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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:
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JoolsToo · 11/01/2007 10:09

good post soapy

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kiskidee · 11/01/2007 10:10

the 'advice' given by the op is a bit naive, imo. but, being an old hand at message boards and some far more outrageous ones than mn, maybe i am just cynical. everyone is new to something for a period of time. it is always best to sit back and watch for a while, meaning a few months, before diving in.

message boards certainly teach how to read behind what the poster may actually be saying and it usually has nothing to do with what is actually written.

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mellowma · 11/01/2007 10:10

Message withdrawn

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mylittlestar · 11/01/2007 10:12

I actually think this thread is useful.
Im quite new to MN and until a couple of days ago didn't even know what a troll was!
May be quite naive of me but it didn't really occur to me at first that people would post anything other than genuine threads.

Now I just make my own mind up. Contribute/help when I want to. And if I don't wish to get involved then just ignore the thread and move on.

MN is a great place for support and diverse opinions. The fact that we're all so different is what makes it so good! IMO!

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whatwouldjesusdo · 11/01/2007 10:19

soapbox, I agree with what you say, and I am not questioning whether to help people or not. I just think it is useful to be aware of the oddness of attention seeking behaviour. alternatively, I could have linked to some sites about attention seeking disorders.

I have been acquainted in real life with someone who suffered from an attention seeking disorder. She strung loads of people along for some time, and was very creepy and dramatic.

OP posts:
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roseylea · 11/01/2007 10:22

So none of it was true then WWJD?

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Budababe · 11/01/2007 10:22

WWJD - without wanting to be too obtuse OR to stir OR to be nosey - is this to do with someone who is currently in transit?

I do know there seem to be some inconsistencies.

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lizziemun · 11/01/2007 10:34

I'm like dizzybint if i read the op and it it seems a bit far fetched then i ignore it.

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zippitippitoes · 11/01/2007 10:48

I got the wrong end of the stick somewhere I think, not surprisingly!

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kandi · 11/01/2007 10:50

WWJD re the attention seeker thing, I know it is frustrating when you try to help somebody and they don't seem to take on board anything you are saying or try to help themselves, I have known peopl in rl like this. In which case you have got to decide to take a step back and decide how far you are willing to help them, or leave it to others. People are different as well, some are genuinely helpers, and will seek out 'attention seekers' as they want to try to help people if they can.

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MerlinsBeard · 11/01/2007 10:55

wwjd, i keep seeing your s/n alot at mo, are u a name changer?

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Chamomile · 11/01/2007 10:58

The problem is even if you are suspicious about a thread you dont want to take the risk of upsetting someone who could be in genuine distress.

WWJD,I understand you want this to be a general thread but if you have information about a recent melodramatic thread perhaps you could update us elsewhere.

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KezzaG · 11/01/2007 11:01

I think there might be a couple of threads going on that looked linked but in fact arent. This might be making them look more suspicious.

I have probably just added to the confusion now!

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MerlinsBeard · 11/01/2007 11:04

also, MN already have a page re trolling. if anyone doesn't know what one is they can always ask or google the meaning.

If you don't believe a post or poster is genuine then don't respond or or offer help. If you feel strongly about it, you could always CAT other MNetters who ARE offering support and give them valid reasons why you think its not genuine.

Its blatantly obvious which thread you are referring to and this thread could have been worded slightly better to disguise that.

At the end of the day, its not up to you to decide who posts what and where and how, thats for MNHQ

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ClosetSlob · 11/01/2007 11:04

could people stop talking in riddles or at least email me...?

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wannaBeWhateverIWannaBe · 11/01/2007 11:05

are you the same poster from the "we're all gullable" thread? Why not quit the criptic crap and say what you're thinking! in other words, either put up or shut up.

and I'm not supposed to be here!

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MegaLegs · 11/01/2007 11:06

I think I'm with you KezzaG.

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MegaLegs · 11/01/2007 11:10

Is it confusion thats arisen from threads by two different mnetters, both in a similar situation, one is safe in UK and one is still trying to get back. There I've said it, is taht what this is about or shall I just bugger off back to my ironing.

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Budababe · 11/01/2007 11:13

If WWJD is referring to what we think she is then she had offered A LOT of help (from the little I am aware) and it has transpired that things may not have been as bad as they were portrayed. However - this could also be part of a depressive illness - i.e. OP couldn't see the wood for the trees if you know what I mean. I am reserving judgement myself till we know a bit more.

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KezzaG · 11/01/2007 11:14

Well this is what I think is going on.

A few months ago I helped someone posting under the name dottymum. It all turned out ok but it was quite dramatic at the time and I was sure some people would think it was a wind up but it wasnt. thread is still on here and dotty and I have remained in touch, but she has chosen not to use MN any more as she has too much to deal with in rl, which I totally respect hence I have not given any more details on her thread.

totally unrelated is a thread about a fox escaping from dv. As these have been deleted and are all very cryptic I dont really know waht is going on, but apparently this persons circumstances are very similar to dottys, but they are not the same person. I think some poeple think it is her though.

finally, I happend to read the thread yesterday entitled "are we guillable" and noticed that the OP had said that she was referring to a fox thread. I didnt post, it had nothing to do with me, and it seemed she was querying the authenticity of the situation regarding the fox lady. when someone else asked why the thread was deleted I speculated that it may be because it had started to this discuss this, dont know if it did but that might be why it is no longer here.

Im sure there are loads of other dubious threads, but I think that is what has caused some confusion here, as a couple of people have mentioned the fox story.

right, Im off to style to discuss shoes

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KezzaG · 11/01/2007 11:14

you said in 3 lines what I said in 100 megalegs!

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mellowma · 11/01/2007 11:17

Message withdrawn

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morningpaper · 11/01/2007 11:18
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whatwouldjesusdo · 11/01/2007 11:19

oh goodness, this thread is going off in completely odd directions.

No, it is not aimed at anyone in particular, and I never saw the "gullible" thread, and I am not telling people what to post or not!
I just thought a summary of attention seeking behaviour might be useful.

I was the victim of an attention seeker when I was around 16, she was a very odd person who told lies and lived in a fantasy world, and got people very emotionally involved with her.
this sort of behaviour is not the same as a normal person in trouble, and anyone else who has come across it should know what I am talking about. I thought that it might be useful, to pool information about patterns of posting by someone who suffers from attention seeking disorders.

Knowing how paranoid mumsnetters are, I should have known that people would either assume it was aimed at them, or try and stick it on someone else.

Also, bear in mind that people who are new to mn or internet posting, may not know things that are obvious to others who have been around for longer.

OP posts:
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mellowma · 11/01/2007 11:20

Message withdrawn

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