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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:
ShinyHappyPeopleHoldingHands · 12/01/2007 11:28

Yes, you are very lovely Misdee, thank you

misdee · 12/01/2007 11:31

i dont actually have a clue what al lthis is about as i didnt follow fox threads. its sad a lot of you were taken in though.

Rhubarb · 12/01/2007 11:33

I don't have a clue either, but they sound like lots of other threads we've had on Mumsnet like Titania and Baba and all the rest.

No doubt there will be others in the future too.

jabberwocky · 12/01/2007 11:44

I think it's a fine line, spotting someone who is a troll. I remember when amyjade first posted and a few people immediately shouted troll b/c it was a very sad and moving post from a newbie.

Still very that fox/dotty caused pain to many MN'ers.

stumpydoglooksforwardtospring · 12/01/2007 11:44

thanks wwjd for this thread. i'm quite new and one of my first posts was to dottymum. i even had trouble sleeping one night worrying about what was happening to her. and i don't get enough sleep as it is. i do feel foolish about believing her story, but quite honestly, i've felt like a complete berk so many times it doesn't bother me anymore

Rhubarb · 12/01/2007 11:50

It is hard. Who was the one who posted about her dd having head injuries and she denied that is was her partner doing them? Her posts were inconsistent and lead people to believe she was a troll.

There is a fine line as once you shout troll you are likely to scare that person off, and if they are in real need of help then you've just blown it for them.

I do think too many people on Mumsnet cry TROLL far too easily. You have to give everyone the benefit of doubt. At the same time you have to take a step back and look at it logically.

Even if they are a troll, the advice you are giving is real and might benefit someone else, so I would never hold back from giving advice.

But really, step back and don't get too closely involved unless you are 100% certain the poster is genuine, i.e they are a regular or you know them personally.

themildmanneredjanitor · 12/01/2007 11:52

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mummylin2495 · 12/01/2007 11:58

cod hasnt told you the good news ,its on the thread i started last nite fiofio told me they are having a baby

Pruni · 12/01/2007 12:04

Message withdrawn

popsycal · 12/01/2007 12:30

can someone please email on
at yahoo dot co dot uk
and tell me what is happening...i followed the threads too.

mylittlestar · 12/01/2007 12:39

Popsy look at the post...

By KezzaG on Fri 12-Jan-07 08:14:53

below... HTH

mummylin2495 · 12/01/2007 12:39

i am so sorry that all the people concerned who did their upmost to help this lady have now found they were being duped,but im sure that for every single person who is deceitful there are hundreds who are genuine.Dont give up trying to help because it may be that a genuine person wont get the help they need.What kind hearted people you all must be.

MerlinsBeard · 12/01/2007 12:42

i think th ereason that wwjd got the reactipon she did was that she stated in her op that it wasn't aimed at anyone or anythread but in actual fact it was. If she had just said that in the first place then she would have got a different reaction.

LIZS · 12/01/2007 12:56

ok so think I've got the measure of most of this , however can anyone clarify if this was the same poster who asked for advice as her husband was bullying her not to breastfeed her young baby boy and being generally threatening towarsd her and an older dd (based in same part of the world iirc and he was of a different cultural background)

BuffysMum · 12/01/2007 12:57

Lizs - yes the same one!

whatwouldjesusdo · 12/01/2007 13:08

Like Jo, I am going to take a break from MN for a bit.
Because I just found myself writing the following email:

Dear Mr x,
I would like to apply for the role of Software Development Engineer, that you advertised on Mumsnet....

OP posts:
Budababe · 12/01/2007 13:17

Yes WWJD - seems like a break might be in order.

See you in about 10 mins?

whatwouldjesusdo · 12/01/2007 13:18

lol just off to get some coffee then

OP posts:
wannaBeWhateverIWannaBe · 12/01/2007 13:22

Haven?t read all posts so apologies if repeating.

I think that one key factor in telling whether someone is genuine or not is consistency. I think that as soon as there is one bit of inconsistency that should set alarm bells ringing. In order to be a good lier you have to have a good memory, and often this is where liers trip up because they get a bit of their story wrong and that causes their downfall.

I think there?s never anything wrong with giving advice as someone else may be helped by it, but I do think that one should be very careful when considering offering practical help, i.e. somewhere to stay, to someone you?ve never met. And even if you?ve met them and others have raised concerns I think that it?s important to be on guard. Just look at how many people were taken in by that izzy woman on childmodelling and yet suspicions had been raised about her some time before the police became involved.

I have to say that I?m extremely cautious about people, especially people I?ve not had a long chat history with, I?ve been coming on the internet for about 5 years now, and I?ve talked to many, many people. I?ve only ever given out my mobile number when giving out a number, I?ve only ever given my address to two people, and that was to buy things off them, and it only happened after I?d known them for over a year.

I have to say that I do find it somewhat disturbing that people would consider breaking the law for someone they?d never met. I wouldn?t break the law for my closest friends, let alone for someone who I knew only from a chat nickname and an email address.

There are people on here I would go out of my way to help, but I?m afraid that if it was someone I knew little about I would be very cautious.

Pruni · 12/01/2007 13:28

Message withdrawn

KezzaG · 12/01/2007 13:30

I think you are right wannabe. I know when I saw her first story and I realised she was asking for help, I dont think i could have just sat there knowing that about 15 miles away from me someone was thinking of sending their dc's away and then killing themselves.

I hoped that if I was ever that desperate someone, even a stranger, would take a chance and help me.

I think my lesson learned is that it is ok to offer help, but not to let too many of my personal details be known. I have visions of her turning up on doorstep.

You live and learn eh

lulumama · 12/01/2007 13:30

how was the law going to be broken?


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Mhamai · 12/01/2007 13:32

Pruni although i agree with most off your post, I can't help but feel your comment re people not acting on advice a little back and white. Change is and can be very difficult for people and may not often happen immediatley.

KezzaG · 12/01/2007 13:32

I dont know, I was on the right side of the law at least.

Pruni · 12/01/2007 13:36

Message withdrawn

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