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Concerned about attempted silencing/derailing of issues (via hunting/mocking)

(1000 Posts)
Halfway Tue 30-Oct-12 16:25:52

I posted a thread in AIBU yesterday (perhaps foolishly), which thankfully did turn out to be very helpful, but also turned out to be extremely hurtful. And while overall, I gained a great deal of benefit/clarity/insight from it, I also spent a great deal of the day in tears and/or raging, and feeling generally crap about myself.

The post was about a friend, which led a lot of people to think I musn't be that emotionally invested, because it wasn't about me.

However, I was emotionally invested because I felt like I was watching my friend potentially walk into a very, very dangerous situation (which could end up in her hurt or even dead), and worse, I had the realisation that I could not stop her, but could only try to, and may very well fail.

In the context of that worry, these are the specific things I am complaining about:

a) sustained piss-taking/mocking (which not only humiliate/hurt me, but distracted and derailed the thread, with others jumping on board)

b) failure/refusal to stop the piss-taking/mocking when asked nicely to, and despite my making it clear that I was finding it painful

LET ME MAKE IT VERY CLEAR - I have nothing against genuine concerns, disagreements, and even disbelief of my thread, or specifics in my posts if these things are stated outright (not passive-aggressively buried in in-jokes), and if the posters simply make their position clear and report to MNHQ.

There is a valid need for this kind of watchdog activity, and I am in no way trying to stop that.

But the mocking, especially the sustained mocking by some posters, and 'ha ha' twisting of my dilemma into a funny joke conversation... well that hurt. That really hurt. And I've been seriously hurt in the past (raped, beaten to broken bones), so am no hand-wringing wallflower. It was triggering.

I think that behaviour is wrong, and I think it is going to hurt a lot more people other than me. Perhaps it is already hurting people who have severe issues of their own, and feel they cannot post because they will be laughed at.

Anyway, I'm concerned about it, deeply concerned, and still a bit disturbed myself (although much emotionally cooler).

I'm also not sure how this fits into "Relationships", so apologies if it seems weird here, but I seem to be inviting more suspicion by posting in AIBU, so here it is, and I'm grateful to anyone willing to listen.

MorrisZapp Tue 30-Oct-12 16:32:26

I have no idea why you were laughed at for seeking help for a friend. Why did they laugh?

UltraBOF Tue 30-Oct-12 16:32:40

I think that reporting your thread to HQ, and if you want to address the issue as a general site issue, putting this in Site Stuff rather than Relationships is the way to go. I think you brought this up in context on the thread itself though, didn't you? Which is probably enough.

Why not report the posters that you feel goaded you, and explain to HQ why?

Halfway Tue 30-Oct-12 16:39:32

Morris The subject matter was extreme (she was dating a guy who revealed to her that he had a vore/cannibalism fetish, and she seemed to be willing to at least consider indulging it).

Some people evidently found this too extreme to believe, which I actually understand, and wanted to call troll (which I also understand, but which should be done through reporting). Instead they attempted, and partly succeeded at simply derailing the thread and humiliating me with piss-taking.

Ultra HQ did get involved. I did report (the posts were deleted, but the damage was done), and the thread was moved here to Relationships. It has now been locked by HQ, not because of anything I have done, but literally to stop the troll-hunting it had got that bad. So my thread was effectively silenced (and not because of me).

amillionyears Tue 30-Oct-12 16:41:50

How long did it take for MN to start deleting?
When threads go awry, it is best to report it yourself as soon as possible to get it back on track again.
Do you want to link your thread from yesterday on here, so people can see what you are talking about?

amillionyears Tue 30-Oct-12 16:44:25

They havent deleted the thread though,so people can still read it.
Also, you can start up again and put on a link to it as well?

On the calling troll part,yes people are supposed to report rather that calling troll but that is not always common knowledge.
Also the subject was extreme,so as you said, that part was understandable.

MorrisZapp Tue 30-Oct-12 16:45:10

Oh that thread. I read it until it said flesh eating, assumed it was made up, and scarpered at that point.

Flesh eating? Maybe that is just a bridge too far even on here. I can only imagine the only sane advice would be to er, dump the weirdo. What else is there to say?

clam Tue 30-Oct-12 16:45:29

See, that's the downside to internet forums. MN has the potential to be a source of wonderful support and advice, and many people have found it to be invaluable. But the flip side to it all is that there are some who forget that behind the posts are (usually) real people who might be in real pain.

I'm sorry you had that experience.

Halfway Tue 30-Oct-12 16:52:33

Apologies, I should have linked. This is the original thread.

MN started deleting fairly quickly, but the amount of deletions got so large it made the discussion nonsensical (MNHQ's words), and so they locked it.

I'm actually not too concerned about what happens with the thread now, as I did get the help I needed from it (have messaged MNHQ that too), but I am concerned about what happened within it (the mocking, etc).

Morris and amillion I really don't mind people reporting troll (thats what they're meant to do), and I don't even mind if its just too bizarre for you to believe (and I'd also encourage you to report troll if thats what you genuinely feel is happening).

What hurt was that people then decided to stick around and actively mock/derail the thread because they had decided I couldn't possibly be real. I am.

clam Thank you very much. It is a downside indeed, and I'm trying to constructively think if there's anything that can be done about it. Because someone is going to get seriously hurt here at some point, and I don't think its enough to just say "Oh well, they should have known better than to post." (not that you're saying that).

CogitoEerilySpooky Tue 30-Oct-12 16:57:54

The bottom line is that, if you have a sensitive or personal problem, don't post it on the internet unless you are as mentally prepared for brickbats as you are for bouquets. MN is better than some but the AIBU board is the equivalent of the village square stocks.... very rough treatment for anything that is out of the ordinary. It is not a place for the delicate.

Halfway Tue 30-Oct-12 17:01:00

Cogito No, sorry. I will not be effectively told to 'go away and don't talk about it here then'.

I know that sounds harsh, and is not exactly what you meant. But thats how it feels.

I think changes need to be put into place to protect people like me so that we can post, not be told to go away.

amillionyears Tue 30-Oct-12 17:02:01

I did believe it, but I can see why some wouldnt have.

Are you new on here?
I personally lurked for 4 months before posting, so I could see and watch how it all worked.
There are always going to be some posters as you describe.[And on some threads they do add some much needed humour]. That is the internet,and always will be I expect give or take a few tweaks.
If you are new to MN,you would not know how MN works. I appreciate though, that if you have an immediate problem,you will be unable to wait.

amillionyears Tue 30-Oct-12 17:03:44

Halfway,you personally cannot police the entire internet.

Maybe MNHQ could have done something different or better, or quicker, I do not know.

Halfway Tue 30-Oct-12 17:05:20

amillion Thank you.

I've been here for some time (more than a few months as a poster), and longer as a lurker. I namechange a lot because I always ultimately/eventually begin to 'out' myself to uncomfortable levels with personal information.

I think I do know how MN works. I guess I'm saying something needs to change. Because people like me should be able to post here without being shot down in flames when we need genuine help.

UltraBOF Tue 30-Oct-12 17:06:19

I have to say that I agree with the broad thrust of Cogito's point. You can't really bind vast swathes of the anonymous public to the ethical guidelines of a responsible counsellor. You can ask them to follow site protocol (and face deletion if they don't), but much as it would be a lovely world if everyone was polite and respectful at all times, you can't force that to be the case. People blurt out what's in their heads, and it won't always be kind or supportive. That's as true in life as it is on the web.

Halfway Tue 30-Oct-12 17:06:24

I know amillion, I do. I'm not trying to do it alone.

I'm trying to raise some heads together and get some feedback here. And then I intend to compile something and send it to MNHQ.

Halfway Tue 30-Oct-12 17:08:10

No I agree Ultra, I can't control the public's behaviour, nor do I want to.

I just want people like me to be able to safely post here without being mocked to desperation, and then effectively silenced.

There must be a way to accomplish that.

CogitoEerilySpooky Tue 30-Oct-12 17:08:55

You're not being harsh you're being unrealistic. AIBU means 'Am I Being Unreasonable'.... there are only two polarised answers to that question and one of them is 'yes you're being unreasonable'. Unreasonable ... not 'mistaken' or 'incorrect' or 'off the mark' but 'unreasonable'... devoid of reason. If you'd taken any time to read through some AIBU threads before posting you'd see that it is not a kind cuddly environment, it's a very dumbed down, black/white, love/loathe atmosphere.

It's also a public internet messages board. An environment where it's only a matter of time before someone compares someone else to Adolf Hitler. Message boards are not safe, cosy places where support groups gather and hold hands. They are quite the opposite.

I'm sorry but I think you enter that kind of arena at your own risk and peril. Not expect others to treat you with kid gloves.

amillionyears Tue 30-Oct-12 17:11:04

I am trying to work out whether you want MNHQ to change its way of working
or posters to post more appropriately

I do think you have to bear in mind though, that your thread was definitely of the extreme variety.

Halfway Tue 30-Oct-12 17:11:50


I'll say it again.

I do not mind disagreement. I do not mind disbelief. I do not mind harsh, constructive advice.

I do mind being mocked so intensely that my thread becomes nonsensical and silenced.

Whooooosualsuspect Tue 30-Oct-12 17:11:57

MN is a chat forum ,nothing more, if you need RL advice and support you need to seek it in RL.

You cannot change the nature of a Chat forum.

amillionyears Tue 30-Oct-12 17:12:32

Bit of a x post.
tbh, I think you will have to take it up with MNHQ

UltraBOF Tue 30-Oct-12 17:12:39

But what's the point in compiling a wish list? MNHQ have their guidelines already, which strike a balance between reasonable debate which stays the right side of personal attacks, and allowing the free exchange of opinion and an atmosphere of relaxed and informal entertainment (which MN is at least as much as a supportive haven). The site isn't here to make sure that even the most sensitive of people have access to a wide variety of experience to help them with their issues- how could it be when you are talking about the general public? You have to take the rough with the smooth: that's just the way that a public forum works.

Halfway Tue 30-Oct-12 17:13:12

amillion MNHQ is probably the more realistic way to go.

Even if the involved posters gain some insight and awareness and change their ways, more will pop up in their place. I do know this.

I also know my thread was extreme, which is why I don't blame people for disbelieving.

I do blame them for the sustained mocking, which derailed and ultimately silenced my thread.

meditrina Tue 30-Oct-12 17:14:08

OP has been posting on and off for several months - long enough to know, surely, that starting a thread in AIBU on sexual cannibalism is going to bring a mixed reaction.

The advice to start a thread in Relationships was intended to encourage you to post, in a generally sympathetic part of MN, about your own issues, some of which spilled out midway through a thread which was utterly inappropriate for that. It wasn't meant to be carte blanche to start a complaining thread about a thread.

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