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Site Ratings and Taboo Content


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What got me interested in making this particular topic, however, is having observed how very many admins restrict such topics on their 3-3-3 sites, and yet rave about loving television shows like Game of Thrones or films like the Saw or Human Centipede series, which are just absolutely rife with scenes of gratuitous rape, violence, torture and incest. If you're okay watching that sort of television/movie content, what problem do you have with letting site members role play such content? Is the intention to gatekeep for more sensitive members? Do you feel like allowing it to be written on your site reflects badly on you? Some other reason entirely?

 

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This thread is inspired by several previous threads that have run here on the Initiative. For reference these threads are: 

 

 

To make clear - this thread isn't about ratings or how they are utilized. This thread is more to get a better idea of the thought processes behind making certain decisions about Roleplay content in regards to other forms of media entertainment. 

 

While there are sites out there who use the 3 in any level of the 123-three-point rating to mean that category is a literal  free-for-all, most have restrictions. 

 

For those not fully familiar the 123-three-point rating system is Language - Violent - Sexual content with each category rated on a 1-3 scale with 1 being most restricted and 3 being least. So in theory a 1-1-1 site would have a G to PG rating at worst, a 2-2-2 would be PG to PG-13, and a 3-3-3 would be NC-17/R at best if not outright 18+ only. 

 

In my observations the Violent and Sexual content sections are the ones most commonly labeled with exceptions, even if the site displays both as 3. Generally they're the same exceptions. 

In regards to the Violent content category, restrictions are generally along the lines of No Torture, No Gore, No Violence against Animals etc 

 

In regards to the Sexual content label restricted content is generally related to Incest, Rape, Sexual Abuse/Grooming etc. 

 

Again, this thread isn't about the ratings themselves or how they're utilized - everything mentioned above is 100% fair to restrict om a site for any reason. 

 

What got me interested in making this particular topic, however, is having observed how very many admins restrict such topics on their 3-3-3 sites, and yet rave about loving television shows like Game of Thrones or films like the Saw or Human Centipede series, which are just absolutely rife with scenes of gratuitous rape, violence, torture and incest. If you're okay watching that sort of television/movie content, what problem do you have with letting site members role play such content? Is the intention to gatekeep for more sensitive members? Do you feel like allowing it to be written on your site reflects badly on you? Some other reason entirely?

 

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Posted (edited)

for me, the ratings are more about the portrayal of actions I am willing to allow as opposed to denying the existence of the actual content. consider these two descriptions.

The bullet pierced his chest. he was bleeding heavily. He raised a hand to sniffle the bleeding. It was pretty bad. he was pretty certain that he was a goner.

spoiler is more graphically descriptive, about the most descriptive I am willing to write, and even then sparingly.

Spoiler

As the bullet pierced his chest, he could feel a bone cracking, probably a rib. Breathing was hard, so it might have hit a one of his lung. Although he tried to stop the bleeding with his hands, there was no way he could staunch it all. He fumbled at the wound, coughing up blood as he did so. Already his vision was beginning to darken. was this the end?


the difference in how things are written and in how much detail is the biggest thing that separates a 2 rating from a 3 rating to me.

I do think that I pick the rating with the member group I want to cater to in mind, but also with my tolerance level in mind. I might be fine viewing some blood and gore in a movie, but still not want to be surprised by an unexpectedly graphic description in a person's post. If I picked the movie, I'm kind of mentally ready to know what to expect. in rp though, there's a level at which I really don't know what another person will write to respond. If I set a standard for an acceptable level of description, then I also have a sure way to know when to call a time out because something is too much, and have an idea of how to tell members how to tone down graphic description without completely banning the content.

Edited by Kazetatsu
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46 minutes ago, Kazetatsu said:

the difference in how things are written and in how much detail is the biggest thing that separates a 2 rating from a 3 rating to me.

I do think that I pick the rating with the member group I want to cater to in mind, but also with my tolerance level in mind. I might be fine viewing some blood and gore in a movie, but still not want to be surprised by an unexpectedly graphic description in a person's post. If I picked the movie, I'm kind of mentally ready to know what to expect. in rp though, there's a level at which I really don't know what another person will write to respond. If I set a standard for an acceptable level of description, then I also have a sure way to know when to call a time out because something is too much, and have an idea of how to tell members how to tone down graphic description without completely banning the content.

 

To me both of those are the same thing and read at the same level of graphicness. This also isn't a discussion about ratings from what I was reading. This is more of a discussion about comfort levels of players versus the things that they watch or read on the regular.

 

I will be plainly honest I hate "disney-fying" admins. Ones that do do as the OP described. I think in some cases its a legality thing but for the most part I think it may be either willful ignorance or in the brain of the admin's that do this, either catering to an undesirable crowd that could lead to the behavior actually becoming true or be done in an OOC capacity.

 

Young adults have sex. We know this because there is a TV show called "16 and pregnant" that followed teenage pregnant girls around. 18 year olds date 14 year olds in High school, we know this because most states have a Romeo and Juliet law to safely protect the 18 year old from statutory rape accusations. The problem is that we prefer to ignore these sorts of things or gloss over them because we don't want to talk about them. Which, ironically, is a leading reason to how these issues occur. These things, in general, make people uncomfortable.

 

So to answer you question I think it is to protect the special snowflakes that get easily offended. I think its there to not show a preference for those sorts of behaviors even if its written. It feels more real when the person on the other end is real than reading it in a book. That does, on the other hand, make me wonder how Game of Thrones sites work when that is a huge thing (especially the incest).

 

For graphic violence it has made me plain stop using a character on most sites and/or made me shy away from graphically describing what she's capable of and just alluding to it being in her past even though it would be rather prevalent in her current iteration as well. I've had people drop threads because I made them uncomfortable with how insane this specific character can be and its made me pretty gun shy with her because I have been talked to by admins. Even playing it with my RP Partner I've kind of amped her down a little because it worries me that she may be too much sometimes. Mind you this woman has made a character fillet his girlfriend, had it fried up and made him eat it. I know my Partner won't mind but it is a constant measure of how beaten down I feel about being graphically specific. As a comparison people love the character that does it in Game of Thrones (the filleting thing).

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It's a 'please all' attempt for the most part... makes less waves.

 

But watching a movie or show in the comfort of your own home might be the difference. You throw other people into a role play that involves many different individuals. Certain topics and themes are things I think take a great deal of trust and maybe even bravery to explore with others in a setting where you can't always be sure the person on the other end isn't a minor. 

 

I actively write very strong content, but I do so with a group of writers that I've known for several years. We trust each other well enough to explore these themes without fear of being exploited or fear of triggering someone. 

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My RP is 18+. We don't restrict what folks can write about with the exception of any sexual encounter with any character under the age of 18. While I understand the reality that this does occur in real life, it is a fine line between legal and illegal when it comes to any depiction of child sexual abuse. I don't want my site closed or to be charged with some type of "child porn" offense. I don't think it is so much about catering to snowflakes as it is about protecting the admins. I do require trigger warnings for any rp that might involve rape, abuse, murder, suicide. Just because it is on tv that doesn't mean everyone watches it.

I know a few years ago I was scolded for not putting a trigger warning on a suicide scene - non violent. I won't forget that anytime soon.  

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We don't have limits on my site; its rated 333 and we let the members go wild within that scope. Its all about the personal comfort of the people participating  in the thread itself. Players are expected and encouraged to communicate their own limitations.

 

To that extent, we have an 'M' tag, which covers all the general mature topics. We also have a 'T' for taboo prefix, which covers topics that are known to make some of our members antsy, so that they can more easily avoid them. Primarily this is incest, but also covers the more hardcore smut threads. Both prefixed topics are hidden from public view, so guests can only read the G rated threads on our site. This is another step we've taken to make writing on the site more comfortable for our members.

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I think while it's important for members to identify their comfort levels and communicate this, I think that it is also important that there be trigger warnings. I mean, if I put in a trigger section on an app/profile that in-depth depictions of suicide trigger me, I feel that it's the writer's job to warn me what I might be reading. It's to be considerate and it's not like they have to go into lengthy detail about the TW, but just so people can be aware. When triggering content comes up, it can trigger for a number of reasons including traumatic reasons. I would feel terrible if one of my members became so triggered because another member didn't TW a thread, and ended up leaving a site. Because of this, we have more TW tags in the rules than just an [M] for everything mature. But that's just my way of running things.

 

Food for thought, members should feel safe and comfortable on a site. We're exposing ourselves and our minds through characters and interactions. I would be devastated to find out that a lack of a trigger warning is the reason a member may not feel safe or comfortable on site. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

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On 7/6/2021 at 2:24 PM, Guest Anonymous said:

house stark winter is coming GIF

This thread is inspired by several previous threads that have run here on the Initiative. For reference these threads are: 

 

 

To make clear - this thread isn't about ratings or how they are utilized. This thread is more to get a better idea of the thought processes behind making certain decisions about Roleplay content in regards to other forms of media entertainment. 

 

While there are sites out there who use the 3 in any level of the 123-three-point rating to mean that category is a literal  free-for-all, most have restrictions. 

 

For those not fully familiar the 123-three-point rating system is Language - Violent - Sexual content with each category rated on a 1-3 scale with 1 being most restricted and 3 being least. So in theory a 1-1-1 site would have a G to PG rating at worst, a 2-2-2 would be PG to PG-13, and a 3-3-3 would be NC-17/R at best if not outright 18+ only. 

 

In my observations the Violent and Sexual content sections are the ones most commonly labeled with exceptions, even if the site displays both as 3. Generally they're the same exceptions. 

In regards to the Violent content category, restrictions are generally along the lines of No Torture, No Gore, No Violence against Animals etc 

 

In regards to the Sexual content label restricted content is generally related to Incest, Rape, Sexual Abuse/Grooming etc. 

 

Again, this thread isn't about the ratings themselves or how they're utilized - everything mentioned above is 100% fair to restrict om a site for any reason. 

 

What got me interested in making this particular topic, however, is having observed how very many admins restrict such topics on their 3-3-3 sites, and yet rave about loving television shows like Game of Thrones or films like the Saw or Human Centipede series, which are just absolutely rife with scenes of gratuitous rape, violence, torture and incest. If you're okay watching that sort of television/movie content, what problem do you have with letting site members role play such content? Is the intention to gatekeep for more sensitive members? Do you feel like allowing it to be written on your site reflects badly on you? Some other reason entirely?

 

saw puppet GIF 

 

 

 

 

Hello

 

Sorry been quiet- work had me.

 

Anyway, as for ratings. Back in 2010 when we germinated into a forum the idea was to allow creativity within the 3-3-3 ( Sexual content, Violence ( within limits due to triggers for some members out of respect ) and language etc.  We ask that those threads be tagged so those who may not wish to partake can know ahead of time.

 

The only real taboo things that we request and still to this day hold are No rape threads, No Vor, No beasty stuff ( unless you are shifted and we are adults it can be done less nasty ) No children.  Other than that if someone wants to describe gore go for it- just tag the thread.

 

But in a world of adults when you need to tend the playground, you have to take things into consideration like what might trigger a member or may not be something everyone is comfortable. And we revisit to discuss it if we need to make changes. But honestly its just respect for us.

 

I don't think it reflects badly on us as a whole- its change and evolution. When I started out in RP 3-3-3 was not even a thing. So we adapt to the times and while its not for everyone we want to offer it. I do agree about watching gore and yet not wanting to read it seems weird but we are a diverse bunch after all.

Edited by DivineRabbit

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6 hours ago, rahzilla said:

I think while it's important for members to identify their comfort levels and communicate this, I think that it is also important that there be trigger warnings. I mean, if I put in a trigger section on an app/profile that in-depth depictions of suicide trigger me, I feel that it's the writer's job to warn me what I might be reading. It's to be considerate and it's not like they have to go into lengthy detail about the TW, but just so people can be aware. When triggering content comes up, it can trigger for a number of reasons including traumatic reasons. I would feel terrible if one of my members became so triggered because another member didn't TW a thread, and ended up leaving a site. Because of this, we have more TW tags in the rules than just an [M] for everything mature. But that's just my way of running things.

 

Food for thought, members should feel safe and comfortable on a site. We're exposing ourselves and our minds through characters and interactions. I would be devastated to find out that a lack of a trigger warning is the reason a member may not feel safe or comfortable on site. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

 

 

16 minutes ago, DivineRabbit said:

But in a world of adults when you need to tend the playground, you have to take things into consideration like what might trigger a member or may not be something everyone is comfortable. And we revisit to discuss it if we need to make changes. But honestly its just respect for us

 

 

So I think this would be a good completely other topic but I want to address it here.

 

Why am I responsible for someone else's mental health?

Specifically @rahzilla where you state that there is a section that people can enter this stuff and at the end of the day I'm responsible to know everyone's triggers because they listed them. Additionally, triggers and phobias are often mixed together which is inaccurate and shouldn't be. Just because someone is afraid of spiders doesn't make it a trigger.

 

My own 15 year old doesn't make her mental health issues anyone else's problem, in fact her therapist insists that she doesn't do that. She has to take responsibility for her own mental health. In this case it would mean when someone begins to read something that makes them uncomfortable or "triggered" that they stop reading it. Why am I responsible for telling them to stop reading?

 

Books don't have trigger warnings. Why does my thread have to?

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On 7/6/2021 at 3:24 PM, Guest Anonymous said:

If you're okay watching that sort of television/movie content, what problem do you have with letting site members role play such content?

 

My only issue with that sort of content is when it is a) unlabeled/untagged (people need to be able to avoid it if it's not their jam even if  the site is 3-3-3) or b) the players who are into it are aggressive about pushing it on those who aren't. 

 

How are sex & text-base roleplay similar? Informed and enthusiastic consent is important ❤️

 

1 hour ago, Morrigan said:

Books don't have trigger warnings. Why does my thread have to?

 

I don't have any triggers myself, but if I know a student does (HS English teacher), I'll check in with someone I know who's read it, hit up GoodReads, etc. before recommending a particular book to them. I absolutely agree that it is one's responsibility to monitor their limits and step out when it becomes ~iffy to them, but it's easier for them to know when it's likely to be iffy if the thread or post has a quick note. It's not your job, but it's a nice courtesy 🙂

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Actually I believe I did in a fashion however since it is brought here that it did not answer the question exactly - I edited the post.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I tend to not want to gatekeep players, so long as the players involved are all explicitly consenting to the writing together. The exception, however, is illegal material. That's about the only line I draw.

Though, to be frank, we do have respect rules, so if there's any sort of blatant bigotry or transphobia or the like, we will very likely censor that material as well just under the concept of hate speech and the comfort of our player base. 

 

The real secret to managing comfort for the players, in my experience, is just CONTENT WARNINGS. Use 'em, love 'em.

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