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Autism and the furry fandom: A lesson for us all

Edited by GreenReaper as of Thu 3 Mar 2016 - 08:36
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This article has been withdrawn at the author's request. Comments will remain readable for a short period for the benefit of their posters.


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Just curious but what did you do for the health department and why did your employment end?

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Thank you for the question. I was an Assistant to the Director. I wrote and implemented grants, drafted legislation, wrote white papers, speeches, aided the Commissioners of Health, the Environment and the Workhouse. I also did press releases, produced documentaries on infant mortality and lead poisoning, and press conferences. I guess I just got stressed out too often, and the job was getting to me. Everyone was getting all the fuss and limelight and no one really noticed my contributions. *^^* So I quit when an opportunity came along.

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This does nothing to quell my urge to rip you a new one about high school freshman level reasoning, for a very condescending purpose. I don't take offense to myself, but if I were not the most neurotypical, I'd write an entire article using this as an example for what not to do.

I like hosting guest articles on a furry news blog and have never rejected one, so take this as an editor reaction to the reasoning, complicated by being personally repelled by the judgement.

Nothing personal but let's address appeal to authority. I don't think an unsuccessful PR flunky carries a lick of credibility to speak about science. Rather the opposite. I've known plenty of barely functional cogs in the beaurocratic machine who were tasked with propagandizing about, say, the public health scourge of shooting up marijuana. Simply because the government approved a big budget for Reaganite Drug War bullshit, and they needed to cook up a morals campaign to justify the exploding prison-industrial complex. There's a long tradition of bullshit morals campaigns in America since way before Prohibition. That was for "public health".

Oh lord, heavy metals correlate with autism in a single study found on the internet by a layperson to suit a cobbled together essay. Must be the answer. Never mind that the peak would have happened in kid's teenage years after 1960's bans - that's 30 some years ago. Never mind decades of disagreement in the scientific community about what the spectrum even encompasses. "Correlate"... Correlatation is not causation.

Then it's facile leaps to conclusion. Ditzy half-baked memories. Lack of focus or perspective while mushing together a voluntary affinity group hobby with environment and biology. Lack of critical thinking about moving diagnostic goalposts. All leading to really horrible moralistic judgements.

"I'm tired of hearing autism as an excuse" ... great, weak anecdotes, and ... "don't let it limit your ability to be a good person". So if it bothers you it's bad, and if it doesn't it's good.

Amazing analysis. It's on the level of whining about how homeless people smell bad, you're tired of it and they should take showers.

What is it with people with special needs being all special like that, instead of just getting over it?

Also you sound a generation older than people bugging you. Might be worth a thought that immaturity happens when people are kids.

There's my rant. That was pretty harsh but it looks like I'm not the only one it made "furious". Please take it into consideration that no matter how unintentional it is, getting better informed goes a long way to make a better essay.

Or heck, do some research to get quotes from autistic people, so they can speak for themselves about their challenges.

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The problem with autism today is that it is indeed a guessing game. It is haphazardly misdiagnosed about as much as the common cold. I didn't take offense to your rant. I know my writing won't appeal to everyone.

And actually, I did hear from several autistic furries on Furaffinity, and amazingly enough they were all very positive towards what I had to say. =)

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"Nothing personal but let's address appeal to authority. I don't think an unsuccessful PR flunky carries a lick of credibility to speak about science."

"an unsuccessful PR flunky" ?

But she's not supposed to take it personally?

Flayrah just lost a reader and a potential writer.

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You know Patch runs Dogpatch Press, not Flayrah, right? :-)

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yes, I deleted that from my bookmarks too. I don't stand for personal insults from respected members of a community.

it was uncalled for.

Stick to 'attacking' the data and the information not the person. the fact that flayrah allowed it to happen is a strike against the site.

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Who respects me though? I definitely don't want respect for running a furry blog, which is a silly thing to have. Maybe laughed with for having no shame. Or feared like a pirate.

It's not 'ad hominem' to criticize the source of info, because -- It was the lead of the story with appeal to authority fallacy about misusing statistics -- it's WTF to see bad science attached to Public Health PR, on a professional level -- uggh, it's like hearing a social worker complain about the homeless, I'd rip that too.

Author responded and I don't have a problem any more. Whatever, mistakes happen. So enjoy being captain of the Tone Police. Maybe you should write an article about manners! I'll even promise not to call you a doo-doo head in the comments.

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She can take it as personally as she likes. It's nothing personal from me because I don't know this person, only what she writes. It was author's choice to make profession part of the story. I didn't like the story. You don't have to like my comment.

Put some style in that flounce! Make an impression because there's hardly many places like this for writing and you might have to start your own. Don't be afraid to come back though, the whole place isn't to blame for me being cranky.

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"It's nothing personal from me because I don't know this person, only what she writes."

No, it doesn't work that way. Calling her "an unsuccessful PR flunky" is a condescending personal insult, regardless of who brought up her profession. That's a comment on her, not her article. You don't get a free pass to insult people just because you don't know them.

Comments like this -- not to mention Flayrah's usual hands-off free-for-all why-bother-to-moderate-anything commenting atmosphere -- are basically why I'll only comment here anonymously anymore, and rarely even that.

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There's that saying "consider the source", and the one "if it quacks like a duck." Quack is an adjective and a noun about pseudo doctor advice too. The interepretation of science and health pseudo knowledge here is quack style. That's only a personal insult if you consider yourself a doctor. I put the non personal intent right before my cranky words about the appeal to authority that appears unqualified. Take it out of context if you like drama, mr or miss anonymous source, but let's be honest that the source makes bad information. Also if you don't like the comment style of the whole place, there's a mute function and bring out the 1 stars. I'll eat em up like cookies.

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"Comments like this -- not to mention Flayrah's usual hands-off free-for-all why-bother-to-moderate-anything commenting atmosphere -- are basically why I'll only comment here anonymously anymore, and rarely even that."

Indeed! Our comment system should be more like FurAffinity's!

Oh wait...

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:D :D :D :D

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The article has been re-written to illustrate the 2013 Anthrocon survey.

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"Nothing personal but let's address appeal to authority. I don't think an unsuccessful PR flunky carries a lick of credibility to speak about science. Rather the opposite."

So if a PR flunky were to say, write about Climate change and why people need to do something about it, site outside sources, does that make their words any more false? Or would they still not be able to speak about science?

The irony here is that most of the most scienc-iest of scientists are too busy in a lab to present their findings to the common person. So they typically rely on those more able to speak in a layman tongue to present their findings.

So I guess they're just lab flunkies though.

That being said, the structure of the article started off a bit self damaging. I think that's what is rubbing you off the wrong way, as it is kind of hard to trust the rest of the article when it starts off with, essentially 'I don't know much about the topic in the title.' It harms even the illusion of expertise.

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Having a bullshit detector is really important in these times. Like this - "Climate change should be investigated and addressed" = good idea. "Climate change is caused by this thing in one study I found on the internet even if it's inconsistent with the entire field" = bad idea.

"Alcohol is bad for your body" = debatable fact. "We need Prohibition to solve it" = bullshit.

Pseudo knowledge and PR bullshit is the source of all evil, man.

Having a lot of credentials can be just as much a source of bullshit. Who generates it in the first place? Social science is riddled with fraud and sophistry, and academia is rotten with toilet paper degrees. Seriously, not being cranky, it really is. There's entire professions that have sprung up to criticise it. It's just getting worse and worse with the way higher education is organized in the States.

I'll give you a great example: Autism Speaks is the #1 most prominent advocacy organization for autistic people, and lots of them hate it. Autism Self Advocacy Network was formed specifically to combat them. Why: they refused, way after the vaccines > autism fake link was exposed as a scientific fraud, to stop wasting tons of research money on it.

They said it was mercury in the vaccines... and look above, it's someone spreading a picked-off-the-internet theory that a correlation with heavy metal is the "cause".

Question everything, or you're gonna have a bad time.

It's not enough to discourage well meaning amateurs - do it to professionals too. "species identity disorder" my ass!

I'm not just being a garden variety crank though, here's me defending the most loathed man in furry fandom, who has worse than autism going on.

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I would agree that there are many false theories on the increase of autism. And the reason people are so crazy about trying to find it is because they feel it's a terrible thing.

It has to be particularly odd to see parents going crazy about vaccines for a high functioning autisitic person— "So you're risking you kid's life on the off chance they'd become like me? That's not sad at all..."

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The comment here was supposed to go on the bottom :(

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^^^ A textbook aspie meltdown.

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You're still lurking here?

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Actually, this is kind of out of nowhere ... which I guess doesn't mean he wasn't lurking, but he was really lurking.

But, hey, you still just lurking, or should I have added you to the Zootopia reviewer poll?

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I hadn't really thought about writing one, but now that you mention it I might?

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You sound really confident with the question mark there.

But, you don't have to if you don't want; it was more a question of "are you back?" Because I, for one, would be very excited if you were back.

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LOL no, I saw a link for it somewhere else, saw his comment, and found it rather funny.

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By the way Patch:

"I don't think an unsuccessful PR flunky carries a lick of credibility to speak about science."

Sounds like something a PR Flunky would say, just as an FYI :)

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Does not compute - serving who?

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It was slightly interesting and I do think the message of not using a disability as an excuse and taking proactive steps to avoid a problem you are aware of is a good one, but I have to take issue with many of your scientific assertions. It's risky getting involved in a scientific debate without proper evidence and there's a lack of good sources here. When it isn't just assertions based on your word then I don't find your supporting evidence compelling.

"The CDC officially reports that today, 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)."

No, it didn't. You state it as a fact but the page you link to does not support that. It clearly states that that number is an estimate. "The CDC reports" and "The CDC estimate" read very differently. Furthermore, you mention the increase in Autism diagnoses as a real increase, something your own source is far more cautious about. They say:

"It is unclear exactly how much of this increase is due to a broader definition of ASD and better efforts in diagnosis. However, a true increase in the number of people with an ASD cannot be ruled out."

You don't mention anything about better efforts to diagnose autism or that over the period in question the internet came into being which allowed people to look up symptoms and diagnose themselves (or their children) with all sorts of conditions. It could also contribute to people taking their children to get a confirmatory diagnoses, something that never would've happened before.

Your own theory about heavy metals is almost completely unsupported by evidence. You talk about lead paint but the idea of it still being around is pure speculation. You have no numbers supporting that, no comparisons with areas without lead paints, basically nothing.

The paper you reference does talk about an increase in autism symptoms with an increase in heavy metal levels but 1) Doesn't show that increased heavy metal levels are linked with autism and 2) makes many references to those with autism having a decreased ability to remove heavy metals. The heavy metal levels could very well be a consequence of autism, not a cause.

"Many studies suggest that children with autism have a decreased ability to excrete toxic metals, leading to a higher body burden."

Your statement about autism in the furry fandom is the most troubling because it is completely unsubstantiated. I know the IARP looked at psychological issues once ( Perhaps that's what you were thinking about because their 800 respondents are similar to the 1000 you suggest. However, while they did find a slightly higher rate of autism spectrum disorder amongst furs the actual number they got was 4%. Half of your number and, using a conservative estimate, only 2,25 times higher than the general population.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Thank you for your comment. The survey did not come from Anthrocon of 2013, to my understanding. I just don't know for sure where I read the estimation, but I do remember there being an 8% response on the subject of autism, or ASD, and other common forms of the affliction. The CDC "estimates" is a good catch. I should probably have said "estimated". Also, sadly like I said, I don't know enough about autism to lay claim to knowing further its causes, its treatments, how to prevent it, and so on.

Sadly, a lot of the medical field doesn't either. Autism is still very misdiagnosed.

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You don't even remember? You base your article on a vague memory without even being able to name the source? You don't have autism, you don't know enough about autism (both according to your own statement), you fantasize about a cause that actual science has not yet found.

And yet you find it fitting to make an article out of that non-knowledge?

I was angry when I read the "article". Now I am furious.

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Thank you for your comment. My article was not geared to cause anger, of course, but I do understand why you feel that way. I wish I did know more about autism to be more accurate, but my entire reason for this was to help autistic furries to come to terms with what they have, and to take steps to be a better person, regardless of the affliction.

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Autistic Self Advocacy Network "Nothing About Us Without Us" is dedicated to getting rid of patronizing from outsiders to their community. (That sounds familiar.)

If you don't know much about someone's state of being, advising them how to stop being bad with their "affliction" is pretty darn close to talking about uplifting "lesser" races.

“We don't want to be talked about as an epidemic or crisis to be combatted,” says Ari Ne'eman, president of the Autistics Self-Advocacy Network."

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Surely if the medical field doesn't know much, one should probably pause and really consider wading into a field with even less knowledge? Something like that can't do much more than muddy the waters. (To make an otter joke)

Also, let's say it was 8%. We're going here purely on a memory. There's no indication of the criteria used. If this is purely self-reported and self-diagnosed then I wouldn't put any trust in it at all. It's easy to look at symptoms and say, "That's me!" But those people do not have the training to do so, might be motivated to find something special and plenty of people already do that for astrology!

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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I have re-written the article, stating your helpful link. Thank you.

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Thank you for the article Lei-Lani, and thank you for the appropriate responses Rakuen Growlithe and Patch Packrat. And thank you for taking constructive criticism, Lei-Lani. (Rakuen Growlithe I'm also a fan of Stuart Mill).

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Harsh replies and criticism are part of my world. If I can't accept it, I wouldn't be as successful as I am today. *^^* Thank you very much.

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I did however go with the majority of responses and make changes to the article. *^^*

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For what it's worth, I was going to send a message saying about the "I forgot who" study, asking the author to try and remember and find it (I did a bit of Googling myself, I couldn't find it), but it was late, and I decided to wait until the morning. Then I wake up in the morning to find out someone (I'm guessing GR, but I don't know), had just posted the thing without, as far as I can tell, any editing (the headline was still capitalized, for Christ's sake; we don't do that on Flayrah). It wasn't a timely article, either.

And, yes, this comment is basically just a big "wasn't me", but, yeah, it wasn't me. Please, Lei-Lani, next time, provide a source better than a vague memory, okay?

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mwalimu and Huskyteer (who's not been active) also have the necessary access. As you say, all submissions should be edited to follow the contribution guidelines prior to publication, although breaking news may just focus on fact-checking provisions.

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I noticed after I commented that the dateline hadn't been fixed, so I figured then it wasn't you. Sorry to go publicly pointing fingers, which I do.

It's an opinion piece, it's fine, it was going to cause arguments anyway; if I was really angry I could unpublish it myself, but just no more "I remembered" when bolding statistics, everybody.

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I have re-written the article.

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I have re-written the article, and used the 2013 Anthrocon study, but I do feel the figure is conservative.

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It's okay; you're not blacklisted or anything. Next time we'll try and get together before it gets published so you don't have to go through the process of editing in public.

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I am conducting a survey of my own, and hopefully will be able to write a follow-up article in the near future. ^^

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I don't really like articles being changed after the fact, especially not without a comment in the article itself though I'm not sure you were responsible for that.

However, I feel I should point out that you worry about "incorrect methodology" but your survey is very unlikely to give any sort of accurate result. Pretty much the most important thing is to get an unbiased sample of people. Your sample will be biased, partly because its clearly about autism and partly (but also following on) because the people who are most likely to respond are those who have some sort of stake in the question. I.e. Mostly people who have or know people with autism will respond. A self-selected sample is a terrible thing to have.

The other part that you're missing is a control group. You should be asking a similar group of non-furs the same question in the same way. That allows you to actually interpret your results and, considering you almost certainly will have a biased sample, will hopefully be similarly biased making it possible to do a comparison, even if the actual numbers will be useless.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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If I can get at least 1,000 responses, I believe that would be a large enough group to ascertain an accurate result by mentioning, "1,000 furries surveyed" in my follow-up. I have done surveys before. *^^* How is my survey any different from the one taken at Anthrocon in 2013? In any event, I am confident of a fair outcome. As of this writing, I should mention, out of nearly 60 responses I've had so far, over 38% have said that, yes, they were officially diagnosed with some form of ASD. I find that very startling already.

It may not be professional to edit an article after publication, but it is professional to admit a mistake and correct it as soon as possible. People seemed to take issue with how I arrived at certain figures, and I have now corrected that.

And when my survey is complete, I really hope 38% of the furries surveyed doesn't have some form of ASD. =(

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The number of responses is irrelevant if the sampling procedure is incorrect. I'm saying your sampling is biased. Maybe you have done surveys before but I don't know how they were done or if they were done properly. What I do know is a bit about experimental design and data collection and what I've heard here has raised red flags.

Talking about the results before finishing collecting data is also a red flag. That practice is warned against often as it can lead to people stopping once they have the result they want. On the positive side you did already define an end point.

The main difference with the Anthrocon survey is that it was done professionally and they are aware of what they can use that data for and what the limitations of it are. You haven't acknowledged the biases and limitations of your survey and don't seem to even admit there are any.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Was resulting with my phone. It seems to have gone wrong. If any staff can move my reply to the right place that would be great.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Any survey will have limitations. If you don't think people are just as apt to lie in person as they do online, that's ludicrous. So actually, the Anthrocon survey is no less secure nor accurate. I'd like to drop this little debate now. I'm doing what I can to get at least some idea what is going on. If you'd be so kind as to allow me to continue gathering my results, I'd appreciate it. ^^

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I'm going to try this one more time because you seem to be missing what I am actually saying. This is something I really care about and understanding how this works is very important.

I know every survey has limitations. I don't know why you bring that up because I never claimed anything else. I said it's important to recognise those limitations, which you haven't done.

I never said people are more or less likely to lie online or in person. My entire argument was done assuming everyone tells the truth, or at least lies the same amount. Them telling the truth does not fix the problems your survey will have.

The problem is you are going to get a biased sample. It will not be representative of the furry fandom and you will not be able to say anything about the furry fandom from it. Take this example. You go to one of those Republican presidential candidate debates and do a survey of which party people will vote for. Then you find that over 90% will vote Republican. Does that mean that 90% of Americans will vote Republican? No! Even if everything else is done correctly you will not get meaningful data on Americans because that survey would be biased towards Republicans from the start.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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My whole reason for conducting a new survey is to attempt to show that the Anthrocon 2013 survey indicating 4% of furries were diagnosed in some way with ASD is greatly misleading. I believe autism is a much more serious issue than that, and people need to be aware of how serious this is, in this or any other fandom. You have to believe there IS a connection somewhere. This would be no different than my pulling a survey of Bronies, or Trekkies, or other massive fans in a specific genre. This is just an experiment. We DO need to treat autism, and other afflictions on the autistic spectrum disorder with a great deal of respect. Learning even more about the, let's call it a disease though I think that's wrong too, makes us more aware and caring. All I'm trying to do is get some feedback from the survey. I have nearly 100 responses so far. ^^

While I appreciate that any survey is worth hardly more than a pot to spit in, people seemed to take offense that I couldn't for the life of me remember where I had read a study for 8%, and insisted I go with the Anthrocon 2013 study, you among them. Now, if that survey is flawed too, why should I include it? It sounds much better if I start my next article with "I asked 1,000 furries to respond to three questions", and give the results. I believe some people would be very interested in what I learned.

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By your own statement, the CDC estimates 1 in 68 children in the general population have been diagnosed with an ASD, which is just shy of 1.5%. Yet you're saying the 4% found at Anthrocon isn't enough, even though it's two and a half times that reported for the general population?

A large portion of this might be down to demographics, given that the CDC says a diagnosis is five times more common for boys than girls; we have almost four times as many boys as girls. The 'connection' might be as simple as "male-dominated groups have more members diagnosed with ASD".

Groups such as the ARP spend a lot of time on this - it's literally what they're paid to do - and they have the relevant training to be able to construct surveys that are likely to stand up to peer review. They've tested the online portion of the fandom before; if you believe it differs significantly in this respect, you might suggest it to them as a topic of further research.

The strongest part of your piece was where you focused on individual stories of how autism can impact on fandom activities, and how fans have learned to deal with it. Your time might be better spent developing that, rather than trying to find numbers to justify your beliefs about how these issues apply generally. That'd be useful whether the "true figure" is 1.5%, 4%, or more.

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I should have been more positive in my approach. I'd actually like to request this article be deleted. I'm also going to scrap the survey and put this all behind me. I have much better ways I could spend my time and energy here. ^^

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I am going to request you don't request that; whatever flaws your article may or may not have, and any disagreements it may or may not cause, you can't expect to hit it out of the park on your first at bat. But that doesn't not mean a piece has no value, either to you, or Flayrah.

I mean, we're still not even sure who even published it, but that's our fault; as I said earlier, it is kind of unfortunate you got the "editing in public" treatment, but I, at least, never considered deleting it. I was bit upset it popped up there a bit prematurely, but it wasn't because it was a "bad" article; just could have been a "better" article.

And if Rakuen and Patch came off harsh, well, they always come off harsh. Which may have made the added effect of making even the nicer posters seem a bit harsher than they were being when they finally arrived.

The article is also heavily commented on, and probably heavily viewed (well, for Flayrah, anyway), so it's not a failure; a discussion was had. That's actually more important than whether or not people agreed.

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You certainly hit a very controversial topic within fandom politic. And the statistics provided do show that there is a higher tendency for furries to be diagnosed than non-furries.

1 in 68 = 1.4%, so 4% in a furry survey saying they have ASD means that the average furry would be 4x more likely to be diagnosed with ASD than a non-furry. You didn't even have to call the 4% figure "conservative" to say it is significant.

And that should have been the underlying premise of your article. Starting off with that fact instead of a personal story would have lead to more curiosity and people wanting read more rather than starting off with a self-deprecating statement such as: "I can honestly say I don’t really have first-hand knowledge of it". You obviously have some knowledge if you felt impassioned enough to write an article about it.

When writing non-fiction you sometime have to take a step back and let the environment, numbers, and situation tell the story rather than personally injecting ones personal background. I think this is what made the article less than what it could have been.

I think another thing that probably didn't help too much is that the 'grey area' stories that never get well received by the readership. Each contributor here has had at least one article that had gotten quite a bit of flack over it not tying too much to what they felt flayrah was about. The most infamous example would be GreenReaper's article on the affordable health care act. But others have also had such things, such as Patch's Crumbsnatcher articles.

The form could use a bit of work too. There were no breaks when you jumped from one part of the topic to the next. The jump from personal prose, to statistics, to personal prose without gaps felt a little jarring. It certainly had a bloggish feel to it. But I think if the parts were labeled, it may have lead to a smoother experience.

As far as the subject matter:

I think there are a combination of a few things that has lead to the gain of those who are in ASD, and those whom identify as within the ASD spectrum. For one the spectum has broadened and that is a fact. So the jump of 1 to 10,000 to 1 to 68 could be partly explained by this. If you start calling any major thunderstorm a "hurricane", then of course there are going to be more "hurricane"s. Thusly when ASD now includes Asperger's, you can expect there to be more people within the spectrum. It's the Occam's razor explanation.

Another thing is also *gasp* misdiagnosis. It happens, doctors make mistakes. They're not infallible gods from on high. I was diagnosed with Autism when I was born. I went to a special needs pre-school and kindergarten. So either I had 'grown out of it' or perhaps the doctor that diagnosed me was incorrect. The first assumption I think would be a bit insulting as if it is a condition that is a part of someone, stating they can 'grow out of it' can't be true. So I tend to believe the later these days. Despite my mother still seeing it as a part of my person.

So I don't go around saying "I was autistic", I instead say "I probably never was autistic, but because of a diagnosis, society thought I was."

If anything though, it did give me a perspective of those who suffer from it that most others never get. I got to see the environments in which they grow up in within primary schools. And the effects such things can have on mean spirited peers.

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I really didn't mean to cause such waves. I think I just needed to clarify a few sources. *^^* It worked so well on Furaffinity, I thought Flayrah would like something like this. I was so wrong.

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FurAffinity journals are blogs, so they have a tenancy to be less scrutinized.

Think of it as more writing for CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News rather than writing on Facebook, Twitter,or Google+.

Only without the pay...

Writing non-fiction is tough and the critiques are harsh, even more so than in the realm of fiction. But if you can deal with them, it's a very rewarding venture as you get to learn a lot about the world around you you may otherwise have ever discovered alone.

I thank you for sharing this topic with us, and I do apologize that the editor didn't help you more with the cleaning (cause hey, it's their job to make sure that things look good too!).

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Maybe I'll just stick to fiction from here on out. *^^* Thank you though for the encouragement.

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Well you picked a hot potato to start with, it seems like it stretched a personal blog into an attempt at a PSA that has problems working like either thing. When it might really work as an open-ended, "here's what we know and here's what we don't know" with minimum of opinions or speculation, illustrated by quotes from community members rather than talking at them. It is just bound to be rocky, fandom specific news topics are easier.

In general I'm always puzzled about treating a little niche group as a society in a bottle, that only has the weak tie "I like cartoon animals too". It's so common to read something about behavior of the group with a serious lack of "but what brought them here in the first place"?

It seems like there may be a few more than usual autistic people (or are there, because how do you sort signal from noise with a S.L.O.P. of such a non-population), but what's the point when it's a hobby people join only because they want to? It seems really upside down to start from the hobby, rather than the category of person and their issues as people. Ideally, some deeper questions could bring a thesis beyond "be good, don't be bad".

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As long as you write what you care about and write it well!

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I going to ruin Patch's creds by agreeing with him. My brother is autistic savant (very analytical and extreme memory skills) Think Rain Man yet unable to communicate to you and do simple take like base cleanness. Me my brother, and three other siblings are born from the late fifties to sixties when we even had leaded gas and no emissions standards. he is Autistic, I have ADHD and my three other siblings are normal. So much for the lead link.
I would say anybody born in and after 1980’s lead would be less of an issue because regulation and emission standards. I did Google some stores and the indents have more to do with improper precautions during renovation than a society wide problem like in the 1960’s
I also thing this obsession on Autism like the obsession with ADHD will cause more harm than good. There will be those who are misdiagnosed with and treated for Autism who may have not Autism but other disabilities or behavior problems. We will leave out the vaccine myth.
Beyond the issue about the facts , I do not see reason activist need to ride on the coattails of the fandom with their pet causes. As for a survey don’t do it, Anthrocon will provide way to small of a sample for the date to have any integrity.

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Hay. I've suffered from autism all my life.

And you know what? You're right.
Don't let a lot of people tell you otherwise. They don't like to feel responsible for their misteps.

But they don't understand the power in responsibility. They don't understand that fully owning your own actions is the first step in fully controlling the outcome of your own life.

It's harder for us... But the power belongs to us.

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So did you write this entire article based on the outburst from your "friend", and added a smattering of anecdotal evidence about nobody wanting to "associate" with furries who list that they are autistic and some barely-related statistics about the prevalence of autism in the furry fandom?

It's kind of unsettling that you would describe autism impacting the way people interact with others online as precluding them from "being a good person" (??), and telling those who are up front about their difficulties communicating that they should just refrain from trying to do so at all. Sure, you're under no obligation to talk to somebody you don't want to, and I'm not saying outright mistreatment should be acceptable, but telling someone that they shouldn't interact with others at all until they get better at interacting with people makes no fucking sense.

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This exactly, even if its pretty well aired out in all the comments.

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All you people know how to do is harass, it seems.

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I was responding to Equivamp. Please avoid the "you people" approach, doing that in the article brought the overall poor response.

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"Oh, so there's a them now?"

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You know what makes no sense? That you wish to add your input when I've pretty much decided this was a dead end, and I was dropping it, deleting the article, and discontinued the survey. It's done. Now, drop it.

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Now now, don't let your surprise to find that this article wasn't as well-received here as it was by your Fur Affinity followers limit your ability to be a good person! Whatever happened to accepting harsh criticism leading to your current success?

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Of course. You're right. I should definitely be the better person here and not respond anymore. Thank you for reminding me.

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You do not want to be Diamond Man 2: Electric Boohoogaloo.

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Well, you just gotta understand, some furries really enjoy beating dead horses...

I need to go shower after that joke...

About the author

Lei-Laniread storiescontact (login required)

a freelance writer/artist, literary agent, book editor and South Pacific Sea-Otter from Ohio, interested in swimming, writing, reading, movies, music, cooking and gardening

Freelance writer for 30 years. Before that I was a librarian, an archaeologist, a mentor, a teacher, a legal administrator, a health administrator and a literary agent. In business now almost 20 years.