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Is there still a need for AIBU?

(25 Posts)
sprogger Tue 22-Sep-09 12:19:14

AIBU has always been a wildly entertaining place to lurk. People go looking for a debate (or at least a vent), and MN gives it to them. In the past, people who haven't perhaps fully grasped that starting a thread on AIBU is an invitation for no-holds-barred hurley-burley have become upset, and MN Towers added a helpful warning to all new posters about what to expect.

Lately though, I'm not sure that no-holds-barred hurley-burley is strictly an AIBU characteristic. In the past month I've seen a few threads started under topics that could potentially be viewed as more sensitive - Relationships, or Pregnancy, for example - turn into debate-fests. People can get so into the argument that they start embellishing the original situation with their own details, and eventually the OP ends up defending herself, which never seems to turn out well.

I'm starting to wonder if the reason why AIBU is starting to pop up in any vaguely contentious thread is because people are using Active Topics, so they're reacting to the OP/thread topic instead of the "spirit" in which it's being posted. (As a sign of this, recently an OP was asked why she'd posted in AIBU if she didn't want a debate and she had to point out that she hadn't.) There have been a few threads lately that have made me wince because the OP was in a sensitive position, but the thread took on a life of it's own.

So - is there any point in a "debate" topic if most people are browsing by Active Topics and don't particularly notice if a thread is posted for rip-roaring debate or for more thoughtful advice? Or should the MN Towers warning be extended across ALL topics?

JodieO Tue 22-Sep-09 12:22:11

YABU wink

FabBakerGirlIsBack Tue 22-Sep-09 12:23:38

I think you have a point as I don't always notice what topic the post has been put in.

UnquietDad Tue 22-Sep-09 12:25:37

There are certain AIBU threads where people believe there is a "consensus" when there is, in fact, an ongoing debate. Which is surely what is being asked for in the question.

Spidermama Tue 22-Sep-09 12:26:19

Should your appeal be more for restraint on other threads rather than the scrapping of the AIBU topic which we all know and love?

sprogger Tue 22-Sep-09 12:31:17

That's a great point Spidermama, but I suspect that asking however many thousands of MNer's to check topic headers and just ^try to be nicer sometimes^ is probably expecting a bit much. grin

sprogger Tue 22-Sep-09 12:33:25

(Oops, sorry for rubbish attempt at italics.)

Grisette Tue 22-Sep-09 12:40:22

I love AIBU

StealthPolarBear Tue 22-Sep-09 12:41:58

But surely if "Debate" replaces AIBU it'll just be the same problem with the Debate topic?

wannaBe Tue 22-Sep-09 12:53:58

I posted a while back saying that I thought ibu should be scrapped and lots of people agreed with me.

The problem I have with ibu is that people see it as a free-for-all where they seem to think it's ok to basically whatever you want, regardless of the sensitivity of the post, and that if op doesn't like it then she "shouldn't have posted in ibu." hmm I think that disagreeing with someone is fine, but some of the attacks that go on in ibu are not on imo, and people seem to think it's ok ecause it's ibu...

fizzpops Tue 22-Sep-09 12:54:16

I think AIBU just gives people permission to be more "forthright" in their views than they may otherwise be. It seems anything goes on those threads, if anyone objects someone is bound to say, 'You posted under AIBU so you have to expect it.'

Imo manners are just as important on internet forums as in rl and there are ways of giving an opinion which don't involve swearing/ ridicule/ spite. On some occasions I think a culture on the AIBU topic has grown up which in some cases consists of behaviour that is no better than playground bullying. Yes, someone asked for varied opinions, but no, they didn't ask to be humiliated and judged.

Quite often the herd mentality takes over - one person says the OP is being unreasonable and there is a wave of others all posting the same thing in an increasingly vitriolic way - usually totally out of proportion to the question being asked.

scroobiuspirate Tue 22-Sep-09 12:59:37

aibu is fun. It lets us be forthright. Forthright sometimes gets to the bottom of the op's query much quicker too.

Most people know how posting in aibu can go.

People are often bitchy or harsh in other topics too. It's swings and roundabouts.

sprogger Tue 22-Sep-09 13:05:17

WannaBe and fizzpops, you've described exactly the sort of "pile-on" behaviour I was thinking of. While I don't think it's any more attractive when it's under AIBU, I can at least tolerate that AIBU is designed to invite a bit of that and the warning that comes with it makes that clear.

The bit I'm disturbed about is that I'm seeing the same behaviour on threads outside AIBU. Perhaps I'm being generous in assuming it's because people are browsing using Active Topics instead of clicking on the Topic title, so they're just not noticing that a juicy-sounding post isn't inviting debate. But if that's what the issue is, maybe it would be good to increase the visibility of the Topic title - or colour-code AIBU threads - so it's more obvious what the emotional context should be?

fizzpops Tue 22-Sep-09 13:05:25

"Most people know how posting in aibu can go."

I think that is my problem with it tbh. That there is a different way of replying to someone who posts what is (often) a genuine query in different topics.

Blu Tue 22-Sep-09 13:08:15

I hate AIBU, I have always hated it, and I believe that it has affected almost every aspect of MN for the worse.

southeastastra Tue 22-Sep-09 13:08:28

mn seems to be more about 'pile in' behaviour whether posted in aibu or not these days

fizzpops Tue 22-Sep-09 13:11:07

sprogger - I think you are being generous. Some topics, such as Baby Names for example, it is very difficult to mistake for AIBU.

scroobiuspirate Tue 22-Sep-09 13:49:17

i think there should be an aibu, and a gentlydoesit aibu.

or softsoftsoft aibu.

OrmIrian Tue 22-Sep-09 13:51:55

"As a sign of this, recently an OP was asked why she'd posted in AIBU if she didn't want a debate and she had to point out that she hadn't"

Yes that made me laugh a lot grin

hullygully Tue 22-Sep-09 13:54:39

I think there used to be a lot more love in the olden days, but then came the Molden Days. Bring back the love.

scroobiuspirate Tue 22-Sep-09 13:57:21

but the molden days brought heartache too, if one wasn't aware of the rules set down by the moldens.

i shall continue to spread the love tho. !

Ewe Tue 22-Sep-09 14:03:28

I am sure I recall hearing that it is the most popular part of the website, if that is the case there is no way MN would axe it. They have a warning at the top of the topic, not sure what more can be done tbh!

hullygully Tue 22-Sep-09 14:05:46

The trouble is that while a lot of people genuinely care and want to be kind and gentle and help, others are sarky and downright not very nice. It's best to ignore the latter and concentrate on the love.

sprogger Tue 22-Sep-09 16:11:42

Hullygully, I agree that it's important to take some posts with a grain of salt. But there have been times recently when I've seen a thread in which the OP has genuinely seemed to need a bit of support, and instead her situation has turned into a springboard for a related discussion that somehow gets pinned back to her - so she not only doesn't get the support, she gets blamed for failings that others have projected onto her. That's when the AIBU-isation of MN bothers me.

Maybe we need to be able to assign snark ratings to different posters, like eBay ratings. That way when they pop up on non-AIBU threads people can clearly see they have "form." (Ooooooh, controversial!)

UnquietDad Wed 23-Sep-09 13:52:30

Let's not forget the sub-genre, "AIBU with stealth reveals" - where the OP tries to gauge opinion without giving all the information at first.

"This random woman called me a bitch, AIBU?"

"YANBU, of course not"
"No, YANBU, onviously not..."
"YANBU, how could she..."

etc.

Then...

"Oh, by the way, I called her child ugly a few seconds earlier..."

OK, not that very example but that sort of thing...

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