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Why we temporarily banned Anyfucker and what next

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MNHQ have commented on this thread.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 24-Oct-13 21:18:19

Hi all,
So as many have pointed out there are an awful lot of threads about AF from last night and today, many of them repeating the same stuff, some of them including misapprehensions.

So we thought it best to state our position on the matter fully here and to lock the other threads so anyone with stuff to say can say it here and it's all easier to follow. (Apols for any difficulties you've had in following all this because of multiple threads - we don't normally allow them but in this case, as there was a fair bit of MNHQ conspiracy theory floating around, we thought it best not to start deleting things today).

So first why did we ban, or more accurately suspend, AF for a week?
As already stated AF did break our Talk Guidelines a lot wrt troll-hunting, PAs and generally aggressive behaviour.

We have looked back and found we've sent her nine mails of the 'please stick to Guidelines or we'll have to take further action' variety and we've banned her once before. There have been c. 600 reports of her posts - and there are 1100 cases in our system concerning her one way or another (not including any name changes). We've deleted
posts under the name 'AnyFucker' 185 times (some of those reports will be duplicate reports of the same post, so it's not that we've deleted 185 out of 600 posts reported).

It is not the case that most of these posts were in response to trolls, plenty were against folks most would agree were regular posters. Others were against folks she thought might be trolls but we could see were not. Some were against folks who were subsequently banned.

We haven't actually been able to forensically analyse each of the 600 cases - it really would mean going back through each thread - but we will over the next little while if folks think it necessary.

Some people have been calling for an auto-ban mechanism for posters who are multiply reported - if we had one of these AF would have been likely banned a few more times than she actually has.

We wrote to AF a couple of weeks ago after deleting some of her posts warning that if she crossed the line again we'd have to suspend her and that's what we did yesterday. She wrote back to say she knew it was coming.

We don't take these decisions lightly wrt Mumsnetters who've been contributing for so long and whom we know so well. We agree AF's a fantastic poster who goes out her way to help others but we're not talking isolated incidents here and it's very often not directed at actual trolls. Often we're talking about aggression/personal attacks/accusations of trolling against other Mumsnetters who AF disagrees with.

Plenty of people today have cited examples of this type of behaviour. Some have also spoken of an orthodoxy on the relationships board which is difficult to diverge from and which puts them off posting there. And of course, plenty of others have cited examples of AF's kindness and support on those same boards.

But what would you really have us do? Ignore the PAs against Mumsnetters? Ignore those posters who report such PAs to us? We are not talking exclusively PAs on trolls here. If you've been following today's threads you have to accept that. Believe me, we have not been trigger happy here. The last thing we want is for AF, or posters like AF who offer so much to Mumsnetters, to leave MN. But we have a few rules for very good reasons we think. Without them, Mumsnet would be incredibly insular and one dimensional and very unwelcoming to newcomers. We have to accept that if folks can't live with those rules then, ultimately, that's their decision.

I think it's worth saying what we do believe in, here at MNHQ, because although the site has grown, these values (if that's not too aggrandising) really haven't changed since it started.

We believe that the pooling of knowledge and advice makes parents' lives easier.
We believe in tolerance of differing opinions and in letting the conversation flow wherever possible.
We believe in listening and engaging and being transparent as much as we can.

We do have things we don't tolerate (which have been honed and refined over the years by collective user experience) because we think they are less likely to promote the things MN values. Namely personal attacks, deliberately inflammatory posts, posts that break law/hate speech.
We will also delete things that are downright mean and obscene (though clearly this is a matter of judgement).

We have never billed MN as a safe haven. It is open and searchable and public so can never be as safe as a closed, heavily moderated or pre-moderated environment would be.

It is a largely female space and we think that is incredibly valuable in a male dominated internet/ world. But it is not an exclusively female - it's by parents for parents and it always has been. Men are welcome to post and to express their opinions and we've had many valuable male Mumsnetters over the years.

Quite apart from anything it would both be impractical and possibly illegal to have it otherwise.

Obviously there are things we at MNHQ can do better. We are never going to be entirely consistent in our moderation as we are human and it often come down to fine judgement calls. And we apologise in advance for inconsistencies but can only say we really do try our best.

In the case of this ban/suspension, as many have pointed out, we could have communicated what had happened and why more quickly and more clearly.

Some people have suggested a clear, more widely known "sin bin" procedure and we'll certainly look at that.

We will look at resources and response times generally to reported posts and are working on empowering all HQ mods to post on the boards and to be transparent as possible. (NB this would be easier if HQ mods felt they could post in an atmosphere of tolerance and understanding grin.)

We do put a lot of energy into investigating and banning trolls. We don't make a fanfare every time we ban someone for obvious reasons - trolls are here for the attention. But I concede that maybe that adds to the atmosphere that we are tolerating/ignoring/doing nothing about trolls. So we will think about that.

We don't have any auto suspend in place but we might look at that based on a large amount of reports of a particular poster.

And as suggested by someone (apols have forgotten who) we'll hold an MNHQ mods webchat with me, Rowan and Rebecca on Friday 8th at lunchtime and will open a thread in advance, so anyone who can't make the chat can post their question.

Please, of course, post your thoughts and further suggestions here before then, or whenever suits.

Sorry for the very long post - thanks to those who've read to the end.

(We'll be locking all the other threads in the next little bit.)

quietlysuggests Thu 24-Oct-13 21:23:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FlaseFuckerSpider Thu 24-Oct-13 21:25:16

Thanks for the update. There was an almighty riot here last night. Did you get a lie in this morning? I didn't

CreatureRetorts Thu 24-Oct-13 21:29:47

The thing that I wonder is what do you do if there's a targeted attack against individual posters and others get away with being rude etc?

I have to say the whole thing is a bit confused

WingDefence Thu 24-Oct-13 21:30:19

Thanks for this clear post, Justine. I've always appreciated AF's posts on the Relationships thread but rulesguidelines are there for a reason.

hermioneweasley Thu 24-Oct-13 21:30:40

Thanks for the update. Once explained it seems reasonable, but a shame it's taken 24 hours during which rumour and high feelings have built up.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Thu 24-Oct-13 21:31:03

Good idea to just have one thread and glad to see a comprehensive explanation

Things just seemed to get totally out of hand last night - quite surprisingly so.

SwedishEdith Thu 24-Oct-13 21:31:27

Wow, at AF having 1100 cases in your system about herself. envygrin

NoelHeadbandz Thu 24-Oct-13 21:32:49

I feel a bit icky reading that tbh- like being privy to someone else's school report

bsc Thu 24-Oct-13 21:33:02

I think the issue creature raises is a difficult one. They are lots of little coteries on here who are quite happy to all pitch in and report en masse and I think MNHQ have a difficult job seeing through that sometimes.
And the goaders too, of course.

Nice to know MNHQ will still have dialogue about it though and that has to be a good thing smile

RhondaJean Thu 24-Oct-13 21:33:32

Thank you justine.

Someone suggested that people could be given temporary bans from changing nicknames. That sounded like a good idea and you may want to consider it for the future.

SHRIIIEEEKFuckingBearBlood Thu 24-Oct-13 21:33:50

Yes thanks for the explanation. I would be very upset if she had bee banned for good but it sounds as though sbe was expecting a temporary ban

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 24-Oct-13 21:34:02


Thanks for the update. Once explained it seems reasonable, but a shame it's taken 24 hours during which rumour and high feelings have built up.

Well to be fair Hermione I did post a lot of it last night - just not the factual analysis stuff.

LtAllHallowsEve Thu 24-Oct-13 21:34:45

Justine, as you are going to lock the other threads, I hope it's OK to repost something I wrote on one of them:

"Rowan (and I will report my post so it is seen)

I have a suggestion and would be interested in your views. We report posts that we find Goady/PA etc, and you delete individual posts. If enough posts on a thread are deleted, you then tend to delete the thread.

Would be able to start reporting Posters, and have you look into their most recent posts, deciding then if that poster is a Goady Fucker who is just out to cause trouble

There are a number of posters on MN who seem to be deliberately inflammatory. Their single posts on single threads are unlikely to push any buttons, because they are challenged (or ignored) on the thread, but actually, when you look at the bigger picture, when you've come across them a number of times and they are saying the same old muck, or yet again posting against the 'general tone' of the thread etc then it becomes more obvious.

Yesterday's poster for eg was Goady on that thread, and when I searched had posted a number of 'one off' posts on other threads that were stirring, or quite abrasive/rude. Taken as a one off you could say she was just having a bad day or a bad time, but taken in conjunction with her other posts she started to look very 'troll-like'. She most definately wasn't as new as she had said, so was lying from the start.

Even on this thread there are a couple of what I would call 'suspicious' posters, and it would be helpful to someone like me if I could call them to your attention and just say 'could you have a look at this one'. Sometimes it's hard to do this when you are confronted by the 'more than 500 posts' message.

What do you think? And what do MNers think?"

I was thinking along the lines of a Report Poster tick box being added to the Report Thread Page, alongside Report as Spam and Report for other Reasons.

(Actually, maybe I should have left this for the webchat...)

ScreamingNaanAndGoryOn Thu 24-Oct-13 21:34:56

If I was AF, after reading that I probably wouldn't want to come back.

I understand where you're coming from in wanting to defend HQ, but that's an official drubbing of a single poster.

I've not seen you do that before. I'm pretty sad that you have.

Buildingamystery Thu 24-Oct-13 21:35:04

Thanks for the update. Let's hope this quells the hysteria for once and for all.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 24-Oct-13 21:35:05


I feel a bit icky reading that tbh- like being privy to someone else's school report

Yes, agreed NoelH, we really wouldn't normally do this, but we do see it as quite exceptional circumstances given the amount of suspicion in the last 24 hours.

Pan Thu 24-Oct-13 21:35:59

thanks Justine - it was hard to understand why AF would be 'banned' (which I and others took as permanent, rather than suspended) and yet not also wishing to disbelieve other LT posters saying such.

fwiw a bit quicker on the draw with GFs and other 'innocents' would be good, though I know you've been asked this numerous times in the last 24 hrs at least.

UsedToBeNDP Thu 24-Oct-13 21:36:05

One week. All this handwringing and hysteria for seven days?


ExitPursuedByABogieMan Thu 24-Oct-13 21:36:09

Thanks Justine. It is a fine line you tread.

MoominsYonisAreScary Thu 24-Oct-13 21:36:22

I still want to change my name to MoominsAreScaryFuckers

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 24-Oct-13 21:36:41


The thing that I wonder is what do you do if there's a targeted attack against individual posters and others get away with being rude etc?

I have to say the whole thing is a bit confused

Well if you contact us with examples we will always look at it and obviously targeted attacks against individuals would break the guidelines.

TiggyD Thu 24-Oct-13 21:37:09

"we've had many valuable male Mumsnetters over the years."

That bit was about me you know! wink

trish5000 Thu 24-Oct-13 21:40:01

Seems a fair response to me. I too am aghast at the amount of reports concerning AF.

Is it possible that there will be more night cover? Is that on your agenda?

NoelHeadbandz Thu 24-Oct-13 21:40:21

I do totally understand why you've posted it, but well, you know sad

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