thing in their signature... but it is never a "right" nor even a "privilege" of membership... it is a matter for the owners to consider; nothing more.

The same goes for activism.... the last thing we need is a bunch of groups competing for money and support inside our community. If you want to see how ugly, unproductive, distracting, and IQ-dropping that can be - just visit any thread where die-hard political partisans are exchanging theatrical hyperbole and demagoguery.... it's the baggage which accompanies almost all activism.

So... the key here is a simple one. Honor the topic. Honor each other. Follow the T&C... and as the esteemed Crakeur said "You're golden!"
edit on 22-6-2012 by Maxmars because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 02:03 PM
I've been post banned before, and I deserved it. Sometimes we get heated in our discussions and fly off the handle. The thing that I LOVE about this site is that the mods are people too....and if you show remorse, and explain the circumstances they are always willing to give you a break.

This is what sets ATS apart from the other garbage sites out there......

The one thing I o have an issue with is long time members being banned, without an explaination. However it's all apart of the T&Cs so I'm down with that.

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 02:10 PM
reply to post by howmuch4another

You're exactly right, solicitation is a direct violation of the Terms and Conditions and will definitely cause a conversation between the staff and the member doing the soliciting.

The reasons are simple, if we allow one we must allow all. That creates a site full of solicitations rather than intriguing content and we're exposing ourselves, the site, and The Above Network to a host of liabilities and needless risk. The deal with "recruiting and activism" is the all that plus those activities remove the site's topical agnosticism and utter lack of a "side" or opinion. With very few exceptions (only 1 I can remember in the last 10 years) ATS endorses nothing but the free exchange of ALL ideas and information not prohibited by the Terms and Conditions of Use.

That said, we've dealt with people who have solicited the membership because they didn't actually read the TAC (imagine that) and worked it out.

The last thing we want to do is ban members, think about it, without the members participating there would be nothing to discover, discuss, or ponder. That causes issues too. There are some members, as MaxMars so eloquently pointed out, that come to believe their contributions are so important that they should be above the law of the land. It doesn't work that way. That may be the case when you see a "long time" member whose posting history seems pristine but they are banned. To be honest about it, for a variety of reasons, it's usually the case.

There are also members who believe that since the members produce the content the members should be rewarded financially, or, allowed to do whatever they want to do. It doesn't work that way either.

The value proposition here is we provide the venue, which costs quite a bit of money to provide, that allows your ideas, theories, opinions, and beliefs to be seen by millions, discussed by thousands and you agree to abide the TAC and view the ads that pay for the whole shebang.

Without the strict enforcement of the TAC, to the best of our ability, there would be no advertisers to pay the bills, there would likely be very little intelligent discussion because thinking people don't like to hang out in chaotic cesspools, and there simply wouldn't be an ATS as we know it now.

I know this won't quiet all the speculation about dirty deeds going on behind the scenes, but, I hope the sheer simplicity of the concept that it takes ALL of us to make this site worth reading and, therefor, the more of "US" the better, will ease the concerns of those with enough common sense to "get it".


posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 02:12 PM
Perfectly said Mark.

Hope all is well my friend.

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 02:22 PM
I've been warned and ultimately banned. There are just some taboo subjects and I didn't listen and paid the price.
I won't do it again. Had a nice gold border, lots of flags and stars and was a member in good standing for many years but it's about the content not the perks.

posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 02:32 PM
To Springer and Max:

Thanks guys! I think this thread alone shows how much you guys try to works stuff out with members.

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