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Mumsnetters do really really well but ……

(7 Posts)
retiredlady Sun 06-Sep-09 09:47:48

I have tried several times to write down what I am thinking about how we, the Mumsnet readers, support people in their darkest hours. I still don’t think I have sorted out in my own mind exactly what it is that is niggling away at me but I do know that I have spent many hours reading different threads and the sadness of some of them and the compassion and good sense offered have made me cry more than once.

But I still don’t think we are quite getting it right.

To me there doesn’t always seem to be the link that I would have expected to see between the urgency of the cry for help and the number of postings in the thread. Sometimes the balance seems wrong so for example (using a made-up crisis here for obvious reasons) “two little girls living next door were drowned in a local lake” although most unpleasant for the OP is not nearly as urgent as “my two little girls were drowned in a local lake”.

One change I would make would be to have Bereavement as one of the chat topics that comes up automatically rather than hiding it away under the more … sign. Perhaps swap PRS option with Bereavement??

I have also made a paper list of the threads where I think urgent support could make a real difference, perhaps even a life-or-death difference, and if I don’t see anything being posted for perhaps 24 hours I will show the OP that they are not forgotten by posting something myself. Other readers might care to do the same?

Prosecco Sun 06-Sep-09 10:11:13

Mumsnetters use the facility for different things.

Some want to escape real life and chat about eyeliner.

Others look for real advice and support.

Some do both.

I don't think you can be prescriptive.

If an OP desperately needs advice they can keep bumping or starting new threads until someone bites.

Sometimes people, myself included, may not respond to some of the more harrowing threads for fear of coming across as glib, having neither the experience nor the words to respond appropriately. It doesn't mean we are shallow or irresponsible, or more interested in beauty products than someone's grief.

cheerfulvicky Sun 06-Sep-09 10:43:11

I agree with Prosecco. I think you can really only decide how YOU respond to the various threads both on this forum and other parts of MumsNet - you can't tell others how to respond, or how they should be responding. Doing so might get peoples backs up, and the ladies here can be pretty feisty.

Another option if you feel deeply concerned about a particular poster is to CAT them and offer a listening ear that way. If they want they might take up he offer of having someone to write to directly - or they might not. You needn't assume that all the support that person is getting is visible in the forums; often mums will meet via mumsnet and go on to communicate in other ways, email, or in person. I don't tend to go to local meets but I am emailing a really lovely MNer and that's been fab. So if you want to be supportive (and I know you have posted about wanting to do that recently) then start with you, and the way you yourself respond. That alone can make a huge difference.

theyoungvisiter Sun 06-Sep-09 10:54:53

Retiredlady - there's no need to post the same op several times in different topics. Most people use "active conversations" to view and will see your thread no matter where you post it.

If you don't receive any responses in one topic by all means repost in a busier area a day or so later, but simultaneous posting in several areas just confuses people.

Portofino Sun 06-Sep-09 11:18:26

Sorry but I think this sounds a bit patronising! I've only been on here a year or so and I think the support offered on here is amazing - over and above from you would expect from a group of random strangers. People aren't obligated to post on threads. If I was suffering a bereavement I would prefer to have a few genuine responses from people who understood what I was going through.

cheerfulvicky Sun 06-Sep-09 11:21:37

Oh, right - you've posted this in Bereavement too and got quite a lot of responses, of the kind I imagined were likely...

If you really, REALLY want to help, then resolve to do nothing, and watch and wait and learn. Or, lurk, as they call it here
Give it a year or so. Then you'll be halfway qualified to suggest how MNers should respond, and by then I hope you won't want to say anything of the sort.

HappyWoman Sun 06-Sep-09 11:46:32

I have seen some of your other threads.
I dont always post on the horrible situations because i dont have the experience or just dont have the time to give to support.

I used MN at a time when i needed it and it was fantastic - some of the more 'trivial' problems are better aired here and may get a better response as we can share our views without getting too involved iyswim.

If i have really wanted to offer support i have used the cat system and it is great - some do take up the offer and some dont.

I also think there are many lurkers who get support because it makes them feel they are not alone or that their problems are really nothing compared to others.

Even in real life it can be frustrating as people ask for help (and offer it) in very different ways. I have a friend who has never confided in my about a particular problem (yet i know she has it) - obviously i am not the friend she wants to share that part of her life with and thats ok.

Its the same here - and i think anyone posting would see that some times are 'busier' than others, and that some discussions get far more attention than others.

Hope you find the peace you are searching for as you seem to be worried about the help offered on the site,

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