Social skills for autonomous people: Trigger warnings


A few observations about trigger warnings that people don’t actually seem to understand:

If you post a graphic or disturbing picture on something other than tumblr (where Savior or something like it is not an option), it does NOT help to add a piece of text saying “trigger…

I think OP pretty much has it down; when you’re going to read an article or a forum post about an assault, for example, you don’t need to be more descriptive than “trigger warning: assault, racism, transmisogyny”, or whatever is relevant to the article. I think when it comes to graphic images, though, it’s useful to at least put something above the image (on a non-tumblr website) because seeing the text in caps can help you scroll by it faster. In some cases. Sometimes it can be just useless anyway. It’s best to put that kind of thing under a cut.

As an aside, I think another thing people need to reevaluate about adding trigger warnings is just that it’s being considerate to do so. I’ve seen people on tumblr who would otherwise be really pleasant and considerate people mocking the use of trigger warnings, as if it’s a bad thing to want your Tumblr Savior to block #racism or #incest or #transphobia so you don’t have to be exposed to those things when they trigger you, because they see it as being overly sensitive.

I think there are several kinds of trigger warnings. There’s the kind for things that are kind of simple like flashing gifs, or gory images. It’s obvious to most people which things go into those categories. It can be a more-or-less mechanically applied rule.

Then there are the other things. Figuring out what should be tagged #transphobia or #racism or #ableism isn’t straightforward or mechanical. It’s complicated and slippery and can be very hard to understand. I understand why it’s important for people to be able to avoid those things, but understanding the importance doesn’t make me able to tag them consistently.

Tagging things can also sometimes *not* be a matter of courtesy, sometimes tagging things means shut up and go away. Shut up and go away can be a legitimate thing to say, but conflating it with simple courtesy causes problems. They’re different.

There are other categories that are triggering for a number of people, but which no one has yet figured out a concise way of referring to. I definitely have things that, if I encounter them, cause me significant amounts of draining distress over several days. But I can’t describe them well enough to ask people to warn for them. Also, a number of people who do them, do them on purpose and would likely send me intentionally triggering asks if I tried to describe them. (This has happened, when I’ve tried to talk about this before).

I don’t want to trigger anyone, but I haven’t found a safe or comprehensible way to use trigger warnings for the not-simple things.  I wish I understood better and could tag effectively for more things, (but I’ve found that trying can send me to some pretty scary place).

If anyone can explain more tagging criteria in a way I could understand, I’d be grateful.