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Journalists writing articles about MN threads

(36 Posts)

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VivDeering Wed 15-Feb-17 10:27:45

What is the position on newspapers doing this? I think there's a difference between them writing about a humourous AIBU and a sensitive advice thread, but the journalists don't appear to agree.

Is it not a case that the content belongs to MN?

Or is it a case for MN that any publicity is good publicity? (Sorry I can't word that nicely, I'm hoping for transparency/honesty).

rainbowstardrops Wed 15-Feb-17 10:35:11

I think it's appalling that these newspapers and journalists can just take what they want from MN.
I would post about a sensitive subject knowing that it's an anonymous forum and also that I'm pretty sure none of my immediate family are on here and wouldn't get to hear anything but if things are going to be increasingly lifted from here then I'd be sorely put off.
I think MN need to look into this as a matter of urgency.

PinkShampagney Wed 15-Feb-17 10:39:18

I don't agree I'm afraid. It's an open forum. People posting here know that it's open and journalists report about interesting threads.

If you don't like it, don't post anything sensitive, alter facts to make it less identifiable or join a closed forum.

KatherineMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 15-Feb-17 11:46:29

Hi VivDeering,

It’s one of the downsides of Mumsnet being an open site, alas - and as always, it really is important to remember that this is a public forum, searchable by Google, legally linkable to - and quotable by - all and sundry.

There are massive upsides to being open of course - the consequent volume of users means Mumsnet is available for free to anyone who needs advice 24-7, and the wisdom that comes from a very sizeable crowd is one of the brilliant things about MN. But it's definitely worth being a bit circumspect with identifiable stuff.

We always like to remind people that Mumsnet is a public forum, accessible to anybody, and all information is public.

Unfortunately, there’s not a huge amount we can do about newspapers using threads, they would likely claim Fair Use and that would be difficult to challenge. We in no way feed them stories or receive/give payment. It's just something that we don't have a lot of control over right now.

We appreciate this is most frustrating, and we wholeheartedly agree and wish that we could do more in these situations - especially when it's leaving our users upset and, rightfully, angry.

We hope that this goes some way to explaining things our end.

VivDeering Wed 15-Feb-17 12:09:39

Thanks MNHQ. The solution would appear to be to have a warning on every page,

We always like to remind people that Mumsnet is a public forum, accessible to anybody, and all information is public. Unfortunately, there’s not a huge amount we can do about newspapers using threads, they would likely claim Fair Use and that would be difficult to challenge. We in no way feed them stories or receive/give payment. It's just something that we don't have a lot of control over right now.

AlisonWunderland Wed 15-Feb-17 12:31:42

How is "Fair Use" defined please?

keepingonrunning Wed 15-Feb-17 12:54:39

I agree with Viv. It's really unfair on unsuspecting newbies to the forum for them not to be warned their story and identifying details might end up in the national press.
Can Mumsnet please tell me what the traffic is to the forum each day? I wonder how it compares to The Sun website.

Sparklingbrook Wed 15-Feb-17 13:06:23

People shouldn't need a warning on every page. Once you post something on the internet it's out there for all to see.

WannaBe Wed 15-Feb-17 13:12:52

Not again.... Although it's probably been a week or so since we had one of these threads.

MN is not anonymous if you put enough identifiable information on your posts. MN is a public platform, and if you post sensitive posts you are not being put at risk if some tacky tabloid publishes your public post elsewhere.

No-one knows who is reading MN any more than we know who is reading the DM or whoever has published whatever this time.

We spend significant time warning kids about the dangers and public-ness of the internet, adults really shouldn't need their hand holding when posting on a public forum just in case they're too stupid to realise that publically posting your life online means someone might recognise who you are.

And, whenever a so-called sensitive post appears in the tabloids I'm more inclined to believe it was planted there in the first place and probably a load of bollocks anyway.

Iggi999 Wed 15-Feb-17 13:17:02

This happens on a loop these days. And the bottom line is nothing can be done, and nothing will be done. OPs need to make their situations so unidentifiable (or alter so many facts) that they will probably be accused of being trolls. Or accept that the support mumsnet so readily offers can turn at the roll of a "reporter's" die into a life-altering, dangerous at worst/humiliating at least situation.
We can't post safely about anything we would not want to see in the press. When the posted that story about the bereaved mother a while ago it became clear that there are, actually, no depths they won't sink to.

00100001 Wed 15-Feb-17 13:32:56

MNHQ could make it a closed forum, whereby you have to at least sign-up to get to see the posts (rather than only needing to sign up if you want to contribute)

00100001 Wed 15-Feb-17 13:34:16

But users should aslo read the terms of use closely: "By submitting User Content to us, simultaneously with such posting you automatically grant to us a worldwide, fully-paid, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, fully sublicensable, and transferable right and license to use, record, sell, lease, reproduce, distribute, create derivative works based upon (including, without limitation, translations), publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, publish and otherwise exploit the User Content (in whole or in part) as Mumsnet, in its sole discretion, deems appropriate. We may exercise this grant in any format, media or technology now known or later developed for the full term of any copyright that may exist in such User Content."

53rdAndBird Wed 15-Feb-17 13:42:09

MNHQ, would you consider having some boards for support/sensitive matters that can only be viewed by logged-in users? It won't change the ethical standards of journalists but it would raise the energy bar for lifting stories, plus would limit the appeal if they couldn't post a 'read more here!' link back to MN so easily.

Iggi999 Wed 15-Feb-17 13:55:25

001, I don't think people are too bothered about MN owning their posts, and being able to put them into a book about parenting, for example. MNHQ repeatedly say they have no power over papers lifting stories from here, so I don't think it's true to say that they have copyright over all posts as then surely the Fail et al would need their permission. Though the terms and conditions do seem to imply that.

NerrSnerr Wed 15-Feb-17 13:58:06

People really need to take responsibility for their own online safety and security. MN is a hugely popular site and comes up highly on google searches so even if a newspaper doesn't pick up a thread it is possible for non mumsnet users to find and read it. It is frightening how many people on here preach about internet safety for children when putting hugely identifiable stuff about their family on here.

Sparklingbrook Wed 15-Feb-17 14:10:18

I agree Nerr.

53rdAndBird Wed 15-Feb-17 14:20:54

MN presents itself as a site for support, including support on sensitive issues (or we wouldn't have board topics like 'Relationships' and 'Bereavement'). It's helped a lot of people. It would be a shame if that element of the site disappeared and all that was left was Penis Beaker stuff and three billion parking threads.

Sparklingbrook Wed 15-Feb-17 15:00:09

People don't like posting in the correct topics unfortunately. They always insist on AIBU 'for traffic'.

GooseyLoosey Wed 15-Feb-17 15:13:51

I agree Sparkling. I have just returned after a break of several years and was shocked when I looked down the active topic list to realise that there were no posts in parenting and most were AIBU. I guess if people posted under more mundane headings it would make it at least a little harder for journalists to find their content.

Not sure that warnings are too necessary. After only a few hours back, I have most definitely got the message that we are not alone.

Sparklingbrook Wed 15-Feb-17 15:26:41

YY and the ghost of Jeffgate still looms large. Be so so careful what you post online.

Christinayangstwistedsista Wed 15-Feb-17 16:06:44

How many times do we need to have the same discussion?

If you don't want anyone to know, then don't post it....simple

Sparklingbrook Wed 15-Feb-17 16:07:59

If you don't want anyone to know, then don't post it....simple

They should put that at the top of every topic. grin

OneWithTheForce Wed 15-Feb-17 16:12:47

Posting on MN Is like conducting a conversation in a city centre packed with people while wearing a mask and cloak. You have a false sense of anonymity and privacy but In reality anyone who wants to can record your conversation and find out who you are.

Lancelottie Wed 15-Feb-17 16:14:59

Ooh, that sounds fun, OnewiththeForce.

VivDeering Wed 15-Feb-17 16:21:17

I think these kinds of attitudes let the press off to easily. We all overhear conversations that we know are private and none of our business and we know not to go around repeating them or bringing them to others' attention.

How somebody can see another in distress (in whatever environment) and think, "Hey, I could make money out of this" I can't comprehend.

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