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The Atlasphere

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I thought I'd let you all know about this new online community for "admirers of Ayn Rand." It is called The Atlasphere, and it features columns, a member directory, and soon, a dating service. It's basically a way to bring admirers of Ayn Rand together in one place. While I do not believe that all involved (including the makers of the project) are "Objectivists" per se, it still seems like an interesting project.

You can find the Atlasphere at:

The Atlasphere

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Guest Marshall

It's not that it's economically-challenged, it's just a startup. Content is always limited in the beginning, unless you have some big investor, but in this case they're investing their own time and money.

And it's for admirers of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged because that attracts a much larger market of intelligent, purposeful and value-oriented people.

Marshall

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I couldn't even register because it said that my email address was invalid. Apparently, they haven't gotten wind of the .info or .biz TLDs yet. So I thought I'd helpfully let them know about the oversight. Except that leaving any sort of feedback at all is a member function. Yes, there's absolutely no way to make them aware of the problem. Hopefully, they come here sometime.

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bbrown,

Sorry to hear you weren't able to sign up successfully. Leaving comments through the "feedback" page is indeed a members-only function, however anyone can request support through the "support" link at the bottom of each page of the site.

Our e-mail checking algorithm doesn't currently allow .info e-mail addresses, as you discovered; however, we'll remedy this shortly so it's not so restrictive. In the interim, if you have a conventional TLD account, you can sign up using that and everything should go fine.

Best wishes,

Joshua

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Regarding David's comments, I'm glad he's retracted the charge that The Atlasphere is a "scam." That was truly a strange comment to try and comprehend.

But do we have an "economically challenged business model"?

Let's think this one over. After a little after five days online:

1. it appears that we already have more registered users than this forum

2. we're getting five to ten new sign-ups per day, chiefly by word-of-mouth

3. we've not even begun to dip into our (rather substantial) advertising budget

And, we've not even launched the dating service yet, which is sure to be our most popular feature.

So... :blink: I don't know. Isn't looking very economically challenged from my end. But I'll keep you posted.

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I don't see what real service your site offers. Sure, it's easy to register, but why would anyone pay $25 just to see someone's profile? This forum offers that for free, and we can actually get to know each other by studying philosophy together rather than simply being "admirers." Don't get me wrong, I think a "community-building web site" is a great idea -- that's why I started this one. I just don't think yours offers nearly enough for the cost of membership.

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David,

In general terms, the Atlasphere's focus is on facilitating value-based networking. In this respect, the site's function is more like Match.com or Friendster.com -- compared to an online discussion forum such as this one -- except that we're combining social networking with a central focus on shared values, namely an appreciation for Rand's novels.

Most online Objectivist forums are designed to create virtual community -- the opportunity to participate in Internet activities, such as philosophical discussion. The Atlasphere, in contrast, is designed to create actual community, or community in the real world -- the opportunity to work together, play together, travel together, build romantic relationships together, etc.

Toward that end, our member profiles in the networking directory are far more detailed than yours, and are designed to facilitate networking along a wide range of variables: occupational, educational, sports, hobbies, music, writing, and other interests.

What implications does this have for Objectivism? Well, there are many. For one, you may have noticed that many Objectivist forums -- whether virtual communities on the Internet or real-world organizations such as campus clubs and community groups -- have a high drop-out rate. People join them during a period of enthusiasm about Rand's ideas, but then drop out for social, intellectual, or other personal reasons. And often they don't come back.

One reason for this is that most people don't like arguing about philosophy and politics. They may be perfectly rational, productive people -- but they don't like sitting around talking about abstract ideas; they'd rather be doing something.

And so one function of the Atlasphere, within the overall context of helping further Rand's ideas, is to bring these people back into the fold, by capitalizing on their interest in the novels and helping them make meaningful connections with other Rand admirers in the real world.

Will the Atlasphere succeed in this respect? Who knows. But the early signs are good: A large number of people who read my initial development plan for the Atlasphere subsequently ponied up hundreds of dollars each to fund its development costs.

A week after our launch, we've got a rapidly growing directory and people are purchasing subscriptions as well. Of course, the real excitement and growth will likely come when we launch the dating service, which is currently scheduled for October 1st.

I hope that answers your questions and concerns.

Online discussion forums, such as this one, have along and fine tradition in the Objectivist movement, and serve a valuable purpose. But the Atlasphere has a different purpose, and the reaction so far suggests that it's been long-overdue in terms of the values many people want to pursue in their life. It should be interesting to see where it leads.

Best wishes,

Joshua

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  • 1 year later...
I don't see what real service your site offers.  Sure, it's easy to register, but why would anyone pay $25 just to see someone's profile? This forum offers that for free, and we can actually get to know each other by studying philosophy together rather than simply being "admirers."  Don't get me wrong, I think a "community-building web site" is a great idea -- that's why I started this one.  I just don't think yours offers nearly enough for the cost of membership.

You know, that might be a good idea for a new sub-forum or two... You could have one for "personal ads" (where people actually try to hook up) and a second for discussing dating technique, etc.

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  • 3 years later...

I signed up to receive emails from them when new articles are available and I enjoy a lot of them. Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams and John Stossel are frequently featured.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello All,

My full access to Atlasphere is about to expire again, and I won’t be renewing this time. I gave Atlasphere a proper test drive twice now, and am disappointed with the results. Its tagline or mission statement is “Connecting Admirers of the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.” Let us parse that claim, and see if it is grounded in reality.

First, the professed standard that participants to be connected should be admirers of objectivism. Over six months, split between two different years, I found that a significant number of people listing on Atlasphere are openly or covertly religious, arrogantly and childishly abusive, and apparently incapable of writing ads that disclose anything relevant about themselves, implying that mind reading is a required faculty on this site (sic). In this latter case, the last time I registered for full access, I sent a short polite witty query to a few carefully selected participants, asking why they don’t reveal any detail about themselves, merely expressing my disappointment in this situation. In spite of receiving some very understanding and contrite replies to my blind inquiries, the owner of this service took it upon himself to threaten to remove me from Atlasphere for “spamming”. Well, my counter to that rediculous overreaction, is to ask: Why aren’t people who provide no or little information about themselves threatened to be removed for “lurking”?

If this site has the primary purpose of “Connecting Admirers of the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged” then how is that possible when there is no information available for one participant to determine if they want to connect with other participants? By what standard are they to judge another if they want to connect, if they provide only a name, probably fake, and a photo, possibly photoshopped (mea culpa). How is one to assess the character, interests and compatibility of another when they conceal any relevant information to make that assessment possible? As a test of this proposition, today I clicked on the top twenty links in the directory and found sixteen had no information, and the rest only one piece of information each. In the top ten dating links, I found only one that disclosed more than gender and age. When 90 to 95% of your listings are stripped of any meaningful information, it is impossible to know who these people are. And as the site owner’s over-reaction has proven, I’m barred from asking more than one person the same question at at time, and have to figure out different ways to ask the same question, “who are you”, because the owner has not required they disclose this information as part of proper conduct on the site. I’m a business owner and do not have time to play twenty questions with people masquerading as objectivists.

Now, back to the quality of the participants on this service. I am not some fly-by-night, flaky party crasher, who is lazily critical of objectivism due to a deficit of self-esteem or someone who misunderstands the epistemological requirements of reason. I have been a supporter and practitioner of objectivism since I was about 21. Because of the guidance, courage and integrity of Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden, the latter whom I’ve briefly worked with twice, I operate my own unique and successful Patent Services company. So when I am critical of this aspect of the Atlasphere, I have the street cred to back it up.

I am an objectivist, and am proud to say so in a world that is turning into a cesspool of irrationalism. Objectivism has literally saved my life several times, once very recently. I use it, understand it, and would like to share the fruits and joys of that achievement with people who authentically care about it. If that means merely having a private conversation about the challenges of maintaining objective virtues in a decaying culture, or finding a mate who is turned on by someone who walks his talk, but who is not crazier than I am, then I am open to any level of connection that is possible. But Atlasphere just does not seem to be the place for “Connecting Admirers of the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.”. The last person I met who fit that dual standard on a minimal level was surprisingly a member of my aikido dojo.

If the owner of this service claims that by raising his standards, and requiring minimal disclosure from participants to show that they are seriously objectivist, not just trolling for kicks, that he would lose money, I make the counter-offer that I would gladly pay twice the going subscription rate if these objective standards were consistently met. Otherwise, I am going to let my subscription expire in a few days, and give up on the integrity of a site that claims it is “Connecting Admirers of the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.”, but does nothing substantive to make that actually happen when the solutions are so simple and honorable. I’m not talking about surveillance of every ad, but it would be relatively easy to code to reject any application that does not provide a minimum number of informational entries. (Say five, just enough to get a proper sense of the person) Or to reject openly religious applicants to this site, as being contrary to the values that it professes to hold.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the articles and news items on Atlasphere, but these are advantageous for both parties. And they are not the professed rational for this site.

Quantity one way to make more money.

Quality is the way to make money more honestly.

And usually you find you’ll make more than you expected.

Stay Focused,

Brian Dubberley

Inventive Solutions

Has anyone had any experience with the Atlasphere? (www.theatlasphere.com)

I'm interested in meeting more Objectivists, so I've been wondering if the site has any merit.

Unfortunately, they seem to be reporting news from TAS in their news section.

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Brian,

Thanks for the information, and welcome to the forum. Don't hesitate to introduce yourself in the introductions forum if you plan on sticking around. Oh, and don't forget to capitalize "Objectivism." :)

I'm thinking a new dating site that is more interest-specific might prove fruitful. (i.e. find other Objectivists, find other Catholics, or whatnot.)

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A followup to my recent post on the utility of Atlasphere:

Today I sent the following to the list owner after he tossed aside my very specific argument in one sentence.

------------------------

Joshua,

Since your reply both demonstrates your lack of integrity to objective values and evades your responsibility for these breaches, I require that you remove both my directory and dating listings from your site immediately. I will neither support, sanction, nor participate in a venture that welcomes people antithetical to objective values, and that defrauds those paying for a specifically defined service by evading the minimum standards that make any such service an objective possibility.

Stay Focused,

Brian

----- Original Message -----

From: TheAtlasphere.com

To: Tesla

Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 2:02 PM

Subject: Re: Renewal Confirmation (NOT)

Tesla,

I have turned off the auto-rebilling on your account for you.

It does look like your rebilling notice was never sent to you. I see that others have been sent recently, but yours was not. I'll do some research to figure out what the bug might have been there and see if it's happening to anyone else. I do apologize for the inconvenience!

Thank you for your general feedback but we do not have any plans to require members to provide more information in their profiles.

Joshua

At 07:36 AM 8/27/2008, you wrote:

Hello list owner,

Since you did not sent me a "Subscription is expiring soon" email in a timely fashion, as you did last time, I inform you now, August 27th, 2008, that I do NOT authorize any further subscrption payments for this account from my Visa. The reasons for this choice are posted on the Objectivism Online Forum in response to a query about the quality of your site as pertains to its primary purpose, namely, "Connecting Admirers of the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged." and are appended herein. I welcome any authentically constructive replies on this topic, but if you are going to continue to stonewall me with out of context evasions on the "rights of producers", the only just answer is to quote Dr. Nathaniel Branden, "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?"

...

-------------------

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  • 3 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Okay - I am not a paid member at Atlasphere, but I do like to read the articles over there, and don't understand what the problem people have with the site.

It is for Ayn Rand "admirers". I have NEVER read anything that stated that they are for Objectivists per se. Yes - people can actually love Rand's fiction and admire her without being an Objectivist.

So what is the big deal?

Sir Andrew - I find that comment funny (in a good way). Haven't seen too many single girls (over the age of 13 that is) at NTOS lately - why don't you bring some friends that are girls? We could use so more women there. Most of the woman that attend are already taken - so, good luck with that! =)

By the way - I don't see an issue with them charging membership either. If people don't think it is worth it they wouldn't pay.

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  • 2 months later...

Greetings Brian,

It is encouraging to me to find articulate discussions of a critical nature that are open, honest and free of the nonsensical need to be politically correct. It is good to know that there are still people in the world who "think".

Great post.

i know you'll have a good day,

Steve

"Live Long and Profit"

- an Objective Vulcan

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  • 2 months later...

After only hearing a few things about The Atlasphere, and nothing too terrible, I decided to give them a try. I filled out a longish and detailed profile (one for dating with a pseudonym and one for socializing with my full name), and sent an invitation to about 20 females, and none of them ever wrote back. Granted it was only for a couple of months, but it wasn't very effective for me. But the reason I canceled my subscription was that they hosted an op-ed that promoted an "objectivist" conference that had David Kelley and Nathaniel Branden as major Objectivist speakers. Had they been just a meeting place for admirers of Ayn Rand's works, and socializing, and a dating service, that would have been fine; but I cannot sanction open support for either David Kelley or Nathaniel Branden who are anti-Objectivists. In other words, they take an ideological stance contrary to mine, and I don't care to support that. I did enjoy many of the weekly op-eds, but supporting anti-Objectivists is not something they should be doing. I was willing to risk meeting someone who wasn't really an Objectivist (maybe just an admirer), but I don't want to give my money to those supporting ideas contrary to mine.

I'll have to find a way to get a date elsewhere; so, if you are female and interested, drop me a line :lol:

Edited by Thomas M. Miovas Jr.
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Thomas, sorry for going off on a tangent, but would you mind summarizing what is anti-objectivitist about Nathaniel Branden in his psychology theories? I don't know or care much of the whole breakup thing, I tend to be put off by personal quarrels and gossip.

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Thomas, sorry for going off on a tangent, but would you mind summarizing what is anti-Objectivist about Nathaniel Branden in his psychology theories? I don't know or care much of the whole breakup thing, I tend to be put off by personal quarrels and gossip.

Nathaniel Branden has come out and said that Objectivism is psychologically damaging, that it causes repression, and that trying to emulate Howard Roark and Hank Rearden will lead to one not knowing their values on an emotional level. As a professional psychologist and as a former presenter of Objectivism, he is basically stating that Objectivism is psychologically dangerous to those trying to integrate it.

As to David Kelley, my stance on his moral theories is well known. Kelley's moral theory of Truth and Toleration is contrary to Objectivism; and his stance that Objectivism is an open system is contrary to what it means to come up with a new philosophy set by the discoverer and philosopher, Ayn Rand.

I'm not going to go into the details in this thread, but I cannot support either. And I heard back from The Atlasphere, and they said they don't pick sides on these issues, which is worse than being wrong. As I've said, if it was just a dating service for Ayn Rand admirers, I would have taken my chances with individual women, but I cannot sanction open support for David Kelley or Nathaniel Branden.

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Quo Vadis and Jill,

There are some who came to Objectivism balanced and integrated enough, through introspection and high rationality - some ,but not all. It takes most of us many years to arrive at the stage of "the head has its reasons which the heart must learn to know."

Ask yourself the questions

'Does Branden know more about O'ism than I do?" Could he possibly have observed cases of alienation or self repression among new or young Objectivists he personally knew?

Or was this all just 'sour grapes' on his part, in that he made it up to sabotage the philosophy?"

It's a sad thing to see a good mind close itself off, without rigorous and due thought. Among the principles that Rand stood for, independent thinking was one of her 'ultimates'.

Read some Branden (and some Kelley, for that matter) and decide for yourselves.

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