Comment Policy and Community Guidelines
Our comment policy reflects the purpose of Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism (TPGA): To share and discuss information from autistic people, autism professionals, and parents of autistic children and adults, as guided by our Mission Statement. Unless stated otherwise, material is posted for discussion rather than endorsement.
We do not have comments on our website; however we have lively communities on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Our goal is to have an open exchange of ideas in a safe environment. We expect disagreement. We also expect commenters to be respectful of other commenters.
While we have an established readership, many people are coming here for the first time, are new to autism and/or TPGA’s Mission, and may need time to process some of the ideas we discuss. For this reason, we ask commenters to consider the difference between legitimate ignorance and willful ignorance, and to try to proceed accordingly. Our community will be more useful if we strive to listen to and learn from each other, for example this policy exists and gets updated due to community feedback.
We would also like commenters to be thoughtful about how they offer critiques. If a commenter requests advice but uses problematic language, consider that it may be more important to address the concern first and language issue second, as an aside, or not at all—especially with issues we address frequently, such as “autistic” versus “with autism,” or functioning labels.
The editors reserve the right to remove or hide comments that violate our comment policy. We will also consider removing comments if approached by the author of the comment. In general, comments containing the following will be deemed inappropriate:
- Vulgar or abusive language;
- Personal attacks of any kind;
- Unsupported accusations;
- Offensive terms that criticize individuals based upon neurology, race/ethnicity/nationality, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, etc.;
- Spam or unsolicited advertisements;
- Marketing copy or links promoting services or products;
- Deeply personal information about other people, including children
- Comparing autism to deadly diseases like cancer
- Comments should remain on-topic and follow the thread of conversation. We want our discussion archives to be useful.
- Unless a commenter specifically identifies as Autistic or otherwise, please do not presume the neurology of the person commenting. If a person identifies as Autistic, please do not question their diagnosis, even if they are self-diagnosed.
- Be thoughtful when contradicting or disputing previous comments. Again, please consider that an opinion in opposition to yours may be put forth due to lack of information, and not to intentionally harm.
- If you have personal triggers, please consider whether you should participate in specific conversation threads. Conversely, please be considerate of those triggered by certain topics due to past trauma. In all cases, listening is often the best way to learn from discussions.
- Do not presume all parents are the same. Do not presume all Autistics are the same. Sweeping generalizations can do more damage than good, and hold back those who are trying to move advocacy forward. Statements such as “You parents always…” “Autistics never….” may be grounds for having your comment removed.
Repeated violations of these guidelines may result in being banned from Facebook page or blocked on Twitter or Instagram.
We would also like commenters to keep the following in mind, regarding what free speech means in a moderated forum:
“Free speech doesn’t include the right to speak your mind on any forum anywhere. The government may not prevent you from speaking, but private parties, like blog owners or corporations, aren’t required to let you use their property as your platform.”
While we moderate comment threads as needed to keep discussions respectful and on-topic, please keep in mind that we are a small team of volunteers and so may not be able to moderate in real time. If you feel we need to pay attention to a specific thread or comment, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both our Facebook page and website are public forums. For this reason, we ask that you not include personally identifying information in the body of your comments (name, phone numbers, addresses, children’s names, children’s personal habits or details). If you would like advice on a sensitive matter, however, please email us at email@example.com, and we can either post an anonymous community query on our Facebook forum, or help you find appropriate resources privately.
If you voluntarily include personal information in your comment, such as your name, blog or email address, please remember that this information will be available publicly.
Neither our blog nor our Facebook page are intended, nor implied to be, a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified care provider before trying any new therapy or remedy for your, or your child’s, personal health. Information contained in TPGA posts or comments should not be considered professional legal advice. Please seek licensed counsel if you need legal help.
Each essay is the opinion of the particular author of that essay, and in no way should it be construed that any other contributor on this blog shares the same opinion, although they might. Though our fact and source checking is thorough, the editors of Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism do not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this blog is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information.
The TPGA editorial board is currently Shannon Des Roches Rosa, Jennifer Byde Myers, and Carol Greenburg. Funds received through various activities and direct donations support our writers, autism research, and the autistic community.
We reserve the right to change our policy here at any time.
Last update: April 25, 2022.
Many thanks to Shot of Prevention’s comment policy, on which some of these guidelines are based.