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suggestion for alternative mumsnet approach to complaints (indigo bell issue)

(27 Posts)
lingle Sat 29-Sep-12 15:44:29

the background to this is mumsnet's poor handling of the complaints about indigo bell's posts.

Of course many complaints will be lodged with mumsnet along the lines of "X - by claiming to have succeeded in doing such-and-such, implied that I am a bad parent and I am hugely distressed". I'm sure every single one of us has interpreted a post as a criticism of our own approach.

The mumsnet guidelines, however, and mumsnet's response to such complaints, should be an extended paraphrase of Helen Fielding's immortal words:

"No one is thinking about you. They're thinking about themselves, just like you".

A reminder that apparent rudeness/criticism probably just reflects the Helen Fielding law might have the happy additional effect of reducing the number of reports sent to MNHQ in the first place.

We used to face an analogous issue in Freecycle: accusations flew about resellers, rudeness, etc.etc. Getting involved ourselves always led to disaster. Whereas a gentle reminder that our moderation role was a limited one and that it wasn't our place to enquire into our member's ethics based on internet posts was enough to help complainants shrug and move on.

Lougle Sat 29-Sep-12 16:17:03

Lingle, it's MNHQ's site though. That quote doesn't hold fast when somebody posts with authority and as an 'expert', telling others that to cure a condition they can/should do x,y,x. In that situation they've moved beyond "thinking if themselves".

mrz Sat 29-Sep-12 16:23:29

Perhaps you could direct us to where Indigo has claimed to be an "expert" Lougle as I've only ever seen her state that she isn't one. She is passionate about helping her children and you seem to see that as a negative thing. hmm

HesterBurnitall Sat 29-Sep-12 16:30:54

Where does lounge even imply that she thinks that's a negative thing? No need to attack, mrz.

Lougle Sat 29-Sep-12 16:31:46

I'm on my phone right now, but I'll do so later. I admire her passion for helping her children. I admire her passion for sharing her view of what had been beneficial to her child. My admiration fades when she tells or implies to other parents, that if they don't spend lots of money on therapies and supplements, they are stopping their child from being cured.

lingle Sat 29-Sep-12 16:34:08

Yes, if I posted saying:

"I am a qualified speech and language pathologist. Unlike many of my colleagues, I believe that the best thing one can do for a language delayed child is to prompt them to repeat as many words as possible on cue, etc,etc".

then it would be appropriate for MNHQ to respond to the volley of complaints that would follow by challenging and ultimately banning me.

But if I post saying "it's interesting that you use lots of music with your child. I passionately believe that it was by removing music and rhyming games from my child's daily life for a period of several months that I rerouted his focus on to understanding words"

then I would be tactless and insensitive but guilty of nothing more than overgeneralising from my particular case. It would not be appropriate to challenge or ban me.

mrz Sat 29-Sep-12 16:40:17

"My admiration fades when she tells or implies to other parents, that if they don't spend lots of money on therapies and supplements, they are stopping their child from being cured."
Surely you realise that the interpretation of on line posts by the reader doesn't always reflect the poster's intent.

mrz Sat 29-Sep-12 16:43:14

She stated/implied that Indigo is claiming to be an expert Hester ...and that is what I have questioned ...if you see that as an attack it just shows how easy it is to be misunderstood on MN!

lingle Sat 29-Sep-12 16:44:33

"Surely you realise that the interpretation of on line posts by the reader doesn't always reflect the poster's intent. "

Well exactly Mrz - a little more prosaic than the Fielding but none the worse for it smile. Rather like "objects in the rear view mirror....."

Lougle Sat 29-Sep-12 16:47:02

I agree. But if you posted saying "you are selling your DS sort by refusing to limit music and rhythm from his daily activities" then you have moved from sharing your own opinion to passing judgement on another poster, no?

If you posted that ASD could be cured by undertaking an expensive 'therapy' plan with no research to back it up, on the grounds that research is expensive, you'd expect people to be a little sceptical, possibly. If you then told other people that by not doing so they were failing their children, even more so.

lingle Sat 29-Sep-12 16:49:53

"if you posted saying "you are selling your DS sort by refusing to limit music and rhythm from his daily activities" then you have moved from sharing your own opinion to passing judgement on another poster, no?"

that's food for thought lougle - let me make a cup of tea and then reply.

where is the "thinking about it" emoticon when we need it?

Lougle Sat 29-Sep-12 16:55:53

" Surely you realise that the interpretation of on line posts by the reader doesn't always reflect the poster's intent."

Of course Mrz, but then surely the appropriate response to MNHQ would have been "goodness, I didn't intend it to sound like that. I'm horrified that posters felt I was saying that, and I'll make sure I'm clear in future." not "I refuse to change the way I post, if you don't like it you'll have to ban me."

Lougle Sat 29-Sep-12 16:59:11

In fact, didn't Justabout show that great humility when there was a hoohar over her status? She was able to prove that she was, in fact, a reverend. She still removed the 'rev' from her posting name to avoid upset, at great cost to her, despite that.

mrz Sat 29-Sep-12 17:00:39

goodness it gets worse !

Lougle Sat 29-Sep-12 17:02:51

What gets worse?

coff33pot Sat 29-Sep-12 17:03:45

Most parents are sensitive to one subject or other on this board. Some experiences have been so bad for them it's hard to sit back and let someone follow the same route but you have to or seem to be an expert which is not allowed.

The only thing is to support and suggest alternatives and it is up to the person asking for help to decide if any of it is food advice workers following or not and maybe throughout the info plan there own action.

not very parent here is sweet, calm and carefully pussyfoot a around feelings. We are all different in character. Indigo was very supportive but also forthright and "says it how she views it"

SW ppl like that and some ppl prefer the softly softly approach but there is no way she ever classes herself as an expert in any field other than to her own children which she is very entitled to do.

If someone dissent like something in RL they avoid it at all costs and this can be done online by blocking threads if necessary.

A post can be read in many different ways dependent on your own mood. Also usually if someone is being a bit harsh then usually there is enough ppl to step in and either say so or redirect the meaning of the post for the offended op.

mrz Sat 29-Sep-12 17:07:09

The sensitivities of MN Lougle

coff33pot Sat 29-Sep-12 17:07:12

Excuse auto correction of stupid phone!

lingle Sat 29-Sep-12 17:07:29

right lougle I've got my tea now smile (still want that emoticon though)

"you are selling your DS sort by refusing to limit music and rhythm from his daily activities"

I agree that's an explicit criticism of someone else's parenting. And it's likely to be wrong - but might not be.

I think a remark of that nature deserves flaming by other members. I think it would be appropriate for other members to point out that the advice was also "controversial". And I think that flaming is the best response.

I think that it might be appropriate to have a banning policy where explicit (not implicit!) criticisms of other posters were so frequent as to disrupt the flow of a thread. That is what we used to do on forums related to Freecycle.

But we can't ban people for promoting minority views or for criticising per se.

Lougle Sat 29-Sep-12 17:07:58

I don't think the complaints came from this board, tbh. I'd hope that on this board we'd be direct enough to challenge on the board.

mrz Sat 29-Sep-12 17:11:23

Nowhere else seems to be complaining Lougle

Lougle Sat 29-Sep-12 17:11:38

I think that MNHQ have to take the long view. If they get sustained or regular reports about one member, they drop them a line. If that member takes on board the criticism and alters their manner, fair enough. If they say "tough luck, ban me.", what options do MNHQ have? Where do they draw the line? They can't let one poster completely ignore them and come down hard on another.

Lougle Sat 29-Sep-12 17:12:47

I never did complain. I did clock some threads over on primary education which shocked me, but never reported them.

lingle Sat 29-Sep-12 17:21:57

agree coffeepot's last para.

lingle Sat 29-Sep-12 17:27:29

"I think that MNHQ have to take the long view."

Again, I agree with you lougle.

I think my issue here is that MN don't seem to have a strategy. If they do, they can't articulate it, either on this thread, or in their correspondence with indigo.

It's a quality control thing. Experienced moderators ought to be able to handle all this better. I think - I hope! - that on Freecycle I never painted myself so far into a corner that a troublesome member could say "tough luck, ban me" and leave me with no strategy.

They need to look at all the bans they've done, take all the ones where they are happy they banned, review the reasons for the banning and the procedures they followed, and from that articulate what their rules are. And the rules have to be defensible - no references to what posts "imply".

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