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people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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so the history of warnings 101, continued
children of dune - leto 1
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.

Level with me - at what point do the words "specific institutional exclusionary purposes" become something that reads like, IDK, normal, when I'm pretty sure they were never meant to meet and is there a double negative in there? Someone, for the love of God, give me a phrase that doesn't sound like a drunk grad student playing cultural anthropology scrabble.

I am going back to porn today.

Posted at Dreamwidth: http://seperis.dreamwidth.org/33490.html. | You can reply here or there. | comment count unavailable comments

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First off, I think we need to move away from the term "Warning".

A few years back, a lot of people complained at one archive that nothing that wasn't labeled NC-17 was getting read. One person's exclude filter is another person's include filter.

I prefer terms like keyword or content description. Context is everything - in a slash archive, people assume slash. Het archive, people assume het. Mixed comm/mailing list/archive, label both. Do not assume a default, or that everyone knows you write non-con.

What people feel the need to label does describe a certain level of cultural norm within a group. At this point, no one labels for rimming in slash fic. I think that used to be labeled pretty often. Sex toys? Also no longer labeled. The world has changed in the last 10 or so years I've been in fandom.

In conclusion: Describe. Do not warn.

That's a good idea! The word "warning" itself implies something bad, dangerous, unacceptable, etc, imo; when what we're really trying to do is, as you say, describe it so people know better what they're getting. Good substitute word. :)

I don't warn, generally. I put on the MPAA labels, G - NC-17, and will sometimes list a summary and/or pairing. The pairing itself indicates het or slash. The one time I've actually put much of a warning on a fic was for an extremely dark non-con. If someone starts reading and doesn't like it, that's what the back button is for, IMO.

(Deleted comment)
I'm categorically opposed to the word "slash" coming after the word "warning". Including any variant of that. Back in Torchwood fandom, last year, I argued strongly against using the warning space as an advertising line.

That said, warnings matter to me. I've come across things, not warned for, that really should have had a warning on them, and I will say so every time. I didn't know that much about the history behind warnings, but I do think it's difficult to compile a finite list of what can be or should be a warning, and what is up to the author. It would definitely be nice, for starters, if authors who choose not to warn will make that policy clear on their fics/vids, so I can avoid things I really don't want to see or read.

It would definitely be nice, for starters, if authors who choose not to warn will make that policy clear on their fics/vids, so I can avoid things I really don't want to see or read.

I'm hoping for that to become more standard as well. AO3 has it as an option in theirs, which hopefully with more use will become more prevalent for people posting in other places.

Back when I first started using the AO3, I asked them about their warnings policy b/c I found it difficult and too restrictive to work with. However, from their lengthy and detailed reply, I understood the complexity of finding labels that you cannot argue about the content of. I do hope that 'choose not to warn' is a label people are going to use more, although I've seen people argue against using that, too. I can't find sympathy for people who argue against it, though, b/c I really don't need the shit I sometimes stumble across from lack of labelling.

Can you maybe include a link to this post by spiletta42? The description "the policy's author considers "dialog concerning abortion" is too much of a hot potato to be including in fic even when warned for." is really kind of taking things out of context, and she's now getting flamed by people calling her both a "baby-killer" and a "close-minded republican who wants to control women's bodies" for the past two days... To quote from the post she just made on her journal:

Second of all, the abortion thing. The quote I keep having shoved in my face is taken out of context, and is part of a list of things which I have never personally written about to date, because the occasion has not arisen or because I personally would not enjoy writing about those issues. That this is specific to my body of fics is repeated several times throughout the policy. So why am I being accused of trying to force people to use my policy, or to not write about specific things at all? That isn't even close to anything I've said.

The fact that I have never personally written a piece of fanfiction about abortion does not prove that I either condone or condemn the legality of abortion, personally or politically, nor does it imply that I have any personal experience with it. I would not write it because it is a very personal issue for many people, with which I specifically lack experience, and therefore I would not be qualified to write it well, and I have no wish to try, because regardless of one's political stance, it is never a happy subject. It is mentioned only because at the time the policy was written, the issue was one of the many issues being discussed in fandom and I was attempting to be thorough.

Is it necessary to attack me and accuse me of being a "baby-killer" based on some assumption that I've had an abortion or else it wouldn't bother me to write fanfiction about having one? That is the most convoluted piece of logic I've ever heard in fandom, and that's pretty damn impressive. Especially seeing as other people, in reading the exact same sentence, came to the conclusion that I'm judging people on things which are none of my gorram business.

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