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posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 09:54 AM

Political Topics Are Coming Back Home

The four-year long experiment that attempted to create a separate environment for political topics is ended. Despite an honest effort to create and promote a well-organized stand-alone environment for political issues and debate, the "" website and its forums are languishing in obscurity.

Politics and Conspiracy Theory
It has become clear to us that, to the people who visit ATS, conspiracy theory and contemporary politics are intertwined to such an extent that segregated forums may actually hamper productive discussion and issue examination. While conspiracy theorists may loath the political system, they tend to be much more politically aware than the general public, and understand how political intrigue provides fuel for conspiracy speculation.

Conspiracy Theory and Politics
More than any other time in global political history, those who are politically active or otherwise paying attention are aware of the myriad of politically-motivated speculation that fall into the "conspiracy theory" category. With nearly daily news on everything from candidate stories that don't make sense to electronic voting issues, contemporary politics is riddled with issues that raise the attention of conspiracy theorists.

Political Awareness
Part of our motivation for creating the separate domain was a growing irritation of the intensely divided political us-verus-them mentality that found its way into a wide range of ATS threads. I'd like to think that we have matured over the past four years, and as conspiracy-minded people, have become increasingly aware that the divisive tactics of contemporary politics (especially in the U.S.) is a disruptive tactic of those who wish to keep the populace distracted. As we continue to speculate on events we believe to be "conspiracy theories," it behooves us to be aware of, and even expert in the political motivations and maneuverings behind these events. Such awareness and expertise will temper our discussions, shape our theories, and make us better equipped to find the truth.

The Re-Integration of into
With all this in mind, it makes sense consolidate the the politically-focused forums and bring them back into the ATS environment. We'll be consolidating most of the forums, removing three, and creating a new one: "Above Politics." The AP forum will be dedicated to political discussion and debate that is elevated well-above partisan issues and seeks to dig deep in a productive and meaningful way. The two hosts of our "AbovePolitics" podcast extension of ATS MIX will be the Forum Subject Matter Experts, and this forum will also be their "sandbox" to discuss issues from the show as well as get new ideas for show segments.

The reunification plan for the forums is as follows:

new forum ---> Above Politics

new forum ---> Regional Politics
- - - integrate - - - U.S. Politics
- - - integrate - - - U.k. Politics
- - - integrate - - - European Politics
- - - integrate - - - Canadian Politics
- - - integrate - - - Other Global Politics

new forum ---> Political Issues
- - - integrate - - - Politics of War
- - - integrate - - - Mid-East Conflict
- - - integrate - - - Medical Issues
- - - integrate - - - Social Issues
- - - integrate - - - Environment Issues
- - - integrate - - - Economic Issues
- - - integrate - - - Military & Security Issues
- - - integrate - - - Energy & Science Issues
- - - integrate - - - Religion In Government

new forum ---> Political Ideology
- - - integrate - - - General Political Ideology
- - - integrate - - - Conservatism
- - - integrate - - - Liberalism
- - - integrate - - - Socialism
- - - integrate - - - Moderate
- - - integrate - - - Other

new forum ---> Politicians
- - - integrate - - - Political Figures
- - - integrate - - - Candidate Advocacy

keep forum ---> Breaking Political News

Eliminate Forums:
- - - kill - - - Head-2-Head Political Debate (moved to ATS debate forum)
- - - kill - - - Slugfest
- - - kill - - - AbovePolitics Decision 2007

Civility and Decorum
As we attempted to promote (and tolerate) political debate on, we became more lenient of intensely passionate posts, and applied a slightly more lax standard of management than what would be typical on ATS. This generally will not longer be the case, the discussions within the newly reintegrated political forums will be held to the same standard as all forums on ATS... with one minor exception, the Political Ideology forum. Within the Ideology forum, intensely critical posts of political positions will be allow, so long as the posts are not personal attacks on the political positions of members.

We're beginning to work on this reunification, and we'll update this thread with actual timing as we know more.

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 10:12 AM
Well, I can't say I didn't see this coming. I, along with several others worked very diligently to promote PTS and keep it moving. Although it looks as though in the end our efforts were in vain, I don't think any of us would change anything. The political forum here at ATS just doesn't have the member support it needs to deserve it's own dedicated forum, and I understand that.

Also, looking ahead, this is actually good news for those of us who truly care about intelligent political discussion here at ATS. This reintegration will mean that our high level of discussion,
,will be seen by many more members and will offer us the chance to debate with a larger audience.

So overall I think this is a very good move.

I also think that this move would and could open the door for another go at the....gasp
....ATS Elections. That's another topic for a much later date at this point though.

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 10:22 AM
I didn't see it coming either, but I'm glad this step was taken. Many times a partially political thread will start in ATS, get lots of great replies, then get moved to AP and die.

In my opinion: Great move SO!

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 10:25 AM
I want to chime-in here and re-iterate, highlight, underline, italicize, draw your attention to, and shout this from the rooftops:

Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
... the discussions within the newly reintegrated political forums will be held to the same standard as all forums on ATS... with one minor exception, the Political Ideology forum. Within the Ideology forum, intensely critical posts of political positions will be allow, so long as the posts are not personal attacks on the political positions of members.

In other words, the kind of posting that used to get this warning applied...

... will still not be tolerated in any ATS forum not dealing specifically with politics.

Re-integration of the two boards does NOT mean open season for the purveyors of the immature and artificial left/right; red/blue; conservative/liberal divide that seems to infect everything to do with US politics.

People who can't separate their politics from their opinions on other matters will likely have themselves a hard time on ATS, so take this as a fair warning.


posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 10:27 AM
I wish it didn't have to happen...but what the hey? Can't say as it comes as a total shock, either. It was certainly given a fair shake, though.

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 10:27 AM
reply to post by SkepticOverlord

Great idea SO

I think that the discussions do get hampered on Especially when threads get moved after already having a discussion started.
Bringing things back to ATS will open a door to a great deal of discussion and debate that we love. While I think AP was a great idea, I think the move back to ATS is an even better one in the long term.

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 10:34 AM
That's a real shame and I'm sorry to hear it, but let's face it, it was always going to be on the cards at some point.

As a new convert to AP I was delighted at the level of discussion and learned much, particularly about US politics, but hey - if the interest isn't there, it's not there.

I'm as guilty as anyone when it comes to looking at politics through conspiracy-coloured glasses, but I really did learn a lot.

The level of discussion was great - unfortunately it was mostly the same members posting, so new input was less than it is on ATS.

Having said that, I really hope the new arrangements will focus the attention on more members to interact in what is often a fascinating forum.

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 10:35 AM
I personally never once looked at PTS. So I will be interested to see that material. It will definately make for an interesting show.


posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 10:40 AM
reply to post by budski

Maybe I'm understanding it wrong, Budski, but I think they are integrating AP with ATS. The forum will still be alive and kicking, but it will just be a sub-forum for ATS.

That means AP will get more traffic because many people just never look in the AP section (me included until recently).

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 10:42 AM
Vox Populae

As someone who gave his best shot to make a separate site work, I do feel a sort of pang that it didn't.

However, throughout the whole process the same theme kept coming back to me: that perhaps the idea of separating "pure" political discussion from "pure" conspiracy discussion was a false dichotomy and not attainable.

And indeed, I think the AP/PTS experiment demonstrated that. For ATSers, the two are almost inseparable, and understandably so.

Ultimately, the formula that has always worked for ATS is giving our members what they want, and there is now no doubt in my mind that a separate politics discussion board ain't it.

Rather, I think it is clear that the vast majority of members would prefer a more nuanced approach to politics that can be applied within the familiar context of ATS itself, and in particular I believe the quality content that can be found in our political forums deserves the kind of audience only ATS itself can provide.

Over time, I expect the course of political discussion on ATS to mature in its own way and -- who knows? -- may eventually warrant a separate board down the road.

Until then, however, bringing it on home makes the best sense, and I'm convinced this is a good call.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the grand AP/PTS experiment!

I hope you'll like what's coming next.

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 10:45 AM
Having only recently started visiting PTS on a regular basis I must say I'm slighty disapointed but not really suprised.

The quality of the debate is excellent but is limited to a few members and can be very, very slow moving.

So all things considered, I think this is probably a very wise move and will help improve the quality of discussion here on ATS as a whole.

Once again, SO seems to be ahead of the game.

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 10:47 AM
Yes sublime, I think I mentioned at the bottom of my post that we should get more traffic in the political forums thanks to the change.

I'm now looking forwards to see what happens with the new changes.

One thing about ATS - it's always on the move in a forward thinking and positive way.
That's one of the things I love about it

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 11:17 AM
Since current politics are inextricably linked to conspiracy theories, this is a very good move!

While I enjoyed PTS, I doubted the need for a separate forum for political theories.

I must confess that most of my posts on ATS too, have vague political roots. Thus merging the two forums should allow more concentrated browsing of the site.

Well played, and a good business decision SO!

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 11:36 AM
Well, I'm not really surprised. I remember discussing this idea about two years ago.

I really loved PTS, it was great place to post because it was a nice site to visit and to take a break from conspiracies.

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 12:10 PM
I didn't visit AbovePolitics very much ... not because I didn't know where it was.

I didn't visit because I didn't want to.

No criticism of ATS or its contributors, but most of the membership seems to be from the USA. So there's always going to be a US bias here and there's no great harm in that ... but I'm worried another 7/8 months of US politics, here on ATS, might turn folks off.

The US politicking seems to be infecting just about every site I visit right now. Doesn't matter what issue is being discussed either, some US folks are twisting even seemingly innocuous issues into the bog standard left/right Democrat/Republican battle. It's tiresome. As tiresome as Scottish politics might be for someone living in New Jersey or California. Isn't the danger some folks will just log in & log out ?

One site I'm on actively filters out subjects based on what the user doesn't want to see. My block list includes "Big Brother", "Princess Diana" and "Madeleine McCann" ... here I might choose "Hillary Clinton" or "The Great Depression 2008" ... could we maybe look at making ATS easier to customise ?

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 12:11 PM
Yeah good move I was hoping you guys would do it.... easier to keep it right here "at home"

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 12:37 PM
I like the idea.

I have been pondering the possibility of this change a lot lately, but I was no less surprised to see it actually being implemented.

Nonetheless, I think it's a needed change and I support it fully.

This is simply a refinement of the ATS concept.

[edit on 2008/4/8 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 01:00 PM
Well, one major thing that everyone should be aware of is that the political threads and topics are going to get significantly more attention with this move because of the sheer number of members and guests who predominantly stay on the mother ship page of ATS.

As we approach November here in the United States, ATS is going to experience a huge influx of new folks and having the political threads right on the home page can do nothing more than make the entire site stronger and more appealing. I especially love the idea that my AP boys Justin and Martin will have their OWN ARENA to expand the game plan that we already have in place.


posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 01:10 PM
reply to post by SkepticOverlord

if this works Kudos to you

being a few of many that hang around in PTS it would be a great change

will be looking forward to hear more

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 01:14 PM
This is really no surprise. I've mentioned several times to moderators who move my threads that PTS is a dead zone, and essentially a death sentence for threads.

Its sad because there's a lot of great information and discussion in PTS, its just a lot slower on average than the typical ATS discussion.

I was disappointed when the campaign fell through, but that is that.

I think this is going to be a great move regardless.

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