Our chat network is built on the principles of Inclusive Equality where every one of us strives to improve ourselves towards achieving equality with our non-autistic counterparts through excellence, competency and mutual collaboration.
We do not promote Unconditional Inclusion which assumes incompetency and advocates accepting all flaws/problems unconditionally. This simply perpetrates/aggravates the discrimination and other problems faced by the autistic community.
Participants who have demonstrated competency and good conduct may be invited to be an Administrator and receive opportunities to lead the community according to their strengths and passions. This is part of our long-term plan of grooming the next generation of autistic leaders.
Uncensored Social Groups
A portion of the chat network is run as uncensored chat groups – where sensitive topics may be discussed and administrators use a highly flexible approach to managing the group members. Please do not join these chat groups if you feel uncomfortable about these.
Administrators running these groups are committed to monitor the conversations closely and to take personal responsibility to resolve any issues that may arise. If you have any concerns, approach administrator Kevin directly.
The purpose behind these groups is to provide an accepting space where autistics can be themselves without social norms and rules restricting them. This is especially important as we have come across many autistics who are unable or unwilling to follow rules and guidelines.
Do note that all WACS members and administrators are subject to Singapore law no matter autistic or non-autistic. Any posts of a criminal or illegal nature are explicitly forbidden.
Most of this chat network is run as regulated chat groups – where we have explicitly defined rules to ensure a safe space for everyone.
We believe that an autism diagnosis is not an excuse for bad behaviour. Anyone, autistic or otherwise, who persists in breaking rules is not welcome on this part of the network. We prioritise the safety of our autistic participants and we seek out positive role models of Inclusive Equality.
1) Safe Space
1.1) No personal attacks, bigotry, negative judgements and insults are allowed in the group. Take up personal disagreements privately.
1.2) These groups are public forums. Do not share information about yourself and others that are not meant to be made public. Obtain permission before disclosing any other people’s personal information.
1.3) Participants who bully, harass, ridicule, scorn or otherwise attack the psychological/mental health of other autistic participants are not welcome on our chat network. This applies to private conversations too.
1.4) If your behaviour is likely to pose harm to the psychological well-being of (vulnerable) autistic participants, it is grounds for removal. Administrators will act to fulfil their duty of care to protect vulnerable autistic participants on our chat network, even if no rule has been explicitly violated.
1.4.1) Members are encouraged to report potentially harmful behaviour to the Administrators
1.4.2) To protect vulnerable autistics from potential harm, the following groups of people will be asked to leave
a) People who are known to exploit and/or abuse autistics
b) People who exhibit behaviours consistent with the Dark Triad (i.e. psychopathy/sociopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism)
c) Autistics who intentionally persist in bringing disrepute to the autistic community; they are acting as bad role models and saboteurs of Inclusive Equality.
1.5) Anyone found to falsely claim to be autistic will be automatically barred from the chat network.
1.5.1) If participants who publicly identify as autistic consistently demonstrate little/no difficulties in social and communication abilities, the Administrators have the right to ask for concrete proof of their autism diagnosis.
1.5.2) If participants who publicly identify as autistic consistently demonstrate that another diagnosis related to the Dark Triad (e.g. Antisocial Personality Disorder) describes their observed behaviours better than autism, they will be asked to leave to protect vulnerable autistics from potential harm.
1.6) If you believe/suspect that there is a serious threat to our chat network (e.g. a severe security vulnerability in WhatsApp), please inform the Administrators who will then decide how to respond.
1.7) Anyone with a history of, or found to be persistently harassing others, will be barred from the chat network. Such harassment is defined as trying to contact someone even after being blocked on at least one social media platform.
1.7.1) Group members are encouraged to report cases of harassment to the Administrators. This chat network is meant to provide a safe space for the autism community to interact. Harassment is unacceptable no matter if the perpetrator is autistic or not.
1.7.2) Autistics who promise not to harass others may be allowed to join private groups within the network on a probationary basis. They will be barred if they re-offend.
1.8) Avoid discussing topics that may offend people or lead to legal issues. Such sensitive topics include, but are not limited to sex, religion, politics, money and fake news. Members who persist in raising these topics despite administrators’ warnings will be removed.
2) Avoid Spam
2.1) Please stay on topic to keep the groups spam-free.
2.1.1) If you keep posting messages that others are unable to understand, our Administrators may guide you to convey yourself better. However, if you persist in writing unintelligible messages, you may be asked to leave these groups and invited to join the social support groups instead.
2.1.2) If you persistently disregard and challenge the directions of the Administrators, you will be removed from the group.
2.2) When you send a wrong message, use the “delete for everyone” option. To err is human; there is no need to apologise.
2.3) Our chat groups are NOT meant for excessive promoting of your causes or agendas. If it is relevant to the group, send it ONCE and do NOT pressure others to support your sharing.
2.4) Do NOT post photos or videos for social purposes (e.g. birthday/holiday greetings and live updates of personal/social events) except for the Family Safe Sharings group.
2.5) Do NOT repost long messages ad verbatim from the same group to itself. Likewise, do NOT post progressive chains (i.e. posts by multiple participants who add their names to a previous post with other names on it).
2.6) Participants are discouraged from sending messages between 11:30 pm to 7 am Singapore time to avoid disturbing other participants who did not mute their group notifications, especially in large groups.
2.7) Participants who keep sending unsolicited private messages to Administrators, even after repeatedly being told not to do so, can be blocked at the discretion of the affected Administrator(s). This will not accept their membership in the network.
2.8) Participants who keep sending unsolicited private messages to other participants can be blocked at the discretion of the affected participant(s). The Administrators will not intervene to impose or remove blocks of a private nature.
[Refer to the Annexe at the end of this page for more solutions to reduce spam]
3) Stay Relevant to the Topic
3.1) Post topics to the most relevant chat groups. Topics less than 50% relevant are deemed irrelevant.
3.1.1) Post the same information to only a maximum of 3 groups. Choose the 3 most relevant to post. Otherwise, this can be considered spam.
3.2) If you have a topic of interest not in our chat network, you can create a private WhatsApp group (outside of our chat network) and/or feedback to the Administrators who will decide whether to create it under our chat network.
3.3) Administrators are not curators. A boring but relevant conversation will be allowed to carry on. However, a conversation that may contravene Singaporean law will not be allowed to continue.
3.4) Persistent posting of irrelevant materials is grounds for removal.
3.4.1) Do not make false claims and post fake news. Check the legitimacy and reliability of the source and/or information before posting.
3.4.2) Memes (including jokes, greetings etc) are discouraged except for groups with no specific topic (e.g. Wholesome Safe Sharings).
3.5) [Conversation Stopper] When there is an excessive volume of messages (>100 within 30 minutes), it is recommended for the top 3 most active participants to TEMPORARILY refrain from posting in the group for 6 hours. This is to allow everyone time to digest the messages.
3.6) Emergency Announcements (EAs), are defined as requests for emergency help.
3.6.1) EAs can be posted directly into social support groups and/or directly into relevant groups. For example, missing children EAs in the Caregiver Support Hub group.
3.6.2) Otherwise, please approach an Administrator for assistance for posting into the correct groups.
3.7) Events, talks, webinars and services can be shared into our groups if they fulfil ALL the following conditions:
3.7.1) Relevant to the topic of the group being posted to
3.7.2) Of interest to the main target audience in the group being posted to
[For example, posting about insurance offerings and therapy services is fine on the Caregiver Support Hub, but not in the advocacy, career or schools groups.]
3.7.3) Do not contradict any other rules (e.g. soliciting for donations, aggressive/repeated spamming, exploiting/harming autistics)
4) Neutrality and Objectivity
4.1) Administrators are to set their personal beliefs and issues aside when administering the chat network. Personal disagreements with a participant are NOT grounds for removal of that participant.
4.2) Administrators who abuse their power to ban participants for personal reasons will be disqualified. Administrators cannot use their status to coerce or pressure other group participants, except to ensure compliance with the group rules.
4.3) An Administrator can still act on his/her capacity if a participant behaves in a way that requires immediate removal if the impact is great (e.g. a participant insists on spamming the group with personal attacks despite being warned to stop, or poses a danger to others). In this case, the Administrator can remove the participant first and then submit the decision for a vote later. The Administrators will have the option to vote to invite the removed participant back again.
5) No Recruitment and Solicitation
5.1) Do not use our groups for recruiting people to join, support or engage in potentially problematic schemes, causes and/or organisations. Problematic causes include, but are not limited to, political, religious, financial, sexual and anything controversial. This can be considered as an attempt to exploit autistics.
5.2) Bona fide causes are acceptable. Examples include job offers with no hidden conditions and promoting events for non-profit causes (including those with a fund-raising element).
5.3) Solicitation for donations is DISALLOWED, especially if the donation is managed by an individual rather than an officially registered non-profit organisation. As Administrators lack the resources and time to verify the authenticity of donation requests, we ask that all group participants solicit for donations outside of our chat network instead.
6) Miscellaneous Issues
6.1) Unfortunately, WhatsApp currently imposes a cap of 257 group participants. In the interest of making space for new active participants, when a group has less than 10 spaces left (i.e. 247 participants), the Administrators can begin to remove from the group participants who:
6.1.1) have not read the group messages for at least 3 weeks
6.1.2) have not registered with this website
Annexe: Solutions to avoid spamming
- Post a link to the full text of a news article instead of copying it ad verbatim.
- Post a link to a photo album or Facebook post instead of sending many photos.
- Send large files using MediaFire, Dropbox, Google Drive or some other cloud services
- Put your large files into one online folder and send a link to that folder
- Compress all your files into one file and send a link to that one file.
- When your message is only relevant to one person, send them a private message.
- If you need to collect a list of participants for an event or conduct a survey, please learn to use Google Forms or SurveyMonkey.