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to think that MN comments are not a fair barometer of public opinion?

(46 Posts)
CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 10-Jul-11 11:44:33

.. and that they are often rather biased? MN staff have been invited onto various news programmes over the NOTW scandal and other current affairs issues, and are presumably there because they represent a body of opinion that's seen as 'the average woman in the street'. Whereas my experience of MN is that there are certain prevailing views, admittedly expressed very forcefully, and that comments against those prevailing views are treated as heresy. I suspect that, on occasion, the 'heretics' may even be in the majority but are discouraged from speaking out for fear of a flaming (rather like the one I expect I'll get now smile )

Is it fair, therefore, for MN to assume the role of 'mouthpiece of the nation's mothers'?

nethunsreject Sun 10-Jul-11 11:47:15

I agree with you, Cog.

As if 'mothers' all think as one anyway.

But yes, mn is biased

lubberlich Sun 10-Jul-11 12:24:03

I hate this baromoter of the nation bullshit - a totally fallacious concept devised by some pimple faced PR geek in Whitehall and warmly embraced by MN because it has done wonders for their public profile, advertising revenue and general sense of self importance.

AgentZigzag Sun 10-Jul-11 12:28:23

I would say the people from MNHQ talking in the media are just taking every opportunity they can to promote their business.

Rockerchic Sun 10-Jul-11 12:31:09

I hope they don't assume the role of "mouthpiece of the nations mothers" thats a lubricious thing to say most of the time MNHQ are talking out of their arses if they think they are talking for the nations mothers,what bullshit!

sausagesandmarmelade Sun 10-Jul-11 12:47:54

You have a very good point...

I think that often in threads some people would rather blindly follow the herd than say what they really think.

I really don't think that Mumsnetters are in anyway representative of the population at large.

SinicalSal Sun 10-Jul-11 12:50:44

I don't think MN is representative either.

But then, MNers are pretty intelligent & articulate, on the whole.

CurrySpice Sun 10-Jul-11 12:53:11

The proportion of people that read this site who actually post id tiny. And not representative wither of MN members, or mothers in general in any way. I agree with you OP. YANBU

catgirl1976 Sun 10-Jul-11 12:54:03

I am new to MN and I have actually been surprised by the variety of views on here and the different politics and beliefs. I live in a pretty homogenous area really and tbh MN is the first time I have really mixed with such a range of people so it has been an eye opener for me. On those grounds I would have considered it fairly representative, but I do come from perhaps a fairly sheltered perspective

AwesomePan Sun 10-Jul-11 13:04:46

This is a wierdy thread.

I have never seen anyone from MNHQ make such an absurd claim. The reason as to why MN people have been on tv a fair bit is to do with some poster's involvement in org. a boycott of NOTW advertisers ( a move which was not ahead of the curve - Ford had already gone), which upset NI people. And with MN being a significant' new media' social networking site with a large economically active set of posters the staff present as eligible and suitable for inclusion.

There's lots of views being expressed on MN.

So cogi, you are being a little bit provocative and skewing the truth for some populist agenda.

Rather like that nasty little rag you bought this morning.

GiddyPickle Sun 10-Jul-11 13:08:40

YANBU: MN in fact is a reliable barometer of public opinion on just about everything as long as you remember to reverse the MN opinion first.

On the politics threads, the MN opinion is almost exactly the polar opposite of the population as a whole: MN was very pro Alternative Voting by about 75% in favour to 25% against - a result that was almost exactly opposite to the way the vote went.
Last year in the General Election threads, the vast majority of posters favoured labour or left of Centre Lib Dem policies and felt confident that very few people would vote Tory or see any merit in right wing policies on the economy.
Most MN mothers seem to breastfeed for weeks if not months whereas most women in the general population have stopped long before 6 weeks.

There are lots of examples in fact where reading these boards somebody could feel they are totally out of step with the norm only to discover that, in the whole population, they are firmly in the majority.

exoticfruits Sun 10-Jul-11 13:19:36

There are lots of examples in fact where reading these boards somebody could feel they are totally out of step with the norm only to discover that, in the whole population, they are firmly in the majority.

Very true! Sometimes you feel that you have strayed into a parallel universe and it is nice to get back to RL and find that you are completely normal and that those who speak the loudest are actually a tiny minority.
It always makes me smile when a thread starts 'what do we think of....' as if there is a MN voice.

TrillianAuror Sun 10-Jul-11 13:21:06

MN comments are a fair barometer of the opinions of

MNers
who are online at the time
who choose to click on the thread
and who think it worthy of comment

(bearing in mind that they may be joking or sarcastic or otherwise not expressing their actual views)

No more than that.

Birdsgottafly Sun 10-Jul-11 13:28:16

Some of the posters with extreme views have stopped posting on many subjects such as disability and SN, which i think is a shame because the discussions that followed were informative to many.

I was flamed recently because i, along with others, critised the name calling of a poster who hadn't 'attacked' the OP. It stopped any discussion from happening and i find that it is happening more and more, so views are being suppressed, which is never good, they should be challanged.

MN is in danger of not being representative if that continues and also the 'racist or bigot' chants because someone gives an alternative POV.

I found MN when the campaign was on to stop the closure of Surestart, as i was part of a research committe, at the time i joined i think that it was very representative of public opinion.

BelleDameSansMerci Sun 10-Jul-11 13:32:11

Trills grin

sausagesandmarmelade Sun 10-Jul-11 13:33:55

But then, MNers are pretty intelligent & articulate, on the whole.

Seriously? That's not the overall impression I get.

Quite a few seem to have problems reading (and seem to be here largely to pick arguments with those that have a contrary view to their own) and many can't string a sentence together without swearing.

Can't say that I come across many people like that in my real life....

I do believe that there are many very bright, intelligent, articulate well mannered people on here, but not sure that these are the majority on here....

TrillianAuror Sun 10-Jul-11 13:34:47

I agree with catgirl1976 - I don't see any "MN party line" or "people afraid to say what they really think".

What I see on MN is an amazing resource that teaches you that for every single thing that humans do there is more than one way of doing it (including wiping your arse!). I think that is a fantastic thing to have, compared to previous generations who may have grown up believing that the way your mum/auntie/neighbours do things is the only way and that if you differ in any way you are doing it wrong.

noddyholder Sun 10-Jul-11 13:37:46

I agree.

imperfectpages Sun 10-Jul-11 13:39:37

I think you're right that MN isn't representative of the general population of mothers. However, it is representative of mothers in a particular demographic (educated, generally affluent, often leftie). I think the 'mumsnet' group has a lot of cross-over with the 'women likely to be vocal and proactive about issues that affect them' group. I suppose the idea of spin and PR people is that if you can sway some vocal, influential mumsnetters, they're likely to influence many others, which makes them interesting.

exoticfruits Sun 10-Jul-11 13:39:50

I haven't seen any evidence that those with extreme views have stopped posting .I also think that in previous generations people did do their own thing more-on MN people justify their choices by saying it is the 'right' way.

TheSecondComing Sun 10-Jul-11 13:41:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

catgirl1976 Sun 10-Jul-11 13:47:32

I have to confess - when I joined MN I thought everyone would be like me. Read the same papers, have the same level of education, have the same politics, same income level, think like me, act like me.....

It wasn't a conscious thought - I only realised that I had expected everyone to be like me when I realised that they weren't. It's been healthy. I have had my views challenged on everything from waxing my fanjo (I do) to smoking whilst pregnant (I don't), found out that most 4 year olds can't read, been given advice on what car seat to buy and been directed to some useful and interesting sites. I've been horrified by some views, shocked by others and amused by some. I've been forced to think hard about what I take for granted and what I think is right. I've also met some really nice people.

It's rare for me to meet people from a different social sector or with radically different views and I think it's been really healthy, so thanks MN.

exoticfruits Sun 10-Jul-11 13:50:50

I think that it is very healthy-I had taken certain things for granted so it has been a shock to find that people have very different views-it is always good to be challenged.

BornSicky Sun 10-Jul-11 13:51:05

consider the outside view though...

how many other public forums have the same set up? you can search posters, posts and tens of different threads and fora (sp?) for information on everything from gardening to politics, to housekeeping, to feminism.

there are millions of members and an extraordinary amount of daily activity from everyone regulars to newbies.

if you were a major media outlet, why wouldn't oy venture here to see what was being discussed?

and on the other hand... MN was set up by journalists and has a high level of members who work in in or are connected to the media. of course, it's going to attract media attention.

I also subscribe to the idea that it DOES give mums a voice,or multiplicity of voices, in one place, something that didn't exist on the same level before.

Finally, I think because MN doesn't live a bubble of solely addressing typically mum related subjects: childcare, pregnancy, weaning etc and does have very strong sections on feminism, news, politics; it provides a "one stop shop" or forum where you can access most subjects of interest.

BornSicky Sun 10-Jul-11 13:52:04

catgirl absolutely!

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