Myth of the ATS Cool Kids Club
How To Win The Game Of ATS
As of late I have noticed quite a few posts, seemingly from a resentful point of view, from multiple sources... all inferring that ATS has a clique of
people who "matter more" or who might receive special favor, from both staff and from the membership at large. Tales of a "Cool kids club", so to
speak - and a general sense of dislike towards those perceived to be included in that club.
This is what I wish to address tonight. Not as a staffer. Not speaking on behalf of, or at the behest of ATS. Just "Heff". Just my thoughts and
opinions. Ponder them, take them, or disregard them as you please.
ATS is a community. I realize that a segment of our members disagree with this assessment and tend to be very vocal in their opinions. For them ATS is
any number of things:
A news site.
A place to act out.
An opportinty to hoax or disrupt.
I think that these people are, by far and away, the minority. Unfortunately, they are a very, very vocal minority. A problem exacerbated by cheap
tricks and deceits that can make their voices even more loud. I think that many of us who have been around awhile learn the ins and outs and sometimes
take for granted that not everyone knows the "lay of the land" as well as we do. How many of us have sat and sadly watched a newer member implode and
either quit or get themselves banned because they were too unfamiliar with the place to understand some of the nuanced realities here?
"I can PROVE that ATS censors people!!! I found a thread where FORTY-SEVEN different people disagreed with the OP and ALL FORTY-SEVEN WERE BANNED!
DELETE MY ACCOUNT NOW!!!"
All while those of us with more experience can only sit back, sadly thinking "No, no, no. It was just one person who came back forty-seven times. One
known troublemaker with an agenda... " as we quietly hope that, maybe, the offended member might relax just enough to say "Wait... all forty seven of
those banned people happened to make the exact same grammatical mistakes...."
This same sort of rational deduction applies to other subjects as well. Those may or may not be a conversation for a different day. But whatever
happens to come to mind, as you read this... is probably also a factor that newer eyes are struggling to understand. Part of what makes them
vulnerable to the very loud minority.
For the sake or argument, at this point, please allow me to strip away many trappings and important factors ( I will reinclude these in a minute ) and
simply state: Yes, ATS is a community. And just as in any community, there are going to be people who are more well known, popular, or admired than
others may be.
This is just a truth of life. In all social environments there is a median, and then there are those who either rise above that
margin, or fall below it.
Having said that, I offer this truth: ATS is not as challenging as the real world is, socially speaking. We have a much more balanced playing field
than your high school did, or your local pub does. Looks? They don't matter here. The "beautiful people" lose their inherent edge simply by walking
through our proverbial door. Some folks do attempt to use the beauty factor, with mixed results. But, for the most part? It is a non issue. Thus one
standard "social barrier" is mostly irrelevant here.
Money? The single greatest social weapon used to create elite classes? While I suppose it is theoretically possible that a member could offer to buy
flags and stars from other members... I would quite honestly laugh until I ruptured things if I ever were to hear of anyone doing it. Having a lot of
numbers in ones profile really does not make that much of a difference at all. Those of us with gold or silver borders, for example. Much ado gets
made of those... Do these borders make our posts larger than the others? Does it change our fonts, backgrounds, or post properties in any way that
provides unfair advantage? Of course not. These borders do not even skew the search engine results. They are merely a slight reward for higher levels
of partcipation and nothing more. In fact, IMO, they actually have a negative effect at times. They provide that vocal minority with the chance to
marginalize and to make accusations like "paid poster" or "lackey". And, believe me, it happens often. So the prospect of anyone spending real world
money to have advantage in their "ATS rep" is simply beyond my ability to fathom. Especially since all one really need to is invest time into ATS and
it will eventually happen anyway.
What I am getting at is that, while there is a social heirarchy here... it's not a loaded one at all. Just about ANYBODY who wants it can have it. The
caveat? Since one cannot use their looks or their money to get into the social fabric here - that means they have to work at it. Getting to the top is
going to take some commitment, dedicaton, patience, and work. It is not really that hard, neither is it easy. But it is there for the taking. It is my
intention to help guide those who are interested onto the path. There is no reason, at all, for anyone to feel left out or excluded from such a
diverse and global community. All it takes to reach the level of a Top member
dedication, and work. That's all. No politics, favoritism, or any other tricks involved. It is all on those who want to be there, to get there.
There is room at the "cool kids table" for everyone who wants to sit down. There is no reason for anyone to feel alienated or marginalized here. All
edit on 10/22/12 by Hefficide because: typo and broken link