Thursday, August 10, 2006

Gina Ford vs Mumsnet cont.

Just catching up on this story today, and it strikes me as increasingly bizarre.

I find the language used in Gina Ford's statement somewhat confusing. It describes what I would call posts or comments as publications. This is probably completely legally correct; but to my mind, it suggests an article or feature rather than the off-the-cuff conversational chatter of a forum.

And what was described as Mumnet "publishing an item which compared me with terrorists in the Middle East" would appear to have been a user's comment (see Mumsnet's response as I'm too wussy to write it here :D). It was a very silly remark and surely, obviously, not a serious accusation that Ms Ford would do such a thing or that she was involved in terrorism? I don't think anyone reading it would have considered it a real possibility, more that it was a joke at Ms Ford's expense.

Not nice to be on the receiving end of, clearly, but not what I would view as defamation of character.

And again, the wording of "publishing an item" conveys an idea of an article or feature, to me, rather than a comment in an on-line discussion. It's probably a perfectly legitimate use of language, but it seems like a bit of an over-statement. I expect it's legalese. :)

I don't think Mumsnet are doing themselves any favours by publishing the entirety of the poster responsible's 'apology', as it is clearly sarcastic 8). I think they'd be better taking a more conciliatory tack.

But I can see why this situation seems deserving of ridicule.

Perhaps it does take lawyers to get things done. Perhaps from Ms Ford's perspective, Mumsnet weren't doing enough, or not doing it fast enough, and once the legal stuff starts happening it doesn't necessarily lead where you'd expect.

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