Comment Policy

Comment Policy and Community Guidelines

The purpose of Thinking Person's Guide to Autism is 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.

It is our goal to have an open exchange of ideas in a safe environment, both in the comments of each blog post, and on our Facebook page. We expect disagreement. We also expect commenters to be respectful of post authors and 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
In addition:
  • 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 the blog or Facebook page.

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 thinkingautism@gmail.com

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 thinkingautism@gmail.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. IntenseDebate, our third-party blogging comment system, does not publicly reveal your email or IP address, however IP addresses are revealed to our editorial team.

Comments are posted to the blog in real-time (barring any technical difficulties). Conversation are "threaded" so replies to any comment is possible. At this time there is a disconnect between mobile and computer-based comments. The Blogger platform does not support IntenseDebate, a third-party application we use, on smartphones. There is one work-around, you may view the web version from your phone and can log in and post your comments, but it is admittedly tedious because of the small text size. We are looking for another solution.

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. The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism is a project of the Myers-Rosa Foundation. The Myers-Rosa Foundation is dedicated to autism advocacy, education, and community support. Funds received through various activities and direct donations support autism research, and the autistic community. We are a recognized 501c3 non-profit organization, effective June 2011.

We reserve the right to change our policy here at any time. 

Last update: September 29, 2014.

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Many thanks to Shot of Prevention's comment policy, on which some of these guidelines are based.