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Do people think there's a genuine problem with bullying on AIBU?

(46 Posts)
LikeDylanInTheMovies Mon 26-Sep-16 12:12:38

Yes people can be vile on some threads and go in for personal attacks. They can't be nice to be on the end of.

However of late, I've noticed that an ops are sometimes very ready to claim 'you're all vile and I'm being bullied' and storm off in high dudgeon, simply because they aren't getting the responses they wanted and they don't like people disagreeing with them. Sometimes the responses can be quite critical of the op's conduct and be expressed in robust terms , but so long as it isn't a personal attack, I think that's probably fair enough. To my mind there's a huge difference between telling someone:

'I think what you did yesterday was dangerous and could have had serious consequences for your child' is not what someone wants to hear but isn't bullying.

Whereas 'you sound like a shit parent, how did you sleep last night? I can only hope social services are around tomorrow to take your kids away' probably is bullying. as it takes the form of a character assassination

On these boards I see a lot of the former and rather less of the latter.

Am i being unreasonable to think that if you ask a question, you should expect an answer you may not agree with or am I being blase about this issue and AIBU is genuinely becoming a haven for bullies?

Mozfan1 Mon 26-Sep-16 12:14:08

I agree sometimes it can be pretty brutal, but shit or get off the pot I say. If they don't like the answers they shouldn't have asked the question.

Champagneformyrealfriends Mon 26-Sep-16 12:16:18

Yanbu-I always think that if you think you may be being unreasonable then you probably are grin in which case expecting people to tell you you're not is pointless. Particularly if you can't cope with being told you're wrong.

Occasionally I do see comments that are below the belt though - the thing is you'll always get that on an anonymous forum.

MsJamieFraser Mon 26-Sep-16 12:16:38

I think you can comment as you would someone in RL, on here some people instantly are rude, name call, or just make rather OTT comments, which is just not justified.

I hate when when say well it's AIBU, because people forget they aren't just words on a screen there is a person behind the screen who is reading the replies.

clam Mon 26-Sep-16 12:19:13

You're not referring to the babysitter thread from last night are you? Where we all got called a bunch of bullying cunts for telling her she was out of line?

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Mon 26-Sep-16 12:20:19

Bullying is sustained psychological or physical abuse.

Keyword being sustained.

An OP being called a twat when they're being a twat is not bullying. An OP being called a twat when they aren't being a twat isn't bullying. It's personal-attacking from sadsacks with nothing better to do.

I notice a lot of people are "bullied in the workplace" in MNland (and outside of it) My friend's husband was off sick for 6mths after being "bullied" (he asked to reduce his hours but neglected to negotiate a change in salary or what his duties were and then felt "bullied" when he was expected to do the same work, for the same money in a shorter time.)

Bullying as a word gets bandied about far too often and only demeans and belittles the real victims of it.

I've only seen one person truly bullied on MN. And that was strategically planned offboard first. Sad fuckers.

TaterTots Mon 26-Sep-16 12:20:26

'Bullying' is a term thrown around a lot these days. Genuine bullying is unacceptable, but it seems like the go-to accusation when people are told what they don't want to hear.

GunnyHighway Mon 26-Sep-16 12:22:41

I belong to more than one forum, as I'm assume many of you do. This is nothing compared to other sites (arrse for example) but this is supposed to be a supportive place so I think a lot of the posts can come across as bullying.

I would point out though that this is the internet and most posts should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Some people are just dicks

LikeDylanInTheMovies Mon 26-Sep-16 12:23:55

You're not referring to the babysitter thread from last night are you? Where we all got called a bunch of bullying cunts for telling her she was out of line

No, I've not seen that thread. It was a general observation.

I'm not referring to any particular thread at all (genuinely so, not in a wink, wink, nudge, nudge of course I mean that thread but can't say so as HQ will zap it as a thread about a thread)

clam Mon 26-Sep-16 12:25:25

It was quite amusing actually. But anyway, this isn't about that, so fine. wink

<whistles nonchalantly>

FlyingElbows Mon 26-Sep-16 12:25:46

I think it's worth bearing in mind that a lot of threads which end in "ure all a bunch of bullying cunts and I'm totally nbu" are deliberately engineered to end like that. Yes some posters are notorious for having the tact and diplomacy of a housebrick and some are quick to judge but bullying is more than someone just disagreeing with your (often eye rollingly obvious) statement. If someone is following you round goading you on everything you post then you've maybe got a bullying issue but a one off disagreement not so much. Just keep your eye tuned in for "mumsnet bingo" and it becomes quite easy to spot the less than genuine.

TippiNoodlegruder Mon 26-Sep-16 12:28:13

Agree with ThenLater it's not bullying if it's one comment. Some replies are harsh, some are rude, some are uncalled for. But unless someone is following you (general you) across the boards, continually making rude comments, you're not being bullied.

I don't think AIBU is any worse or better than it has ever been, responses to a thread have always been unpredictable so something you may have seen as a safe topic could well go the other way. I think people would do well to remember that if you want everyone to agree with you, probably don't post it.

t4nut Mon 26-Sep-16 12:30:08

I think that if you're posting on a forum asking if you're being an idiot or not you should expect sometimes to be told you're being an idiot.

I also think if you don't want to be accused of saying something stupid then you should think really hard before saying something stupid

RiverTam Mon 26-Sep-16 12:32:31

The problems occur, imo, when a herd mentality starts, so one robust comment can morph into an onslaught which then does become bullying in nature.

I also think that too many posters only read the OP, even when the thread might be several pages long, before offering up their pearls of wisdom.

In fact MNHQ, if you're reading, please can you make highlighting the OP's posts the default setting? I think it would help no end.

flowery Mon 26-Sep-16 12:33:40

I don't think technicalities about whether a specific definition of bullying is being met are the point at all. Surely the main question is whether there is unnecessarily harsh and unpleasant treatment of people on here, and the extent to which that is acceptable.

Personally I think there are plenty of people who love the opportunity to tell someone they are wrong, so open threads with titles where they see that opportunity (whether they are self-aware enough to know that's what they are doing or not).

There are others who relish the chance to forget social niceties and conventions and enjoy the fact that hiding behind a computer screen and an anonymous name means there is no comeback from being as rude as they would sometimes like to be in real life.

I think there are plenty of both of those on MN, on AIBU in particular. It is perfectly possible to make a point or to disagree with someone in a polite, considerate way. 'Words on a screen' is nonsense. It's a conversation with another person/people, the only difference being you can't see them in front of you or hear their voice.

fastdaytears Mon 26-Sep-16 12:35:29

"Bullying" is way overused, here and IRL. Genuine bullying is a massive problem but made much harder to deal with by all the misuse of the word.

I haven't seen bullying on here but I believe people that it occurs on occasions and I trust MNHQ to act.

Cocklodger Mon 26-Sep-16 12:35:58

A lot of the times it goes like this.
OP: Load of selfish, insulting or snobbish nonsense.
Responses; yabu.
OP: But x y and z!!! (aka more nonsense)
Responses: You're still being U because x y and z.
OP:YOU'RE ALL VILE BULLIES.
that said I agree AIBU can be needlessly brutal sometimes

redexpat Mon 26-Sep-16 12:38:03

I have never seen anything I call bullying here. Quite a lot of stupidity, projection, poor comprehension and not rtft. For example:
OP: AIBU?
50 replies saying YABU,
OP: really? Oh ok then, live and learn. Thanks for helping me find a grip.
250 more replies of: YABU

I've seen quite a lot of replying posters apologising to each other when there's a misunderstanding. I quite like that. It is easy to take things the wrong way when you dont have tone to go by, or someone has worded something poorly. I've also seen rarely a couple of OPs take offence where there really isn't meant to be any, but I think it just says more about their frame of mind really.

LikeDylanInTheMovies Mon 26-Sep-16 12:38:09

It's a conversation with another person/people, the only difference being you can't see them in front of you or hear their voice

I have been guilty of that. I've never consciously been abusive to another person, but the fact the living breathing person isn't in front of me has led to me being more direct and blunt than I would have been in real life. I've tried to be more conscious of this, but have inadvertently upset people. However is that not the nature of internet communication rather than AIBU?

NavyandWhite Mon 26-Sep-16 12:39:14

I think there are certain people that hang around aibu and like the sound of their own voice, yes. They crop up on all sorts of different topics but have the same belligerent attitude.

Whether it's bullying I don't know. Arse holes for sure though.

paxillin Mon 26-Sep-16 12:40:20

I think the variety is shocking for many. In RL, a single mum working 3 minimum wage jobs whilst living on a notorious inner city estate, a SAHM with a stockbroker husband from Oxfordshire and a childfree lawyer from Sloane Square wouldn't meet to chat about party etiquette. On MN they do. They look utterly bonkers to each other, but in RL, their outlook is perfectly normal for their surroundings.

VeryBitchyRestingFace Mon 26-Sep-16 12:41:34

There was a thread yesterday where OP was repeatedly bludgeoned and railed at for having the temerity to use the word "hub" in her OP. (Instead of DH or whatever).

I wouldn't use the word "bullying" but wading through pages and pages of the same shite critiquing someone for a perceived terminological faux pas was fucking tedious, dull and unhelpful.

flowery Mon 26-Sep-16 12:42:21

"However is that not the nature of internet communication rather than AIBU?"

Well it is, yes. But I think the impact of that can feel more exaggerated or significant on AIBU threads than elsewhere, because of the nature of the beast. Particularly when combined with a higher proportion of people opening the thread being people who have spotted a chance to tell someone they are wrong. On other topics more people will open a thread to be supportive, or helpful, or if they are just interested in the subject matter.

Bluebolt Mon 26-Sep-16 12:46:40

The tone can be set by the first few responses, especially when they start speaking to each other about the OP. But I only really see huge flare ups when the OP is adamant there is only their view.

plimsolls Mon 26-Sep-16 12:48:56

I've only seen one thread that is describe as bullying maybe. It wasn't even in AIBU, it was a baby name thread. The OP mentioned her existing child's name when asking for opinions on new baby's shortlist and then a load of posters all took the piss and someone even dug up an old thread posted by a IRL friend referring to that child's name and crowed about it. I think the thing that made it feel like bullying was that other posters were kind of ganging up with their pisstakes ("high fiving" each other and congratulating each other on how scathing they were being). It felt genuinely nasty and unkind.

I often don't like the tone of AIBU responses but I would not call it bullying exactly.

That said, I hate the unwritten rule that if you post in AIBU you deserve a kicking and you should know it's a kind of free for all in terms of responses. If you're new to the site, you would have no idea. I often imagine my mum (or someone similar) posting an innocent "do you think I am unreasonable?" thread expecting reasonable responses and some kindly alternative opinions.... It makes me feel really sad!

I really think the option to post in AIBU should come with a health warning!

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