james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
A person can be socially clueless without any autism spectrum disorder playing a role in the matter.

Date: 2012-07-31 06:35 am (UTC)
bibliofile: Fan & papers in a stack (from my own photo) (Default)
From: [personal profile] bibliofile
It's true.

Date: 2012-07-30 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abigail-n.livejournal.com

Also, lack of respect for the feelings and personal autonomy of others is not the same thing as social cluelessness.

Date: 2012-07-30 02:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bethzebra.livejournal.com
I agree with you. However. I see people talking about social cluelessness sometimes as if there are two options, autism spectrum disorder and total bloody-minded refusal to learn correct behavior, i.e. either it's an ASD or it's all the person's own fault for not behaving better, which they clearly could do if they only chose to. I think it's a lot greyer than that, based on my own experiences. Just because you don't have an ASD doesn't mean that you're being socially clueless on purpose just to irritate the people around you. Some of us are demonstrably not autistic and yet are still really, really bad at reading social cues and responding appropriately to them in ways that appear to be a genuine inborn deficit. I mean, I don't have a Harmonic Vocal Expression Disorder, I'm just totally tone-deaf and have a scratchy voice, but that doesn't mean singing badly is something I do out of stubborn refusal to make people happy.

All of this of course is not to excuse genuinely bad behavior, like the kind that I assume was the inspiration for your post. Someone saying directly, don't talk to me, go away, leave me alone is the kind of social cue that an otherwise functional person ought to be able to pick up on.

Date: 2012-07-30 02:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bastets-place.livejournal.com
Yes. I have never been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, but I also freely admit to being socially clueless. However, I am aware of the rights of others to not have to cope with my clueless nature, and some of my clueless nature has to be blamed on my own preferences regarding isolation.

In short, the more I avoid people, the less I understand most of them. I avoid people because being around them is often painful to me.

Date: 2012-07-30 02:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nicosian.livejournal.com
I have to deal with someone who's profoundly socially clueless, either by nurture or nature, and I don't think its ASD, but just....she really doesn't GET people or social situations.

It makes for a hellacious time dealing with her.

Date: 2012-07-30 02:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nihilistic-kid.livejournal.com
They can also engage in repeated social trespasses without being clueless either!

Date: 2012-07-30 03:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] james-nicoll.livejournal.com
And it doesn't count as epeated social trespasses if they are a Big Name and if witnesses can be found to attest to their nice guyitude.

Date: 2012-07-30 03:50 pm (UTC)
ext_6388: Avon from Blake's 7 fails to show an emotion (Exoticising the otter)
From: [identity profile] fridgepunk.livejournal.com
I think the important thing to take away is that the Bloody Code was a terrible legal standard.

Date: 2012-07-30 07:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] icecreamempress.livejournal.com
Yes! Often they are socially clueful enough to know when and to whom they can do it with impunity!

Date: 2012-07-30 08:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mme-hardy.livejournal.com
This. I am a lot more impressed when somebody's claimed or attributed ASD affects behaviors *other* than their would-be sexual interactions.

I think the automatic cries of "But Aspergers!" in response to any major incident of social misbehavior are insulting to all the people on the spectrum, many of whom work very hard to learn the social codes. ASD is rare. It may be more common in the SF community, but still, statistically, "Foo is a jerk!" is a better bet than "Foo has ASD!"

Date: 2012-07-30 03:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dewline.livejournal.com
I fear you may be right to believe this.

There have been times in my life when I look in the mirror after a particularly bad moment and wonder what's gone wrong in my brain.

Date: 2012-07-30 03:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] james-nicoll.livejournal.com
The nice thing about sleep apnea and the resulting neurological bonsai is that I can wake up every day with the potential of being a brand new person.

Date: 2012-07-30 03:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dewline.livejournal.com
Neurological bonsai.

That is such a wonderful and terrible metaphor. I want it.

Date: 2012-08-14 07:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dbdatvic.livejournal.com
ObXRef: The plotline that's been going on for some time in the Freefall webcomic, involving the Gardener in the Dark AI-processing program...


Date: 2012-07-30 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mme-hardy.livejournal.com
I have explained to my husband that the benefit of my constantly forgetting memories and landmarks is that for me, the world is always new.

Date: 2012-07-31 12:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maruad.livejournal.com
I must admit, finding out I had sleep apnea was a complete revelation as I found out in the same sentence that informed me I did indeed enjoy the sweet squirrel that is A.D.D..

Date: 2012-07-31 03:24 am (UTC)
ext_3718: (cheese)
From: [identity profile] agent-mimi.livejournal.com
Your delightful phrase: Stolen.

Until I forget it because my memory is shit thanks to sleep apnea.

Date: 2012-07-30 04:05 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
And those of us with, say, Aspergers can learn social skills. More difficult than calculus, granted, but by no means impossible.

Date: 2012-07-30 05:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eyelessgame.livejournal.com
Yes, but - judging from my aspie son - "more difficult than calculus" isn't exactly a high bar. :)

Date: 2012-07-31 06:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catsidhe.livejournal.com
Learning many social skills are a matter of learning the appropriate script. (Decrypting that script in the first place, and extracting the important parts from the merely contingent, are in the advanced manual somewhere.)

The fun begins when the script is forgotten in the heat of the moment, or when everyone else is working off a different script, or when everyone else decides to extemporise.

My experience is that an Aspie's social skills are like a train: when everything is going well, then the ride is smooth (if occasionally uncomfortable and/or subject to delay). Put a stone on the tracks, and you'll be picking up the wreckage for weeks.

Date: 2012-07-31 02:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lederhosen.livejournal.com
The way I sometimes explain it: for me, certain types of social interaction are a bit like solving a Sudoku puzzle. I can do it if I put my mind to it - in fact, if I really apply myself, I can do quite well. But it takes conscious mental effort and it gets very draining if I have to sustain it for long periods.

Date: 2012-07-30 04:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] baeraad.livejournal.com
Yes, a person can. I'm not sure I see what difference it makes, though. If we're actually talking about cluelessness (as opposed to, "I'm not rude, I'm just fetchingly outspoken like a real man, hur, hur, hur!"), then that's just two different reasons for the same inability.

Now, I tend to feel that an inability, however annoying, is something one should be patient with in others if one is lucky enough not to suffer from it oneself. This sentiment by the way, is very much informed by me being a diagnosed autistic person and having some very intense, painful personal experience of inability.

To put it this way: all my life, people would tell me I was selfish and lazy and deserved to be shunned. Then all of a sudden I got a fancy word for what I am, and suddenly people are perfectly willing to accept that I'm doing the best I can - which I've been saying all along, but they never believed me until I had that fancy word at my disposal. Given that life experience, I'm... not really comfortable joining in with the chorus of condemnation towards people who behave like me but who lack a fancy word, is what I'm saying.

Date: 2012-07-30 04:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seth ellis (from livejournal.com)
As other people have pointed out elsewhere, having Asperger's or autism and being socially clueless are entirely separate things. People who've dealt with having Asperger's their entire lives know what their weaknesses are, and if they have trouble picking up on social cues, they've usually developed management strategies such as asking questions and paying attention to the answers. That is, they've found other ways of looking for clues.

Willfully choosing to remain that clueless well into adulthood isn't clueless, it's self-centered, and a rationalization of bad behavior.

ETA: I'm talking specifically about the Readercon incident, not about broader definitions.
Edited Date: 2012-07-30 04:30 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-07-30 05:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eyelessgame.livejournal.com
Maybe so. But I stand by my completely amateur and unprofessional diagnosis that Ayn Rand was autistic.

Date: 2012-07-30 05:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brownkitty.livejournal.com
Yes. Everyone goes through this stage. It's called "toddlerhood." Many people outgrow it, have a relapse known as "puberty", and come out of that too.

Seriously though, yes. For many different reasons, some benign and some not.

Date: 2012-07-30 08:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] debgeisler.livejournal.com
Yes. Yes, they can.

Date: 2012-07-30 08:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] secritcrush.livejournal.com
Any port in a storm. Though I think most of the people who are friends with Walling have come down on "cultural misunderstanding" rather than autism as an excuse.

EDIT: I mean most (of the subset of his friends who are excusing his behavior), many are publicly not doing so and have condemned his actions.
Edited Date: 2012-07-30 08:45 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-07-30 09:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seth ellis (from livejournal.com)
I just saw a couple of those "cultural misunderstanding" excuses. Apparently Montreal is quite a place.

Date: 2012-07-31 02:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] felila.livejournal.com
I may be borderline Aspie (one shrink's opinion) OR I may just have a "social disability" (another shrink's opinion). If the latter, it's probably because I grew up HIDING in my room reading books because I was too dang brainy and geeky for anyone (including my parents) to accept. It wasn't until the Aspie diagnosis that I realized how much of my life had been ruined by persistent social ineptness. People felt that I was being purposefully rude and clueless; I felt that I was trying and somehow everything went wrong.

I'm doing better now that I know that I have a problem (whatever it is) and spend a fair bit of time and energy figuring out workarounds. But I'm still an introvert with intense social anxiety, which can get in the way of easy social interaction.

Please don't hate me. Or think that I am the way I am on purpose.

Date: 2012-07-31 03:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lostwanderfound.livejournal.com
Difference between ASDs and arseholes:

* on being informed that they're being socially obnoxious, ASD folks (and those with other neurologically-driven social difficulties, e.g. some brain injury survivors) tend to have a response along the lines of "oh God, I fucked up again; I'm really, really sorry, and if you could offer me any clues on how to avoid doing this in future that'd be grand".

* arseholes, OTOH, tend to go more for the "hey, it's not my fault that I'm obnoxious, the rest of you can just deal with it" option. Shifting the blame for their arseholery onto ASDs is just another facet of their arsehole-ness.


I'm a social incompetent; although I doubt I'd qualify for an ASD diagnosis (I'm not totally blind to social cues, I'm just very slow, inaccurate and unreliable at reading them; it's routine for me to not "get" subtext until hours or days after the event), I'm well into the lower tail of the distribution re: social abilities. But my limitations are my own, and it's my responsibility to ensure that the consequences of my incompetence have as little impact as possible on other people. The fact that this means that I miss out on a lot of social-related things that most other people get to enjoy does suck, but I've no right to pass that suckiness on to anyone else.

My night vision is awful. This means that I have a responsibility to take extra care when driving at night and avoid situations where that caution is inadequate to protect others from harm. Sometimes this means that I'm left with no option apart from "get off the road and wait for the sun to come up", and on occasion that can be extremely inconvenient. But the fact that my shitty night vision is biologically driven does not give me a "get out of responsibility free" card.

Date: 2012-07-31 10:17 am (UTC)
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
From: [personal profile] vass
Yes. And it is also possible for a person on the autistic spectrum to ALSO be a jerk, without a causal connection between the two traits.


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