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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:
MegaLegs · 11/01/2007 11:21

I'm not paranoid, I'm not gullible, occasionally suspicious, but generally just a caring individual.

lissielou · 11/01/2007 11:24

i think its a v helpful thread.
if you re-read the op is describing thing to look out for and explaining what the words mean. nothing wrong with that imo

KTeePee · 11/01/2007 11:24

WWJD, haven't been on for a few days so may have missed this but are you hinting the MR thing might not be what we thought it was?

Plibble · 11/01/2007 11:25

I agree with Soapbox on this one.
If someone asks for help, and you are willing to give it, you don't expect them to prove their "credentials" before you help them, do you? And if they are not genuine, then they probably need help of a different sort for their mental health issues. You have to make up your own mind whether to help in each case - IMO, some of the threads started on MN are too serious to be ignored, even if they might not be genuine.

whatwouldjesusdo · 11/01/2007 11:25

(kezza, I have cat'd you)

OP posts:
whatwouldjesusdo · 11/01/2007 11:32

Plibble, I agree with Soapbox too. Its a good idea to keep the symptoms of attention-seeking disorder in one's mind, though.

OP posts:
TenaLady · 11/01/2007 11:36

I think you have to be careful when citing an attention seeker.
A bored mum reading something more exciting than their life could automatically put this in that category.
Not really fair on the poster that has a truly more exciting life.

whatwouldjesusdo · 11/01/2007 11:38

yes, that is true. you can only really reach a conclusion over a period of time. In the case of my cousin, her lies eventually tripped her up, when different members of the family started to compare notes. she had put people against each other so successfully, that it was a long time before this happened!

OP posts:
WigWamBam · 11/01/2007 11:47

The real problem is that we can't tell whether someone is attention-seeking or genuinely in a position where they need help or advice - so isn't it always better to assume that the person is genuine rather than to assume they are a troll, and to give them advice where you can? I would rather look like a gullible fool and offer help, running the risk that the poster isn't genuine, than ignore someone who is genuinely vulnerable and in need of advice or help, running the risk of that person being a liar or an attention-seeker.

Even if someone lies on a thread, there is always the chance that someone else is in a similar situation but too scared to post about it, and our advice may be useful to them.

It would be a shame to let the fear that some people may be attention-seekers stop us from offering advice and help to people. MN can be a genuinely supportive place, and I would bet that far more dramatic, disturbing and distressing threads have been posted by people in need of help than by trolls or liars in search of attention.

grouchyoscar · 11/01/2007 11:57

WWJD, I appreciate what your post is attempting to do, warn us of those who choose to use MN for their own needs, whatever they may be. I am also aware that this is not due to recentr MN activity but under the current circumstances, it would have been more useful to start this thread at a less sensitive time.

In relation to this thread, like a previous poster, my conscience would rather be taken for a mug rather than cynically ignoring a person who may be in genuine need.

ShinyHappyPeopleHoldingHands · 11/01/2007 11:58

Jesus Jesus!! I sure hope things run forever smoothly in your life and that you always have plenty of RL support if they don't, lest you turn to MN and be unfairly dismissed as an attention seeking con artist who lives under a bridge!

Marina · 11/01/2007 12:01

Soapbox has said it perfectly for me I think.

oliveoil · 11/01/2007 12:04

I would rather be taken for a mug than for a hearless cynical old cow

oliveoil · 11/01/2007 12:05

or heartless even

whatwouldjesusdo · 11/01/2007 12:12

shinypeople, I can assure you that if I posted details about my problems on mn, people would find it unbelievable that anyone has had such adventures, or has put up with so much. seriously. I have written a novel based on some of it, and am trying to get it published at the mo.

this issue is not about people who post with problems or how/whether to help them. It is about getting sucked into a relationship with a fantasist, and at what point you should draw back and ask yourself, am I being had?

OP posts:
overdraft · 11/01/2007 12:12

I posted on mumsnet when my dh had an affair. I was given lots of support and am truley grateful to those who gave it.I am still in touch with them now. I did not start the thread to cue others to say ditch him , infact nobody did.I was not attention seeking either That was the worst time in my life and the best thing that ever happened to me too.
when mumsnetters write about affairs I will always help ALWAYS. I would rather do that than turn my back.

snowfunwhenyoureknackered · 11/01/2007 12:13

I think mn changes from day to day and you just pick out whatever interests you.

I know sometimes I come on here and are a cheeky and stroppy cow as thats the mood I'm in at the time.

though honest most times I think I'm ok!!

this is the www after all, we could all be mums/dads or 15 yr old boys up to no good.

just take it as you find it and try not to classify everyone/every post.

whatwouldjesusdo · 11/01/2007 12:13

me too, overdraft.

Ive said what I meant several times, so I wont repeat it again.

OP posts:
nappyaddict · 11/01/2007 12:20

what about a pramette? i think misdee still uses hers rear facing. i saw a pic of her dd3 in one on members profiles il see if i can find the link ..

twoisenoughmum · 11/01/2007 12:33

WigWamBam - perfectly put. I wouldn't know a troll if it came up and hit me in the face!

Mercy · 11/01/2007 13:57

I can only assume Whatwouldjesusdo knows something we don't as she has been involved in helping someone.

kiskidee · 11/01/2007 14:29

is it about a fox leaving oz?

Mercy · 11/01/2007 14:39

I think so - but I'm feeling rather confused now.

nappyaddict · 11/01/2007 23:30

whoops wrong thread!

VeniVidiVickiQV · 12/01/2007 01:22

pmsl nappy

WWJD - what did your reply to custy mean then?

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

I second (or is it 7th) what Soapbox said.

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