Author Topic: Super Long Pre-Episode Content Warning  (Read 8697 times)

Fenrix

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Re: Super Long Pre-Episode Content Warning
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2014, 01:26:37 PM »

Speaking broadly (and not about PP in particular), trigger warnings are generally an accessibility issue, not a sensitivity issue. PTSD has real effects on the human brain, one of which is dosing you with pure adrenaline when especially traumatic memories are invoked.  TW's are specifically used for traumas that are unfortunately extremely common for a large percentage of the population, such as rape and domestic abuse.

The idea is to give people living with PTSD the ability to participate in things they still enjoy by giving them a gentle heads-up so they can know what they're exposing themselves to and make an informed decision.

This is different from, say the movie rating system, which is designed to give people a way to avoid content that is objectionable because of age, social custom, or religious reasons. We give content ratings generally because some people just don't like violence or scariness. We give TW's to allow an injured person access to things they enjoyed before they became injured, same as a wheelchair ramp or anything else. So you can have two people, one of which wants an "R" rating because the topic of rape offends them, and another who wants a TW because rape will cause a real PTSD reaction that might set back their recovery process or cause real harm to their well-being.


Thanks. This is a really good explanation of trigger warnings and their purpose.

I don't think the community using them has effectively gotten this message out there, nor have they defended its use. On various Facebook feeds I have seen the trigger warning label applied to discussions about body image and cat videos, among other things. So there's slippery slope sensitivity sources and ironic banality, I think largely due to poor message control.
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Varda

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Re: Super Long Pre-Episode Content Warning
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2014, 01:46:38 PM »
Thanks. This is a really good explanation of trigger warnings and their purpose.

I don't think the community using them has effectively gotten this message out there, nor have they defended its use. On various Facebook feeds I have seen the trigger warning label applied to discussions about body image and cat videos, among other things. So there's slippery slope sensitivity sources and ironic banality, I think largely due to poor message control.

Glad I could shed some light! :) And yeah, the problem with TW's is that unlike the MPAA, there's no One True Official Guide to when and where they should be used, so you're gonna see people appropriating the term to mean different things than it's mainly intended for.

My general rule of thumb is to keep PTSD in mind, and look at it through that lens. For example, if you're not offended by f-bombs, odds are good you'll never really be offended by them, and for those who don't care for f-bombs, it's a matter of personal taste. Or, there are people who dislike violence, sight unseen, no matter how it's portrayed in a movie or story or what purpose it might serve. Once again, it's a matter of taste and personal opinion, and falls more into "is a person being too sensitive?". But any one of us could be raped today, and wake up tomorrow suddenly in need of a TW, just like any of us could have a stroke and become paralyzed today. Does that make sense?
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DKT

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Re: Super Long Pre-Episode Content Warning
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2014, 01:51:06 PM »
That's a great explanation, Varda. I don't think I've seen it stated so succinctly before.

Yeah, some people are using the term in a way that cheapens it. But I think it's an empowering tool to have for the communities of people who are suffering from PTSD, and really - for us as entertainers and artists who want to engage with those listeners, and make them happy (or horrify them, or fascinate them, or whatever. All the time while not triggering their PTSD).

matweller

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Re: Super Long Pre-Episode Content Warning
« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2014, 10:03:37 PM »
I'm always fascinated by the idea of people wanting "trigger warnings." For what? Only violence and sex? Or do we need to offer them for people who freak out at the mention of apples and emus too? How could you possibly warn for all potentially offensive content. Folks need to experience the world at their own risk. Or maybe I'm just severely underestimating the size of the emu victim pool out there. </privilege>

Speaking broadly (and not about PP in particular), trigger warnings are generally an accessibility issue, not a sensitivity issue. PTSD has real effects on the human brain, one of which is dosing you with pure adrenaline when especially traumatic memories are invoked.  TW's are specifically used for traumas that are unfortunately extremely common for a large percentage of the population, such as rape and domestic abuse.

The idea is to give people living with PTSD the ability to participate in things they still enjoy by giving them a gentle heads-up so they can know what they're exposing themselves to and make an informed decision.

This is different from, say the movie rating system, which is designed to give people a way to avoid content that is objectionable because of age, social custom, or religious reasons. We give content ratings generally because some people just don't like violence or scariness. We give TW's to allow an injured person access to things they enjoyed before they became injured, same as a wheelchair ramp or anything else. So you can have two people, one of which wants an "R" rating because the topic of rape offends them, and another who wants a TW because rape will cause a real PTSD reaction that might set back their recovery process or cause real harm to their well-being.
I agree wholeheartedly. I'm 100% in favor of saving people extra discomfort, especially if it can be done with something so simple as a 5 second warning. I hope we can define this clearly and state it on our websites and apply it in our shows according to those guidelines.

Like I said, it just sorta fascinates me to see how differently it gets used in different places. Especially in cases where they just say "trigger warning" and then move on without saying what the trigger is that their warning about. It's uselessly vast.

Varda

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Re: Super Long Pre-Episode Content Warning
« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2014, 05:14:49 AM »
Like I said, it just sorta fascinates me to see how differently it gets used in different places. Especially in cases where they just say "trigger warning" and then move on without saying what the trigger is that their warning about. It's uselessly vast.

But it all depends on the community and context, doesn't it? In contexts where you're addressing a general audience, such as "people who enjoy spec fic", which likely includes a wide cross section of society, it makes sense to take into account the most demographically common sources of PTSD if you decide you want to make something accessible to the subset of your audience dealing with this, or who will deal with this (noting that there are undoubtedly plenty of EA fans, for example, who have survived rape since they began listening). While PTSD can be caused and triggered by any number of traumatic things, it doesn't make sense in a general context to try and guess at everything, nor would a person with PTSD expect you to.

But let's pretend there's a small town somewhere in upstate New York where mutant apple-wielding emus violently murdered most of the population before the horrified eyes of the survivors. These people develop PTSD as a result, generally triggered by apples and emus, as their brains now unfortunately react to these things in a very real way. People in the region might develop a custom of being considerate toward the survivors by including a TW for the Great Emu Massacre when they write about it on locally-oriented blogs. This is because the locals want the survivors to be fully included in the community. They don't want them having to isolate themselves from perfectly good things that everyone gets to enjoy just to preserve their mental health.

We might run across the blog and think the very specific TW is absurd and unnecessary--but that's not true at all, because it's not about us. Within communities that contain people living with specific forms of PTSD, even really uncommon ones, they have a right to take these people into account and use TWs accordingly. It's different in the context of a general audience, though.
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matweller

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Re: Super Long Pre-Episode Content Warning
« Reply #25 on: September 26, 2014, 07:07:37 AM »
Like I said, it just sorta fascinates me to see how differently it gets used in different places. Especially in cases where they just say "trigger warning" and then move on without saying what the trigger is that their warning about. It's uselessly vast.

But it all depends on the community and context, doesn't it? In contexts where you're addressing a general audience, such as "people who enjoy spec fic", which likely includes a wide cross section of society, it makes sense to take into account the most demographically common sources of PTSD if you decide you want to make something accessible to the subset of your audience dealing with this, or who will deal with this (noting that there are undoubtedly plenty of EA fans, for example, who have survived rape since they began listening). While PTSD can be caused and triggered by any number of traumatic things, it doesn't make sense in a general context to try and guess at everything, nor would a person with PTSD expect you to.

But let's pretend there's a small town somewhere in upstate New York where mutant apple-wielding emus violently murdered most of the population before the horrified eyes of the survivors. These people develop PTSD as a result, generally triggered by apples and emus, as their brains now unfortunately react to these things in a very real way. People in the region might develop a custom of being considerate toward the survivors by including a TW for the Great Emu Massacre when they write about it on locally-oriented blogs. This is because the locals want the survivors to be fully included in the community. They don't want them having to isolate themselves from perfectly good things that everyone gets to enjoy just to preserve their mental health.

We might run across the blog and think the very specific TW is absurd and unnecessary--but that's not true at all, because it's not about us. Within communities that contain people living with specific forms of PTSD, even really uncommon ones, they have a right to take these people into account and use TWs accordingly. It's different in the context of a general audience, though.
Of course the specific makes sense, I said the immensely non-specific was pointless. It gets used for something as simple as the use of the word "sex," which is overly-simplistic, silly and I would guess insulting. If you're that sensitive, you're probably an agoraphobic with no phone, radio or television.

Varda

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Re: Super Long Pre-Episode Content Warning
« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2014, 07:26:02 AM »
Of course the specific makes sense, I said the immensely non-specific was pointless. It gets used for something as simple as the use of the word "sex," which is overly-simplistic, silly and I would guess insulting. If you're that sensitive, you're probably an agoraphobic with no phone, radio or television.

Do you have an example? I've never, ever seen a TW used just because something contained the word "sex" in it. Are you sure you're not thinking of movie ratings or content warnings?

General TWs are usually given within an assumed context. If a person just says "TW on this link" when, say, they share it on social media, they're speaking to the people in their circles they already know suffer from PTSD. I personally think it's more helpful to be a little more specific, but the point is still it's a tool used within a community to allow accessibility to injured people, not something being demanded by the injured people.

And as a side note, please can we stop using the word "sensitive" about people with PTSD? We're not talking about people who are too easily offended; we're talking about people with injuries. If you don't have legs, you're not being too sensitive or demanding if you need a little help getting up the stairs. People who don't like something because it offends them are an entirely different topic and not at all related to the reasons anyone should or shouldn't choose to use TWs.
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matweller

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Re: Super Long Pre-Episode Content Warning
« Reply #27 on: September 26, 2014, 08:38:08 AM »
And as a side note, please can we stop using the word "sensitive" about people with PTSD? We're not talking about people who are too easily offended; we're talking about people with injuries. If you don't have legs, you're not being too sensitive or demanding if you need a little help getting up the stairs. People who don't like something because it offends them are an entirely different topic and not at all related to the reasons anyone should or shouldn't choose to use TWs.
Sorry, I was thinking more like people with open, bleeding wounds and third degree burns are sensitive to the slightest touches.

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Re: Super Long Pre-Episode Content Warning
« Reply #28 on: September 26, 2014, 08:46:49 AM »
Thanks for elaborating on the reasoning behind Trigger Warnings, Varda.  I guess I'd kind of lumped them together in my mind with general content warnings about sex and swearing and the like, but just tended to  hear "trigger" in the cases where it was more on the extreme side--just a variation of degree between the two terms.  The way you're explaining it totally makes sense, and it seems that trigger warnings and content warnings are completely different things that just happen to share a little overlap (i.e. things meriting a trigger warning would probably also merit a content warning but the reverse isn't generally true). 

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Re: Super Long Pre-Episode Content Warning
« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2014, 12:55:24 PM »
I'm disappointed that Escape Artists has to add such warnings for a horror podcast in the first place.  Horror. That means bunny rabbits with sharp teeth!  Or, something to that effect.
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Re: Super Long Pre-Episode Content Warning
« Reply #30 on: December 21, 2014, 03:50:59 PM »
Pseudopod *chose* to add the warning, as a peremptory action - it's a "meeting halfway gesture" intended in the spirit of living in a shared community but still honoring freedom of choice and personal responsibility in the listenership.  Horror means different things to different people. No one threatened or forced us.

TrishEM

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Re: Super Long Pre-Episode Content Warning
« Reply #31 on: December 21, 2014, 07:31:49 PM »
I've been enjoying the shorter general warnings at the top of the podcasts lately, especially the variety, as in #417:
Dr. Harcourt shivered. So, what you're saying is this is a horror podcast. My God! There could be adult language and situations inside!
They're like super-short stories to get the listener into the horror mood as the podcast begins. I love the tone. If you can keep up the varying openers, great; if they're too time-consuming, though, that's understandable. In general, I think they work fine as general warnings.