So... just like all of us on ATS, I have pet subjects that pique my interest and that I've learned a thing or to about over the years. For some of us
it's cryptozoology, for others it's aliens and UFO's, others love the paranormal... and so on.
For me it was politics, psychology, and social issues - and additionally a couple of short stories in the writing forum and some BTS stuff. But mainly
politics and psych threads.
After becoming a moderator I went on a hiatus from ATS because my budget got tight and, well, eating trumped having Internet access. So I only popped
in when I visited my sisters house, or decided to go to the library to use their free Internet terminals.
About a month ago I came back, full time, and jumped right back in. But the political forums had heated up greatly since I was last around - with the
looming Presidential elections - and I came to realize that a moderator engaging in such heated conversation might look bad. So I bowed out of
engaging in most political threads and started occupying myself by dealing with psych topics and social conspiracies - like information control and
the ways that media, government, and Corporate interests manipulate us.
I made a few threads along the lines of social perception, awareness, and the like. One was a thread about how freedom of speech is changing - and
tried to discuss where free speech becomes illegal. Another was an open letter to the members of the intelligence community and cops, asking them to
make a point of retaining their compassion and humanity... Nothing too provocative or out there. Just things that would cross my mind when I was going
to sleep, or showering. I also posted a few other threads, many simply the "breaking news" stuff that was coming over the AP. But those threads I
don't think much about because they basically are just cut and paste with 500 characters of OP. Not much work - so not much to think or care about
Then...one night... I decided I wanted to open a dialogue about how easily we are manipulated in the modern world. How we are constantly exposed to
some very insidious and constant themes that tend to influence us, even if we don't recognize that it's happening. In my mind I thought "Hey, I'll
start off with a thread about very basic manipulations... the type we all experience every day. The white lie... the sales pitch... the seduction...
the way we all learn to push the buttons or family members to achieve a desired result, etc... Just simple stuff. From there, I thought, I might do a
series of threads that got deeper into things like NLP, conditioned response, etc.
But how to structure it all?
One of the things that I have always found funny about ATS is that I often get accused of being some kind of agent simply because I'm a moderator.
Actually, even before that, when I didn't have the mod tags on my profile, I still got it. Beat some folks in a debate and they'll get desperate and
throw out the ultimate, totally negating ad hom "YOU'RE A PAID POSTER!!!!" Most of us around here know that this accusation is basically the
equivalent of throwing in the towel. It means the debate ended and the one making the accusation has lost the battle.
So being that I'm not the brightest guy in the world sometimes, I had this wonderful idea. I figured I'd make a shocking title for my little thread
about basic manipulation techniques... I'd use these two things together and say "MY ACCUSERS WERE RIGHT! I DO HAVE AN AGENDA!". Of course, then I'd
go on to explain that my agenda was to learn and to share what I have learned. I figured it was all a creative and "cute" ( for lack of a better term
) way to go about things. Then I'd share some anecdotal information about how I used to be in sales - and how manipulating people was the entire art
of sales, and mention that I also don't too badly at the local pub using body language and tricks to get a bit of female attention.
What could possibly go wrong??? Right???
Well, I imagine a few of you are aware of how horribly wrong it all went. It was smooth sailing for a few pages - and then the reactions began to
sour. Some folks seemed to get my approach and what I was attempting to say - others did not. And those who did not, well they got absolutely
Suddenly people were quoting me as having called myself a "master manipulator" - which I did not say. And from there it was all downhill.
And, before I knew it... my little lark of a thread became a paroxysm of vitriol and misunderstanding.
The staff, in their wisdom, closed it - as the last god knows how many pages of it were totally off topic. And,at that point, I thought "Good, lesson
learned and that's that."
But it did not end there. It bled over into other threads and other posts.
So I write these words to clear the air. I am not a "master manipulator" any more than the majority of you are. No more than the waitress who talks
you into "loading" your baked potato is. No more than the clerk who talks you into the extended warranty on your new iPod is. No more than the puppy
who can wag his tail and get a treat is. I never meant to imply anything other than that... to simply point out that we all manipulate, and that we're
So this is my mea culpa. My request for forgiveness. I was obviously misunderstood and the fault is entirely mine. I tried to use provocative words as
a means of opening a dialogue and that was a decisively horrible decision on my behalf.
So, ATS, for those of you who were offended, my deepest apologies and my earnest assurances that I never meant to offend or insult. I just wanted to
start a conversation.
I do write this realizing that I will probably end up seeing a "Oh NO! You ADMITTED you manipulate so, by God, I will never believe another word you
say!". But, seriously, before you type those words... can you say that you've never manipulated anyone? Even if it was well intentioned manipulation?
Like, say, getting your kids pumped up for Santa - or something of the like? Because that's all I was really discussing. Things like that.
Thanks for reading,
edit on 9/23/12 by Hefficide because: Realized I broke the rules - slapped my own wrist!