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To remind you all to be careful 'what you put out there'

(63 Posts)
deemented Fri 26-Aug-11 20:28:02

Now, i'm pretty open when it comes to MN. What you see is what you get. I've spoken about lots of topics, including the death of my firstborn son. A little while ago, i received a PM from a journalist asking me to speak frankly about the fetal anonmaly that my son had and why i decided not to abort him. There was one, possibly two threads i've spoken openly about this on, but i know for a fact they were a good while ago - and i'm talking months here. So this journalist would have had to be looking through old threads to find out these things. I find that kind of creepy and somewhat stalkerish.

There is no way that i would ever want to speak to a journalist about DS1, no way at all. He's mine, iyswim, and i don't want to share him with just anyone. I realise now that i'd done that to a degree anyway, but that was in context, and not just random, iyswim?

I've reported the PM to MNHQ and also asked that the comments i made on the thread in question be removed.

When i commented, i never realised that in months to come, some hack would come along and see my dead son as an oppertunity to further their careers.

Maybe IABU, i don't know, but i think we all need a little reminder every now and again that what we put out there doesn't alway dissapear into the ether.

SauvignonBlanche Fri 26-Aug-11 20:30:21

I'm sorry to hear that, it's awful! shock

Hassled Fri 26-Aug-11 20:31:45

Good point, well made. And I'm very sorry about your boy.

The journalist must have been searching for key words - presumably it was a relatively rare condition, hence finding your posts? So don't necessarily feel stalked, though I can understand why you do. What was the paper/mag - did they say?

ChumleeIsMyHomeboy Fri 26-Aug-11 20:31:47

It depends really what the publication was - perhaps your story could have helped or been comfort to others going through it? The journalist can't possibly know who you are so the stalker thing doesn't really apply does it? Public forum with a search facility. I think all you had to do was say No - as you did - and leave it at that.

SpamMarie Fri 26-Aug-11 20:32:46

Re the journalist contacting you on such a deeply personal issue, it depends entirely on the type of article he would have produced. If it were something that would spread awareness, education, and generally done the world a favour, it could have been a good thing (such as when Stephen Fry opened up about his menatl condition - I sure learnt a lot!). But so many of these stories are just attention-grabbing headlines, with not further thought of the people involved. I would have done the same as you and not participated. There's just no way of knowing most of the time.

You are spot on with your advice though. I kinda wish I hadn't picked a username that would identify me to those who know me well!

deemented Fri 26-Aug-11 20:33:16

Apparently it was about aortions and why some people chose not to abort when they find out about a fetal anomaly.

shuckleberryfinn Fri 26-Aug-11 20:34:15

They may not have been stalking. I have used the search function for a bit of moral support when my HV was being a bit of a plank, it brings up relevant threads pretty well.

It still sucks though. I'm a blogger though and strangers have often made me aware of parts of my life that I've mentioned in passing and then forgotten. Then there was the strange person who used my blogged about mental health issues to have me reported to social services. Least said about that the better. I feel for you. Hope you gave em what for.

AgentZigzag Fri 26-Aug-11 20:36:43

I'm sorry about your DS1.

If you take it that part of the reason you talked about him was to provide some comfort for others who have found them in the same awful situation, the same could be said of why the journalist was going to repeat what you said.

I'd like to hope your posts would have been used in a sensitive rather than sensationalist way, to help rather than further a career.

But regardless, it's always worth a reminder that MN's a public forum.

deemented Fri 26-Aug-11 20:53:08

TBH the decision i made when i was pregnant with him and his twin were decision i agonise daily over - even now seven years on. I couldn't see them, or him, cheapened in any way.

Maybe i was wrong. Maybe i should have spoken about it.

MmeLindor. Fri 26-Aug-11 20:59:35

I hope that MNHQ are going to kick up a HUGE fuss with the journalist and whichever publication she/he works for. That is absolutely inacceptable.

If a journo wishes to write a story about fetal abnormalities, in order to highlight the issue and help others, they can contact MNHQ and ask to post a request in Media section. Contacting posters directly is not on.

I am sorry that you have been upset by the insensitive and thoughtless act of this person, and I find it sad that you feel that you cannot talk about your DS for fear of opening yourself to something like this.

PelvicFloorOfSteel Fri 26-Aug-11 21:10:06

I'm pretty certain the PM service has a note about not using for canvassing so that journalist definitely shouldn't have been using it to contact you, I agree with MmeLindor they should have started a thread and left it for others to engage with them if they wished to, not single out posters for PMs.

Everyone could do with remembering that MN is public and generally posts are there for anyone to search for years to come, not just by the MN search, if you're posting about rare diseases/conditions they might be on the first page of a google search. It's very easy to forget that there's a permanent record when it feels like you're just having a chat with friends.

LadyBeagleEyes Fri 26-Aug-11 21:11:51

Agree with MmeLindor.
And that's why I'll never talk about anything really personal on MN.
The journalist had no right to do that, and I hope you had proper support from MNHQ.

eurochick Fri 26-Aug-11 21:13:39

I think he was wrong to contact you. I have noticed that when searching on conception issues (my current google obsession) mumsnet forum threads (sometimes v old ones) often come up as the first or second hit. So if it makes you feel any better, rather than stalking you back though your posts, one of your old posts might have come up through a search engine.

deemented Fri 26-Aug-11 21:16:37

I don't think she was stalking me per se, but she must have been looking at some old threads to have found what i'd written. I guess i'd forgotten that not all boards are like _chat, where things dissapear after 90 days.

Babababy Fri 26-Aug-11 21:20:53

I tell you some of the stuff I have read on here has moved me very much and I can still remember some threads from years ago. Someone might have read what you wrote and went to it later. YOu decide whether you want to talk to a journalist.

MmeLindor. Fri 26-Aug-11 21:22:00

I know that journos use MN as research. That is ok. But it is a different thing to contact a poster, and I am surprised that anyone would find that acceptable, as long as it were 'for a good cause'.

BootyMum Fri 26-Aug-11 21:28:26

It definitely says that PM should not be used by journalists or market researchers to canvass opinion.

Therefore I hope MN kicks up a stink with the journalist and the publication they are writing for.

How intrusive and insensitive for this person [who you don't know] to message you directly about such a deeply personal and painful event.

I hope you are okay and taking it easy tonight X

wellwisher Fri 26-Aug-11 22:06:17

Given this journalist's cynical lack of respect for your privacy and for your loss, I think you should name and shame her. To make a real life anomaly, if I were sitting with my friend on a bus talking about something personal, I wouldn't expect the person sitting behind us to tap me on the shoulder and join in the conversation, let alone to try and get me to give them more details so they could profit financially.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 26-Aug-11 22:11:29

I wouldn't speak to a journalist about anything, ever. I don't think it's a massive deal though, report them to MNHQ and ignore, just as you would a troll. They get nothing from you.

I'm always amazed at what people post here, under a so-called cloak of anonymity. It's a public board, everybody has access to it. I'd never post stuff that actually matters here because you never do really know whom you're telling.

Ilythia Fri 26-Aug-11 22:15:02

God, Dee, I only just saw this. Even if it is not stalkery it means that she ahs seen soemthing you wrote for 'friends' ages ago and took it on herself to start a discussion with you about it.
Disgusting. Properly disgusting. sad

TrillianAstra Fri 26-Aug-11 22:23:01

If Journalists search for specific phrases it's quite likely that threads will come up, even old ones.

The polite thing to do then, knowing that there are some posters who have experienced it, is to ask MNHQ for permission to put up a general "does anyone with experience of xxx want to talk to a journalist?" post. Not to contact someone directly.

exoticfruits Fri 26-Aug-11 22:25:31

I agree with LyingWitch-I speak about things sometimes to be helpful, but I take care that I wouldn't mind anyone reading it.
I would never, ever, speak to a journalist about anything.

DuelingFanjo Fri 26-Aug-11 22:27:15

I agree, the journalist most probably did a search. Not on though.

LRDTheFeministDragon Fri 26-Aug-11 22:30:27

That is awful. Not on at all. It's for you to decide if and when you want to talk. The fact we're online does not mean anyone should think common decency falls by the wayside.

Thinking of you, deemented.

festi Fri 26-Aug-11 22:32:27

this is sad for you and very insensitive of the journalist, but MN threads show up on most search engines like google etc. they should have followed the appropriate media request through MN.

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