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Is it always this personal on Mumsnet?

(133 Posts)
musica Sun 15-Sep-02 18:02:19

I've been posting here for about a month and a half, and for the first few weeks I thought it was great - everyone seemed so friendly and supportive of each other, and even when people disagreed it was with a humourous However, over the last couple of weeks, more and more threads seem to be concluding with someone saying "I won't be posting here anymore" - please tell me this is unusual - it's so sad that so many people seem to be feeling they have to leave because of what others have said personally to them.

Rhiannon Sun 15-Sep-02 18:16:54

No it's not unusual musica. I'm still here after about 18 months. I don't get involved with the arguments, too stressful if you ask me. R

WideWebWitch Sun 15-Sep-02 18:18:52

Well, I'm one of the guilty ones musica and I wish I hadn't stropped off but I did come back and apologise and explain why. Bad day mainly. I came back partly because I'm so badly addicted I knew I couldn't live without it (OK, bit of an exaggeration but YKWIM!) and also because I knew I was cutting off my nose to spite my face. I was really upset that evening at the thought that I wasn't coming back here. God, I sound soooo sad!!! Ah well, promise I'm quite a rounded person in real life (literally too )

I do think this site is brilliant, I wish I'd had it when ds was younger. I think the people here are mainly interesting, compassionate, intelligent and articulate. And it's wonderful that we don't just talk about kids but about other big important subjects, like Sept 11th, bereavement etc.

I think there are certain subjects that are so 'hot' though and people can't help but get offended because they feel strongly about these subjects and someone is always bound to feel the opposite, equally strongly. These subjects are, from what I can see, Gin A Ford, MMR, Advertising on Talk and Smacking. I usually stay out of them since I've said my piece on old threads and because I don't want to fight with anyone. Sometimes though I have got involved and usually regretted it. To me, Mumsnet is a great source of sound advice, a good place for virtual friendship and a laugh. So, to answer your question, it is generally unusual IMO but these subjects have come up recently and where they are concerned it is not. Please stay/come back everyone

ks Sun 15-Sep-02 18:24:41

Message withdrawn

Rhiannon Sun 15-Sep-02 18:24:55

Me again, another problem is that a lot of what is typed can be 'taken' by the reader in various different ways and twisted around. I have been 'victim' of this myself. R

Rara Sun 15-Sep-02 18:49:25

ks - funny you should say this as it was your comments on the expensive clothes thread that I really took offence to. I understand where you were coming from on this one, but I do think we all ought to be very careful about the way we come across in print. I was aware on reading the thread that, to an "outsider", some contributions can look either very precious and cliquey ("how dare you intrude on our website" type of thing) or just plain arsey and cynical and I don't think there was any call for it on this occasion. Maybe your apology should be directed at JamesK???

I agree with everything www has said and have done exactly what she did - cut off my nose to spite my face by making a "grand gesture" and then sneaking back on to see what had happened on the thread afterwards. It's a fair cop...

Chinchilla Sun 15-Sep-02 18:50:46

Me too Rhiannon - I actually got upset on one post about one particular poster 'deliberately' misreading my points, and almost getting quite rude in responding to me! As I said at the time, I am a nice person, and nothing that I post is meant to be offensive. Even if I feel strongly about something, I usually write with my tongue firmly in my cheek, and with a smiley face at the end, as I would hate to offend anyone.

Musica - Unfortunately, on this site, as in real life face-to-face discussions, you get people who are prepared to shout others down or state their views with no regard to other people's feelings. In real life, you can avoid them, but on here you have to put up with it, get rude back, or leave! Not good!

However, I feel, that in general, people here are very considerate and caring towards others. You only have to look at the posting made by Marina, and the responses, to see that. Sometimes, I find myself in floods of tears, or giggling like a fool whilst reading the threads, so there must be something good here...don't go. And, anyone else who may have stopped posting because of arguments, please come back - most of us value your opinions, whether we agree with them or not.

Bobbins Sun 15-Sep-02 19:10:51

I feel bad, I think ks and I were egging eachother on a little. Sorry.

bayleaf Sun 15-Sep-02 19:12:09

It has to be noted also that nine times out of ten when people cause offence they do apologise and try to make amends - to me that is a sign of the intelligent level of conversation you find on Mumsnet. We may disagree and sometimes get upset with each other but we're almost always adult enough to realise what we've done - people leaving permanently are really quite few and far between given how busy mumsnet is.

Janeway Sun 15-Sep-02 19:19:50

I feel that the the big advantage, and the big disadvantage with Mumsnet is the medium. It allows you to discuss topics with such a wide range of people but it depersonalises that contact. By this I mean that the usual signals that come with words (tone of voice, facial and bodily expressions) are missing and therefore things are more easily miscontrued. Think how much effort goes into editing a book to try and make sure the intended meanting and tone are conveyed....

The writer does not have the simultaneous feed back from the "listener" to allow them to clarify before offence is taken, (or even any knowledge of the opinions of most "listeners" ) and the statements are not softened by the presence or demenour of the speaker.

It's for these reasons, and the immediacy of electronic communication (far too easy to fire off a flame in the heat of the moment), that e-mails on inter-personal subjects are generally best avoided (certainly are in our office).

Most of the threads I've been into are either broadly concensual (breastfeeding in public) or non controvercial (where do I get...) but the difficulty seams to come on topics that are about a difference in lifestyle (veggyism) or involve an "outsider". On those subjects the commonality of why we're on here (we're all parents trying to do the best for our loved ones) seams to be temporarily lost as one persons opinion is seen as and attack on anothers lifestyle.

We can only hope that those who cause another person offence (inadvertantly or not) have the grace to appologise for the offence - though not for their opinion - such appologies appear all over this site and are testiment to the good will of the people on it; and those who feel offended remember the difficulties the writers have in accurately conveying their opinions (also that we all are tired/have a bad day at some point) and further that they're on this site to talk to more than just the few they've found disagreement with.

Those thinking of going - please come back - you may be just the person who can help me or any one of us next week/month.....

Janeway Sun 15-Sep-02 19:23:34

Oopp, much of the below had been said by others whilst I was typing (very slow at this (dyslexic) and also had to stop mid paragraph to bath ds) just another illustration of the difficulties of communicating throgh this medium.

threeangels Sun 15-Sep-02 20:12:05

The one thing I have noticed on threads is that sometimes the post can get a little out of hand and I mean some people upset others by what they say (myself included) but we always tend to bounce back to our normal helpful bunch. Most I see dont hold any grudges which I feel is wonderful. If we did because of offending someone in the littlest way we wouldnt have this great sight. I dont like to hurt anyones feelings at all and I remember doing that on several occasions. When your in a deep heavy conversation you sometimes say things you wish you hadnt and wished you kept to yourself. I'm glad that from what I see everyone doesnt hold it against you.

Deborahf Sun 15-Sep-02 20:33:52

Janeway - nicely put. I love to read all the threads on this site - some funny (well lots funny actually ), some helpful, some very sad and some simply "hot". I've posted on some threads, but not all as sometimes I simply can't find the words.

I've found lots of support here - particularly when I just "looked", but I'm happy to dive right in now

maryz Sun 15-Sep-02 20:43:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SofiaAmes Sun 15-Sep-02 20:44:57

Personally what I find so wonderful about mumsnet is the variety and strength of opinions. It would seem that the inevitable result of that is the occasional "argument" but certainly for me that's what makes me cherish it all the more. It's a bit like a big extended family. And hopefully after insulting all and sundry over mmr/spanking/religion/etc. we can all apologize when necessary and still be there tomorrow to help someone else get a cheap flight/find newborn socks that stay on/potty train/etc. I find the contact with so many different opinions invaluable and is surely something that one can't get anywhere else. It wouldn't be very interesting or useful if everyone felt the same as I do and totally agreed with everything I said.

Janeway Sun 15-Sep-02 21:00:32

SofiaAmes - I agree totally

WideWebWitch Sun 15-Sep-02 21:04:36

Rara, at the thought of you sneaking back on here like I did!

madonna Sun 15-Sep-02 21:28:51

Anyone who regularly uses the internet soon discovers that there are some wonderful people out there. There are also some very weird people using it. Some of them (trolls) delight in being offensive but they are sometimes clever enough to lie low for a time first.

It is easy to change a name on mumsnet. I’ve never posted here before. I have two boys aged 3 and 7, one autistic, in my view as a result of the MMR. I love Gina Ford and am a vegetarian atheist who regards spankers as child abusers. None of this is true – but its what I’d pretend to be if I was a troll or just a mumsnet regular who wanted to be really offensive without having other people know who it was.

New people are normally accepted readily on this site. The only time they aren’t is if their posts are offensive. If someone has been posting “normally” for a time and comes out with something rude other people will usually assume they are having a bad day. If it’s a first post they’ll be suspected of trolldom. As for has it got worse – yes. There used to be a group of regulars who were very good at making light-hearted comments when things got out of hand. Perhaps they just got tired.

Jasper Sun 15-Sep-02 21:44:36

madonna, brilliant!
I am laughing so hard you have reminded me to increase my pelvic floor exercises.
I'm off to think of a new name and a new persona

Tonight, Matthew, I'm going to be ...... an Attachment Parenting lesbian ...

pupuce Sun 15-Sep-02 21:47:47

Oh so true Madonna.... so do you like Gina Ford ??????

WideWebWitch Sun 15-Sep-02 21:49:49


SofiaAmes Sun 15-Sep-02 22:17:58

ok, stop, I think there should be a ban on funny posts until I give birth. I am so sick of doing laundry....
www is right, madonna you are so aloha. Then again knowing that doesn't really expose you to anything more than a previous alter ego...I think I'm one of the few that was too dumb to realize that I was supposed to come up with a pseudonym. No wonder I always lose at poker.

madonna Sun 15-Sep-02 22:30:05

pupuce I am Gina Ford.

anais Sun 15-Sep-02 22:40:26

Well put Janeway. I am guilty of some quite controversial comments and opinions, in both this and my previous incarnation. I think the beauty of this is that you can be having a big aggressive argument with soeone about MMR on one thread, and exchanging recipes with the same person on another thread. I think the key is not to take it all too personally, though I know that can be tough...

WideWebWitch Sun 15-Sep-02 22:41:26

anais, are you aloha too?

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