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 Post subject: trig warnings
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 2:58 am 
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I expect I read the Code of conduct before, but since it appeared at the top of all forums I read it anew.

I disapprove of this code recommending 'trigger warnings'. There is no peer-reviewed advocation of their health or psychological benefits (and the general science lean is against), they remain generally contentious and have prompted repeat arguments on this forum. I wouldn't mind such a position in a more specific or personal forum where the owners set the conditions to personal political inclinations, but I think it's not appropriate for this to be recommended conduct in a general audience interactive fiction forum.

I appreciate the code points out the rules are neither hard nor fast, and to 'use best judgment' in the case of the relevant rule, but in such case, something this unsupported should just be left out. People can put trigger warnings in whenever they like. This should not be a recommended course of action, though.

-Wade


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 Post subject: Re: trig warnings
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:35 am 
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They are recommended, not mandatory - so if you want the CoC changed, I think it would make more sense for you to argue that they are harmful, rather than useless.

Does occasionally seeing trigger warnings irritate you enough that you consider it more harmful than the potential though unproven benefit it might provide to others?

Or by 'the general science lean is against' you already mean they might do more harm than good?

EDIT: I see now that you already started a thread on this last year, perhaps you discussed this already.


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 Post subject: Re: trig warnings
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:40 am 
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I personally believe they are harmful.

I disagree very strongly that that's an argument I should be making. Something this nebulous and unsupported by science, and which affects health and psychology, should not be recommended.

The moderators should be pointing to science to prove they are helpful before they recommend them. It isn't there.

- Wade


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 Post subject: Re: trig warnings
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 5:55 am 
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I hate trigger warnings, it's just a ridiculous way of saying "a heads up". What's wrong with just giving somebody a heads up?


For example:

Just a heads up, this game contains a lot of rape and murder.


This seems to work fine?

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 Post subject: Re: trig warnings
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:29 am 
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whoever typed up the COC wrote:
We also recommend providing trigger warnings, which are designed to prevent people who have an extremely strong and damaging emotional response to certain subjects from encountering them unaware. An example could be “Warning: discussion of suicide and self-harm”. Again, use your best judgment.

severedhand wrote:
I personally believe they are harmful.
I too believe they are harmful (if used irresponsibly) - not in themselves, but by what they represent. If you teach people X is harmful, even if it's not, any exposure to X will impact them negatively, and negative influences stack. Think of racism. If you hear 'damn (bunchofpeoplewhoallbleedredbutforsomebullshitreasongetsingledout) coming here taking our jobs' enough ... well, you know what I'm getting at.

What would be appropriate?

Warning: adult themes.
Rant: show
not to say it's because some guy says fuck, shit and crap five times every three words, but an exploration of complicated emotions. We all know there's a line of thinking that, if explored too early in life, can (i thought 'eschew' was the word to use here but uh... english isn't my first language, the word i'm looking for is that it can make things bad, negatively impact, forever negatively alter, ...) sour (?) people in certain matters.

the example given in the COC is a good example, one that i can fully get behind. it's one of my few exceptions to my no-spoiling-rule, one that gets as vehement a defense as the no-spoiling-rule itself.

warning: shock value
Rant: show
when you're actively out to use shock to accomplish something. and i'm not saying this to protect the children, i'm saying this because when i was in ... uh, middle school? ... I was fourteen - and for school i had to read a book off a book list (yes sorry, story time). and it was a crappy sci fi thing and long story short a girl in early pubescence from a modern facility ended up in the outside world and there was a guy her age but he was dirty and uncivilized and they fucked and it went into detail on how it hurt her and she went through a lot of stuff which was problematic and scarring... and none of the fucking subplot had anything to do with the story.

it was gross, and disgusting, and repulsive, and annoying, and uncomfortable, and awkward, and vile and all things negative - and it was there for no reason. Well, one reason. I'll mention that one reason in the next paragraph.

i did my report not on the book but on how people shouldn't just compile book lists for school without reading the fucking books because holy fucking shit - was i angry for having read that. I get angry just remembering it. It was awful, uncomfortable, disgusting and in very, very, very poor taste. And this coming from the guy who made the king and the crown, i think it says enough. a young teen book with shock value for shock value. turns out the only reason it was on that list was because it was controversial and controversial was "in". yup! some fuckwit wrote a sex scene for KIDS to sell his piece of shit book that's not even good enough to burn. and if it wasn't a library book, i'd have thrown the book out. in front of the class. onto the street. into a fire.

and then i'd apologize to the fire. (not good enough to burn)

So that book could have done with a warning. I don't have a problem with shock value - as long as it's got a point. Fun fact, it's at this point in my writing that I've decided to use rant boxes.

TLDR: shock value can be used if it's to make a point. just include some warning there's shock stuff. doesn't have to detail what the shock stuff is - leave something for the audience. no spoilers.

warning: Trolls
Rant: show
people deserve warnings against wastes of time.

That kind of stuff. but "trigger warnings" are... a very, very, very bad idea. and I speak for the whole of humanity when I say this (or at least I believe I do. On behalf of. you know what i mean.).

Long story short (and i'm not good at cutting things short but i'll try my best):
It is my belief that intolerance against certain subjects breeds an intolerant, hostile world full of and because of intolerant, hostile people.
severedhand wrote:
I disagree very strongly that that's an argument I should be making. Something this nebulous and unsupported by science, and which affects health and psychology, should not be recommended.
I disagree with Wade disagreeing. In spirit of rules that are to be taken as "recommended" rather than mandatory, regardless that i find the recommendation stupidly dangerous, it's a free world and discussing and having logical debates and having reasonable (as in worth reasoning, thinking, talk-about-able that kind of reasoning) opinions is good.
severedhand wrote:
The moderators should be pointing to science to prove they are helpful before they recommend them. It isn't there.
Free internet. I don't have to agree with stuff for it to exist. it existing though i don't approve, agree with or enjoy it, because I am not the supreme ruler of this world. ... I know, I've filed a complaint on that, and they told me they'd let me know within ten business days.
severedhand wrote:
- Wade
- Wes

PS:
I consider this may be a touchy subject. I appreciate you taking the time to read my thoughts especially as they tend to be chaotic. i took a lot of time and thought to try and make this as 'me' as possible. authenticity is important. It's lacking in many things today.

PPS: closeby there's this bit in the COC with which i disagree
whoever typed up the COC wrote:
If any discussion about adult-only games becomes offensive, the moderators reserve the right to censor the objectionable posts and close or remove the thread.
I would see it altered to
if i'd typed up the COC i'd've wrote:
If any discussion becomes offensive, the moderators reserve the right to censor the objectionable posts and close or remove the thread.
Yeah yeah i know "that'll lead to fascism running rampant" and "hide yo thoughts hide yo opinions cuz they censoring everybody up in here" but if kids fight in the schoolyard they get pulled apart and they both get detention. plus the parents get informed so they're neck deep in number 2 at home too.

PPPS: hold people responsible to their actions regardless of good intentions and white knighting and such.
Rant: show
I'm gonna limit this to one example because otherwise we'll be here all week. after getting publicly yelled at for "not respecting people" at the same time as being "a horrible disgusting shit that should be shot in public" by someone i'd never seen before and have never seen since for walking out of a mcdonalds i can indicate that those crazy people (let's not mince words. that person was crazy, and probably still is) are perfectly capable of causing permanent, deep psychological damage with their "good intentions". this is an extreme example, but still. if we say it's okay to be intolerant about X they what's to keep us from being intolerant about Y and Z and before you know it there's racial segregation and mandatory veganism and all genders will be forced to hate each other actively and we'll never leave this fucking rock because culture and community will cease to exist and such a glorious concept as Starfleet and its values will never see the light of day!

and yes, that actually matters to me. Starfleet is the goal. getting along peacefully with everyone, working out differences, everyone contributing in positive means, ...


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 Post subject: Re: trig warnings
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:11 am 
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I'm sympathetic.

Our CoC is rather long and overly specify in places. I think I'd prefer adopting a more concise CoC rather than using our bespoke one. If only there was something like a 'standard' CoC, but there isn't. The Contributor Covenant might be the closest.

We don't need something with so many specific rules which people will pick bones with. The forum mods have always had discretion to act as they feel they need to, and our CoC was never going to be exhaustive, or something we felt we would need to prosecute every violation over. The CoC sets a vision for the forum community, and if members ever protest mod actions, is something we can point to.

I like these:
http://contributor-covenant.org/version/1/4/
https://jquery.org/conduct/
http://confcodeofconduct.com/
http://www.yesandyesyes.com/code-of-conduct

I just checked out IFComp's code of conduct, and it's only two paragraphs! If the IFComp or IFTF ever wanted to write one that was a little bit longer then I think I'd like to adopt it here.


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 Post subject: Re: trig warnings
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:26 am 
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Quote:
if you teach people X is harmful, even if it's not, any exposure to X will impact them negatively, and negative influences stack.

But trigger warnings are meant for people to whom X *IS* harmful.

Is it really so different from warnings such as 'May contain traces of nuts' on food for people who have allergies?
For most people, nuts are fine, but for a few they definitively are not. What's the harm in warning them?

I think it would be good thing if people who have benefited from trigger warnings (I'm sure we have some in the community) spoke up.


Last edited by Khalisar on Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:50 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: trig warnings
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:29 am 
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Also since X is almost always something like violence, sexual assault, or child abuse, I can't really see the argument that we shouldn't "teach people X is harmful, even if it's not".

If you're lucky enough not to have to care, good for you, but plenty of people - including me on a bad day - can have their day ruined by seeing something like that out of the blue. If you think avoiding that for them isn't worth having to read two words for you, I don't know what to say to you.

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 Post subject: Re: trig warnings
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 8:32 am 
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I will re-summarise my basic stance on the issue being in the code of conduct before I go on holiday.

My assessment of trigger warnings: The concept of trigger warnings takes medical language around PTSD and incorrectly applies it to broad swathes of topics - anything that anybody wants to decide is a trigger for them or someone. It has grown out of opinion in blogs but seeks the imprimatur power of medicine without the scrutiny that medicine applies to itself. It has no genuine connection to bodies of established health science or psychology. It is basically in opposition to cognitive behavioural therapy, something which does have mountains of peer-reviewed evidence, research and dispassionate data behind it, and real results we have taken the time to measure to show it works. Graded exposure, understandable setbacks because this is a real world we're in, and long term strengthening, desesnsitisation and resilience building.

In medicine, we don't recommend a treatment until it has been thoroughly tested and its overall merit and safety demonstrated. Lone anecdotes aren't relevant. A solid body of data is relevant. Sorry robin johnson, this is why your story of a time you felt relief, or my own story of a time I felt relief to have avoided something, doesn't alter my opinion. There's no onus on anyone to prove the opposite (prove this DOESN'T help!) if no benefit, let alone a safe one, has even been able to be demonstrated in the first place.

You will find no large and reputable body of doctors or psychiatrists saying 'Yes, trigger warnings are making people stronger and healthier, keep issuing them.' You will find research going the other way, pointing out that trigger warnings enhance people's sensitisation (sort of like cognitive therapy going in the wrong direction) and that choosing to place trauma centrally to your identity is bad for your mental health, and that's even before the semantic argument about crediting so much power to the sight of a word or idea that you're stripping power from yourself.

I feel that it is overkill for me to have to say so much about this, but this code of conduct - for a forum, a general internet forum! - is recommending something that no reputable health body recommends. There's no way it should be doing that.

(If anyone suggests 'content warnings are no different', the language is half the difference. Trigger warnings use the word 'trigger' to make sure they draw on that PTSD function and attach themselves to the relevant politics. They also depict an inherent connection between the trigger and the triggered (which is not guaranteed) and strongly imply helplessness, and are very specific about what's going to trigger you. Content warnings tend to list the most broadly controversial areas of the fiction, which don't vary much - swearing, sex, violence, and variations on these with different adjectives.)

Now I'm going to Queensland.

-Wade


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 Post subject: Re: trig warnings
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 9:25 am 
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I think that "trigger warning" is not meaningfully different from a "content warning" or "a heads up", or not much different. That is how I see the term "trigger warning" used in the world: informally, not with the intent to sound like a medical professional.

Yes, language has context and politics. But the politics I see (not just here, but generally in fannish circles and increasingly in the world) is being considerate of people and their attempts to manage their weaknesses. Informed consent is not a principle that requires clinical testing. And given that, objecting to the label per se seems petty.


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