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 1/25/16 10:21 pm (UTC)
pensnest: tuxedo cat draped over computer monitor (Cat stop posting)
Posted by [personal profile] pensnest
Interesting discussion.

I come from popslash, and when I learned the ways of that particular fandom, it was pretty normal practice to post new stories in one's LJ with little more than a cut tag to protect the innocent. I suppose some people would put up a header with rating, pairing, etc, but it wasn't universal. (I still mutter curses when required to put ratings on fics for rec communities, podfic etc.) I don't do ratings on my stories, which is, I realise, as much a wilful lack of advertising as anything else, but I figure that most readers are old enough to see a 15-rated movie, and that'll do for me.

Warnings, though... I decided a while back that I would warn for death or rape/noncon/dubcon. Not that any of these crops up very often, for I am a soft and fluffy writer, by and large. However, like someone else in comments here, I often use 'Choose not to warn' if there is an issue in the fic that isn't really an issue—a death that isn't real, for instance, that I don't want the reader to know in advance isn't real. Also, I'd rather have a 'Choose not to warn', ( I think of it as 'caveat lector') than a warning that's misleading.

I usually go for minimal spoilerage rather than maximum tagging. I wonder if this style of presentation is rather 'old school' now that we're more generally aware of the audience's potential vulnerabilities? It's quite possible that if I were writing in a fandom with any actual readers, I'd be more up to date on it all.


kate: Kate Winslet is wryly amused (Default)


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