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Reaffirming ATS Policies March 2012 - Please Read!

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posted on Feb, 25 2012 @ 11:56 AM
What is the purpose of ATS?

Simply put, ATS is a conspiracy forum that is open and free for anyone to post in, as long as our policies are adhered to. That means we span topics from potential alien invasion or abduction to political stances to astronomical observations to ecological concerns to religious conspiracies to energy production methods and everything in between. If it interests you and might have a conspiracy associated with it, you can probably find it on ATS.

We want this forum to be available and pleasant for everyone. That means we have to have rules to keep posters from becoming too belligerent or from posting things that are illegal, hateful, or unethical. A small group of members have been selected to help with this daunting task of making sure ATS runs smoothly. They fall into three categories:
  • Forum Moderators are assigned specific forums to help out with, where they typically spend most of their moderating duties. They are available in other forums, but only in a limited fashion.
  • Super Moderators are like Forum Moderators who moderate in every forum.
  • Administrators are the top of the staff chain of command. They can moderate and make decisions on issues behind the scene.

There are also the "Three Amigos" who own and operate ATS:
  • Springer, the Chief Operations Officer (COO)
  • Crakeur, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • SkepticOverloard, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • Simon Gray, the original founder (although he seems to be scarce lately and we all miss him)

All of these people are charged with ensuring that ATS is a fun place for everyone, and all of them are also members. They, just like you, like to engage in discussions about various subjects, so you will likely at some point have a conversation with them. The thing to understand is that Moderators are Members too and typically are volunteers (that means they don't get paid)! Also, remember that Moderators are forbidden from taking any staff action in any thread they are active in... so feel free to disagree with their opinions!

There are three primary restrictions you have to remember to be a member in good standing with ATS:
  • Be civil and don't troll! This thread on courtesy says it in detail, but by simply thinking "How would I feel if my opponent said this to me?" is a good rule of thumb. It is completely possible to debate things you both feel strongly about without pushing "buttons" or attacking each other; it happens here all the time.

  • No drugs! Ever! Under any circumstances! ATS is available world-wide, and we want it to be accessible to as many people as possible. Drug talk creates censorship among some filtering systems and keeps some people from being able to enjoy ATS. Also, even discussions about general conspiracies involving drugs tend to attract those who apparently cannot help but relate their own illegal experiences in detail on a public forum. So the policy is: The SUSPENSION of the discussion of illicit drugs/mind altering substances on ATS (The experiment failed)

  • No recruiting! Ever! That includes asking others personal details, or trying to get others to sign petitions, or organizing events. ATS is a discussion forum, not a political action committee, and we cannot allow members to freely recruit others to their cause here without incurring severe legal liability... and that could cause ATS and its members a world of hurt. I know, it may seem vitally important to you, it may seem like the end of the world, it may seem like a contradiction for a conspiracy forum to disallow outside organization, but to do so would eventually bring about the end of ATS as we know it. Remember that information is power, and this is your chance to get the information out to other members... don't endanger that and your ability to be a member by recruiting here.

    As owners of the site, the Three Amigos may from time to time bend this last rule; that is their prerogative since they own the site. This is a rare event, last used to defend against the SOPA bill, and is NOT an invitation to members to do the same!

Private Messages and the Chat Room

ATS offers its members access to Private Messages (you can access them under the tools link in the top menu or through the bottom menu) and a Chat Room. Remember that these are part of ATS and are subject to the same policies as the forums. Private Messages deserve a special mention here: do not think that you can abuse the Private Message system! Owners can retrieve messages if warranted by a complaint. If someone asks you to not message them again, don't message them again!

If you are being harassed in a Private Message, do not delete it! Use the Complaint Link to alert the staff; we'll take it from there.

If Someone Is Bothering You in a Thread

Just as with Private Messages, do not respond in kind! Send a Complaint (and please include the link to the offending post as well as a brief description of the problem). Every complaint is available to every Staff member who is online, and someone will see and investigate it. You may or may not get a response back directly, but rest assured it has been taken into consideration.

When a complaint is investigated, it is not limited to just the offending post; if you are giving as good as you got, you run the risk of having posts removed and being warned or worse just as the one who started it. Remember, Don't Respond to Obvious Trollery, Just Alert It.

While we're at it, one complaint per situation is enough, please! We are people too, and when someone keeps sending complaint after complaint after complaint, it tends to actually get less attention. That's just human nature.

One more thing about complaints: disagreement is not a reason to complain! This site runs on disagreements! the whole point of having a discussion is to be able to present evidence, make points, and defend arguments against those who disagree with you. There is no policy against disagreements as long as the disagreement is civil.

Please Listen to Staff!

From time to time, you may be asked by a Staff Member to stop doing something. Please, just do it! If you think the request was wrong, feel free to send in a Complaint; even Moderators Are Not Above The Terms & Conditions! But remember that almost every decision is made by consensus, not by a single staff member; the chances are very good this request has already been debated before being issued.

The bottom line is: you're not going to win in a one-on-one fight with a Staff member. You will probably win if you cooperate with a Staff member. They are not trying to bully you; they are trying to do their job and keep the site running smoothly. Many sites exist where the Moderators are bullies, but this is not one of them. Bullies cannot become Staff here. In the remote chance that there is a problem, again, a Complaint will get the entire Staff's attention.

You may also find that something was done in error; there's that human factor again. Just let a Staff Member know, and we will do what we can to fix the problem.

Whatever you do, remember that even when talking to staff in Private Messages, you are still bound by the Terms & Conditions of ATS, and that means you should be mindful of what you say. It's very easy to let a minor infraction turn into a major problem.

edit on 2/29/2012 by TheRedneck because: (no reason given)

edit on Sun Mar 4 2012 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)

edit on Sun Mar 4 2012 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 25 2012 @ 03:45 PM
Making your first thread (Intro Forum)
...and beyond!

As soon as you become a member, you can make your very own thread in one and only one forum: the Introductions Forum. This is not your first conspiracy thread; just introduce yourself. There is a minimum post count of 20 before you can make a thread in other forums (a necessity brought about by those who refused to follow the policies), but you can post in other threads and introduce yourself. If that topic just has to be brought to life as soon as possible, it takes very little to get to 20 posts. During that short time, you will have a chance to read other members' posts and get an idea of what being an ATS member is all about. You might also discover that others have already started a thread on your pet topic; use the Search Feature to check (and it's a good idea to always search for similar threads before starting a new one).

Once you have your 20 posts, you can make your own thread, assuming of course that you didn't find a similar one. Before you make that leap, take a moment to read Starting a New Thread ?... Look Here First. We try to make every post and thread count, so there are a few things we try not to do here:
  • Don't just post a link and a single line like "Wow! Check this out!" and think you made a thread. Chances are you made a thread that will soon disappear. Give a short snippet of the content, tell us what you think of the information, tell us how important this information is... this is not about just regurgitating information; it is about analyzing information using some of the most brilliant minds on the planet: ATS members! So analyze, don't regurgitate.

  • Remember that when you post information from another source, it is not your information! Your information is the part where you tell us your thoughts about it. So when presenting information from another source, you must use tags to make it clear it is a quote! The taqs are [ex] and [/ex], and they are used like this:

      If I want to put the words "This is something that was posted somewhere else first" in an external source box, I type

      [ex]This is something that was posted somewhere else first[/ex]

      and it comes out like this

      This is something that was posted somewhere else first

      Simple, right?

    Also, you have to give a link to the web page where that information is. That is as simple as typing it into the post; ATS automatically does the linking. If it is in a book or other source that is not online, you need to tell us the author, the publisher, and when it was published. As an example, you could say:

      Source: Ray Villalobos, Exploring Multimedia for Designers, 2008 Delmar Cengage Learning

    All that information is on the front cover or the first page of every book published.

  • Never try to copy and paste the whole source in a post. Legally, information cannot be posted in its entirety; ATS limits this to either 10% or three paragraphs, whichever is less. If you post half of a web page, it will probably be removed and you will probably get a message from a staff member as to why; follow this rule and it will be available for everyone to discuss and debate. Reference IMPORTANT: Using Content From Other Websites on ATS.

  • A quick word about videos... ATS has code that allows you to include various videos, like from YouTube, in your post. Just copy the id number (the part after "watch?v=") and paste it between [yvid] and [/yvid] tags, like [yvid]KYlrrAWCTRg[/yvid] to get this:

    Please remember though, that while a picture may say 1000 words, it needs a few words to get people interested. Some viewers will be at work and not able to see the video right away, while others, to be honest, simply don't want to watch it to decide whether this is worth their time. All new threads need your input, but it means even more when you use a video as your opening evidence. If you can find a text source to go with it, that's even better!

  • So now you've found a story to tell, you know what you want to say, it has no drug references, you did a search to see if someone else had already posted about it, and all that is left is to post, right?


edit on 2/29/2012 by TheRedneck because: (no reason given)

edit on Sun Mar 4 2012 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 25 2012 @ 04:47 PM

When you are responding on ATS to another poster, there are a few things you should remember. ATS runs differently internally from almost every other news forum.
  • Be nice! You can argue your point as hard as you like as long as you argue your point... as soon as you start talking about your opposition instead of your point, you have crossed the line.

    Example: if someone posts a link to a source you don't agree with, you could use the correct way and say something like "I have problems believing your source, because ...." or you could say "Only an idiot would use that for a source!" The first response is fine; the second one will get your post removed for manners.

  • Don't take the bait! You will, at one time or another, feel this enormous desire to give this guy his own medicine right back in his face... and by doing so, you put yourself in the same boat when a staff member notices what is happening. Not to mention there are now twice as many posts to get a staff member's attention!

    Remember the Staff is human, and we all have our own interests. We will typically be scouring ATS, not for violations, but for things that interest us. As soon as one of us sees a violation, it is on the radar and being discussed for possible actioning. If you're in the middle of a fray, you'll probably get slapped as well... even if you are the one to report it earlier.

  • Watch the language! Everyone reading this knows what I mean. Certain words are not for use in polite society, and they are not for use on ATS. Evading the automatic censors by misspelling a word or using some sort of 'code' to get the word in will just tell whoever happens to see that post that you do not care about ATS policies. That translates to you don't really want to be here.

    The same thing goes for sexually explicit language. If you wouldn't tell it to your mother, don't tell it on ATS.

  • Minimal replies: ATS has a system to agree with a post or express importance of a thread: the flags and stars. When you see a thread that you believe is well-researched or that makes a point you think others should see, flag it! The more flags a thread has, the more likely it will end up on the front page of the site or even discussed on the live radio show(s). When you agree with a posters position, there's no need to post that you agree; by clicking the star link in the upper left of his post, you actually help improve his site reputation without making everyone trying to read the thread read another post that does nothing the star doesn't.

    Of course, if you have something to add to the conversation, by all means post. Just don't waste a perfectly good post by saying "Yes!" or "I agree!" and leaving it like that.

  • Don't spam! That means don't keep posting the same thing over and over. We heard you the first time, and now you look like a one-trick pony. Also, don't use ATS to advertise your favorite web site over and over without permission from the owners; ATS is paid for by advertising, and it's not fair for our advertisers to pay for something you are taking for free. If you want to use ATS to advertise, please consult Crakeur from the front page of ATS for the proper rates.

  • No cross-posting. It doesn't matter if you wrote the original material or not, you cannot copy a post from another forum into ATS. ATS is a place to discuss news and conspiracies, not the opinions of posters elsewhere on the Internet.

  • All caps: that is the equivalent of yelling on the Internet. It might be OK to cap one word or short phrase to express the importance, but the whole post? It makes me think of some poor bum standing on the street corner yelling at everyone that passes by. Don't be that guy. Especially don't be that guy when titling your threads: all caps is a big no-no.

Copyright Information

When you joined ATS, you agreed to certain things. One is that ATS may publish the posts you make. Another is that you cannot prohibit ATS from doing so. The legal term is a "continuing non-exclusive license" and it means that ATS can continue to show your posts forever. It also means you still control who else can show them.

Every so often someone decides they want to leave ATS, and of course they can do so. But that does not mean they can take their posts with them. Once you post on ATS, you have agreed to let ATS use that post in that thread regardless of anything that happens in the future. So there is no way to "delete your account" because the only thing your account contains is what posts you made.

If accounts could be deleted, it would make ATS unusable... imagine a thread where every fourth post was all that was left because most of the posters who made all the contributions left. It would be a worthless waste of space, and would not be fair to the ones still here who contributed.

Accounts are simply never deleted at ATS. Period.

edit on 2/29/2012 by TheRedneck because: (no reason given)

edit on Sun Mar 4 2012 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 26 2012 @ 10:03 AM
Getting Back From a Post-Ban

Also read: If You Have Been Post Banned.

Let's assume you joined up and didn't read the Terms & Conditions like you said you did, and you never got around to reading this thread or any of the ones linked to it. You did something wrong and now you can't post and there is a Private Message in your inbox from a Staff member saying you have been Post-Banned. Oops!

The thing to remember is that a Post-Ban is not a ban from the site. It can turn into one, but at this point whether it does so or not is completely up to you. It has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with your opinion! It has to do with a violation of those Terms & Conditions.

The first thing you need to do is to reply back to the Staff member. If you're agitated or angry, you might want to take a few minutes (or even longer if needed) to compose your thoughts. All Private Messages are also under the ATS policies, so the worst thing you can do is flagrantly violate even more policies responding to the Staff. Be nice! The Staff member is trying to actually get you your posting privileges back, not take them away. But in order to do so, you have to convince them that you understand what you did, acknowledge it was wrong, and won't do it again.

You will not do that with threats or accusations.

You will do that with an apology, a request for clarification if you need it, and a good attitude.

There are rumors among some that a Post-Ban is a 72-hour automated condition. It is not! A Post-Ban can be lifted earlier if the situation warrants it, or it can remain in place indefinitely if you do not reply. It all depends on the severity of the problem... and on your ability to convince Staff that you won't do it again. When deciding whether or not you are serious, Staff will look at several factors, including your responses, your history, and your interaction with any other Staff previously.

If you encounter a Post-Ban, it is likely connected to a post you made. That post is probably now gone. While no one expects you to remember every single post you made word for word, it is probable that you do know deep inside what you said that caused a problem. It would likely have happened recently and likely you would have been upset at something; both of these means it should be easier to remember. You can ask if you honestly do not know what you did, but remember that tells Staff that you did it so cavalierly that it didn't even register that it might be a problem... and that is a potential problem in itself.

If you feel the Staff member is being unfair, you still have the option of using the Complaint feature, but remember that it is likely there is already a complaint being discussed between all Staff members available at the time behind the scenes. Also remember that multiple complaints sent over a Staff action only make you look bad. If you feel you need to complain formally, do it once, state your case clearly, and let it go at that.

Whatever you do, do not edit a post which has been removed! That is immediate cause to be banned, as it is considered abuse of the site. Once a post is removed, leave it removed.

One of the worst things you can do (besides getting into an argument with Staff) is to make a new account just to get around the Post-Ban. One of two things will happen: either Staff will decide to cut you some slack and now you have this other account as an indication you think you are too good to follow the rules, or you get found out and now you have an even bigger problem on your hands. Relax, state your case, apologize if necessary, and let things work out. That's what everyone wants. Including Staff.

The Bottom Line

ATS is here for everyone to enjoy, including you. We want your opinions and your input, but we do not want to become a free-for-all like many of the smaller forums. ATS is better than that. You are better than that.

Simple courtesy is the key. Be courteous, even when disagreeing, and you will go far here. And always remember, the Staff is always here to help if you have any problems.

ATS Terms & Conditions of Membership
Index of Important ATS Policy Threads

The Entire ATS Staff

edit on 2/29/2012 by TheRedneck because: (no reason given)

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