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Re: [LUG] Etiquette was Re: Lightening this morning ...


This is a really interesting thread. I have no experience or qualification that makes anything I have to say relevant, but that's never stopped me before...

I have a very minor disability that nobody can tell I have unless they are *extremely* observant and quick-thinking. It's common but so minor that most people who don't have it aren't even really sure what it involves, and when you explain it they aren't impressed with the idea that it counts as a disability. I've never experienced discrimination or even mild annoyance because unless I tell you you don't know I have it and when I do it doesn't seem to matter.

Many of us on this list and in the wider geek world are on the "autism spectrum" (I have no idea how valid a term that is, just heard it somewhere, see above). It's interesting how dyslexia and to a lesser extent autism seem to have crossed over a threshold of public understanding and acceptance. Both are part of the broader "neuro-atypical" spectrum, other parts of which -- mental illness in particular -- remain radically fearful and prejudicial in society. Just following up on the usefulness of listserv anonymity/pseudonymity.

Not that useful though: Bad Apple is an able-bodied urban white hetero male anglo-saxon protestant-heritage effectively-atheist tertiary-educated left-brained middle-class UK national. I'm really only uncertain about the protestantism. Very similar to me and most of us on this list.

WRT swearing by Gordon (not an Anglo-Saxon!), as one of his targets, I have to disagree about suppressing swearing, in the same libertarian terms that Bad Apple did about a year ago. Gordon's posts are articulate, intelligent, forceful, clear and to the point; if he chooses to swear it only adds a certain urgent piquancy, which in this case was perfectly appropriate.

On 9 January 2014 19:35, Simon Avery <digdilem@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Everyone has their drawbacks and problems. At least I've got a name for mine. It's great that nowadays much more is understood about it and kids get a lot more support and understanding, and the then accepted habit of grown men standing over and shouting at little boys who can't understand something for five minutes in front of a whole class has largely disappeared.
It's impossible for anyone on the list to know - unless I've mentioned it before and you have a better memory than me [1] - but I have Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, the most obvious manifestation of which is that I use a wheelchair full-time.  In that I suppose in a way I have an advantage over those with learning difficulties - apologies of course if that phrase offends, it is not intended to in any way - because my disability is blindingly obvious whereas you cannot see just by looking at someone that they are dyslexic, or have Asperger's etc.

This is one of the reasons I have always loved computers and electronic communication; preconceptions and stereotypes are useless.

Outside of a few basic exceptions, such as professional instances where your name is displayed and somebody might make a guess about your sex, race or heritage from that (and even there, Bad Apple demonstrates you can sometimes avoid even that), there's, well, nothing to go on until that person starts writing and even then, they have total control about what they reveal about themselves to you.

If I met you IRL without knowing you first, I would be unsure of how best to talk to you, and probably be awkward, patronising or insulting. Unintentional on my part certainly, but probably very irritating to you. Whereas in this realm, you, I or anyone compete in a purely textual medium without any such overhead. I consider the /typed/ language to be the purest form of communication possible.  (Typed, because bad handwriting has connotations too)

The only drawback is somehow the subtleties are easily mis-read, insults taken where not intended and feelings hurt unless excruciating time is taken to over-stress the respect shown. This is especially relevant in those who don't write much and type as they talk.  Not sure how that could ever be resolved.

(No insult about learning difficulties - it's a fact. I don't learn in a conventional way, so I have adapted.)

Not directly related to the disability but as a separate issue my left hand is only about 50% useful (and that's being generous).  As a result of the latter I commonly make typos [2] and as the hand issue only cropped up when I was 30 (I'm 43 now) it irritates the hell out of me, so although I am not dyslexic myself I can sympathise to a degree with those who are and are sensitive about typing errors.  With regard to remarks people make about disability in general, and mine specifically, I always try - not always successfully it has to be said - to be aware of the intent of the comment.  If someone is extracting a specific bodily fluid and/or being malicious I will most likely lose my temper, however if their intention is humorous - laughing /with/ me not /at/ me that is - I tend to laugh along with them.

That sounds remarkably balanced and probably makes you easier to be with than many people. Some years ago I read some words from a wise man; "Don't deliberately offend others".  An even wiser person added "And don't be easily offended yourself."   Good ideals, imo, although sometimes hard to stick to the second!

However, that is my own personal stance based on my life experiences which have been nothing like as severe as some of those shared in this thread, and it is /not/ my place - nor would I wish - to preach or criticise anyone who does not share my view.  Just sharing my way of dealing with comments about disability in general and mine in particular :)

And it's appreciated. I don't know what it's like to live as you, or you as me - but by sharing views and comments we both gain a distant understanding that perhaps has a benefit in everyday interactions with all people.
Best wishes,

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