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Deletion of threads about rape

(16 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

QuentinSummers Wed 07-Feb-18 07:49:10

Hi @mnhq
I had a thread in feminism chat discussing the way the Ulster rugby rape was being reported. It was triggered by headlines saying the victim "denied being attracted to celebrities". We were discussing how the defence case was essentially to make her seem unrapeable.
The tgread has been deleted for 'speculation'.
This also happened recently with threads about Liam Allan.

The way alleged rapes are reported by the media is a big feminist issue as it clearly shows the impact of rape myths and issues round how female victims are treated. We need to be able to discuss this stuff to raise awareness and help drive change.

There are a (small) subsection of people who would love it if rape remained almost impossible to prosecute and hate these kinds of things being discussed. I'm concerned now that they have effectively found a way to stop us talking (either - post a load of speculation with the aim of getting a thread deleted, or report threads about rape to fuck and hope you delete them).

I don't believe it's illegal or prejudicial to discuss what's being reported in the media so I don't fully understand why you are deleting whole threads.

Please MNHQ - this is such an important topic for women. Could you consider deleting just the speculative posts rather than whole threads? And giving the worst "speculators" a warning?

HairyBallTheorem Wed 07-Feb-18 07:57:19

Absolutely agree.

Delete the posts which might involve stuff that is sub judice, but leave the general discussion and anything that is in the public domain.

BeyondWitchbitchterf Wed 07-Feb-18 08:25:26

Yy thirded.

athingthateveryoneneeds Wed 07-Feb-18 09:13:06

I agree also. It.might be more work for mnhq to go through each post, but this conversation needs to be visible.

TallulahWaitingInTheRain Wed 07-Feb-18 09:30:12

Could you consider deleting just the speculative posts rather than whole threads? And giving the worst "speculators" a warning?


And I'm going to make a mental note to post a reminder if a thread seems to be going in that direction.

rowdywoman1 Wed 07-Feb-18 09:38:00

I think we should all remember that there is a vulnerable woman at the centre of this who is going through absolute hell. If we have to 'hold back' from commenting for a while in order to support her, then that is what we, as women, should do.
I know that there were many insightful comments on that thread but IIRC, it did repeatedly focus on one particular live case. The responsible online press don't allow below the line comments on cases like this deliberately as defendants will use anything to claim 'undue influence' on a jury and get a mistrial.
Please let's see the bigger picture.

SophieLMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 07-Feb-18 10:09:26

Hi all,

Thanks for raising this.

We really don't want to censor anyone - so we hear what you're saying and will certainly try our best not to remove whole threads. Where we think a thread is too full of speculation, we will remove it - especially if, as Rowdywoman1 says, a live case that could be influenced by online comments.

We completely see where you're coming from, though, and will take this on board. flowers

Maryz Wed 07-Feb-18 14:48:53

I agree with this- there was only one post assuming guilt, the rest was discussing uncontested evidence (the messages) and what was actually being said in court. Surely it would have been sufficient to remove that one post.

I too am concerned that we aren't allowed to criticise the way a court case is being conducted, though I accept we must always presume innocent until guilt is proven.

BeyondWitchbitchterf Wed 07-Feb-18 17:04:08

Thanks Sophie smile

Would it be possible to get the thread reinstated with the (one?) dodgy post/s removed? Or would it be better to start another and make it clear in the OP that speculation is off limits?

meditrina Wed 07-Feb-18 17:09:02

Deletions of threads about ongoing court cases are very common.

I think MN is being consistent.

meditrina Wed 07-Feb-18 17:11:09

"Or would it be better to start another and make it clear in the OP that speculation is off limits?"

That's what usually happens after a first (second, third) thread is deleted. Sometimes you end up with a worthwhile discussion, but quite often exactly the same speculation creeps in and then 'pfft'. But it had to be worth a try, surely?

QuentinSummers Wed 07-Feb-18 19:13:51

Thanks @SophieLMumsnet

SophieLMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 08-Feb-18 10:44:56

Morning everyone,

Thanks again for your feedback - it's really useful for us to hear what we can do to make things better.

We think it would be better for that thread to remain deleted this time, BeyondBitchwithterf as we did feel the speculation wasn't great. For future threads, though - we're very happy to try and keep them up wherever possible.

If you'd like to start a new thread, please do feel free; we really don't want to censor anyone. We'd say, as medtrina suggested, that a reminder not to speculate in the OP post would be a grand plan - we do find that it helps to keep the thread on track, and therefore much less likely to be removed.

Thanks flowers

QuentinSummers Tue 06-Mar-18 19:22:43

Hi @mnhq you have now deleted a second thread claiming it might be prejudicial to live proceedings. Everyone on the thread was being extremely careful not to speculate. Is it because a couple of posters posted "I believe her"? Does this mean the Mumsnet "we believe you" campaign has been abandoned?

If not I don't understand why you couldn't delete the offending posts rather than the whole thread

SophieLMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 07-Mar-18 09:43:55

Hi, QuentinSummers,

Following a number of reports about posts on the thread, we decided to err on the side of caution and take it down.

It's absolutely not because it's a thread about rape, to clarify - We Believe You very much still stands. We actually can't afford to have anything that could possibly prejudice a fair trial, or they'd have to abandon it and start over - which would be fairly catastrophic for those involved. There are no online news sites allowing comments about this trial.

We hope that clears things up a bit, but please do drop us a line at: if you'd like to discuss anything further. flowers

Fightthebear Wed 07-Mar-18 11:24:39

Or if the online discussion prejudiced a fair trial the case would more likely be abandoned permanently. If a fair trial is not possible because of stuff which has been said online or in the press then that’s the end of it. It doesn’t even need to involve speculation.

I think the MNHQ approach is absolutely right until after the verdict has been delivered.

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