Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Zisk, Alyssa Hillary. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Zisk, A. H. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Monday, July 31, 2017

Distraction or DDOS?

Heads up that this is about the current US government, including the POTUS. Meaning: Everything is a mess.

Every time that several bad things are happening at once, call them R through Z, I see comments like this:
  • Don't worry about X, it's just a distraction (from Y)!
  • Z isn't a real threat, it's just a distraction (from R).
  • They want you focused on S instead of all the other stuff, don't fall for it!
Here's the problem: all of R through Z are legitimately bad. Every single one of them. They might not affect you personally, but they are all bad. Some are foreign policy disasters. Some are complete failures of how our government is "supposed" to work, and not in ways that would help marginalized folks. (A massive change in how policing is handled could be great. Encouraging brutality in arrests is not the massive change that could be great. It's taking the status quo and making it even worse.) Some are fairly blatant attacks on one group or another. (Taking Medicaid apart will get disabled people killed or institutionalized. See also: why ADAPT has been protesting at pretty much all things healthcare.)

These aren't distractions. To borrow a term from the Internet we rely so heavily on, it's a dedicated denial of service attack (DDOS). The idea behind DDOS is that a person or group sends so many requests to a server at once that the server crashes and loses most or all of the requests, making whatever site it's supposed to host unusable. Think of all the bad things happening as requests - you want to do things about them, hopefully. Think of yourself as the server - you have a limited capacity to handle requests, or a limited capacity for issues to take action about. If you try to take action on all of them, you'll get overloaded and quite possibly handle none.

That's precisely the idea behind DDOS. Overwhelm the server (you, in this metaphor) and they can't do anything. For actual servers, there are a variety of ways to handle it but no perfect solutions, because a server that can't respond to requests for information isn't much of a server at all. For us, any one person clearly can't pay attention to every single issue. This isn't a call for you to focus on more things at a time. (That sounds like a bit of a contradiction, since to focus you generally need to narrow things down.) 

So: you can't focus on every single issue at once. You still need to focus on a few issues, or even just one. That's fine. The difference between understanding all the bad things happening that aren't your personal focus as distractions and understanding them as part of a DDOS attack is what happens when you encounter another person who is focused on a different set of a few issues. If those issues are distractions, their focus is a problem. If those issues are part of a DDOS attack, their focus is great. You want to know that other people are covering these other issues! Splitting up the issues between different groups of people so that everything gets covered even though you don't cover everything is the best way we have of responding if all the issues are real.

And what about things like foreign connections and the whole Russia mess that we know Trump doesn't like to have talked about? Noticing what news tends to come with increases in the DDOS onslaught is still useful. That's the news that they really want to make sure gets lost because we're too overwhelmed to deal with it.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very helpful analogy. Thanks. It applies to other countries too, including the UK where we are seeing broad based attacks on welfare programmes (both reduction / elimination of benefits and offensive charicatures in the media of those formerly receiving benefits), attacks on foreigners (physical attacks on the street, attacks in the media, plans to limit rights of immigrants, parties campaigning on barely disguised racist platforms), wind-down of health services, etc etc. Does this sound familiar to US based readers?

    Ive got a pedantic point to make and then I'll suggest why it adds to your analogy.

    DDOS more often stands for DISTRIBUTED Denial Of Service. In other words the vexatious requests are coming from multiple directions. This matters as the server cannot just block one rogue client in order to solve the problem.

    The coping problem is DISTRIBUTED. It is not just a matter of filtering out POTUS or The Tories (notice though that low voter turn out shows many folk do exactly that).

    If we turn the TV on we get hostile depictions of people whose needs we identify with.
    If we read a newspaper we get more of the same.

    If we watch a benign video on YouTube we see racist sexist comments - not rational counter argument but ridicule - and if autism gets mentioned we become troll-targets too. I could burn out just confronting the trollful hatred on one channel (hint: dont even try)

    If we are in work our wages are stagnant (less than price inflation so we are getting poorer)

    If we used to get benefits they are now reduced or stopped.

    If we go to the shops the prices are up again.

    It is coming at us from all directions.

    The distributed nature of the attack leaves us nowhere to go to avoid it other than going offline completely

    Or so it can seem. Disconnecting is an option that seems natural to many Auties. But so is Focus.

    Spot the DDOS attack. Choose the one point to focus on - not because it is the only one that matters but because it is the one that grabbed my attention and it is one that is worthwhile.

    And - here is what I get most from this blog post - celebrate and give brief moral support to others who have picked a different place to push back. Celebrate their focus without losing mine.


I reserve the right to delete comments for personal attacks, derailing, dangerous comparisons, bigotry, and generally not wanting my blog to be a platform for certain things.