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Trigger Warnings - Courtesy or Avoidance?

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Jun 20, 2016
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#26
I find trigger warnings to be pretty frustrating at times and a useful idea at others. The most annoying thing about them is when they are overused and when people are overly sensitive. But at the same time knowing that there is something that might be offensive or unpleasant can be nice. For instance when I visit the movies and see previews that list the reasons why a movie is rated R. That is helpful and can let me avoid seeing a film with x if I dislike x. Just my two cents. :)
 
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#27
I see how it is "nice", for lack of a better word... But I'm European and we don't do it. As an adult, you have to learn to deal. Of course I'm not meaning that very graphic pictures should be passed around for all to see...
 

Rudolph Quin

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#28
Are film and tv ratings under the same umbrella phrase now? It'd be interesting to explore why/how film ratings for content is different than being obligated to tag porn and gore that you post/reblog on social media sites. Because I do sort of follow that logic of grouping them together. It's all about who's responsibility it is to watch out for this stuff and inform about potentially harmful content being presented to other people, right?
 
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#30
Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me. Heard it before? It's true ya know. Do you really think people form opinions about Native Americans because a football team is called the Redskins? Really? I can't use the word "lynching" because it's racist. Huh? More whites have been lynched and hanged than any other race and the largest single lynching was in California where a large number of Chinese were lynched. I went to a racially mixed high school decades ago and everyone used the N word along with the L word and the Q word and a whole bunch of others and no one broke down in tears and had to go to a "Safe Space". Grow up people - there is a world out there and it isn't a safe place.
 
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#31
I'm happy that the world is trying to be more sensitive, but we can't afford to become unable to even hear a word, given the crazies we are dealing with currently.
 
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#32
Trigger warnings were initially good things, they were used for war veterans and victims of horrific violence who have PTSD. for example, many veterans hate driving under bridges because in warzones, enemies would drop bombs down on them from overpasses and speed bumps look like loosely covered up lines of bombs in the road. this is where trigger warnings belong.

yet it's the extreme far-left professors in universities who have twisted this to mean "anything that offends my ever sensitive sensibilities" and a few years later we have what we have today, where "triggered" is used as an insult and way to mock people.
 

BlisteredBlood

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#33
(Quick note: Sorry for going back to fix this post of mine, but there was a grammar thing I noticed. Call it my OCD, I guess.)

As seen through this thread, I can tell that there's a major split between this originally supposed to mean something for those that truly suffered a traumatic experience to those and those who just belt out "triggered" in a manner to shut someone up. I am in no way knocking you if you did suffer from a truly traumatic experience. Hell, I'm right up there with you since I got myself a pretty serious stress disorder along with social anxiety because of some... Well, heavy stuff, that happened to me in the past. Not gonna go into details about it, but yeah.

So of course, I could see to a degree where people are coming from with the whole "trigger warning" thing. But the thing here is that I'm a grown man now. I can handle most things pretty well. If you can't handle most things like most people, then hey, it's your right not to look at, listen to, read, view or whatever. At the same time, it's a major league frustration at the same time since you got every single left-winger - regardless of what they look like, just an FYI - who ended up twisting the real meaning of the words to suit their own needs or to push an agenda which really has no bearing on the current situation at hand. But that's not saying right-wingers aren't guilty of this as well, since they also feel you're attacking them whenever you're asking questions about God and religion, the economy or whatever social issues they feel need discussing.

It's clearly a double-edged sword, but the overall message I'm getting at is this. If you can't take the slightest bit of criticism, then you weren't meant for debating. If you get easily offended by even the littlest thing, then why were you even there in the first place? If there's something there that you don't like, leave it be and just ignore it. Pretend it's not even there. Go back into your little bubble and leave everybody else alone.

But nope. People seem to easily forget about the fact that there are such things as disclaimers, warnings and ratings on virtually everything there is today. The ESRB doesn't exist. The RIAA does't exist. The CCA - you know, the group who stamps their approval seal on comic books? - doesn't exist. The MPAA doesn't exist. Hell, WWE might as well encourage you to powerslam someone through a table because there just so happens to be a statewide talent search for the next breakout Superstar, regardless if it results in serious injury or death.

...Does anyone see where I'm getting at here?
 
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#34
So that's how trigger warnings started... I can certainly respect that. It seems like many things it started great and went overboard and was twisted. America the country of excess ;)

My father is older and fought several European wars, local and colonial, and on "both sides" (what history would call the good one and the bad one). In his times and places there was no such thing as trigger warnings or even going to therapy unless you were batshit crazy. As a kid I never noticed anything, though I understood some things as an adult. Why he never talked of some topics, why he removed himself from some situations... But again not everyone can keep it together (he did teach me to shoot as a child with is absolutely illegal in my country but I never told myself OMG what's wrong with him).
 
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#35
"Some of the worst things imaginable have been done with the best intentions." This quote stuck out to me after hearing it back in 2001 when I first saw Jurassic Park 3 in theatres. As to why I bring this up, it's simple...it's true. Through-out human history people have attempted countless times to do the right thing but it inevitably failed because...well...humans are flawed. We are not perfect, humans make mistakes, bad choices, but as has been previously stated by many different people...humans are meant to be adaptable. It's in our nature. YES, there are certainly instances where the threshold has been reached and an individual can take absolutely no more. They've hit their ultimate limit and anything past that will result in catastrophic failure.

I agree, trigger warnings began as a good idea. It was an idea with the best of intentions as a kindness for those who truly suffered in some way, shape or form through horrific aspects in their life. It was meant as something to help them work through their experiences in order to deal with on a day to day basis as best as they could if not possibly desensitize them to it even all together. This was it's original meaning. My go to example for this might seem crude and I do seriously apologize but it's the first thing to come to mind as to how cut and dry this was suppose to be.

Anyone here ever seen the movie Wreck-It-Ralph? If you have you will know what I am talking about. There is a scene in the movie where one of the characters says something very specific to another. He had no clue this was a bad thing, he said it innocently but it caused the other character to literally freak out where she lost control and crashed the little ship they were flying in because it effected her so badly.


Skip to 0:20 seconds in:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RH5GNYZSVI

This is what a trigger is. A word or phrase which causes a specific and violent/fierce reaction in someone when it's said. Causing them to experience a series of flashbacks and majorly strong emotions/feelings as that word and or phrase was always associated with this/these scenarios and or individual/individuals.

While I would say it's mostly true for the average person things such as excessive blood, guts, gore, violence, torture, rape...all of those and related aspects cause most people to cringe if not feel physically ill its a reaction which has been taught for the most part as these things are viewed by the general populace as being bad things. Things of which no normal person should take any form of positive emotion from when seeing.

For those individuals who have experienced such things its certainly understandable as to why they would want to avoid such content. It's certainly not a fond memory for those people. But all in all I would say this certainly duel edged sword also bares duel responsibility in a sense.

For people who are triggered in the actual sense of the term and people who find certain things very dis-tasteful...they need to be aware of their surroundings as much as possible in order to regulate what they are exposed to. The internet is a wide open place and there is more than a snow ball's chance in hell shot at encountering something which can invoke a drastic response in one's self. Be on the look out and ever watchful for such content. Now I know it's impossible to realistically cover ALL the bases, things will slip through even if you are extra careful and you will see and or come across something which causes issues. When this happens its about how one deals with it which I personally think is the problem.

Younger generations tend to have a 'theme' of throwing fits about things which they do not like. Others will simply click away from whatever it was which disturbed them and do something else to get the thought/image out of their head and move on. Now I can understand from some stand points tagging something with a warning if it's a piece of writing or art which has a very heavy amount of content that is basically common place knowledge as being known to cause serious negative reactions in people. If you as the poster KNOW this type of content can stir up trouble then I personally believe it's the poster's responsibility to post a simple warning as a common curtsey to others. It's no different than a sign which says "watch your step" or "caution deer crossing along this road." Its also about protecting your own ass so others cannot harp on you about it. If you include a simple warning of "Intense blood, guts, gore and violence." If someone reads/views your piece and sends you a nasty note...you have the ground to take a stand and point to the warning and say "hey I warned you. It's your fault you looked at it not mine. I didn't make you look." It means you can throw it back on them for ignoring the warning. Now of course I only speak of the throwing it back on them aspect in regards to snippy people online who are just looking to stir up trouble. Not people who honestly believe they can handle the content only to find out they cannot.

Gray areas are difficult and certainly stressful to say the least. But jumping back a bit I can certainly say I agree most people today of the younger generations are far more coddled than those of older generations. If they whine enough about something they get their way. Granted this could also be very well to do with the fact the rest of us as older generations are simply sick and tired of all the shit at this point so we basically...or some of us at least...let others get away with this because we don't have the energy to contend with them. So we figure if the only way to shut them up is to give in...then well...they get coddled. In one sense I'd say if the older generations still retained their outlook of "life ain't pretty and you will have to put up with and do a bunch of shit you really don't like nor want to do but you have to because that is how life is deal with it...." there wouldn't be so many 'special snowflakes' floating around. In this cause I'd say its the human adaptability working against itself. We tried to make it easier on ourselves but instead we made it worse....and there in lies another example of the worst things being done with the best of intentions.

But...all in all...its a mess sadly. It's always an action for a reaction and it just spirals on and on and on. It's Murphy's law. We are our own worst enemies. Its sad those who truly suffer are made to pay for mistakes which they did not make but someone else did..warranting others take advantage of a situation...honest mistake or not...it happened. The real question is....how do we try and fix this and move on? I'll admit ever since leaving tumblr I've had to deal with a lot less of this 'triggered' aspect....it could be one of those seriously deplorable internet fads where people twist and warp something originally well meaning, thinking its 'fun' to do this and make everyone else suffer.

Either way I still see it as something which began as a well off intention....then others fucked it up.
 

Dogged

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#36
*sniffs around* this is a very interesting topic! Imo, trigger warnings have their place, but a university should be to learn, not hide from educational material. As is usually the case, moderation in everything! A 'trigger warning' for college classes I don't personally agree with as it's purely academic and for the purpose of learning. Some might argue that trigger warnings are against free speech but that's actually a parallel, not a breech. Know your rights and thank those that protect them. While you are free to yell the verbal equivalent of fire on a public forum, it does NOT give you freedom from the consequences of your speech.

I like to put a trigger warning on some of my threads because I can tend to write with a graphic intensity that will rightfully offend some readers. My sister has a phobia of blood and even just seeing the words and descriptions are awful for her--and I respect that. Using trigger warnings on topics that, in recent history, make people angry, afraid, argue, scream, complain, be afraid are all part of being offended or triggered. What makes one person not even blink will make ten others vomit. Trigger warnings --in moderation--- do serve a healthy purpose. This frees the author from undeserved retribution.

For example, there's a taboo section on here and I love that it's set up like that. When I wanna write my gore/horror/extreme violence, it's covered. I'm also aware that there will be topics in that same section that I'm repulsed by so I be an adult and don't read the thread. If I am triggered by uhhhhh the color red and I see a title that reads "crimson and scarlet tidal waves," I have the sense not to read it. I don't scold someone else for not having a problem with it and that's an important distinction that should be recognized.

America says we can go to the white house with a group of people that are like minded and hold up signs while chanting. We could say "the president is an expletive here" and we'd be all safe from the police to assemble peacefully. In other countries, you WHISPER that same thing in public in a corner of a closet and you could be jailed for life or killed. Within reason is a good expression for trigger warnings out here in the big scary world. I appreciate fireworks warnings. I know many love the 4th of July but when my former marine dad has his sign out to please be courteous of fireworks near the house, it's for good reason. Yes Vietnam was a long time ago but every year, he still gets night terrors from it. for months Violent, brutal night terrors. We all have triggers large and small but in the end trigger warnings shouldn't be about looking for something to be offended by for attention, but rather to offer a basic, polite, courtesy.
 
Joined
Dec 27, 2018
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#37
I think there are some real reasons for trigger warnings and real conditions that make it easy to look over someone's struggles due to how much the term has been diluted. But how sensitive my generation and younger our to me really seems to stream a really troubling idea of feelings held over other people or tastes. That if it offends someone it is wrong and you should feel bad for doing it and leads to everyone trying to avoid subjects that should get talked about or aren't bad or at least debatable in their function in order to not get crucified over nothing. Many instances of black humor has come under fire for that because some see it as making light of very serious topics and get offended without even bothering to consider if it might have value because it's not funny to them and worse sometimes even attacking those who like such things as racist or insensitive, and worse labels.

People are so offended by everything that people try to throw out anything subjective in order to not be controversial whether it be humor or pictures like mentioned in the op or violent video games that depict like killing an animal or something. Anything that's outside of what is considered the most inclusive and accepting to all is vilified for offending someone when in truth someone, somewhere is always gonna be offended, or not find a certain joke funny, or not want to see some kind of topic. But that doesn't mean that thing should not exist or that people should be attacked for liking that thing. In ones drive to be inclusive to everyone you will find more people are driven out that those who might be kept 'safe.' Which is why things like safe spaces are generally catering to a minority of a community and shun everyone else because it doesn't fit their mold.

They aim to be inclusive and shut more people out. And what gets me is those offended are often times, not the people themselves, though I'm sure many would appreciate warnings at times. It's people who get offended on their behalves without question who I see reach most harshly because their desperate to prove themselves as inclusive to these small circles even if it means driving other people out. So when I post something like a black or 'edgy' joke or a darker themed picture it's not to offend someone and it's not done with malicious intent but I can't choose how people see it or react to it. All I can do is put it out there because I enjoy it or wanted to see it and I think people being oversensitive excludes more people than it 'protects.' So I think theirs nothing wrong with trigger warnings existing and they can even be good. But the mentality behind it in the modern sense can easily be more toxic or damaging than letting it slide.
 

Google

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#38
I have quite a few friends with combat related PTSD so I am probably more likely to er on the side of caution then not... but I do think a quick reference to material that might be... troublesome (because I hate the word triggering) to those who have experienced some trauma is not too much to ask for.

I do of course think common sense should apply though...

For example, if you are taking a course on 19th century American history then expect slavery and war to be major topics of discussion.
 
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#39
I can't intrinsically say trigger warnings are bad. There are some things that some people simply can't get around. I have several things that even despite therapy, I can't move past, and frankly, it's easier just to say "No, for my own wellbeing, I can't engage with this material in a healthy manner." I don't care where I am, I don't want to engage with it because it causes me severe emotional distress, and who really wants to be a shuddering ball of tears over something in a public place.

It take almost no time to put a warning up about things like sexual violence, gore, child loss, or anything like that. I do it in certain groups I participate in, because not everyone is in the same place of there recovery as I am. It doesn't harm me, and it helps the person make sure there exposure is controlled so they can function in a non-distressing manner. It's a win win, if you ask me.

Write all the intense content you want. I'm a firm proponent of my 1A rights and everyone elses'. But give other people the option of choosing not to engage. You don't know what battles they are struggling with, and it's simply not worth it to assume that they are triggered for no real reason.
 
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#40
There is merit to trigger warnings, provided they are used correctly. As an example one of my professors told us a story about a student he once had. This girl, unbeknownst to him, was a former heroin addict, and during one lecture he happened to start speaking about heroine and its effects, as well as showing images. A few days later he found out that this small thing had triggered a relapse for this girl, and that she had to be rushed to the hospital for OD'ing. Since then he's always used trigger warnings when it comes to sensitive material like that, in hopes to avoid something like that happening again. And I think when it comes to something like that, he's correct. When you're speaking to a large group of people, whether in a lecture or online, you're going to bump into people that have some kind of extreme adverse reaction to something like that, whether it be drug abuse, sexual abuse, etc... and it's best to mindful about that sort of thing. Because people who actually have cause for trigger warnings don't just get 'uncomfortable' with the source material, but they can have pretty damaging effects on their physical and mental state.

And that's where the problem arises.

'Trigger warnings' don't even really mean trigger warnings anymore. It's a term that's been morphed from, 'I will have a genuine physical and/or psychological reaction to X and as such need to be warned beforehand' to, 'I don't like X/it makes me slightly uncomfortable, I don't want to look at it.' That's not a good thing, and it detracts from people who do need them, turning their warranted 'please let me know beforehand' into the butt of a joke. I've seen trigger warnings for just about everything online, two of my favourites have been 'TW: Cupcakes' and 'TW: DBZ', though the one with the pomegranate that someone demanded be labelled with 'TW: Heart' is also a pretty good classic. Of course I don't know what these people have been through, but I doubt cupcakes or buff anime men actually cause you to dissociate and if they do, you require medical attention. The people who 'require' such trigger warnings should be looked at with scorn, because not only are they making themselves look like idiots, but they're also tarnishing the idea of trigger warnings.

All that said, I'm not going to be an asshole on purpose. If someone asks me for one, I'm not going to kick up a fuss. But that doesn't mean that I'm not going to take a screenshot of the whole thing and post about how absurd it is later. (That is, if the request for the trigger warning is in fact crazy.)
 
Joined
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#41
I think this is the issue. People complaining about TW/CW's have taken the examples of a good and conscientious idea being obviously misused and decided to become outraged by them.

TW/CW's need to be applied where the content could be unexpected. To greater or lesser levels. In a lecture about a war? You can expect there to be mention of killings and possibly atrocities. The lecturer feels a need to read graphic or detailed descriptions, or bring up pictures of corpses? That needs a TW/CW because the topic is expected, but not the level of detail.

It's something that's pretty common sense, but neither 'side' really seems to want to apply that.
 
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