Jump to content
The Initiative's 2018 Roleplay Community Awards Read more... ×
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
  • Sign Up
Dragon

 Membership Trigger Warnings - The Discussion

Recommended Posts

So we've had a poll on trigger warnings sitting about for a good bit now. 

 

 

So, as a player do you appreciate or despise trigger warnings? What's your reason? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We use trigger warnings on my games.

 

My games have a lot of dark themes (especially RotE) and explore a lot of complex and often really triggery issues. I write about those issues myself--very often, actually, and I play with people who also like exploring those themes. But I realize that just because someone is okay with exploring and reading about some mature and triggery subjects doesn't mean they are okay with all of it. They may be okay with graphic murder and -isms, may be okay with domestic abuse and suicide, but maybe rape isn't something they can handle, or it's something they need to be in the right headspace for?

 

That's what they're for. Because my games don't just have players, but we have a lot of lurkers and readers, too. And most of our players also read threads they aren't participants of, just because they like knowing what's going on and enjoy the plots of other people. So it's basically just a tool to give people what they need to look out for themselves.

 

Like, I don't like to stumble upon rape scenes--if I'm not in the right headspace, it can fuck me up. And TWs are a tool I can use to make conscious decisions about what content I consume. Because I can handle that stuff fine if I'm in a good headspace--I write about that stuff because it's cathartic for me! But I need a moment to check in with myself before I read it to make sure I'm in a good spot. If I am, it's no problem, and the TW gives me that moment of preparation, so I can make a conscious decision to proceed or not.

 

That's how I view them--as a tool. Now, if someone goes in and reads a thread that has a TW and gets triggered anyway, that's on them. It's no one's fault, really--there have been times when I thought I could handle something, and it turned out I couldn't. Sucks! But it's not THEIR fault, and I don't blame anyone for it. Shit happens. But the warning was still in place, and it still gave me the opportunity to make a conscious choice, and that's what I appreciate. But, again, it's a tool. It's possible to abuse a tool--people can use a hammer to commit murder, and they can use TWs to attack people. Not the tool's fault. It's just up to the community.

 

Now, I definitely don't agree with TWs being used as a tool of control or intimidation, or as an excuse to make one's mental health someone else's problem. As someone with mental health issues, I hate that shit. And we've actually kicked someone out for doing exactly that (making their mental health everyone else's problem and lashing out at people for it) because a.) that's totally fucked up and b.) it was stressing everyone out and affecting the mental health of those people who also have issues, but are responsible and reasonable about it. We don't tolerate that. But that is something that, so far, I've only dealt with once, and it was shut down fast. In my experience, most people are responsible about it. But I guess it also depends on your community. Mine tend to attract an older crowd.

 

As for what triggers to pick...we just do the big ones: rape/sexual assault, abuse, suicide, self-harm, graphic violence. If someone has a more niche trigger, like idk cats, then that is 100% on them. I can warn for the big stuff that I know affects a wide swathe of people, but I can't demand everyone warn for everything. Of course, if one of my partners has a cat trigger, I won't include cats in our threads. It's not on me to judge the trigger. They probably have a legit reason for it, and it's not my business. I have a really stupid seeming trigger that is uncommon (and, thankfully, difficult to stumble upon) but the reason behind it is real and messed up.

 

Buuut most people with niche triggers like that realize they are niche and are reasonable about it. Because they know. The people who aren't reasonable, well, their trauma is not an excuse to lash out at other people and they will be handled accordingly.

 

That said, I disagree that these things aren't used in movies and shows. They are!

 

screen-shot-2016-08-20-at-7-23-26-pm.png

980x.png

 

They have them on the backs of video games, too. And I'd love if more shows and movies had specific ones! Because it can be exhausting having to do a bunch of research before you just watch a damned show. Obviously, if it's a violent thing, I would check, but for something seemingly innocuous and harmless I might not think to. I recently saw a movie with my fiance that, from the preview and description, looked like a comedy. Surprise! The whole catalyst for the movie was a gang rape, and there was no indication from any of the trailers or anything that such a scene or theme was featured! That fucked me up. If we had known that in advance, my fiance would have checked with me before suggesting it, and I could have gone in prepared--or, if I knew I wasn't in a good spot, we could have picked something else.

 

ALL THAT SAID, I don't care what people choose to do or not do on their own games. I won't join games that don't use TWs, and I don't expect people who dislike TWs to join my games. Again, they're just a tool. And their inclusion and non-inclusion can also be a tool to help people choose sites in the first place.

  • Agree 1
  • Disagree 1
  • Thank you 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there really is a lot of confusion out there about triggers, and this confusion can lead to misuse which in turn leads to desensitization and disbelief of those who say they need a warning. It's an unfortunate cycle that hurts those people who could actually benefit from trigger warnings.


I've seen a lot of disbelief over triggers when the trigger is something mundane. Like someone sincerely says "I'm triggered by Taylor Swift". Maybe they were in a store that got robbed at gunpoint, and the radio was playing Taylor Swift at the time so they panic when they hear her voice. It's a real thing that happens. But sometimes people hear a trigger like that and their response is "wtf?". I'll be honest with you, I am one of those people. My knee-jerk reaction without knowing the backstory would be wtf or to think that they were joking.


On the other side of things, though, I have also seen the term thrown around when, after hearing the person talk further about their issue, I really don't think it's a trigger at all. I think what those people are mistaking as triggers are actually just boundaries they didn't know how to otherwise enforce.  If I feel like I'm venturing into territory that I'm uncomfortable bringing into RP, I bring it up with my writing partners. If I feel like it's the writing partner that's going to be the problem or I don't know the writing partner well, I usually just tell them that I don't write the subject period. But if I were younger and less experienced in knowing how to communicate any of that, I could absolutely see myself saying that I needed a trigger warning for certain things. It's a quick, easy, universally understood way to enforce an RP boundary over the internet.


There's a time and a place to work through triggers, but it isn't on my timeline or at my discretion as to how someone else works through their shit. I would prefer to extend kindness to someone who says they need a trigger warning.


I'm not saying I would go above and beyond. I wouldn't join a site that has 100 required trigger warnings, or let people verbally abuse me for missing a trigger warning. Not at all, that's ridiculous. But if I can generally help someone feel safe in an RP group and enjoy engaging in the hobby by writing "TW: ___" in the subject of my thread, why not? That seems like such a small thing on my part.

  • Agree 3
  • Preach it! 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't require them, don't use them, and generally won't. If someone I'm rping with uses them in the thread title, whatever. It's not affecting me. But I will not join a site that has 20 different mandatory triggers for every little thing. If someone has a serious mental health issue and actually needs them, it's at their discretion. It's up to them to deal with their issues and not me, a random stranger on the internet. They are the ones affected by it, and their mental state is not my responsibility.

 

There are real triggers for people, sure (Fireworks for many veterans, for example, or being grabbed unexpectedly for someone who may have been assaulted) But the vast majority of people I see using them online are of the second sort that @firefly mentioned.  I'm not going to read over my post 10 times just to make sure that each and every thing that could possibly be a trigger to someone is in the title/description of the topic, especially not if the topic isn't even for them in the first place. And if it's just because you're mildly uncomfortable reading it? No chance in hell, sorry.

 

I was walking along a city street the other day and a bus had an ad for 50 shades of shit gray on it. That series (and that writer) utterly disgust me on many levels, not the least of which is that it started as shitty Twilight fanfic. Still, that doesn't give me the right to tell that bus company that they can't have that ad on the side of their bus, or give me the right to tell people they shouldn't read it or enjoy the millionaire creep who's manipulative and abusive. (How they do is beyond me, but that's not the point.) As an adult, I feel like most of us are capable of separating real life from fantasy (which is what rp is, regardless of genre.) Triggers are not a dislike and I feel like much of the younger generation does need to remember that. (I say this being a millennial myself. All over my college campus I see this and it. is. exhausting. I don't have the patience to deal with it there, nor do I have the patience to deal with it on my own boards, doing things to get away from the bs in the first place.)

 

There are no trigger warnings in real life for mental health issues. But we do have ratings and reviews on movies/tv shows/video games. Anything that's not a standard [M] or 18+ for mature content is overreaching when it comes to this in general, unless you are specifically threading with a person who has those triggers, and if it's that, then why write that subject matter at all with them specifically? (I've seen this happen, too.)

 

All that said, others can do what they like. Doesn't mean I have to agree with it. If you want to use trigger warnings (Or content warnings, as @Uaithne helpfully pointed out), who am I to stop you? Just don't shove them down my throat at every chance, for the love of all that is unholy. (Because that would trigger me. /sarcasm)

  • Like 1
  • Agree 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also important to note--when people mention flashbacks, flashbacks aren't always visual. I never have visual flashbacks, for example. Flashbacks can be purely emotional, sensory, somatic. And those are the sorts of flashbacks I experience. I think sometimes people think that just because you're not having a stereotypical visual flashback straight out of a war movie, you're not actually triggered.

 

I also think most people realize there are no trigger warnings for "real life". I mean, like. There was no trigger warning for my rape.

 

Most of us who have triggers realize this, so it's kind of demeaning to say it. But because we had no choice in the matter that traumatized us in the first place, it's nice having a choice in matters that we can control. Like, my friends will warn me (and other friends) in advance about a movie we wanna watch, about things they know are triggery for us, and if we don't think we can handle it, we'll watch something else. Or heck, my friends will warn me when a scene is coming up they know will be difficult for me, so I can either choose to watch it or leave the room until it's over. It's not difficult. It's just a courtesy. And that's how I view TWs.

 

Again, if you don't like to use them, don't! And make games where you don't have to use them. Those who actually need them won't join.

  • Like 2
  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Uaithne said:

The term most of us are looking for is "content warning."  This is more like what movies, TV shows, and video games do.  At the beginning of the program or on the back of the box, they give us a head's up that some general topics will make an appearance.

 

I try to be respectful of my writing partners, and I'll tag something or avoid writing something if I know that they do not want to address that topic (be it an actual trigger or a matter of comfort).  But I'm not going to tag a thread with "trigger warning: bears" because someone out there who may or may not be reading it is triggered by bears.  Nor will I skip over a topic entirely because someone not involved in the thread doesn't like it. 

 

This, on so many levels. We don't require trigger warnings on my board and I don't think I've seen them in use -- but that's because, as has been stated throughout this thread, triggers are often very personal. We also don't require content warnings beyond a tag for mature threads. That said, communication is key. A lot of us have content limitations listed in our profiles.

  • Like 2
  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't hate them, but I find them annoying. I don't like reading warnings about what I'm about to read even if it will upset the shit out of me. The warnings themselves stress me out more than the actual content usually. 

 

As player I don't use "Trigger Warnings", nor as an admin do I require them. If someone wants to use them, cool! Everyone that wants to can as a courtesy but I don't monitor or enforce it and generally I ignore them.

We use the JCINK restricted code for all mature content. I also require anything with mature content to have an "[M]" Lable in the title of the topic so nobody stumbles upon something they might not want.

If I'm writing a thread, I usually explain at the top why my thread is marked [M] such as "Includes Sexual, Violent or otherwise Mature Content." and don't consider that a Trigger Warning. I have no way to know if it is a trigger, I'm just trying to give people a handle on what they're getting ready to read and why it is now listed as M for MATURE.

 

So I suppose I have to say I'm in the same camp of policing yourself. I do it so I sort of expect others to be the same. Take care of yourself first and foremost. If a place is going to be dangerous for you to play at, it is your responsibility to get a feel of the board and to know that.

 

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Guidelines and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.