Neurodiversity and Ratebeer

I stumbled upon a thread in the forums for iNaturalist—a geek-focused wildlife identifying social app similar in many ways to Ratebeer (including in its forum software)—discussing neurodiversity within the iNaturalist community. Give the first post a quick read or skim (and continue if you’re so inclined, I’ve only read a few comments so far):

I know this place is mostly dead these days, but for those of us still checking in—how do you relate? Has neurodiversity shaped your experience in rating beer and other hobbies? Is it something you haven’t thought about previously?

Personally, I was diagnosed with ADHD and autism spectrum last year when instead seeking treatment for depression. It was an eye-opening and, frankly, revelatory experience. It suddenly answered so many questions about who I was, and why I am like I am, and it continues to do so, day after day. It made me understand not just why I constantly feast on numbers and data, or why I keep careful track of every aspect of every of the endless hobbies I participate in (come say hello to my 85 houseplants), but real life things about why I could never pay attention in school—or in meetings at work—why certain social situations are strained, why some seemingly minor things seem to drive me nuts that don’t bother other people at all.

It’s also made me understand a lot about my family and friends, colleagues, people I choose to associate with, or public personalities with whom I identify. Neurodiversity, it turns out, is very common in my life. Which is an entirely greater topic of conversation.

Have others here been diagnosed? Or are suspicious? Do you have questions about ND?

This is a non-judgmental space. This is a hard topic for many people and I suspect many of those reading will be reluctant to participate. I ask that those participating treat each other kindly and with respect.


And for those wondering: puzzl, is that you? Did your account get hacked? Yes, I was at times an asshole to many people here for many years. It can be hard living inside of a brain you don’t understand. I hope I am a better person now than I was 10 years ago.


Really cool that you shared @puzzl. I’ll take a look at the link/posts. This hasn’t been something I’ve dealt with directly, but I’ve got family and close coworkers who have. I feel like as time has went on a lot of what was straight treated with medication in past are actually being heard and treated in several ways these days.


I suspect that anyone who has an obsession, addiction or determination, what have you (and whatever is the PC word), with keeping track of every beer he/she drank has some neurodivergent issues. I got ADHD prescribed (though I am skeptical it is a real ailment as opposed to a description of symptoms), but I doubt it has much to do with my beer rating. My fascination with lists (when I was eight I made a spreadsheet of all missiles in existence), statistics of experiences (used to record a list of all movies I watched), and the like probably stems from something that was not diagnosed. Whatever it is, I do not view it as a “disability”, but rather as an opportunity to engage with things that way…


Two of my kids are on the autism spectrum and I wouldn’t be surprised if I am a bit as well. These sorts of websites and activities can become a bit of an obsession for me, and during the lockdown it’s been hard to keep in check even though I’ve been drinking less.


I felt obligated to beat Nintendo games as a kid and keep track. Once I beat them I usually did not play them again. If I remember correctly I beat well over a hundred. Not sure I meet the criteria for neurodivergent, but I don’t think like many other people.


I don’t really think I am ND, but have family members that are. Looking at some of the comments on that post I can definitely see why ND and that community would overlap.

I also tend to think there can be an overlap in ND and just “nerdy” tendencies. I certainly like a tracking spreadsheet and planning… I have a spreadsheet for budget, investments, beer cellar, beer ratings, movies watched, addresses, groceries at one point,etc. I think part of that is nostalgia / memory aids, part planning tool part analytical tool. I just like being able to look back at data to see what it says. Sometimes its just fun to know how many different beers I’ve tried, or how many movies I’ve watched.


Not heard of Neurodiversity until this thread turned up, but I suppose I might have a piece of it in me somewhere. I’ve never been able to spell very well, but I was just classed as ‘thick’, in my school days there was no such thing as dyslexia or other labelled learning difficulties. You either did it or you couldn’t.

I do plan things well in advance and get frustrated when those plans are thwarted by others and I hate not being on time for meetings, journeys and events, etc, etc. I’ve always put that down to being me!


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For me, the “a-ha” moment in my ADHD diagnosis is when I was asked to go through the attached list of typical symptoms of ADHD and mark how many I identified with. And it was this surreal moment, seeing just this list of behavioral characteristics that so accurately described my life, many of which I’d never even consciously recognized in myself until seeing them written down. I’ve since shared the list with other family and friends and seen a few of those a-ha moments going off with them too.

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Thanks puzzl. Never heard of ND before, but I have mild dyslexia, and my primary care physician thinks I may have some form of Asperger syndrome. This is why I rate.

Neurodiversity is just the new word for what used to be called learning disabilities and the like, so if you are dyslexic and on the spectrum (if that is still the PC word), then by definition you are neurodiverse or neurodivergent.

I think I check every box. My wife was looking at a similar ADHD list this week and some of the boxes were a bit suspect, like:

Do you get bored doing boring and repetitive stuff?

:rofl: Yup! I’m fucked up! Drink a beer!

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Sharing often leads to good things. May we have a beer together again one day.


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I also love iNaturalist - I upload everything I see sometimes. Also I’m in a bioblitz contest right now, so that encourages the behavior there.

Also I always collected lots of things as a kid. I had like 500 GI Joes - when I sold them later in life I made like $3000. I don’t think anybody will buy my beer ratings when I grow up and sell them :joy:


i can identify. i have a spreadsheet that includes ratings i don’t post here. which now includes how far corks fly. lol

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I am likely borderline or mild - I’m fairly obsessive when it comes to trying to know things, try things, in some ways organize / list things (though I’m a bit disorganized in other ways), even collect, though I prevent myself from “hoarding” mostly. It’s a familial trait too - my dad’s side more maybe, though I can see soooome traits in my mom. However, I have, on my own, learned early in my life to recognize the mild OCD-ish behavior or compulsions and either dismiss them or use them in useful ways (for me or the world). So it’s not a crutch.

I am drawn naturally to stats, numbers, lists, databases - the non-dry ones, especially related to the things I like (music, books, beer, sports - football (sawker for some of ya). Should have probably developed myself professionally along those lines. Or maybe it would kill the appeal. Dunno.

I am annoyed by missing info or misinformation, that much is true, and will put effort into fixing that stuff, I get annoyed by people being sloppy, but I will never pathologically obsess about that.

So, dunno, I guess my brain functions partly along those lines, but usefully in some ways?

PS. I use Seek cos @hrabren put me up to it, will check the regular iNaturalist app.

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@puzzl damn this is a serious thread for RB. Andy, we should try to have a beer again. I’m often in Brooklyn. You ask a very interesting question and bring up a topic I’m familiar with.


Coming from a medical background, it’s interesting to hear about ‘neurodiversity’. I have a child with ADHD, but the PC language about medical conditions don’t sit well with me as a doctor. Not to say that living with ADHD or an autism spectrum disorder is stigmatizing, but it is what it is. It’s not different from being type I diabetic, and I didn’t hear anything about ‘endocrinological diversity’.

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I would not say it is politically correct language since ADHD and autism are not considered pejorative (generally speaking). Neurodiversity is more of a catchall term for numerous disorders that attempts to indicate there is nothing inherently wrong or abnormal with having autism or ADHD. Basically speaking, instead of thinking that having ADHD means there is something wrong, people want others to understand that these cognitive functions tend to differ across people. An apt comparison would be with the disabled community where terms and language have long been discussed and changed (e.g., do not say differently abled). And to be accurate, type II diabetes has been more recently discussed as an metabolic disorder. This is very much akin to this example.

More importantly, if changing the terminology is not harmful then it is likely fine.

My greater concern is that in the desire to help people the field of mental health has potentially created more problems. The criteria for some disorders has become so inclusive it has almost ceased to be useful. This is the case of autism spectrum disorders where 20 years ago many people would not fit the criteria compared to now. PTSD is similar. We may be getting to place where we are pathologizing normal behavior.

Additionally, there are few regulations when it comes to diagnostics in mental health and many more people are getting likely unreliable (and thus invalid) diagnoses. This is my concern with ADHD. Frankly, I am skeptical of almost any adult diagnosis of ADHD since symptoms have had to appear prior to age 12. If someone made it thought school, college, and worked numerous jobs where symptoms ADHD did not create a problem I’d be hesitant to think ADHD is a problem. I am even more skeptical if neuropsychological testing is not done before assigning the diagnosis. I am not saying it does not exist but it should be much rarer than what I am seeing anecdotally.

Of course, this is far beyond discussion of beer and I’d guess substance use problems are a more likely disorder for people that have at some point joined RB than ADHD or autism.


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