I am seeking with this meta post for help with this answer to "First account of autism in speculative fiction" specifically the last sentence being problematic. The problem with the answer is, it made me and some other autists feel offended by the way it was being phrased. especially the last sentence as being a footnote to an external source.

We tried to clarify in the comments the reasons for our edits. The important part was the "to be said" wording. Granted... what Buzz is writing in their answer is covered by the Wikipedia entry for autism. But what Wikipedia is writing about autism is by the current medical understanding wrong. That matter is not that easy to explain without a length of in-depth details. And I am aware that this is a scifi site, so it is understandable that an answer is not supposed to have an in-depth overview of what autism is about.

Hence the "to be said" wording was a good solution, keeping the answer's content being the same, but emphasizing, that this understanding of autism is for some reason considered not the way one might think(/for some reason outdated). After multiple rollbacks and rollbacks of rollbacks, Buzz seems to have been insistent on not taking on the wording we tried to advise. Whatever the reason might be for this, is probably what only they can answer. With the last edit that was made the idea of the autism spectrum ranging from less autistic to more autistic as asked for and explained in the comments, was not present anymore. But now it is saying

*That statistic is for people with classically-defined autism only.

Now it is very unclear what actually is being meant by "classically-defined autism"? I am an diagnosed autist. If someone would ask me:

So is it classically-defined autism?

I would answer "Yes.". And given that, the claim, that 3/4 of those with classically-defined autism being found to have "mental retardation of varying degree" is simply wrong.

So I am not sure what this is supposed to mean here. Again, I don't expect a scifi answer to be delving deep into medical up to date understandings. But would appreciate if at least the help of those affected by the matter would be accepted.

So I am either asking for help in finding a way of having this post remain in a state that feels not offensive for an autist, whatever that form would turn out to be. Or if they were willing to, I would appreciate a statement of Buzz here regarding, what is their objection with the "to be said" phrasing, so we could maybe find together a way that would serve the purpose of all who are involved.

Either way, I decided it to be an better idea writing a meta post for that, then engaging into further aggressive edits, or writing further comments.


Could everyone please stop commenting on the matter without having a clue what it is about nor even having the slightest idea what I am here for!

To be honest, I'm not sure what is the point you're trying to make here. It seems more about semantics and Buzz resisting your edits, rather than any real offense made by the latter.

I actually didn't do ANY edit! And also I didn't come here to having to justify WHY I feel offended. I came here to find a way i.E. in dialogue with the poster of that answer to resolve the problematic wording. Not to expect anyone "catering to the preference of an offended person on the internet.".

Also, it is nonesense to discredit the offense I am taking by something, due to "it has been ok to use that terminology in the past". Homosexuality was once a crime, so by that analogy there is also an consent here that no one has to feel offended being called names due to their sexuality, since.... "It was done at one point in the past?"

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    seems like OP is citing a reasonably accepted community edited and maintained resource as their citation / expert opinion. If Wikipedia is wrong - go edit it with up to date, peer-reviewed sources. That's exactly the how that process should work. It is entirely reasonable that OP can assume that for a medical / psychological entry on wiki, that the information is generally considered factual and up to date. Controversial topics are labled as such (and sometimes locked) - this does not seem to be the case. What is offensive to one person isn't offensive to another - it's a..dare I say..spectrum – NKCampbell Feb 26 at 14:22
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    also - the risk of modifying the "offending" answer is that OP may themselves be on the ASD and one member is thus muting another. Is it nicer to accept the edit - yes. Is it required - no – NKCampbell Feb 26 at 14:29
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    @NKCampbell if Wikipedia is wrong (I dare say I don’t need the if) of course it should be updated. That doesn’t mean we should wait for Wikipedia to be updated before we fix a post. If multiple people with autism have taken offence and taken the time to fix it and explained why we should use that version. It’s offensive to silently roll it back. At least comment why you keep that version at the very least. Or just accept the edit it’s not like it changed anything major just some minor wording changes. – TheLethalCarrot Feb 26 at 14:29
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    I really don't want to discuss my own experience with autism spectrum disorders, nor my family's. – Buzz Feb 26 at 14:33
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    @NKCampbell ”Is it nicer to accep the edit - yes. Is it required - no” incorrect the old be nice policy and the Code of Conduct would say you should accept the edit. If the edit changed fundamental things in the answer I’d be more wary but it doesn’t it just changes the wording to not be offensive to multiple people. – TheLethalCarrot Feb 26 at 14:33
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    @Buzz that’s fair enough and I don’t think anyone is asking you to. This is about one specific post. Of course you don’t have to discuss that post either but it would be helpful, in my opinion, to give at least a small summary of why you seem to be adamant to use an offensive version, to some, over a version that doesn’t appear to be. – TheLethalCarrot Feb 26 at 14:36
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    but in dealing with a neurocognitive science and diagnosis and a complex topic in which there is no universally accepted language - OP is within their rights to simply cite the most commonly accepted terminology re: non-neurotypical people. In other words, there is no right answer. But yes - be nice. I can agree with that. I'm just pushing back against the absolute truth being personal offense and opinion of dramatically small subset of a given population :) (of which I'm also a member / related to / professionally invovled with) – NKCampbell Feb 26 at 14:37
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    @Buzz I don't want to push you into a discussion you don't want to have, but we cannot use your particular wording which multiple users have complained about unless you provide a reason why you insist on that particular wording. – Null Feb 26 at 14:42
  • This conversation has been moved to chat for further discussion. – Null Feb 26 at 15:16
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    I think no one here (of those feeling offended) wants any kind of citation or anything like that. That wouldnt really change much about the problematics. Rather I speaking for myself, would like to understand why Buzz insists on not wanting to use a wording that aknowledges there being no absolute scientific agreement on this matter. Understanding that point could already lead to a solution that just protects possibly other autistic readers not so community involved from feeling offended or even worse discouraged about their abilitys by the wording. I am looking for cooperation,not being right – Zaibis Feb 26 at 15:16
  • The question states ” The Wikipedia definition of autism is “a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.” (I am aware that there are some problems with this definition, but as a nonspecialist I will have to let it stand, as my main point is to avoid speculative fiction that uses the word in Bleuler’s sense, which is even farther off the mark.) . Answer in its original version accepts that framework and works with it. Edit makes that even more explicit. Seems like you are in "violent" agreement. – Anonymous Coward Feb 29 at 19:25

My objection was never to "said to have" terminology, but rather to the absence of any discussion of severity in the edits. My original wording was

classical (that is, fairly severe) autism—not milder forms of autism spectrum disorder

and I think that mention of severity is quite important for understanding the statistic I mentioned regarding autism and intellectual disability comorbidity.

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    But you understood also my point I made in my first comment about the problem it causes speaking by different forms of autism of severity? The thing is I tried to have the discussion with you first in the comments and now here. – Zaibis Feb 27 at 6:41
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    @Zaibis It's understandable why some people might have a problem with having their forms of autism called "less severe". However, it ultimately seems relevant to the statistic referenced in the answer. At the end of the day, for that scientific medical statistic it was once considered a meaningful distinction or context. You can't just ignore the context of the statistic only to then complain that the statistic doesn't make sense. There needs to be a way to acknowledge the definition of autism against which that statistic is set, even if that might not be the most popular definition anymore. – TARS says Reinstate Monica Feb 27 at 9:50
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    @TARSsaysReinstateMonica: Where did I complain about the statistic not making sense? Also I am not disregarding that it was once relevant. That's the whole point I am making. – Zaibis Feb 27 at 11:15
  • Would it be a solution just to remove the quote with the statistic? AFAICT people are objecting to the specifics of that quote, rather than to the general claim that autism and mental retardation often occur together, and nothing in your argument depends on those specifics. – Geoffrey Brent Feb 28 at 3:49
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    @GeoffreyBrent Sadly no, as that would make it even worse. On a summary the problem is: there are many different forms of autism. And its just a subset of them this statistic applies to. So the footnote is very important to point that out. In the past the wording would have been appropiate. But today, the scientific understanding is, that those different forms are not differently severely, but just different in how it is recognizable but you cant objectively determine severity. Thats why we feel offended. Cause this wording does not acknowledge, that our form is not less severe. – Zaibis Feb 28 at 6:22
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    And removing that note would make it even worse, because that would implie the statistic would apply to all autists, making it look like this is the only form of autism there is. Anyways, thanks for your comment and trying to bring in a helpful solution. – Zaibis Feb 28 at 6:24
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    @Zaibis I'm autistic, I'm aware of (and agree with) the arguments against "functioning" labels etc., and I think you may have misunderstood my comment. I was suggesting removing the statistic altogether. The argument Buzz's making doesn't depend on the precise figure, and without the figure there's no need to get into the question of what kind of "autism" is meant. It can simply be left at stating that autism often appears with mental retardation, without needing to resolve exactly how often "often" is. – Geoffrey Brent Feb 28 at 7:41
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    @GeoffreyBrent: Well ofcause that would solve the whole conflict, I just haven't considered to propose such a major edit to the answer, given that even a small one ssems to cause trouble already. But removing the whole statistic, would for sure (at least from my point of view) resolve the whole conflict. – Zaibis Feb 28 at 7:52
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    @Zaibis - with respect, it wouldn't solve the conflict at all - only your offense. The statistic is part of the critical analysis that forms the crux of OP's answer. He's referencing a work as an answer to the question. Said work was written by an author with a degree in psychology (at a time when, yes, the understanding of ASD was entirely different) and further cites a peer-reviewed psychology journal as further evidence as to what the author's intent might have been given the understanding at the time. This seems to be an entirely appropriate literary historical analysis. – NKCampbell Feb 28 at 15:25
  • This conversation has been moved to chat for further discussion. – Null Feb 28 at 18:03

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