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Old 03-11-2014, 06:53 PM View Post #21 (Link)
Spacepirate (Offline)
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Originally Posted by Pony123 View Post
Maybe just have an option before you post your work to put a rating like:
Everyone (No sexual content or language)
Teen (Mild language, or some mature content)
Mature Audience (Explicit content, strong language)
It would take too much work to implicate it on a forum-level, but I think if it was an optional thing i.e. if your work was explicit, you should put a content-warning yourself, would be okay. (There aren't even, from my point of view, enough works that would qualify for a content warning in the first place. What works on this site do you feel are unsafe?) However for different people, from different places, 'mature content' and 'strong language' means different things.

At the end of the day, it's the ideology behind the practice that I take offence to. By creating content warnings you are defining what is a safe and unsafe story. Safety is relative; labelling a story as 'unsafe' is dangerous. You're obviously aware of what 'strong language' is, hence the reason of this whole thread, so since it's in your knowledge, why be so adamant in censoring it? You cannot unlearn things you already know, so why pretend it does not exist? Where is the harm in reading a piece that has profanity in it.

EDIT: Not trying to be aggressive at all - just infinitely curious, and up for a good ol'debate.
  
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:08 PM View Post #22 (Link)
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Originally Posted by Spacepirate View Post
It would take too much work to implicate it on a forum-level, but I think if it was an optional thing i.e. if your work was explicit, you should put a content-warning yourself, would be okay. (There aren't even, from my point of view, enough works that would qualify for a content warning in the first place. What works on this site do you feel are unsafe?) However for different people, from different places, 'mature content' and 'strong language' means different things.

At the end of the day, it's the ideology behind the practice that I take offence to. By creating content warnings you are defining what is a safe and unsafe story. Safety is relative; labelling a story as 'unsafe' is dangerous. You're obviously aware of what 'strong language' is, hence the reason of this whole thread, so since it's in your knowledge, why be so adamant in censoring it? You cannot unlearn things you already know, so why pretend it does not exist? Where is the harm in reading a piece that has profanity in it.

EDIT: Not trying to be aggressive at all - just infinitely curious, and up for a good ol'debate.
I'm not talking for myself, I'm talking for the other young members that still are innocent.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:09 PM View Post #23 (Link)
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Mild . . . language? If I am a part of a forum that finds language itself, the very sign of the word, in need of a rating system, then I am a little startled to find myself in it. To echo owl: I am not welcome here. But also, I am 23 years old. I don't want to see constant warnings that an "explicit" word is lurking around. Oh God. Maybe I'm just too old.

I don't want to reiterate my earlier points. They've already been asserted. But I do want to ask: is your idea of an inappropriate story really one that has sexual content and "bad" language? Of all the potentially explicit things you could mention, and want to rate, it is those? Strong language is inappropriate for teens?

With these types of labels, YWO will automatically shift to a younger audience. Considering it is "young" writers online, maybe that is not an issue. Having rating options is only confining to what society has set out as normal, and I don't expect YWO to break out and challenge that. So if that is what people want, then I wouldn't argue against it. I may feel more uncomfortable--but again, I don't know if that's a bad thing. Perhaps an older demographic is what someone my age should have anyway.

*this may veer toward unrelated territory* but I am still of the belief that sexual content should not have negative connotations. I can understand not showing pornography to your 10-year-old child, but somehow, it is a forgotten fact that the people we try to shield have reached, or soon will reach, puberty. By labelling this content, we are misrepresenting it.

By labelling this content, and not allowing it to be viewable or explored before someone has passed puberty and reached a mature state, then we are giving tools for youth to judge and look down upon those who DO express sexuality. Women today still suffer from derogatory name-calling for being sexual. Teenagers who want to be sexual, or are sexual, have not grown up with (or still aren't given) the tools to understand what that means. Unwanted pregnancies, and at the most basic level, shame ensues. There are far more negative effects, I believe, in keeping these issues mute and hidden.

When do you suddenly feel its appropriate for someone to read sexual content? Long after they've reached puberty, had hormone spikes, and felt drawn toward being sexual? Are we supposed to dictate when someone can express sexuality, or read about it, even if our bodies themselves are on a different timeline?

Even if was violence, war, etc that you mentioned--something that can have negative effects if one grows desensitized to it, I'd feel less confused.

Edit: I come off as aggressive, but I really don't mean to be! I am passionate about the issue, but understand people who come from different contexts may be worried and why they would be. Like I said, what I advocate and the changes I want to see are my own personal wants. I won't generalize and say that it is right for everybody (though I do want to see some progressive movements regarding issues of sexuality and mental illness, depression and so on). Whatever does happen, I will respect that decision. My problems with a rated system are complicated and go beyond a YWO option for "Mature" or not.
  
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:13 PM View Post #24 (Link)
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I think this discussion is interesting and worth having, and I hope it continues! But I also want to clear some things up.

I think that for now, barring some huge change in the membership and interests of the forum, we'll be sticking with our current system: People are welcome to put content warnings on their work, but won't be required to do so. I personally agree completely with Raconteur, owl and Zombified (and others) about why content warnings shouldn't be required. The general consensus among the mods is that our current system works pretty well and there's no need to change it right now, both for the reasons people have already discussed in this thread plus others.

However, there are things everybody can do to make the forum a little more inclusive: both writers who are concerned about younger members reading their work, and younger members who want to avoid certain language or content.

If you're concerned about content, here's what you can do:
If you know you don't want to read about a particular subject, it can be worth getting in touch with people on the forum and asking them about their work. People love to talk about themselves. A friendly VM saying "hey, I kind of want to read your story but am looking for stuff to read that's PG, does your story fit the bill?" would probably be welcome. I certainly wouldn't take issue with it, and would be happy to point you in the direction of stuff on the forum I knew was ok - even if it wasn't my work. This is analagous to reading a book review or asking a friend or mentor before reading a book. Books generally don't come with ratings, and a book shelved in "adult fiction" in the library or bookstore can be totally ok for somebody who's 12 and sheltered or it could be the raunchiest, most violent thing ever written. We don't have blurbs for posts here (which might get into 'content warning' territory) but we have something better - you can just message the author and ask them.

If there are certain words that you know are problematic, you can pull up a thread and then use Control or command + F to bring up a search bar in your browser that will look through the current page for a particular word and highlight it.

If you're posting work on the forum:
People are also encouraged to put warnings for stuff that might be construed as obviously offensive or difficult, but wouldn't be required to do so. If people didn't put warnings on their threads, that would be their choice - mods wouldn't request that people put warnings unless something was outlandishly inappropriate (as in, a bunch of us were offended, a pretty high bar I think) and we'd hope everyone would respect that decision to not provide a warning if they didn't think it right for their work.
  
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:16 PM View Post #25 (Link)
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I think this is ridiculous because the other day I was reading a critique and found that someone had labelled a joke involving a grandad and a ring as "sexualised". This is nonsense. You find out what definitions mean what by reading books and seeing stuff in THE REAL WORLD. Quite frankly, I've come across a hell of a lot of bad stuff in books with no ratings whatsoever and quite frankly I think it's just raised my awareness of the world and improved my skill at skipping stuff.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:38 PM View Post #26 (Link)
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Would it be the time to emphasize that I try to be understanding as a person, and I'm not at all as cranky as I sound?

If someone, like Isis mentioned, wanted to know whether my story had certain elements in it, I would tell them. I would be happy to! If someone wanted suggestions of stories that do not have certain elements in it, I would gladly tell them. This asks for the reader to be responsible for themselves--something I respect.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:40 PM View Post #27 (Link)
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Originally Posted by AdrenalinJunkie View Post
I think this is ridiculous because the other day I was reading a critique and found that someone had labelled a joke involving a grandad and a ring as "sexualised". This is nonsense. You find out what definitions mean what by reading books and seeing stuff in THE REAL WORLD. Quite frankly, I've come across a hell of a lot of bad stuff in books with no ratings whatsoever and quite frankly I think it's just raised my awareness of the world and improved my skill at skipping stuff.
AdrenalinJunkie, you have a point. But I've come accros more than a few kids who will read stuff and don't have the morals to skip over or even think, "This is inappropriate"

---Sigh, eating popcorn and debating---- my favorite pastime.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:59 PM View Post #28 (Link)
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Originally Posted by Pony123 View Post
But I've come accros more than a few kids who will read stuff and don't have the morals to skip over or even think, "This is inappropriate"
waitwaitwait. You want us to label content that is not distinguishably inappropriate as inappropriate-- because someone thinks it might be-- and stop people from reading it who would otherwise not have noticed?

Aside from being censorship, this would probably be counterintuitive. The label wouldn't stop them from reading it but it would highlight the "inappropriate" areas--which the kid would not have noticed otherwise. Making a "clean" story "corruptive".

I think that the value of a content warning is to warn people who are consciously uncomfortable with the subject. Kids who keep reading are apparently comfortable with it, and more power to 'em-- or oblivious, in which case you've achieved your goal?
Since the goal is, I assume, to keep children innocent, having children who don't notice is achievement.
Unless the goal is to create shame.
In which case I direct you to Aly's post. Sexuality is not shameful. And what good, exactly, would arise from creating shame?
  
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Old 03-12-2014, 02:42 AM View Post #29 (Link)
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AdrenalinJunkie, you have a point. But I've come accros more than a few kids who will read stuff and don't have the morals to skip over or even think, "This is inappropriate"
Pony, I advise you to be careful about how you choose your words. I felt like this post implied something quite condescending, whether you meant it to or not, though I think those maybe-not-intentional implications are worth discussing: this post implies that people who may be comfortable with different content than you are, which is neither good nor bad, are "immoral." I think this is unfair. The simple truth is that I'm offended by the implication that because I and others may be comfortable reading about certain things -- forget writing about them! -- we would somehow be immoral.

People are ready for different kinds of stories -- and I use the word "stories" here loosely, because I think in this context music, the visual arts, poetry and even histories are stories -- at different times in their lives. Maybe you feel no need for stories about certain subjects, and are even made uncomfortable by them. That's totally fine! But maybe someone else needs that story, because it will help them understand some part of their life. In what capacity, it doesn't matter. This is the power of art, and this is why Raconteur has been advocating for us to avoid labeling things are "dark" or "inappropriate" : art illuminates. And I, like her, think it is wrong to treat certain subjects as though they are "inappropriate" and shameful, when they are simply parts of life.

But of course one cannot expect people who have had different life experiences and live a different cultural experience to have the same priorities, or to see certain life experiences the same way. A twelve year old may be 100% ready to read something you don't want to; you don't know. That's for that person to decide.

And we are not that person's parents. We cannot decide for them what is appropriate and what isn't. We can, however, decide what is appropriate for ourselves as individuals. Stress on the individual. totally agree with lalo that labeling something as inappropriate when someone wouldn't otherwise care or notice is counterintuitive, and I'd like to add that I think such a proposition is presumptuous and condescending. You know that you are capable of deciding what is right for you to read; please extend to your peers on YWO the courtesy of assuming that they are capable of deciding what is right for themselves to read, as well.
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:22 PM View Post #30 (Link)
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I was just wondering-- out of curiosity-- if labeling threads to be 'everyone' would have the same connotations as labeling threads to be 'mature'? On the one hand, it's still labeling; on the other hand, it's not limiting content in quite the same way.
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