Why I hate Kickstarter now… Or when people don’t follow the rules they set themselves.

CW/TW: Abuse, torture, ableism


Getting people to do the ethical and moral thing is hard

There are few things in this world that make me disengage from the world or more angry than when people do not follow the rules they set themselves.

Over the past ~11 days I’ve been campaigning to stop a child torture device from gaining funding on Kickstarter.

It’s been a series of threads on Twitter…

How it started…

How to traumatize yourself or child with ADHD.

A beeping sound every 8 seconds… wtf. This would be pure hell

Yo @kickstarter this is really bad. I guess I’ll also lodge a complaint through the site. But this will torture kids.

The one comment on this shows exactly how dangerous this is:

I backed this project as I believe in wanting this attention and focus device for my daughter in sports.

However , this days you need to invest in a proper videography , a proper write up , some selling points.

1) Identify the problem

2) Elaborate on the problem

3) Solve the problem

4) Evidence

5) Action

Good luck if you didn't able to get your funding. You have to re-do it. It gives customer more confidence

“I backed cause I want to help, but also there’s no evidence”.

Don’t torture your kids. That’s a start position.

This thread shows how to report it.

Alright thanks everyone who’s reporting and RT’ing this – I need to mute this thread because thinking about it every time just makes me so upset. Thank you so much ❤️🥰 If I don’t like your quote tweets or whatever assume I would have ❤️

Originally tweeted by Rory 🍉🏳️‍🌈 ADHD/Autism (@roryreckons) on February 11, 2021.

Then it got worse…

I really don’t want to live here anymore… fully funded child torture device. Will no reporters cover this…

It breaks so many of @kickstarter’s own terms of service. It’s a breach a lot of us in the ADHD/Autism community reported. I’m glad you guys all think that emitting a sound every 8 seconds at the back of their neck with a sticky device is acceptable.

Seriously fuck justice sensitivity and the rest of you not fucking having it.

We’ve been trying to get media to listen. Too busy talking about the “burden” on parents of kids with autism to care about this stuff that actually prevents harm.

Just to clarify – I am not suicidal, I’d just rather live on a planet where people care about each other, not try and shock them into submission based on their own ideals. Thanks to those who expressed concerned – I should have made that a bit clearer.

Here was my response from @kickstarter when reporting it. Everyone else who reported it got the same response. They care about money – not people with neurodivergence:


Hi there,

Thank you for bringing this project to our attention:

Project: NOIT - assistive technology for focus and attention
Report date: February 12, 2021, 10:21 AM NZDT
Report content:

There's no evidence for this method working in science. As someone with ADHD and Autism this is very harmful and likely to cause a lot of issues. There's also no peer reviewed science anywhere that t...
We’ve investigated and determined that it doesn’t violate our rules or community guidelines. If you believe there is an issue that’s not covered by our rules or guidelines, please contact us with more details.

If you haven’t already, you can also communicate directly with the project creator.

While we won’t be taking action on this project at this time, we value your input. We rely on reports like yours to ensure the safety and integrity of Kickstarter for everyone.

Thanks again for looking out for the Kickstarter community.

Best,
Kickstarter Trust & Safety

I found out about this because it was posted in a parent support group unironically – kinda glad I monitor those things… Parents are always looking to cure their kids rather than support them. Self-advocates have so much work to do.

Also sorry for no TW/CW. I’ve been enraged about this since it’s discovery – I’ll be sure to be more careful in future – thanks to those quote tweeting it that do this. 🙂

They say they are taking action – the main person involved posted an update to call it “wearable tech” they are trying to get around their own terms of service – they can’t see the ethical concerns.

Originally tweeted by Rory 🍉🏳️‍🌈 ADHD/Autism (@roryreckons) on February 16, 2021.

Refusing to give up.

CW: abuse, torture, ableism

please everyone sign the petition I’ve created to stop kickstarter selling a device that beeps every 8 seconds on the back of neurodiverse children’s necks. This will harm children and officially reporting it went nowhere. RT

http://chng.it/jWs8RkMj

It takes two seconds (if you have an account) and not long if you don’t, I know http://change.org is not a perfect solution but we need everyone we can get to sign this. It takes a minute of your time. Practice some radical empathy – sign the petition please!

cc @autselfadvocacy @StructuredSucc @blkgirllostkeys @danidonovan @HowtoADHD @AdhdAngsty @shiraisinspired @ItsEmilyKaty @commaficionado @Communica1st – please can you signal boost if you agree! It’s getting closer and closer to actually having money paid out. Need to stop it.

This is used mainly on non speaking autistic children. It’s part of an unproven approach to treat autism. It’s like a shock collar for dogs, which are already banned in most places. Why is this allowed for a child?

Earlier thread. @kickstarter has denied us or lied every step of the way on this.

This method and device are already being used in NZ I’d be happy to write a piece on this – there’s no science to back their claims.

Going to try and tag some bigger accounts that care about social justice stuff/

Please if you could boost this. I really want to put as much pressure as possible on Kickstarter. Explanation here. Please help me stop it

Originally tweeted by Rory 🍉🏳️‍🌈 ADHD/Autism (@roryreckons) on February 18, 2021.

How it’s currently going:

9927 Supporters
The most popular weekly petition on change.org

What I have asked for now…

Dear Support team,

Kickstarter Campaign Link

I’m pretty disappointed, stressed, and dismayed. Less than four days to go on this campaign. Since discovering it on the 10th of February after it was shared in a private Parent Support group, I have not been able to stop thinking about it – justice sensitivity would not allow me – not when I know the harm this will cause.

When I received my first rejection email of my report I was not surprised.

No one listens to neurodivergent people. It’s clear your organisation thinks us to be less than dogs, as even shock collars for dogs have been banned in most places.

This was a clear violation of your Prohibited Items Policy in at least three areas:

 “Any item claiming to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent an illness or condition (whether via a device, app, book, nutritional supplement, or other means).”

“Projects that promote discrimination, bigotry, or intolerance towards marginalized groups”

“Projects that share things that already exist, or repackage a previously-created product, without adding anything new or aiming to iterate on the idea in any way.”

You initially rejected these claims. Then you lied to other submitters and said action was being taken, in which nothing has happened.

You left me no choice to start a change.org campaign – as at this current time it has garnered over 8250 signatures:

https://www.change.org/p/stop-kickstarter-from-allowing-child-abuse-of-neurodivergent-children

I implore you to read the comments. Tomorrow I will be talking to several reporters about this. 

The one thing I absolutely didn’t want to happen is the project creator to get dog-piled from people on the internet, specifically only naming them as the campaigner and using gender neutral terms to describe them. 

This has now happened on their private Facebook, all of this harm could have been avoided if you had honoured your own policies.

At this point I will accept nothing less than:

  1. The immediate removal of the Kickstarter campaign of a device banned in Canada, the origin country that is being producing it. (EDIT: dysgraphia error on this line – it should read the “origin country that is producing it”)
  2. I’ll expect a full report into how your approval process works, and the multiple failures of your company to follow your own policies.
  3. A written apology outlining what you will do in future, as well as to me personally for the time you have wasted due to not following your own rules.
  4. Some charitable donation to an Autistic or Neurodivergent Organisation of my choosing.
  5. A donation to support me to actually help ADHD and Autistic children, and to support the advocacy work I have done – this is optional. 

If there is no reply to this email or the campaign completes. 

I will start the next phase.

I’ll lodge a class action lawsuit against your company for selling unapproved medical devices without the approval of the US FDA and the Canadian Health Authority, through lawyers who have offered to bring a case pro bono.

I have made a lot of board game purchases over the years. I thought you were an ethical retailer as you had a policy about not doing this. It appears not.

Please don’t abuse children.

Honour your terms of service.

Regards,

Rory McCarthy 

Independent ADHD/Autism Advocate and Researcher

Don’t mess with people with justice sensitivity. We will harm ourselves constantly to make others lives better.

This has been so incredibly taxing mentally for me. At the same time this is going I’ve been meeting with politicians locally, talking to educators, talking to researchers, planning my next research.

All I want to do is stop the torture of kids and this unethical company can’t even meet the lowest bar… I am tired. This should have been over so long ago.

If they don’t think I am serious about taking them to court. They’ve never met me.

I’m running out of spoons, and the burnout at the end of this crusade will be most likely be brutal – BUT – if ADHD, Autism, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia and Crohn’s disease can’t slow me. This milquetoast crowdfunding platform definitely will not.

Published by roryreckons

I am an independent ADHD/Autism advocate and researcher. I am also diagnosed with both. I am training in 2021 to become an ICF Accredited ADHD coach. I write mainly about ADHD/Autism issues, but will also discuss morality, abolition, and current affairs occasionally.

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