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What is going on with personal attacks/disablist language being left to stand?!

(190 Posts)
JeanneDeMontbaston Wed 17-Jun-15 19:20:19

I've just seen that the term 'fucking retarded' was left to stand, and the poster who reported it was told it shouldn't be deleted.

That really shocks me and I think it's a real shame coming from MNHQ.

I saw this because the person reporting started a thread asking whether the term were acceptable or not, and it's been deleted with no explanation except that it was 'against talk guidelines'.

I know it was a TAAT (as is this), but generally, threads asking reasonable questions are left to stand for a little, with an explanation from HQ on them. I'm hoping for a better result here in Site Stuff, as it seems to me it's a pretty important question.

Are you defending a policy of not deleting insults like 'fucking retarded'? Is it now unacceptable to question that sort of thing? And does it have to do with this ongoing issue with threads about feminism - which is where the term was used, and in the context of some very nasty (undeleted) attacks on feminist posters.

muirsicle Wed 17-Jun-15 19:23:25

Well said. Disgusting language. Interested to hear what MNHQ has to say.

PenguinsandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 17-Jun-15 19:26:18

I would agree Jeanne. I was shocked that that thread was deleted, and so fast. No idea where the original reference is, but I don't think it's acceptable to use disablist language as an insult/term or derision.

YonicScrewdriver Wed 17-Jun-15 19:26:23

Mnhq, could you please comment? Thank you.

JeanneDeMontbaston Wed 17-Jun-15 19:27:51

Well, this is really odd.

I've just had an email from HQ (in response to my original report) explaining they've 'edited out' the term but left the post to stand!

I am quite angry about that - why on earth should this poster get special treatment when she's used that term? In my view there is no excuse for it and the post ought to be deleted - unless HQ are introducing an editing feature for all of us.

JeanneDeMontbaston Wed 17-Jun-15 19:29:24

penguins - it's this thread, and the post is at 08:41 today.

InAndOfMyself Wed 17-Jun-15 19:31:01

I would like MNHQ to comment publicly on this as well. I think there have been some very questionable calls recently, especially in regards to 'feminist' threads, as to what is deleted and what is allowed to stand.

cuntycowfacemonkey Wed 17-Jun-15 19:32:37

I think MNHQ is still in the "we prefer to let posters educate each other about such things" mode. Which is annoying because when you are trying to raise a child with a disability then the last thing you want to spend your time doing is fighting against ignorant arses.

IMO MNHQ lets far too much disabilist behaviour/language go unchecked and it pisses me off as more than anything when they do that sappy "please check out our this is my child link" message instead of taking a clear stand against offensive posts.

Staywithme Wed 17-Jun-15 19:33:05

Can people also stop using the term moron/moronic as it is a term that was used for those with mild learning difficulties. The term spastic (sorry) is, rightfully, no longer acceptable so why is the term moron/moronic?

ErrolTheDragon Wed 17-Jun-15 19:33:47

That's peculiar. It also means that if people have issues with this poster again (as unfortunately seems likely), the evidence of this sort of nastiness has been bowdlerised. Well, I suppose MNHQ will know there's previous but still - it does seem odd.

If MN is goign to edit posts, there's one on The Archers thread I was wondering about reporting because of a casual 'retarded' in it (in relation to fictional characters so although the term isn't acceptable, it wasn't any sort of attack).

JeanneDeMontbaston Wed 17-Jun-15 19:33:52

YY, agree with that cunty.

But, in this case, I don't even think it can be defended as 'education', because the post has simply been edited to make it look as if the poster never said anything beyond the pale at all - which naturally makes everyone responding to her look bad.

I really don't like it at all.

JeanneDeMontbaston Wed 17-Jun-15 19:34:57

stay - right with you on that. On the deleted thread (which was asking whether these terms were acceptable, but seems to have been considered a TAAT), I commented that I don't like seeing 'cretin' treated as an acceptable insult, either. FWIW.

Staywithme Wed 17-Jun-15 19:40:04

You're so right about the 'cretin' term Jeanne. I hate it with a passion. I can't believe that people don't think these terms are offensive in this day and age. sad

purdiepie Wed 17-Jun-15 19:48:35

I agree regarding the word retarded but moron....where do you draw the line? What about imbecile? Thicko? I see lots of use of the word thicko and yet I know to some mn-ers the term idiot is offensive.

cuntycowfacemonkey Wed 17-Jun-15 19:55:46

Really purdiepie? Thicko and imbecile are horrible words

EElisavetaOfBelsornia Wed 17-Jun-15 19:56:53

Personally I would think twice about any term which has been used to describe a disability, difficulty or illness in the past and is now an insult. So I would be fine with calling someone thick, but not imbecile, moron etc. Retarded is totally unacceptable and the editing thing is just plain weird - when did MNHQ start doing that? I would be really unhappy with having my posts amended later by someone else. Can someone from MN Towers give a position, please?

purdiepie Wed 17-Jun-15 19:57:57

I've seen imbecilic, thick, thicko, dense, stupid, idiot, moron...

Staywithme Wed 17-Jun-15 19:58:25

Imbecile is a term used to describe persons with learning difficulties whereas thicko is a term used to describe someone who behaves in a silly way. Thicko is not a term used to describe someone with learning difficulties. The point of moving on as a civilised society is learning not to use terms that offend those of colour, religion, those with a disability. Where do you suggest we draw the line Purdie?

PlentyOfPubeGardens Wed 17-Jun-15 19:59:49

I'm pleased it's been edited but this seems to have been handled very badly.

I would have expected the post to be deleted as soon as it was reported. Is it a new policy to edit posts containing 'beyond the pale' offensive language instead of deleting? I know threads and titles are sometimes edited for things like spoilers or identifying info but if someone uses disablist language they are not usually given that courtesy, are they?

I would not have expected the person reporting the post to be told that it's within talk guidelines - surely it's not? - and I would not have expected her thread to be deleted so quickly and without an explanation from MNHQ. The thread could just have been moved to site stuff if necessary.

It's all very odd and a bit rubbish.

AnyFucker Wed 17-Jun-15 20:00:49

if I had used the term "fucking retarded" I am sure I would have at least had the whole post deleted and possibly be on the receiving end of a "Mumsnet Calling" email

what's with the special editing treatment ?

JeanneDeMontbaston Wed 17-Jun-15 20:04:15

I know it is hard to draw firm lines - on some things.

And I do understand (much as I dislike it) that sometimes people use offensive terms in ignorance.

But this is not that. No one says 'fucking [word]' without intending it as an insult, and that suggests they know full well it's unacceptable and hurtful.

Just to be clear, it's not that I object to swearing - I just think it shows how aware that poster was that she was saying something with derogatory connotations.

PuffinsAreFictitious Wed 17-Jun-15 20:04:21

Just out of interest, did MNHQ delete my thread, with a "this broke talk guidelines" message purely to silence me, or was it also to save face after not deleting the comment the first time around? Could you explain where in the Talk Guidelines it says that TAATs are in breach of them, we all know it's poor form, and I was open about it in my OP, but does it actually breach the guidelines at all?

If I hadn't started the thread, would MNHQ have let the "fucking retarded" comment stand along with the rest of the vitriolic post?

I have to say that this, and some of the more interesting moderating decisions that have been made of late have caused a fair few regulars to deregister, and it's something I'm considering as well. When did MN decide to be anti-feminist in it's outlook? And could someone come back and tell us why?


AnyFucker Wed 17-Jun-15 20:05:45

a deleted post at least tells the casual reader that something "beyond the pale" was uttered within it

erasing the fact it was ever included and leaving the rest of the post looks like favouritism to me

"let us just sort that for you, lovey, it will look like you said nothing questionable at all"

Mintyy Wed 17-Jun-15 20:18:08


But moderation and post deletion has always been rather haphazard on Mumsnet. A bit hit and miss.

Funny that they would go to the trouble to edit it out. Perhaps they felt that the poster's wider point was worthy of consideration and that the whole of it shouldn't go just because she (perhaps maliciously, perhaps ignorantly) used offensive language?

Was it couched as a personal attack against anyone else on the thread? If so then the whole post surely should have been deleted!

ErrolTheDragon Wed 17-Jun-15 20:22:16

I suppose editing a post might be ok if there was a blue box saying that a disablist/racist/ whatever term had been deleted or replaced. This might be somethign they could look at implementing if it isn't technically possible for them at the moment.

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