That thread with my name on it was emotionally a hard thing for me to read.  Those comments in which people expressed disbelief at my age, accused me of using my disability as an excuse and implied that I was pathetic for living with my parents and spending a lot of time on the internet had preyed on my deepest insecurities and hit me in my most vulnerable spots. Those comments in which I was called an annoying, creepy, danger to the community had made me feel dehumanized, worthless and alienated. People had commented before in real life on my exceptionally good memory but no one had ever said it made me creepy or dangerous. Whenever they mentioned it it was in a complimentary manner. They found it impressive, admirable and a useful skill to have. Now even my assets were being turned in to weapons to be used against me.

There were however people who were sympathetic towards me and defended me against my attackers.

LionHeart wrote:

“It raises my hackles when people who barely ever post here anymore only pop up to bitch about how much Kira or the board sucks and are then gone with the wind. That kind of thing has happened here before and it nearly destroyed the board. I think the board may be swirling slowly down the drain anyway but perhaps we could do it with a shred of dignity.

But now that Kira is on a 2-week break all those who say she is killing the board for them won’t have to look at her heinous threads and she won’t beat them to all the scintillating topics they are just dying to post. I’m sure we’ll have a virtual Renaissance.

I’m not the biggest fan of the format of Kira’s threads but they’re a direct result of people jumping her shit for just posing a topic and saying “What do you think about this?” If she were to start including her opinion she would absolutely get her shit jumped for something else. I have no doubt about that. I also find it laughable that people claim they are so traumatized by the questions she poses that they are unable to respond, even if the topic interests them.

Overall I’m most annoyed by the people who obviously still care enough about this board to try to run Kira off/change her entire personality but don’t care enough to post here much at all.”

Honeysuckle wrote: “I haven’t said anything about this issue so far but I’ll say something now.  I’m speaking out now because I feel this was the wrong way to handle the situation and I feel sorry for Kira reading this shit. In the other thread I thought it was agreed that a “Let’s talk about Kira” thread would be a bad idea but here we go.

I think what collectively went on certainly approached bullying. Moreover, what essentially is the difference between bullying someone and being cruel to them? I guess cruelty is more encompassing than bullying so in fact what’s been done to her was even worse than bullying.

I don’t believe for one second that Kira was deliberately being antagonistic. As far as I can tell she’s made plenty of effort to take others’ criticism in to account but she is who she is and she’s broken no rules. There’s no obligation to post according to the format she’s laid out and there’s no rule saying everyone can only post one thread a day. Getting defensive was not helpful to her but I don’t blame her one bit for feeling defensive and showing it.

I get why people are put off by some aspects of her posting but I can’t for the life of me figure out why if you really want to participate in this board, she’s what’s stopping you. If you don’t like the threads she starts find a thread you do like, if you have a topic you want to discuss, start a thread about it, if the only topics that interest you are the ones  Kira’s gotten to first and you can’t find a way of contributing that’s an actual contribution and not a criticism of how she posted it, somehow I doubt you wanted to discuss the topic all that much. It’s hardly fair or accurate to blame her for why the board is stagnating.

Something has gone very wrong here and it isn’t Kira.”

Angel wrote” So Kira posts too much on a public forum? Yet we are always hearing complaints about how slow and boring this place has become. Not stating her opinion is irritating?  There have been lots of times when I’ve asked friends for their input about an issue because I’m not sure what my own opinion is. Getting defensive when she’s called out on pretty much every word she types makes her a bad person? If I was getting jumped on all the time I’d have a bad attitude too.

If you don’t want to read what Kira posts don’t. Put her on ignore and go on with your blissful Kira-free lives. Jumping on her every time she posts is immature. You can’t force someone to be what you want them to be.

Imagine Kira as your daughter or your sister. Would you want them treated as you have treated Kira?  You bet your ass you wouldn’t. A little kindness goes a long way. Stop being assholes.”

Angel caught some flack for the things she said. Some said it was hypocritical to advocate kindness and then call people assholes. I guess I’m a hypocrite too then. Unkind people are assholes.

Smartypants said “Kira is a grown ass woman. I don’t think we have to treat her with kid gloves and I don’t think anyone subscribes to the notion that we’re nice and blow glitter up peoples’ asses. She’s annoying. People get annoyed and say things about it. Tough shit. Maybe that’s the consequence for her annoying behavior.  If this many people think you’re annoying maybe you are annoying. Maybe she should move on to another platform like Facebook and stop hijacking this board.”

I wouldn’t want anyone to blow glitter up my ass or treat me with kid gloves but I also didn’t want to be insulted by people who were acting like kids.  Being nice is usually considered a good thing but that board did seem to have this bizarre belief that nice is the opposite of smart and nice is the opposite of honest.

Quackers said “If a child of mine were getting upset about their online interactions I would be asking serious questions about the depth of those interactions and why they are being taken so seriously. Then I would take it as sign to wean them off of what was clearly causing a disproportionate emotional response.”

This exemplifies another misguided albeit common belief- that it’s unreasonable to be upset or angered by anything that is said on the internet or to take anything that’s said on the internet seriously because it’ ‘just the internet.’ This is nonsense. Words have power and words can hurt, whether they’re spoken, written or typed. The computer (or Iphone or tablet) screen between you and the people producing the words does not serve as a buffer against hurt feelings.

Moose Pimples said: “Actually if anyone in my family was behaving the way Kira was online I’d deliver the smackdown myself or watch the fallout with a great deal of schadenfreude and laugh my ass off as they got exactly what they deserved.”

If I told anyone in my family abut what was going on I was pretty sure they wouldn’t laugh or tell me I deserved to be treated that way but I had not told anyone about it because I found the whole situation embarrassing.

There were various other comments made in that thread:

“I have a great deal of sadness and compassion for Kira.  I suspect she’s had a lot of  setbacks in her offline life and has internalized the seemingly constant barrage of people telling her she’s a worthless failure. We don’t know about her life beyond what she chooses to share here but every time she posts I feel sad for her. She is a bright, articulate person and she seems to have utterly no one giving her the help she needs to improve her life.

I do think she uses this forum in unhealthy ways but I also think it does her good and provides some light in her life. I hope her break is a good one but I worry that it’s only going to isolate her further.”

“I appreciate that Kira has gotten many, many interesting discussions going here that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. I don’t believe for one second that this board would be thriving more if she’d been more restrained in her posting. If she hadn’t been here the membership and participation rates would still have declined and it’s quite possible they would have declined much more dramatically than they did. Her enthusiasm for starting new topics is probably keeping as many people holding on as it’s driving others away.

That being said, I’m concerned about how invested she is in this place and I don’t feel good that her participation here, however much it might be keeping the forum going may be contributing to the decline of her mental health. Hasn’t she mentioned that she suffers from depression? I have no idea how I would react to a discussion like this if my mental health were less than optimal.”

“I think I know exactly what’s going to happen when Kira reads this thread and it’s not going to be pretty.”

” I would really like to stay away from the idea that Kira uses autism as an excuse. I find accusing someone of using their disability as an excuse to be rude and presumptuous. You are essentially telling someone that you know better than they do how their disability affects them. You are appointing yourself the supreme judge of how people are and are not allowed to be legitimately affected by autism without even being autistic yourself.”

“I used to use this board in a similar manner to the way people are suggesting that Kira uses it now. I posted just to post and it didn’t matter if the online interaction was meaningful. I just needed validation that I existed outside my bedroom.”

“The way Kira uses this board is problematic and unhealthy. It bothers me that there’s nothing we can do about that, not just for the board’s sake but for Kira’s as well.”

There were people who thought referring to me as “Miss I have autism” was unnecessarily  bitchy and then there were people who accused those people of being delicate snowflakes who would fall apart if someone looked at them the wrong way.

Q-Tip (sorry, now I’m just creating screen names based on random objects in my room) said “I think it’s wrong and pretty damn rude to ask Kira to take a break from the board. I see it as asking the weird kid who gets picked on at school to not come in while the mean kids are allowed to stay and play,”

Rabbit said she felt that it was kinder for the moderators to ask me to take a break than to have me stay and continue to experience what I perceived as being picked on and torn apart.

Oh, yes, it was so very kind of the moderators to ask me to take a break and then start a thread inviting everyone to pick on me and tear me apart when I wasn’t there to defend myself.  Some people on that board had compassion for me and some did not. Whoever the moderators were and however they felt about me, they showed an appalling lack of compassion by starting that thread.

Shortly before the forum administrator locked the thread HushPuppy said “Is anyone else uncomfortable that there are 10 pages about Kira? I’m surprised she’s still being discussed and dissected. Maybe we’re just as obsessed with her as she is with us.”

Yes, I was uncomfortable that there were ten pages devoted to discussing and dissecting me and yes, the obsession went both ways.

 

 

 

One thought on “When Online is out of line: Glitter up your ass

  1. While I of course never participated in the message board you wrote about here, I can say quite confidently from my knowledge of your writing on WordPress that if anyone has a defensive reaction to what you say, it’s probably because they’re jealous of your excellent and unique style of thinking and expression. In a very short time, I’ve watched you more than once turn topics that were of seeming disinterest to me into something unexpectedly fascinating. In my opinion, that’s not just the mark of a good writer, but a deep and sensitive thinker. The world needs more people like you. Obsession, whether positive or negative, is a sign of envy. So let those fools continue to obsess over a great contributor they chased away while we who follow your blog get to enjoy the current fruits of your mind.

    Liked by 3 people

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