Author Topic: Forum topic warnings  (Read 6504 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Allyson

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1917
Forum topic warnings
« on: August 15, 2010, 08:47:11 PM »
I considered putting this in one of the more administrative threads as it does pertain to this forum, but it's also about internet forums in general, and I'm curious as to what everyone thinks. I have noticed people putting warnings in thread topics if it might be sensitive, for example animal abuse, death of a child etc. This makes sense to me, I know those topics really bother some people. I've also seen more vague stuff, such as 'warning: upsetting content' without mentioning what it is. I understand doing this too--on another forum, a poster got *really* upset about 'warning: animal abuse' in a thread title as even seeing those words caused her to cry.

I've also seen warnings about things like 'may be gross' which I know to avoid if I'm eating. :D I also find this helpful, but wouldn't get upset if it wasn't there. there are also threads on various forums (not this one) where I really could have done with not reading it--say, a thread that suddenly veers into detailed descriptions of the poster's traumatic childhood. But I wouldn't expect to be warned, either.

On this forum recently, I saw something that said 'edited to mention: warns, contains reptiles!' which makes me think someone had messaged the poster and said she was upset by the mention of reptiles. I was somewhat confused by this...reptiles? really? I'm sure I can't think of everything that might bother someone, after all, and outside of topics like violence, abuse, death, or gross things, I probably wouldn't think to warn. I've also known some people who don't warn at all, figuring you get what you get on an Internet forum.

What say you all?

M-theory

  • cybernetic loving
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7303
Re: Forum topic warnings
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2010, 08:54:03 PM »
I don't think it should be necessary. Life is full of triggers. I have the urge to throw up every time I see a map and the urge to cry every time I hear about weddings - imagine how much luck I have avoiding being scared or sad. It's very kind of people to try to avoid triggering others, but anyone who's triggered by something in a thread should just stop reading and definitely not say anything to the OP.

kareng57

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12252
Re: Forum topic warnings
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2010, 08:59:42 PM »
Your post is a good point.

I guess I'm kind of on-the-fence, and I've been here for a few years.  I'm also over 50, maybe that makes a difference.  Because of that, I don't expect at "warning" when a post might mention death of a friend or a family member.  By the time you (generic you) gets to my age, well - it's likely happened several times already.  The same with pets - many people at my stage of life have had to make difficult decisions already.  I will admit that I'm not a reptile-lover, and if someone's initial post provided a picture of a huge snake, I would indeed appreciate a heads-up.  But, regarding more mainstream pets such as cats/dogs/guinea pigs etc. - I think most pet owners know that we won't have them forever, and I think it would be rather unrealistic for forum members to feel that they had to post warnings about pet death.

However, it's true that I'm seeing more Warnings in the last couple of months, and I don't know whether it's been advocated by the Mods (who are very good on this site) or posters doing this voluntarily.

Just Lori

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4429
  • USA
Re: Forum topic warnings
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2010, 09:15:40 PM »
I think warnings are basically a compromise offered to people who object to certain subjects.  For instance, some people have no problem discussing an animal getting hit by a car.  Others wish they had never opened the thread.  Hence, a warning gives people a heads up.

The warnings can leave you scratching your head.  However, I've seen threads the complain about topics I would have never imagined were offensive.  So the warning is basically covering your bases.

crashn2me

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 55
Re: Forum topic warnings
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2010, 09:21:13 PM »
This is very interesting to me.  I just posted a topic with a warning b/c it seemed like the thing to do in this forum.  Personally, I agree with the PPs.  I don't need warnings on topics.  If I open a thread & don't like the topic discussed, I back out.  No biggie.

blarg314

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8444
Re: Forum topic warnings
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2010, 09:27:54 PM »

I think it's okay, but not really necessary, to flag generally upsetting topics - death, abuse, gross etc. But I don't think it's necessary to be too specific - label it "kind of gross" or "sensitive topic" or "NSFW" and let the reader decide if they want to risk it.

But as the OP said, life is full of triggers - on a forum this big, we're going to have a *lot* of phobias, or sensitive topics, or weird triggers, and it's not reasonable to expect the posters to even know about all of them, let alone flag them.

I think this is a case where if someone is so sensitive to an issue that seeing a post topic with a warning about it will send them over the edge, then it is up to them to either address their sensitivity, or to avoid general forums, or conversations with people, or watching TV, or reading newspapers.

Elfmama

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6064
Re: Forum topic warnings
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2010, 09:36:51 PM »
On this forum recently, I saw something that said 'edited to mention: warns, contains reptiles!' which makes me think someone had messaged the poster and said she was upset by the mention of reptiles. I was somewhat confused by this...reptiles? really? I'm sure I can't think of everything that might bother someone, after all, and outside of topics like violence, abuse, death, or gross things, I probably wouldn't think to warn. I've also known some people who don't warn at all, figuring you get what you get on an Internet forum.

What say you all?
You get what you get.  On my other forum, the only common warning is NSFW. (Not Safe For Work.)  Usually because there is semi-nudity and/or four-letter words.  Combine that with a certain poster starting the thread (who I have on ignore) and I rarely open them.

Re reptiles: we used to square dance with a gentleman who went by the nickname "Snake" because he was tall and skinny.  That was the name on his SD club badge.  He told a story that one time they were starting a dance with a new couple, greetings going around as you do "Hi, welcome" and so forth -- when the new lady looked more closely at his badge, turned white, shrieked, and ran out of the room.  Her embarrassed husband hastily explained that she was terribly phobic about snakes, to the point that she couldn't even see the word without reacting just as she had done!  So yes, warning about really common phobias is polite, but IMO not necessary for every possible phobia.  After all, considering the sheer number of phobias there are, the warnings could be overloaded: "Caution, mentions car seats, cereal, cats, toddlers, and cough syrup."
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
It's true. Money can't buy happiness.  You have to turn it
into books first.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

O'Dell

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4372
Re: Forum topic warnings
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2010, 09:59:20 PM »
I'm another one that doesn't need warnings either, although I do appreciate the sensitivity that others are showing when they use them.

As a veteran of various message boards, I admit that I get irritated by generic thread titles that don't give a clue about what the thread is about. A good title gives me enough info to decide whether it's a thread I want to pay attention to and is distinctive enough that I can identify the thread later if I run across it. All the "help please" and "have a question" type subject lines blur together and I either rely on the poster's name to identify them or skip them altogether. Ideally people would be using pertinent enough titles that some of the warnings would be included anyway: "Neighbor treating dog badly", "Go to Dad's funeral or Not", "Pet Komodo Dragon w/ upset tummy"...things like that.

One thing I do find helpful on this forum is the "squicky" warning that some include or whiting out the details within the post (that took some time for me to figure out when I first visited here!). That's not an issue on other forums I visit, but it seems to be necessary here fairly often. Odd given the forum's subject matter. :D
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

katarain

  • Guest
Re: Forum topic warnings
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2010, 10:16:11 PM »
I'm another one that doesn't need warnings either, although I do appreciate the sensitivity that others are showing when they use them.

As a veteran of various message boards, I admit that I get irritated by generic thread titles that don't give a clue about what the thread is about. A good title gives me enough info to decide whether it's a thread I want to pay attention to and is distinctive enough that I can identify the thread later if I run across it. All the "help please" and "have a question" type subject lines blur together and I either rely on the poster's name to identify them or skip them altogether. Ideally people would be using pertinent enough titles that some of the warnings would be included anyway: "Neighbor treating dog badly", "Go to Dad's funeral or Not", "Pet Komodo Dragon w/ upset tummy"...things like that.

One thing I do find helpful on this forum is the "squicky" warning that some include or whiting out the details within the post (that took some time for me to figure out when I first visited here!). That's not an issue on other forums I visit, but it seems to be necessary here fairly often. Odd given the forum's subject matter. :D

That's what I was going to add to the conversation.  I think a lot of these problems would be solved if people would just title their threads appropriately.

DangerMouth

  • Work as if you were in the early days of a better nation.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7482
  • Everybody Gets Ice Cream!
Re: Forum topic warnings
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2010, 10:25:29 PM »
This is very interesting to me.  I just posted a topic with a warning b/c it seemed like the thing to do in this forum.  Personally, I agree with the PPs.  I don't need warnings on topics.  If I open a thread & don't like the topic discussed, I back out.  No biggie.

I agree. I'm an adult, I don't need warnings. But as that's the culture of this particular forum, I'll warn if I ever need to post on a sensitive topic.

I do think it goes a bit far sometimes, and I wonder if it isn't catering to SS's to a certain degree to do this. Certainly we try to be polite and considerate here, but this is still real world stuff we are seeking advice on.

DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Re: Forum topic warnings
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2010, 01:41:31 PM »
The same with pets - many people at my stage of life have had to make difficult decisions already.  I will admit that I'm not a reptile-lover, and if someone's initial post provided a picture of a huge snake, I would indeed appreciate a heads-up.  But, regarding more mainstream pets such as cats/dogs/guinea pigs etc. - I think most pet owners know that we won't have them forever

While that may be true, the pain of losing one still hurts greatly.  I am very appreciative of the people who do put a disclaimer in their title, because those threads do still hurt to read.  I'd rather know in advance that it could be something I want to skip over.  Getting into the thread and backing out is too late.  By then, I've read more details than I probably wanted to - and probably now hurt more than I absolutely wanted to.

Please do not stop putting those kinds of warnings on those types of threads.  Some of you may not have any problem with reading about the death of animals.  But, there are some who still do - and some who are going through fresh pain of losing one now.  It's a simple gesture that's beneficial (and polite) to your fellow EHellions.  I'd hope that fact alone would keep us doing it.


DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Re: Forum topic warnings
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2010, 01:43:45 PM »
I'm an adult,

And, I know this wasn't your intent (at least, I hope not), but that kind of comment kind of bothers me.  I'm an adult, too.  But, that doesn't mean that unexpectedly reading about a pet's death doesn't hit me in the gut.  I don't, necessarily, avoid those threads.  But, I do like to know that that's what I'm about to read - so I can make an informed (and, yes, ADULT, thank you very much) decision as to whether or not I'm in a place where I can read it.


Giggity

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8622
Re: Forum topic warnings
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2010, 01:46:00 PM »
As a veteran of various message boards, I admit that I get irritated by generic thread titles that don't give a clue about what the thread is about. A good title gives me enough info to decide whether it's a thread I want to pay attention to and is distinctive enough that I can identify the thread later if I run across it.

That's what I was going to add to the conversation.  I think a lot of these problems would be solved if people would just title their threads appropriately.

And in that vein, one trend that is not entirely helpful is labeling a thread ONLY as a spin-off of another one, with no hint as to the new thread's actual contents.
Words mean things.

hobish

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18186
  • Release the gelfling!
Re: Forum topic warnings
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2010, 01:54:14 PM »
I think warnings are basically a compromise offered to people who object to certain subjects.  For instance, some people have no problem discussing an animal getting hit by a car.  Others wish they had never opened the thread.  Hence, a warning gives people a heads up.

The warnings can leave you scratching your head.  However, I've seen threads the complain about topics I would have never imagined were offensive.  So the warning is basically covering your bases.

That covers my feelings well, too.

Personally, i appreciate it when the warning is specific. Death of people, miscarriages, snakes - these things don't bother me, but other people might be very disturbed. Animal abuse might give me nightmares for weeks - in fact there is a post that was on here *years* ago that haunts me to this day; but a lot of people may not be phased by. It's a matter of common sense, too. There are some topics that are likely to bother people - miscarriage, suicide, animal or child abuse. There are also people who are disturbed by latex or birds; but those phobias are so uncommon and the items so common that a warning would be overboard (IMO).
It's alright, man. I'm only bleeding, man. Stay hungry, stay free, and do the best you can.
~Gaslight Anthem

DangerMouth

  • Work as if you were in the early days of a better nation.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7482
  • Everybody Gets Ice Cream!
Re: Forum topic warnings
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2010, 02:01:27 PM »
I'm an adult,

And, I know this wasn't your intent (at least, I hope not), but that kind of comment kind of bothers me.  I'm an adult, too.  But, that doesn't mean that unexpectedly reading about a pet's death doesn't hit me in the gut.  I don't, necessarily, avoid those threads.  But, I do like to know that that's what I'm about to read - so I can make an informed (and, yes, ADULT, thank you very much) decision as to whether or not I'm in a place where I can read it.


Well, I certainly wasn't the only person who said that in this thread, so why're you picking on me?  J/K ;D

Honestly Dotty, I wasn't thinking of the pet issue when I posted. I was thinking more along the lines of a recent post "warning- mentions affair". I can understand the 'baby or child death/miscarriage/pet death/rape/child abuse warnings, and even 'may be gross' or 'TMI' but when you get to affairs, reptiles, and spiders, I start to wonder.

What's next? 'Good News, I'm pregnant! Warning- mentions successful conception" ???

--------

I also dispute that this is actually a huge, diverse forum. By my count, there are about 300-400 regular posters, and most seem pretty clued in about the prevailing culture. That said, I will also follow the prevailing norms and warn if there is an issue that could be considered sensitive. But that hardly ever comes up for me, I think my last top-post was about cake :D