I really got into commenting on Huffington Post in March, while I was recovering from a surgery. I was bored, confined to the recliner and in pain, so I did some surfing. I had some tremendously interesting arguments and discussions on the various autism-vaccine related posts. I met some very interesting folks on both sides of the discussion. I'd wake up in the morning eager to see what was new over there.
In short, I had an energizing, completely absorbing time for several months. It was something. I thought, okay, gotta respond, gotta present facts to counter misinformation, gotta be in it so that folks coming into the comments section undecided would have something to counter the misinformation and often outright wacky woo that was there. I met several of the woo fighting warrior princesses there and members of Science Rocks, too. We put the science rocks forum together to put together vaccine and autism information so that we could pool our resources to more accurately and quickly rebut these woo-meisters.
We followed through for several months, but Huff kept running article after article and the same couple of really out there folks kept posting the same old nonsense. I'll be honest, I think it wore us out, some of us. There's no reaching some people. And we weren't trying to reach them anymore. Just to counter the crap. And then, I think most of us got the pointlessness in arguing with them. I wrote to one of them that we decided banging our head into brick walls would be more effective a use of our time. I think it would, honestly. Same old things being said over there, nothing new. Of course, Huff let this one slide right on off the living page and fast.
Some of us decided there were far more important uses of our time, and we set about creating the facebook group and Raising Autism, places for positive support. We've got big plans for the future and we hope to grow the two into vibrant communities. The fact that those interested in putting out the gross misinformation about vaccines stayed right on over there at Huffington says volumes, I think.
So, I haven't responded to the Kirby post. It's fully moderated, and for the most part, it's been the same few folks spouting the same old nonsense. If folks wander in and read it and don't see it for what it is, they probably can't be reached, either. I don't have time to try to post rebuttals on there and hope the moderator will actually do his job and what I want to say, I say here and on other's blogs, like left brain right brain. I have a place to let my voice be heard, several in fact, where moderators don't exist. And I think that by staying away, we provide better counterpoints. There are so many blogs, so many folks offering a counterpoint to misinformation and nonsense that in many ways, especially as long as Huff continues its apparently new policy of burying autism vaccine nonsense, we really don't have to go there to counter it. No one's reading it anyway, other than those who already buy into it and those of us who read AoA to know what they are up to so we can counter it in our own way on our own blogs.
Plus, if you go read the comments on the Kirby blog, well, what's there to say really?
You've got someone echoing the idea that the numbers for ASDs is 1 in 10. For Pete's sake. Really?
Sigh. Some things, the brick wall really would be more satisfying.
An addendum because it's been eating me all afternoon. Someone I respect and enjoy conversing with wrote on the Huff piece that, and I'm paraphrasing, only a few trolls had shown up (and he was discussing the autism-isn't-caused-by-vaccines commenters). I don't know if he meant me specifically, or was just referring to the other woo-fighters, and admittedly only one member of science rocks is commenting on the Kirby piece, a person that this poster regularly butts heads with. I'm seriously disappointed with that kind of rhetoric; I had considered posting over there, and in all honesty, his post decided me against it. As I said earlier in this blog, what's there to say?
The AoA believers have decided this is something to be won, rather than focusing on the work that needs to be done to make the world a safer place for our children. They've decided that drowning out others and raining down a series of angry, bitter rants is more important than helping parents and individuals on the spectrum cope effectively.