Being on that board became like navigating a minefield for me. I knew that I could cause an explosion at any time but I did not know how or when it would happen, nor did I know how to avoid stepping on an explosive device. Sometimes my attempts to sidestep the explosives would steer me right towards them.
The post I made that ended up triggering a big explosion was about about a controversial issue in the news and any opinion expressed about it did have the possibility of being controversial. I had recently been jumped on for the opinion I expressed about another issue in the news. Therefore when I posted about the debate over removing Woodrow Wilson’s name from Princeton University, I did not take a firm stance on the issue. I posted the link and summarized what was going on. If other people just posted a summary of a news story it was fine but since I was held to a different standard, in the past I’d been jumped on for just providing a summary of a news item and told that I was not getting a discussion going. A mod had told me to add discussion questions to my posts so I did that.
If anyone on that board enjoyed greater popularity and immunity than Marcia did, it was a member called Firecracker. I liked her better than Marcia because unlike Marcia she was nice to me sometimes and she was funny but like Marcia she’s extremely arrogant and abrasive. Anyway, she responded to me by saying “For the umpteenth time you’ve given us a list of questions to answer without answering them yourself.”
This was the setting for a perfect storm because it provided an opportunity to criticize me and to agree with Firecracker. Those were the things the board loved doing best. A huge dogpile on me commenced. I was told that I put forth juvenile essay questions and was accused of not reading the links I posted, of experiencing a decline in my mental abilities and of taking the opinions I did post on that board from other boards. It was said that I was ruining the board and causing people to leave.
I got defensive. I pointed out that I was just doing what I’d been asked to do, that I was on the autism spectrum and had a different communication style than some people and that with some people I just couldn’t win, no matter what I did.
The usual suspects who I’ve already mentioned in previous blog posts attacked me as did a bunch of other people. Unsurprisingly Marcia was the person who attacked me in the most vicious manner. She said:
“You never have an original comment, a thought of your own or anything to add to the post. Just essay questions. It’s as if you depend on the board to form your opinions. That’s our job as far as your’re concerned.
I don’t know what’s happened to change you but wow, you aren’t the person who posted as Kira in the early years. Maybe you aren’t that person?I know many people on the autism spectrum and they don’t use it as an excuse for trollish behavior.
This is the Wikipedia definition of troll: ‘In internet slang a troll is a person who sows discord on the internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous or off topic messages in an online community with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion,often for the troll’s amusement’. This definition describes Kira to a tee. We are losing valuable members because of Kira and the situation needs to be stopped.”
I was quite tempted to bust out the Wikipedia definition of a certain other five letter word that describes Marcia to a tee but instead I said that no, that definition of troll did not describe me. If it described anyone it described the people who derailed on topic-discussions by attacking me in an inflammatory manner in order to provoke me in to an emotional response.
Marcia’s brilliant response to that? “Whatevs”
I also told her that she”d stooped really low. She replied that speaking the truth wasn’t low, she saw no way I wasn’t deliberately trying to antagonize people, so therefore my behavior must be deliberate.
A further example of how incredibly arrogant and narrow minded Marcia is. She thinks that her way of seeing things is the only correct way of seeing things and that whatever she thinks is the ultimate truth. Thank God that’s not actually the case because I wouldn’t want to live in the world according to Marcia. I would say that her deficits in empathy and critical thinking skills hinder her perception abilities.
When it comes to being inflammatory you can’t get much more inflammatory than what Marcia said. She had accused me of being a troll, of lying about my identity and of using autism as an excuse.
Another ‘interesting’ idea that Marcia had expressed in the past was that kids who are diagnosed with autism these days are ‘just a bit quirky’ and that parents are too eager to get them a diagnosis, rather than just accept that their kid is weird and move on. She went on to say that people with autism are capable of learning appropriate social behavior. I claimed to have been to college so obviously I was capable of learning and the fact that I chose not to was entirely on me.Obviously Marcia isn’t very well informed about autism or about learning for that matter, which is sad, since she claims to be a teacher.
She also said I told bizarre stories and needed serious help at best. I replied that she needed some some serious help herself as she also seemed to have quite a bit of trouble behaving in a socially appropriate manner. Baseless, cruel personal attacks are not socially appropriate.
When I told her she was out of line she replied “That is for the mods to decide, not you” which I imagine was her way of taunting me by reminding me that the mods favored her and let her off the hook for bad behavior.
There were also people who defended me, who stuck up for me, who expressed concern that I was being bullied. They said the people who were attacking me were the ones who were behaving badly and disrupting the forum, that if anyone else had started a thread with the exact same wording they wouldn’t have objected. They pointed out that if those people who were attacking me didn’t like the format of my posts or the questions I asked they were free to just ignore the questions and say what they wanted about the topics.
Purple Cat and a few other people claimed they were unable to respond to threads I started because even when they were originally interested in the topic and wanted to post about it themselves they were just so put off by the tone of my posts, which were formulaic and showed I didn’t really care about the topic, that I was just posting for the sake of posting and spamming the board.
I had to call bullshit on that. Something told me that those people never had any intention of starting threads about the topics I chose and that they didn’t find themselves unable to even comment on the topic because of the way I worded my posts. The board had been in a state of decline for a while and not many people posted topics on a regular basis, especially not the people who criticized me and it wasn’t like I snatched up every single topic the second it became available either. Something also told me that those people who were demanding I share my opinion weren’t doing so because they just had so much respect for me and were dying to hear what I thought. They were just being disingenuous and picking on me for the sake of picking on me. I said as much.
If you remember Purple Cat from a previous blog you’ll remember that she had no problem directly accusing someone else of lying about their life with no evidence to back it up. She’d also had no problem accusing me of lying before and said that Marcia was not out of line after she’d suggested that a different person had been using my account and I’d been lying about my life stories. Yet Purple Cat just couldn’t handle me saying I thought some people were being disingenuous with their claims, said I had no right to call her a liar with no evidence.
Cowgirl piped up to say that being on the autism spectrum did not give me an excuse to be so petulant and someone else shot back “Oh please, Kira is not the petulant one here. Two different threads now you’ve come in solely to insult her. This really is starting to look like bullying.”
Then there were those who wanted to discuss the actual topic of the thread and requested that the talk about me be moved to another thread but it was agreed that a thread devoted to picking me apart would be a terrible idea and would be beyond stupid and hurtful to me.
The person who summed it all up best was a member called LionHeart. She said:
“Well, I was impressed that we had an 8 page thread about Woodrow Wilson. Then I come in to see that it’s a page about Woodrow Wilson and 7 pages about Kira’s posting style. I should have known.
Anyway, apparently I’m one of the few people on the planet who doesn’t feel like throwing myself off a tall building whenever I open a thread that Kira starts. I actually think she has tried to heed others’ criticism of her posting style but as soon as she fixes one “defect” people move on to the next one. Then they pounce when she gets defensive. That to me is a lot more off putting than anything Kira posts.
I will note that the pregnancy and parenting forum, where Kira virtually never starts threads is deader than a door nail. Seems to me that would be a nice safe place for people to start threads without fear that Kira was BEATING them to it with her mandatory essay questions. Yet that doesn’t seem to be happening.
Do I honestly think Kira’s posting is kind of frenetic and taking up an unhealthy place in her life? Probably. We all know enough about Kira’s life that that’s not a wild leap and the reception she’s getting here can’t be doing her mental health any good. If I knew her in real life I would kindly take her aside and say ‘Dear, these friends, they are not good for you. Not because they are right about you but because they are not good for you. It may be time to broaden your horizons.’
I’m very curious to hear what the mods have to say about this. It’s clear to me that Kira is breaking no board rules, not even close. I don’t think most of the people criticizing her are breaking any rules either so I guess unless something changes we’ll just sink down in to this sewage together.”
I too was curious to hear what the moderators had to say about this.