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Author Topic: Super Long Pre-Episode Content Warning  (Read 9631 times)

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on: September 23, 2014, 03:01:20 PM
I noticed that in the last handful of episodes there has been a suuuuper long non-specific content warning at the beginning of Pseudopod episodes.  I think it's a couple minutes long.

I'm assuming that this was added because of feedback on the "Gut Check" episode, for people who may be getting the episodes through other means than the Pseudopod site.  It's cool that you're responding to feedback, but I'm hoping that the super-long version that's there now can be axed. 

It says in the content warning that Pseudopod doesn't provide content warnings.  Is there a rationale to avoiding content warnings like Podcastle and Escape Pod do that usually take something like 5 seconds and only when there's something that really pushes a boundary, and replacing it with a couple-minute warning that goes on the front of every episode even if no particular boundary is pushed? 

From a production standpoint it's probably easier to just plop that segment in and you don't have to add specifics or select which episodes it's in, and I get that and that makes sense.  But if that's the way you want to go, could we pleeeeeeeeeeeeasse replace it with something shorter?  Something like "Warning: Pseudopod does not provide episode content ratings. If any episode is getting under your skin in a way you don't enjoy, please do turn it off."



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Reply #1 on: September 23, 2014, 03:40:59 PM

I'm assuming that this was added because of feedback on the "Gut Check" episode, for people who may be getting the episodes through other means than the Pseudopod site.  It's cool that you're responding to feedback, but I'm hoping that the super-long version that's there now can be axed. 

You're assuming entirely incorrectly. The warnings have been on the way for months, but due to me moving house, town and job, they didn't make it on until this week. I, bluntly, loathe having to explain their positioning but if you assumed, then others will so I'll record a clarification.

It says in the content warning that Pseudopod doesn't provide content warnings.  Is there a rationale to avoiding content warnings like Podcastle and Escape Pod do that usually take something like 5 seconds and only when there's something that really pushes a boundary, and replacing it with a couple-minute warning that goes on the front of every episode even if no particular boundary is pushed? 
It's a horror show. We've wanted to do this for a while. Shorter versions of the warning are coming. See previous house, town, job comment.

From a production standpoint it's probably easier to just plop that segment in and you don't have to add specifics or select which episodes it's in, and I get that and that makes sense.  But if that's the way you want to go, could we pleeeeeeeeeeeeasse replace it with something shorter?  Something like "Warning: Pseudopod does not provide episode content ratings. If any episode is getting under your skin in a way you don't enjoy, please do turn it off."
As I said, shorter versions are coming.



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Reply #2 on: September 23, 2014, 04:07:57 PM
You're assuming entirely incorrectly. The warnings have been on the way for months, but due to me moving house, town and job, they didn't make it on until this week.

I did not know that shorter content warnings were already planned, so:
1.  Yay!
2.  Carry on.
3.  Thanks!




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Reply #3 on: September 23, 2014, 04:16:28 PM
I, bluntly, loathe having to explain their positioning but if you assumed, then others will so I'll record a clarification.

I wasn't sure what you meant by this part.  You loathe having to explain why content warnings were added?  I don't think you need to explain, really, but even if you do I think that's an entirely reasonable explanation--whether talking about a specific episode or just in generalities.  It shows that the staff of Pseudopod is listening to feedback and willing to make reasonable changes in response to reasonable feedback.  That is nothing if not classy.  (And it wasn't a hard assumption to make for anyone listening to episodes in order, because of coincidences of timing, so I think it would be a common assumption, though I again don't think that's a bad thing one way or the other)


Also, I hadn't seen the other forumite's comment about the warning length in the episode thread--it appears that I cross-posted with that.  I wasn't intending to pile on--that was just a coincidence.  Sorry about that in any case.



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Reply #4 on: September 24, 2014, 12:33:49 PM
I noticed that in the last handful of episodes there has been a suuuuper long non-specific content warning at the beginning of Pseudopod episodes.  I think it's a couple minutes long.

FWIW, most Android podcatchers that I've used have a function to either increase the speed of or skip a few seconds in a podcast. I know what I'm getting into with PP, so after the first time I skipped the warning. 6-10 taps and done.

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Reply #5 on: September 24, 2014, 01:40:11 PM
One of the reasons for adding these is the printed warning is on the webpage, and most listeners access the show via another medium.  Some podcatchers will show the "explicit" tag, but not all.

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Reply #6 on: September 24, 2014, 01:42:34 PM
I noticed that in the last handful of episodes there has been a suuuuper long non-specific content warning at the beginning of Pseudopod episodes.  I think it's a couple minutes long.

FWIW, most Android podcatchers that I've used have a function to either increase the speed of or skip a few seconds in a podcast. I know what I'm getting into with PP, so after the first time I skipped the warning. 6-10 taps and done.

Do you happen to know if there's something similar on an iPod?  I can skip ahead in the track but that takes hand-eye interaction which I'd rather avoid while listening in traffic.  I've seen audio files with track breaks set within them so that a simple "Skip Track" press will jump right to that point, but I think that requires a change in file formats instead of mp3.



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Reply #7 on: September 24, 2014, 01:43:23 PM
One of the reasons for adding these is the printed warning is on the webpage, and most listeners access the show via another medium.  Some podcatchers will show the "explicit" tag, but not all.

Yup, I said that in the original post.  That makes sense as a reasoning for having some kind of warning in the episode.



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Reply #8 on: September 24, 2014, 03:34:40 PM

One of the reasons for adding these is the printed warning is on the webpage, and most listeners access the show via another medium.  Some podcatchers will show the "explicit" tag, but not all.


Yup, I said that in the original post. 


But not in this thread, ergo addressing it again for those who don't see that other post.

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Reply #9 on: September 24, 2014, 04:45:42 PM
I noticed that in the last handful of episodes there has been a suuuuper long non-specific content warning at the beginning of Pseudopod episodes.  I think it's a couple minutes long.

FWIW, most Android podcatchers that I've used have a function to either increase the speed of or skip a few seconds in a podcast. I know what I'm getting into with PP, so after the first time I skipped the warning. 6-10 taps and done.

Do you happen to know if there's something similar on an iPod?  I can skip ahead in the track but that takes hand-eye interaction which I'd rather avoid while listening in traffic.  I've seen audio files with track breaks set within them so that a simple "Skip Track" press will jump right to that point, but I think that requires a change in file formats instead of mp3.

This is what I use on Android. It's for iOS as well. http://www.shiftyjelly.com/pocketcasts

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Reply #10 on: September 24, 2014, 05:12:00 PM
One of the reasons for adding these is the printed warning is on the webpage, and most listeners access the show via another medium.  Some podcatchers will show the "explicit" tag, but not all.

I did say it in this post.  But the post was admittedly wordy, so restating it might help for TLDR folk.



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Reply #11 on: September 24, 2014, 07:30:23 PM
I noticed that in the last handful of episodes there has been a suuuuper long non-specific content warning at the beginning of Pseudopod episodes.  I think it's a couple minutes long.

FWIW, most Android podcatchers that I've used have a function to either increase the speed of or skip a few seconds in a podcast. I know what I'm getting into with PP, so after the first time I skipped the warning. 6-10 taps and done.

Do you happen to know if there's something similar on an iPod?  I can skip ahead in the track but that takes hand-eye interaction which I'd rather avoid while listening in traffic.  I've seen audio files with track breaks set within them so that a simple "Skip Track" press will jump right to that point, but I think that requires a change in file formats instead of mp3.
Depends on what app you're using, but most have a "jump ahead" button. See the arrow circles in the picture here from the Apple Podcasts app:



or tap on the "Speed 1x" to change the multiplier.



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Reply #12 on: September 24, 2014, 08:41:37 PM
One of the reasons for adding these is the printed warning is on the webpage, and most listeners access the show via another medium.  Some podcatchers will show the "explicit" tag, but not all.

I did say it in this post.  But the post was admittedly wordy, so restating it might help for TLDR folk.


If you're referring to this: "It says in the content warning that Pseudopod doesn't provide content warnings." it may have been what you meant, but not what you wrote. The way I interpreted your comment is that it was related to the "Super Long Pre-Episode Content Warning" and not the warning under the welcome header on the website. </pedant>

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Reply #13 on: September 25, 2014, 11:14:31 AM
If you're referring to this: "It says in the content warning that Pseudopod doesn't provide content warnings." it may have been what you meant, but not what you wrote. The way I interpreted your comment is that it was related to the "Super Long Pre-Episode Content Warning" and not the warning under the welcome header on the website. </pedant>

What I was referring to was "for people who may be getting the episodes through other means than the Pseudopod site", which may not be any clearer.  But it doesn't really matter.



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Reply #14 on: September 25, 2014, 01:30:14 PM
If you're referring to this: "It says in the content warning that Pseudopod doesn't provide content warnings." it may have been what you meant, but not what you wrote. The way I interpreted your comment is that it was related to the "Super Long Pre-Episode Content Warning" and not the warning under the welcome header on the website. </pedant>

What I was referring to was "for people who may be getting the episodes through other means than the Pseudopod site", which may not be any clearer.  But it doesn't really matter.

I see. I read that as a modifier to the episode about Gut Check, which is likely a reading comprehension failure on my part. I read it as "statement, modifier" and not "statement, statement". I discounted any modifiers to that statement due to its logical fallacy, since that episode came with a specific and explicit warning up front embedded in the audio file. Also, like Alasdair said, it was irrelevant to the decision to embed audio content warnings.

There's a mix of content warnings already put together, so it's not going to be the same every time. This will continue to evolve over time. Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback on the matter.

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Reply #15 on: September 25, 2014, 03:11:02 PM
I discounted any modifiers to that statement due to its logical fallacy, since that episode came with a specific and explicit warning up front embedded in the audio file.

You're right, but there was at least one person in the comment thread who complained mightily about lack of content warning, and that they did take the episode very personally because of personal history (I could quote the particular post I'm looking at if you have a burning desire to know and don't want to go look yourself).  So, while I thought the warning in that episode was sufficient, others disagreed, and I guessed that's what was being reacted to.  But, as I've already said, I don't think the specific reasoning really matter anyway, and the reason doesn't have to be justified--I was just speculating on my meandering way to my eventual point.


Also, like Alasdair said, it was irrelevant to the decision to embed audio content warnings.

Actually, until just now I'd been misreading Alasdair's comment as "assumed entirely correctly" instead of "assumed entirely INcorrectly".  My mistake.  Some of my comments since that post may not have made any sense with my misunderstanding of Al's response in mind.




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Reply #16 on: September 25, 2014, 05:30:12 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>



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Reply #17 on: September 25, 2014, 05:45:42 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>

I am of two minds about this. On the one hand, you have people who have been victimized by sexual or physical abuse, or who are personally affected by such topics as war, suicide, racism, and the death of children. Those people I'm sure appreciate knowing ahead of time what they're getting into so they can make informed decisions before reading/listening further.

But on the other hand, sometimes people do go too far with them. And in general if we look back at the film PCU, and how it was received ("this is a silly college comedy film" instead of "this is a satire of what could happen if we don't get our brains together and THINK"), I think we're getting close to that point. Unfortunately, whereas the heroes of that film were (spoiler alert) those who banded together and said "we're not gonna protest", I don't think we have that option anymore.

But on the third hand, a TW on Tumblr is just a quick one-line item that can be skimmed or ignored if TWs bother you. And, I mean, a general "you may experience things" warning is far more palatable to me than "this episode contains x, y, and z possibly offensive content" because, as you said above, where do we stop?

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Reply #18 on: September 25, 2014, 05:47:27 PM
I listen to all the episodes anyway, but I think that warnings for rape, child abuse, torture might be worthwhile.  Maybe animal cruelty.  If you've had a personal experience with something it might be hard to get out from your head afterwards.  (The episode I'm referring to did have a warning on it, so that's not a criticism)

I think that it's mostly to do with the likelihood of people having had traumatic experiences regarding the subject matter.  I know quite a few people who have spoken about trauma from being raped (and probably more who have been but not volunteered that information).  I don't know of anyone who has spoken about trauma from apples or emus.

I think the sex one is less about trauma and more about wanting to listen to episodes with your kids and not wanting to trigger a sex talk right now.



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Reply #19 on: September 25, 2014, 05:47:59 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.

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Reply #20 on: September 25, 2014, 06:26:37 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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Reply #21 on: September 25, 2014, 06:46:38 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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Reply #22 on: September 25, 2014, 06:51:06 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).


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Reply #23 on: September 26, 2014, 03:03:37 AM
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.



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Reply #24 on: September 26, 2014, 10:14:49 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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