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Full Version: On CWs, TWs, PSAs and "safe spaces"
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It has been my observation over the past decade or so that the younger generation of people, particularly therians as I spend most of my time online in therian spaces, have been following a harmful social trend. This trend, in essence, is much akin to learning to ride a bicycle but due to parents or peers who have frightened an individual of the risk of falling or have taken the bike away all together, a person is unable to learn.

Much in the same way we learn to ride a bicycle do we develop critical skills in socialization with others. At first, we might be a little wobbly and then things will start going very well but inevitably, we are bound to take a dive and skin our knee. It hurts when things don't go out way - when we fall off a bike or have a disagreement with someone but essentially, the only way to get better at either is to keep trying and dismiss the notion that bicycle or socializing with a diverse group of people = discomfort. Eventually, with practice, one will adapt and learn balance or in the example of socializing, one will learn how to respectfully disagree or avoid or handle certain topics that they'd rather not talk about.

The downward spiral I've seen originated on social media in the form of Content Warnings, Trigger Warnings, Public Safety Announcements, ect. These things are nothing more than fear-mongering, rebranded as something that's supposed to be in your best interest. It's like having an overprotective parent who won't even let you close your door for privacy for fear of "what you might be doing".

Certainly there is merit in some reasonable degree of caution or discretion when interacting with others - put on a helmet, some knee pads, fine. Tying a mattress around oneself with content warnings and unhealthy, paranoid obsession over safety is otterly ridiculous, though.

If you fall - if you experience discomfort or disagreement things will be fine. It won't hurt for long and as long as you keep trying and don't allow fear to inhibit you, you'll get better. Smile

There are certain things I believe deserve a content warning, such as self harm, sexual abuse, murder, things if that nature. But there are a good number of people who have taken it way to far.
I’ve seen “kinnies” ask trigger warnings for wasps, because they character they like was stung by one. And it’s clear many people are confusing mild discomfort for actual panic (which is what a CW/TW is to protect against).
While I believe we should try and help people feel comfortable in certain internet spaces, I don’t think that entails having a CW/TW on posts that are, in no way, harmful.
Though I do agree with you lycan, youngsters now days dont seem to be allowed to do anything and wraped in cotton wool. It's all "listen to me I know best" from the parent/carea rather than letting them explore on their own.

Saying that. Adults do have a responsibility to protect chridren from harmful sources and experances such as rape, murder etc... unfortunately there seems to he a dramatic switch between the two. Desinitizing kids to real problems like murder but stopping them from activities which improve learning, health and socialising.

However for adults, serious issues do trigger. Particularly details. So sometimes a warning is appreciated
I believe that one of the issues of modern social media and social spaces is the complete failure to have small communities with internal norms and standards. This means everyone is constantly in the same space, where everyone wants to be allowed to do what they want but also everyone is exposed to everyone else. In a place as large as Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook, where your access is determined only by your ability to create an account yet these are treated as the primary "community spaces" by the public, issues occur. These are massive public spaces filled with far too many people, and far too diverse of experiences, to be governed by any set of expectations. Any change will occur at a glacial pace and the fact of the matter is, people aren't out to better themselves daily when they're reading the news, shopping for groceries, or existing generally in a public space.

That isn't to say that these spaces can't, or don't, gravitate towards eventually being tolerable or better for all those in them. But change isn't quick. People will not have rules enforced upon them, good or bad, as to their conduct.

Public life is, for better or for worse, something virtually all humans will experience having to deal with. Owing to this, there is a degree of importance to being able to either a) learn the skills to cope with the time you spend in public life and/or b) develop routines or options that allow you to limit your time in public life and public spaces.

I think if people are forced or compelled or trapped to be in public life and public spaces, the only way they can find that to be tolerable is through hoping others will help make that easier by being considerate of their rough spots. Content warnings, etc, make existence in public spaces more accessible for more people than it otherwise would be. Furthermore, knowledge that they can be in public spaces with these content warnings may make them more willing to try it at all if there were none. If all you have is public spaces that at their norms are not comfortable to you, you are pretty well damned.

In smaller spaces, such as focused Discords, local clubs, or niche forums, community conduct standards and "cultural norms" can develop. I believe these are greatly missing from the lives of many these days. There is not a sense of comfort at home, with friends in a private and known space. In these spaces, the sense of comfort is provided by knowing we are among our own kind, will be listened to, and will be cared for and considered. These are places where we can gain our footing and be prepared for the more challenging spaces of public life.

But they're missing.

Everything we do is public life. The internet is largely used now to access only massive spaces that have no norm besides 'conflict will happen here'. There is no sanctuary in that.

I don't think the desire for content warnings etc is limited to children. I don't think it's evil. But I recognize the skills these warnings or requests seemingly replace.

The answer isn't just content warnings. The answer isn't isolation. The answer is having sufficient sanctuary - safe space, I suppose - from which to recuperate when needed so that one is capable of dealing with public life where they may not be accorded such ease when needed.

"Safe space" being available somewhere to everyone ensures that they will have the strength to deal with the fact that "safe space" will never be the character of everywhere.
We've talked about this before briefly and for me the challenge is: How does this affect TG policy, how do we deal with members who are potentially too sheltered for their own good?

Obviously TG has always had a policy of honesty as I do believe that honesty with oneself is key to understanding one's therianthropy. I do not believe it serves the goal of understanding one's therianthropy, to be as super-open to accept, anything anyone says about themselves as the truth without question. So obviously I am going to support anyone who would be critical, if you come to TG and claim something outrageous and expect us to just accept it.

As an adult I also feel some responsibility to provide our younger members an environment where they can learn useful life skills. Among these is learning to balance one's own needs with those of others. Be prepared to communicate with other members on the site to accept what you are saying rather than bullying us into accepting whatever it is you want. I believe everyone on TG is entitled to their own perspective and opinion, and if you want everyone to accept your view, you're just going to have to try and convince us.

A valuable lesson in my life, that I wish to share, is that people do not always have the same moral values as you. What is unacceptable or revolting to you, might not be seen the same way by other people and you do not get to force them, just because of what you believe. Personally I have always been alone with my values and understanding that I have to somehow live my life, without everyone necessarily caring about what is important to me, was very helpful to me.

With all that said, it should be obvious that I am not in favour of CWs, TWs and all such things. Neither do I support segregating TG into age groups, or any other such things. We all have to learn to live with one-another as plainly and honestly as possible.

All that said, I do understand this will ultimately be a learning experience for everyone. If you are struggling with something and are not prepared to face the entire community, you have the option to join a team and discuss it within the smaller internal team chats.

@Autumne you bring to light a good point about the contrast between public life and home life and on that point - I agree. It probably is best, especially for more introverted folks, to have somewhere that feels like a sanctuary they can retreat to.

What's concerning to me is what seems to be a growing expectation that sanctity should follow or accompany an individual everywhere. I believe it is important to convey this is an unrealistic expectation in spaces public.

(2021-02-27 19:12)LycanTheory Wrote: [ -> ]@Autumne you bring to light a good point about the contrast between public life and home life and on that point - I agree. It probably is best, especially for more introverted folks, to have somewhere that feels like a sanctuary they can retreat to.

What's concerning to me is what seems to be a growing expectation that sanctity should follow or accompany an individual everywhere. I believe it is important to convey this is an unrealistic expectation in spaces public.


I agree.

I'm not sure how one properly conveys:

1. Public space is frequently not going to be safe or comfortable.
2. Sometimes, the way in which it makes one uncomfortable is okay.
3. The ways in which one might be made to be unsafe are sometimes not okay, and here is how one can contribute to making public life better for all, given that we all must interact there.

I think it ultimately comes down to a constant judgment based on the idea that 'public space is for everyone and is ventured into when tasks cannot or should not be done in private space'.

With that in mind, one can look at their own needs, actions, and preferences and the needs, actions, and preferences of all others in the public space and make choices about their conduct and their expectations for the conduct of others that are appropriate.

Of course, that debate will never end because what one person needs might be something someone else thinks is unnecessary. What someone else feels is a reasonable accommodation to ask of others is completely asinine to another.

Yet another reason I believe in the importance of small spaces where people are truly connected and will take the time to discuss what they want and what they're willing to do for one another. When folks are just out to vague post vent their feelings to Tumblr (a public space), they're not prepared or willing to have a meaningful discussion about that.
the sole reason I enforce spoilering/cw/tw stuff on my PD discord server is because it seems to be mandatory and I'm afraid of being accused of insensitive or the like if I'd speak against this nowedays common action. I feel like I can live with allowing and enforcing spoilering, more than with the crap I'd get if I did speak against this action or refused to spoiler something. We do not have a spoiler list or the like however, I did voice against that (even though it is my server, we work with a staffteam to prevent bias or powerabuse from me or anything. I don't decide anything on my own) as it is simply impossible to spoiler/tw everything like 'eye' and 'grass' and 'giraffe'. But obvious possibly 'triggering' words like murder, rape, suicide, selfharm, are always asked to spoiler or if someone requests something specific (ex a staffmember of mine has an issue with the word vomit, so if they're around everyone is expected to spoiler that word etc)

sorry for the ramble, but my point was that I don't like it but am allowing it as I feel this is nowedays multimedia language and it'd hurt me (and my server) more going against it than with it.

Personanlly, as one with experience with psych help for 5+ years from lots of different therapists and the like,.. no tw/spoiler things don't actually help and indeed make things worse.

There are a few cases were a word (most often suicide, rape,..) can really trigger (not being uwu im uncomfy, but going in panic attacks and the like). Personally, if people around me talk about self harm or if I watch a selfharm scene in a movie that I don't skip in time I fall back into a state of addiction and selfharm myself. I've spoken about that 'trigger' with my therapists and the like but after all these years of therapy it seems something I won't get rid of anymore but simply have to live with.

All I can do is minimalize my exposure to it as much as possible. And preferably discuss it often with my psych help to see if we afterall cant find a way to live with it openly (aka exposure to the term, movie scenes,..) without falling into a selfharm episode.

in THAT case, the spoilering of a word like 'selfharm' can actually help
- those who are working on a trigger/trauma/.. around the word but need time and only exposure in safe enviroments like their psych.
- those who , even after therapy, fall into serious episodes/situations due exposure to such words (due trauma or the like)

like for me, exposure to the word won't help anymore. So unlike with biking, seeing the word doesnt help me overcome it. We tried 5 years. But minimalizing exposure does help, in combination with safe exposure in supervised area in the hope to still find a way to 'learn to ride that bike'.

but.. these cases are pretty rare still even IF we nowedays dare to express our traumas and the like more today so it will be come across more often
so expecting everyone to constantly censor on YOUR demand and make a scene ? no. thank those who do censor the obvious (ex: self harm) if that helps you, perhaps gently request a friend not to use the term 'rape' in conversation, but if they do just use the word without any spoiler?

Then that's the moment you need to realize not everything is about you, no matter how much people will like to help you and keep you in mind etc. It is also YOUR responsibility to remove yourself from a conversation if you can't deal with it or have issues.

TG being an online forum to discuss things, mostly with adults, it is only normal to me (and appreciated) that spoilering isn't mandatory.
This is a different situation than your groupschat with your best friends.
It's a little pressuring too. I keep seeing people on Instagram stating that their Instagram account is a "safe place" for people who are triggered by this and that. But does that mean it's bad to not always put TWs etc in your posts?

I only make TW when I actually know that a lot of people can get triggered by it, like ACTUALLY triggered. But when I see a video on Instagram of a deer walking around with a decapitated deer-head stuck in his antlers and I find it fascinating as hell, then I am too afraid to share it anywhere because of this trend.

It gets a little out of hand too in my opinion. Especially in the Therian Community itself. It's one of the reasons why I made my "the darker side of having a predator theriotype" video, but even in that video, I kept it quite safe. Being a therian can simply mean that you have really dark thoughts and urges at times, but because of the younger therians in the community, it seems like you have to be very careful to talk about this. This is one of the reasons why I like talking on TG because that line to be way lower on this platform due to the fact that there are more adult therians on this site.

Back in the day (with this I mean 2010-2015 or so when the internet became a thing for me), it seemed to be "cool" if you looked the scary stuff up on the internet. For example, creepypastas and such. That was the trend, and it influenced a good amount of cultures as well. I am afraid that this trend will soften people up a bit as well.
My take on this is to follow the science. Coldly, and analytically. And what the science says is this:

They trade a short-term avoidance of something which causes anxiety for long-term harm, and I cannot be part of that. It's enabling harm, because although it seems to help initially, it really just causes worse outcomes in the long-term. The studies and articles above are from the last 2 years, now that we are seeing what the outcomes are.

There are things that cause me anxiety, but I know it is bad for my mental health, long-term, to avoid them. The world isn't going to shield you from your fears -- it'll just punch you with them. If you don't face them and develop coping strategies, you'll be unprepared for that punch when it happens.
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