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 http://actuallyautistic.info/, 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…