It's no joke....

It may have come to your attention that a thread titled ‘Bad jokes’ has been removed. There was a reasonable probability that any member of the public may have chanced upon this thread.

  • A number of jokes in that thread may have led to the MS Society attracting unwanted publicity.

  • This is a reality- whether you agree with the principle or not. Damage to the reputation of the MS Society could prove ruinous.

In our Terms of Use:

‘You agree not to participate in any mischievous or malicious behaviour which causes damage or may cause damage to the MS Society or the Website, or any of the computer systems upon which the Website relies.

We may from time to time also edit or remove posts which are contrary to these Terms of Use or not constructive to the overall purpose of the MS Society’

People are free to private message jokes or share them via Facebook or other forums. The problem lies in posting a potentially offensive joke, on a public forum on the MS Society website.

We aim for the MS Society forum to be seen as a welcoming, friendly, supportive place to all. If one person, who’s new to the forums feels intimidated, upset or offended by a joke or comment on the forum, then we have failed as an organisation and as a community.

If you see a joke or a comment that leaves you uncomfortable, or suspect may not present the MS Society in its best light, please don’t hesitate in reporting it.

I hope you understand and will work with us on this. As you know these forums are a brilliant space of support, information and shared understanding. It would serve us all best if we could keep them that way.

Best wishes Stewart (admin)


With all due respect Stewart, it took you a long time to decide that.

We could have easily removed the individual jokes. There were plenty of harmless and funny jokes, equal to the Christmas avatar thread that you and Val were happy to contribute to.

Very odd

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Have to agree Blossom. Very disappointing. Thanks for the laughter you bring to me in your threads. Personally, they have really helped me cope with my MS symptoms on my very bad days, of which there have been many over the past 6 months.

Shazzie xx

Your more than welcome Shazzie.

We are very short on resources. In fact, staffing wise, the forums are in crisis. We should have at least four moderators and we only have one.

My role at the MS Society involves other tasks other than managing the forums; editing and publishing branch newsletters, phone enquiries re: technical problems, responding to despairing messages on Twitter, campaigning to other departments for the need to keep this forum, attending meetings re: future fundraising campaigns.

Dealing with this issue, again, I might add, involves speaking with other members of staff, discussing the issues at hand, responding to PMs from people who’re upset, managing and dealing with ‘reported posts’, discussing the issue with moderators and eventually writing a statement about why the thread had to be closed. So, no, this is not an example of ‘odd’ behaviour - merely somebody doing their job thoroughly and prioritising the important issues.

This takes time. This takes resources. Some might say it’s an waste of time, especially as that time could be spent doing something other than monitoring every joke that’s posted on the forum.

It might be fun for a handful of people posting jokes- but every time this occurs, it’s a nightmare for staff.

Nobody is taking away anybody’s laughter. You can send potentially offensive jokes to each other via private message- that way you can make each other laugh- and not offend anyone- OR bring the MS Society into disrepute.

What you don’t know about my role is that every day, I’m fighting to keep this forum functioning, valid and alive. It’s a constant battle and getting more resources for it is very challenging.

This sort of incident makes the future of the forum less stable. It also makes my job (and Val and Steph’s) three times as hard.

It would be helpful for this community and for the future of this forum if regulars were to support us in our efforts to keep this forum a welcoming, friendly and safe place.

Best wishes

Stewart (admin)


We will have to agree to disagree on this occasion and move on. I’m done with this subject.



Not sure why this is down on general thread. What have I done wrong now


Thank you for being so frank, Stewart. It really helps to be reminded of all the work that goes into keeping the wonderful resource of this forum afloat. Also, how we can all help by being aware of the things that make your life more difficult than it needs to be.

Thanks, as ever, to you and your colleagues for making it all happen for us.



They only thing I was disagreeing with, was coming on the forum and missing that the thread had been taken down and why.

Plus the stress of answering private messages explaining this to guys who had also missed it.

My daft mistake for not explaining it right.

I have always appreciated how hard admin work and have a lot of respect for them


I have long felt uncomfortable with some of the jokes posted on this forum and have voiced my concern in the past.

I am not a kill joy, in fact anybody that knows me personally, knows that I have a wicked, irreverent sense of humour. However I am aware that not everybody shares that sense of humour and I share ‘jokes’ privately.

Personally, I am heartened to see the Society taking a stand on this issue.

Thank you Stewart for all your efforts to keep this forum open, it certainly helped me in those early dark days post diagnosis.



It’s because it was removed from being a ‘sticky’.



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I feel the same, Anne. In fact, sometimes I’m uncomfortable with a thread of 200+ posts on “jokes”, regardless of content.

Some people come here feeling devastated, thinking that their lives are over. Then they see one of the “top” threads is 100s of jokes.

I DO agree about laughter being good medicine etc, but if I were suicidal after diagnosis or a terrible relapse, and looking for support, I’d feel I’m probably not going to be on the same wavelength with people posting hundreds of jokes - or certainly not in the mood for it.

However reassuring it might be to see that there IS life after diagnosis, and diagnosed people are larking about, I’m not sure I’d quite see it that way if I came here feeling absolutely desperate.



Dear Admins, your power is absolute and so it should be.

I hope you will continue to ‘sacrifice’ any post, thread or even contributor, if it persistently threatens to undermine the reputation and or credibility of the entity represented by the banner at the top of each page.

A strong force is needed to police forums open to public contribution and scrutiny and it is often a thankless task given to woefully too few individuals. I am grateful for what you do and also for the fact that thus far, i seem able to ‘toe the line’ and not incur your wrath.


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