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Thor665
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Lady Malys
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PostSubject: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeTue Jan 07 2014, 17:16

I had been triggered rather badly by a story here a few days ago, and I am still working through the consequences. This got me to thinking that it would be useful if we were to adopt a similar system to movies for our stories here. I am not talking about age ratings, or censorship, but the kind of informational content warnings that are seen on, say, the back of a DVD case, or on IMDB.


I'm not sure how clear that is, so I will try to explain what I mean in more detail by way of a real life example. I have a friend, we'll call her Abby, who is very bothered by gore. She is affected very badly by the sight of televised blood.

I am not at all bothered by fake blood, and I have trouble relating to why it should upset Abby, but what I do know is that blood bothers Abby. So if we are going to watch something with gore in it, I can let Abby know in advance. Abby can choose to close her eyes, go and make a cup of tea in the gory parts, or simply not watch the movie. What I do not do, as a responsible friend, is belittle her fear of blood, try to jolly her along by telling her she needs to get used to it, or scoff because the blood is fake - I give her the information and let her make her own decision, and I respect it. (And in return Abby knows not to make me watch romantic comedy.)

Abby is empowered to make her own decision re what she does and does not see. Her choice doesn't affect me negatively, I still get to make my own choice for myself, and we both get to make an informed decision.

If Abby walks into a DVD rental store, and she picks up Event Horizon, she can read the back of the case and gain some idea that this is a gory movie, and make her own decision about watching it, because she has the information. The presence of such information doesn't stop anyone else from watching it, nor does it make a judgement: it simply provides just that - information. The movie doesn't change.


This is what I would like to see adopted here: a brief content warning of potentially sensitive issues. This does not detract from the story itself as they are not spoilers. It does not place limits on what a story contains. It just informs potential readers.


I have done this for my own short story on here, A Rendezvous in Aelindrach, by way of example:

Quote :
Contains: mild suggestion of sexual themes, suggestions of supernatural peril, one injection in a medical context, brief non-sexual nudity.



I am not asking for censorship of stories. I am asking for a brief rundown of any potential areas that may be of concern at the start of a story, so that people will not walk into triggers without warning and can make their own choices in an informed and mature way. I believe this will not detract from the site and what it offers, but enhance it by empowering people with information and enabling them to make informed decisions. I do not think that the fact that this is a Dark Eldar fan site is enough information by itself, as Dark Eldar are made by Games Workshop, who have a large customer base of children - judging by those simple facts alone, we would be dealing with PG13 at most. More information is needed and can be easily made available. Everyone wins.

Naturally I would like to see this method adopted, but I intend to use it myself from now on as I think it is a good idea, and one should always lead by example Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeTue Jan 07 2014, 17:30

I think this is not a bad idea at all, I know I have often noted that my own stories likely cross the site's posting criteria though I try to be slightly circumspect on a lot of it there is still a lot of pretty intense stuff in my stories ranging from language, gore, torture, consensual and non-consensual relations of hetero and non-hetero couplings, extensive drug use, and other such topics.

I think the big catch for it would be the enforcement and even the perception of the interplay. The catch being that lots of people have lots of different ways of taking things. As in your example, your friend has an issue with Gore that is different than yours, so do we need to come up with what level of Gore qualifies as a baseline that needs to be warned about? What about violence in general, even without gore?

I guess what I'm saying is the warnings would need to be standardized in a way in order to make them functional as warnings, yeah?

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeTue Jan 07 2014, 19:15

Thanks for the quick response. My short answer is: yes, to a point, but not really.

I would agree that standardisation might be helpful, but I deliberately did not ask for it because I knew it would be difficult to come up with a ratings system, and I feared that there was a danger that the issue might disappear in the discussion of how it should be applied. With my experience of the debate on what does and does not constitute swearing, I did not feel that a system of actual ratings could be agreed on, so I decided that a simple informational system would be the best one to aim for. That's my feeling, anyhow.

I think that if we stick to simple factual warnings, it will work out quite well. For example, although Abby and I both see gore, and she minds and I don't, the common denominator is that gore is present. So for that I would just put something like, Contains bloodshed. If we keep to factual labels it should serve its purpose. Is there bloodshed? Well, then put that there is bloodshed Smile People can decide for themselves if they want to read a gory story if they know it is present. One could go as far as something like: mild, moderate, strong, extreme, but I don't think we can make even those absolutely objective. The main point will be served, however, if a content warning is present.

For violence in general, I'd just put Contains violence.

For example, for your list above, I would summarise it as: Contains strong language, bloodshed, drug use, sexual content, torture.

If a person wanted to break it down with further information, they could, but the main content should be easy enough to flag. You could expand your list: Contains strong language, combat bloodshed, consensual and non-consensual sexual content, recreational drug use, combat drug use, torture.

I think of it as like a food allergy. If a person is allergic to peanuts, they need to know that peanuts are present, but only they can say how allergic they are to peanuts. If they know peanuts are present they can choose what they do next in an informed way. They don't really need to know a precise number of peanuts to be warned, though detailed information is always more helpful.

The bottom line is that while we can't tell how any given content will affect any given user, we can empower them to make an informed decision by telling them that it is there.

Does that make sense?

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeTue Jan 07 2014, 19:25

It does, but I'll admit the OCD in me feels it's hyper subjective.

For instance, I recall in Trueborn you were okay with violence, and you were okay with sexual situations, but you were not as placid about violent/non-consensual sexual situations. So if i just label a story/chapter as having violence and sexual situations you could still wade into that without knowing whether or not your particular bug-a-boo was in the chapter or not, which would defeat the purpose of me even bothering with the labels in the first place.

Also, as an example, in your story you listed 'medical injections' which si something that I would never even *consider* to list because it seems so non-issue raising. The thing is, is it an issue, and for what percentage, and should it get a warning?

I think we'd need to come up with the labels that need to be included, even if we just want to have a specific sort of target range addressed, otherwise there seems little point in even asking for the ratings as I think it would still be too easy for people to read stuff they found objectionable which is the point of even having the warnings in the first place.

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeTue Jan 07 2014, 19:32

Just as a consideration; as someone who works in the film and television industry I have always found the MPAA ratings to be a bit of a joke,a nd am much more in favor of the television 'CARs' Consumer Advice Ratings, which are more focused on telling you specifically what is in the upcoming program.

CAR wrote:

A – signifies content with adult themes or dangerous stunts;
V – used for programs depicting violence;
L – used for dialogue containing coarse language;
S – used for programs with sexual references/situations;
H – used for programs based upon horror and supernatural themes;
D – used for programs with drug references or drug use;
N – used for programs containing nudity;
SV – used for programs containing depictions of sexual violence;
AL – used for dialogue containing aggressive language;
E – used for educational programming.

Would including letter code like the above maybe be a solution? That would allow us to at least be generally specific without having to work too hard at it. We could probably even add a degree or two to the 'violence' one as a means of clarifying the level of spatter, as it were.

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeTue Jan 07 2014, 20:14

I agree, that's why I didn't suggest a simple age rating system or similar either - it doesn't tell you what the content is.

I think that the above would be as good a solution as we'll find Smile I thought about suggesting porting in an already established system from somewhere like films or TV, but I didn't know enough about them to suggest which one to use.

It also gives people an established frame of reference to use when deciding how to categorise their work, or what the notation means in terms of something they might have seen. That should be helpful too.

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeTue Jan 07 2014, 20:36

I'll toss this open to you and anyone else for input on maybe any other categories/sub categories to apply to the list and then I'd be happy to present it to the other Mods and see about giving it a sticky in a guidlines post or something and also add said warnings to my stories.

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeTue Jan 07 2014, 23:18

Thank you. I will give it some more thought and see if there's anything I would want to add.

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeWed Jan 08 2014, 00:59

My only current thought is maybe breaking up the violence a bit more. I think, it being 40k, that anyone who doesn't expect violence in a story is likely fooling themselves. So maybe do a mark for how graphic or explicit the violence is? Or maybe also one for torture?

I think I'd change V - Violence to GV - Graphic Violence and have the guideline be detailed descriptions of pain, dismemberment, or injuries and then also have a T - Torture to represent when there are depictions of torture in the story (to be paired with GV if the torture has graphic wounds happening in it)

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeWed Jan 08 2014, 01:09

That makes sense. Grim darkness, far future, only war - I agree that violence will likely be a given so your way of breaking it down makes for more clarity. Extra categories for torture would be useful as well.

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeWed Jan 08 2014, 19:57

I think this is a very worthwhile addition to TDC, and I will support whatever approach is decided. For now, here is my two cents:

1) re: rating system, would it require more vetting to ensure that the right codes are on the right stories? Would too much haggling potentially ensue?

If they are already reading something that says "refer here for an explanation of codes", why not just have a general disclaimer to read instead so everyone will at least see that, whereas they may not follow the link to further explanation.

2) re: a disclaimer, I don't think GW or BL rates their products, do they? A simple, general disclaimer applied to all stories might be best. As Malys said, we don't know how allergic they may be to peanuts, just that they may be allergic and so we can't plan for all contingencies, therefore keep it simple.

Nor should we be policing things instead of parents, by being part of the whole 40K "world" a person is already participating in wargaming, however imaginary it may be.

Possible suggestion - "This forum has rules regarding swearing and posting objectionable by members. However, in describing the nature and actions of the Dark Eldar, readers should be aware that the following work of fiction may contain X, Y and Z."
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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeWed Jan 08 2014, 21:55

1. I like codes because they're quick - but the purpose of it is to codify the disclaimer. We can obligate there to be no shorthand for the applied warnings, but I think having a set list of what we want warnings about is important.

2. I might be okay with that as a solution, though it defeats Malys' specific goal of being able to read a story while getting to avoid a particular bug-a-boo. Like, say I'm good with anything except drug use I love to read DE stories, but if it is going to have extensive drug use in it I'd rather not read those. A general disclaimer helps me not at all, and I still need to just read and find out. Conversely the disclaimer would let me know which stories to not even read.

As to whether we have enough readers with that sort of specificity as a hangup to make it worthwhile...eh, I dunno. I personally could be good with the general disclaimer myself since it would at least close up the hole in the forum rules I feel I break with basically every story I present here. I'll admit giving Malys a bit of leeway in this since she is probably one of the few people on this site who I think reads everything, so to a certain extent if it helps her I'm like, hey, let's do it Wink It's not like it would harm anyone else besides the few minutes taken to apply the disclaimer.

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeWed Jan 08 2014, 21:57

I'd also like the following code to show up on BL writings.

ES - Excessive Stupidity, your chosen race, army, or Space Marine Chapter Primarch will reveal themselves to be a doddering lackwit in this story. But please act like they should still be relevant.

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeWed Jan 08 2014, 22:30

I think we're all broadly in agreement. For clarity, I believe the codes Thor suggests are in order to give a common point of reference - there won't be an age ban on the stories, or suggestions of parental guidance and so on - they are just provided to give an idea of content in categories that people might find familiar from TV. It is then up to the individual what they do with that information.

I do agree that it might be worthwhile spelling out the category in full rather than just putting on letter codes, as it's easy to skim a couple of letters without really thinking. Or one could follow the example I used myself, although I do lean towards referencing an existing system that people can already see in action.

So far as Games Workshop go, all they have on their (UK) site is this:
Quote :
"Forums

We have no problem with people using forums to express their love (or even hate) of the hobby. We would, however, ask people to bear in mind that the hobby is for people all ages. Please be careful of the language used and the topics discussed. We would strongly recommend that you avoid any discussion of illegal behavior."
Not very specific, there.

A single blanket disclaimer on the story section would completely miss the point of my request. I can't state it too strongly. Information needs to be specific - to each story - simple, factual and pertinent. I don't mean to offend, but saying that "our stories may contain X, Y and Z" does not provide an individual with what each story does contain, and puts us back to square one. To get back to our hypothetical peanut-eater, yes, the fact that this is a Dark Eldar site does suggest that there may be a peanut around here somewhere - but where? The purpose is not to protect us from a legal department with some kind of disclaimer, which is why I didn't use the word, but to empower potential readers with the information they need to choose whether or not they carry on reading. If it sounds like I'm having a go, Gobs, (I hope it doesn't) I'm truly not, I only want to make sure that nothing gets confused. And I think we already have a disclaimer about the place. I purposely did not suggest an age rating or a parental agreement form or other such control. I'm not suggesting this for the sake of children - I am suggesting it for everyone, and what I am asking for, is simple, factual information on contents in order to inform potential readers, whoever they may be. Then they have options. As I said, I feel that everyone wins.

With a visual medium like television, unpleasant scenes are almost always flagged some time in advance - with music, voices, lighting - indeed it's a big part of building dramatic suspense, as the killer advances slowly with the knife, etc - but in a story, everything is more immediate and it's not often possible to 'skip' the way one can switch channels. Being a part of the Games Workshop hobby world still means I can choose if I can see what I am dealing with - for example, I might pick up the High Elf army book, but steer away from the Chaos Codex because I have visual hints to aid me as to what is inside. I am asking for a verbal equivalent of those hints, so that people can make informed choices.

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeWed Jan 08 2014, 22:32

I am completely in support of the adoption of the ES tag for Black Library, and indeed all Games Workshop published material.

I would also like to suggest DNRTF - Did Not Read The Fluff.

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeThu Jan 09 2014, 17:46

Im not sure about this. (I do not really understand the system used by fanfic.net, though I do understand the filum one...)

What triggers people can be very different, theres plenty of kids material out there that adults encounter and say "they did what?!" Implications can be more than overt things.

I like Anime, one of my favorites is an anime (and manga) called `Tactics` an innocent story with masses of subtext.

Its all very cute until you realise that one of the characters has, shall we say, issues with Free Will. The other is his master and there is no `NO` option.

So what should be harmless yaoi suddenly has a much less wholesome side.
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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeThu Jan 09 2014, 18:37

@Tengu

With the awareness that the Stories forum habitually breaks site rules about content, what is your suggestion for dealing with it and/or perhaps allowing members to avoid specific subject matter in their story reading time?

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeThu Jan 09 2014, 19:32

Well, here is a lot of text! (havent read all, sorries)
I just freaked out for a moment if it was mine that triggered it, but I came to the conclusion that probably not? (I hope  Razz  )

Quote :
A – signifies content with adult themes or dangerous stunts;
V – used for programs depicting violence;
L – used for dialogue containing coarse language;
S – used for programs with sexual references/situations;
H – used for programs based upon horror and supernatural themes;
D – used for programs with drug references or drug use;
N – used for programs containing nudity;
SV – used for programs containing depictions of sexual violence;
AL – used for dialogue containing aggressive language;
E – used for educational programming.

While this looks good I think it would still have to be posted into a lot of places for people to remember those!

Having a brief description of anything notable content could work, but it should probably be judged by more than just the writer. Maybe we should have a "jury" to modify the first post of the stories and put a little text with their own warnings of the content? (maybe in that scary red mod-text!)
This though sounds a bit lazy for the writer... but well, nothing will stop from them putting a little note too?

With the DE being who they are, especially the drug-references are likely and intentional, so that stamp would go to a lot of places and would probably not be something to be too concerned about.
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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeThu Jan 09 2014, 19:46

Mngwa wrote:
I just freaked out for a moment if it was mine that triggered it, but I came to the conclusion that probably not? (I hope  Razz  )
Eh, my last story chapter had a sexually suggestive assault in it that though it was aborted was still established as part of what was intended. I suspect a number of stories just had potentially questionable content in them. Heck, I think in my next chapter or two I have a non-hetero couple flirting around naked while torturing a slave. There is ample space for probably almost anyone's story to be at blame for a jarring moment.

Mngwa wrote:
While this looks good I think it would still have to be posted into a lot of places for people to remember those!
I sort of feel a simple sticky in the Stories section would suffice, make it a 'BEFORE POSTING YOUR STORY' type thing with basic guidelines. I feel that would work.

Mngwa wrote:
Maybe we should have a "jury" to modify the first post of the stories and put a little text with their own warnings of the content? (maybe in that scary red mod-text!)
This though sounds a bit lazy for the writer... but well, nothing will stop from them putting a little note too?
The jury sounds like a lot of excess work. Now, we might end up with a story we feel deserves a tag it didn't get, but I see no reason to have a jury or to obligate big scary mod text either. Just a simple blurb in the intro post would seem quite sufficient. Heck, maybe this evening I'll go ahead and apply it to my stories just as an example of what I'm thinking.

Mngwa wrote:
With the DE being who they are, especially the drug-references are likely and intentional, so that stamp would go to a lot of places and would probably not be something to be too concerned about.
I submit there is a difference between mentioning combat drugs and actual drug use. But, yes, I'll agree that, much like violence, this one is slightly a constant. Still, I've read and written stories that lack drug use while being about the DE, so I don't think it's an unreasonable one to include.

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeThu Jan 09 2014, 20:33

Quote :
I sort of feel a simple sticky in the Stories section would suffice, make it a 'BEFORE POSTING YOUR STORY' type thing with basic guidelines. I feel that would work.

This would work for me. I'd say put what we decide in a sticky in the Stories section so it can and will be seen by all Smile

Tengu, I agree wholeheartedly about triggers being different for different people, and indeed that's the very reason why I suggested the system of content information that I did. My hope is to inform while avoiding any sort of judgemental angle - as one person's Ick! is another's Meh and a third person's Pass the popcorn. The idea isn't to say what effect a given thing will have, but whether it is present.

I don't think we really need a jury or a mod to assess what we put down for our stories, unless it's picked up that someone really doesn't get it, in which case I would expect the relevant mod to step in and give a nudge in the direction of the rules, just like any other infraction / mistake / issue. Just normal modding really. I also like the idea of the responsibility of informing resting with the writer, and having the reader make an informed choice what they do with that information. I say we try getting people to do it themselves - after all, who knows what's in the story better than the one who wrote it?


Informing, informed, information - is English a great language, or a terrible one? ...

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeThu Jan 09 2014, 22:28

My background is that I am a public librarian in RL. We don't post warnings anywhere about what people might be taking home in their bookbag.

I want to see our writing section flourish, and I am a firm believer that in allowing it to do so, it is perfectly fine to apply a lenient interpretation of the general forum rules, within reason. I am absolutely fine with all of this, and no M'lady, I did not think you were having a go at me at all. I do think the right approach is being taken and I will fully support it, my only concern is that whatever we go with should be as simple as possible.
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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeThu Jan 09 2014, 23:24

It should, I am with you on that, and I am glad you understood me as I intended.

Each book does have some means of taking at least a wild guess at what's in it, though, and they are organised by type (and age). I think we can all relate to this in some way, as we all categorise information (one of my degrees is Computer Science, the other is Archaeology, and I work ... as an office peon *sigh*).

Simple, easy to understand and use, that is what I am looking for. Perhaps Thor's letter categories with a little tweaking?

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeFri Jan 10 2014, 00:15

Gobsmakked, you are quite right, I took home wildly unsuitable material when I was a kid, and no author saw fit to warn me about it.

Why should the Net be different and why should we worry about scenes of smoking??
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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeFri Jan 10 2014, 00:34

Because if you know something is "wildly unsuitable material" (I'm not mocking, just quoting) you can choose to take it home or not, rather than find out by surprise that that's what it is. ("Well, shoot. I thought Practical Knotwork for the Beginner was about macrame!") You still make that decision for yourself, no-one is nannying you, only letting you know what you're in for.

It is better to make an informed choice than be blindsided by something. On the net as we are, I think there is a way to make this situation better, so I've asked that we do so.


EDIT: I think I have said about all I can usefully say, so I will just summarise here as I know I tend towards the verbose.

Things I have not asked for:

- censorship - I am not advocating anything extra to what the site rules already contain

- age categories - these do not provide information on content

- age limits - these do not provide information on content

- removal of content - I am not trying to tell anyone what they can read. I have even tried to scrupulously avoid using words like "warning" in order to avoid any suggestion of a moral tone. I am only asking for content to be identified, not shaking my finger at anyone for what they like to read.

- putting in place of parental controls - I am not advocating responsibility for anyone else's choice, only for providing them with the information with which to choose

- a blanket "may contain traces of nuts" disclaimer - this does not provide information on content

- a panel of people to decide what information accompanies stories - I feel this is the job of the writer, who knows their work best, and that the mods already have enough to do!



What I would like to happen:

+ information on what type of things a story contains, modelled on or taken from the informational categories used by films - the "information on content" I've said so many times above :)provided for the fiction here

+ that this is listed at the start of each story, so that a reader is informed what kind of material it contains and can make their own mind up whether to read it, for themselves, in an informed way

+ that it be specific, brief, and relevant to each story - this should not take long to do, or to read

+ that if the site rules are to apply "more loosely" to the fiction section, this is clearly stated in the fiction section so that it will be known by everyone, including the mods who have to well, mod any stories in the ordinary way

I will put my money where my mouth is and provide this information for every story I put on here ... not too onerous to date as I have only one!

Thank you for reading.

Lady Malys

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PostSubject: Re: Triggers and Information   Triggers and Information I_icon_minitimeTue Jan 14 2014, 15:23

I feel like the conversation here has dried up a bit, so my plan is to draft up and present the following changes;

- The warning system I quoted on Page 1 with the modifications I discussed.
- That a sticky be put up containing this info or that it be added to some current writing sticky.
- That writers are asked to provide it for their own story.
- That mods will oversee it only as needed if complaints arise.

If anyone has any changes to those thoughts, speak up, I'll probably toss out the proposal to the other mods sometime on the weekend, no later.

Also, added an example of what I am thinking of to Incubi;
https://www.thedarkcity.net/t5197-incubi#57397

So there are the codes in use, along with a bit of clarification of when to expect some of them.

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