Trolling of the Bereavement board(166 Posts)
Yet again I have reported a thread which has turned out to be dodgy and deleted. I've lost count of how many that is over the time I've been on mumsnet. Trouble is that on that board, above all others, people want to be kind. People struggling withtheir loss reach out hands to others. It's fantastic support but truly awful when it's some git of a troll getting a very sick kick indeed. So can something be done? Maybe a time delay so no new thread will appear there till checked by MNHQ? Maybe no recent namechanges or new registrations posting unless cleared by MHHQ?
i know none of this is easy to arrange but I really feel something needs to be done. It's just awful.
Thats awful, which thread was it?
Its such a hard one because for those who are genuine which most are they will often need that instant response as a way of expressing their feelings to strangers rather than 'burdening' friends and relatives.
Perhaps if MNHQ just try to (and probably easier said than done) check out the posters soon after the thread has started just to make sure all seems above board?
It was the one with a baby who had died in a fall.
I just think instant response has to stop on that board. We cannot go on like this.
Not sure that would work, tbh. How do you verify bereavement on an anonymous forum? I bloody hate the trolling there, though. It causes real hurt to real people. It's kicking people when they're down.
They can't verify bereavement no, but perhaps could check is not a new registration with suspicious features. I don't know how they troll check now but they clearly do. I think that just needs to pre-emptive in that area.
Was that a troll thread about the baby who died from a fall?
WTAF is wrong with some people? It's sickening to even think someone would make something like that up
Oh, I saw that one, how awful that someone would make up something like that
I agree, Northern. I think it would help if MNHQ routinely checked out the OP of all new threads on that board, not wait until someone asks them to take a look.
But even then someone may come on with a new account because they know they will get support, or name change because they don't want their normal ID identifying.
Its a hard one but we don't want to make things harder for the majorty of posters on there who are genuinly in need of support
We know the thread you're talking about, and it really is unfortunate that it turned out the way it did. We're grateful to everyone who reported it to us, which meant we were able to nip it in the bud relatively quickly.
We are of course always looking for ways to make the boards a better place to post, and welcome all suggestions. In regards to checking new threads and new registrations, the fact of the matter is Mumsnet receives so many new joiners a day (the vast majority of whom are completely kosher) that manually checking and verifying them would take up a considerable amount of resources.
All we can advise MNers is to never give away more than you can afford to lose (emotionally or otherwise), and if you're in any doubt, report to us
Tbh, I do feel a bit sorry for people who have nothing better to do in their lives than go on random forums pretending to have a dead baby. You must have a very sad and pathetic rl to get your kicks like that.
It doesn't mean I don't think they are giant dickheads though.
It has happened SO many times. I remember one was right after the death of a well known mumsnetter's child. Literally about 12 hours later up popped a thread which made me think becuse I have a highly suspicious mind now. It was like the sense the emotional energy and move in for a hit of it. It reminds me a lot of the Dementors in Harry potter actually.
Kate I know you can't check all new posters. It's just that one board that is so vulnerable and has had an ongoing problem with gits.
To troll on a bereavement board is beyond awful. But I don't see how MNHQ can easily figure out who is not a troll on face value. There are many regular trolls on sites don't forget. It's a complicated issue. Remember the story of the woman who had twins that were is SCBU and then died (not on MN). The troll kept this story running for years before they were discovered.
My God what a horrible thing to do.
But I would imagine there is no way to do what you're asking. MN is just too big.
Sirzy - if regular posters knew there is a delay there then surely that wouldn't be so bad would it? Or do you reckon the trolls would just spread elsewhere and post in exactly the same way but in Chat etc?
Had a very strong feeling that thread was bogus as I read through it
Just the general tone. and It's incredibly rare a baby would harm themselves seriously from falling off a sofa - I've done it, as I think have most people.
What a horrible person
It was an obvious troll to me. I've seen it too many times on that board to recognise it.
I can't help but feel slight exasperation at people giving sympathy although I realise they are only being kind.
But would a woman really be posting on an Internet forum the day her baby has died? When someone puts the name of the child this is also a give away.
Hopefully people will read a thread like that a couple of times and think carefully before posting a response.
It is very uleasant, but a common feature of the Internet, sadly, not just MN. I think that all you can do is use your common sense, and report stuff that seems dodgy. If you see a poster whom you know has been through similar being sucked in, give them a discreet heads up via PM and just remind them that they need to take care of themselves online.
The thing is, if a thread is reported MNHQ can often tell pretty quickly if it is a troll. So, wouldn't even need a delay, just MNHQ routinely checking new OPs on bereavement section only.
Of course some will still slip through but many will be caught, as the latest one was.
Absolutely disgusting. I didn't post as was too suspicious. What a shame for people who really do need support on that topic.
Maybe that's the answer, some sort of heads up thing for reports from that topic.
Jeez, somebody made that up! I read it and felt awfully sorry for everyone, including the '9 year old daughter' blaming herself!
I'm 9 months pregnant and was horrified at the prospect of any harm coming to my little boy.
I honestly cannot comprehend why anyone would ever make something like that. I've seen some crazy trolling in the past but on a board designed to help those suffering the pain of grief and loss is beyond sick!
Thank god MN got to it quickly. But also thank god it wasn't real.
God, what utter wankers there are. Some people just shouldn't be allowed a keyboard!
Those measures might not protect as much as you think (remembering the one who began with an "S").
I read the thread and had a gut feeling it was a troll, but I didnt want to report it because I thought it would be awful if I was wrong. Thank you to those who did report and got it looked into and stopped quickly.
Those type of trolls are the lowest of the low and just do not understand, or care, how hurtful it is to those of us who have lived through the nightmare of a baby dying.
What abut the bereaved parent who needs support now and has joined MN to get it? Why should they suffer a delay in getting that support?
There simply isn't an administrative solution to this. It requires engaging your brain before responding (don't be a sucker), and being prepared to use the mechanisms which are already in place, ie the Report function. MNHQ will never think badly of you for flagging something that sounds suspicious, and they don't need you to feel apologetic about helping them keep the boards kosher.
Nobody, least of all the OP, need know you've reported. Obviously, don't call troll on the thread.
And yes, don't give more of yourself than you can spare.
I didn't report but did think if my baby had just died, MN would be the last place I'd be.
Maybe someone would need MN support a bit down the line, but straight away?
Agree that people who do this have a serious mental illness. (Or are total bastards. And I don't use either insult lightly)
When I saw today's deleted thread there were a lot of replies. I think around 200? So yes it was deleted but not before it had been read by, and presumably had an impact on, quite a number of people.
I think that it's also worth thinking about what support mumsnet and mumsnetters can be expected to offer. For people who already post as part of the community yes, the support in bereavement is important and useful. For people posting for the first time though - how much 'support' can the sympathy of utter strangers really give? Would that support be impaired by a short waiting period? I really don't think it would. I can see there are all sorts of admin issues with that though. Just so fed up of reporting whilst people continue to be suckered in.
Bloody hell. I was thinking about that family at work today, hoping the nine year old wouldn't blame herself for the rest of her life. Very relieved that it never happened, but what a despicable individual to post something like that.
We have all had our 'bums bitten' by people pretending about the death of a baby/child on the bereaved Mums thread. Its revolting and disgraceful. I used to feel sad for anybody who had to get attention in that way, used to worry about their mental state etc etc.
Now, when I read threads, like the one today I quickly realise that something is not right....which is also a sad thing but comes with experience of being fooled in the past.
There is no death so sad as that of a child (no matter what age they are) Today, when I read the thread, I quickly realised what was going on. When you have experience of losing a child you want to help others going through the same thing. You feel the urgency to talk to them and also to tell 'your' story.
I saw that thread and tbh I did wonder if it was genuine and then felt awful for thinking such a thing.
Any delays in a thread being posted could be very upsetting for someone genuinely in need but then if they are grief stricken things perhaps can't be made worse.
I thought it was a bit fishy, posting so soon and the OP sounded so "together" and then waited a while before responding. I did have my suspicions.
However I was also quite traumatised at the slight possibility of it being true because having recently had a very prem baby in NICU/SCBU who had a serious health emergency soon after discharge I am struggling with severe anxiety about my baby's health.
How can people be so cruel? Other bereaved parents shared their experiences. Bastard trolls.
I saw that thread too, and didn't believe it.
The baby died after falling of the sofa and yet the 'new' poster started a thread about it the same day.
I didn't report, I knew I was right but I couldn't 'just in case'.
I think with those sort of posts, even if people don't believe it, they just feel very uncomfortable about reporting and so they're left to stay.
It's a difficult one, I'm a cynical cow and usually spot trolls, but on a bereavement thread I don't report.
I have been thinking about that thread all day. Who are these utter cunts that get a kick out of making this stuff up?
All the people saying how they 'spotted' the troll, I know you mean well, but you're only giving tips on what to avoid so they can draw even more people in next time.
I didn't report it either LBE although I knew it was a troll.
I just had knew somehow it would come out.
That was a troll thread?!
Fuck. That is so sick.
I guess I'm to trusting cos it never crossed my mind it wasn't true and was thinking about that poor( imaginary) family all last night. I am so pleased to hear it wasn't true but feel a bit stupid for believing it. Struggling to believe someone could be that sick.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Thing is, it's the type of board that may well have lots of new posters who have joined specifically to find someone to talk to over the death of their child.
I remember many years ago on here, probably 7 or 8, when a young, bereaved mum posted about the death of her toddler from pneumococcal meningitis. She was understandably upset and bitter about the fact that a simple vaccine was available yet not routinely given in the UK. It has since been introduced (prevanar). Anyway, she was hounded, called an evil troll and a vaccine pusher. She was accused of working in pharmaceutical sales and all sorts. Yet her post was sincere and genuine. I felt so sorry for her. It was awful. I hope she still posts and found comfort.
Trolling on a bereavement site must surely indicate a mental health problem?
I was also taken in and was lying in bed last night thinking about that poor woman and her baby boy. I must be terribly naive. Just wanted to say thanks to MNHQ for the site feature that keeps the thread listed in Threads I'm On but with the deletion message. That was the first time I had posted on a thread that had subsequently and I would have been confused if it had just disappeared (and probably started a thread about a thread).
But worried what about the real mothers who have lost a child?
They matter more than the troll and whatever issues he/she has.
Of course they do! But the poster I was remembering was genuine. I see to remember her name was, amyjade and she was pregnant with her second child at the time.
I don't have an answer. Of course bereaved mums deserve not to be fooled into investing their emotional energy but I was just saying that I don't think being a new, first time poster automatically means troll as some mums may have googled and found the site and I've always remembered that poor woman and how she must have felt.
Fuck me there are some sick bastards about. That thread really struck a chord with me as my dd fell of the sofa yesterday at my PIL(she found it hilarious), then I came home and saw that.
I hear what you're saying but I would imagine it's extremely rare for a mother to have lost her child one day then the next day join a parenting site to start a thread about it.
It doesn't work like that.
IMHO MNHQ would never delete such a thread unless they had total evidence.
I cried reading that thread and have thought about it throughout the day. Told DH about it. Didn't enter my head it was a troll. How could someone be so Fucking sick. Bastards.
That does make sense tho, it didn't sound like a realistic scenario.
Everlong, you are correct of course and sadly in a position to know that. Most posters would just answer in good faith simply because the whole idea of trolling about losing a child is so far beyond most people's comprehension.
I was just saying it could sometimes be difficult to judge especially by those of us fortunate enough never to have suffered such a unimaginable tragedy.
I have always thought that bereavement shouldn't appear in active, last 15 mins etc. I don't think it appropriate to scroll down and see someone whose child has just died next to trivia like should people take off their shoes, use toilet brushes etc. Not only that but it gets a whole lot of 'sorry for your loss' which is not very helpful, but understandable. I think you should have to search for it and then you would get helpful people, with experience and trolls would, hopefully, stick to what has heavy traffic and is found easily.
That thread was horrible, one of the nastiest & most inappropriate I've ever seen. I didn't post because there was something about it that didn't feel right & I was very suspicious, but I didn't report it at the time in case it actually was true. I wish I had now.
When I woke up this morning it was still bothering me and I knew I should report it, but when I logged in I saw that MNHQ had thankfully dealt with it. There are some seriously unpleasant individuals about.
It's so sad that this happens, I saw the thread and the first thing I did was search the ops name because it didn't ring true, then I decided against posting.
There was once a time I would never have checked and tried my hardest to help, but it is so very painful to post the most heartbreaking details of the darkest times of my life in an effort to help, then find out some idiot is sitting reading it on a screen somewhere and laughing. It has happened too many times now. I know a few others who feel the same way. Sadly this means that some real people are probably missing out on support too it's so difficult to know what to do.
I find it very difficult, I have seen several on sensitive subjects that I think are possibly trolls but don't feel that I can say so because the person might be genuine. I saw that thread at the start and it never occurred to me it was a troll. It goes to prove there are some very peculiar people about.
What would anyone get out of doing that?! It's just despicable.
I would say that if you think it's dodgy then click report. I've reported tons of threads. Not all have been trolls. MNHQ send you an e-mail with the outcome and have said publicly and repeatedly that they LOVE reports. If in doubt click report. It does no harm to anybody and may help a lot.
I still don't like to report in case the person is genuine, especially when everyone else thinks they are genuine.
It doesn't make you a bad person though- it just let's MNHQ do their job.
I now very rarely post on the bereavement boards because of trolls.
I wonder if a solution to the whole trolling thing, would be to make the bereavement board password protected, where the person wishing to post there would have to PM MNHQ to get the password. Obviously you'd still be able to read but just not post without the password. It might stop some of the trolls in their tracks if they can't get the immediate gratification of starting a thread, iyswim?
Any sensitive subjects where people post on very traumatic personal experiences,in order to help, shouldn't be easily accessible.
In future I won't hesitate to report if I smell a troll.
Some interesting ideas here. Bereavement is a particularly obvious place where trolls can cause massive distress, but Relationships is another area where it can happen too.
I was thinking 'relationships' too. I have my doubts about one at the moment, but I could be completely wrong so I err on the side of caution as I probably am wrong.
Good grief, I am so glad that thread was not real. Yes, the scenario just did not sound believable.
And for once my trolldar worked - it often doesn't...
I did not report because I did not want to be seen reporting somebody who may just really be in distress and in need of support. I know MNHQ don't mind and investigate before they do anything, but I could just not bring myself to do it.
And that, I think is what the trolls are relying on. The fact that people will not report just in case
I shed tears over that thread. Today is a painful anniversary for me and reading that this morning really didn't help.
oh ffs. i read that yesterday night and was terribly shocked as I have a baby the same age. I felt close to tears and found it hard to sleep.
I am glad it wasn't true but how horrid to make it up.
You're probably right.
What happens if MNHQ investigate, the poster turns out to be genuine, will the reporter be informed?
"You're right" was to dee.
I reported that thread. It was a first time poster. Individuals like that, inadequate though they undoubtedly are, absolutely sicken me. I do think hq should prioritise doing something about the trolls on the bereavement boards.
I didn't comment on that thread because it felt wrong, only because of being burnt previously. Sadly I now wait a few days which is sad considering a few words would help a truly bereavred person.
Jesus, WTF is WRONG with these people?
I must be the most gullible idiot on earth, I went to bed last night and couldn't sleep thinking about that poor (fictional) family. I fucking hovered around my DS as he tottered around learning to walk today, anxious he would fall over and bang his head hard... I should have stopped and thought, 'hang on...posting on the same day?'. But then I've read lots of threads by regular posters who have been bereaved, where they have posted very soon afterwards, so even then I wouldn't have been sure.
I don't understand how someone gets their kicks from this kind of thing. I also don't really see how it can be prevented on Bereavement without shutting genuine posters out and denying them valuable support.
I posted on that thread. Never crossed my mind that someone would make that up.
I too couldn't get that thread out of my mind. Dd2 fell off the bed twice as a baby and I kept thinking how lucky we had been that she just had a bad bump.
Ds is 20 mths and every time he climbed up on the sofa this morning I felt nervous. Can't believe somebody would make up such a horrible story.
I had mentioned it to dsis and she said straight away why on earth would you post the same day as dc passing away, I just thought perhaps the op had no rl support.
Had no idea it had happened before, why on earth would anybody do that on a bereavement board, that's just cruel.
I did think that was a troll and I am glad it was. I don't understand what people get out of it. So awful for the lovely posters that shared their bereavements in support of the op.
For the people who don't want to report in case the OP is genuine, could you perhaps phrase your report in a way that alludes to it but doesn't actually say it? I've reported a couple in sensitive topics by saying something along the lines of 'I'm concerned about this OP, the post is very distressing and I want to make sure that it's been flagged with you and support offered if necessary'. That way you're not actually calling troll but you are flagging with with MNHQ that you have concerns. I've been right in most cases but one I was wrong and I just got an email saying thanks and that they'd keep an eye on things.
If you make it more complicated for recently bereaved parents to post, they just won't do it.
The advantage of an instantly accessible forum is that you can pour out your feelings at any time of night or day without having to fill in forms and answer questions.
A well known specialist forum now requires details of your child's death before it will let you join.
The result is a much, much quieter forum and I know that the process has put many people off.
THere will always be trolls on bereavement boards.
I don't think there is anything you can do to prevent them. You can only report if you are suspicious.
I have posted on threads that I am unsure about. They were not dramatic but rather flowery and a bit too poetic.
But posting my support and good wishes costs me nothing and if the OP is a real person with a real loss it might help.
If they are a troll, no skin of my nose
A well known specialist forum now requires details of your child's death before it will let you join.
Gosh, that seems very harsh MrsDeVere
Well I suspected it was a troll thread but I still posted because I'd rather give support to 10 people who are trolls but I've given the benefit of the doubt than not supporting one person whose story sounds suspicious but is actually genuine, particularly when it's the death of a child involved.
I don't think there's anything MNHQ can do but I agree not having them appear in active convonetc might help. At the end of the day trolling is all over the place, I think it's very wise to take most things from a slightly detached standing point.
It was in response to ONE troll several years ago.
She was pretty bad and set up a whole network of trolling, including a memorial site.
She ruined that forum for me.
Its never been the same since IMO.
A memorial site?! FFS, that's disgusting. I just can't understand why anyone would do it.
I really hope that the trolling on the bereavement board doesn't put off genuine posters in need of support.
There's no shame in saying to MNHQ that it could be a troll though- they don't hold it against you!
Zombie didn't read the thread in question.
However, she is deeply saddened at the number of posters on this thread who had doubts but didn't report in case it was genuine.
Please, please, PLEASE, PLEASE report. Only MNHQ will know that you have done so and they will never think badly of you if you got it wrong and will be eternally gratefuly to you if you were right.
It was obvious to me that that thread was a troll.
I tend to just ignore these threads though.
That's awful. There was a poster on there who shared their experience too, how horrible for them. Why anyone would make up something like that is beyond my comprehension.
Hiya Mrs D.
I think that, at one time, I would believe anybody and everybodies story - IYKWIM. Over time I have felt a bit silly for taking everybody at face value but have continued to do it. At the moment both my parents are so very poorly that I have become a bit 'shrugging shoulders' about MN posters who I suspect are not what they seem. Somehow my sadness and worry are over riding MN trolls. Now I have written down how I feel it sounds 'barking mad!!!' LOL. Ah well. <<climbs back into the padded cell and rocks>>
I report if I have a vague thought that a poster might be a troll. You have to trust MNHQ to work out if a poster is a troll or not. I much rather over report than miss a troll.
I am really careful but I have been caught out. . It pisses me right off. If I am nit sure I just report and don't post.
MN surely tech could do some kind of check on new posters? A bit like an address targeting function? It could be done automatically.
So when you register the system checks to see if you're banned etc (or does the manual check you do when a post is suspicious)
I work for a software house, I know it's technically possible
I saw the first couple of dozen posts on that thread but didn't twig. In fact I reported someone else for being inadvertently insensitive and starting another thread about leaving a baby with a 9 year old, that one was deleted too, the poor OP probably felt terrible.
I agree with Satinsandals - the bereavement board ought not to appear in Most Active, it ought to be opt-in only like SNs, and maybe not searchable on google like OTBT.
It annoys me that even when I have opted out of boards in they aren't excluded from th Most Active box on the RHS of the screen so I still end up getting sucked in.
Unbelievable. I read that thread and almost wrote a post but something made me change my mind about leaving a message, just didn't feel right and now I know why. Am relieved to hear that it isn't true but I'm shocked that someone made up a story about a baby dying.
I'm pretty new to mumsnet and don't really know much about trolls, I thought they were just people who hurl abuse etc, I had no idea this sort of thing went on why do people do this?
Hiding the bereavement board like that wouldn't be a good idea imo.
I know a lot of bereaved parents particularly feel like they can't speak about their children and have to hide their pain away so they don't upset people, hiding bereavement would be like an extension of that rl feeling. I think people would also post in other topics where they maybe wouldn't get sympathetic and measured responses.
I don't know what the answer is though
We call them trolls, but a more accurate description would be fantasists. The internet is full of them, unfortunately.
There is no answer to trolls - Angel - none whatsoever.
I was the first person in amongst all the sympathy responses to even hint at a query i.e. hope you get some grief counselling for the children from Social Services Child Protection Team (Hint hint).
Even if ScottishMummy loftily replied with words to the effect that, 'the appropriate authorities will be made aware.'
Turned out not to be true. Yep, there's some sick people out there who would make this stuff up. With just enough facts to sound plausible. Usually this time of year too.
ColdTeaAgain - the same people who con charities, or have a plausible sob story etc etc
It's mostly attention seeking. I've learned over the years that genuine attention seekers are as ruthless as they are shameless.
What narks me is that people who make things like this up are so good at it that people believe them at face value. They rely on being taken at Face Value whilst all the time laughing at how stupid and gullible people are for believing them.
They laugh at the people they are conning for being conned by them. It's a form of bullying really.
I came across it just after mnhq had commented, trolls on bereavement boards are the scum of the earth.
I know they must have some serious issues but I cant find it in myself to feel sorry for them.
I remember not long after ds4 was born at 20 weeks there being talk of trolls on the bereavement threads, it had never even crossed my mind that someone could do something like that.
Then I became paranoid that people might think I was lying, its just shit.
I agree with nearly all this thread and just want to add...(to state the obvious...but for a good reason...)
This (and other) fanasist trolls did a self-gratifying evil thing. It's as simple and as boring as that. They are entirely responsible and although we naturally use figures of speech such as 'sick' 'ill' etc to describe the behaviour, in truth, the person wrote a fake post because they chose to. (Let's be careful about using mental illness as an insult). I'd rather any trolls who read this thread find themselves spoken about in this boring, no-excuse, entirely responsible way. People find all sorts of ways to justify what they do and refuse to face up to how they just plain chose to do a me-first evil thing. So I'm hoping to give that perspective here! (Hence stating the obvious).
thing is there's no definitive way to confirm whether someone is genuine or not. The only way to confirm if someone is a troll is if they have a previous mn history e.g. if they've been banned under a previous username and their IP clashes with one previously banned. But someone posting for the first time needs to be taken at face value even if they seem suspicious.
Which is why it's just not possible to do anything about trolls on a free website. People just need to be cautious of sharing their most personal life details with someone who they have no idea is genuine or not.
I don't get why people won't report though tbh. mn hq don't publish people's suspicions, nobody will know if you've reported, and if there's no reason to believe it's not genuine then they will tell you and move on. Mn hq receive hundreds of reports a day. they don't have the inclination to remember one of them about a poster who happened to be genuine.
I also don't get the "don't talk about how to spot trolls or they'll use it to hide better next time." Do people really think that these trolls don't know what they're doing? There are hundreds of news articles about trolls and the kinds of things that give them away. It's far better to arm people with the knowledge of what makes a troll look more troll-like than to worry about "giving information" to a troll who can find it anywhere else on the internet.
You know the worst thing ? We're five pages into a thread about a thread. The troll is enjoying reading these contributions.
They've probably name changed and have contributed to this thread too.
You know, like when a murderer pretends to care and gets into the search to find the missing person that they've killed.
You see rightly or wrongly I don't think that someone who tells a tale such as the one yesterday is 'ill'. That particular troll wanted to be called on as a troll. That's what they get off on imo.
I would never reply to a thread that I thought was a troll. So I'm not getting hurt in any way but I do get annoyed when I see others heaping sympathy on the troll.
I started a thread a while ago about just this.
Please wake up people. Read the thread properly.
Think twice before being so gullible.
Everlong has said exactly what I was about to post. I will always report rather than post. Think very carefully before posting, as the OP is almost always ringing bells.
I don't think they should select any threads to be hidden, it would be much better to stop all 'active', 'last 15 mins' etc and make people actively chose topics. I never ever select a topic - I just use the two buttons mentioned and get drawn into topics that I would be better missing. A short while ago there was a technical fault and I couldn't use either and really it was much better. e.g. I have never once gone onto HE but I comment quite a lot, just seeing them when scrolling down- I don't think I am very useful! Now that service us back to normal I am back to my normal browsing.
I feel the need to echo the statement about reporting.
You don't have to be coy about it to HQ. If you think it's not on, say so. Say 'this person seems like a troll.'
HQ will take a look and decide, the OP will never know what you said.
Why be coy?
And if it is upsetting to you personally, you might be better off hiding the whole topic yourself. It's great that you want to help someone, especially if you've been in the situation yourself, but sometimes the most important thing is self preservation.
I'm sure the troll is reading this too. Well done, you're a total cunt who has upset some caring people on an anonymous forum.
Good god, was that a troll? That post really upset me
Omg I replied to that as I was in tears thinking of what she must going throu I feel so stupid now
Also, everyone who is saying they feel stupid or whatever, really, you shouldn't.
Con men have been taking people in in person for centuries. Don't be surprised you've been taken in by 'words on a screen'.
As KateMN said yesterday, we're really sorry this has upset so many of you.
The vast majority of threads on MN about bereavement are completely genuine as far as we can tell, and we'd hate people to feel that they can't respond to those.
Sadly/inexplicably, we do have a couple of extremely determined trolls who regularly re-register to do this. We do do everything we can do stop them in their tracks, but unfortunately it's not rocket science to change the necessary registration details and get another registration. If we could stop them before they got to this point, we would.
As lots of you have pointed out, if we put extraordinary barriers in their way, those same barriers would also affect the much greater number of completely genuine people joining up to get much-needed support.
Please, though - feel absolutely free to report any thread about bereavement as soon as you see one, and we'll very happily check it out. You don't even have to think it's suspicious - you could just say 'here's a new bereavement thread, could you please run a quick check on the OP?
As lots of you have said, we'd never tell the OP that their thread had been reported for this reason. And we certainly don't keep tabs on which posters are reporting which threads.
to everyone who answers these threads so generously and kindly. Almost always, you're giving much-needed succour to people in genuine need.
Wow - I'm shocked that the post in question was made up. I must be terribly naive as I believed it and couldn't make it past the first page (I'm a new mum and was only telling my OH about it this morning).
Shocking that someone would do this - they were obviously trying to make a point about leaving babies unattended on sofas
or are you sick. I think MNHQ has an impossible task on their hands trying to catch Trolls before they've posted but at least they act quickly once they are aware .
I think you need to remember that someone who makes up a thread about having lost a baby is obviously emotionally traumatised.
No sane person would do such a thing.
I don't think it's right to assume that every troll is a sick individual who gets kicks from making that stuff up. I think that actually, the vast majority of trolls are emotionally needy and have something very very wrong with them.
If you have shown them kindness and compassion then you know what? That wasn't wasted. That may be the only bit of love they've ever received from anyone.
How desperate must you be to make up a story about losing your baby?
So don't think that by posting you have wasted your time. They may not have lost a baby, but I think they were in genuine need and we should really encourage them to reach out for some rl help.
Rowan - OK, will do. I'm glad others reported it.
I read the thread and just had a feeling it wasn't on the level. I attempted to 'Report' it, but it just felt so 'nasty' doubting someone in Bereavement simply because of the way they'd written their OP - it wasn't even as if (at that stage when I read it) they had said anything contradictory or anything - it was simply a feeling.
However, we do have more than our fair share of very fucking warped trolls and I guess reporting doesn't do any harm, even if the poster isn't a troll.
Sad fucking world we live in where people get their kicks from trolling about anything - but bereavement?! Some people are lower than a snakes belly
I'm sorry for anyone who did post on the thread, especially anyone who has lost a child, being 'taken in' like that is a horrible feeling - but one most of us have experienced - unfortunately.
THECliff - of course we don't know about this particular poster (MN might be able to enlighten us somewhat, if it's a repeat offender who does all different kinds of mad crap OR who came from the Other Board Debacle), but it's not true at all that the person must be 'emotionally traumatised' Some people are just out and out wankers - truely.
CliffRichard this type of troll wasn't needy or unwell - they knew exactly what they were doing.
Dead babies at Christmas time.
This wasn't a long dramatic drawn out post. They wanted everyone to know they were trolling about a dead child on the bereavement board.
I don't buy it that people are that cruel and twisted. This person must have some sort of emotional turmoil. They obviously want the attention, so something, somewhere has gone wrong in their lives if the only attention they can get is from trolling about dead babies at Christmas.
Maybe I'm just being a sucker, but I like to think that most people are generally good people and the rest usually have something terribly wrong with them. Not that this excuses their behaviour, but there is usually a motive behind what they do and it's not always 'just because'.
Ok what about those that have actually had a baby/toddler/child/adult child die?
How do you think we feel feel when we find out that someone has been lying and making up horrific scenario's?
Trolling about dead children is on another level and deserves no pity at all.
People do just make things up for kicks. My SIL made up a still born son because she was 'jealous of the attention' I got because my son and daughter died. Nothing traumatic in her life, no need for it, just attention seeking.
Some people are just wankers, usually I try and give people the benefit of the doubt, but to try and get sympathy for a fake situation, from people who have actually been in that situation, is disgusting and not worthy of anyones sympathy imo.
I should imagine you feel terrible, angry, betrayed and all those things plus more besides.
I tried to offer an alternative explanation for such trolls. I didn't want people to feel that their heartfelt posts and offers of help had gone to waste. That the troll may well have been a genuinely needy, damaged person and that some of the kindness shown to that person, may actually have got through.
I was trying to help in my own clumsy way.
I don't think it works like that though.
People's kindness and empathy is not what they're craving.
I read the op and my initial gut feeling was disbelief.
I spent the day feeling bad for being such an unfeeling, disbelieving cow, and mulling over what it said in the post. I don't usually look at the bereavement board and I'd clicked it by accident (fat fingers)
I am going to make it my new year's resolution to actually report posts if they make me suspicious. I've never reported anything before, I've waited for others to do it, but if everyone thought like that nothing would ever get reported.
But attention seeking does mean that in essence, something is wrong, doesnt it.
Why can it not just be that they are sick and twisted?
Oh my! I've just read Rowan's post stating that some people continue to re-register simply to post troll posts on the bereavement board.
Everlong, I totally understand what you are saying but I sincerely hope you're wrong. What you and the other mums who are regulars on the board have gone through is, of course, the most unimaginable pain. I cannot begin to comprehend that someone would simply enjoy lying about such a thing. I'd far rather, rightly or wrongly, believe they have some form of MH issues. Especially someone who tries to do it over and over again.
Sick and twisted from birth, or sick and twisted through circumstance and upbringing?
Kate mumsnet : ..We're grateful to everyone who reported it to us, which meant we were able to nip it in the bud relatively quickly..
If lots of people report, does that mean mumsnet act or see or are aware, more quickly?
Those of you who've not lost children can rightly or wrongly think those trolls are ' unwell ' or however you want to phrase.
I'll stick at just thinking the way I do about them.
A person does not know they have been reported, so I never see the harm in reporting and letting mumsnet check it out.
If the poster is genuine, they will never know they have been checked out.
If they are not genuine, then they need checking out as soon as possible.
I think that it's insulting to the genuinely bereaved to explain away the behaviour of such trolls on the basis that they must be unwell. In fact it gives justification to anyone to troll about anything and it be able to be explained away in the name of mental illness. In fact mental illness is also used far too often to justify behaviors IMO when actually most people are perfectly in control of their behaviour.
These trolls, even the long-term ones are far too calculating. They know exactly what they are doing, what to post and when, how to word posts to make the maximum impact. If You're savvy enough to register on a site time and time and time again under different details so people don't know where you are, knowing exactly where to post, what to post and how to post it then you're savvy enough to seek professional help for your "mental illness". I save my sympathy for the genuinely bereaved and the genuinely mentally ill, not for the sick bastards who seemingly get something from exploiting the vulnerabilities of others and who probably rub their hands together at those who come on here and sympathise with them because they "must be mentally ill."
I'm sorry, Everlong, I certainly didn't mean to offend you. I totally understand why these people make you angry. It's just that such behaviour is so bizarre and I just don't see what anyone would get from it unless they were needy and unstable.
Kate mumsnet : ..We're grateful to everyone who reported it to us, which meant we were able to nip it in the bud relatively quickly..
If lots of people report, does that mean mumsnet act or see or are aware, more quickly?
It all depends what's happening on any one day really, but in general if we can see one post has been reported a large number of times, we'll try to get to it quickly.
WannaBe, you are right of course and I am certainly not making excuses. I am probably being naive because I cannot imagine anyone in their right mind doing such a thing.
But then, of course, the world is full of nasty people who do horrid things so why shouldn't this be the same.
Ah. Thanks for that. I wondered sometimes if that is the case.
More reasons for someone to report more quickly than they may otherwise do.
worried it's ok, but read the post by wannabe - I think she explains it perfectly.
I do not wish to get into any kind of argument on here of all places. I am often being misunderstood and now feel that I have no room to speak or have an opinion on this as I have not lost a child. I have been mentally ill however as have members of my family. Some of them have been calculating in their cruelty and some of them have been abusive because of their own childhoods and because they've not known any other way. I am lucky in that I managed to escape the mental abuse and whilst I still have emotional issues from time to time, I have enough loving people around me to support me.
My family have hurt me time and time again and it helped me to try and understand why.
I posted on here thinking that for those who were angry and who felt hurt and betrayed might take comfort from the fact that an emotionally disturbed person may still have taken on board what they said. It might have helped a little to ease their own emotional pain, to make them feel visible for once in their lives.
I was not offering this up as any kind of an excuse. As I said, I saw people in pain trying to understand why any troll would do this and I tried to help.
I have now opened up way too much and as a result left myself quite vulnerable too. So please don't be too dismissive of what I post and try to see it in the light in which it's intended.
I have to agree with Everlong. I have known several trolls on the bereavement sites who introduce elements to their story that are very, very similar to what happened when my sons died. Things that make me think (or USED to make me think) 'Oh my word I remember feeling like that I will message them now to tell them how we coped with that!!' Thats how they reel you in.
A few years ago I had one that followed me onto FB - because, at the time, I believed her I readily accepted her friends request. When New Years Eve came around she threatened that if I went out to celebrate she would take her own life. I went out and when I came home there were several MNetters searching on the threads for me to say she 'needed me!!' She was a troll and I was dragged into her story which was 100% false!
Everlong is right - this kind of troll knows exactly what they are doing.
Thank you Rowan. It's interesting (and depressing) that there are some repeat offenders. It explains the sense of deja vu present.
If nothing else I think this thread has helped some people feel more willing to report so that's a good thing. I honestly don't think, though, that we will ever know why people do this and I prefer in this case to spend my compassion on the people who have posted genuinely rather than those who are lying, out of whatever motivation or need.
Unless you have lost a child I dont think you can fully understand the hurt that these people cause. I agree with Everlong and Shabbs they are sick and twisted and to me that is what they will always be! They disgust me!
I think the kind of person who trolls a parenting website a week before Xmas with a story of a baby dying is a cunt. Anyone who knows me, knows that I very rarely use that word, but that is the only one that fits.
I don't see them as sick or ill, or traumatised. I see them as attention seeking wankers who do this for kicks and I will save my sympathy for those most hurt by their actions.
I do wonder though if it is possible to have reports on Bereavement boards flag up quicker. I know that if MNHQ get a lot of reports in a short time about a thread that they will look at it quicker (which is why it is important to report, even if you think someone else will have done so already).
Perhaps having some kind of automated system, that when x reports come in, they take a quick look.
I think people need to be careful about speaking for all bereaved parents. Everyone is different and will have a different response to things even if there are similarities.
This thread has been useful though as more people will not be less apprehensive about reporting and I have reported a thread tonight as one to look at that I would probably have not bothered about before.
Yes. People can only speak for themselves and it is not right when things are posted as fact as if all bereaved parents would act in such a way.
Trolls get given the benefit of the doubt on the Bereavement board, I think that's one of the reasons they target it. No one wants to be the arsehole that reports or doubts a bereaved parent, and they know it. I don't think it's a MH issue, I think it's a first class wanker issue. Stirring up other people's pain for your own deviant means should earn you a really nasty dose of syphilis, imo. I save my sympathy and understanding for the people targeted by these emotional vampires.
I've not seen any bereaved parent have understanding for someone trolling about a dead child, strangely enough.
And no one said they should, everlong.
Toffee - there is a long running support thead for bereaved mums. The people who have cause to use that have posted alongside one another for many years and are frankly awe-inspiring in their courage and desire to support each other. If any of them wish to speak, using that shared knowledge and experience then that's fine with me. To say everybody can only speak for themselves devalues the sense of community on this forum.
My new year's resolution is to report more threads that make me go . Starting as of now. I feel embarrassed that I have not done so on the most recent thread.
I agree anybody who has not lost a child can comprehend what those who have go through, as we struggle to even get close to what that must feel like. It speaks of such largesse of spirit that bereaved parents often want to reach out to others in a similar position. And to then find out that a thread was started maliciously must be very hard to bear.
Re the whole ?are they sick or evil thing: this is why psychiatry tries to differentiate between mental illness (people suffering from mental illness may be nice or not, just like anybody else) and personality disorders (often very difficult to deal with people who seem to have their own selfish 'rules').
I am sorry for anybody who's been hurt by the most recent episode .
Northern - our 'safe haven' thread has been going for about 6 years - it has been 'blown apart' several times by trolling. We always manage to gather back together afterwards but the shock and distress takes over for a while. Its a thread where we all share the same emotions about bereavement but we all have different ways of coping with them. xx
I was just speaking for myself, Northern.
I found that thread very goadyin content and reported it which is sad to say about a thread on the bereavement board.
Reporting doesn't harm the poster but protects those that share on the threads imo.
Would it help to have some kind of a early warning system, do you think? I am guessing that the regulars on the 'safe haven' thread have highly developed Trolldar. I know it is a lot to ask, but if you guys were able to have a kind of enhanced reporting function for suspected trolling on the bereavement boards - do you think it would help?
ie a report from a few known posters would trigger a closer look, rather than having to wait till a lot of posters reported.
To be honest I am not sure what could be done to help. Think that MNHQ get sick of me keep reporting stuff I think we are all much more 'on alert' if that makes sense?
Mme tbh I think a lot of the bereaved mums have stop posting on the bereavement board because of such trolls, it knocks the stuffing out of you and makes you feel like not posting much.
I am the poster who replied on that thread because my baby died too. My trolldar didn't go off quickly enough, I'm afraid and I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt anyway.
I suppose that if people with better trolldar than me, which to be frank, is most people, report if they are a bit suspicious, then it might have saved me from posting. MNHQ don't tell the person they have been reported so if it is a genuine poster they will never know. As it was MNHQ were fairly quick off the mark.
AngelsLie I can't believe your SIL! And in another way I can believe it because that is precisely what these trolls do, make up a dead child to get sympathy. It's a pathetic thing to do and I do find it hard that someone seemingly is so lacking in empathy that they can't understand that the sympathy and attention we get when we lose our children in no way, shape or form makes up for the loss of a child. I am grateful that people have been lovely and have done wonderful things to show that they care but the loss of my daughter has made such a vast hole in my life that all the sympathy in the world couldn't fill a tenth of it. And if I do extend sympathy to another bereaved parent, it is with the sad knowledge that all I can do is empathise and that no words of mine will make it better at all and that the only comfort I can offer is that time softens the pain though it doesn't lessen it.
I dont go on the bereavement board often.
I would have thought that it is in everyones best interest on there to report suspicions sooner rather than later.
everlong. How often are there trolls on there. Once a week?
Thats very true Everlong.....I still post every day but it has been very quiet for a long time.
Cant walk away from the thread though........remember when we first started it and how fantastic it was to be able to go and talk about how I was feeling and be amongst other Mums who knew exactly what I was talking about.
It's good that you keep it going Shabs - it's there for someone who needs it.
Golddigger - no, I wouldn't say it's once a week but when it happens it can have very detrimental effects on those reading it who are fragile and vulnerable, causing uncertainty and unease.
I don't blame you, Everlong. It is such a shame.
I think the worst trolls are the ones who post on the thread, rather than starting their own. Particularly if they're convincing or semi-convincing. Some people get taken in, others don't. Then, if you have suspicions, wonder whether you should warn the friends you have made, not to get sucked in or whether you are being a suspicious cow and creating doubt about an innocent poster.
Then, when they are found out, it all goes pear-shaped.
People become suspicious of all new posters on the thread.
People on the thread become paranoid that people think they are a troll.
And we are bereaved parents and we have enough crap on our plates without having to look over our virtual shoulders all the time and wondering if our safe haven is safe.
So people stop posting on the thread which is horrible because we need each other.
'So people stop posting on the thread which is horrible because we need each other.'
So very true Love - we all help each other - no matter the length of time since our precious children died.....no matter how they died.....the pain of that loss is all consuming. xx
It also makes me wary of linking to the thread now. Once, if someone posted saying that their child died, I would link to our thread. Now I'm afraid to, unless it's a well-known or long-standing MNer. I'm sure other people feel the same.
So in fact, what these trolls are doing is preventing genuinely bereaved parents from being invited into our group. And the trolls are probably too self-absorbed to care about that.
Just came across this on active.
I think the mh vs personality disorder point is a good one. I used to lurk on bereavement threads when I had severe PND and OCD basically to beat myself up for being so selfish and weak and disgusting to feel as I did when I hadn't lost a child. A feature of my illness was repetitive intrusive images of my baby dying/passed away eg up to thirty an hour at one point.
I would never have trolled.
A friend of a friend sent bizarre emails about having triplets and then two dying. She was psychotic. There was no coherence to her emails and she sadly genuinely believed this had happened and was intensely distressed. I don't think anyone would mistake the emails for trolling as they were obviously disjointed and lacking in a sense of reality.
Mad is not bad usually and there tends to be a manipulation in trolling threads which, while not psychologically healthy, can't be excused or explained. Paedophiles and murderers are not psychologically healthy either but we can't condone behaviour undertaken in a calculating way that causes harm to others.
I don't really understand the motivation of the trolls. On another forum a troll pretended she had prem twins (red flags) and then actually gave another mother of a premie advice on bf a prem baby from 'her own experience' before she was unmasked why would you do that?
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