Trigger Warning: Trigger Warning

Ever been on a forum or Facebook and seen someone post a ‘Trigger Warning: [absolutely anything]’?

I hang out on a couple forums and I moderate a forum on NaNoWriMo.org, so I see these regularly. Some people really like these. They want a content warning like the movie industry has.

Of course, you’ve already noted the problem with that. The movie industry warnings are vague and interchangeable. Even looking up the exact reasons a movie got that rating won’t tell you anything about the actual experience. They argue showing blood for a half a second is okay, but you jump up the rating if you show it for two seconds – meanwhile the director knows, depending on they shoot that scene the half of a second or less might be much more disturbing than the full minute of blood gushing out.

Trigger warnings are redundant. I make a post: ‘I need to kill off my character’ I don’t need a ‘Warning: Death’. Switch it over to the stupidly common ‘Plot Help’, the original poster (OP) might be working on a specific scene, not sure where they’re going. Someone else might describe character death or the someone might request extra information, so OP explains how the character’s mother died in a car accident.

Well, dammit. Random reader twenty-seven’s mother died in a car accident. This brought up memories and they’re upset. They can either remark on these feelings to help the poster better their work, or they can stop all discussion and complain how their ¬†should have been a warning. They could also just close the page as soon as the word ‘car’ showed up, but we know they didn’t do that because that would have been in an inconvenience to them.

Personally, nothing provokes a trigger warning, so how am I supposed to know what’s going to provoke it in someone else, cause it can be literally anything. You can trigger someone by mentioning ‘war’, ‘cats’, ‘knives’, but unless everyone brings a list of conversations they can’t have with them at all times, were stuck walking on eggshells.

What brings this up? Someone posted to the unofficial NaNoWriMo Facebook group a picture of silhouette of a tree with bodies hanging from it, not just human, but probably other creatures too. When I first saw the image, it was clearly some random creepypasta and most of the comments were about the silliness of it and vague plot ideas (it was posted as a prompt). Apparently after I left someone demanded a trigger warning, the OP didn’t want to add it and the admin removed the entire thread.

Because one person objected. I’m sure others sided with them, but the point is, this was offensive to one, therefore the rest of us couldn’t discuss it. These are supposed to be people who want to learn and discover new things, or at least be respectful of what others are interested in and open discussion about all topics.

I’m sorry, but if even the slightest glimpse of a word causes you to become catatonic, then you need help. You are not able to be part of the world and you should punish the rest of us for your lack of control.

1 comment for “Trigger Warning: Trigger Warning

  1. April 30, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    There are times that Trigger Warnings are appropriate, though on sites such as NaNoWriMo and Facebook these are limited.
    I was a moderator on forums for groups of people with mental health issues including Self Injury, PTSD, Eating Disorders, etc. On a site like that trigger warnings are the appropriate and the norm. Typically the forum rules include some basic guidelines for what type of content requires such warnings. People on these sites are generally in a delicate state, usually in some stage of recovery and need to keep up some barriers so they can prepare themselves and postpone reading or decide not to read a post based on their emotional strength at a given time.
    On more generalized audience sites trigger warnings may be useful if the post is extremely graphic and depending on the mix of the audience. If there is a large percentage of the group that have expressed personal sensitivities to certain topics then those topics should be tagged as likely to cause distress to those sensitive to such issues as sexual assault, violence, and other controversial and difficult topics.
    If a person is in need of trigger warning for items that are not extremely graphic, they should stick to sites that are very unlikely to post items that are likely to cause them great distress or at least sites that include trigger warnings until they are more stable.

Comments are closed.