Please vote in our "What do you think about the On Mumsnet This Week column in the Daily Mail?" poll

(1001 Posts)
JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 02-Sep-09 12:54:44

Hello all,
So am back in Blighty and have caught up on everything posted and all the ongoing correspondence with the DM that's gone on while I've been away. (Sorry very poor communications on hols so haven't really been in the loop but Carrie and team have filled me in now.)
Thanks all for the input as ever.

There are a few things you've raised that we need to address and clarify. So, as ever, apologies in advance for the long post.

The first I think is MNHQ's attitude towards this column and why we didn't try and put a stop to it earlier, i.e. the moment we found out about it. (Recap for those who may have missed: we didn't know in advance that it was going to happen, the first we knew about it was when we saw the first column being discussed on MN and initially we didn't think we had any legal grounds to contest the DM's use of MN quotes. We subsequently established some time after column 2 that the DM is, in fact, most likely infringing MN copyright).

As I said early on, a weekly column in the DM is not something we'd have sought. We share many Mumsnetters' misgivings about the views and general tone of the paper - particularly it's attitudes towards working women, immigrants etc. And as I've also said we've as yet detected no noticeable increase in visitors on Thursdays when the column is published (or on any other days for that matter). Nor is it a column that fills us with pride because it adequately represents the joy and wonder that is Mumsnet. So why - as some have understandably wondered - are we not banging our fists about stopping the darned thing and have we not fired off a barrage of legal threats? Why instead do we at HQ seem a bit ambivalent about whether the column exists or not?

The main answer is this. Like it or not, the Daily Mail is a very influential beast, probably one of the most politically influential institutions in the UK. So, irrespective of the content of these columns, the very fact that the Daily Mail have decided that Mumsnet is prominent and interesting enough to base a weekly column around increases our clout. Clout when it comes to asking government ministers to consider things like our miscarriage campaign, clout when we try to persuade Gok Wan's PR that he ought to pay us a visit, or when the Tories are thinking about environment policy or what they're going to do to increase breastfeeding rates.

We also have a distinct reluctance to "go legal" with anyone after our experience of GF going legal with us - the legal system and lawyers (particularly opposing lawyers) have a way of eating up all your resources, not to mention your will to live. And call us lily-livered if you like, we'd rather not be at the top the DM's hit list if there's a way of avoiding it.

Plus, from the correspondence Carrie's had with the mail in the last couple of weeks, it's clear that they would are prepared to take steps to minimise the privacy risks.

That said, we accept many of the reservations argued well here and in previous threads about the imperfect nature of the association.

In short, those of you who've accused us of residing on the fence are probably right - we are a bit and tbh it's not very comfortable!
So where next?

We think perhaps it would be best both to help us get off the fence and, if it comes to it, to lay the column to rest, to put the matter to the vote. We recognise that it's not a perfect solution but there have been a number of objections raised about this and we'd like to see exactly what it is that folks are objecting to - MN in the Daily Mail per se. MN in the Daily Mail without MN control over content. MN in the Daily Mail in its current guise/format - for example would it be OK if it were it a funny weekly column written by someone like MorningPaper (they'd never have she's far too rude of course)? Or perhaps you don't object at all (and you have an aversion to posting on this thread grin).

Hopefully they'll be a clear conclusion and we promise to abide by it and to do our darnedest to put it into action as quickly as possible.

We're sorry this has dragged on a bit - it is a bit tricky to conduct this type of negotiation in public, particularly when there's a whiff of the legals about - and as we all know (if we didn't already) MN is a very public board, open for all to see and easily searchable etc. At some points we do sometimes have to just hope that you trust that we are not the bad guys who are trying to manipulate, exploit and mislead you all for our own ends (many thanks to those who have said as much). If you think that we are then there's nowt much we can say I suspect to ever sway you otherwise - but you're welcome on MN all the same because it's not really about us, after all.

It also doesn't help that it all kicked off in holiday season which is how it always is (GF the same) - sod's law and all that. Anyway humble apologies for not being a bit more accessible/on the ball in the last few weeks. We are almost all back at full strength now and generally at your disposal smile.

So here's our very quick poll - please fill it in (just the once please). It won't gain you entry in any competitions to win a family holiday outside of school holidays grin but it will most certainly influence what we do next.

Many thanks.

StripeySuit Wed 02-Sep-09 13:05:07

Done, agree with increasing clout but it needs jazzing up a bit, it's very dry.

done

bibbitybobbityhat Wed 02-Sep-09 13:09:34

Thank you for this Justine. I think the poll is a good idea.

LadyStealthPolarBear Wed 02-Sep-09 13:10:42

Thanks for the update Justine!
"for example would it be OK if it were it a funny weekly column written by someone like MorningPaper "
Yes, IMO it would be. I think someone like MP is known and trusted enough to do this - my problems have always been around someone publicising a particular thread when I'm not clear about her intentions. TBH when I saw the second one with the anonymised names I was less bothered.
Not keen on it being in the DM but can see why that's a good thing
Well I'll go and do the survey!

LadyStealthPolarBear Wed 02-Sep-09 13:12:31

BTW "to put the matter to the vote...
Hopefully they'll be a clear conclusion and we promise to abide by it and to do our darnedest to put it into action as quickly as possible."
That's really impressive, thank you!

morningpaper Wed 02-Sep-09 13:12:48

I must admit I think that MN needs to retain editorial control - basically, then if it is crap then we know who to humiliate.

So I reckon that I'd like MN to have editorial control and perhaps a stickie for KICK JUSTINE HERE permanently at the top of chat?

beanieb Wed 02-Sep-09 13:14:51

So what you're saying is

a. although the stuff they cover in the Daily Mail is not the kind of thing Mumsnet or mumsnetters would want to be associated with, you are prepared to overlook this because the column gives mumsnet 'a bit of clout' for mumsnetty kind of campaigns.

b. You're too scared to take them on legally and unwilling to use money to do so.

but you're putting it to the vote and will do what the majority say? isn't the vote going to be spread with all those different options?

Anyway - aside from that - do you have any more news about why the column was pulled last week (Apart from teh internet running out of space) and do you know what this week's column will be?

Also - why did the DM use an old thread for their column last week when this goes against what they agreed to?

ZephirineDrouhin Wed 02-Sep-09 13:15:00

Thanks for this, Justine. Take your point about increasing clout - although it is a little hard to see what common ground we might find with a paper that today screamed from the front page:

A NATION OF BAD PARENTS

grin

StripeySuit Wed 02-Sep-09 13:17:38

How else do we counter it Zeph?

StripeySuit Wed 02-Sep-09 13:21:28

Or rather, what better way to counter it?

beanieb Wed 02-Sep-09 13:21:31

by not jumping into bed with a racist, mysoginistic newspaper at the first opportunity?

StripeySuit Wed 02-Sep-09 13:22:25

How are you going to influence the opinions of those who read it if you don't engage with them?

said Wed 02-Sep-09 13:23:36

If the results of the vote said No association under any circumstances, what would MN do?

I do feel for you though Justine et al (after GF) and appreciate your honesty.

harleyd Wed 02-Sep-09 13:24:39

ah bugger, really can only vote once grin

morningpaper Wed 02-Sep-09 13:28:06

The poll result truncates the results and puts them upside-down so you can't see which one is winning <frown> - can you fix it?

Buda Wed 02-Sep-09 13:29:40

Done.
From Buda the Daily Mail reader.

said Wed 02-Sep-09 13:31:31

I can't read the options now - number 3 and 4 (reading downwards say the same thing)

beanieb Wed 02-Sep-09 13:44:02

I can see who's winning.

20 people want mumsnet to have Editorial control - would a paper like the DM actually agree to this!

15 people don't want a column in the DM under any circumstances - would this mean Mumsnet might need to take legal action to stop the column?

9 people don't give a monkeys - well only enough to actually bother to vote which suggests they might really give a slight monkeys.

Only 1 person wants it to continue as it is - maybe that's LH voting?

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 02-Sep-09 13:49:58

Nikita Tech's looking at making the results page a bit clearer as we speak.

Threadworm Wed 02-Sep-09 13:53:04

Would it really give MN more campaigning clout with ministers, etc., if they knew that the Mail had the right to select from millions of threads on random subjects at their own discretion and in keeping with their own priorities? How would that work, then? Even if that was true, it would be a sacrifice of MN's parent-support role to its probably far less significant campaigning role.

I can see that it might give MN more clout, though, in attracting Gok Wan, Jim Davidson, etc. to do webchats. Looking forward to that.

MamaG Wed 02-Sep-09 13:57:36

Maybe, just maybe, a funny Morningpaper style regular column in the DM would be a Good Thing. It might just make a couple of their readers open their eyes and get sucked into MN and start to change their views?

I think its shit that HQ has been put in this position, and its easy for us all to shriek "bastard HQ how dare you refuse to get into another costly, stressful legal battle over something that may not even continue past a few months anyway"

I think with the name changing and if HQ had editorial control, we should just let it be, really.

Threadworm Wed 02-Sep-09 13:59:26

Is a column with MN editorial control even a remote possibility, realistically?

beanieb Wed 02-Sep-09 14:03:01

I very much doubt it but am sure MNHQ wouldn't offer it as an option without having checked it out beforehand, surely!?

As pointed out earlier, DM are not the only mpaper lifting threads and publishing - why make an issue of DM - surely, that will also be a factor if trying to legally prevent the paper from running the column???

Keep your enemies closer ...

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