(Edited to add: If anyone can direct this woman and her daughter to resources to deal with the situation described in that post, it’d be really helpful. I’m passing it on because I don’t know about these things, at least not right now at 2:30 in the morning, but I’m guessing others do.)
I just pissed off Larry Arnold about “deleting” comments he made that I’d never actually seen. But I figured out the problem, they were in my spam filter. Problem solved. But I figured I should post this in case it happened to anyone else. (Edited to add: I just checked — I found a whole bunch more posts sitting around in my spam filter, and have de-spammed them as well. This is way clearly nothing personal, the thing is just acting up too much.)
Just to reiterate something I said recently before:
Be aware that my spam filters often mess up and throw things in the spam bin that are actually legitimate comments (this happens most often to Andrea Shettle for some reason, to the point where I search all spam for her name before deleting it). So you might want to keep a copy of your comment just in case.
I just searched on that person’s name in my spam filter, and found the comments.
Please note: If I’d deleted the comments, I wouldn’t have been able to find them in my spam filter. Deleted comments disappear entirely.
If I do delete a comment it’s either because:
1. It violates my comment policy. (Which isn’t about agreeing or disagreeing with me, as you can tell by what I let through. However, I don’t allow hurtful gossip, and I don’t allow attempts to derail self-advocacy efforts by saying people aren’t autistic, or aren’t the kind of autistic people who matter, or, by virtue of being autistic, are clueless.)
2. It contains private information.
3. I misclicked (the new WordPress dashboard makes it really, really easy to do that — instead of having checkboxes where I can click next to the ones I want deleted, then the ones I want to keep, etc, and then click something at the bottom of the page, there are little links on each comment now for approve, spam, delete, etc., and if I click “delete” by mistake, it’s gone forever).
If there are things from awhile ago that seem to violate my policy, that’s because the policy wasn’t always there. If there are things from now that seem to violate my policy, it’s probably because I don’t always read through comments very thoroughly before approving them. (And that “don’t” should really be “can’t”, or else I’d never find the time to approve them all.)
As I said before, if you’re attached to a comment, keep another copy. And also, don’t assume the worst if something doesn’t appear. I just got through a month’s worth of backlogged approving comments elsewhere, and a lot of them were people posting the same thing over and over and then sometimes going “You didn’t post my comment, that must be because __________”. No, seriously, I just didn’t get to it until now.
I’ve got 3172 comments in my spam filter right now. If some of them are yours, I’m truly sorry about the problems. I just don’t know a better way to handle the enormous volume of comment spam I get. Please keep copies of any comments you’re particularly attached to, and email me (my blog address with an @ after the first word instead of a dot) if they’re not getting through. I’ll try to find them in the spam filter through a search.
I do clear the spam filter from time to time though, and then there’s no going back unless someone posts the comment again.
Please also be aware I’m not in a position to answer all my emails, do everything I’m supposed to be doing, etc. I’m behind on that already. I’ve got a lot of stuff going on in real life right now. I’m not doing a tenth of what I should be, and I haven’t been as political as I’ve wanted to be lately. But I’m doing what I can, and I tend to assume that I’m not the only advocate out there and that other people are doing things when I can’t be doing them. Frankly I think I need to hang out in more political discussions than I have been lately, because I find that often it’s the environment that allows me to do, or not do, something.
At the same time… since I’ve gotten back online more thoroughly, I’ve been hit with a massive amount of requests, demands, questions, queries, etc. Many of them assume that I’ve stored knowledge I haven’t stored, know things I don’t know, remember things I don’t remember, and can do things I can’t do. I feel bad about it, because a lot of the things being requested, demanded, etc., are worth doing. But at the same time, feeling bad about it doesn’t exactly help anything. I’ve tried to do as much as I can, when I’ve been able to do it.
Just be aware that when you write to me about one thing, I’m also likely getting emails, phone calls, and a whole lot of other things, about a lot of other things. Some recent examples:
- A person who worked at a school for autistic children, wanting advice on how to best get law enforcement’s attention about abuse there, and get the abuser fired, and is possibly facing retaliation.
- A full-time caregiver of a girl who’s in the hospital with a life-threatening medical condition, the hospital might not be acting fast enough to save her life, the person who has actual guardianship over the girl is too strung out on drugs to care what happens to her.
- An autistic person is trapped in the psychiatric system and their parents are trying to get them to sign over all their rights, and they have enough psych labels that their friends are afraid that most people in the autistic community would claim they belong in the system getting “treatment” they don’t want, and that they just lack insight, etc. And since I’ve been on the other end of that and have firm beliefs on that matter, I’m the one initially being written to about it.
- Someone wants my help coming up with solutions to make certain online environments accessible to a broader range of people than most people think of accessibility in terms of.
- Online meetings for a political autism-related group that I’m a co-founder of, that I’ve only managed to show up to one of in the past several months of weekly meetings, and that I’ve gotten weird reports of it being a ‘support group’ now (not something it was intended to be) and of it ‘dying a slow death from neglect’ (well, yeah, but I’d hope that a group with lots of people could function with just two people not being there).
- Someone wants me to work on the stylesheets for more than one website on this server, since I know my way around CSS and the like better than the person who does all the hardcore sysadmin stuff.
- I have to email a few people about participating in a panel discussion at a conference, then write my own part in it (topic – force-fitting oneself to stereotypes, or being force-fit into them by others, and consequences, basically).
- I have to write a longer speech for a different conference (where I’m hoping to incorporate concepts from disability politics into a discussion of autism, in order to get a different from usual perspective).
- About 3 or 4 interview requests, one of which I’ve agreed to (specifically because I’m only one of several interviewees within the self-advocacy movement, instead of being made into some single representative of all autistic people and all our opinions, which is both impossible and not something I’ve ever been interested in), which means four or five days of my time doing things, and then another several days of way less ability to do things than usual.
- Several people wanting to know about my life in general, in ways that I might or might not even tell a total stranger.
- Several people apparently wanting me to jump in and help them with flamewars I’m not interested in engaging in.
- People developing assistive technology wanting me to look over their ideas.
- Many, many people wanting DVDs of various videos and/or permission to show them places.
- Lots of comments that I haven’t yet moderated, in lots of places.
- An entire list that I’ve been not managing to hang around to moderate much of either.
- Lots of people (here and elsewhere) angry about their comments not showing up, and assuming the worst about the reasons.
- Lots of people not angry about their comments not showing up, but just repeating their comments lots and lots of times because they think they didn’t get through even if it was just me not getting to them yet.
- Someone wants proof that I can actually type, and is interpreting all of the previous results of making videos with my prior crappy camera with no tripod mount (and thus no way to tilt the camera or suspend it in various locations without a lot of duct tape and other contraptions that I don’t always have the ability to deal with), as intentional manipulation to make it look like I’m typing when I’m not. And, then, is going on to interpret my not getting to his requests for a video Right Now as proof that I’m not really typing.
- Someone wants to name a robot after me.
That’s not all, that’s what I can remember right now.
Two things determine how I respond: Capability and priority. Sometimes something’s a high priority but I just can’t do it, sometimes something’s a low priority and I can, so the two don’t always go together and it’s as frustrating to me as it is to anyone else.
I’ve noticed Laura getting a lot of stuff too, and a lot of it being framed in terms of demands. One day, she’d been basically working all day and night on the server (which is well past her capacities as a sysadmin in some respects), as well as taking care of me. Note that she’s autistic and has a severe physical impairment as well. She took a break to watch her favorite news program for an hour, and then she was going to get my medications set up for me, and then she was going to do more work on the server.
Well… she got a phone call halfway into that news program, which was her only break for the day. The phone call was from someone who wanted a password. Fine. She said she’d get it within an hour or so. The person at the other end of the line apparently said, “No, not in an hour or so, now,” or something to that effect. Meanwhile, she was getting emails saying that she had to do something else, for a totally different website, right away, and that if she didn’t do it, she would have to do something else that was even more impossible to do right away.
This is one person trying to do a whole lot of work on an entire server full of websites, while also being thrown into the role of caregiver for that time, and everyone seemed to be pressuring her to do their part first, and right now, and no it couldn’t wait half an hour or an hour. Each one seeming to think they were the only one wanting her attention right then, and some of them frankly not seeming to be able to differentiate between a need and a want, or between a possibility and an impossibility.
To be fair, one of the people demanding things right away, while the things didn’t really need to be done right away, that particular person was experiencing enough hardship at the time that they must have viewed even Laura as having the luxury to do just about anything. That happens, I’ve even fallen prey to it, so has Laura I’m sure, but it’s not always the most accurate assessment of things.
I almost wish there was some way to show people exactly who we are, and what our lives are like, and what our abilities are like, though. Instead of that, I’ve just produced that list of stuff that people are writing to me about, in the hope that it will show exactly how many things there are to pay attention to. If I could really get to all of these at once, and the many other things I’ve accidentally let drop over the months or years, I would be at a workplace right now getting paid, instead of my actual situation which I think if anyone magically teleported here and looked in my room right now they’d see the problem right away. At any rate, I’m only one person, together we’re still only two people.
So also a blanket apology for several things:
To anyone I didn’t get to when something was really important, for not getting to them.
For not being as political as usual in my writing. And for allowing myself to mostly get sucked into apolitical sorts of things.
For the actions of my spam filter. (No, I didn’t cause it, but it still caused problems.)
For allowing myself to get extremely sloppy when I write about things, and often writing as if things are true that I know are not or are only approximations of the truth, because I can’t easily right now find the language for what I really mean. (An example would be discussing particular psychological terms without sufficient discussion of what destructive concepts they embody.) Or even things that I just outright don’t mean, because the phrases pop out of my fingers fully formed, triggered by the words before them.
For often writing only half of some idea without addressing the other half as much as I should.
Also, a new website on our server is this (edited to add: try clicking again, I gave the wrong web address before):
The Real Voices of Autism. It’s running social networking software, but the point is it’s for autistic people and our allies. Not for any one person to claim to be the only real voice of autism or anything. It’s intended to connect people with similar interests and stuff, but also to make it easier to form discussion groups and have discussions about how to do various actual projects in the real world and stuff like that. And to share links, and, etc. As Laura put it, “This is your site. Do what it what you will, provided of course that you’re not abusive.” (And “do what it what you will” is actually exactly the kind of thing I was talking about earlier with word trouble, only some of mine has been a lot worse than that, and I’m having real trouble reading lately.)
So… I hope any of this has made enough sense. I don’t want to intimidate anyone who’s trying to contact me, I just want people to be more aware of what the real situation is with requests for things.