Sunbeam City and Content Warnings

as far as issues on Sunbeam City this is by no means the most important or most significant, but it’s definitely something that has been (and still is) an issue throughout most of SBC’s existence, and it’s worth discussing given the current circumstances.

as far as i know, SBC doesn’t currently have guidelines for what to content warn and not content warn or when to content warn things, and if it does they don’t really seem to be enforced other than through community pressure and polite asking. this is obviously not a great state of affairs, and i think we’d benefit from establishing at least a provisional standard for what content should generally be content warned going forward.

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I think some things should always be content warned against such as:

  • Self Harm, Addiction, etc.
  • Politics
  • SBC Meta concerning Mods

Basically anything that is a point of view that may be seen as harmful to others.

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yeah, i’m going to add that generally i’ve observed the following things mostly or always get content warned:

  • meta discussions of any kind
  • fascist, far-right, broadly right-authoritarian content, issues taken up by the far right (eugenics, depopulation, genocide) and things which discuss them, no matter the context
  • most politics (although i personally have tended to not CW)
  • mental health and suicide related issues

stuff which seems to be about 50/50:

  • people’s original content (i tend to do this)
  • selfies and some photographs
  • long threads of any kind
  • jokes that are in questionable taste or about sensitive subjects
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So as far as implementing a specific policy, does this also apply to content from other users that you boost? I generally CW my own politics-related toots, for example, but I also boost from people who don’t pretty often.

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My inclination would be; if there’s a public toot from another instance that you would like to boost, first request that they re-draft the post with a CW. If they refuse, either copy the content of the toot and paste it into a reply with a CW, or just don’t boost.

That seems to me the most kind and courteous way of dealing with it. Part of this is understanding that the Fediverse is bigger than SBC alone and we can’t really expect everyone outside SBC to follow our guidelines.

So it’s just…I think boosting should require the same sort of courtesy as tooting, even if it requires an extra step. If a toot really ought to have a CW, I’d really rather folks not boost it and instead somehow find a way to render it safe for our people.

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as far as boosting toots which if posted in Sunbeam would need CWs, my first thought would be to mandate it for a few really serious and harmful issues like suicide and fascism, but for less serious things (since i assume we’ll have a few things which we establish as needing CWs for reasons other than being harmful) it’d just be courteous to do. YMMV on that standard though.

i can definitely see a case for something like mandating CWs on external things that we’d CW if someone posted them in Sunbeam. one of the biggest issues that people describe having with Sunbeam is cultural, and mandating CWs could certainly be a necessary step in establishing a culture that combats whiteness and protects minorities

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now that i have a bit of free time to devote to this here is a very basic, tentative outline for a content warning system based on what we’ve discussed so far so that we have something in place for people to go off of instead of nothing.

as i mentioned to @emsenn earlier though on SBC, my hope is that we synthesize the things we talk about in other threads with this as we go along so that way our CW guidelines are in line with everything else. this should probably also not be the final phrasing we use for this–i just want to sketch out what we’ve discussed so far.

Content Warnings

Content warnings should be applied both to things posted on Sunbeam City and things from outside of Sunbeam City as needed. The following things should always be content warned:

  • Content related to mental health, self-harm, suicide, addiction, and similar serious issues;
  • Content related to far-right and fascist ideas, beliefs, talking points, propaganda, etc;
  • Content related to SBC meta discussions;
  • Content relating to politics (preferably with the CW including the nation the politics are taking place in);
  • Content which involves blood, forms of physical violence, abuse, or similar content which could be potentially triggering
  • Content which describes or involves gross bodily functions or other generally disgusting content

Additionally, the following content does not require a content warning, but it may be courteous to provide one anyways in certain circumstances for the sake of others:

  • Long toot threads;
  • Jokes that are in questionable taste or pertain to sensitive subjects;
  • Selfies and photographs of people;
  • Original content and self promotion

as you can see i’ve added two additional points (the last two) which i think are broadly agreeable and should be covered by a CW system. better phrasing for all of these points are, as i said above, greatly appreciated. in particular it would be helpful with the one about gross content, since that one is a bit of a judgment call and i’m not sure if flexibility with these points would be more or less helpful. if anyone has other points they’d like to add or which they object to the inclusion of, definitely comment that below.

addendum: this thread may also be a helpful roadmap in our discussion, or it might not be. it’s probably worth reading over regardless, though, since i think it makes some good points when it comes to CWs.

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It would probably be a good thing to add explicitely that unless the intent is malicious and/or discriminatory (ie a CW homosexuality), no one should ever be shamed or met with an aggressive response for asking a particular CW. It goes with what is said in the thread linked by @alyazabirze, I feel encouraging asking and communicating about them would help overall and make people with mental health issues feel more welcome.

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yeah. there’s obviously no way we can cover everything that’s going to be CW worthy to all people without making it cumbersome for both those people and the people who should be CWing stuff, so a part of the guidelines should probably include that.

incidentally you made me realize that i didn’t include a point about bigotry, and we should probably have a point about that. i’m not entirely sure if it should go in the “always content warn” or “courteous, but not mandatory” section, though.

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Not sure if this belongs to the CW topic, but as they often go hand in hand, I suggest requiring checking the “Sensitive Content” box for nudity.

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I think this is a good start on what we could include as our policy on content warnings.

A couple of questions.

  1. I’m not clear on what ‘original content and self promotion’ is. Like, would that mean I couldn’t post a link to a new gardening blogpost etc that I have written?

  2. Re bodily functions, maybe just list it as:
    *Content which describes or involves bodily functions
    which I think leaves out any judgement calling?

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no, mostly i’m just thinking of that point as a way to use CWs to allow people who want to filter out OC/self-promotion stuff out while still allowing people to post OC and self-promotion stuff. there might be a better way to do that, and people might not think it’s an issue in the first place

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ok, thanks for clarifying. I’m not sure I think CWing this kind of thing is necessary, but if people would prefer it to be CWed, I’d accept that :slight_smile:

unless someone objects i’ll probably axe that point, tbh

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alright, i think i’m going to submit this series of CW guidelines as a formal proposal for the instance to with the tweaks people have suggested so far.

Content Warnings

Content warnings should be applied both to things posted on Sunbeam City and things from outside of Sunbeam City as needed. The following things should always be content warned:

  • Content related to mental health, self-harm, suicide, addiction, and similar serious issues;
  • Content related to racism, sexism, LGBT+phobia, ableism and other forms of bigotry and discrimination;
  • Content related to far-right and fascist ideas, beliefs, talking points, propaganda, etc;
  • Content related to SBC meta discussions;
  • Content relating to politics (preferably with the CW including the nation the politics are taking place in);
  • Content which involves blood, forms of physical violence, abuse, or similar content which could be potentially triggering; and
  • Content which describes or involves gross bodily functions.

Additionally, the following content does not require a content warning, but it may be courteous to provide one anyways in certain circumstances for the sake of others:

  • Long toot threads;
  • Jokes that are in questionable taste or pertain to sensitive subjects; and
  • Selfies and photographs of people.

i don’t know how we want to make decisions, though, so i’ve also made a thread on what we want to do as far as making decisions in this process.

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I think that while a large amount of this is good for standard practices, I dislike how talking about oppression in the abstract must be tagged. Further as a nitpick, I would like “gross bodily function” to be better defined, and to remind everyone that clarity of rule does not (always) a better functioning community make. Having said that I will point out that I don’t spend much time on the site or the coop so my input should be considered marginal at best compared to y’all who are actually working on this shit. Y’all rock!

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a few people helpfully pointed out that it would probably be better to have the content warnings about racism and other things of that nature be in the courteous but not mandatory section, which i think is a pretty good way of resolving that particular issue. in the event the current tentative guidelines pass that’ll be the very first thing that i amend, and if they don’t then i’ll toss it in as a part of a revised proposal.

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