How very very odd. You’ll find a link to an ongoing discussion on the mumsnet forum in this previous blog post. The thread has seen several posts to it deleted. So far as I can see the deleted threads don’t slander/libel, defame or cause undue offense. One of them points out that other threads carrying opinion critical of Steiner/Anthroposophy have seen similar deletions or even the entire thread or threads being deleted.
In another recently started mumsnet thread covering Steiner issues a poster considered that the posts deleted from the mega-thread – the 1000 post thread – had been deleted because mumsnet deemed them possibly libellous.
The deleted posts can be found below. They’re out of context of course but there aren’t very many to wade through so do have a peek. I think it’s a more or less complete record; only one post cannot as yet be retrieved and I’ll post that up as and when it comes to hand. You’ll notice that most of the deleted posts contain links to websites or blogs carrying opinion critical of Steiner/Anthroposophy. The first one, below, points to websites too but maybe the ‘possibly’ libellous content in it could be mention of either the Ladybird books or the Oxford Reading Tree? I really don’t know what the story is here but if any of you can show to me that any of the deleted posts are libellous then let me know and I’ll remove them from the blog.
Just for the record, here’s the now deleted posts from the original mumsnet mega- thread:
Mumsnet thread Steiner Waldorf spring 2009
Messages that have been deleted by MN staff between April 23 and April 28
TheRationalist Tue 10-Mar-09 15:17:11:
>>Disenchantedgnomie, you are not alone [smile]
With regard to reading I would recommend the rather lovely and old fashioned ladybird books, (Peter and Jane), they are very gentle, dc2 who was really struggling with the awful Oxford Reading Tree loves them.
there are many websites that can help you and your daughter:
Plans (US) [link http://www.waldorfcritics.org]
Easeonline (UK) [www.easonline.org]
Chase (UK) [www.chaseuk.info]
waldorf problems [www.waldorf-problems.com]<<
TheRationalist Tue 10-Mar-09 15:29:10:
>>AMuminScotland, yes the very act of trying to silence a parents forum is incredible unless they have something to hide.
If anyone is wondering where TheBee is…
Strangely the thread the blogger originally refers to has been deleted, along with threads at wikipedia, mothering.com, TES and the BBC. <<
Northernrefugee39 Wed 18-Mar-09 08:31:58:
>>Captain- [grin]- Love it…
Anyone with any doubts about anthroposophy’s role in steiner education, this blog post from a few days ago is
Steiner education = Anthroposophical education, official
SENSESofTOUCH Fri 20-mar-09 20:18:18:
>>My daughter has just left a Steiner School. My son had a fantastic experience there, but my daughter’s ended in disaster really, with serious failings in the protection of a child (not mine). And if you attempt to criticise them, or even try and dicuss concerns the school turn on you.
At the same time as we left, another family left as they felt there daughter was being bullied by the kg teacher. When they took this to the trustee’s, they feel they were bullied further, as the trustees attempted to make any idea of bullying appear as the parent’s lack of understanding of the Steiner method.
Since all this I have discovered ‘Waldorf Critics’ aka PLANS. A very interesting site to google if you want more info. Lots of stories that are vey similar to mine. And interesting facts about Rudolph Steiner’s racist, narrow minded, views, that actually explain a lot of what gpes on in Steiner Schools…somewhat worrying.
And this [http://waldorf-problems.com/] site is a collection of essays written about Steiner, after the authors own rather hellish experiences. The ‘not really human girl’ part, really makes me shudder!
This is not to say there are not many things in Steiner ed that I think are a better approach than mainstream ^for some children^. <<
Dilemma456 Sun 22-Mar-09 13:55:25:
>>I was wondering about the obession with gnomes in this thread
Barking Sun 22-Mar-09 20:34:59:
>>ra29needsabettername, you will not get much sense out of Isenhart as she is a defender of the faith. You will find her on the old Steiner threads last year, I think there were about 4000+ posts in the end.
She usually speaks in riddles but I suspect she is being advised offline by Sune Nordwall (Thebee, who was banned on here) and Jeremy Smith, the communications officer for the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (probably too terrified of posting) to try and inhabit the talking style of the other mothers and try to appear normal….
Here is a rough guide to antho babble which is why the LEA isn’t aware. Yet.
Wilderduck April 10, 20:50:45 [message deleted prior to April 23]
(can’t find the original post as yet, will have to check my backup discs, Mike Collins)
Update May4th 2009
I have no record of the missing deleted post. However, in a previous and similar scenario of deleted Steiner related discussions and posts a mumsnet administrator explained mumsnet‘s actions. I quote the explanation in full as a comment to this post and will leave it at that; no need to get bogged down in this, most of the deleted posts are here for the record and as stated will be removed if they can be shown to be libellous.
Maybe these defenders of anthroposophy think that calling waldorf/steiner anthroposophical is some kind of insult and offensive. It always amazes me that anthroposophists seem to see something sinister in their own connection to their belief system. Do we libel them simply because we say that waldorf is an anthroposophical enterprise? Why is the mentioning of anthroposophy such an issue? Why aren’t they proud of the philosophy that they mean has inspired so many great things, e g waldorf/steiner? It’s like anthroposophy is some kind of weird porn. Like porn viewers, anthroposophists don’t even want to admit they enjoy anthroposophy.
The only difference is they claim the things they do benefit people, so why is it so shameful? I don’t understand it.
One of the posts said that steiner/waldorf is anthroposophy. It *is* anthroposophy. Anthroposophy is its reason for being–if we digg deeply, its the only one. Why is that causing offence to anthroposophists and waldorf defenders?
In a previous and similar scenario of deleted Steiner related discussions and posts a mumsnet administrator explained mumsnet’s actions. Here’s a link to the thread where the explanation can be found http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/1374/562904
but I give the explanation below for those that can’t be bothered to wade through the thread to find it:
So here’s the situation. As the law stands Mumsnet is viewed as the publisher of what you write. Right now there is nothing we can do to transfer the liability even if you would like to carry that liability as individuals. This is something we’ve written on and are campaigning against – (The Tories seem quite interested in doing something about it which is good.)
For a while now there has been a vociferous debate between 2 groups – pro-and anti-steiner – on Mumsnet, which as many have pointed out has often been a circular one. Consequently we took a decision after trawling through the reported posts in our inbox on an almost daily basis to ban those whose only purpose on Mumsnet seemed to be to conduct a pro-or-anti steiner crusade i.e. they didn’t contribute to any other threads and they regularly posted with fairly dogmatic/extreme views on the issue.
We still find our inbox filled with reported posts and have received a fair few threats of legal action too. Here’s the sort of mail we are getting:
“If I see her posting promotion of libel at Mumsnet once more, I won’t
tell you about it, but ask Percy Bratt of Bratt and Feinsilber in Sweden
to contact you in cooperation with the legal representatives of The
Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship in the UK and Ireland
(http://www.steinerwaldorf.org/index.html), about your negligent
way of allowing libel to be published at Mumsnet and the one who is the
most fervent publisher of it to continue to publish at Mumsnet.”
Some of the pro-Steiner group on the other hand have suggested that they will sue us for removing material and started a Yahoo group suggesting that our over-reaction is as a result of my PMT shock – do men still think this stuff?
So you can see it’s all very wearing. We have no wish to engage in correspondence with Percy Bratt. Experience tells us that even if you think you’re on the side of common sense it can still cost you a lot of time and money!
What’s more, as we’ve said a few times we have no idea of the writes and wrongs of the argument. And though we are reluctant and saddened to stop folks having a voice on any issue, as the law stands we – Mumsnet – are legally liable for what is said on Mumsnet. So the upshot is we cannot allow posts that are reported as being defamatory to stand. Even if they might be true – which is of course a defence – but one that we can not be sure of.
We’ve suggested to the anti-Steiner group that they start their own forum. They are clearly very certain of the validity of their position and therefore presumably would be happy to fight any ensuing legal battles – in fact in their position I’d imagine they’d been jumping over themselves to have a high-profile court case if what they say is true, is indeed true.
Similarly we’ve suggested that the pro-Steiner lot follow up their complaints with the individuals involved rather than Mumsnet but again they seem reluctant.
So all in all allowing this discussion to take place on Mumsnet is/has taken up an inordinate amount of time and is without question ill-advised from a legal perspective.
So I’m afraid I think the time has indeed come to “shut it down”. Our previous legal encounter seemed a cause worth risking the Towers for but given that we don’t even know the rights and wrongs of this debate and that most Mumsnetters are not engaged in it, we think this is a fight to take elsewhere.
More ongoing discussions here on the back of Michael Gove promising Steiner schools state funding: