Any constructive criticisms or solutions?

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Any constructive criticisms or solutions?

Postby IsaacKoi » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:51 am

Between one marathon session last year and another couple this year, I think I've read a fair portion of the articles on the Reality Uncovered website and the posts on the Reality Uncovered forum.

While I don't agree with everything I've read here (which isn't unusual for me when visiting most UFO websites), I've found quite a few interesting facts and views.

After reading various posts (particularly in this "ATS Watch" section), I'm left wondering if members of Reality Uncovered have any constructive criticism of ATS. How can ATS become better?

As some of you may know, I've occasionally posted on ATS during recent years. During the same period, and before, I have also made occasional posts on various other discussions Lists and forums, both public and private. I don't hold the negative view of ATS that seems to predominate on Reality Uncovered.

In fact, I think that various factors relating to the users of ATS (particularly the amount of visitors to ATS, their apparent energy and the range of skills that some of them possess) as well as some technical factors (ease of tagging threads, a wiki linked to the forums, and the various attempts to allow users to rate the importance of individual threads and posts) mean that ATS has a lot of potential for contributing to ufology.

To someone that was used to the UFO Updates email discussion List, the technical factors are quite impressive and give rise to some possibilities that I'd like to see explored more.

Do I think ATS is perfect? Heck no.

Do I get frustrated with some of the content of ATS? Yes, indeed.

Do I think that ATS should be written off as a waste of time? No (unless ufology as a whole is written off as a waste of time - which is an entirely respectable opinion...).

So, how can ATS be made better?

Given the critical view of ATS that is apparently held by many of the posters on the Reality Uncovered forums, I'm genuinely interested in your views on this.

I've read one or two fairly glib comments in relation to ATS on this Forum and I hope that this post does not prompt any more. I'm not looking for suggestions alone the lines of getting rid of the current management of ATS, since this is not going to happen. Nor do I think that telling all the members of ATS to come here instead is a realistic solutioin - while I find the Reality Uncovered forums interesting, they do not have anything like the same level of membership or activity (at present nor, I think it is fair to say, in the foreseeable future).

Instead, I wonder if any of you have suggestions for concrete steps that members of ATS (or even an individual member of ATS such as myself) could take to help improve the quality of debate on ATS.

I am planning on posting a thread on ATS expressing my frustration with certain aspects of some posts on ATS and putting forward a few ideas of my own which aim to help ATS fulfil more of its potential and make a more significant contribution to ufology. For example, some of the issues that I find rather frustrating relating to ATS (and discussions of UFOs on many other internet forums) relate to:

(1) the gap between posts in the forums and knowledge which can be found (with a bit of work) in various books. I plan on making more accessible a rather large database I've compiled of references to discussions of several hundred of the most frequently discussed UFO sightings, researchers and books. I've previously shared this material in the format of a large Microsoft Word document, but am now preparing to make individual entries available on individual web-pages - which should make the relevant material much easier to refer to.

(2) posts being made by people that haven't found relevant material that is available on some of the better UFO websites. I plan on sharing a search tool that makes it much quicker and easier to find such online material.

(3) the regular appearance of certain debunked photos of "aliens" and videos of "UFOs" despite clear evidence that the relevant material is hoaxed. I am planning on sharing a database of information about some of the more infamous examples, including details of several hoaxes. As part of this project, which is finally nearly completion, I intend to assign labels to some of the relevant videos and photos to make it easier to perform relevant searches in the future.

(4) many members of ATS seem to have a large amount of energy and technical knowledge (e.g. regarding creating websites), but lack a detailed knowledge of the history of ufology which could be useful in guiding their energy. On the other hand, some of the individuals that I know with a detailed knowledge of the history of ufology lack the time, energy or technical knowledge to share their knowledge and insight in an efficient manner. I'm thinking about ways in which it MAY be possible to get better harness the energy and technical knowledge of some members of ATS.

So, do you guys have any constructive criticisms or solutions to make ATS make more of a contribution to ufology? Or are there any particular posts or threads on Reality Uncovered that you think are relevant?

All the best,

Isaac
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Re: Any constructive criticisms or solutions?

Postby Access Denied » Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:51 am

Hi Isaac, sorry it took me so long to respond… crazy time of year for me. I’ll be glad when my Birthday… err I mean Christmas is over. :)

IsaacKoi wrote:Any constructive criticisms or solutions?

Excellent question. Indeed, at least as far as I’m concerned, that has been the intent of the “ATS Watch” forum since it’s inception although I fear much has been “lost in translation” due to some of the strong personalities and emotions involved (myself included).

Anyway, the short answer is yes to the former (see my various posts here although I understand many don’t see it that way) and no to the latter (the management of ATS has made it clear in their various posts here that they don’t believe they’re doing anything “wrong”).

IsaacKoi wrote:Between one marathon session last year and another couple this year, I think I've read a fair portion of the articles on the Reality Uncovered website and the posts on the Reality Uncovered forum.

While I don't agree with everything I've read here (which isn't unusual for me when visiting most UFO websites), I've found quite a few interesting facts and views.

Cool, thanks for the taking the time to plough through our collective drivel… I hope it wasn’t too painful. :) As a recognized “amateur” historian in the field, I would appreciate any feedback from you on where we may have gotten something wrong or any suggestions for improvements.

IsaacKoi wrote:After reading various posts (particularly in this "ATS Watch" section), I'm left wondering if members of Reality Uncovered have any constructive criticism of ATS. How can ATS become better?

Well, I’m afraid all the constructive criticism in the world isn’t going to do any good if the management isn’t willing to listen and accommodate the “academic” perspective.

Take “The ATS Issues Thread” created on ATS in response to this forum for example… any complaints are forced into that one single thread (thereby minimizing the appearance of any “widespread” dissent) and if the issues raised are dealt with at all and not simply ignored, they are dealt with denial and/or derision for the most part.

IsaacKoi wrote:As some of you may know, I've occasionally posted on ATS during recent years. During the same period, and before, I have also made occasional posts on various other discussions Lists and forums, both public and private. I don't hold the negative view of ATS that seems to predominate on Reality Uncovered.

Really, so should I take that to mean you approve of John Lear, Clifford Stone, Robbie Williams, and now Jim Marrs “representing” ATS to the “world”? Take this recent thread for example…

Barack Obama Is Qualified To Be President... Isn't He? (by Jim Marrs)
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread418274/pg1

Tell me how that thread got over 150 flags when through considerable effort, several critically thinking ATSers had already debunked the birth certificate “issue” in numerous posts and threads that came before it… all to be summarily ignored and forced to “deny (in this case willful) ignorance” all over again in that thread that was obviously being promoted by the management?

Why isn’t the management promoting the efforts of the “average” ATSer?

IsaacKoi wrote:In fact, I think that various factors relating to the users of ATS (particularly the amount of visitors to ATS, their apparent energy and the range of skills that some of them possess) as well as some technical factors (ease of tagging threads, a wiki linked to the forums, and the various attempts to allow users to rate the importance of individual threads and posts) mean that ATS has a lot of potential for contributing to ufology.

I agree, there are some highly resourceful and knowledgeable folks on ATS… many of which I feel are hopelessly beating their heads up against a wall and I wish would post here too. Unfortunately those “technical factors” you cite can also be used to subvert them… and they are.

Take the current rating system for example… without a “thumbs down” option it’s open to abuse. Since ATS claims a “neutral” editorial policy the staff shouldn’t be allowed to vote and drive stuff to the front page period… nor should “gangs” of like-minded users bent on reviving beat to death topics like “structures” on the Moon or “life” on Mars. Skeptical (or otherwise) ATSers should have the power to counteract this kind of “false positive” reinforcement.

(by the way, last I heard the thread tagging feature was “deprecated”)

IsaacKoi wrote:To someone that was used to the UFO Updates email discussion List, the technical factors are quite impressive and give rise to some possibilities that I'd like to see explored more.

Well, in my opinion UFO Updates going subscription only was probably the best thing that ever happened to “old school” UFOlogy. It’s unfortunate though that some good reference material (like yours) is now inaccessible to the “public” so I certainly understand where you’re coming from… that said there’s no guarantee ATS will be around and free forever either.

IsaacKoi wrote:Do I think ATS is perfect? Heck no.

Do I get frustrated with some of the content of ATS? Yes, indeed.

Do I think that ATS should be written off as a waste of time? No (unless ufology as a whole is written off as a waste of time - which is an entirely respectable opinion...).

Well, I don’t think having “serious” UFOlogy associated with a host of unrelated and ill-conceived conspiracy fantasies and whatnot on a website cluttered with intrusive ads is going to help “the cause” any do you?

I know, you’re probably thinking about the (not so) “widespread” (in reality) exposure you could get but don’t forget there’s no such thing as a free lunch… you’re going to have to compete with a whole slew of others, many with absolutely zero integrity or discernment, hoping for the same thing.

I’ve seen many a well researched or conceived thread on ATS fade into obscurity having been rapidly overrun by numerous other less “important” or more “entertaining” ones…

IsaacKoi wrote:So, how can ATS be made better?

By becoming a non-profit?

By separating “Aliens & UFOs” into separate forums?

By changing the rules to encourage adherence to the scientific method?

You know, basically by becoming more like Reality Uncovered? :)

IsaacKoi wrote:Given the critical view of ATS that is apparently held by many of the posters on the Reality Uncovered forums, I'm genuinely interested in your views on this.

I've read one or two fairly glib comments in relation to ATS on this Forum and I hope that this post does not prompt any more. I'm not looking for suggestions alone the lines of getting rid of the current management of ATS, since this is not going to happen.

Agreed.

IsaacKoi wrote:Nor do I think that telling all the members of ATS to come here instead is a realistic solutioin - while I find the Reality Uncovered forums interesting, they do not have anything like the same level of membership or activity (at present nor, I think it is fair to say, in the foreseeable future).

Oh gee thanks… talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. :) Wouldn’t it be easier to get in on the “ground floor” of a “BS Free Zone” so to speak rather then fighting the “PTB” to have your voice of reason heard above the din? All RU needs (besides a better moderator than myself lol) to become a more popular place for the discussion of “alternative” topics and the thoughtful exchange of ideas is for a few more dedicated folks like yourself to start contributing and help get the ball rolling…

IsaacKoi wrote:Instead, I wonder if any of you have suggestions for concrete steps that members of ATS (or even an individual member of ATS such as myself) could take to help improve the quality of debate on ATS.

Sure, but without the support of management, what’s the point? The last thing they want to do is decrease the amount of idle chatter… that’s where the money is. The more disorganized the better… that way folks are encouraged to ask questions so they’ll get 200 different answers and score lots of valuable points. :lol:

Take Gazrok’s crusty “Compilation: Some of the best UFO Cases (or the Classics)” thread for example… all thoroughly debunked but prominently featured while your excellent Free UFO Researcher Starter Pack has now been relegated to a compilation (with no summaries) of “Important Sticky Threads”… making room for two new sticky threads about Robbie Williams. :roll:

IsaacKoi wrote:I am planning on posting a thread on ATS expressing my frustration with certain aspects of some posts on ATS and putting forward a few ideas of my own which aim to help ATS fulfil more of its potential and make a more significant contribution to ufology. For example, some of the issues that I find rather frustrating relating to ATS (and discussions of UFOs on many other internet forums) relate to:

Well, good luck with that… a noble effort indeed. I think we all can agree (and sympathize) with you that those are the kinds of issues that need to be addressed if one wants this subject taken seriously.

By the way, would you be interested in having your work published on our main site as well? (if so, send me a PM)

IsaacKoi wrote:So, do you guys have any constructive criticisms or solutions to make ATS make more of a contribution to ufology? Or are there any particular posts or threads on Reality Uncovered that you think are relevant?

Well, off the top of my head here’s a couple of UFO related threads I (personally) think may be worth mentioning…

Roswell explained? Potential NEW evidence!
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=772

(unfortunately my Roswell thread on ATS was deleted)

The Evidentiary Thread (Exhibits, Documentation, Testimony)
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=883

(among other things, this thread revisits a number of the Condon “unknowns” and contains an extensive amount of original research into the Socorro incident)

Perhaps Steve and Ryan will have some more suggestions as I’m not sure which of the Serpo and Aviary related threads and articles they consider definitive. Although some may consider investigating Serpo a waste of time, I think it offers an important peek “behind the curtain” revealing the handful of “insiders” responsible for the vast majority of UFO lore that has defined UFOlogy for the last 30 years.

Regards,

Tom


P.S. I need to catch up with everybody else too… sorry, hopefully soon.
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Re: Any constructive criticisms or solutions?

Postby ryguy » Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:54 pm

Wow...after three days without power, phone, cable or internet, I return to RU to find an excellent question posed by an intelligent poster. Thanks for asking this question. I have answered the question in previous posts within the ATS Watch forum, but in fairness to you, I write a heck of a lot so I can't expect you to dig through all that for a specific answer to your question.

Basically, AD captured my own response with the suggestion that to become a powerful contributing force to the field of UFOlogy, they would need to convert to non-profit status. If you are as aware of Ufology history as you claim (and I believe that you are), then you know as well as anyone that the field of UFOlogy is ripe for investigators and organizations to fall into the trap of researching/writing/producing more for money than for helping the field as a whole advance in knowledge and awareness.

I find your appreciation for ATS to be admirable and noble, but if ATS remains focused on seeking out investors and valuing content based on the "crowd-appeal" rather than its worth as being verified-and-backed-by-evidence - then, frankly there isn't much anyone can do to tranform it into a place that produces much more than E-N-T-E-R-T-A-I-N-M-E-N-T. That's the bottom line. Entertainment and profit, or science and not-for-profit? To be or not to be...

How can ATS change in a way that would make it more useful and productive to the community that seeks to legitimately research and study the phenomenon of UFOs? The answer doesn't really lie in what we think, it lies in how our good friends Bill and Mark decide to run their site. Do they strive to create an entertainment profit-producing powerhouse, and follow the path of 99% of other individuals and organizations who started out legitimately in the field and then fell under the pressures of profit and greed? Or do they follow the road-less-traveled? I've been focusing greatly, lately, on my obsession with hiking, and I've been reading a lot about thru-hikers of the appalachian trail. That reading gives me inspiration for the only source of advice I can offer to two guys who, even now, I greatly admire:

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

...Robert Frost


My advice, if ATS is to transform from becoming yet another meaningless, highly profitable, entertainment company, into a powerhouse for legitimate UFO research and investigation is simple...they need to take the road less traveled by so many others who have come before them, and will certainly come after.

I wish them luck, and I wish you luck. Meanwhile, Steve, myself, and AD will continue pressing on down this lonely trail, maintaining the hope that one day others will see the beauty in this quiet wood and also choose to follow.

**edit to add** - one point where you're very wrong, by the way, is your opinion regarding our "foreseeable future." Given the growing interest I've personally experienced from readers of the blogs I've started, and the paranormal articles over at LTK (which, by the way, has traffic of about 50 times ATS' traffic) - people constantly write that they feel reinvigorated by our approach - based on open-minded science and powerful critical analysis that all of them say they have not been able to find anywhere else. Strictly adhering to reason is a rarity - it's a precious gem that is easily shattered once a single story, like Serpo or MJ12, is allowed to run rampant throughout a community. Once that Gem is destroyed, it's destroyed forever.

Brush RU off as a naive, low-traffic forum alone, if you must. I certainly can't change your mind. But I can tell you this. RU is more than a forum - it's a state of mind. It's what makes a ghost-hunter stand his ground in a dark basement, surrounded by knocking and disembodied voices, while all of the others run for the door. RU is a weapon for the scientist in a field where the unscientific are currently running the show.

**Ryan Steps Off His Soapbox**

Thanks for listening.

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Re: Any constructive criticisms or solutions?

Postby IsaacKoi » Tue Dec 16, 2008 12:58 am

Thank you both for your comments. I appreciate you taking the time.

I'll have a look at the two threads on RU mentioned by AD since I'm not entirely sure I read them during my various previous sessions on RU.

I'll probably respond on a few more specific points from your posts in the next couple of days, but for now I just wanted to say that:

(1) I've already been through your comments a couple of times and will go through them again when I'm drafting my post for ATS on the need to consider ways of helping ATS achieve more of its potential and contribute more to the wider ufological community.

(2) By no means do I agree with many posts by certain individuals on ATS, including some of those named by AD in his post above. Heck, I've disagreed with many of them often enough on the forum - and ignored certain others almost altogether. There are numerous lengthy threads that I have not bothered to give more than a glance (e.g. some threads started by John Lear and the Sleeper thread). However, I'm not convinced that the baby has to be thrown out with the bath water.

(3) I hope that Ryguy is overly pessimistic in apparently considering there to be a straight choice between being a rational/productive forum and being a forum that permits the posting of material that entertains some of its members (even if that "entertaining" material is not to the taste of everyone). Note my use of the word "hope".

(4) There are lot of other forums and discussion Lists out there, some of which are extremely serious and/or private. My thoughts in this thread are limited to how ATS can contribute more to the wider ufological community. ATS has a lot of members with a lot of energy. I'm not expecting ATS to replace quite a few of the other Lists or Forums.

(5) As for Ryguy comment about brushing RU off "as a naive, low-traffic forum", I certainly haven't brushed RU off. I've spent quite a bit of time working through quite a lot of the material here (even including page after page of posts by Dan Smith...). Indeed, I wish RU all the best with its future growth and think you'll probably be seeing my posts become a bit more frequent than they have been. Reading through the posts here has prompted quite a few thoughts. As for considering RU to be a "naive", well, I've been called naive myself in the past because of views I've expressed about improving ufology...

Kind Regards,

Isaac
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Re: Any constructive criticisms or solutions?

Postby IsaacKoi » Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:05 pm

IsaacKoi wrote:I'll probably respond on a few more specific points from your posts in the next couple of days


Hi again,

Well, I'm taking much longer than I hoped to post more detailed responses (and posting on ATS itself some related thoughts) in the meantime I thought you might be interested in a discussion of ATS on the Daily Mail website today:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/ar ... d-him.html

The article states that Robbie Williams now spends time "trawling avidly through the sort of crackpot American websites that spout half-baked conspiracy theories and anti-government propaganda" and discusses "little-known AboveTopSecret.com" as "one such underground website".

I have quoted the relevant bits of article on ATS and asking whether ATS can improve how it is perceived by main stream reporters. I have commented that "I certainly think there is room for improvement on ATS. I'll be posting some more detailed thoughts on this shortly".

All the best,

Isaac
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Re: Any constructive criticisms or solutions?

Postby ATS_Virus » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:54 pm

Hello IsaacKoi,

i have to say ,i applaud your effort to improve or fix something that is broken... however,

ATS is promoting ignorance for profit, not denying it.

your 's and other peoples efforts would be better spent on creating something new(not involving ATS) instead of trying to fix something broken beyond repair.

take care and good luck either way.
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Re: Any constructive criticisms or solutions?

Postby Zep Tepi » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:07 pm

Irrespective of whether ATS is a crackpot site or not, the Amigos will be tickled pink by the fact that a national newspaper has provided a link to the site. The more outrageous the claims, the better for ATS - just as long as they provide a link.

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Re: Any constructive criticisms or solutions?

Postby Access Denied » Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:40 am

I don’t know which is more telling…

A. The fact that the very first response to Isaac’s post was someone calling him a troll.

[now deleted]

B. Bill’s response to Isaac’s question “Can ATS improve how it is perceived by main stream reporters?”

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thr ... pid5793573

As far as I know, four ATS topics have made the front-page of mainstream, high-volume, newspapers.

1 - The counterfeit Cisco routers story, broken to world-wide attention by ATS, and initially covered on the front-page of the New York Times, followed-up by many other papers and news sources.

[a hoax as I pointed out to Bill in the Touching On a Few ATS "Issues" thread when he was still posting here]

2 - The discovery that the "Haitian UFO" videos were fake, by ATS members, was front page of the S.F. Examiner, and lead stories on several cable news broadcasts (MSNBC being one of them).

[as if nobody could “discover” that just by looking at it]

3 - The "stolen nuclear weapon" topic received modest but front-page mention in the L.A. Times, and sourced in dozens of other online news services.

[a paid submission that’s essentially an ad for the ATS Premium writer is missing! Please Read blog/book]

4 - Our coverage, and photo, of the O'Hare UFO received several mentions in the Chicago Tribune, including at least one front-page article and was featured prominently in a cable special on UFOs.

[see Torbjon’s Alleged O'Hare UFO Photo Reveals Possible ATS Hoax article on the RU main page]

That’s it, not one conspiracy exposed? The ATS “claim to fame” (contribution to society?) is being associated in the MSM with the promotion of four hoaxes?

I'll take that as a "No."

C. The fact that most of the posters think the Daily Mail article is a conspiracy by the MSM to silence the "truth” that ATS is "exposing."

[see above]

So Isaac, what, if anything, have you learned from this?
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Re: Any constructive criticisms or solutions?

Postby Access Denied » Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:05 am

My apologies if I’m overstating the obvious but…

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thr ... pid5799618

Skyfloating wrote:
neformore wrote:I was thinking some more about this....then I did some research.

Daily Mail circulation for December 2008 - 2,139,178
Daily Mails own figures

ATS - Number of visits for December 2008 - 2,329,679
ATS December 2008

This underground "crackpot" messageboard we call home isn't so small after all, is it?

Did everyone see this post? Im quoting it so that it gets re-posted.

Its the reason we dont need their blessings. Times have changed.

Really?

Let’s analyze this “research”…

[rounding off to keep things simple]

Daily Mail = 2 million copies per day
ATS = 2 million visits per month

Hmm… so right away we can say the Daily Mail potentially gets read by at least 30 times more people a day than ATS without doing any “complicated” math.

But let’s do the math just for fun…

ATS = 2,000,000 visits per month / 30 days per month = 66,667 visits per day

But wait, there’s less!

Looking at the Google Analytics stats we see that the actual number of unique visitors per month is closer to 1,000,000. Visitors, not “visits” is how many different “people” actually “read” the site. Don’t understand? Ask anybody who runs a web site.

Anyway, that means we need to half that last number so…

ATS = 33,333 visitors per day

But wait, there’s less!

How many of those visitors actually read the site? Well, Google Analytics tells us ATS had close to a 50% bounce rate. That means half the visitors to ATS left without clicking on any other pages once they got there.

"It is really hard to get a bounce rate under 20%, anything over 35% is cause for concern, 50% (above) is worrying."

What else we find out from those stats is about 50% of those visitors were “new” visitors. One way to look at that might be half the people who visit ATS have never seen it before and then they leave without really reading anything. I wonder why?

Anyway, so how many daily readers does ATS really have? Halving the previous number again to account for the half that leave without having their ignorance denied we get…

ATS = 16,667 readers per day
Daily Mail = 2,000,000 readers per day


That means one could say when you do the math correctly and compare apples to apples the Daily Mail is actually at least 100 times more “important” than ATS.

[that’s two orders of magnitude greater for the geeks in the audience]

Now in all fairness this is a very rough estimate and anybody who’s familiar with the publishing business knows raw circulation numbers don’t necessarily mean all those copies are read… or even that many people actually read any particular article. Then again Google Analytics tells us on average people only spend about 7 minutes reading ATS…

Anyway, to answer the question posed by "neformore"… nope sorry, it’s a small world after all.

And to ATS mod "Skyfloating"… nope sorry, nothing’s changed.

[but hey, thanks for reposting that]

Apparently nobody on ATS caught this or bothered to correct it… not the least of which is Bill who knows better. I wonder why?
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Re: Any constructive criticisms or solutions?

Postby ryguy » Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:20 pm

I agree with you that he must understand what you've outlined above, but I'd assume it's much easier letting members (and lurkers) who are reading it think that it's the most popular paranormal site on the net, instead of a fairly young and still-struggling forum.

Forums are a different beast than blogs (which grow mostly on SEO optimized content drawing in search engine traffic). Forums grow based on the quality of a community and the core values of that forum. It's harder to draw in volume from the search engines because, short of spraying tags at the bottom of threads, the content itself isn't carefully written, SEO optimized content.

In other words, it can take a long time to build up such a community, but it can take just a single erosion of original core values to destroy that community - because when the members who originally came and joined based on specific core values discover that the community is no longer what was promised, they leave - never likely to return. It would take any forum a long time to recover from that sort of damage. Unfortunately, in my opinion ATS got caught up in the whole Web 2.0 craze, focused too much on drawing in volumes of new members from search engines, and let their original core principles slide - in the end that could be its downfall.

It's so important for a forum community to maintain the original core mission and values that it started with and built original membership on. I do think that since Bill does understand what you've laid out above, he probably understands what's happening. Based on his background, I assume he now realizes that ATS' new approach starting a few years ago has not worked, and that they need to go back to their original mission if they hope to bring back the core membership that the community was originally built on.

-Ry
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Re: Any constructive criticisms or solutions?

Postby IsaacKoi » Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:48 pm

Access Denied wrote:So Isaac, what, if anything, have you learned from this?


I'll post more in that thread on ATS when/if I can find the time between work, family and sleeping (which between them seem to require more than 24 hours each day at the moment...).

In short, as some of you may have gathered from my posts already in that thread (and in the past on ATS and other forums, including in this thread) compared to most other individuals that have responded in the "crackpot" thread on ATS I'm probably:

(1) more bothered about how the mainstream media perceive ATS (and ufology generally);

(2) more wary of having too inflated a view about the significance of ATS - or any other ufo/conspiracy website or forum. While many may dislike, or even loathe, newspapers such as the Daily Mail, those newspapers have far, far more influence in shaping views in Britain than any conspiracy discussion forum.

The very slow pace of progress within ufology will only improve if ufology can attract more mainstream scientists and other academics. Perceptions therefore matter. Improve perceptions, lesson the amount of ridicule and the reluctance to be openly involved in ufological matters should be reduced. For example, I think perceptions would improve if the lunatic fringe (if fringe is the right word given the number of lunatics in the field...) and hoaxes were seen as being tackled more forcefully within ufology itself and not mainly by individuals that are considered as being outside the ufological community.

The real question is whether, and if so how, things can be improved in relation to ATS (and, by extension, ufology generally).

The points numbered 1 to 4 in my original post in this thread gave an outline of my thinking on possibilities a couple of months ago. I've been developing things in my own mind since then (thanks in part to the comments in this thread). I've also been experimenting with a couple of possibilities (including designing Customised Search Engines and loading some material onto a website I'm setting up), but progress is rather slow - mainly because of lack of time.

All the best,

Isaac

PS By the way, in relation to the obvious error made by a couple of individuals in conflating the Daily Mail's circulation during a month (presumably reflecting sales on each day during that month) with the number of monthly visitors to ATS you may have seen that Bill has himself commented on the unfairness of that comparison.
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Re: Any constructive criticisms or solutions?

Postby Jack'sDead » Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:47 pm

I really don't give two poops at this point "how to make ATS better." They are beyond redemption in my book at this point, unless they sell the whole shebang to someone else.
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Re: Any constructive criticisms or solutions?

Postby mavn » Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:06 am

My experience with ATS was not a happy one because they eliminated my posts altogether (especially if I debated anything Masonic) or allowed a negative personna to be attached to my posts. I was really hoping to find a discussion forum where women (ivy league or not) would feel welcome. Then I would be more comfortable discussing interesting phenomena such as UFO or Alien contact theories. It seems if a discussion forum wants to be successful over the long haul they should treat everyone with respect (as long as they're not using profane language or being abusive) no matter what their opinions might be.
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Re: Any constructive criticisms or solutions?

Postby mojo » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:49 am

hi isaac, i read your post's both here and at ats with some interest.
im not a big ufology nut but i can understand your reasoning that sites like ATS and others ( GLP, OM and the one im associated with, etc ) cause a negative public perception regarding the research of alternative topics.
all i can say is that ATS couldn't give a damn about public (mainstream) perception, in fact an influx of genuine scholars, scientists and researchers into ATS would probably affect their bottom line and drive away their core group of fanatical posters.
unfortunately i think your banging your head against a brick wall, the more uneducated, wild fantasies, hoaxes, speculative nonsense and downright absurd posts and posters they have the more views and clicks they get. And when all is said and done that is ATS's goal, commercial viability, not some altruistic goal to actually propogate reasoned and balanced research.
i applaud the effort you are making to legitimise alternative topic research but i fear it's a lost cause at ATS.
perhaps in the early evolution of ATS when bill and mark first joined up with simon a different approach to the business model may have employed a far more diverse membership, but at this stage it is so far down the road of being a purely commercial vehicle for those guy's that any disruption to the model could, and i think would, adversely affect their income.
thats why it won't happen.

@AD, nice work with the number crunching AD.

as an aside, i never really understood skyfloatings appointment as a moderator there, pretty much most of the others i could understand but that one caught me by surprise when it happened, particularly as it happened not long after some fairly critical posts regarding ats and ats members from memory. anyhow i digress.

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Re: Any constructive criticisms or solutions?

Postby ryguy » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:17 pm

mojo wrote:unfortunately i think your banging your head against a brick wall, the more uneducated, wild fantasies, hoaxes, speculative nonsense and downright absurd posts and posters they have the more views and clicks they get. And when all is said and done that is ATS's goal, commercial viability, not some altruistic goal to actually propogate reasoned and balanced research.


Couldn't have said it any better myself... Science just doesn't "sell" very well commercially. With the commercialization of ATS, corporate investers, etc, it has joined the ranks of the rest of the UFO entertainment venue, and is no longer a viable player in terms of being a resource for legitimate paranormal research. Unless, of course, your goal is to observe the psychology of the believer community - in which case ATS is more of a petry dish of "believers" than it is a research resource or a community for legitimate and reasonable analysis.

Good to see you posting again Mojo. :)

-Ry
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