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How to be a Good Citizen of ATS

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posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 02:05 AM
Just because ATS is populated by Conspiracy Theorists, tinfoil hat wearers, alien contactees, hardened skeptics, cryptid enthusiasts, and other assorted free thinkers and nuts does not mean that it needs to be full of unpleasant conflict even within the terms of the T&C. Here’s my guide for a kinder, gentler, nicer ATS.

When starting a thread:

1. Be original. This means SEARCH. If you have trouble with the Search function, u2u any Mod or use the complaint/suggestion function to get help. The staff will be delighted to help you figure out if what you want to post has been posted before, and show you where, if it means they don’t have to deal with another duplicate thread and the resulting complaints. Odds are excellent that the fantastic youtube video, alien interview, or conspiracy expose you’ve discovered has already been seen and discussed on ATS - unless the original is very new.

2. Lay your cards on the table. If you have evidence, show it up front, in your first post. No matter how excited you are, wait until the evidence is ready to be included before you post. If you need help with the evidence, u2u a Mod for help before you post. ATS’ers don’t take kindly to attempts at suspenseful threads. If you don’t have any evidence, say so. Your experience (and your honesty) will still be considered and respected by many.

3. Don’t lie or misrepresent. No matter how smart or clever you are, you aren’t smarter than the collective membership of ATS. Lies, hoaxes, fakes, and misrepresentations of fact will be discovered, in most cases sooner rather than later, and exposed. Just tell the truth and give us the real facts to the best of your ability. Besides, in the long run that’s much easier than trying to keep your story straight, especially when the ATS “detectives” start asking hard questions.

4. Avoid superlatives and absolutes. 100%, best ever, most compelling, undeniable, absolute proof, startling, awesome, etc. are all trigger words to ATSers. Yes, the skeptics may come swarming to your thread to take on the implied challenge, but even if you’re a points hound keep in mind that you’ll have to annoy a lot of people to get as many points as you would by just impressing one Mod or SME (Subject Matter Expert) enough to get an Applause. Words like interesting, unusual, odd, curious, puzzling, weird, etc. generate much less antagonism and they’re usually more accurate anyway. Don’t use all captials, exclamation points, or other forms of inflammatory or artificially “exciting” tricks or punctuation (like using aLtErNaTe caps, excessive bolding or italics, etc.)

5. Don’t expect your evidence to be accepted without question, and don’t take it personally when it is questioned. Some people won’t believe anything until they can see it, touch it, analyze it, put it under a microscope, and run lab tests on it. Your photograph or video probably isn’t going to change anyone’s mind no matter how good it is, and in fact, the better it is, the more likely it is that someone will cry “hoax” or “CGI.” Understand that before you post, and if you can’t deal with it, don’t post. Much more mundane things than whatever it is you’re posting about are difficult - if not impossible - to prove with just a picture. For example: 100% Proof?

6. Don’t ask stupid questions. You’ll only get stupid answers. To those who say there are no stupid questions, I submit that you are wrong. There are three types of stupid questions, and here they are: a) a question you already know the answer to. b) a question you think you know the answer to (i. e. will accept only one answer as correct). c) a question for which there is no answer. If you have a real question that you want to get our opinions on, accept every answer you are given whether you agree with it or not. After all, they took the time and trouble to answer you; at least respect their time and effort even if you don’t respect the answer. If you don’t like the answer, just thank them for it anyway and move on.

7. Post in the appropriate forum, and if you aren’t sure of the appropriate forum, ask a Mod. Using the most active or popular forums to post your thread in the hope that it will get more attention will result only in your thread being moved (or trashed!) by the mods.

When replying to a thread:

1. Don’t say “hoax” or “fake” or “fail.” without backup. If you remember seeing this before or know exactly what it is, say so and find the previous thread or reference and include it in your post. If you can’t, you’re probably better off just denying the thread attention and contributing to its early demise by not posting at all. Besides, your post of “this is so fake I could photoshop better” is only going to start an argument and won’t convince anyone of anything. In fact, it may have the opposite of the desired effect by encouraging people to come to the poster’s defense.

2. Don’t insult the poster. As mentioned above, it will only start arguments and cause people to come to the defense of the poster. No one will be impressed, and real insults and derogatory comments are likely to be deleted by mods anyway, and thus are nothing but a total waste of your time.

3. Don’t be overly critical of the poster’s evidence. It’s not as easy as it seems to get a picture or video of something unusual, and it’s even harder to get a good picture or video of something unusual, disturbing, frightening, or exciting. For example: Why no good photos?We all know that a picture doesn’t prove anything, and your reminding us of it won’t impress anyone.

4. Don’t feed the trolls. If you know that a particular post is just a bid for attention, trolling for points, or an attempt to start a fight, just ignore it and move on. No matter how clever, humorous, witty, sarcastic, or accurate your scathing reply is, it only gives the poster exactly what they want and encourages them to do it again.

5. If you’re going to get into a disagreement or argument with someone, take the time to go read a few threads in the debate forum and see how it’s done. You can disagree with someone without personal attacks, insults, focusing on the person instead of the issue, or any other types of rudeness, disrespect, and discourtesy. If you’re trying to show us that you’re right, don’t lose sight of the fact that most people don’t really care. If you’re trying to convince others that your position is correct, you’re far more likely to win others to your side through logical, reasonable, and intelligent debate.

6. Avoid stereotypes, generalizations, bad logic, and dogma. If it you don’t have to think about it before you type it, it’s probably not worth typing. “That’s a bird or a balloon,” “you just joined today so you must be a troll,” “everybody knows all ______s are ____,” and statements like “That can’t be real because it’s a flying saucer and flying saucers aren’t real” contributes nothing to the discussion and makes you appear just the opposite of smart, cool, or knowledgeable.

7. If you’re going to “debunk” something, make sure the facts and/or evidence supporting your debunk are at least as good as or better than the original evidence. If it’s a moondog, find a good picture of a moondog to post as evidence. If it’s Venus, at least look up where Venus is and show us that Venus is in the right position and is bright enough to be what’s in the picture. If you really can do a better fake in photoshop, do it and post the result! If you’ve seen it disproved on ten different websites, at least give us a link to two or three of them. The “burden of proof” may be on the poster, but that doesn't absolve you of all responsibility to back up your claims.


[edit on 30-10-2008 by Heike]

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 02:06 AM
For everyone, always:

Don’t post when you’re mad. Write your post in your word processor, save it, and review/edit it later when you aren’t mad before posting it, or subscribe to the thread and come back to later to respond. Posting when you are angry will result, more often than not, in regrets, apologies, flame wars, warnings, point deductions, and regrets. What you want to say can still be said when you aren’t angry, and it will probably be said much better.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 04:49 AM
If I could applaud you, I SO would.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 05:03 AM
That was a very good post, Heike.

Regarding what you said about not posting when you are mad, I am actually grateful that english isn't my first language. Because of it, I always have to think for a bit about how I am going to postulate what I want to say, and that time period very often gives me time to cool down a little.

But still I have managed to loose my temper two or three times and get childish comments removed...

So thank you again for a very good post. It is a useful reminder to us all.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 06:33 AM
This place can send you insane if you aren't already and it does make me mad.
I started off here with a name that was accepted only to be asked to change it after 24 hours of posting as it was too close to someone elses?

Then I post on an abductee thread only to have it taken over completely by an ignorant skeptic.

Then I post a thread and have it moved to Skunk works!

After that I thought I would try something safer like politics and copy a speech by an ex Australian Prime Minister. Guess what? Before it was 3 minutes old people were calling it fake and wanting proof. I posted 2 links, one being a news site link but they were still braying for blood in the boys sandpit. Next thing the thread is binned because the boyz thought it was fake! No moderator asked me for more links or more proof, it was binned in 24 hours!

So no, this hasn't been a pleasant experience here. Names are stolen away, threads are trashed and binned within 24 hours with no come back, skeptics are given free reign to say and do whatever they like and destroy complete threads on an ignorant whim, threads can be moved to goodness knows where on a whim. To think I have only been posting for a few days and have encountered all this c*ap already?

Makes you madder than heck after a few days just being here!

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 07:50 AM
I agree this site is filled with some very knowlegable people,I lurked for years somewhat intimidated by some such as Byrd,but as time went by I saw how they too could be swayed by information from others,so yes think before you type,I must admit I have posted a few times where the typing on keyboard were fake punches

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 09:11 AM
reply to post by spacecowgirl

I sincerely regret that you've had a negative experience. ATS is - can be - such a great place to learn and grow.

The Mods here, unlike some sites, are really great people and very helpful. There's also a LOT of them and there are almost always a few online at any time.

When you see a post that you think is "out of line," use that [ALERT] button at the bottom of each post, which sends an alert to the mods. Even if they don't agree with you, no harm done, and there are just too many daily posts for them to always catch every one.

When you "copied" the speech, did you include any of your own opinions or explanations? Using external material verbatim without accompanying original material is kind of frowned on here. Trust the Mods. They are never your enemy - we generate the content here, without us (collectively) ATS is nothing. I would suggest that you U2U one of the staff (maria_stardust, elevatedone, alien, asala, and Badge01 are a few I highly recommend) and take the iniative to provide the links and proofs for your political thread. It may still be able to be reinstated, or you could re-post it with the assurance that it will not be binned because the mods already have the proof. Wait a sec, you can't U2U yet ... instead, use the complain/suggestion feature in your MemCenter and and it will get to the mods - I think you can probably even address it Attn: to a specific Mod.

If there's anything else I can do to help you or guide you towards having a more positive experience of ATS, you can reply here or comment on my profile (since I know you can't U2U yet) and I'll do my best.

PS If you're a Mod and I didn't put your name up there, it may be because I know you're very busy (like Semper and MemShock) or because I don't know you as well. Please don't take offense!!

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 10:07 AM
Brilliant thread, Heike! Flag from me. I think the mods should set something up so new members creating their first ever threads, are redirected to this one for review, before they can post their own. Hopefully you got applauded for this. Great stuff, my friend!

I've never really understood why people go onto some threads just to flame the topic. They're not interested in discussing points and having a civil exchange of ideas. Nor are they really searching for any semblance of truth or enlightenment. They're doing nothing more than showing their hardened disdain for said topic.

Any such posts say nothing more than 'I have no interest in this type of thing'. So why bother giving it any time or attention then? Why bother adding posts that add nothing to the thread, other than the fact that in doing so, you give the threads author points and you bump the thread to the top of the board? Whether you like it or not, in a roundabout way, such 'anti-thread' posts do nothing than support the thread anyways.

I won't post on religous topics, as I'm not religous and I know from past experiences that there are VERY few reasonable discussions to be had from opposing sides of this particular topic.

Sometimes you just have to stop yourself before your fingers get tapping on the keys. Ask yourself, 'What am I hoping to get out of this?' Or even 'What's my point? Does it add anything of value to the discussion?' I can tell you for sure Heike, some of the best contributions I've ever made to the quality of ATS, were simple decisions not to post. Even though my repose was brilliantly clever, hysterically funny and so obviously right. (LOL)

And I don't know about you but I have noticed some users around who typically end up slinging mud and flaming other users. There are a couple I remember by name and/or avatar who I simply never respond to because of this. It seems to be all they're here to do and I refuse to be goaded into participating in it.

Anyways, great thread once again. And thanks for letting me vent a bit. LOL. Be well and I'll see you around. Cheers.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 10:16 AM
reply to post by Heike

I just want to say:

Awesome, oh wow! Like, totally freak me out! I mean, right on! Heike sure is number one!

(Did I violate principle #4 here?)

(hides but peeks out to see if it's OK).

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 10:18 AM
and remember you can talk many about things except things that managment dont want you to talk about...

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 10:24 AM
reply to post by WERE_ALL_GONA_DIE

Can you give us a 'for instance'?

Maybe the things aren't true?

Maybe they go beyond the scope of a discussion board (such as who's sleeping with whom, or personal details, like where someone works)

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 10:26 AM
reply to post by Syandos

Not in this thread. We have the ATS issues thread for that question.


posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 10:29 AM
reply to post by Syandos

I think my antiestablishmentariast chat pal WAG is probably referring to discussion of illegal substances, political trolling & baiting, use of expletives, and other violations of the T&C, which I didn't bother to quote or paraphrase since everyone is supposed to read them anyway.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 10:51 AM


posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 10:58 AM
Oh, THAT. Well, you know .. I am on several boards and forums, and ALL of them object to you advertising the competition.

#77 (Welcome to reality)

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 11:06 AM


posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 12:26 PM
Heike I can't agree more!!! You've stated some great stuff.

2. Don’t insult the poster. As mentioned above, it will only start arguments and cause people to come to the defense of the poster. No one will be impressed, and real insults and derogatory comments are likely to be deleted by mods anyway, and thus are nothing but a total waste of your time.

I always cringe when I see those responses that are worded somewhat like this:

"Oh you don't think this is wrong? You are probably one of those ________ loving people and you would probably give them the shirt off your back and ___________."

I hate that.

I hate when someone pretends to know your points of view on all things, Life, based on ONE post. I want to smack them and tell them to take an Introductory Philosophy Course that covers the Art of Arguing Properly.

Attacking the POSTER is not correct... Sure you want to disagree with their POST fine! But its not right to ridicule the Poster, based on their opinions.

Great advice Heiek

- Carrot

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 04:26 PM
AWwwwwwwwwwww my Heike.. LOL * sniff* they grow up so fast these days..

Great thread.. as always..

i think you should be our door greeter for new members.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 06:04 PM
reply to post by Heike

Heike very well written- flagged.

Yes, the skeptics may come swarming to your thread to take on the implied challenge, but even if you’re a points hound keep in mind that you’ll have to annoy a lot of people to get as many points as you would by just impressing one Mod or SME (Subject Matter Expert) enough to get an Applause.

I would add that not all of us are here for points or applauses. While the staff here are exceedingly intelligent and nice, a person's reasons for joining are (hopefully) not for a mere pat on the back. Most members are here to discuss topics. It makes sense that one may apply a "sensational" headline to generate more page views and thus more discussion. A good example of a member who uses attention grabbling headlines is MikeSingh. The difference is his threads look like:

Uncensored NASA Moon Images!!


The Web Bot Project's Predictions Are Coming True!! Apoclypse Now? What about 2012?

Mike's headlines are captivating but not annoying or overly distracting. Also, notice how he capitalizes every word but not every letter. This not only emphasizes his headline but also makes it easier to read. Most importantly, the content within these threads is usually worthwhile/interesting.

I get what your saying though Heike. Threads which HAVE A DRAMATIC HEADLINE CLAIMING ALIENS ARE REAL AND HIDING BEHIND THE MOON!! WITH PICS!!!!!! Then you click on it and the author has written 2 sentences and posted a blurry pic of the moon with a couple undiscernible specs near it.

PS- I don't think you believe the majority of members value points over the discussion. Yet somehow "odd" or "interesting" doesn't always cut it. So I felt a reason to add to your #4.


posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 06:35 PM
reply to post by Scramjet76

And I agree with you! Good points, and thank you for adding them.

I will quickly say two things, however:

The people who are here to learn, discuss, consider, debate, and discover are usually the ones who follow these guidelines naturally, and therefore my post wasn't really "aimed" at them.


People like Mike and Internos and Skyfloating, etc., are already "good citizens" and then some. They don't need my suggestions!

I've noticed a rather odd thing though - does it seem to you like the people who aren't here for points are usually the ones who get lots of them?

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