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to self censor because I am terrified of outing myself and upsetting somebody

(19 Posts)
molyholy Thu 11-Aug-16 23:34:30

So many times I have typed out comments to help/agree/disagree with the OP, stating my own experiences, but I am terrified of my family and ILS finding out it's me, that I chicken out at the last minute.

What makes you think that? Can you not alter some details? This site is HUGE, and unless you have extremely unusual experiences, the likelihood is that no one will spot you.

So crack on.

lougle Thu 11-Aug-16 23:49:57

I only ever write things that I'd be happy for anyone to read and to know was written by me. That means that i sometimes don't contribute to a thread that I would like to, but I never have to worry about being 'outed'.

DontBuyANewMumCashmere Thu 11-Aug-16 23:52:31

Same here. Several friends irl know my username so only post what I wouldn't mind them reading.
I still don't always say what I want to say about certain situations as I don't want someone I know is on MN to see.

Frrraaann Thu 11-Aug-16 23:54:42

Namechange frequently, and swap minor details (stuff that doesn't change the situation, like saying you have a 12 month old instead of 13m)

Quietwhenreading Thu 11-Aug-16 23:57:30

Just make sure that you don't out enough info on any one username that anyone can advance search you and confirm it's you from your posting history. The easiest way to do this is to nc regularly.

It's possible to provide advice without giving exact details of your experience though.

You are right to be cautious.

Pussywillows Thu 11-Aug-16 23:58:42

Same here, I have very young twin babies so I sometimes say 'I had a baby recently' to throw people off wink

TheGruffaloMother Fri 12-Aug-16 00:00:53

I feel similar. Once I either start to think that my UN has got too much of my situation attached to it or is becoming a bit too familiar to other posters, I change it. I've been here years but UNs don't usually last me much longer than 6-8 months.

OoerBlah Fri 12-Aug-16 00:01:40

I get what you're saying OP. It's all very well saying this site is huge , or the Internet in general is huge, but this site is also VERY well known, and the Internet isn't that big, given that we all have access to it at our fingertips.

So yes, I would say be cautious. You never know who is reading.

TheGruffaloMother Fri 12-Aug-16 00:04:38

And YY to changing the insignificant details.

Talking about a friend with 3 daughters? Mention a son in passing. A family member? Add 10 years to their age, mention a profession they're not actually in or have them living somewhere they don't actually live. Don't change anything relevant to your posts but chuck in enough that someone who knows you or might see themselves in your story won't immediately recognise it.

Floralnomad Fri 12-Aug-16 00:09:08

My rule with anything online is don't write anything that you wouldn't be prepared to say to someone / about someone that you wouldn't say to their face.

Bomb Fri 12-Aug-16 00:21:22

I change names every couple of days and I change details too. I'm not sure why as I don't write anything contentious. In theory I only write things that I'd be happy for anyone to see but really I'd be a bit embarrassed if friends or family recognised me. I never ever write anything about sex and I'm not mean to people but sometimes I have a bit I a whinge.

I have a unique email account just for Mumsnet.

SunshineAgain Fri 12-Aug-16 00:36:12

I completely get this. I name change whenever I write something outing but it's mostly normal stuff that I expect to be recognised for, like the way I phrase things.

I guess I often feel compelled to share things on here that I feel equally compelled to share in RL so I think if a someone reads it they will be easily able to link to me. I have had a friend who asked my advice about something relating to my job, she later googled looking for further advice/information in trying to make her decision and found I'd shared the same information here using the same wording/way of speaking I did with her and my username was further confirmation as it contained my favourite 'something' (vague to avoid outing!). She told me so I could change my username if I wanted to and I've been more careful with what I use in my name ever since.

I also read a story on here and a few days later a friend told me a very similar story, turns out it was her close relative who had posted it, we now know her username but she doesn't want to tell her relative she knows...... makes me uncomfortable she doesn't know she's been outed so has no idea. Both were fairly unremarkable stories without big drama or upset but shows me how often it happens and people just don't realise. Plus there are a lot more lurkers than posters so not as small a community as it may seem.

Off to name change again now......

WorraLiberty Fri 12-Aug-16 00:44:14

I think the likelihood of anyone finding out it's you on a website this massive, is pretty minuscule.

However, I tend to treat social media like real life and I don't post anything about people I know, that I wouldn't be happy to say to their face.

WorraLiberty Fri 12-Aug-16 00:45:34

I mean to add that if it fills you with 'terror', then just don't do it.

It's not worth the anxiety and you can probably bet your last penny, that whatever you were going to say, will eventually be said by someone else on the thread anyway.

Quietwhenreading Fri 12-Aug-16 00:55:29

Pussywillows example is very good.

Twins doesn't seem that unusual but if you consider that only 1 in 65 (ish) pregnancies is a twin birth that cuts it down out of the general population a lot.

If a declared twin Mum then happens to mention where she lives it's down so a much, much smaller number of possibles.

All she then needs to do is give some info that identifies her a bit further eg her job or car and you could, out of millions of MNers potentially be very very sure if you knew her. And that's after only three bits of information.

WorraLiberty Fri 12-Aug-16 01:01:47

Yeah but you would have had to have spotted her posting, amongst literally millions of other posters, in order to check her out.

Quietwhenreading Fri 12-Aug-16 01:26:17

There's millions of MNers, but there aren't millions of threads. AIBU is very popular. All you need is to post enough info on a single thread that rings a bell with someone and they can AS them.

Given how often people are in fact outed or recognised it's not that unlikely.

sowtheseeds Fri 12-Aug-16 16:50:52

I came to MN after finding a thread started by my cousin. I've never spoken to her about it and doubt I ever will but I do harbour some bad feelings over the things she said about my family. You're definitely NBU to be cautious, her posts were SO identifying I recognised her straight away.

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