As I read the latest thread that had turned in to me being attacked en masse, there was that familiar sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. My heart was racing. I felt like I was in the middle of a hungry wolf pack, being attacked on all sides.
The attacks and the insults just kept coming. People who had previously defended me attacked me. People who I had assumed liked me or were at least neutral towards me attacked me. People who had been away from the board for a long time came to the thread to tell me I was the reason they left and to attack me.
Yo-ya said “I tried to come back to the board a while ago but it was the same old Kira show. Autism is no excuse for your behavior. My 9-year-old stepson is autistic and has some behaviors that are annoying as shit like making bird noises in the bathroom but unlike you he stops when we tell him to. People who just want to enjoy themselves shouldn’t have to deal with you. You’re just birds noises in the bathroom.”
Jill said she was all for people being honest and blunt but telling me I was just bird noises in the bathroom was extremely mean spirited. Yo-yo replied that she didn’t see how it was any meaner than what anyone else said.
I was especially hurt at being told I was just bird noises in the bathroom but there were plenty of other mean comments:
“You’re a troll. Go be annoying somewhere else on the internet.”
“You’re ruining this board. Get a blog or something.
“You are literally addicted to this board. Get out of here. You should probably get off the internet entirely but baby steps…”
“Your standard of behavior is really shitty and it has zip to do with autism. You expect people to pat you on the head and walk on eggshells around you and when they don’t you lash out. There’s no hope of you controlling yourself at this point.”
“Kira doesn’t give a shit about anyone else. She uses mental illness as an excuse.”
“I can’t stand Kira.”
“We’re not your puppets or your therapists.”
“You are using the board in what is universally agreed upon to be an unhealthy manner.”
“Everyone is bothered by you.”
“You’re either going to get banned or this board is going to become a sad, empty place.”
“I’m ready to pack up and leave this board right now.”
“This is not the place for you. You need to go.”
“We have never distinguished between deliberate and unintentional trolling here. If you troll you get banned.”
“If you get banned it’s your own fault.”
Despite or perhaps because of the emotional distress that thread was causing me, I could not tear myself away from it. I felt compelled to keep reading it, keep responding to it, keep trying to defend myself. Fear and panic were descending on me. Being banned now seemed like a very real possibility.
“I think I’m going to get banned” I said to my forum friend Karen.
“The ninjas said they’re monitoring the situation”
“But popular members are saying they want me banned so that will probably convince the ninjas to ban me.”
“It hasn’t convinced them before.”
I was keenly aware of how vulnerable I was. I knew that I could be banned at any moment and that I was powerless to stop it. My feeble attempts to defend myself left me feeling small and pathetic. The way I was once again being ganged up on and insulted, the way my words, my behavior and my life were once again being picked apart left me feeling utterly humiliated.
In addition to the people insulting me, there were people expressing concern for me.
“Kira, I know how important this board is to you and if a group that was important to me wanted me kicked out I would be devastated but it’s what needs to happen. I was hoping you would get over your obsession with this board but you haven’t. I don’t want you to be unhappy. You’re a smart girl. You’ve been to college. You can go back to college.”
“You’re a young woman. Your life shouldn’t be so boring that all you do is sit on the internet all day. Go out and do something. Volunteer, join a group, find a hobby. Don’t die without anyone knowing or caring. There’s a serious danger of that happening.”
Kevin, one of the few men on the board, said:
“I’m not sure how true this ‘Kira is a recluse who has nothing in her life but this forum to occupy her’ narrative is. Even if it is true I’m not entirely comfortable with what is undoubtedly an attempt to get Kira to leave the board being framed as an altruistic urge to help a troubled young person. It feels a little disingenuous.
That being said, it is undeniable that Kira has an extremely unhealthy relationship with this community and this community has an extremely unhealthy relationship with Kira. Kira, honestly at this point I don’t understand what you’re getting out of this relationship. I don’t know what the solution is though. I worry that if we run Kira off she will go somewhere where people will be far, far nastier than we could ever be.
I’m exhausted of these conversations and I cannot begin to imagine how they are making Kira feel. I’m tired of thinking and worrying about all of this. I’m upset that this is happening to a community I care about.”
I think that was the post that summed the whole situation up best of all.
The back and forth continued. Soon the thread was over ten pages long and for the second time the moderators created a thread devoted to bashing me, with my name as the title.
Dolly said I’d made no effort to change my behavior on the board and it was just the most annoying thing.
I pointed out that I had taken other people’s criticism of my posting in to account and adjusted accordingly. For instance, I now included my opinions about every news story I posted.
Sprinkles retorted that I had been asked to post less but I was still starting a lot of threads and asked if I honestly didn’t see the what the problem was.
I wrote some reply about how I didn’t see the problem with it because you didn’t have to read what I posted if you didn’t want to and you were free to start your own threads but no one ever saw that reply because when I went to post it a message popped up on my screen. It said ‘You have been banned.’