Not All Facebook Groups Are Created Equal…Plus A Troubling Update

I published this blog in February. Sadly, it was removed by someone who had access to my account, without my permission.  He is the main character in the following story that follows. He is also the creator of the two think tanks that are featured in this true account of facts, along with some opinions and observations of mine.

I consider the removal of my blog, by Mr. Atridim, to be a form of bullying. Lucky I am low tech, and had a hard copy of the deleted blog. I have copied and pasted it to my personal FB page, where over 30 have seen it, been shared several times and has 25 comments. My action was the result of having my blog deleted. If it is removed again I have a source to retrieve it and repost it here. I will not be silenced. Eleven people got to read the original blog before it was removed. Deleting my blog, by Mr. Atridim, helps support much of what I say in my account of the past week and year.

Here is my story, and was the blog that was removed.


My first experience with a Facebook group took place about five years ago, when I got an invitation from the administrator, Rick Atridim, of World Think Tank. A few years later I was invited to join the sister group, called Chandler-Gilbert Think Tank. This week those relationships ended, when I stated my  impression of the tanks, on my personal Facebook page, that angered Mr. Atridim. I stated that free speech was dead in the tanks. I am going to share some of my experiences and observations, while being in both tanks, and describe the event that ended my membership. Reading my story will provide some insight on what a future or remaining member will probably encounter.

I apologize, in advance, for the length of this blog. It will seem more like a chapter in a book, but all of the information and descriptions are needed to convey a clear picture  of what happened.

These particular tanks are public, which means anyone can view the contents, but only members can post information, or make comments on what is being discussed. Rick, the administrator, created a mission statement, guidelines to follow, which change often, approves  membership, approves material that gets in, and has the ability to remove both members, and their comments at will. He frequently alerts members by saying, “I have not heard from some members in a long time, and perhaps it is time to do a member Purge”. WTT has been limited to 200 in the past, but he is in the process of paring down the number to 100. CGTT is unlimited. As of last week there were 336 members in CGTT. Despite the membership numbers, less than a dozen ever comment or even leave “Likes”. Facebook keeps a tally of people visiting  WTT, but does not  tally CGTT views due to its size. There is no way to tell if the ones looking in are even members, but from random non-members. I researched the number of views in WTT for Rick, when he was planning a purge, and found that 58 was the highest count for a post, that I could find. I reported the names of the members who had viewed a post in a three-month period.

He also developed his own award system to indicate when he particularly likes what someone says. In the beginning those awards were for “Leadership”, for “Excellence in Reporting” and for “Journalism  Excellence”. Later he added awards for “Kindness” and “Speaking From Ones Mind and Heart”. I have been awarded many awards over the years, and have been frequently praised by Rick as well.

My enthusiasm for being a member waned this past year for a couple of reasons. One was when a fairly new member was removed. I was not surprised after reading the post that angered Rick. My thought was, “His head is going to roll”, and it did. The member was too new to know that it was unwise to openly question, criticise, or disagree with Rick, but to just keep his opinions and thoughts to himself.

What happened was, Rick posted a long piece from His Atridim New Journal on Facebook about Jerusalem being recognized as Israel’s capital by the U. S. The new member said that Rick’s post sounded familiar. He researched  and found what Rick had written was on Politico, word for word, and included a link to prove his point, and mentioned the word “plagiarism. The member was kicked out of the tank, and was also blocked from seeing the tank’s contents as well.

A second thing that troubled me was that one day a banner popped up in the tanks, and it said, “POSTING A COMMENT THAT SAYS, “I AGREE” or, “I DISAGREE “, IS OUT OF ORDER”. That stance struck me as oppressive, and appeared to squash free speech. It seemed to me that for a group to be a “Think Tank” free speech was paramount. That  banner appeared in late November of 2017, and was the day I knew I would be leaving the tanks. I did not want to desert the friends and acquaintances I had developed over the past 3 and 5 years, so I spent the next few weeks extending my personal friendship to all in both tanks, not knowing if any would respond. Many did. I then deleted documents of mine in CGTT and one in WTT. I no longer felt that they represented my feelings or beliefs about either tank. One was entitled,”What I Love About CGTT & WTT”. I also had written a blog entitled, “A Glimpse Of Free Speech At Its Finest”, that  featured the tanks. My feeling no longer matched that title or contents, so I removed it from my blog site. In my mind I was going to take a wait and see approach in hopes some positive changes would take place in the tanks. I set March 1, 2018 as my goal to leave if things continued to deteriorate, so losing my membership this week was not great loss.

Fast forward to this past week when some comments were made in WTT by a valued member, me, and Rick, talking about guns and the recent shooting in FL. The member began his post by saying, he respectfully disagreed with a comment, and said, “They should allow teachers to carry concealed weapons”, and some other remarks. Rick responded by saying, “I respectfully disagree with all of my heart! Teachers carrying guns is NOT going to solve the problem. US gun laws must be strengthened to disallow people with mental illness from gaining access to guns”. Then I chimed in saying, “I completely agree with Richard”. I then added that I had read before that we were not allowed to agree or disagree with one another, but since those words appeared in this thread I guessed that rule had dropped by the wayside. Rick immediately revisited and revised the Guidelines, and here is what was posted in both tanks:

“CGTT ADMIN NOTICE
CGTT Members…Re-read the CGTT Pinned Header
The following lines have been added/revised:
CGTT is a new concept in quality group thinking, focused on QUALITY of members…not quantity of members.
Avoid stating “I agree”or “I disagree” with a member. Such statements are of little or no value. It is more valuable to create a new comment that conveys what you think.”

Rick then returned to the tank where the discussion was going on and requested that the other member and I revise our comments, based on the revised guidelines, which we did. I am a rule follower, and have never said or done anything, in either tank, to show disrespect towards what was going on, even if I disagreed. I thought it strange that even Rick had broken his “rule” in the first place. I think Rick deleted his offending comment. I then exited the tank and headed to my personal FB page.

I can’t remember word for word ,exactly what I posted on my personal FB page, but I remember feeling very sad about the reminder that free speech was dead in the tanks, and I said so. A short time later Rick showed up on my page and said, “This post places your membership, and all awards, in suspension. It is up to you to make amends to maintain membership”. My response was quite lengthy, but in a nut shell I said that this was my personal page, and that I did not have to make amends for my personal opinions. There was some back and forth, then I left  to visit a friend on FB. She, all of a sudden said, “He is threatening everybody who raised their voice against him on your page”. I jumped into action and blocked him, to protect my friends.

A short time later I got to read the banner that announced my removal from both tanks. It read, “An Awarded member is no longer a member due to a derogatory comment on their page”. Underneath this was added. “Watch what you post on your page, or other’s pages about this group. Captain Rick sees all and is determined to maintain CGTT as one of the highest quality think tanks on Facebook”. Talk about proving my point, that free speech was dead in the tanks, and also outside the tanks as well. Not  only did he revoke my membership from both tanks, I was blocked from the groups all together, so I could not view them, like other non-members could.

Later this message showed up in CGTT from Rick. It read,”RickAtridimGroup Admin”, “It does not matter how high of position you hold in society or political life. If you do not honor comment gurdelines…you will be excused as is the case here. WTT and CGTT are focused on quality excellence…not political bullying. When a member is excused, they also are excused from both CGTT and WTT and banned from future entry. If you enjoy your membership, protect it by reading, understanding, and honoring the comment guidelines posted in the pinned header. CGTT standards are very high. It is why CGTT is one of Facebook’s highest quality Think Tanks”.Unbelievable. I had to block him from my FB page because he was bullying people there. And his “guidelines” are full of platitudes, like, “WTT has grown to become Facebook’s highest quality think tank because of its comment guidelines that “ENSURE PROFESSIONAL ETHICS AND RESPECT FOR EVERY MEMBER’S THOUGHTS”.

Since my removal from the tanks I have had over two dozen past and present members reach out to me privately and on my FB page. They all have echoed many of my impressions, that the tanks were no longer a forum for open and honest discussions about important subjects. Some even pointed out that the focus seemed to be less on the group concept, and was beginning to look like a venue for Rick to share his blogs, and hobbies, with no invitation for members to do the same. Some even suggested I start a group.  My reply was, that my blog and Facebook page was sufficient for me, and all were welcome to visit, share and discuss anything, as free expression was alive and well in both venues. I have become more active in several other groups with the names Tucker Carlson, Bill O’Reilly, Deplorable, and Trump being in the group names. They are thriving with some bright people leaving thought-provoking comments.

All Facebook group administrators have the right to create  their  vision, what ever that might be. Some members might enjoy Mr. Atridim’s groups, and enjoy his style and requirements for membership. There are hundreds of other groups that might also fit the bill for people looking for a place to express themselves and see what others or saying about subjects they are interested in. All groups are not created equal but a fit can be found, I am sure of that.

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About Martha (Marty) Dickson Patterson

Marty: Retired from sales and management near Seattle, Washington.
This entry was posted in Bullying, Cause & Effect, Facebook, Facebook groups, Free Speech, Journalism, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Problem Solving and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Not All Facebook Groups Are Created Equal…Plus A Troubling Update

  1. I have been contacted by so many present and past members that have wanted me to update what is still going on in the group above. Some who are still members, but not active, have been watching the group and are reporting that the bias of the administrator is apparent. He is not allowing conversations that go against his beliefs.e threatens removing members who try to get a real conservation going. Some see him as a bully that did not notice until they read the above blog and started paying attention. They are appalled. One troubling thing is that he preaches that people with mental disorders should never be allowed to own a gun, while he is grooming a member, who has admitted to being Bipolar, using drugs, and owns guns. Rick stated that he see all. Not true. My messaging account has been on fire since I was booted from the group. I am being bombarded by friendship requests from people in AZ. I am in several groups now that celebrate free speech and open

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  2. I swear, being in either tanks mentioned in my blog above is like being in the Twilight Zone. Yesterday a great thinker was booted out. I will add comments that past members, all great thinkers, below in the comment section. ………From Spencer……….Well I guess it finally happened. I have been part of a couple think tanks for a few years now. while talking about and discussing guns I guess I met the ire of the moderator/admin of the World think tank and Chandler Gilbert Think tank. The admin has constantly pushed gun control and taking away second amendment rights. With each comment I have argued that this will not give the desired solution of less people killed by guns which is what we all want. The straw that broke the camels back is that I argued that a comment made by an individual was not accurate as the law he stated did not actually do that. It was a factual comment I had made, I was told I was off topic but the other individual was not and my comment was deleted. I guess factual information doesn’t matter when it goes contrary to an individuals desire and belief to infringe on the second amendment.

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  3. Here is what a past member had to say about Spencer’s announcement that he had been booted…………… I exited his precious “tanks” about a year or so ago. It had good effects on my blood pressure. The constant bombardment of posts, cross-posts, directives to repost to other areas was nearly insane. As I told him when I showed myself the door, I’m not retired. I work and I don’t have the time to mess with all that. And I was particularly irritated by his “reward” system of “Stated/Reported/whatever, with excellence.” It came off as too much “good boy, have a pat on the back and a gold star” condescending.

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  4. These are my views after a member recently was booted from the Tanks. I thought this gives some more insight on what is happening in the tanks. ………….I swear I am watching a soap opera unfold. At the end of March I was removed from the membership of two “Think Tanks” I wrote a blog about the experiences and observations I watched unfold , then after some discussion with some past and present members I. went on my merry way with the Tanks in my rear view mirror. I was surprised that I began getting a lot of friend requests from many from AZ and across the country who got to know me over the 5 and 3 years o was in the Tanks.

    Yesterday I was reminded how damaged the Tanks have become. A great writer and thinker was removed because she loves Trump. and is not a fan of Putin. Her name is Sigrid Egan. She is very bright and a fellow bloger and fb friend of mine.The administrator of the tank has opposed that stand on both Trump and Putin. Now think about the name of the groups. World Think Tank and Chandler-Gilbert Think Tank. Sounds like a place for thinkers to me. Let’s look at some of the ones who have left on their own, or been booted, and in some cases even blocked from these “public” groups. The one kicked out yesterday is a native of Germany. She has brought insight that no one else has brought to the group. One past member drives a truck across the U. S. and brought great INSIGHT. One member is a professional pilot and was a great researcher on many subjects. Two of us are in the first two states who legalized pot and shared first hand knowledge of how our states were and have been affected. I have been sent screen shots of some recent conversations in the Tanks, not requested by me by the way. Some have seemed bizarre . This is very sad to me. The vision I thought the Tanks were created for has changed dramatically. Free speech does not exist. Only the views of “The Captain “, as he calls himself, matter, and are welcome .Membership in CGTT has dropped by at least 100 since the end of March from 336. I never had ill will towards either tank or Rick. I never encouraged anyone to leave. I will always have fond memories of the earlier years I was a member, when the purpose was free thinking and honest exchanges of idea for improving communities and America. I feel like I am viewing an ongoing funeral and burial of something that could have been
    Truly great.

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  5. I have a confession to make. I received more of Rick’s awards than anyone in the group up to my exit date. Towards the end I made a statement under one of my awards….that I did not write for awards but to just express my feelings and thoughts….. I had figured out the way to the awards was to either agree with him, stroke him when he shared his hobbies with the group, praise the Tanks and above all to never disagree with him and to keep silent when I disagreed. I began to deeply admire people who spoke loudly about their beliefs when they had different views than R. I remember when Mike Keating used humor to counter him and ended up getting kicked out. I began feeling like a coward because of my silence. I finally decided I did not want to be a secret fraud so I began speaking out, knowing my days were numbered. The day I went to my personal FB page and shared my true feelings I had no intention of defaming Rick or damaging either tank. I was just taking a step to join the brave members who spoke their minds. So I gave come clean with my friends who are present and past members. I have learned that silence usually is taken as consent and I want to set the record straight.

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