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Please could we have a reminder not to open threads if you think you are going to get upset!

30 replies

cali · 13/11/2008 10:37

Over the last few days, there have been several threads discussing items that have been in the news.

Several people have found these naturally upsetting and have asked for these threads to be toned down.

I feel as adults, we should be free to discuss items that are relevant at that time.

Real life is cruel sometimes and people do and will want to discuss what is happening.

I do not agree with having an enforced censorship, it is up to the individual what they read or post.

I find it far more upsetting when people start numerous threads about topics they do not know much about but think they know it all. ie breastfeeding, bottlefeeding, weaning, childcare, sleeping, working mums v stay at home mums, etc

The best thing to do is ignore and "walk" away.

OP posts:
MerlinsBeard · 13/11/2008 10:37


sorry caps stuck

cali · 13/11/2008 10:38

sorry meant titles myself

OP posts:
sunnygirl1412 · 13/11/2008 10:42

As long as it's clear from the thread title what the topic is, then it's up to the individual as to whether they open them or not.

It's like being in a bookshop - loads of books to choose from, and I know that there are some that will upset me - the 'misery' genre, some horror stories, any football books but I walk round the bookshop, looking at the titles and the section headers, and decide for myself what I will pick up, browse and possibly buy. I don't blame the authors of the books I don't like if I've decided to pick up a book I know might upset me.

NCbirdy · 13/11/2008 10:44

Opening them is not the issue, that is something we can all choose to do or nto. However, the titles are something we have no control over, we cannot choose not to see them. I am happy to ignore a thread I don't like, not post on an upsetting topic etc. However, I am not able to not see thread titles, is a bit of thought too much to ask for? Really?

cali · 13/11/2008 10:47

If thread titles are completely innocuous, then someone might inadvertently open them, not realising the true content and become distressed by then reading the thread.

If the title contained a true representation of what was being dicussed then there would be no mistaking what was going to be the topic of discussion.

OP posts:
sunnygirl1412 · 13/11/2008 10:49

You're right NCbirdy - and I've posted to that effect on the Toning down Thread Titles thread. IMO, the title has to be clear about the content without being too sensationalist - but that may be a fine line to tread.

NCbirdy · 13/11/2008 10:52

Can't a title tell you it is upsetting without saying "Hack, SLAY, RIP..." how about "Upsetting story in Manchester today, breaking news" or "Baby P trial". People will then be ale to decide wether to click or not!

There is a middle ground here!

zazen · 13/11/2008 10:52

No the titles appear in active convos - it's not a case of choosing not to click cali. The thread title is there screaming in yer face.

I vote the thread titles are toned down.
For example instead of the title being

"Little boy's eyes burned out with hot knife by crazed teenager, before he and his sister were stabbed"

It could just as easily be "Death of that little boy and girl in Nottingham"


cali · 13/11/2008 10:57

Why can't people just ignore them then?

I quickly scan the list of active convo's and do not pay much attention to those I know I do not want to read.

Some people have posted that they avoid looking at newspapers that are on display if the headlines/pictures are upsetting.

IMO photographs are far more graphic than words.

OP posts:
chocolateteapot · 13/11/2008 11:01

Cali, the difference is that when you walk past a rack of papers you know to avert your eyes, much harder to do this when the title jumps out at you in the middle of active conversations and you find that you suddenly have much more information about an situation than you wanted to have.

It doesn't take much to just give a little more consideration to thread titles, you can then say whatever you want on the thread.

NCbirdy · 13/11/2008 11:03

Cali, newspapers are on the floor as wyou walk past, you simply do not look down, it is very simple to turn you head as you walk past something.

Scanning however, does actually mean reading, all be it quickly. You cannot ignore something you have already read, for instance I learned today that something horrible happened in Manchester. I know that even though I did not open a thread, did not go to news, in fact I just scanned down active convos. I don't just know it was bad I actually know what happened. I am sickened by it and I am not in a place where can properly deal with it right now. Tonight I will be and I would have liked to have found out about this tonight, not right now!

shitehawk · 13/11/2008 11:08

I don't agree with censorship either. And if people want to discuss these things then that's fine too.

All that I would ask is that, if you expect me to ignore and walk away from something which is likely to upset me, you tone down the titles of the threads. Put what you want inside them but don't put gruesome details in the thread titles. We can't ignore those, they sit there crying out at us every time we click Active Convos.

Just a warning would do - "Child abuse case, could be upsetting". Keep the salacious stuff for inside the thread, where those who don't want graphic details shoving down their throats don't have to read it.

cali · 13/11/2008 11:10

Maybe MNHQ could have two separate active conversations then.

Or just separate "In the News" , there have been a few posters who have said that they hide this particular topic, so maybe the way to go is to click on a link and this would take you to a separate active conversation list for this topic?

Then people wouldn't be "forced" to look at items that might upset them.

OP posts:
NCbirdy · 13/11/2008 11:13

Cali, you would rather MNHQ set up two active convos (at great trouble and expense of course) than have people think about the sensitivity of thread titles before posting?

elliott · 13/11/2008 11:17

crikey. How old are we? Surely we can decide whether or not to click a title. If you are really so sensitive you can't cope with reading certain things, then hide the news topic, and don't click on any ambiguous title that might hide something awful (for example, 'OMG!!!' 'Awful news!!!' This makes me feel ' etc etc.

[tiptoes away trying not to break eggshells..]

NCbirdy · 13/11/2008 11:19

elliot, did you read the thread at all? Just a little bit? No?

cali · 13/11/2008 11:20

Maybe we should have strict rules about all thread titles then.

I do not like to see swearing in thread titles but I have never asked the OP to refrain from doing so.

My eldest dd is beginning to read and frequently looks at what I'm doing on the computer, I do not want her to be exposed to words that she does not hear in the house.

But that would be a type of censorship wouldn't it?

People were only writing what was available freely in the news, which yes you do not have to watch, but it is very difficult to avoid.

OP posts:
NCbirdy · 13/11/2008 11:20

If ambiguous titles were what we were disscussing then you would have a fair point, it isn't though so you don't.

cupsoftea · 13/11/2008 11:20

Mumsnet is not forced on people - you have to actively choose to come here unlike other media which is all around - tv, radio, newspapers even people talking whilst out & about, school gates. If you have a problem with mumsnet then I wonder how you cope in the real world?

cali · 13/11/2008 11:21

thank you elliot, my sentiments exactly!

OP posts:
NCbirdy · 13/11/2008 11:21

I manage to avoid the news at all times - except on here, the parenting forum I use weird huh?

elliott · 13/11/2008 11:22


cali · 13/11/2008 11:25

warning going to mention something upsetting.

I have 1st hand experience of dealing with child abuse cases and it is horrible, upsetting but hiding from it does not stop it happening.

Bringing it to public attention may just do something, make people aware of what to look out for etc.
If it takes an upsetting thread title to do this, then so be it.

OP posts:
NCbirdy · 13/11/2008 11:28

You seriously think "XX kills XXXX with GGGG in the GGG" is going to help stop child abuse? I mean, if that were actually true I would be out there writing them myself, but it is not.

VinegarTits · 13/11/2008 11:31

I would prefer the thread titles to say what the article is about

ie. 'baby and toddler found dead'

As just putting 'might be upsetting' could mean anything, and something that might upset one person, might not another iykwim

Title only needs to be brief, but to the point, i never read threads that have the death of a child in the title, i once went into a thread that only had 'might be upsetting' in the title and it was about the james bulger case, which is very close to home for me and i was upset for days

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