kate: Kate Winslet is wryly amused (Default)
[personal profile] kate
A friend of mine posted this over on tumblr: If someone marks their fic “Author has chosen not to warn”, do you get to get your nose out of joint that it’s not tagged with things that you bother you?

#not a rhetorical question


I don’t. But I have no triggers and few squicks. I also am able to protect myself and stop reading things that may upset me, and then manage the upset myself without too much trouble or emotional damage.

I like to think that if I had triggers or squicks, I would ask a friend to vet the story for me, but I can also imagine I’d look at the tags and go, hm, that looks okay to me, and give it a whirl. It’s exhausting looking out for that all the time, and I think everyone deserves the chance to mess up by being a little optimistic about the lack of *personally* disturbing tags on a fic. And I think it’s fair for them to be upset. I even think it’s fair for them to mention it, and I also think it’s fair for them to be a bit unreasonable in their language, if you’ve hit an honest to god trigger.

I also think that you are not required to tag or warn based on their needs, or their comment. It is your creation and your decision, and I can also understand that it might be upsetting to receive a comment like this, because it can feel like an attack. It may even be worded like an attack.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have received a comment like this and I made a choice to add the thing the person was talking about to the tags. It took me two days to respond to it and make the decision, though, because I felt like I had been attacked, and I felt it was unreasonable. In the end I decided to do it, because I wanted to protect anyone else who might have triggers about the thing I hadn’t tagged.

These days, I use warnings and tags very purposefully to try and make my stories as safe as possible for others. I want people to be able to make educated choices about what they’re consuming, giving them tools so they can protect themselves. It doesn’t hurt my work, and to me, it is one of the great advantages to fanfiction over books. We’re writing for other fans. We often give gift fanworks because we love other fen. It’s the interaction that makes it better than books. And because of that interaction, I try to protect people who might want to consume my fanworks.

Honestly, holding books up as the end-all, be-all of the way writing should be is bullshit anyway. I read fic that’s better than published books all the time. So why should the way we think tags, warnings, and consumers of our fanworks/other fen should emulate the way books do things? (Not to mention - every OTHER entertainment has a ratings and warnings system. Music, movies, TV. Why not books?)

(And all that said - I *do* use the “Choose Not To Warn” option when the warnings are too complex to really get into or I can’t figure out WHAT to warn/tag for. I figure better safe than sorry - I am hoping that people with triggers will look at that and go “Hmmm, better not risk it.” But I don’t count on that, and if I get a comment, I try to respond gracefully and address the situation as much as I can. *shrug* It’s a complex topic, but in general, I am on the side of protecting others as much as I can. That’s just me, and I don’t judge anyone for thinking or believing differently.)

on 1/24/16 02:27 pm (UTC)
reginagiraffe: Stick figure of me with long wavy hair and giraffe on shirt. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] reginagiraffe
I'm actually kind of baffled by using "Choose not to warn" AND using warning tags. The whole point of CNTW is that you're not warning. And you're saying the reader needs to either take the responsibility of making sure the story isn't triggering (by having a friend read it or what have you) or not read it.

Once you start putting any kind of warning tags on it, people will start to expect that they are comprehensive.

on 1/24/16 04:58 pm (UTC)
princessofgeeks: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] princessofgeeks
I think the AO3's system is a great compromise for people who want content labels, whether readers or writers, and authors who do not want to give away plot points. And your point about the tighter relationships between readers and writers inside fandom is great, as well as the reminder that unlike published work, which becomes fixed in form, authors of fanfic can always go back and tweak tags and category markers as trends change in fandom, or based on feedback from readers.

I treat "Choose Not to Warn" as a great big red flag, because I do have some pretty severe squicks for certain things that fandom loves as kinks. I don't have anything that I would describe as triggering, but there are definitely things I do not want to read and so I appreciate the chance to skip it or ask someone about the content.

on 1/25/16 12:33 pm (UTC)
princessofgeeks: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] princessofgeeks
Yeah, this is why the AO3 in addition to "Choose Not To Warn" offers "No Archive Warnings Apply", so if you don't want to tag everything but you want people to know there's nothing big to worry about (I thought the narrow list of Archive Warnings that AO3 settled on was a good one), you can use the latter.

But some people who are against warnings as a matter of principal, I guess, would go ahead and put "Choose Not To Warn" on everything as their default. Usually, though, based on the rating plus that, I am generally guessing that the "Choose Not To Warn" fics are probably violent in some way or have elements that people might want a warning for in other circumstances. Educated guesses are what we do in profic, too. And reading reviews and asking friends!

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