The Story of AS-NS.

AS-NS is the most controversial and divisive web site dedicated to asexual-related discussion, but does it really deserve the reputation it has, of being a place to steer well clear of, or is there more to it?

To start with I think a bit of history is required. The site was originally conceived as a purely private space for a group of like-minded friends to chat to each other about things going on, on AVEN. The reason it was away from AVEN was so that the group could speak their minds and joke about without getting in to trouble.

The group jokingly saw itself as a secret society, and the goal of one of the members was to start a political party to try and get more moderators elected on AVEN that were friendly to their particular brand of politics, as he – and the rest of the group – believed that there was a political bias within the AVEN moderators.

As time progressed though @Lord Grep became disillusioned with the way AVEN worked and saw that there really was no way to change anything, as while AVEN’s moderators were elected, the ruling body, or the board of directors was not in any way elected or accountable to the community.

@Lord Grep put the idea forward that rather than try through nefarious means to change AVEN, they should instead open the site up to everyone, and just implement what he saw as a more fair system on a new site, and see if people were interested. He also saw the site as a whistleblowing site where those affected by what they saw as injustices or heavy handed moderation could freely report what had happened, and perhaps by making things public, that would encourage AVEN to change.

The vision for the site at that point, was to create a space where people felt comfortable addressing issues without feeling that they were constantly walking on egg shells, and also to have some serious fun. People could let their hair down with the knowledge that no one was going to ban them for making an off-colour joke.

Another thing that AS-NS wanted to do was to implement a transparent management architecture, and let the users decide what the rules should be not just who the police are, as is the case with AVEN.

The founders also wanted to implement a different system of justice, something that was more fair, more personal, and more open. The whole group had issues with the way the system on AVEN worked, and so they implemented something very different.

At the moment there are very few rules on AS-NS, and people are free to discuss any topic they like, and in any way they like. This seems to have led to a very different atmosphere. As no one is trying to get anyone in to trouble (because there is not that much trouble to get in) and people seem to have much more respect for one another. The discussions are much more focused on learning, being open to new ideas, and while people are passionate about things, they tend to trust one another that the views expressed are genuine. Another thing that seems to help in discussions is one feels more free to express things as one is not afraid of being misinterpreted in order for others to virtue signal. It really is a totally different atmosphere, and not at all the toxic place that it has been made out to be.

One thing that you would be most mistaken to assume is that AS-NS is somehow an echo chamber. It most definitely is not. There are a wide range of perspectives, and political persuasions represented, however the discussions are very civil.

AS-NS deals with disciplinary matters by moderators just having a chat with the users, and rather than making them feel small or looking down on them, they just try to sort things out. The plan is to hold public, real-time inquiries in the event that the light touch does not work. This is so that everyone can see that things are conducted fairly, and know there are consequences.

There is though an elephant in the room, and that is the “bad press” the site got a few weeks ago. I have heard so many stories about how terrible AS-NS is, and that people said some horrid things. Also what was the apology @Lord Grep gave all about?

First of all, the whole fuss was about three threads in total, and all of them because of remarks made about AVEN users, so really just a few posts.

The next thing I think it is important to bring up is that AS-NS is not @Lord Grep’s site. All decisions are made at the moment by a temporary group of trustees, made up of regular users. @Lord Grep does not get his own way. In fact he is outvoted more times than not. So blaming everything on him is a bit unfair. Thinking AS-NS @Lord Grep’s site is inaccurate to say the least. At the moment there are about 6 other people who have votes.

So what happened? Well the first incident happened at a time when AS-NS had only about 8 users, and 3 of them were AVEN moderators. Grep wrote something in a part of the site called “Unsafe Space”, The idea of this place is that no rules apply. It is ONLY visible to people who have an account on the site, and even if you get one, there is a notice on the link to say it is devoid of rules and not to enter if you get offended.

Grep wrote a post being rather rude to someone on AVEN, and lets say there was a bit of a backlash. Although it was a rather reasonable backlash and after some discussions, (which are still available to read) He decided to remove the thread on the grounds that it was the right thing to do.

The next incident came a couple of months later when someone else started a thread called “People you hate on AVEN” or something similar. AS-NS left this one in place and there wasn’t much fuss, however someone else mentioned the same person that had annoyed people when @Lord Grep got in to grief.

Now the trustees were discussing the issue of “shit-posting” against AVEN members, and they were all leaning in the direction of outlawing it on the site, believing that it was not the direction they felt the site should be going in, no matter how funny they found the posts.

Then coincidentally, at the same time of this a bit of a stink tore up on AVEN between @Lord Grep and another AVEN member, where the other member described AS-NS in the very worst of lights, saying that “It was just a site dedicated to being abusive to AVEN members, and some other harsh comments”.

@Lord Grep then, as a joke started a silly thread that was meant in good taste, just saying silly, and mostly complimentary things about AVEN members. He encouraged others to join in, and “Be really nice” . Unfortunately some people were not very nice, and that sparked off a shit storm. @Lord Grep then made several long and sincere apologies for inadvertently causing distress to people, and took responsibility for the situation.  The trustees also made the decision to stop all “shit posting” against AVEN members, and that is a rule that is still enforced.

One thing that did happen though is that AS-NS got quite a few new members, and some really interesting and funny people too. It has to be said the site is getting better all the time,

AS-NS has a vision, and it is one that I think will make it into a very special site. It wants to be a site for the users, and run by the users. A place where people can talk freely about things, without having to worry about breaking rules. It is not for everyone, that’s for sure. But if you like to have fun, or discuss difficult topics without being judged on your viewpoint, then it’s a great little place. But if you get easily offended, or you want to be wrapped in cotton wool, I’d probably give it a wide berth.

AS-NS has a vision about how to do things, and it is not afraid to make mistakes in trying to figure out how to achieve its vision. I dare say there will be more uproar, and finger-pointing by people. The fact of the matter is simply that all they want to do is create something that feels comfortable, fair and fun. They wan’t people to trust more, have more freedom of expression and create a real sense of community. Where a joke is just a joke, and  arguments are made to further discussion, and not just to win points.

Just after all the fuss, and @Lord Grep announcing he was leaving AVEN altogether, there was an influx of new members to AS-NS. but many of them were pretty quiet, so Ace Times’s reporter @SimplyAce got the list of new members and went off to ask them some questions about the site. Now @SimplyAce did a fantastic job talking to all these people, especially considering she hasn’t done anything like this before. So I want to thank them for their time in doing this, and thank all the users of AS-NS for taking your time to reply.

To finish this story, I am going to leave you with what newcomers to AS-NS think of the place, and I will give you all the responses we received so that there is a fair representation of opinions.

First off @SimplyAce sent out this mail to a list of the people who were new members:

Mail To AS-NS Newbies

Hey [insert username here]!!!!
First off, Welcome to AS-NS NET!!!! 😀

I am messaging you on behalf of  Ace Times, a sort of chronicle specifically for asexuals in order to publicly showcase what the ace community has to offer on various related topics and the like. (Yes AceTimes functions separately from the threads posted on this site).

If you choose to respond to questions in this PM, I must also ask if I may quote your responses in the AceTimes article/publication? You may choose what may and may not be quoted from your responses. You also have the option to state whether or not you would like to remain anonymous in the AceTimes article/publication. (Please include responses to both the previous questions in your response message).

NOW with all the formalities aside, this future publication is all about you!!! As an appreciated newcomer to AS-NS 🙂

May I ask you a couple questions as a newbie here to AS-NS.NET?

——————————————–
What made you want join AS-NS.NET?
What did you expect to gain from joining?

Is AS-NS.NET as you expected it?
Do you feel any wariness or apprehension about posting to this site?
If so, what is making you shy or not want to post as much/often? If not, what about this site makes you comfortable enough to post freely?

What’s one aspect of AS-NS.NET that you appreciate?

If AS-NS.NET could improve, what’s one thing you would change/fix about the site?

Are you comfortable here on AS-NS.NET? Have other users made you feel welcomed?

What’s your overall perception of AS-NS.NET thus far?

OK, so here are the replies..

1.”What name would you prefer I used for you?”
– Call me Chip! I like the name Chip, it’s short and cute. haha!

2.”When did you join AS-NS?”
– I joined May 30th, so I’m still new, but I already love it here! Everyone is so nice

3.”Why did you join?”
– Someone from AVEN invited me, but I guess thats not the reason. I joined this site because I felt like AVEN allowed some opinions to thrive while quieting other opinions that it deemed to be the wrong opinions, which kept me from feeling safe to share mine so I just kept them to myself. I like the idea of an environment where everyone can feel safe to share their opinion without fear of being judged or offending others because of their opinions. I think that’s the best way to grow, to listen to opinions respectfully and share your own, respectfully o

4.”What did you think of the place? did it live up to it’s hype, or down to it’s infamy?”
– Its great! There are always improvements to be made, but this is a fairly new forum so I don’t think it would fair to expect too much of it. I never heard anything about it until I was invited out of the blue so I didn’t experience any hype, which is a good thing I think, hype can cause disappointment a lot of the time.

5.”Have you taken part in any discussions or started any?”
– If the funny ones count, like the Insults thread. I’m not very good at insults though, I’m too afraid of hurting people’s feelings. I haven’t taken part in any super serious discussions yet. I’m feeling out the place first to make sure this is a place where its ok to have a discussion, because the purpose of a discussion is to exchange Ideas and I think the only way ideas can properly be exchanged is without fear that your ideas will be considered wrong. Ideas are just ideas, they’re not facts so they can’t be wrong. There are good ideas and there are bad ideas, but no wrong ones. I made a Movie thread because I love movies and I’m always looking for a good new movie to watch, especially horror movies. I also made the Urban Dictionary your name thread because I looked up my real life name and it said something funny and then I looked up my name on here and it made me laugh so hard I had to share it, so I thought why not make a discussion so other people can look theirs up and maybe have a laugh too.

6.”Do you know anything about the problem they have had regarding AVEN users? What do you think about what happened, and what AS-NS did about it?”
– I don’t know of any problem like that, maybe I’m just oblivious though. I guess AS-NS did a good job of doing something about it because I’m not sure what you’re talking about about haha!!

7.”DO you have a clue what AS-NS actually means?”
– I’m not entirely sure what is means, but I bet its safe to assume it’s related to Asexuality

If i may ask…. does AS-NS mean anything to you figuratively? What’s your overall perception of AS-NS.NET thus far? Have you felt any apprehensions about posting here? If so, how? Why?

To me, AS-NS means liberation or rebellion in a sense, and I think that was the intention behind it’s creation, to no longer be afraid to share an opinion that may not be a popular opinion. We are rebels! haha! I feel cautious about posting, but no apprehension,

May i ask why you feel catious about posting?

On AVEN I’m more of a lurker outside of JFF or the Arcade, and in lurking I see a lot of people picking apart each other’s words or assuming that the other person has ill intent and I just don’t want anyone to assume that I have ill intentions in what I post, so I’m just cautious about what I post on here for now until I can assume it’s safe to say what I think without it being misunderstood.

 

1. Pramana

2. May 29th, 2017

3. I joined partly because I had earlier agreed to contribute to Ace Times, and partly out of curiosity. AS-NS was referenced as an alternative debate platform in some particularly heated political debates that were happening on AVEN around that time.

4. I joined in the midst of a controversial episode where there was hostility exchanged between users in a spillover from AVEN disputes. After that, things cooled off and I became interested in the place as a platform for certain types of discussions that might not happen on AVEN.

5. I’ve started two; so far my post count is at 17.

6. I followed the AVEN users episode. I think it’s a lesson that if you encourage that type of thing to any extent, then it’s likely that some people will go too far. AS-NS’s decision to backtrack on that was the right one.

7. I’m afraid to say that I do not. I probably should, especially if I’m going to contribute to Ace Times.

If i may ask…. does AS-NS mean anything to you figuratively? What’s your overall perception of AS-NS.NET thus far? Have you felt any apprehensions about posting here? If so, how? Why?
I was unsure initially because I didn’t want to join a site that’s just about being anti-AVEN. But now I think it has potential as an alternative to AVEN. In particular, while AVEN’s rules are appropriate given its focus on providing basic information to teenagers and others who are questioning, and as a social and mental health support site, it can also be somewhat limiting for more advanced discussions of asexuality.

 

Reply Number 3

 

1.What name would you prefer I used for you?

kkdirge or kk is fine

2.When did you join AS-NS?

two days ago

3.Why did you join?

sick of the strict AVEN rules

4.What did you think of the place? did it live up to it’s hype, or down to it’s infamy?

I think it has potential

5. Have you taken part in any discussions or started any?

Yes

6.Do you know anything about the problem they have had regarding AVEN users? What do you think about what happened, and what AS-NS did about it?

I saw some of it, lots of insulting at AVEN users, but I was offline when most of it occurred and it was dealt with before I logged on. It seems that though it was dealt with effectively, it shouldn’t have happened in the first place…

7. DO you have a clue what AS-NS actually means?

Nope

Extra:
If i may ask…. does AS-NS mean anything to you figuratively? What’s your overall perception of AS-NS.NET thus far? Have you felt any apprehensions about posting here? If so, how? Why?
I haven’t felt any apprehensions. I like it thus far.

### no other commentary offered or extrapolation on opinions

 

Reply Number 4

1. anonymous

2.I joined May 28th, 2017.

3.A friend of mine introduced me to it, and told me a little bit about it. I was curious, so I made an account a few days later.

4.I would say it’s a much more open board than AVEN. Which, in my opinion, has its ups and its downs. I can’t really say I’m surprised by some of the things I have seen.

5.I have yet to make a post on the board. I just lurk.

6.Yes, I do know. I think it was sad that such a thing has happened. It felt like a way to just get around the rules on AVEN to me. I don’t like it when people insult others in public. It’s unnecessary and just flame-y. I’m glad such posts were removed from the public eye, but I’m not sure if that’ll completely reverse the damage which has already been done.

7.I do not! I’ve only been here for four days. D

If i may ask…. does AS-NS mean anything to you figuratively? What’s your overall perception of AS-NS.NET thus far? Have you felt any apprehensions about posting here? If so, how? Why?
Figuratively? I suppose not. I haven’t been here long enough for it to have built up much importance to me. For my overall perception of the site, it seems like it can be a nice place to talk. But again, I wish it was just monitored a little better to avoid blow ups such as the one that has just happened. I have been apprehensive about posting here, which is why I have yet to do so. I don’t want to be “called out”, and I’ve yet to find a topic which I really wanted to respond to.

 

Reply Number 5

1 What name would you prefer I used for you?
Rickie

2. N/A

3.Why did you join?
I joined AS-NS because I hadn’t heard anything bad about it (unlike other non-AVEN sites). I looked at the discussions and liked their stance on privacy and opinions and I wanted to see how it would worked with almost no rules on what you can say.

4.What did you think of the place? did it live up to it’s hype, or down to it’s infamy?
The site is quiet but has active posters and they’re all VERY opinionated. I like the smallness so far. AS-NS tries to live up to its hype about being open to all opinion even if it doesnt know how it wants to handle criticized opinions yet.

5.Have you taken part in any discussions or started any?
Ive found some discussions to post in but not lots.

6. Do you know anything about the problem they have had regarding AVEN users? What do you think about what happened, and what AS-NS did about it?
Kinda? I saw something on AS-NS about AVEN users being annoyed at a topic on AS-NS but dont really know what happened. I think some people took advantage of the topic on here but AS is a different site with no rule against insulting people. I dont know if AS did the right thing based on its own rules or gave into pressure from AVEN. I also dont know if users from other sites should be mentioned on AS or not at all.

7.DO you have a clue what AS-NS actually means?
I have NO clue what AS-NS means.

If i may ask…. does AS-NS mean anything to you figuratively? What’s your overall perception of AS-NS.NET thus far? Have you felt any apprehensions about posting here? If so, how? Why?
AS-NS seems kinda like an anarchy model of AVEN. Its breathing room where you dont have to censor how your opinions sound.

My perception so far: Its open and welcoming to people and wants people to be able to speak their minds about controversial topics without worry. Its not meant to be a bash-site just a place where you can say what you want without having someone say your opinion isn’t appropriate. Its meant to be the upfront discussion area that AVEN cant be for some topics.

 

This next one is an AVEN moderator… ooOOoo

Reply Number 6

1 What name would you prefer I used for you?

Serran works fine.

2.When did you join AS-NS?

Officially joined May 29. Though, I have been visiting the site for a while, basically since I saw Grep link it in chat.

3.Why did you join?

I joined officially to be able to participate and try to bridge the gap between AVEN and as-ns, if possible, after steps were made to help build a better relationship between the two sites. I visited previously, the same way I visit PoA and other asexuality related sites. I like to see the asexual community outside of AVEN.

4.What did you think of the place? did it live up to it’s hype, or down to it’s infamy?

When I first began visiting, several months ago, I was put off by the negativity in the forums. Not the debating, or controversial opinions, but the negativity towards specific AVEN users. This has since been removed, which is why I created an account to begin participating in this community. I hope the improvement in the atmosphere will continue.

5 Have you taken part in any discussions or started any?

I rarely start threads. I prefer to comment on already established ones. And, I will admit, I still don’t participate too much in a lot of topics. Even on AVEN, where I have thousands of posts, the majority has been to offer advice to questioning asexuals or relationship advice for mixed couples. Neither happens much on as-ns, as of yet. So, most of my comments have been more responding to stuff about AVEN, thus far. But, if a topic interests me, I will comment. I just have to have something to add to the conversation, not so much just commenting to comment.

6.Do you know anything about the problem they have had regarding AVEN users? What do you think about what happened, and what AS-NS did about it?

I know a lot about it. When Grep first posted his link in chat, I visited. And, I saw some threads that were disturbing, to say the least. Since then, I have seen screenshots, threads linked, etc in various places by AVEN users who also found such content disturbing. It became nearly as hot a topic as AVEN moderators, for a while.

However, I appreciate that such content has since been removed and that it is not encouraged, nor allowed, anymore (at least in public, private is always FFA since private). I am willing to give as-ns a second chance to make an impression on me. Fair is fair and people (and places) are allowed to change. This is not the first site that has started off in a similar way, after all. And I am sure it will not be the last.

7.DO you have a clue what AS-NS actually means?

No idea. D

Extra:
does AS-NS mean anything to you figuratively?

No. Not particularly.

What’s your overall perception of AS-NS.NET thus far?

Mixed. I think a place where people can debate freely and discuss is good. However, too relaxed of rules can lead to a toxic environment. A balance has to be struck, or a community cannot grow.

Personal opinion, AVEN rules tend to be quite strict. So, I understand why that is not the model this site wants to adopt. When I helped write a ToS for another asexuality website, I did not go super strict or overly complicated. They edited my draft, but it remains simple and not overly restrictive. When I made my Skype group, I left the rules at basically “don’t be a big jerk” – only time I’ll step is if people are outright fighting/bullying each other, threatening or posting KKK propaganda or something. Which, as of yet, I haven’t stepped in at all.

However, if users feel they are not safe from personal attacks/bullying on a website, they will be less likely to join or participate in discussions. So, there does need to be some protection. Even if minimal.

Have you felt any apprehensions about posting here as of late? If so, how? Why?

If I am being honest, a little. But, not enough to stop me. As you know by now I am sure, I have a lot of opinions and I am not shy about sharing them.

Why? Because, the change towards a more positive environment is a recent thing and it could always shift. If it does shift back, I will most likely become less active. I like to help grow the asexuality community, but not if I have ethical objections to the values represented within. And, I’m a pretty relaxed kind of person. I’m not going to judge people for differing opinions. I might disagree, I might debate, I might passionately debate… but in the end, we’re all allowed to think different things. Tofu and I have vastly different opinions on many things, but I still spent way too many hours of my life looking into concerns brought to me by them (such as their SC / chat complaint about Pepe). But, threads such as the Maya thread being allowed and encouraged again would make me unable to be a member of the community here. That is a line that if I see crossed, I will not add content to a site for. So, that is my main source of apprehension about participating at the moment

 

Reply Number 7

I prefer Zia.

I joined AS-NS at the very end of May.

I joined for the same reason I joined AVEN, I had discovered I was asexual and wanted to learn more and make friends with people.

I like the place. It’s interesting to see the differences between AS-NS and AVEN. I don’t know if it lived up to it’s hype or infamy because I hadn’t experienced either of them. I found AS-NS from a post by LordGrep on AVEN stating that LordGrep was deleting all of their posts and moving exclusively to AS-NS and I wanted to see what AS-NS was all about.

I have participated in a few discussions. The only one I started was my intro.

I know that some people stated that they were having problems with discussions on AVEN but I don’t really understand what was going on as I’ve only been on AVEN since mid May and haven’t experienced problems myself.

I don’t know what AS-SN means.
I hope this helps.

 

Well… I hope you enjoyed that. In conclusion, you might just find AS-NS a surprisingly friendly place. I am lead to believe that they are keeping with the rules about “shit-posting” But whistle blowing will likely become legal under some conditions.

Thank you once again to @SimplyAce for running about and doing all the interviews….. THANK YOU!!!!

 

1 Comment on "The Story of AS-NS."

  1. this is refreshing. nice to hear a variety of different opinions ^^

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