Question about what is appropriate to talk about on the interent? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Is it appropriate to talk about the private matters of your friends and family online?
Yes. 21 39.62%
No. 9 16.98%
Only if they asked me not to. 4 7.55%
Not if it's a serious matter, light conversatio is Ok. 19 35.85%
Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-27-2009, 02:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This has come up twice in the past few weeks (for me), where I've thought; "wow, should this really be on the internet?".

Posting things about my life and my kids and my husband are one thing, but I feel it's wrong to post about the personal details of my family/friends/co-workers/whatever. ESPECIALLY when they've confided in me.

Sure, there is a certain level of anonymity, and it might take some work to "find" who's being talked about, but think about it from the point of view of the person being talked about - would YOU like your personal information being discussed online by your family member/friend? I would not, and in fact I would loose a lot of trust for a person who takes my personal issue to the internet for discussion without my consent.

So, do you think it's appropriate to talk about your friend's and family's personal issues without their consent, especially in the case of them confiding in you? Why or why not?

Personally, I don't see why the internet is somehow exempt from matters of privacy. If someone asks me to keep something private, or it is not an otherwise public matter, I cannot fathom taking it to the internet as discussion fodder, and I tend to get fiercely protective of other people's privacy when they're not here to defend themselves (or give consent to a conversation about them).

Poll to follow...

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Old 10-27-2009, 04:06 AM
 
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For me it depends. I don't feel comfortable talking about most things related to other people I currently know, but there are times when I might do it if I am upset by the interactions and how they affect me, and am looking for feedback. But not on a giant board like this, at least not anymore. Unless it's my sister, then all bets are off.
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:59 PM
 
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I voted yes but it totally depends on the issue. Usually my gut tells me if it's really wrong to mention something online. I would certainly tell some things anonymously online that I would not share with friends irl.

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Old 10-27-2009, 02:19 PM
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I didn't vote, because I can't decide how to vote.

I think it is possible to talk about some things on the internet that you can't talk about in real life. It is possible sometimes to obscure the details so much online that no one would ever figure out who you are talking about. I've done this sort of. It wasn't exactly about privacy, because it was about a statement made in public that I wanted feedback on. But in real life, people would have asked me questions about who said it and it would have been hard to obscure it. And those real life people didn't hear the original statement, even though it was in public. So, asking about it online gave me feedback with zero chance that anyone would ever connect it to the actual person. Wow, that got convoluted.

But I also think that posting details of other people's lives without their permission can be pretty inappropriate.

I guess I think it depends. Isn't that helpful?

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Old 10-27-2009, 03:03 PM
 
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Well, I used to read a friend's blog and we had a shared friend that neither of us realized until the day I read about shared friend's marital problems on other friend's blog! She didn't mention names either but it was really obvious to me who it was about. It was a little awkward.
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Old 10-27-2009, 03:04 PM
 
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I voted 'yes', it is appropriate to discuss private matters about extended family and friends on the net.

I keep things vague. I'm the only person in my circle who uses MDC. I've found the feedback, advise and insight I've gotten from mamas here has been invaluable.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:07 PM
 
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I think it depends on the situation. Sooo many variables to consider. I usually keep it light on the internet and w/my friends. I only confide heavy stuff to my mom and to my sis (to a lesser degree).

However, I take it seriously if someone confides in me.

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Old 10-27-2009, 06:38 PM
 
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I don't really see an option I can vote for. Most things I mention about friends and family and random facts that are completely benign. When it comes to private matters I ask before I share and honour if a "no" is given.

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Old 10-27-2009, 06:53 PM
 
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When I tell someone to keep something private, I definitely wouldn't care if they anonymously talked about it online. As long as no one knows who I am, I wouldn't feel as if my privacy was being invaded.
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Old 10-27-2009, 08:11 PM
 
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I wouldn't post specific details, especially if someone confided in me. I do post about real life stuff, but generally in a pretty vague fashion. I won't talk about marital issues on a public forum, either...although I do discuss some of the crap that went down with my ex when building background in PaP.

I've said a few negative things about someone I know irl. I think she may have read them, because she seems to have an issue with me. However, it might be because of something else, and I just can't be bothered to worry about it, anyway.

ETA: For my own part, I don't care if people post about my life, if the people reading it can't tell it's me they're talking about. (I know I've got one relative who has used my own posts against me in my real life - wouldn't surprise me at all if she badmouths me to strangers. I've also got a few people online who can't stand me (well, I did - they may have moved on). That bothers me, because at least one of them does know who I actually am, but there's nothing I can do about it, so I prefer to avoid dwelling on it, yk?) If my sister is venting somewhere about how dh and I have weird taste in toys or she thinks I'm a "whatever" parent, that's okay - as long as nobody knows who I am.

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Old 10-27-2009, 08:44 PM
 
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Well, assuming it's done in a way that preserves my anonymity I guess I'm OK with it. It's certainly better than talking to someone IRL where they might know me.

Situations I often see that seem fine to me:
- My best friend is pg but not sharing the news with anyone else yet but I'm so excited I just have to share!
- I have a delicate family situation and I need advice on how to handle it
- My parents/in-laws/neighbors are nuts and I need to vent

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Old 10-27-2009, 09:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post
I voted 'yes', it is appropriate to discuss private matters about extended family and friends on the net.

I keep things vague. I'm the only person in my circle who uses MDC. I've found the feedback, advise and insight I've gotten from mamas here has been invaluable.
I agree. I never understand when people do the whole "Gee, I'm sure your [family member] would just be thrilled to know you're discussing her private life here" thing. I don't really see discussing an anonymous situation as gossiping. It's interesting to discuss certain topics with people with a wide variety of experiences/viewpoints/etc., and in most cases the discussion becomes philosophical (rather than specific to the OP) fairly quickly.

It's like if you're talking to a physician at a dinner party and she describes an interesting case she's treating. It doesn't breach the patient's confidentiality unless she uses the patient's name or gives identifying details. But to discuss a situation in general, as a catalyst for interesting discussion? No big deal.

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Old 10-27-2009, 09:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post

It's like if you're talking to a physician at a dinner party and she describes an interesting case she's treating. It doesn't breach the patient's confidentiality unless she uses the patient's name or gives identifying details. But to discuss a situation in general, as a catalyst for interesting discussion? No big deal.
right. this was similar to my thought process with regards to the poll. My mom discusses births with me, even sometimes personal information regarding her client/patient. BUT, it would be an entirely different thing if say, she mentioned the names, and it was someone I knew (which, she does assist births of women I know.)

it's all very hypothetical, unless you get super detailed and throw out names, hospitals, etc.

I don't see the big deal, really.

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Old 10-27-2009, 09:30 PM
 
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If I were posting names and addresses, no. Otherwise, sure, private stuff in a non-identifying manner is fine.
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