Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

Archive for July 2008

Support forums and netiquette

with 9 comments

I feel a lot better since I stopped posting on the FailsafeNT support forum a few months ago. Not physically, but mentally. When you are virtually housebound (in my case through preferred hermitdom), the internet provides a link to the outside world, and you can get very attached to people you have never met. I allowed FailsafeNT to take up a large part of my time and my thoughts, so when it all boiled over a while back, I was very upset.

This is going to be a very frank post. In fact it qualifies as a rant.

I don’t have a very high tolerance of stress. Being part aspie, part alien, I find people stressful full-stop.

FailsafeNT was my way of interacting with people who came from a similar perspective as me, so I only found it moderately stressful. Most of regulars on FailsafeNT are lovely and I enjoyed helping them with their diets. I made two very good friends whom I like a lot. I found demolishing various altie theories about FCIS (food chemical intolerance syndrome) fairly tiresome and I often felt frustrated that people couldn’t figure out the differing worth of various theories by themselves. But I accepted it as part of the job. However, sometimes the wrong person comes along and turns something that was only moderately stressful into something that is utterly unbearable, especially when that person is a senior WAPF member.

The thing is, some people can be over-emotional and take everything personally. Some people have never had the self-discipline or imagination to do the failsafe diet properly, despite having obvious FCIS reactions like eczema to both amines and salicylates. Some people have systems in place in their brain that do not allow them to think they have a food chemical problem, because they believe that food chemical problems are ‘unnatural’ or ’caused by vitamin deficiencies’ or ’caused by gut bacteria imbalances’. Some people ought to act on their intelligence rather than on their learned emotional responses.

People with FCIS – especially those on a very high chemical WAPF diet – can be very volatile and moody and generally act like the Anthony Colpos of this world. For some reason this seems to be particularly true of men. If you criticise something they say you can dent their ego and they will take it as a personal affront. They will start attacking everything you post on every subject. Off come the gloves and out come the politics and religion. Before you know it, you are being attacked for daring to suggest that evolution did, in fact, happen (rather an essential prerequisite in any scientific discussion of genetics), or you are being called a genetic ‘defective’ and how dare you be ‘political’ by couching genetic polymorphisms in such neutral terms as ‘polymorphisms’ when you are clearly a mutant.

Sorry, I must calm down. I seem to still be stinging.

You can win a lot of respect on a forum for being a big man, for being volatile, aggressive, patronising, and using long words in combinations that other people don’t understand, even if what you are saying doesn’t make logical sense. However, you can also make people afraid to answer you back.

You can also cause a number of people who are disgusted with the unfolding argument to quietly unsubscribe from the forum.

I don’t want to post in this kind of environment. It wastes my time, it wastes everyone else’s time.

I have decided I do not want to go through it again. For the sake of my mental and emotional health.

If you really thought the only reason I disappeared from the internet for five months last year was to renovate a house, then you don’t read the FailsafeNT forum.

I no longer want to interact with the individual(s) in question. I gave up trying to post some sense into the complete lunatic asylum that is the native-nutrition forum about a year ago for the same reason – two aggressive individuals who just became too much for me to cope with.

I don’t know why I ever bothered posting on native-nutrition in the first place. At the time I first started posting I was under the impression that WAPF was a more scientific organisation than it actually is. But it turns out that the things the general membership believe in are rather different than the things the WAPF magazine and website publish. Like flies to excrement, when faced with a choice between science and mysticism, native-nutrition members always go for the theory that smells most like BS. Law of nature.

WAPF no longer attracts scientific minds, and even the scientific minds who are there appear to be deeply religious and somewhat warped. WAPF has always leaned towards the altie, but in the early days when I got involved, WAPF spent most of their time critiquing the poor science that surrounds animal fat in the diet. This was the only reason I respected WAPF. But that isn’t WAPF anymore. WAPF is outright altie lunatic nonsense and fermented foods and GAPS diets these days (excuse me, where did Weston A. Price even mention fermented foods?).

Hence I am no longer a member, and it was becoming a contradiction for me to run a failsafe forum associated with WAPF. I’m sure I’ll elaborate on my reasons for leaving WAPF some day when I’m angry enough.

I no longer want to be a conduit for individuals with FCIS to discover WAPF. As long as Sally Fallon keeps avoiding the truth and promoting the misery of the GAPS diet to people with autism and ADHD, that will only be deeply harmful for them. The same goes for the promotion of raw milk as a cure for milk intolerance.

Meanwhile FailsafeNT has gone to seed and everyone has a crazy pet theory about the ‘real’ reason they are ill that could be demolished easily by any properly trained doctor. People who should have been told to STOP EATING AMINES are still eating amines. I feel this was inevitable. Ever since WAPF put a link to FailsafeNT on their website, a steady stream of alties have been joining the group and now there is nothing to hold them back. I await their reign of fermented cabbage and coconut milk kefir terror with an eager dread.

Sorry, am I doing that ranting thing again?

I will no longer link to any WAPF related websites. In fact, I won’t talk about them anymore.

Do I feel bullied off FailsafeNT? Hmmm.

There is a silver lining in every cloud; this particular silver lining being that I’ve been able to get on with my life. In the last few months I have become much happier and calmer, I’ve taken up fiction writing again, and I’ve almost finished the first draft of my novel. All the pressure and responsibility I felt I was under have dissolved. Instead of spending my day worrying about getting back to someone about something complicated and puzzling that they’ve posted and knowing they probably won’t like what I say, I spend my day thinking about the next scene in my novel, and it is so much more fulfilling. Partly because there are no people involved, at least, no real ones.

So for you who know who you are, here’s my last word and a beginner’s lesson in netiquette:

  • Rule 1: Remember the human. Remember you are talking to other human beings who have feelings. It is easy to forget you are talking to real people when you are online. By saying unpleasant things you could hurt them, perhaps more than you think.
  • Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life. Think before you post. Would you walk up to someone in the street and say that? Don’t be rude or aggressive, remember your manners, and don’t deceive people about your identity or condition.
  • Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace. Acceptable behaviour in one forum is rude in another forum. For example, don’t promote religion on a science forum. Don’t talk about chocolate puddings on a weight loss diet forum. Don’t go into a failsafe forum and call people defective and FCIS unnatural.
  • Rule 4: Respect other people’s time and bandwidth. Try not to bore other people with your rants and whines, they don’t want to spend hours of their time replying to your voluminous arguments. Don’t spend eight paragraphs saying something that could be said in one, or nitpick over every single irrelevant detail of someone’s post just because you are angry.
  • Rule 5: Make yourself look good online. Make yourself look your best, check your spelling, and make sure what you say actually makes sense and has reliable references before you post it. By the same standard, admit when you are wrong.
  • Rule 6: Share expert knowledge. If someone has a question you know the answer to – answer it, and answer fairly, not with prejudice. Don’t spend your time demolishing fundamental science just because you have a pet theory you can’t let go of.
  • Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control. Be friendly, be polite, and smooth over differences instead of antagonising people and trying to humiliate them.
  • Rule 8: Respect other people’s privacy. Don’t pester people or come onto their forum and harass them if your attention isn’t wanted.
  • Rule 9: Don’t abuse your power. Knowing more than others doesn’t give you the right to take advantage of them. Don’t try to dazzle people with fake science and long words. It doesn’t make you look good. Instead explain concepts clearly in layman’s terms so everyone can follow the conversation.
  • Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people’s mistakes. Don’t make them look stupid or humiliate them. If it’s important, let them know politely and gently rather than trying to show them up. It doesn’t make you look good to make other people look stupid (especially if you turn out to be wrong).

Now read a longer version of the rules of netiquette.


Written by alienrobotgirl

1 July, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Personal Diary

Tagged with ,