News Flash! I’m a *terrible* person! (Not)

smiley face in frowning crowd
If others are unhappy, that’s their problem. Why should I be unhappy, too?

I have no idea how to write this post … I’m confused about something that happened yesterday, and I’m trying to make sense of it. I’m feeling like I need to defend myself, but even more, I feel like I need to logically work through the mini shit-show that was my Monday, and get clear about some things. I have no idea how I’m going to sound, here — defensive or arrogant or indifferent or defiant or whatever. Chalk it up to my Royal Aspie-ness, and take it as you will. I’m literally just trying to understand…

OMG – three dozen(!) people recently got together to discuss the #ActuallyAutistic list of blogs I posted last year at, which inadvertently mis-gendered them. They apparently decided they were horribly wronged by me. Erased. Invalidated. Ugh.

Yesterday (Monday morning, no less), I went onto Twitter and found two separate ALL CAPS DMs to me about my infraction(s). The genders were wrong. Just wrong. I responded with what I thought was a positive and pro-active attitude — thanking them for letting me know and explaining what the deal was, and commencing to fix it. Problem solved, right?

Not even close. Somehow, my chipper responses threw gasoline on internal fires and infuriated the other(s) and I ended up being accused of actually harming people. Damaging them. Endangering them.

All because I included the links to their public blogs on a list that accidentally mis-categorized their identity. Because I gave them visibility. Possibly the wrong kind of visibility?

Huh. The way I see it, if you put yourself out there in the very-public blogosphere, people can draw their own inferences. And if someone follows a link to your blog that’s mis-categorized at the start, I would think they’d pretty much get that (oops) it was a mistake, and they’d adjust their perception accordingly.

But apparently, I’ve assaulted the fundamental humanity of three dozen people.

Not bad for a day’s work, right? 😉

For the record, I originally thought it would be pretty cool to put together that list, categorized so that people can find folks who talk about the things that relate to them. People have enjoyed the list of autism spectrum blogs I have here, and I thought it could be even better, if people could track down folks who were more like them, or who had a specific orientation they wanted to relate to. I didn’t honestly see anything invasive about it — any more than Google or  Bing or Facebook are invasive by displaying site links and information to the world. If you publish it to the world, there you go. The world’s gonna take it in as it will.

Additionally, I pull my lists and the categorizations from another source (which I’m going to leave out of this post, so they don’t attract any ire). That list is manually collected and updated, so of course — being human and all, and being maintained by people who volunteer their limited free time — there may be some inconsistencies and inaccuracies that are in no way intentional or a reflection of the opinion the list-keepers have of folks. And I displayed it through a script I wrote, which has a lot of lovely logic in it that brought me great joy while creating it.

The original intention was joy. Support. Signal boosting. Helping people connect. Making it really easy for people to find like-minded folks and enjoy their writing.

Instead, it got taken completely the wrong way, and a couple people had a Monday morning catharsis telling me about it. And more.

So, that was my Monday, and it comes back to the ongoing theme we’ve got in our autistic community about how we treat each other. Seriously, there’s way too much enemy-making going on. Someone actually told me I’m “feeling sorry” for myself because people stood up against the repeated harm I caused and kept causing for months. People. Please. If anyone is doing you harm, you don’t just sit and marinate in it. You do something about it. Speak up. Reach out. Let me know, for heaven’s sake!

I made it clear on the page that people should reach out to me if there were errors, but nobody did. They apparently just sat with their anger and their hurt and their version of what was happening and then unloaded on me, rather than actually taking positive, pro-active action to fix it at the root. Someone could have easily — easily — reached out to me and let me know about the 36 problems, and I could have fixed it in the space of a few minutes. But rather than take a modicum of responsibility for what they knew was wrong and helping to make it right, it turned into a blame game, with a pointless amount of distraction for an already challenging day.

Ultimately, I was told to let “the pain I am feeling now help guide me in healthier directions in the future”. Somebody was clearly projecting.


For the record, the mix-up was a data error. An honest mistake. Something that can be fixed.

But the ensuing shit-show sucked up way too much time. And since my original intention of joy and support and signal-boosting turned into a source of pain and suffering, I’ve decommissioned the list and just linked over to the other site where people can find that stuff.

My version was good. And I still have it on the server. But it’s not worth the time and energy — creating something new gives me energy. Having to defend it does not. And since I don’t have any extra energy to spare on negativity (because of the many positive activities in my life), I’m not bothering with it.

If someone else wants to take it on, I’ll give you the code and you can host it yourself. My thing is creating something new and original. Not fielding complaints from people who can’t see the vision and don’t share the joy.


The day awaits. Off I go…


22 thoughts on “News Flash! I’m a *terrible* person! (Not)

  1. This field was intentionally left blank

    Omg I’m so very sorry that that happened to you! I saw the post about complaints (I’m following that blog, too; imagine my shock when I opened the email notification about that post to find that not only had people complained, but also that there were so many!). My jaw dropped and my heart broke. I didn’t realize you were the author (I think I knew at some point, but had forgotten in the interim). I can understand a diverse set of points of view, so I can see where some are coming from, but gah! I hadn’t expected so much negativity.

    I have never seen you as the type of person to do any harm, and your efforts to correct their problem and make things right, in my opinion, should have sufficed. You’re totally not a horrible person. ❤️ You would never do anything to hurt anyone. Everyone makes mistakes, and I’m not sure that any mistakes you might have made are all that major. You have my support and my understanding. I appreciate all of the hard work and dedication that you’ve put into that project, and I know that the desire is only to help.

    And on top of all that, I was even more shocked to read how your acknowledgment and steps to correct the situation weren’t good enough! Like, what else were you supposed to do? What else could you do? You did everything you could. I think some people might be overreacting just a little. But then, I’m not them. I mean, I don’t mind which category I’m listed in because my blog is anonymous anyway! And even if it was the wrong category and my name was on my blog, a simple polite point-out of the error and request for a correction would have sufficed, and everyone would be happy.

    Someone had suggested that you contact every person and ask them if you could list them. I mean, what’s up with that? Writers on the internet link to other sites all the time and no one has a hissy-fit about it. Nobody gets permission or insists on as much, either. It’s the nature of the internet. (And besides–a lot of people don’t blog as often and I imagine that it would be pretty difficult to contact some of them!)

    I’m grateful for your efforts and I appreciate the time and energy you’ve put into that list. I feel honored to be included! Again, you have my full support.

    Hugs to you, if you like/need them ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. VisualVox

      Thanks! Gah! is right… It was just such a misunderstanding. The thing that gets me, is how invested people can be in their point of view, and they just won’t consider anything else. Yep, I could have done things differently, and I’m sorry the errors persisted as long as they did. But seriously, people, just speak up! Just tell me, if something needs to change, and I’ll do it. Don’t stew in your anger and then blame me for not reading your mind(s).

      As for contacting everyone… yeah, I’m not getting paid to do this work, and that’s a ton of effort. I could build an automated form that people could use, but that’s also additional work. And then you need to be able to edit and delete entries, manage logins/passwords, all that stuff. If somebody wants to pay me $100/hour to do it, I’ll do it. I get a sh*t-ton done in an hour. I’m like that. But until I’m getting reimbursed for my efforts… yah, not gonna happen.

      As for getting overwrought about being included on a list in the wrong place — that’s like someone pitching a fit over showing up in Google search results with the “wrong” bunch of blogs. Or going after WordPress w/ both barrels because the tags you used landed you in a list of other blogs you don’t like. It’s the internet. If you dive in, you have to expect the water to have a variety of different conditions.

      Thanks for your support – as always – I really appreciate it!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m really sorry; not surprised but I am sorry.

    The current trend for attacking people for mistakes is really harmful and produce any positive change. If anyone was upset then they should have taken you up on your offer and asked to edit or remove them from your list.

    Your list has been so helpful and informative and it’s a shame that people can’t see past negativity.

    Yes, misgendering is a thing and it can be harmful, but mistakes are a thing too. I’m sorry you got attacked, you don’t deserve it, your intention wasn’t to harm x

    Liked by 4 people

    1. VisualVox

      Thanks 🙂 Yeah, for someone who’s been constantly mis-gendered since I was a kid — I mean, why DID everybody always treat me like a girl, when I was little? I could never figure it out — it seems bizarre to me that someone is accusing me of deliberately mis-gendering them and perpetuating harm for months on end. I just have to laugh, now. But at the time, it was really off-putting. Oh, well. On to the next thing. There’s so much good out there to enjoy and celebrate! Why let this bring me down?

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Did you apologize for your mistake? Sometimes apologies can go a long way. It sounds like these people are overreacting and need to just let it go though. You made an honest mistake and you fixed it. Nobody’s perfect. It would be courteous to ask peoples’ permission before you put their blog on your list but permission is not required. Once you put something out their publicly, other people are free to do what they want with it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. VisualVox

      Yep, was very apologetic at the start. “Oh, sorry to hear about the mixup – that is frustrating. I actually pull the urls and categories from the site.” Thought I was being friendly and helpful. Getting pissed off at me for doing that, is like getting pissed off at WordPress for listing your blog under the tag(s) you’ve used — there are tons of blog listings that way. It’s a common thing. Not cause for alarm. People need to calm down.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. VisualVox

      Thank you! I think it’s so important for us to give visibility to each other, to put ourselves out there in a positive light. Situations like this really sadden me, because it just hurts our community, in the end.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. True. There are enough things pulling us apart in this world.

        I’m terrible at getting my blog out there, so am always grateful to those who have the skills for using them to help.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. VisualVox

        🙂 Well, when you do get it out there, it’s always a pleasure. And it’s a good thing, to keep people waiting and anticipating your posts. Whets our appetite 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

  4. You’ve apologised and asked for guidance in remedying the situation… what more could be wanted.

    There is no way that your efforts could be interpreted as being malicious, potentially harmful maybe, but definitely non deliberately malicious .From what you say, this on going attack of you is deliberate and is malicious.

    It saddens me greatly that we autistics, as a community,spend such energy viciously attacking each other when we could be asking for clarification etc which would be more productive.We can learn from the pain we feel by remembering how we are misunderstood and our actions misconstrued by non -autistics.

    Cliques ganging up on each other… but why? We can use our mistakes, individual and collective, to inform our social awareness so that we have a chance to bring about the greater change needed in the broader society.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. VisualVox

      Ah, perseveration… also, it’s a great example of how a people can come up with their own version of things that makes sense to them, based on their past experiences… which has nothing to do with what’s really going on. People are so triggered, in general, these days, it happens all the time. And they get aggressive. Just last night, my partner was nearly run off the road, then chased for miles by a dude in a fit of road rage. It was really dangerous – and she has no idea what she did that might have caused him to react that way. In any case, there was no collision, no apparent damage to his car, or anything like that — he just snapped and went after her. Fortunately, she’s okay. But that seems to be the general sense of the world, these days…

      Liked by 2 people

    1. VisualVox

      Thanks – yeah, I tried to diffuse it, but that just seemed to throw more fuel on the fire. I honestly did want to resolve it fairly and with goodwill, but that isn’t always possible… Oh, well.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Rules to keep the Actually Autistic Blogs List safe | Actually Autistic Blogs List

  6. Good grief. I’m so sorry you’ve had all this to deal with. I know how important signal-boosting has been to you (as it’s becoming to me).

    I really believe in people being sensitive and compassionate towards each other. This attacking people over mistakes thing is just awful.

    Liked by 1 person

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