'Policing benefit bashing in the forum: valid debate or hate crime?' blog discussion

This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.

Please click reply to discuss below.
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  • Oneday77Oneday77 Forumite
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    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
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    There has been a lot of abuse on various threads on the Forum as of late. Benefits are just one example of where people get things out of proportion. I agree with Martin's blog it isn't easy to police it and they need to hear of abuse reports to spot the issues.

    I would suggets that the method of reporting is changed though. If you don't use an email client clicking on the report button tries to open a mail client for you. Can you not change it to take you to a prefilled forum post with the reported post, you user name and space to comment?

    The Debt Free Wanabee board lost one of it's best posters a few weeks ago due to abuse both publicly and by PMs. This needs to be stamped out.
    New PV club member. 3.99kW system. Solar Edge with 14 x 285W JA Solar panels. 55° West from south and 35° pitch.
  • Edinburghlass_2Edinburghlass_2 Forumite
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    You'll find if you press the abuse button now, you can do it on my post if you like, that it will open up a pre-populated form for reporting abuse.
  • NASA_2NASA_2 Forumite
    5.6K Posts
    I took part in the thread that started this whole kerfuffle* and think it has been blown totally out of proportion.

    One user, a serial wind-up merchant (Some would say troll - I personally think there is a subtle difference), make a few outlandish statements and another user (Who continusously defends the rights of everyone under the sun being allowed to claim benefits) took the bait.

    Messageboards are always goint to bring this kind of behaviour. Every forum has it in its own way. Football, politics etc.
  • NASA wrote: »
    I took part in the thread that started this whole kerfuffle* and think it has been blown totally out of proportion.

    One user, a serial wind-up merchant (Some would say troll - I personally think there is a subtle difference), make a few outlandish statements and another user (Who continusously defends the rights of everyone under the sun being allowed to claim benefits) took the bait.

    Messageboards are always goint to bring this kind of behaviour. Every forum has it in its own way. Football, politics etc.
    But this is not a forum on football or politics, while a broad church, it hosts boards of the most desperate of society, and the most vulnerable, a fact Martin acknowledges, but replies,’ well they should not post here'
    For the same reason you give.

    Then in the next breath boasting it’s the 10th biggest uk forum, which is the problem, it can not be ‘policed’ but is a magnet to those that need it, but are not strong enough to use it safely.

    Yet do the vulnerable and desperate head that warning, no, the bit that amazes me is that Martin expects them too.

    This place has the best of humanity, and the worst, one attracts the needy while the other destroys, I am just amazed Martin has got away with it as long as he has, without something really bad happening, yet what is he supposed to do? Pull the plug? That just leaves no where to turn.

    I have had this discussion with Martin, many times, and I accept the legal issues, but it’s the attitude of the likes of you that it is just an internet forum, it happens, so that ok that’s the problem!
  • edited 2 August 2010 at 7:17PM
    John_PierpointJohn_Pierpoint Forumite
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    edited 2 August 2010 at 7:17PM
    If you are attacked and abused - leave the keyboard and have a cup of tea.
    Then return and look up all the other postings by your attacker - if they are regularly raving on about something without bothering to do any factual research - simply ignore them for the "ignorant" people they must be.
    If you seem to be their only victim have a look at yourself in the mirror and see if the cap fits.
    Also have a look at the day of the week and the time - beware of alcohol fuelled postings in the early hours of Saturday & Sunday.

    Personally I think it is unforgivable to attack a posting asking for advice when the OP is obviously in current financial distress.

    However if someone posts something on the lines of:
    We took out a Northern Wreck mortgage for 135% of value, 'cos we also needed a new car, guaranteed to be no more than 1% over base rate for the first 4 years and in September we will have to switch to the standard variable rate. We have tried to switch and nobody will accept us. This bank is now owned by the Government and they owe us a duty of care...................
    Don't expect us other long suffering tax payers, who re-financed your bank, thus stopping you being thrown out on the street by the liquidator, to be terribly sympathetic.
    Something about making beds and lying on them come to mind.
  • Martin? Are you reading this?

    The problem with the "benefits" board is :

    1) the advice on how to commit fraud
    2) the ethics involved.

    The board has become a magnet for people who want to know how to get out of "new deal" or how to inflate their illness on a form to get benefits.

    We have had recent examples of people wanting to move out of living with their terminally ill mother because it gets them £50 a week more. Other examples of how people can do most things we all do (evident from their post history) and then claim they have "stress" to get out of job interviews, and ask advice over it.

    Whenever this is pointed out the usual accusations come.

    I called the lady who wanted to move out of her mothers (who she cares for, loves and wants to be with her) but is moving for £50 a week, a "vulgar" decision. I got "carded" for this.

    The point is, and what infuriates the regular knoweldgable helpers on those board, for free, to make MSE the success it is, is that fraud or advice on how to commit fraud is largely left alone. Yes there is the abuse email, but because the board is busy and a success usually people get the advice on fraud before the thread is closed/deleted.

    As an example there is a person who regularly posts there (regulars know the user as Bootybabe etc) who regularly registers new accounts and posts. Whats happening with this?

    I see you Martin on TV, hear you on radio giving excellent advice on moneysaving, highlighting peoples rights and the bad practice of banks etc, then I come to your forum and see people also getting advice on how to claim "single" benefits whilst having partners. This all goes allowed, its only a matter of time before you are challenged on this on-air or otherwise.

    So while the regulars will fall into line no doubt, lets rememeber thats its the duty of everyone to challenge fraud wherever it happens, even MSE. I am sure that the law of the land outstrips the rules of MSE if its done in an appropriate way.

    Vader
  • Don't expect us other long suffering tax payers, who re-financed your bank, thus stopping you being thrown out on the street by the liquidator, to be terribly sympathetic.

    :rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:

    Do you want to try that bit again so it actually reflects real life?:p
  • MSE_MartinMSE_Martin MoneySaving Expert
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    But this is not a forum on football or politics, while a broad church, it hosts boards of the most desperate of society, and the most vulnerable, a fact Martin acknowledges, but replies,’ well they should not post here'
    For the same reason you give.

    Im not sure why you say that - its certainly not my view. Vulnerable people should be able to post here. Yet if you can't engage with people with a different viewpoint you shouldn't be in the discussion boards.

    The MoneySAving boards are different (and they are 95% of the boards) there the aim is to help each other.

    Yet we need to accept sometimes some nasty people will post horrid things that can hurt the vulnerable - and we can't premoderate the 10,000s posts a week - so there will be times when there's something nasty on the site - until someone reports it and then the abuse team get back to it.

    Sadly there is nothing we can do to stop that.
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
    Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.
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  • NASA_2NASA_2 Forumite
    5.6K Posts
    But this is not a forum on football or politics, while a broad church, it hosts boards of the most desperate of society, and the most vulnerable, a fact Martin acknowledges, but replies,’ well they should not post here'
    For the same reason you give.

    I have had this discussion with Martin, many times, and I accept the legal issues, but it’s the attitude of the likes of you that it is just an internet forum, it happens, so that ok that’s the problem!
    I'm a member of another message board where people have serious mental health problems (Not all of them but certainly some). It's a support and advice board. Designed to look out for people with mental health issues.

    MSE is not that kind of board. MSE is about maximising income, minimising expenditure and trying to get the best value for money.

    While its not quite 'anything goes' in Discussion Time it is not the same IMO.

    Another thing, pretty much every board I have been on, and its a few, people end up saying that things have never been worse, we have hit a new low. I dont see it that way at all.

    This is the internet and people need to have a thick skin. Wishface repeatedly went to the threads that were going to wind him up. Why do that?
  • edited 2 August 2010 at 7:44PM
    NEHNEH Forumite
    2.5K Posts
    edited 2 August 2010 at 7:44PM
    There has been more benefit bashing of late and it has become more personal over hte last few months. I remember one thread, someone speaking out about benefits actually went into some of the mebers profiles and had a look at how often they posted in order to score points...

    I appreciate that is is on the discussion boards but it has got quite vicious at times but i accept that it is a public forum and and that if people don't like it then they have to walk away. People in real life get a hard time and they do so on here if they are on benefits but that's people's attitudes and something we can't change, it is a ignorant attitude to take but there is no re educating some people that there are genuine people in need of benefits. Some people won't accept that no matter what and they will post such drivel and even go as far to say it would never happen to them but one day it just might and then they'll be returning to this forum for a whole different purpose.

    I wish it could be controlled or at least some of the comments curtailed but it's a reflection of real life sadly and being long term ill i haven't the energy to re educate some of the masses...
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