When Online is Out of Line: A Danger to the Community

That thread with my name on it was started by Ninjamod6. It read:

“We have asked Kira to take a break from the board for two weeks.  We realize not everyone will agree with this decision but it was the best we could come up with. It’s not meant as a punishment but it’s a technique we have used in the past when we’re getting numerous reports about the same person- the person takes a break and everyone calms down-although usually it happens behind the scenes rather than out in the open like this. When she comes back we request that you cut her some slack and we have requested that she do the same with members she seems to have an antagonistic relationship with.”

A member we’ll call Hello Kitty asked the moderators if they’d made a determination about whether or not I was being bullied. A moderator replied that they’d issued some warnings to other people but they saw it as rudeness and dislike more than bullying because they’d expect bullying to be more insidious and to go on over an extended time period.

Regardless of what the moderators wanted to call what was being done to me on that board, I certainly felt like I was being bullied. It had been going on for years and it had been getting progressively worse. I knew there was more to it than just what was directly said to me on the board itself.

I knew members were talking trash about me and spreading rumors about me behind my back . I knew that they did it over private messages on the board, over Facebook and on their spin off board that only a select group of members from the main board were invited to. I knew that behind the scenes I was being reported to moderators, that a bunch of members had reported me to Facebook for having a fake name so that I would get kicked out of the board Facebook group. I knew that a large group of people were doing their best to make me snap, to make me feel unwelcome and excluded from a social group that was important to me, to get me kicked out of it.

Once a moderator had said they didn’t think I was being bullied a member called Hedwig  said she found the whole situation weird because unlike most forums this forum hid the identity of the moderators and that meant the people who were picking on me could be moderators.

A member named Mackenzie took offense at Hedwig’s comment. She said it was seriously disturbing to suggest that the moderators were the bullies and that she thought the moderators had made a good decision.  It’s not surprising that she reacted that way since I’m pretty sure she’s a moderator.

Ninjamod 3 piped up to assure everyone that none of the moderators had been picking on me under their regular member identities. I’m sure everyone appreciated that very definitive proof.

A member called Cookie said “I assume you also got numerous reports about some of the other participants in that thread . I know I reported one person in two different threads on Kira-related matters. Have those people been asked to take a break?”

The moderators didn’t answer that question.

The thread went on for about 10 pages until the forum administrator locked it. For 10 pages people criticized me, insulted me, judged me, defended me and analyzed me.  For 10 pages people picked apart everything I had done in the past and predicted what I would do in the future. My motives were speculated about. My personal life, my mental health and my disability were all up for discussion.

Here are some of the things I got to read about myself:

“Kira is an unrepentant antagonist and while I’m sure the two week break will do nothing to curb her hyper posting and combative spirit, I am happy for the vacation from it.”

“Kira spends more time on this board than anyone else can possibly manage. Sometimes I wonder if she sleeps. What really creeps me out is her encyclopedic knowledge of old threads and of who posts what. I think there’s been some tiptoeing around her because of her autism and her life crap.”

“It gets annoying when half the board has to tiptoe around Miss “I have autism!”

“Kira appears to be high functioning enough to use autism as an excuse for her aggressive posting behavior.”

“I wonder what happened to Kira. She graduated from college, had a job at a daycare and mentioned having a boyfriend at some point. Now suddenly she is too disabled to do anything besides post on the internet and apparently even living on her own is impossible. I think she needs more help than we can offer here.”

“I am shocked to learn her age. I thought she was 24 or some such with issues that made her seem like a teenager.  30?????!!!!? She really does need more help than can be offered here.”

“I wasn’t aware of Kira’s background until a thread where I ended up picking on her inability to clean a toilet. I had no idea that she didn’t have those basic skills. I had it in my head that she had been to college, was working, etc,  Guess I was wrong. I apologized to her but after that I was more aware of her attack mode and of how much time and effort she spent here. Her encyclopedic knowledge spooked me out.”

“Two weeks is a long time for someone who seems to spend her every waking moment online. I wonder if in the meantime she’ll find another board and become obsessed with them instead. I cannot imagine she will survive cold turkey. When she was posting while she was on vacation in Romania “I thought ‘This is not healthy behavior’.

I’ve noticed an increase in her defensiveness, her whining and her arrogance towards the board. She made a condescending comment to me but I didn’t want to give her the attention of responding to it and I know that if I did I would get the “I’m autistic!” line. I agree that she needs help we can’t give here but we can help the board by reigning her in when she can’t do that herself.”

“The things Kira posts are shallow and not thought provoking. She’s contributed to the board stagnation and is one of the reasons I don’t come here as much as I used to.”

“Nothing Kira posts comes from a place of wanting to create discussion-it’s just to boost her post count.”

“I’ve had Kira on ignore for a long time but she’s so difficult to ignore. I see her posts everywhere because people are constantly quoting her in reply and she posts so often in every thread that half the conversation is lost in the Kira vaccuum. I think she’ll be away for two weeks and then not change at all. The main reason I had her on ignore was her complete inability to see things objectively and deal effectively with human beings. Dealing with her is so tiresome. It’s decreased my interaction with this forum. I look forward to being more active while she’s away.”

“I’m just wondering if we can trust that Kira will stay away for these 2 weeks. With her being as obsessed with the board as she is it seems reasonable to assume she’d create another account to skulk about the board with. I really can’t see her staying away.”

“There’s a quote I think is relevant to this situation:  ‘The only common feature in all your dissatisfying relationships is you. That is extremely true with Kira.”

“Here’s how arguments about Kira always go:

One: I don’t like the way Kira posts.

Two: Don’t respond to her then.

One:  She’s  ruining the board for me.

Two: Then put her on ignore.

One: Then I miss things and things are weird.

Two: Post your own threads then.

One: She posts in my threads too, She posts everywhere all day long.

Two: Post in the pregnancy and parenting forum. She’s never there.

One: Okay but her reading and memorizing my information is creeping me out so I don’t want to put my stuff out there.”

Once again the nastiest comments of all came from Marcia:

“People have said clearly and unequivocally that they’ve left the board because of Kira. More, including me have said that they post less because of her. Now that she’s gone the board is already looking more active. Ignoring her is problematic. She’s made herself a part of this board. No matter how annoying and irritating she is, she is there. If you put her on ignore a bunch of threads become inaccessible to you and several more become incomprehensible due to her manic posting unless you unblock her posts to read them, which defeats the point.

This board is my main community outside my workplace and if I put Kira on ignore I have roadblocks limiting where I can go. “Can’t go down that road, she’s blocking it, I’ll go in to this shop , oh wait, no, she’s blocking the window. With the few other members I’ve put on ignore (and all have ended up banned), I’ve maybe locked myself out of one shop. Kira’s different. She’s everywhere and she knows everything every one of us has said and doesn’t hesitate to use that information when it benefits her. She’d be a danger in my community and she’s a danger in this community.

I am bitterly disappointed in the moderators telling us to cut her some slack. I really didn’t think that’s how we do things around here. Kira is going to come back here full of butt hurt about how she was bullied and got punished and it’s just not going to be pretty.”

I’m not sure why Marcia thinks I’d be a danger in her community but since her community is very far away from me, contains a lot of spiders and contains her, she can rest assured I will never set foot in it.

I was not full of butt hurt about how I was bullied and got punished. I was full of real, deep, genuine, justified hurt.

 

Words can hurt me

I said in my last post that I know what it’s like to be hurt by comments made about you online and boy do I ever. A lot of nasty things have been said about me online. They all came from the same place so I should have just quit that place before they fired me but I didn’t because I was stubborn. Now I’m left with something resembling PTSD from a place that can’t stop making nasty comments about me now that I’ve been gone for more than a month. To be fair I obviously can’t stop making negative comments about that place and some of the people there either.

Even when I tell myself the nasty comments made about me are more of a reflection on the people making them than they are on me, they still hurt. Some of the hurtful comments are so juvenile and ridiculous they’re kind of funny. One person told me I was just bird noises in the bathroom in reference to her 9-year-old autistic stepson who makes bird noises in the bathroom. What made that comment even funnier is that she told me I should behave better because I’m an adult, not nine. I think the last time I was compared to a bird (because I flapped my hands) was when I was 9 years old by my 9-year-old peers.

This was someone who had not posted on that forum in a very long time. She came back to tell me that I was the reason she left that forum and to tell me about her stepson who’s on the autism spectrum and has behaviors that are annoying as shit. To be honest I don’t feel all that bad about driving away someone who comes back  to a forum just to use the behaviors of an autistic child to insult an adult on the autism spectrum. Someone told her that her bird noises comment was very mean spirited and she said that she didn’t see how it was any more mean spirited than the other comments telling me I was annoying.

It was more mean spirited than the comments that just told me I was annoying because while I don’t make bird noises in the bathroom, I do have some physical tics/stereotyped movements that I’m sure this person would find annoying as shit. As annoyed as people are by my online behavior and as much as people insult me online, at least online they cannot be annoyed by my tics and they cannot insult me for them. Therefore it’s pretty damn hurtful to be told by someone who can’t even see my tics that despite all the witty, intelligent, insightful comments I’ve made over the years, in her eyes I’m nothing more than a tic associated with autism.

A stepparent being annoyed by the tics of a stepchild who is on the autism spectrum is also a scenario that hits very close to home for me. People on that forum would say my stepfather was an asshole because of the things he said to me and yet some of the things that were said about me there were similar to things he’s said about me. I don’t know why those people doubted that my stepfather is as mean to me as I say he is. If they need proof that people really can be that mean they don’t need to look very far.

It hurt to be told I was using autism as an excuse and it hurt to be referred to as Ms. I have autism even though such statements came from people who clearly didn’t have a clue about autism, people who had said that when they were a kid no one was autistic and these days parents were looking to find something wrong with their children, resulting in kids that were just a bit quirky and naughty receiving an autism diagnosis. There were a lot of self appointed autism experts on that board. If only they realized that knowing some people on the autism spectrum doesn’t make them any kind of authority on the subject.  As the director of the residential program for young adults on the autism spectrum  that I attended said “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”

When I said that I thought someone’s behavior at a funeral might be related to traditions at southern funerals I was told that I was Yankeesplaining to people who live in the south but it was fine for people to ablesplain to me that my own behavior had nothing to do with autism. It hurt to be told that I’d made no effort to try to change my behavior when I had made an effort.

It hurt to have a quality of mine that had always been regarded as an asset-my good memory-turned in to a defect, something that made me a creep and a danger to the community. It hurt to be told that I relied on the board to form my opinions for me, that the opinions I did express must have been taken from another board, that I’d experienced a decline in my mental abilities. It hurt to be called an imbecile.

It hurts to be told that I need to get a life and a job especially when I’ve tried to get a job but have been unable to find one, even with the help of special service agencies. It hurts to hear that people can’t believe I’m as old as I am, that I seem like a teenager, especially when I’ve never made my age a secret. It hurts to see signature lines that are digs at me and the people who defend me.

It hurts to be accused of deliberately trying to upset, annoy and anger people especially when I knew people were deliberately trying to do that to me. It hurts to be told that I’m rude and don’t give a shit about other people, although there may be some truth in that one. I was pretty indifferent to the feelings of people who were deliberately cruel to me.

It hurts to be told that I’m not wanted in a community that I’ve actively been a part of for a long time and it hurts to be rejected by that community.

Unfortunately even well intentioned comments hurt sometimes. It hurts to be told that I should get counseling, as if in all my years of struggling with mental illness, it has never occurred to me to do that, as if I haven’t sought counseling in many different forms from many different therapists.

It hurts when a friend tells me that she’s cutting off contact with me, even when I know she’s doing it for my own good. It hurts when another friend assures me that she’ll never ditch me and will always be my friend, then ditches me about two weeks later. To add insult to injury the reason she ditches me is because she has decided to betray me by twisting and cherry picking information I shared with her privately in order to get another friend of mine in trouble. Of course the information she shares just opens the door for people to make even more nasty comments about me.

Another dig that was made at me at one point was that my lack of self awareness was astonishing. Anyone who has the nerve to call me a psycho stalker for Googling the name of a proven liar to find more information about them when they Googled the names of me and my family members to try to give credence to their own crackpot theories about me has an astonishing lack of self  awareness themselves.

I think I’m an unfortunate combination of ridiculously sensitive and foolishly thick skinned. I get very hurt by mean comments about me but instead of running away from those mean comments I keep coming back for more. I struggle with low self esteem so it’s hard not to see those negative comments and being banned from that forum as a reflection of my self worth. I just try to remind myself  that some of those popular, well respected members who made nasty comments about me have had nasty comments made about them elsewhere on the internet and that some of them have been banned from other forums. I have to remember that being popular doesn’t make those people right.

I try to cope with all the mean comments that have been made about me by pretending that I’m a celebrity. If I were a celebrity there would be a million  nasty comments made about me all over the internet every single day. It would be impossible for me to keep up with all of them and seeking them out would be a waste of my time and energy. Besides, as a therapist of mine once said, what other people think of you is none of your business.