Board 'notes'

(7 Posts)
ChinaCupsandSaucers Thu 25-Jul-13 16:58:37

MNHQ - the legal, relationships and other boards have a little 'note' at the top, giving advice about MNers not necessarily being qualified etc etc.

Can we have one of those on the Stepparenting boards please, advising posters not to use terms that offend - such as BM (birth mum)?

These terms are commonly used elsewhere on the Internet but every time they are used on MN, the thread is hijacked and taken off track by those who are offended by its use - which means that support and useful advice gets lost in the clamour!

There seems to be some unwritten 'taboo' phrases that MNers don't like; so that new posters don't get lynched and others can give support asked for, can we somehow have a list of the terms to avoid, please?

Thank you flowers

UC Thu 25-Jul-13 18:10:36

I think this is a very good idea.... I've seen two threads today derailed by exactly this. The OP gets flamed for using an anacronym that offends, and posters lose sight of the question originally asked.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 25-Jul-13 19:36:30

Hello there

Thanks for flagging this one.

First off (and most importantly); while we think debate, and threads going off on tangents, are generally fine, what's really not on is for people to be personally attacked - so if you think something is breaking our Talk Guidelines, or even if you'd just like us to pop on to a thread with a general request for calm and civility, please report it to us.

That said, we think the best way to address situations like this - terminology that doesn't break our Guidelines but that is controversial on the boards - is by MNers discussing it among themselves. We're a bit reluctant to come up with lists of 'acceptable' and 'non-acceptable' terms; indeed, given that we can't be experts in all the many and varied topics that get discussed on MN, we'd very likely get some of it wrong ourselves.

While we do understand that it can be irritating to explain the same thing over and over, we (as in MNHQ) generally take the approach that the fewer 'rules' we have in place, the better the conversations on the boards will be. (Obviously we make exceptions for terms that are sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic or disablist - or things that we think are really beyond the pale.)

You're very welcome to start a thread within a certain topic that deals specifically with terminology, and tries to explain why certain terms might unwittingly lead new posters into bad-tempered waters. We can't, of course, guarantee that such a thread wouldn't become a discussion in itself - but in the end that's partly what we're all here for innit grin

MissStrawberry Fri 26-Jul-13 07:56:49

Why is birth mum seen as something offensive? Isn't it just stating a fact? confused.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 26-Jul-13 08:02:52

strawberry the debate is continuing on the Stepparenting board - come and join us!

cestlesautres Fri 26-Jul-13 21:35:26

I agree that either the claimed MN orthodoxy should be clearly open to challenge - ie anyone who challenges it should not be bullied off the thread - or the claimed orthodoxy should be openly spelt out, so that no-one gets bullied for inadvertently going against it. Some of the orthodoxies are weird in the extreme.

An example would be: in The Doghouse, it used to be impossible to start a thread saying "Dd wants a puppy - should we get a lab or a spaniel?". The orthodoxy was: "it is grossly immoral to acquire a puppy when a rescue dog, preferably a Staffie, is the only correct choice for you and your child". So discussion of puppy acquisition was strictly taboo.

Happily this is no longer the case.

nenevomito Sat 27-Jul-13 17:28:31

I agree with the OP on this one. The thread on the sp board at the moment backs up the request. The term 'birth mum' is apparently so offensive people should know innately that it's offensive without being told.

I've seen it too many times now. Someone uses it, gets flamed, has their thread derailed, folk know not to use it. 6 months down the line, someone new posts for support, gets flamed and their thread derailed and it's like the circle of life without the lions and cheesy songs.

Posting about step issues on mumsnet is like sticking your head in the jaws of a lion as it is. Helping people avoid this death trap before they even start is one more obstacle avoided.

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