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trolls, attention seekers and other wierdos.

257 replies

whatwouldjesusdo · 11/01/2007 09:45

I thought it might be useful to have a reference thread on this subject. It isn't aimed at any particular person or thread, and would be good to keep it as a general reference for people who are new to the site, ie not discuss particular threads here.

TROLLS are typically new posters, previously unseen on mn,
They may have weird sexual problems, which they try to suck people into discussing. In MN folklore, they are hairy arsed truckdrivers or schoolboys, and they may invite posts like "trippety trap" or "go and do your homework"
Alternatively, they may post something inflamatory, eg insulting another poster, to start a fight.

ATTENTION SEEKERS may run a mumsnet persona over several months, and may be mothers, so look much more genuine. However, there are genuine mothers who also suffer from attention seeking disorders.
Look out for some or all of the following:

  • an unusual story
  • a poster whose only help comes apparently from mumsnet
  • a poster who has apparently convincing reasons for not seeking help from the authorities
  • a poster who makes people feel sorry for them all the time, and thanks them for their sympathy with pathetic gratitude
  • an extreme story, such as suicide or the poster saying that they are about to abandon their children
  • generally, a poster who appears to live in the middle of a dramatic situation, and who posts at key dramatic moments.

CON ARTISTS will run a convincing story, and, having got your sympathy, will try and get you to do things for them. Eg, they put themselves apparently into situations where you can help them, and then wait for you to offer your help. They are hard to spot online, and you have to make up your own mind about what sort of risk you are prepared to take about corresponding with other posters.

This is emphatically not intended as a discussion of whether we are gullible or not, but if anyone's sympathies are particularly aroused by any thread, please do come back here now or in the future and have another read.
and of course, please add your own recommendations on spotting threads that dont add up.
OP posts:
lissielou · 11/01/2007 09:50

what about people who start a thread in relation to a previous one to reignite a debate eg
im having an affair
cue mners telling op that her dh must be vile

dh is having an affair
cue mners telling op to ditch him

mn is there to support each other, so why try to prove a point?

Greensleeves · 11/01/2007 09:54

Well, when I was going through months of terrifying hell in ending my destructive and painful relationship with my mother, I fitted ALL of the criteria you cite for "attention-seeker". Thanks for that.

Is this for real? Because it's crass.

Tortington · 11/01/2007 09:55

i have to say i think people are getting overly anal about it

if some people want to help a poster that other people feel unable to for whateer reason then whats the problem.

i also have to say that without the occasional troll - mumsnet would suffer.

we all have different 'pisstake' threshholds. and these vary from subject to subject and person to person.

there will be a fucking mn uniform soon. 'though must wear boden, primarkians will be disowned'

misdee · 11/01/2007 09:57

can any story get any mroe unusual than mine?

DizzyBint · 11/01/2007 09:58

if i'm suspicious about a thread or a poster i just ignore it. i'd hate it to turn out to be genuine and for me to have made it worse.

KezzaG · 11/01/2007 09:58

Im not sure how to take this, as I helped someone I had been supporting through mumsnet and it was 100% genuine. She fitted a lot of the criteria you mention, and I was very aware that some other posters may have been watching the thread and thinking that those helping were either guillable fools or lying. It made me a bit paranoid actually, but I am glad I helped her as she was in a real state.

I would rather be taken for a fool than not help someone who needed it.

zippitippitoes · 11/01/2007 09:58

I am getting quite confused by all these dark threads

expatinscotland · 11/01/2007 09:59

Some trolls are pretty funny, though.

KezzaG · 11/01/2007 09:59

Hamster casserole anyone?

zippitippitoes · 11/01/2007 09:59

Kezza I was trying to get you to ring me if you still had my phone number

NotQuiteCockney · 11/01/2007 10:00

I really hate the rush to be the first to say "this is a troll" whenever anyone has a weird story, or holds a weird opinion. I am a fairly skeptical person, but I'm sure lots of genuine posters in real pain have come here for guidance and been greeted with a chorus of "troll!".

whatwouldjesusdo · 11/01/2007 10:01

greensleeves, you've never come across as anything but genuine. attention seeking is hard to hide over a period of time, as they whip up sympathy again and again with similar tricks.

custy, I have a good reason for posting this thread which may not have occurred to you yet

OP posts:
KezzaG · 11/01/2007 10:01

I think I have, are you around now for a chat?

DizzyBint · 11/01/2007 10:01

hamster casserole isn't in the same league as some of what's been going off.

zippitippitoes · 11/01/2007 10:02

some people just are more extrovert than others in what they post, if you posted each daily development of life then you you may sound odd but it's not wrong is it?

zippitippitoes · 11/01/2007 10:02

yes, I am Kezza (please excuse hijack)

whatwouldjesusdo · 11/01/2007 10:03

misdee, you've never had us hanging on our seats while you threaten to drive off a cliff though.

doh, knew everyone would get paranoid it was them.

OP posts:
Lizzylou · 11/01/2007 10:03

I think I have led a rather sheltered life and often think "WOW" when reading posts, which I'm sure are genuine....there is nowt stranger than real life.

roseylea · 11/01/2007 10:03

WWJD I'm a bit concerned about this...

Is there any way you could let us know what is happening with you?

evilsparklystepmom · 11/01/2007 10:03

well i think this is useful. you can interpret it how you see fit but for newbies i think it is a good idea to warn them about trolls etc.

JustineMumsnet · 11/01/2007 10:04

Hi everyone - interesting subject and one that, as you can imagine, we've spent some time mulling over.
Thought I'd just link to our postition on trolls so you can see the in-house stance , as it were.

ClosetSlob · 11/01/2007 10:04

who is WWJD?


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whatwouldjesusdo · 11/01/2007 10:05

nqc, I agree, shouting troll isnt nice, but also good to bear in mind that it may be a troll

OP posts:
Soapbox · 11/01/2007 10:06

I really think there is a great deal of over analysis going on here!

I think you have to make a decision for yourself as to how drawn in you want to be and that should be with a bit of a reality check in the background as to how you would feel if it turned out to be a con/troll/attention seeker.

I think if you are minded to help someone on MN in many ways it has to be with the knowledge that 1 times out of a hundred (a quick estimate) it will go belly up.

The Christmas thread is a point in case - if I had been overly worried about someone misusing it, then I'd never have done it in the first place. It took weeks of round the clock work to pull off at the same time as holding down a f/t job - but the outcome was worth it. Sure a couple of people may have scammed it - but hey ho - for the greater good and all that!

If you want to be helpful/charitable and give willingly, knowing the risks, then I think you just have to be prepared to accept that it won't always go your way. If it bothers you terribly that your time, effort and money might be wasted on a time waster, then don't do it in the first place.

A bit of healthy scepticism is useful in deciding when to help, but it doesn't work every time

cross · 11/01/2007 10:06


you would appear to be an attention seeking weirdo

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