Is It Just Me: Thinking Mumsnet Brought the DadSec Attack On Itself?

I think its pretty standard knowledge that I’m no fan of Mumsnet or it’s bullying practices and members.

Even I was slightly shocked by DadSec hacking and bringing the site down, as well as “swatting” Justine Roberts and another member.

“Swatting” is a mostly American practice where to be ultra snarky to someone who you aren’t a fan of, you ring in a false report on 999, then film the swat team turning up.

No one has thus far uploaded a video of such events at Justine’s house, and it’s doubtful they will if they have sense- after all the Met do tend to take a dim view of false reports ending in lots of Police with guns going for no reason to someone’s home.

My view?

Mumsnet, especially Justine as its co-founder, have to take some responsibility for the actions taken against it. I’m only surprised it’s taken this long.

The site itself may advertise itself as a friendly place for parent’s to interact and share tips. In my experience, and the experiences of others, its anything but.

Now, I’m not suggesting that all members on the site are awful, but there does seem to be a hierarchy of longer term members who are allowed to do and say what they like and not get in trouble for it. To the point where, they can happily call you terrible names, tell you you are an awful parent and be as nasty as they like.

Yet no matter how many times you appeal to their supposedly neutral moderators, you get ignored. In some cases, the moderators join in with the abuse. All whilst covering themselves with a well placed smiley emojji.

Say something back at these bullies though, and the mere second they moan to the exact same admin, you get told off in public. Argue back, and, like me, despite legitimately asking for help against a vast group who even followed me to my blog to snark, and you’ll be banished from the site without a right to reply or appeal, whilst the very nasty lot you’ve had abuse from gets free reign to slag you further and announce you a wuss for “flouncing”.

Take as well the Bounty Mutiny.

Mumsnet had no issue battering a competitor to try and rid the competition from the net.

Yet answer back and suggest they had ulterior motives for suddenly and publicly trying to remove a valid funding source for the cash strapped NHS and, you guessed it, you better have your Twitter block button on standby and prepare for yet more abuse.

I met Justine Roberts many years ago at a very early blogging conference. Back even then, in 2010. she had no issue in confirming that Mumsnet preferred the Middle class Mum to single mums on benefits or lower income parents.

I kid you not, it caused all sorts of anger in the early UK blog community.

And no surprise that the site itself may run a Blogger Community but it’s forum members actively and unashamedly slag it and bloggers to death as being interlopers.

I’m not a fan of wasting Police time, but instead of bemoaning the behavior of taking the wretched site offline, perhaps Mumsnet Towers needs to put down the Prosecco, and look within as to why they were targeted.

All the while they are so off to Dads, single parents and the poor, and belittle with glee parent’s who actually stumble on the group for advice down to love for their children, Mumsnet should prepare itself for more attempts to remove it from the net.

There are far nicer groups out there, and I think the net can do without an adult cyber bully fest.

Perhaps now they’ve had a taste of their own bitter medicine, Mumsnet can regroup and refresh it’s skewed rules and regulations.

Dadsec may be sensationalist, but it’s about time the uneducated on the ways of this self confessed viper nest asked why they were adamant that Mumsnet should be stopped?

I for one hope they do make changes.

But, as someone who spent 18 months investigating the site, I very much doubt they will.

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26 thoughts on “Is It Just Me: Thinking Mumsnet Brought the DadSec Attack On Itself?

  1. ‘I met Justine Roberts many years ago at a very early blogging conference. Back even then, in 2010. she had no issue in confirming that Mumsnet preferred the Middle class Mum to single mums on benefits or lower income parents.’

    Do you actually have a source for this as I’m finding it a little hard to believe that was exactly what she said –

    Also, ‘ and I think the net can do without an adult cyber bully fest.’

    Right, but that’s exactly what the hacker thing was. And so far I don’t think he has clearly explained his motives, so how can you assume that they are what you think?

    Honestly I can’t take this level of writing seriously, it is lazy and dull and contains no actual news or solid references to back up your claims.

    It would be better kept in your private diary than out here in the public domain, because it adds precisely nothing to the debate.

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    • And this is exactly what I’m talking about when I say about MN members coming over to make a half arsed bitchy comment. It started quite well this comment, bit of debate, no problem with that at all.
      If you look at your own chat archive, you will see a thread whereby they bitch about a fellow blogger who wrote about the incident on her blog in 2010. There was also the MN Blogfest where a group of Feminists bemoaned women who don’t go to university as unintelligent, and denounced Breastfeeding Mums too.
      The problem is, all the while MN members- again not all but some- are quite happy to make childish, and unintelligent comments about anyone who dares to suggest they are bullies and allowed to bully without facing sanction from the site itself, then you will invite the likes of these Hackers. Clearly someone is rather disgruntled with the site to do something which could, rightfully, land them in trouble with the Police? It would be the time when you would think MN members would look at the reasons for the attack and realise that they have gone too far with the bullying, and the anti everyone bar middle and upper class, uni educated feminists.
      Perhaps a public apology would be the best idea?

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  2. So what you’re basically saying is that there are some unpleasant people on MN, and that means Justine had it coming unless she apologises publicly for this?

    Right.

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    • No, not what I’m saying at all. I would like to see an end to all needless bullying, whether that be bullying on forums like MN, bullying towards teens via twitter and mobile phone apps. The site never apologises when its called out for the attitude of its members- they are happy to earn ad revenue from the members being there, but ask them to clean up the forums and eject those who deliberately scout the forums to be nasty to people and they ignore it and act like it doesn’t happen- that is certainly what happened to me.

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  3. Online forums are notorious for having a few douchebags – I don’t think mumsnet is special in this regard nor that it has any more than, say, your average subreddit or any other specialist forum. I certainly think it’s quite unfair to generalise it as a place where all the cyber bullies congregate.

    It sounds to me like you had a pretty awful experience with MN, and hey, that’s a shame. Online arguments/bullying is an unpleasant experience and as I’ve already made clear, unfortunately happens in all forums. I have yet to come across a forum anywhere that doesn’t have some drama at a time. But I’m not sure that projecting your personal experience to some mass generalisation about the type of people who frequent MN or about the attitudes of feminists towards breastfeeding is really an accurate portrayal of reality. It sucks that you’ve had experience of a small, core group of people who are dicks on the internet. But guess what, that happens everywhere. You don’t like it, don’t frequent the site, that’s your right. I frequent MN quite a bit, have managed to find myself a nice corner of MN where I avoid bun fights and have a good group of people who support me through pregnancy/parenting. That’s my personal experience. I don’t pretend that it’s everyones. To say that MN brought it on itself when you don’t really know the motivations of DadSec seems to me to just be sour grapes and you projecting your own issues onto DadSec. What DadSec did was illegal, and cruel, and I think it’s problematic to suggest that because an online forum can get a bit nasty that it’s owners deserved it.

    Btw, completely as an aside, I don’t know the history between Bounty and MN but I can tell you now I would always support any anti Bounty crusade. I know a lot of people (myself included) who had an unpleasant experience with pushy Bounty women when I was in hospital tired, deflated, and trying to feed my baby with some woman trying to get me to sign up and give my details to them. Bounty’s presence in hospitals is problematic in my view, as they are not always entirely honest about what they are taking your details for or whether you have a choice in the matter. It’s a massive invasion of privacy.

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    • Regards Bounty, I said at the time that, like any organisation, you get rotten apples, but the issue was whether anyone had reported their issue with that person to Bounty to deal with. Bounty are a source of income to the NHS- its sad that that’s the case. But as I said at the time and continue to do so, as someone who had good and bad experience of them, it would be simple to tick a yes or no box to them coming to you on your maternity notes.
      I am aware there are “dicks on the net” and not just at MN. I have previously posted about these aforementioned dicks from other sites taking photos to snark people, or blackmailing a company, or annoying half of twitter, just recently. I am not selective in my scorn, I assure you. Bullying in general is unacceptable in whatever form it takes.
      MN is far from the only site hacked in the past though, and yes, its illegal and again, I don’t condone that hacking. Or swatting. Its disgusting. I would prefer a wider campaign against bullying done in a transparent way as I myself have done in the past. I’m open on my views of it, and the hackers add nothing to the discussion by acting the way they have.
      I did say that not all of MN members are nasty, I said its a minority, but I don’t believe and I’m not the only one that MNHQ deals with each case fairly. In any situation, if you are a member of a group for a long time, you become friendly and known to the Moderators and do think this clouds judgement in some cases- it certainly did in mine.
      As I said, I hope they turn the negativity of the hack into a chance to re-evaluate their profile on the net, and to ask why it happened.

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  4. I’d be very interested in there being a ‘yes/no’ tick box to Bounty. When I had my DD two years ago there was no such box and I had some random woman open my (closed!) curtain and start trying to get me to give her my details whilst I was trying to breastfeed my child. Stressful, as you can imagine. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t have a similar ‘in your face’ approach from Bounty. Perhaps things have changed in recent years – I’m pregnant with my second so would be interested to see if their practices have improved.

    As I said in my earlier post – I get that you have had a bad experience with MN. But I do think you are generalising too much and in particular relating your own (valid) concerns about bullying to the DadSec situation which seems to be about something entirely different. DadSec’s motivations as far as I am aware have not been made clear, but I would put money on them being nothing to do with any bullying issues on the site.

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  5. Hi! An interesting point of view. This this the third time in 24 hours I’ve heard this view of mumsnet. It’s very worrying. I don’t do much with the group though I am a registered member. I had noticed the middle class element “do you allow your cleaner to use a toilet brush?” Cleaner? Ha! Do you have any links to any bullying type threads? Just because I like to see for myself really. Thanks

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      • Many educated and intelligent people have suggested MN allows certain members to be out of order. Not just me. I’m not alone in this. Just because MN members turn a blind eye to the behavior of others all the while they don’t end up on the receiving end of it, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

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  6. I’ve found that mumsnet is really supportive of the ‘poor’ and single parents. In fact there’s a major support network for both groups of people on the website.

    In fact I would probably argue that you get more support on that site if you’re in a lower income bracket – there are more of us about in that situation. And a *lot* of single mums.

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    • Certainly in my experience it was different. They were very negative of people who complained about sanctions for benefits, or banks making errors and leaving the OP with not a penny. One attack I saw was on an OP who merely asked who she could contact and what rights she had after the bank had taken out a large amount of money in error and she was hounded from the site for “begging”. There was much glee when she did leave.
      I’m of course pleased that some are able to say they have experienced a good amount of support. I don’t begrudge that at all.

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  7. I think that what you are reporting is likely in part due to confirmation bias. You thought MN was a bad place – therefore you notice the bad threads, the bad behaviour and so on more than the immense volume of good which is on there also.

    It’s impossible to label the site as a whole in terms of attitude/supportiveness/kindness.

    You can’t do it. There is an infinite mixture of people and posts on MN.

    As I said no one will take your point particularly seriously unless you can back it up with some proper data, but you seem to prefer to write unsubstantiated opinion which really means very little in real terms.

    Over and out I think.

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  8. Before I get into it, no one deserves the way they have been treated, Justine did not deserve to be harrassed which you have mentioned in your blog but seems to have been overlooked a bit by some.
    My own experience of Mumsnet has been bad, not just from bullying and trolling members but also admins who were quick to kick not quick to apologise even when given proof of their own bad behaviour.
    I believe there are a few corners of mumsnet that offer support but as I was bullied not only by members but admin at a time I was suffering from ante natal depression – apart from reaching out to someone being bullied most of my posts were asking for help in the pregnancy and depression categories – the last thing I needed was the torrent of abuse. I would have rather not had the little support I did get from the site than the abuse at a time when I couldn’t handle it.
    Someone wrote on a post today on Mumsnet (first time I’ve been back in ages) ‘if you can’t handle being called a c*nt then the internet/mumsnet is not the place for you.
    Well I for one do not tolerate being called anything derogatory by a complete stranger so I guess that summary is enough for me not to go back.
    Mumsnet is a place where like minded people go, unfortunately those like minded people don’t mind profanities and giving each other abuse, each to there own but I’m out.
    When you create a place where that is the attitude you must expect civilised society to frown on you a bit?
    I’m sorry they got hacked, I hope the members change their passwords across all sites as hackers know many people use the same passwords I hope they get everything sorted but Lazy girl is entitled to her opinion based on her own experiences. I have had similar experiences and while I don’t agree with the hacking I had no opinion of it, didn’t feel sad and that was because the admins don’t care about me so why should we care about them?

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    • Wow.
      Thank you for your comment Sadie.
      I am utterly gutted that you went onto a well known and well publicised site and received abuse not just from the usual troll members but from admins too. If admins are happy to join in with abuse, what hope is there for anyone to gain help with bullying? That to me is the main disgrace of that site. That the admins can and have been as nasty if not nastier to members based on who is being horrific to the innocent poster. I know of no other parent based website that allows its admins to troll members. I would be disgusted if any of my fellow admins on any group I co-admin behaved in that way, I would personally pull the plug on them myself from being on a site if that happened.
      I can take the swear word. I live with an Irish Londoner! But the context in which these “ladies” use it is purely for derogatory purposes.
      I feel even more strongly that, despite the gap of my being on the site being quite large, nothing has changed. You either agree with the hierarchy, or you get lynched. They must be absolutely in their element. The problem is, you cannot argue with those who are almost brainwashed into allegiance to that site. I lost count of how many times I answered that I didn’t condone the attack, I don’t post clickblait, I post opinions as I have done for ten years, and I certainly don’t do sponsored content, they still kept saying the same old rubbish. They don’t care that you say it’s false, they just want to force you into their views, even if they have to belittle you and lie.
      I merely gave an opinion on a newsworthy net based item, as I have done countless times before. They can accuse me all they like, its my blog, my space and I am just as entitled to my opinion as they are.
      Thank you for your comment Sadie, and I hope you’ve found a friendly space to talk without prejudice.

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  9. The hackers who are disgruntled with Mumsnet have been revealed as members of the misogyny forum on 4Chan. Perhaps you should educate yourself on this toxic group, and consider whether you are happy for your blog to express sympathy with these “men’s” motives. They are, by the way, linking to your blog, so you have already been co-opted into their sick little world of criminality and violent hatred towards women, and your words are being used to justify their misogynist agenda. I’m sure this was not your intention, but it does suggest that you should pause for reflection on the kind of messages you are putting out there.

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    • That’s nothing to do with me, and you’ll forgive me if I don’t ask them not to tweet my link. I merely posted an opinion, and I’m far from alone in doing so.
      I think a fair few at MN, the real troll contingent who have spent the day rounding on me on not one but two threads, should stop laying blame and making excuses. Netmums hasn’t been hacked. Nor has Bounty. Or any other parent aimed forum. The fact you are so quick to jump on me for saying “have MN ever thought perhaps the bullying has gone too far and someone has had enough” says it all.
      I have said quite clearly I don’t condone their methods. Nor do I condone the type of attitude that seems to be rife at MNHQ. Not one admin has come over to that thread and asked their members to cool it. One came on with some flip remark about someone whom I was accused (wrongly) of being.
      If members have nothing of value to add, I suggest you go back to your usual snarking at anyone who takes your fancy. And leave me to my well made opinion.

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      • Oh no, I fully didn’t expect you to ask them to remove the link. They wouldn’t listen to what a little woman had to say, and I expect you and they have more in common than you’d like to admit. I do think, though, that you need to go over your MN posts and reflect on your own behaviour which is every bit as bullying and nasty as you claim its members are. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone behave with such intransigence and lack of self-awareness on the site. I also think that you have confused bullying with people simply pointing out that they don’t agree with you and that your arguments don’t stack up.

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      • How about MN members on that thread do the same? Its fine for them to accuse me of being anti mental health problems, but then accuse my readers of having mental health issues and accuse me of being mental! And that’s not double standards?
        I fail to see what I have in common with hackers! I merely set out my view, in public and put my name to it, I am far more accountable than they are.
        I was bullied, as was Sadie who commented above, and other’s who have commented on Facebook and Twitter. There are other posts from around the time I was hounded out too. I wont apologise for having a viewpoint. I would have preferred that people would actually legally challenge MNHQ for its attitude towards the behavior that goes on at the site. I’m not them though and I’m sure they wont listen to me telling them not to do it again.

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      • How does my saying that someone needs to legally challenge change to engaging criminal acts? Are you for real?
        The thread I referred to was about 16 Kids and Counting, with 130 other comments before mine that ended with a well known troll wishing me dead! There is no justification for that. Swearing is one thing. Wishing someone dead, quite another. I was also targeted for posting about my son and his disabilities and how I could deal with his school expecting him to go swimming in January. I was a shit mother apparently for caring about him, and I should prepare to raise a wuss. He ended up leaving that school as they treated him appallingly.
        I don’t hold a grudge. I saw a piece of net related news and gave an opinion. I couldn;t give a stuff either way for MN and the rubbish that goes on there. But clearly, others have been effected by it. Does Sadie bear a grudge she should get over for backing my opinion on and giving her facts here?

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      • No, please calm down and read my post again. What it says is that you clearly believe that Mumsnet has engaged in some criminal or illegal behaviour given that you think it should be “legally challenged”. That is quite a claim, and I’d be interested to know with what charge you believe it should be legally challenged? What criminal behaviour has gone on?

        If people did say the things that you claim, then that is pretty awful. But it does not characterise Mumsnet. Trolls can be found everywhere, and so it is not surprising that some turn up on a site with 4 million users. I can’t find the threads you mention, but here is another thread about school swimming and a disabled son. It’s pretty uncontroversial, and the poster ends by thanking Mumsnetters for their “fantastic advice and support”.
        http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/special_needs/904325-School-Swimming-Lessons-and-Autism

        If I was nasty I would say that for one user to have had that support and for you to have had the very opposite reaction would mean that you had somehow bought it on yourself. But I wouldn’t. Unlike you saying that Justine et. al. bought it on themselves.

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  10. I was going to reply on the MN thread you recently posted on, but I don’t think it would go down well. From what I’ve seen, you don’t seem to have done anything wrong (I haven’t searched your posts, just read what you’ve said recently and on this blog). I think that the posters berating you for grammatical errors is appalling. They have every right to dislike your blog but there’s no need to pick on things like like that.
    To be honest I’ve been a member for a while (read more than post) and have noticed a lot of nice posters, but there is also a lot of nastiness. Maybe just the nature of an online forum.
    FWIW I like social commentary blogs so I’ll probably keep reading. 🙂

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