July 7th, 2010

children of dune - leto 1

so the history of warnings 101, continued

This is an update to my last post on the history of warnings.

Specifically: [personal profile] legionseagle posts here about the ongoing use of warnings as social control in some book fandoms and is still a realistic and pressing concern for writers.
I wrote the attached story in April this year inspired by the April fanfic challenge of the Lord Peter yahoogroup dealing with the detective stories of Dorothy L. Sayers, but in the end did not post it to the list because of the then rule that all fic featuring a same-sex pairing (even if it otherwise fell within the PG guidelines of the challenge as a whole) could not be posted on-list but only linked, and if it were linked the title bar had to prominently include the work "SLASH" so that list members who objected could avoid it. I decided I didn't feel comfortable complying with that restriction, so didn't make it available to the list.

On a Harry Potter yahoogroup when Half-Blood Prince came out (2006?), someone who tried to analyse the Tonks/Lupin relationship in terms of Queer Theory was told that doing so without posting a warning in the subject line was equivalent to breaking into other list members' living rooms and fornicating there.

Furthermore, there's a (current) warnings policy posted by an individual describing her own policy which some people are promoting as a sort of aspirational gold standard in the current debate, which, among a lot of other stuff I don't agree with, suggests that the policy's author considers "dialog concerning abortion" is too much of a hot potato to be including in fic even when warned for.

So in some of the corners of fandom in which I am active (book fandoms, you'll note) there is an active and on-going use of warnings as a mechanism of conservative social control, which shapes my response to warning discussions rather profoundly.
edited at (to clarify status of warnings policy quoted) 2010-07-07 03:42 am (local)

[personal profile] ratcreature links to her comment in the last warning debate regarding the history of warnings in Sentinel in this comment. Direct link to the warning comment in [personal profile] zvi's journal here.

ETA: [personal profile] spiletta42 would like this to be added as a clarification of her warnings policy, link is here. Her specific complaint can be found in comments.


[personal profile] facetofcathy here links to a comment in her LJ regarding slash warnings by an anonymous user here.

[personal profile] ranalore here talks about her negative experiences with warnings as social control. She also covers some ground on the difference between labeling for content and labeling for physical accessibility. There was a lot of conflation of the two and they have very different requirements as well as challenges to implement.

[personal profile] ithiliana here posts some of her recollections.

[personal profile] feanna here shares some of her experiences with warnings.

[personal profile] allegraconbrio here shares very recent warning discussions in the Glee fandom.

[personal profile] tazlet here states she did a warnings panel at at one of the last Z-cons.

[personal profile] aivilo_18 here brings her views as a moderator for SVUfiction.com, which is brilliant. Knowing in concrete LJ is very multifannish doesn't change the fact I keep forgetting we're working in a structure of many fandom traditions. That fandom is one I could see being very sensitive to content advisories since the context of the fanfic and source would require it both for advertising and warning purposes. I wonder what kind of difference it makes if you went from a fandom with warnings used for social control and one that needs them because of the nature of the source.

[personal profile] ineptshieldmaid here talks about warnings in context with Narnia and other fandoms and their uses.

If anyone else wants to share personal experience on warnings either historically or in their current form, please feel free to add a link and I'll organize these. I am going to go out on a limb and say that this topic is far from dead and I'd like to have a reference post to consult later.

I'm going to say this in case it needs saying; the new (and much better) reasons for warnings are not incompatible with avoiding the historical (and in some fandoms, current) use of warnings as social control. We can do both, and from what I'm reading, we can do it in a way that satisfies vidders that warnings will not be used for specific institutional exclusionary purposes, only personal use.

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