Talking about mental illness, disability, difference, neurodiversity, learning challenges, and other related things online has a tendency to attract all kinds of crap. Assholes aside, our culture also has a lot of baggage and misguided assumptions about people who live with these things, many of which we’ve all internalized.
So, within the virtual walls of this site, let’s have some ground rules for how we talk about these things.
- We don’t question one another’s experiences. Each person is the best and last authority on their own experience.
- We assume everyone is doing their best. (If they aren’t doing their best, that’s not a mental illness problem, that’s an asshole problem.)
- We own our own feelings.
- We don’t characterize. We can describe behaviors and interactions, but we don’t ascribe those behaviors to character flaws.
- We don’t offer advice unless asked for it.
These are in addition to basic rules of civility: No name calling. No insults. No threats. No putting down or denigrating groups of people based on their gender, race, sexuality, ability, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or any other identity category. No rules lawyering.
And, of course, as the conversation develops, new guidelines will emerge.