Thursday, September 5, 2013
Opinions, online etiquette and Autistic safe space
There has been very little "drama" on this blog and its Facebook Page in the 18 months or so that it has been here. I love that!
I am noticing a shift in the way people interact on blogs and Facebook Pages, though. I am seeing a lot of arguing, accusing and just straight out poor behaviour (not on this page!). People seem to feel that they should come onto a blog or page and make sure that things are "democratic" and that "free speech" is upheld. It seems to me, however, that these things are code for "I disagree with you and I want to be able to do that loudly and rudely on your blog/page without you asking me not to". And I would disagree that that is what blogs are for.
The fact is that it is impossible for a blog to actually be a democracy. It is not even possible for a blog to be unbiased. A blog is a collection of thoughts and opinions put together by a person who has put time and effort into deciding what they think, believe and value. In my experience a LOT of time and effort goes into this.
In my social circle, and throughout my life, I and the people I have interacted with have worked on the assumption that it would be rude to walk into someones house and start to criticise them or what you think you know about them.
I feel it is the same with interactions on blogs and on Facebook. A blog is like someones house. I would not go to visit a blog that I can see holds different values and opinions than I do and expect them to welcome me if I begin attacking them or the things they have written on their blog.
Likewise, if I post something here I would hope that people would recognise that this is my blog, where I post things I agree with, value and support. I would hope that people would respect that and refrain from being rude, or aggressive about their disagreement.
In the past I have purposely avoided posting on topics that I know can be divisive. This has been because I have not felt up to the task of having to moderate the blog heavily.
These days I am learning a lot about how important it is to be up front about what I believe. I am learning about the importance of there being places that are safe for Autistics to visit online. I want these places to exist for my kids when they are older.
To this end, you will start to see more open discussion of hard topics on this blog. You will notice me intentionally opposing some view points. I am working towards creating a space where it is safe for Autistic people to come- where they do not have to worry about seeing comments that make them feel they are seen as anything other than wonderful just the way they are.
It will be a work in progress. I am still learning. I am listening to Autistic adults. I am listening to my children. I am figuring out where I may have contributed to hurt in the past and endeavouring not to do that again.
I hope that you will want to come on this journey with me.
Of course, if you find that you disagree with me and you are no longer comfortable here, that is fine. All our journeys are different. I will not be upset or offended if you decide to unlike the page and stop visiting the blog. I am not here to be popular or to chase after "likes". I am just here learning and documenting the journey.