An endeavor that began as a way to de-stress and write about autism in a positive way became a daily fight and stress, confronting a continuous atmosphere of hostile negativity towards autistics, the disabled, and minorities in general. This daily fight, combined with administrations apathy, inaction, putting the responsibility for action on the victim (a stigmatized minority with communication problems!), favoritism, and uneven application of rules and guidelines, made me begin questioning why on earth I wanted to keep providing them content.
The final blades of straw came when I was messaged by a troll on facebook, in connection to Quora. Let me make it clear, I did not leave because of one nasty guy with a chip on his shoulder calling my son a retard. I’ve encountered worse online.
I fully expect to get that sort of bullshit on this site too. No. It was the message after message I received (in my personal email, quora, and facebook) in connection to that incident.
It was a flood.
They included, more hate, blame for me being too sensitive, but also primarily story after story of women (a couple on the spectrum but also others who write in disability and mental health topics), who had been treated badly by that troll but also by other men on Quora. They felt ignored by administration concerning him (there was already a well known well established pattern) and others and unwelcome on the site.
Another contact was a disgraced and banned top writer. No friend of mine, yet a compelling example of uneven application and interpretation of rules depending on popularity.
Another was a friend being harassed by a top writer. She was leaving because she felt she could not complain, because it wouldn’t matter. I suspect she’s right.
I’ve been 100 percent clear about the fact that not only do I have an autism spectrum diagnosis,
I have ptsd. This level of stress was a trigger for me.
It’s only two weeks later I finally feel like putting the words together to describe it.
I felt unsafe, and completely unsupported by the people capable of making Quora a place that, in theory, should be safe. I felt physically sick as well, a psychosomatic symptom. My functioning was in the toilet.
So once again I asked myself, why was I there, providing content in such a hostile environment?
As a way of getting through every single day without feeling like I’m at war, I MUST reduce stress by all healthy means possible.
Cutting out an often hateful website, as difficult as it was to separate myself from the online friendships I had made there, as difficult as it was to abandon the work I had put in, it seemed the only choice.
I hope my content will be allowed to stay, as several have asked me not to delete it. I cannot say how my criticism would be received by admins. At one time Quora felt my input had value.
I’ve got a nice fleece jacket I will never wear again to prove it.