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Why we temporarily banned Anyfucker and what next

(1006 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 24-Oct-13 21:18:19

Hi all,
So as many have pointed out there are an awful lot of threads about AF from last night and today, many of them repeating the same stuff, some of them including misapprehensions.

So we thought it best to state our position on the matter fully here and to lock the other threads so anyone with stuff to say can say it here and it's all easier to follow. (Apols for any difficulties you've had in following all this because of multiple threads - we don't normally allow them but in this case, as there was a fair bit of MNHQ conspiracy theory floating around, we thought it best not to start deleting things today).

So first why did we ban, or more accurately suspend, AF for a week?
As already stated AF did break our Talk Guidelines a lot wrt troll-hunting, PAs and generally aggressive behaviour.

We have looked back and found we've sent her nine mails of the 'please stick to Guidelines or we'll have to take further action' variety and we've banned her once before. There have been c. 600 reports of her posts - and there are 1100 cases in our system concerning her one way or another (not including any name changes). We've deleted
posts under the name 'AnyFucker' 185 times (some of those reports will be duplicate reports of the same post, so it's not that we've deleted 185 out of 600 posts reported).

It is not the case that most of these posts were in response to trolls, plenty were against folks most would agree were regular posters. Others were against folks she thought might be trolls but we could see were not. Some were against folks who were subsequently banned.

We haven't actually been able to forensically analyse each of the 600 cases - it really would mean going back through each thread - but we will over the next little while if folks think it necessary.

Some people have been calling for an auto-ban mechanism for posters who are multiply reported - if we had one of these AF would have been likely banned a few more times than she actually has.

We wrote to AF a couple of weeks ago after deleting some of her posts warning that if she crossed the line again we'd have to suspend her and that's what we did yesterday. She wrote back to say she knew it was coming.

We don't take these decisions lightly wrt Mumsnetters who've been contributing for so long and whom we know so well. We agree AF's a fantastic poster who goes out her way to help others but we're not talking isolated incidents here and it's very often not directed at actual trolls. Often we're talking about aggression/personal attacks/accusations of trolling against other Mumsnetters who AF disagrees with.

Plenty of people today have cited examples of this type of behaviour. Some have also spoken of an orthodoxy on the relationships board which is difficult to diverge from and which puts them off posting there. And of course, plenty of others have cited examples of AF's kindness and support on those same boards.

But what would you really have us do? Ignore the PAs against Mumsnetters? Ignore those posters who report such PAs to us? We are not talking exclusively PAs on trolls here. If you've been following today's threads you have to accept that. Believe me, we have not been trigger happy here. The last thing we want is for AF, or posters like AF who offer so much to Mumsnetters, to leave MN. But we have a few rules for very good reasons we think. Without them, Mumsnet would be incredibly insular and one dimensional and very unwelcoming to newcomers. We have to accept that if folks can't live with those rules then, ultimately, that's their decision.

I think it's worth saying what we do believe in, here at MNHQ, because although the site has grown, these values (if that's not too aggrandising) really haven't changed since it started.

We believe that the pooling of knowledge and advice makes parents' lives easier.
We believe in tolerance of differing opinions and in letting the conversation flow wherever possible.
We believe in listening and engaging and being transparent as much as we can.

We do have things we don't tolerate (which have been honed and refined over the years by collective user experience) because we think they are less likely to promote the things MN values. Namely personal attacks, deliberately inflammatory posts, posts that break law/hate speech.
We will also delete things that are downright mean and obscene (though clearly this is a matter of judgement).

We have never billed MN as a safe haven. It is open and searchable and public so can never be as safe as a closed, heavily moderated or pre-moderated environment would be.

It is a largely female space and we think that is incredibly valuable in a male dominated internet/ world. But it is not an exclusively female - it's by parents for parents and it always has been. Men are welcome to post and to express their opinions and we've had many valuable male Mumsnetters over the years.

Quite apart from anything it would both be impractical and possibly illegal to have it otherwise.

Obviously there are things we at MNHQ can do better. We are never going to be entirely consistent in our moderation as we are human and it often come down to fine judgement calls. And we apologise in advance for inconsistencies but can only say we really do try our best.

In the case of this ban/suspension, as many have pointed out, we could have communicated what had happened and why more quickly and more clearly.

Some people have suggested a clear, more widely known "sin bin" procedure and we'll certainly look at that.

We will look at resources and response times generally to reported posts and are working on empowering all HQ mods to post on the boards and to be transparent as possible. (NB this would be easier if HQ mods felt they could post in an atmosphere of tolerance and understanding grin.)

We do put a lot of energy into investigating and banning trolls. We don't make a fanfare every time we ban someone for obvious reasons - trolls are here for the attention. But I concede that maybe that adds to the atmosphere that we are tolerating/ignoring/doing nothing about trolls. So we will think about that.

We don't have any auto suspend in place but we might look at that based on a large amount of reports of a particular poster.

And as suggested by someone (apols have forgotten who) we'll hold an MNHQ mods webchat with me, Rowan and Rebecca on Friday 8th at lunchtime and will open a thread in advance, so anyone who can't make the chat can post their question.

Please, of course, post your thoughts and further suggestions here before then, or whenever suits.

Sorry for the very long post - thanks to those who've read to the end.

(We'll be locking all the other threads in the next little bit.)

reelingintheyears Fri 25-Oct-13 20:38:36

Me too Maryz, they said it would not be right to close it and stop people discussing their views. hmm

WereTricksPotter Fri 25-Oct-13 20:38:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pan Fri 25-Oct-13 20:38:41

I see my suggestion of not quoting and misquoting AF has gone down well...ha.

FrightRider Fri 25-Oct-13 20:39:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SeaSickSal Fri 25-Oct-13 20:40:24

Not referring to AnyFucker in particular as I have never had any problem with her, but I do think MNHQ have a point about it not being very welcoming for newcomers.

I have noticed there are a few long time posters who are really aggressive and intimidating against posters who are new. I was attacked several times by one poster who eventually came out and said she had a problem with me because I should have asked her permission to use the name 'Sal' (which is my real name) in my username because it was also in hers and she had been here longer.

Anything which deals with this type of thing has to be good.

DebrisSlide Fri 25-Oct-13 20:45:45

Ooooh, it's all a matter of perception, innit? I am always struck that within all the navel-gazing that goes on in forum fallouts you end up with people agreeing with each other about such things as goading and whatever, whilst at the same time actually meaning each other. It's quite interesting.

The LTB thing is also fascinating. There seems to be a bunch of people who quick post and run, whatever the topic. 3 sentences max and then onto the next topic. Many of the LTB posters are like this. But the more patient "leaving is an option, you know" posters get lumped in with them and, lo, an orthodoxy is born.

And don't forget, LTB or not is very much a function of your belief in the sanctity and untouchability of a couple relationship. If you don't believe that , then the leaving option is going to be much more readily available as an option to put forward. And if you do, suggestions that seem to undermine the importance of such a relationship will be proportionately difficult to read.

So, after nigh on nullifying FWR, what's the next target now relationships has been "cleansed".

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