We thought it was about time we outlined and explained Mumsnet policy on the thorny issue of trolls. (For those who don't know, a troll is someone who poses as someone else in order to stir up trouble, fulfil their own perverted agenda, or just for the hell of it.)
Unfortunately, it's not always immediately obvious whether a poster is, in fact, a troll. We all tend to be a bit suspicious of new folks posting things of a sensitive or inflammatory nature, but we would rather Mumsnetters erred on the side of giving folks the benefit of the doubt, and risked being made to look a bit foolish once in a while, than pounce on someone who may turn out to be genuinely in need of help. We hope you agree.
That said, we do advise all our members to be aware that not everyone on t'internet is who they say they are, and that, although we're awed daily by the astonishing support our members give each other through life's trickier twists and turns, we'd always caution anyone never to give more of themselves to another poster, emotionally or financially, than they can afford to spare.
If you're concerned that someone is trolling, do please let us at MNHQ know all about them by pressing the Report button or mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will always reply to your report or mail, and we promise take your concerns seriously and closely monitor any potential troublemakers.
But do, please, resist the urge to 'trollhunt' on the boards: in our experience, trolls thrive on attention – the more dramatically other posters react, the more likely they are to stick around and cause mayhem. Ignore their posts and, usually, they'll go away.
We are conscious that most Mumsnetters have enough stresses in their lives without finding more on here. But, on the bright side, considering the number of users and discussions, disturbances are mercifully few and far between not least because you, the members, use the Report post function to police the boards extremely effectively and with a good deal of common sense.
Many thanks and keep up the good work!