Online parenting groups are particularly toxic, as any parent that has lived through a thread on breastfeeding or sleep-training children can tell you. We’re just really attached to our notions of parenting. One group managed to succeed in spite of these hazards, only to get shipwrecked on issues of race and politics.
For about two years, though, the Longest Shortest Time Mamas Facebook group managed to defy the odds, remaining a space where people from all over the world gathered to talk about parenting without conversations immediately devolving into territorial wars or offensive remarks. People have thrown around the words “utopia,” “special,” and “sacred” to describe the group — and remember, this is Facebook we’re talking about. But this winter, after the group had ballooned to over 18,000 members, cracks started to emerge, and last week, group owner Hilary Frank — who started it to promote her Longest Shortest Time podcast — surprised members by shutting the entire thing down.
In the end, it wasn’t the “mommy wars” that shuttered the group — it was more general concerns, like race and social-justice issues. In its rise and fall, Longest Shortest Time Mamas was a reminder of how hard it is to find smart, nontoxic parenting communities online, and how crucial it is that those communities exist. (Source)
For an early example of online community implosion, see Communitree BBS
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