I am concerned at offers of money, goods and toys here

(77 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

trudgingalong Sun 29-Nov-15 15:25:01

I am certainly filled with the Christmas spirit but a website for parents (well, I always consider mumsnet a website for women really, although I know some men post here) is going to be like a neon light for chancers and for frauds.

When posters offer money, even as a loan, toys, food or goods such as electrics or whatever, it encourages posters of this nature.

It's also often embarrassing for genuine posters who just want advice/and or a few encouraging words about happy Christmases without a thousand gifts, as when money is offered even when they refuse it puts them in an awkward position, and a question mark over their sincerity.

Is there any chance we could have a site rule about this? I realise PMs are harder to police of course but I just feel that however kindly meant this is a 'solution' that benefits no one.

MissFitt68 Sun 29-Nov-15 15:49:21

We've had posters like this since time began! wiltedRose anyone?

MN do have the disclaimer they often post ' don't give more of yourself than you can afford to lose' 'people aren't always who they seem' type of thing

NorthernLurker Sun 29-Nov-15 16:00:12

I don't think we either want to or indeed COULD stop people offering to help others. I think people should be aware that there are chancers out there and the mumsnet message re 'more than you can afford to lose' reminds people of that.

trudgingalong Sun 29-Nov-15 16:00:48

I think we could certainly make it part of the terms and conditions of the site that money or items are not offered or asked for unless in certain endorsed circumstances, e.g. Mumsnet campaigns.

WorraLiberty Sun 29-Nov-15 16:02:22

But what would the site rule say?

None of these people ever come on to ask outright for donations, so all HQ can do is keep dropping the usual warning post into these threads.

It's actually got much better over the last 2 years imo. Before that, there were tons of pretty blatant begging threads, started by people who only had a couple of weeks posting history.

trudgingalong Sun 29-Nov-15 16:03:09

They would say 'offering money or goods to other site users is against our talk guidelines' confused

WorraLiberty Sun 29-Nov-15 16:04:05

But as you said, they can't do anything about PMs confused

So that'll just mean people do it that way instead.

trudgingalong Sun 29-Nov-15 16:05:13

It is a start, isn't it? It is indicative of what is seen as acceptable and what isn't.

WorraLiberty Sun 29-Nov-15 16:05:58

Plus, tons of helpful posters offer hardly worn shoes/school uniforms/other bits and bobs all year round.

It's not just begging threads that prompt people to help each other out.

PolterGoose Sun 29-Nov-15 16:08:02

I wouldn't like this 'banned' on the site as it can be really useful, as an example, we often offer stuff on the SN boards and it's good to be able to pass on equipment and useful stuff your own kids either didn't take to or have grown out of, or to try something you might not want to buy in case it doesn't work.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Sun 29-Nov-15 16:11:50

I agree it's problematic, there was a thread not long ago that got totally put of control because of this sort of thing but I don't see how it could be enforced. And yes, it would be a shame if posters who have known each other for years couldn't pass on bits and bobs they no longer need for example.

Optimist1 Sun 29-Nov-15 16:12:17

Spot on, Worra !

Talkmeoutofthis222 Sun 29-Nov-15 16:17:19

Thing is, stuff like school uniform has no real resale value. It's very unlikely to be resold for profit. Tales of woe about cold hungry children popping up by new members in November/ December are always suspicious to me.

I'm not sure this is easy for MN to police.

I go by scottishmummy's policy "trust nay fucker" grin

wannaBe Sun 29-Nov-15 16:18:11

Nobody ever offers me money. <<hands out begging bowl>>. grin

Seriously though, in my personal view people who offer money to complete strangers on the internet are just a lot teeny bit gullible, but you can't really police what people do with their own money/time/stuff.

Personally I would delete the begging threads rather than post the warning messages...

Arfarfanarf Sun 29-Nov-15 16:18:20

I understand why you suggest this. Its not easy to sit reading a thread screaming at your screen 'are you NUTS? ITS A SCAMMER!! ' But I think that adults have the right to chuck their money at strangers if they want to.
You cant infantalise people.
If they want to give stuff to a stranger, really that is up to them.

I am uncomfortable with the idea of telling adults that they cannot be trusted to make their own choices. Even stupid ones.

Mn puts that warning on the begging threads. People still choose to give. What does that tell you?

They do it because it makes them feel good about themselves. They like how it makes them look and how it makes them feel. They like the idea of themselves as saviours. Yes theres a good chance they get conned but its their choice. Their risk. What they feel they get out of it is clearly worth the risk to them. It is their responsibility. They arent children. If they fall for the 'ive got 50p to my name until next june can you suggests ways to make it feed 15 of us ' threads then maybe thats a lesson for them. Or maybe they dont actually care. Or maybe they think its worth it because of the chance it might actually be a genuinely destitute person who they are really helping and they like that.

Whatever it is, it truly is their choice. Theyre grown ups. I know that sounds callous but its true.

I think there is a wanted topic. Maybe a policy of moving such threads there so its clear what theyreafter and people make an informed choice to look

WorraLiberty Sun 29-Nov-15 16:20:09

I agree it has no real resale value, but if HQ were to do as the OP suggested and say ''offering money or goods to other site users is against our talk guidelines'', then posters would no longer be able to do that.

I think the warning HQ drops into threads now is working quite well really. They do also investigate when reports come in.

But mostly, as adults on the internet we all need to take personal responsibility and heed the warning.

tribpot Sun 29-Nov-15 16:20:57

Could there be a board specifically for sharing second hand stuff and then a change to Ts and Cs requiring no-one offer money through the site? I'm just mindful that Woolly Hugs also falls within the definition of 'asking for things and money', and, as is well-known, they spend it all on gin. (They don't).

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 29-Nov-15 16:21:20

I'm a grinch so I don't even think there should be swapping of school uniform on the site. Have a Facebook page and do it all there. That would be possible and also I think make the begging trolls slightly more accountable. Plus MNHQ wouldn't have to be drawn in to dealing with/moderating issues.

I just think it attracts a certain minority (and I know it's a minority) and I'd prefer they were foisted off onto Facebook and not on here!

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sun 29-Nov-15 16:23:59

I agree OP, it just reads scam to me. It's very sad when lovely kind MNers are giving their precious money to a sob story. It's obvious they can't afford to be so generous, but they are.

I could afford to give but would never do so unless I 'knew' a poster in that over the years I had come across them on various threads. That doesn't happen. I think its always new posters trying their luck whether they need money, rarely IMO, or not.

trudgingalong Sun 29-Nov-15 16:27:42

I can absolutely see why some people might want to pass on unused items.

However difficult as it might be to police it is a start. Last Christmas I started a thread about money and lack thereof and I had PMs offering me money, despite me saying at the start of the thread I wasn't begging. It got pretty embarrassing as these posters were hanging round the thread making it obvious they'd offered me money which made other posters think it was a begging thread and the whole thing ended up being really embarrassing and upsetting because I was accused by the money/toy offererers of being a troll because I wouldn't take their stuff and the other posters of being a troll because I had been offered money! Bloody nightmare grin

leaningtoweroflego Sun 29-Nov-15 16:38:15

I would be totally against banning offering money or goods. I think we're pretty good at sniffing out trolls on this one.

I donated a little money to a regular, some time ago, in difficult circumstances, and I was pleased to be able to do so. It would be ridiculous if we couldn't help others in our community in extreme circumstances - or just because we want to.

I have also offered help and been refused, and when I have been skint and complaining about it, I was touched by the offers of money and goods - despite saying I didn't want them and turning them all down.

We are a community, and I think it would be against the spirit of mumsnet to ban this. If I want to help someone else out, it's up to me whether I want to take that risk IMO.

The "no one give more than they can afford to lose" - time, emotions, goods or money - is a good message IMO.

I'm sorry you felt uncomfortable to be accused of being a troll, but I think it's not fair that others who could really benefit from some support in awful circumstances would be denied it to spare your feelings.

YABU! (I know, you didn't ask, but even so grin)

AnchorDownDeepBreath Sun 29-Nov-15 16:45:11

Meh, I've been accused of being a troll three times in the past two months. Never before that. I think it's just a sign of everyone being a bit less trusting, someone would have called troll regardless of the gifting thing.

I'm much more concerned that a MNer has a special phone and uses it to hound verify thread starters than I am about people offering food or money. We're all adults. We should be able to make our own decisions about how genuine we think someone is, and whether we want to/can afford to help with words or money.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 29-Nov-15 16:48:03

I'm much more concerned that a MNer has a special phone and uses it to hound verify thread starters than I am about people offering food or money.

Sorry. WTF?!?! Can you extrapolate on this phone?

EverybodyHatesATourist Sun 29-Nov-15 16:49:01

Plus, tons of helpful posters offer hardly worn shoes

There was someone posting under different names, who started several threads over a period of months, all shoe related. As in "I am so poor my shoes are leaking" and "My husband has gambled away all our money and now I have no shoes except leaky ones"

I don't know if anyone did actually send them any shoes before they were banned, but not everyone wants to be sent money, they really do want someone else's worn shoes or at least to have people discussing them hmm

usual Sun 29-Nov-15 16:50:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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