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Thoughts on MNHQ's response to the Spartacus thread

(992 Posts)
OlennasWimple Tue 30-Aug-16 22:23:37

As the Spartacus thread is about to reach capacity, here's a new thread to discuss MNHQ's response to the issues raised on that thread and in a few other places over the last week or so.

is lesphobic to insist that a lesbian likes penis. Feck off with that shite.
Add message | Report | Message poster KateMumsnet (MNHQ)Tue 30-Aug-16 21:08:00
Hello all

Thanks for all your input on this - we've been listening and thinking hard.

Couple of quick points to clear up: it's actually not the case that people have been banned solely for misgendering - it will have been part of a broader discussion here about whether that poster is able to stick to the rules generally.

We must admit to being slightly taken aback at being cast, by some, as the evil slave-baiting Roman republic in this grin - as lots of you have pointed out, Mumsnet remains one of the few places where these issues can be discussed at all. It would have been much, much easier (both in terms of the resource and the toll on our moderators' sanity!) to shut down the debate as others have done, but instead we are working hard to find a realistic balance between free speech and being a space which welcomes everyone.

From our perspective, the whole issue is pretty much covered by our Talk Guidelines. If people are using sex-at-birth pronouns to provoke, inflame, or belittle, then that's against the rules and will usually have to go. If it happens as part of an otherwise broadly respectful (even if heated) discussion, we look at it in that context and take a view.

Some of you have pointed out a disjunct between allowing posts which mirror mainstream scientific thinking, while asking MNers not to describe a trans woman as 'he'. We can see your point on this,and also accept that there is a fair amount of dodgy stuff on the trans side that can rightly be described as anti-feminist and regressive - but what we'd ask you to think about is the impact on the parent who's not an activist, and likely isn't even posting, but whose adult child is transitioning, or who is doing so themselves. Would they feel belittled, mocked or attacked? Would they think Mumsnet was not for them? If so, we're going to have to remove it. It's a fudge, but it's the best we can do at this stage.

In all but the most extreme headline-grabbing cases, we do think it's possible to debate the core principles without referring to individuals in a way which will cause hurt. Most of you have said that when talking to a trans person face-to-face you wouldn't insist on using birth pronouns or names - and generally, on this and other issues, we encourage people to treat others with the same courtesy they'd use in real life. For every MNer who posts on a thread there are likely to be ten who are lurking - statistically, some of those will be trans or love someone who is, and we need to take account of them too.

We hope that makes our thinking a bit clearer overall. Do continue to tell us your thoughts - it's probably unrealistic to think that this issue will be quickly resolved here or across society as a whole, but it would be brilliant if MN could be part of the solution, we think.


BeyondASpecialSnowflake Tue 30-Aug-16 22:25:59

Marking place

OlennasWimple Tue 30-Aug-16 22:26:02

Sorry, bit of C&P failure there at the top of the MNHQ message blush

Waltermittythesequel Tue 30-Aug-16 22:27:37

Such a cop out of a response.

All that hand wringing about hypothetical parents reading? Such bullshit!

WankingMonkey Tue 30-Aug-16 22:29:19

About the parents thing yet again too (to add to my posts in previous thread)...a parent of someone who is struggling with transexuality could be very offended if (for example) there was a thread about that dreadful Ada Wells again and people purposely referred to him as he due to his views and general vileness. This is not really clearing anything up for me at all I am afraid.

OlennasWimple Tue 30-Aug-16 22:29:51

I agree Walter. Not least because there are far more actual and putative MNers who are parents to a daughter. Heck, there are more MNers who are parents to a gay daughter than a transitioning daughter. hmm

WaitrosePigeon Tue 30-Aug-16 22:30:03

My thoughts are that the response is crap.

NauticalDisaster Tue 30-Aug-16 22:30:20

I stand by an earlier suggestion I made that MNHQ should host a meeting with users to discuss this more fully and completely and then give a better thought out response. This isn't working.

attacktheblock Tue 30-Aug-16 22:30:44

Unbelievably pathetic non response.

Please let's rage against it

IrenetheQuaint Tue 30-Aug-16 22:32:01

It's a bit limp, isn't it. But poor MN, they really are stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 30-Aug-16 22:33:40

It's very hard to be a neutral; I suppose; and MNHQ seem keen to appear as one.

MNHQ will posts which attack women be removed? Particularly those using phrases like "cis", or which are clearly aimed to act against the interests of women?

I think that's what's missing, as an outsider to this discussion. It feels very much that anything which could potentially upset a trans person is deleted quickly, and repeat offenders are removed, but there are a lot of posts that are offensive to women and we don't seem to have the same protection. Even when they are reported, it seems it's much more difficult to get those posts removed. That can make it seem that you're not as neutral as expected.

AltheaThoon Tue 30-Aug-16 22:34:43

"...and also accept that there is a fair amount of dodgy stuff on the trans side that can rightly be described as anti-feminist and regressive - but..."

There shouldn't be a 'but'. I know it's a small point but it completely minimises the issue. And it's not just anti-feminist and regressive, the words should be misogynistic and hateful.

hambo Tue 30-Aug-16 22:34:45

The entire point of the 'I am Sparticus' thread has been brushed aside. It is very depressing.

Waltermittythesequel Tue 30-Aug-16 22:35:15

I don't think they're stuck between a rock and a hard place.

It's really not asking for much to ask that a site who claims to be supportive of all parents (women included) allows their users to post scientific fact without being deleted.

It's also not asking for much to ban the use of the word cis since I have never seen it used as anything other than a way to describe a woman. The word itself is derogatory and it needs to go.

*Disclaimer: if someone happens to be discussing plants and using cis in that instance, I'm ok with that!

BeyondASpecialSnowflake Tue 30-Aug-16 22:37:59

I'll c&p my response from the Spartacus thread...


Donald trump is an arsehole. Ada wells is a man.
Only one of these statements is deletable under current rules.

That is the kind of prioritising that we are unhappy with.

OlennasWimple Tue 30-Aug-16 22:38:40

I think MNHQ need to hire a PR company to teach them how to handle this sort of thing properly. In the meantime, I'm happy to offer some free pointers:

- don't issue the statement at 10pm
- don't put it on the 38th page of a thread where many posters are unlikely to check back and read the whole thing
- do ensure that someone is around to respond to the initial feedback (we understand putting kids to bed, we really do, but we tend not to make big announcements and then disappear off to do it...)
- do ensure that all the key issues are covered and that you understand the complaint
- do acknowledge legitimate grievance
- don't try to hide behind mythical people who might be offended, whilst simultaneously pissing off your core constituency

I could go on...

Showmethewaytogohome Tue 30-Aug-16 22:40:19

|I'm going to push this one as a 'non white' woman.....So I can't be called a N***er but I can be called a Cis!

Bull Shit of the highest freakin order

VashtaNerada Tue 30-Aug-16 22:41:59

I'd like MNHQ to be stronger in its support of trans issues but appreciate they need to welcome debate from all sides, so on balance I think their response is pretty good. It would be a shame if either side was completely prevented from posting as (in amongst the insults and stereotyping) we do occasionally have sensible conversations about it.

(IMO it would be ridiculous if they banned 'cis' as lots of us use it to describe ourselves - and yes, that includes men! - but I agree that it shouldn't be used in an insulting way, or used persistently for someone who has already stated they don't like it.)

IBelieveTheEarthIsFlat Tue 30-Aug-16 22:42:18

I think the site needs to be renamed Transnet

It will be welcoming to all Non-Trans people of course

mirandayardley Tue 30-Aug-16 22:42:57

Cross-posting from Spartacus as it addresses a specific block:

^and it doesn't explain why posts about autogynephila are consistency zapped.^*

Sorry, meant to deal with this before standing down - as far as I know we've deleted one post about autogynephilia, because it implied that this was what motivated most or all trans women. We also deleted a subsequent post which quoted the first.

The fact is though that most cases of male's transition are motivated by autogynephilia. That this is not acknowledged, even flatly denied, causes many of the problems that we have today between transgender males and women.

And I say these words as someone who is themselves transsexual.

attacktheblock Tue 30-Aug-16 22:44:45

Absolutely Olenna

Hundreds of people have been dismissed

derxa Tue 30-Aug-16 22:45:26

Heck, there are more MNers who are parents to a gay daughter than a transitioning daughter I hope this debate has persuaded at least one parent out there that encouraging their son or daughter to mutilate their body is not the right thing to do. That parents can learn to accept their children's sexuality and differences.

PacificDogwod Tue 30-Aug-16 22:47:37

I agree that the MNHQ response did not address the actual point of the thread. V wishy-washy and disappointing.

Showmethewaytogohome Tue 30-Aug-16 22:50:57

Vashta I have never met a woman that calls themselves 'cis' you must move in very different circles

The word N*gger is used by some black people to describe other black people. It is not acceptable for white people to use that word is it? Abusive words are abusive words. If your circle uses 'cis' it doesn't mean that cis is not abusive the majority of women

RufusTheReindeer Tue 30-Aug-16 22:51:35


I am with you

CIS is ok because there are some people who dont have a problem with being called it...therefore all women are happy with it

My understanding is that some black people call each other the N word. Therefore all black people are happy with it

Is that right? Cos i will start using the N word with abandon

Except i wont....because i am not a cunt

(At least i hope thats what you mean)

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