A guide to content and trigger warnings

A guide to content and trigger warnings

Ever been watching the news and heard a presenter say “the following report contains imagery which some viewers may find distressing”? Putting a content warning on your forum post is the writing equivalent of doing that. You’re letting people know that what they’re about to read may contain themes or subjects which can cause distress or otherwise negatively affect the reader.

The generally accepted consensus about what needs content (or trigger) warnings includes but is not limited to:

  • Physical violence
  • Sexual violence
  • Abuse (including emotional abuse)
  • Racism
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicide and self-harm

This list of potential content-warning-worthy topics is not exhaustive. If you’re not sure whether your words need a warning on them, it’s best to err on the side of caution. You don’t know what someone else has experienced so if in doubt it’s better to act in kindness.

Important note: you don’t need to put a warning for sexuality in and of itself. Gayness is not a trigger, guys.

How to use content warnings

Put the warning IN YOUR POST TITLE

Use the abbreviation CW and then the subject of the warning i.e CW DRUG ABUSE

If you haven’t used one and your post is flagged as needing one, be prepared for a mod or staff member to ask you to edit your post to reflect its content.

Also, importantly:

Using content or trigger warnings is about courtesy for your fellow forum users who are also human beings. It’s not about people being offended at every little thing. It’s just… kind.

It takes very little effort to use a content warning but it can make the world of difference to the other humans sharing our little corner of the internet. K? K.


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