WrongPlanet Pageview Count hits a Profound All-Time Low due to lack of adequate autism representation

wrong-planet

According to direct (actual, not estimated) measurements from Quantcast, WrongPlanet, which claims to be the largest forum online for people with Autism and Asperger’s syndrome and their relatives, has hit an all-time low count of website pageviews, as measured from January 2008. * 

wpstats

A pageview doesn’t represent a unique user, but rather an instance where an onine user visits a website, so a single user can have several pageviews.  This is despite the fact that WrongPlanet’s membership has dramatically increased from 2008 to 2012.  Additionally, from the same statistics on a different tab, the unique visitor count has also declined by 50%.  This is most likely because more and more users are feeling alienated from the site and its goals, and do not feel represented.

At one time, WrongPlanet’s footer stated that “Asperger’s is not a disease” (https://web.archive.org/web/20120715015511/http://www.wrongplanet.net/ accessed April 26, 2015).  Many members presumably joined the website on that basis; however, there is no proof that Asperger’s is always or even beneficial.  The statement has since been removed.  Additionally, the left-hand sidebar at the top on the archive page showed statistics concerning the total user count and daily user growth; that sidebar has also been removed.

One subforum on WrongPlanet is The Haven, which is supposed to offer advice to members struggling with personal issues.  Many members there report feeling hopeless, lost, or even suicidal.  However, it is rarely suggested on there that neurodiversity might be problematic.

The biggest problem is that only a small recurring group of people with Asperger’s gets presented on the front page (https://web.archive.org/web/20130716180821/http://www.wrongplanet.net/  accessed April 26., 2015).  This group includes Alex Plank, who is WrongPlanet’s founder, John Robison, the designer of several famous guitars and owner of a renowned auto shop, and Jack Robison, John Robison’s son.

The frontpage group is generally in favor of neurodiversity, and the vast majority have achieved professional success.  They do not represent many other autistics that struggle with basic needs, have no professional success, and/or would like a cure.  In fact, a thread called “The unpopular WP members club” , which started in 2012, claims that WrongPlanet has become a popularity contest like everywhere else.  It spans over 300 pages with more than 4,600 posts and is still active today.

WrongPlanet also once ran a web series called Autism Talk TV .  The series featured Alex Plank, Jack Robison, and Kristen Lindsmith, Jack’s girlfriend.  Again, only a limited number of autistics were featured.  The series was partially funded by Autism Speaks, which many WrongPlanet members considered to be controversial.  There hasn’t been an update in two years, and the WrongPlanet Youtube channel hasn’t been updated in over a year.

Because there is scant evidence that Autism/Asperger’s leads to special talents, many less-functioning members have abandoned the site in frustration, and the higher-functioning members have lost interest over time, as it doesn’t affect their lives much.

*To view the data on Quantcast, select “all” under “Date Range”, “Month” to the right of “per”, and “Global” under “More Options”.  The two tabs used are Page Views and Uniques.

Yuval LeventalAbout Yuval Levental

Yuval Levental is a Master’s Student in Electrical Engineering.  In his free time, he enjoys learning about different cultures, neuroscience, and philosophy.

 

 

Editor’s Note:  Opinions expressed by Autism Daily Newscast Contributors are their own.

This article was originally submitted to us on April 27th and subsequently published on WrongPlanet.net . We think that the questions raised by Yuval Lenental are worth exploring.  One of the Forum Moderators responded to the post as follows:

“I think you’re trying to apply a narrative to the data without justification.
I would attribute the decline in WrongPlanet’s userbase to three factors:
1) Frustration with technical issues
2) Inadequate moderation
3) A well-documented general trend away from specialised forums and towards social networking, microblogging, and Reddit.”

Founder Alex Plank also had this to say,

alex plank“Pageviews in general have gone down across the Internet. The problem with using quantcast is that it requires people to use javascript to be counted so anyone with a JS block or adblock will not show up. In reality the traffic has not declined significantly when you look at the server’s analytics.”

One final note, the author refers to John Robison as the designer of several famous guitars and owner of a renowned auto shop. John Elder Robison is a well known author and spokesperson for neurodiveristy. Robinson resigned his post as a member of the Science and Treatment boards for Autism Speaks. His reasons can be read here
We welcome your thoughts on this topic, “Is WrongPlanet.net still a viable resource for those on the autism spectrum?

Top Stories and Breaking News

Researchers hope to revolutionize autism diagnosis through Autism & Beyond app

New York — A team of researchers from Duke are hoping to revolutionize how autism is diagnosed in young children through an iPhone app called ‘Autism & Beyond’. The researchers are working closely with Apple in hopes of improving how autism is diagnosed in children today. Due to the surge of the number of children […]

The damage of Chlorine Dioxide also peddled as Miracle Mineral Solution

For those of you that do not know there’s a very real threat to our autistic children in the world today. Naive parents and carers are being told that parasitic worms are the cause of autism in their children. They are being told that if they remove these worms with CD (Chlorine Dioxide) treatments the […]

Blogging mother, Temporary Tourist, shares her experiences of Disney’s Guest Assistance rule change

We’ve had mixed responses on Disney’s decision to change the Guest Assistance Card system. We reported Autism Hippie’s experiences on October 11. Disney implemented a change in their guest assistance cards for children and adults with special needs on October 9 after reports that people were flagrantly abusing the old system. Cards called Disability Access […]

Comments

  1. I suspect social networking (Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, etc.) is providing a more personal service to auties and aspies than wrongplanet is nowadays – while Yahoo!Answers is providing a more anonymous service. Auties and aspies the world over continue “feeling hopeless, lost, or even suicidal”, and worse, if anything, rather than better. Very little is said about the Penn State University evidence that child auties and aspies are 28 times as likely as any other children to contemplate / attempt suicide. Even health officials have upped their estimate that 1 in 68 school-aged children in the US have autism spectrum disorder to 1 in 50. So the fact, if indeed it is a fact, that wrongplanet is becoming a less popular haven for auties and aspies than it used to be, should be worrying the nuts off its owner(s) and operator(s), as their advertisng revenue will pretty soon go crashing through the floor, which would be a great pity.

    • Yuval Levental says:

      Thanks for your reply (article writer here). I’m not sure about your analysis, because WrongPlanet is specifically designed for those on the spectrum, whereas those other sites are for general purposes.

      >Very little is said about the Penn State University evidence that child auties and aspies are 28 times as likely as any other children to contemplate / attempt suicide.

      You will never see this on the frontpage of WrongPlanet. If they want to survive, they need to acknowledge those kinds of problems. The people that run WrongPlanet are volunteers, so as far as I know, they won’t suffer much.

  2. The reason why WP is failing is because Alex Plank and his admins support strict censorship. You cannot have a well functioning discussion forum when everybody’s keen on censorship.

    They’re getting what they deserve. WP has been a bastion for extremist social justice warriors for too long. And now WP’s paying the price for their heavy handedness.

    • Yuval Levental says:

      I agree that there is a lot of censorship. They also censor the viewpoints of pro-cure people.

  3. I used to go to wrongplanet for the “other stuff” on offer. Now that there is less, I use it less. It fit a large need for me when I was newly diagnosed. I think that there is still a place for wrongplanet. I sometimes feel that there is a club atmosphere there though. Now I have been diagnosed a few years now, other things have replaced online socializing with auties for me!

  4. I signed in WP 6 years ago, filled the bio and made a post. With bit more time I realised that WP was a place/excuse for Alex to get personal/professional exposure, most is advertisement, and forums are just venting frustrations. I contacted them several times asking how could I delete my account for example, and never got any answer from anyone. I didn’t try sending an email asking if I could do a donation though (just to check if they actually read the emails). But it seems that no one is allowed to leave. Once you signed it there’s no way to get out. You can’t even modify some of your profile info, or delete your own posts. A bit like a jail, from where there’s no way to get out. So I guess that most of the people there (users) don’t really exist anymore, just their ghosts. I tried to contact Alex several times and never got any answer.
    It had users at the time because there was not much more related to autism. Now it’s just a ghost planet, mostly due to their own rules and lack of interesting content.

    • Yuval Levental says:

      I tried to delete my account once and got the same result. That’s exactly my point, the forum’s more for Alex and his friends.