Turning Trolls into Stone
Last year, Barack Obama's campaign website attracted a very active and enthusiastic blogging community that encouraged visitors to support the campaign. There was just one problem: Trolls who visited the site to post negative comments on the blogs. On such a busy website, it wasn't practical to identify and delete all posts from trolls, and putting comments in a moderation queue would have interfered too much with the free-flowing discussion.
So the community came up with an innovative solution: Respond to the trolls not by arguing with them, but by making additional donations to the campaign. Whenever a troll showed up and wrote a negative comment, several regular posters would promptly respond by informing the troll that they had just made an extra donation in his/her honor. This had a salutary effect in convincing the trolls to take their disruptive attacks elsewhere.
I've been inspired to start a similar effort in the autistic community as a result of some particularly egregious rabble-rousing attempts by the usual cast of suspects. After they learned that Ari Ne'eman of ASAN will be featured in an upcoming Newsweek piece, Jake Crosby at Age of Autism and John Best at Hating Autism, along with a few other ignoramuses of the blogiverse, went into furious tirades urging their readers (what few they have) to write to Newsweek and complain. John Best, who somehow hasn't yet been locked up despite his long history of inciting terrorism, also made a death threat against Ari just for kicks.
Instead of just getting mad about it, I think it's high time for us to get even. So I'm encouraging everyone who supports neurodiversity and ASAN's advocacy efforts to take part in a new anti-troll initiative: Whenever you see ignorant drivel from the haters, make a donation to ASAN to help educate the public, and post about it on blogs and forums to let others know that we're fighting back against the trolls. I've just mailed a contribution of $ 50 to ASAN to kick off this campaign (that's $ 25 for each of you, Jake and John) and I also created an anti-troll fundraising page on change.org for online donations, as well as a pledge to support this effort. ASAN's mailing address is 1025 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005, for those who prefer to donate by check.
In addition, if you wish to contact Newsweek to thank them for writing favorably about the neurodiversity movement, firstname.lastname@example.org is the address for letters to the editor for the US print edition and email@example.com is the address for the online magazine.
Edit, May 16: The Newsweek article has been published online.
Edit, July 28: The mailing address for ASAN as shown above has been updated.