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Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

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Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?
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LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2948Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

I admit instinctively I feel that they are pointless, but that is because I am fortunate enough not to live with PTSD. My gut tells me people should be allowed to speak freely without qualifying everything they say to be completely politically correct. However having thought about it my position is this:

Trigger warnings are an important acknowledgement of a marginalized group in society: those who suffer with mental health problems. The practise of stating specifically what you are about to talk about seems possibly a bit of an issue because simply saying the words for some might cause them anxiety. The aim however is a good one, to raise awareness and to take a heavily marginalized group and acknowledge them.

Its tricky because if you have an acute phobia of sausages, my simply saying the word might cause you to feel unsettled. So if I were to say "Trigger warning: I'm going to talk about sausages" you'd be triggered into thinking about it, which seems to defeat the object. I do however support the notion of acknowledging the content of what you are about to say within reason.

Something like:

"What I am about to talk about will be distressing for some. I sincerely apologise in advance if any of what I say causes distress. If you are not feeling like reading something potentially distressing I advise you to skip ahead to..."

Even if this were not to safeguard anyone, it will at least make readers aware that some people are sensitive to certain issues, and that it is a good thing to consider that when speaking.

It is certainly not about protecting anyone from hearing offensive stuff by accident. Obviously we need some kind of standard of what kinds of things would require a qualifying preamble because otherwise anything we might say might cause problems. I would say that it has to plausibly relate to a traumatic experience, not accounting for less obvious suggestions (such as sausages). Essentially accommodating for the fact that people who suffer with PTSD can be triggered by descriptions of certain events.

I think the gut dismissal that a lot of people have comes from a lack of awareness. Words don't trigger memories of traumatic experiences for us and we find it hard to understand and relate to how hard it is for people to live with trauma.

I'm not sure that specific trigger warnings are the way forward, but I do think it should be considered a general rule of politeness to warn strangers that something you are about to say might distress them. Trigger warnings essentially failed because they are too easy to mock and appear disingenuous to some, no one can really make fun of people being measured and considerate in their speech. Maybe that is a direction we could take?

Anyway I'm kind of rambling. What are your thoughts on the issue?
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Thu Mar 24, 2016 9:40 pm
SpecialFrogUser avatarPosts: 827Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:13 pmLocation: Great White North Gender: Tree

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

Many forms of media (movies, music, video games, etc.) have had content warnings for a long time. In some cases, they are fairly detailed. Very few people complain about them. I don't really get why object to the same kind of thing in other media.

As an aside, I would hypothesize that if you made a Venn Diagram of "people who complain about trigger warnings" and "people who complain about a lack of spoiler warnings" it would overlap considerably.
"Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest" -- Albert Szent-Gyrgyi
Thu Mar 24, 2016 9:53 pm
itsdemtitansBloggerUser avatarPosts: 698Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2015 11:36 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

I'm okay with trigger warnings if it's for people like soldiers or rape victims who have PTSD from their experiences.

If we're talking about pro-fat, femnazi, painfully liberal tumblr chicks who claim to have PTSD for attention and make life hell for everyone around them, let them get #triggered.
Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:11 pm
he_who_is_nobodyBloggerUser avatarPosts: 3222Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:36 amLocation: Albuquerque, New Mexico Gender: Male

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

SpecialFrog wrote:Many forms of media (movies, music, video games, etc.) have had content warnings for a long time. In some cases, they are fairly detailed. Very few people complain about them. I don't really get why object to the same kind of thing in other media.


I could not agree more. Beyond that, ever since I was a child watching the news, the anchor would say something like, "The following may not be suitable for younger audience members." Which always led my brother and I to turn up the TV and pay closer attention. It seems trigger warnings have always been around, they just went by a different name.

I honestly think they are a net good for writers. They allow people to talk about things that might be upsetting without having to upset everyone around them. Take for example my situation; I have photos of exhumations I have been on. Now, I know that seeing human remains is not something everyone wants to see. If I ever wrote a blog post using those images, I would start it off with something like:

Warning: Images of human remains contained within.


Now, I do that with two things in mind. First, people that are upset with images of human remains do not have to deal with it. They can avoid it and never have to look at it. Second, people who think they might be upset, but enjoy my blog might want to have a look and see. They are able to make that choice, and they are able to do it when they think they are mentally ready to view it.

Looking at it from this light means that writers should embrace it more, since it should free them up to write about several more topics that interest them, but might upset their audience. The members of their audience that could get upset do not have to read it and the writer is free to cover topics that might be upsetting without losing audience members. It seems like a net win over all.
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Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:17 pm
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DustniteUser avatarPosts: 506Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 9:11 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

The only warning I respect on social media is NSFW...

I think it's courteous to warn people if you're going to show graphic images, etc. but I'm firmly against trigger warnings that SJWs typically put on everything.
"But this is irrelevant because in either case, whether a god exists or not, whether your God (with a capital G) exists or not, it doesn't matter. We both are, in either case, evolved apes. " - Nesslig20
Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:13 am
SpecialFrogUser avatarPosts: 827Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:13 pmLocation: Great White North Gender: Tree

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

Dustnite wrote:I'm firmly against trigger warnings that SJWs typically put on everything.

Why are you against other people putting warnings on things? In what way does it affect you?

And are you against movie ratings?
"Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest" -- Albert Szent-Gyrgyi
Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:32 am
DustniteUser avatarPosts: 506Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 9:11 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

SpecialFrog wrote:Why are you against other people putting warnings on things? In what way does it affect you?
And are you against movie ratings?


I should clarify, I don't really care if people put warnings on things. I will start caring when it's required for every type of mundane speech that exists to have a potential trigger warning, which seems to be the end goal for the SJW crowd. The point at which I care is dependent entirely on when free speech is infringed.

I think movie and game ratings are arbitrary at best and fail to warn people about what content is actually there. With that said, I'm not really "against" having movie rating or the ESRB I just think those systems may need to be revised.
"But this is irrelevant because in either case, whether a god exists or not, whether your God (with a capital G) exists or not, it doesn't matter. We both are, in either case, evolved apes. " - Nesslig20
Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:45 am
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 2859Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

Greetings,

Except for where it's warranted, I think this is an American *thing* - like the following:

Emory students deeply traumatized by “support Trump” slogans chalked on campus

Complete nuts!

Kindest regards,

James
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"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:41 am
SpecialFrogUser avatarPosts: 827Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:13 pmLocation: Great White North Gender: Tree

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

Dustnite wrote:
SpecialFrog wrote:I should clarify, I don't really care if people put warnings on things. I will start caring when it's required for every type of mundane speech that exists to have a potential trigger warning, which seems to be the end goal for the SJW crowd. The point at which I care is dependent entirely on when free speech is infringed.

So in some imaginary future scenario?

And why is NSFW less arbitrary? My work involves images that would not be suitable for some work environments. I'm sure others work with things that wouldn't fly in mine.
"Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest" -- Albert Szent-Gyrgyi
Last edited by SpecialFrog on Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Fri Mar 25, 2016 3:45 am
SpecialFrogUser avatarPosts: 827Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:13 pmLocation: Great White North Gender: Tree

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

itsdemtitans wrote:If we're talking about pro-fat, femnazi, painfully liberal tumblr chicks who claim to have PTSD for attention and make life hell for everyone around them, let them get #triggered.

Any evidence for these mythical beasts you seem to believe in?
"Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest" -- Albert Szent-Gyrgyi
Fri Mar 25, 2016 3:49 am
SpecialFrogUser avatarPosts: 827Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:13 pmLocation: Great White North Gender: Tree

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

Dragan Glas wrote:Greetings,

Except for where it's warranted, I think this is an American *thing* - like the following:

Emory students deeply traumatized by “support Trump” slogans chalked on campus

Complete nuts!

What does protesting Trump have to do with any of this and what student action reported in this article is inappropriate in response to support for an overtly-racist political campaign? This kind of nonsense is why I a stopped reading Coyne.
"Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest" -- Albert Szent-Gyrgyi
Last edited by SpecialFrog on Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
Fri Mar 25, 2016 3:51 am
itsdemtitansBloggerUser avatarPosts: 698Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2015 11:36 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

SpecialFrog wrote:
itsdemtitans wrote:If we're talking about pro-fat, femnazi, painfully liberal tumblr chicks who claim to have PTSD for attention and make life hell for everyone around them, let them get #triggered.

Any evidence for these mythical beasts you seem to believe in?


My sister is one of them. I've seen em with my own eyes, lad
Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:22 am
LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2948Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

Dustnite wrote:The only warning I respect on social media is NSFW...

I think it's courteous to warn people if you're going to show graphic images, etc. but I'm firmly against trigger warnings that SJWs typically put on everything.


I don't think anyone is obliged to warn anyone of anything, but it is courteous to do so.

I agree that trigger warnings on everything is a bit much but I think if you're about to talk about something like the horrors of war, or sexual abuse you should let strangers know. It's acknowledgement of the fact that not everyone in the audience might be able to face such topics as casually as you or I.

I think like anything it can be taken to the extreme (and I think listing the trigger words at the start might be counter productive) but in the case of talking about things generally accepted to be a cause of PTSD it's courteous to warn people.
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Fri Mar 25, 2016 9:20 am
SpecialFrogUser avatarPosts: 827Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:13 pmLocation: Great White North Gender: Tree

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

itsdemtitans wrote:My sister is one of them. I've seen em with my own eyes, lad

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. There is no such thing as a "feminazi".
"Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest" -- Albert Szent-Gyrgyi
Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:27 am
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 2859Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

Greetings,

SpecialFrog wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:Greetings,

Except for where it's warranted, I think this is an American *thing* - like the following:

Emory students deeply traumatized by “support Trump” slogans chalked on campus

Complete nuts!

What does protesting Trump have to do with any of this and what student action reported in this article is inappropriate in response to support for an overtly-racist political campaign? This kind of nonsense is why I a stopped reading Coyne.

They weren't protesting against Trump - they were "in pain" because someone wrote his name on a pathway, and felt "threatened".

That was about what they were protesting.

Coyne has been reporting on a series of such protests on US campuses regarding demands from students who appear unable to cope with other views - one of which demands is for trigger warnings before anyone - particularly faculty - says anything with which they disagree.

This is an example of the sort of other views to which they're protesting - completely ignoring and/or forgetting that the First Amendment allows such.

The demands for trigger warnings are a way to prevent other views, including science - like evolution.

Bearing in mind that If faculty have to give warnings to students whenever they're giving a lecture on this or that topic, what does that say about free and open debate? About the whole basis for democracy?

Kindest regards,

James
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"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:02 pm
LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2948Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

itsdemtitans wrote:My sister is one of them. I've seen em with my own eyes, lad


What kinds of things do you think constitute pretending to have PTSD? Do you have any examples of people doing this?
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Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:09 pm
LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2948Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

Dragan Glas wrote:Greetings,

Except for where it's warranted, I think this is an American *thing* - like the following:

Emory students deeply traumatized by “support Trump” slogans chalked on campus

Complete nuts!

Kindest regards,

James


If I am to take that story as it is painted here, I totally agree that people shouldn't expect the world to bend over backwards and protect people from a simple name on some concrete.

This is why I think there needs to be a reasonable criteria for what someone deems potentially traumatizing. Experts could be consulted and a list of subjects deemed potential triggers.

If someone is genuinely distressed by the word Trump its probably better that they seek treatment rather than expecting the world to censor it from them. However things like this do not mean that trigger warnings are always stupid.
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Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:20 pm
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 2859Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

Greetings,

Certainly, Laurens, as I said earlier, some sort of warnings can be, and are, appropriate - like news footage, etc - but this seems to be OTT. I wonder if, having been brought up in a PC environment, that they've become too sensitive?

Kindest regards,

James
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"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:34 pm
SpecialFrogUser avatarPosts: 827Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:13 pmLocation: Great White North Gender: Tree

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

Dragan Glas wrote:They weren't protesting against Trump - they were "in pain" because someone wrote his name on a pathway, and felt "threatened".

Again, Donald Trump is running a campaign explicitly targeting certain minorities and that more-or-less openly courts white supremacists.

Additionally, Trump and Trump iconography have been explicitly used as racially-motivated taunts.

Why is it unreasonable to expect the university administration to stand against racism?

Dragan Glas wrote:Coyne has been reporting on a series of such protests on US campuses regarding demands from students who appear unable to cope with other views - one of which demands is for trigger warnings before anyone - particularly faculty - says anything with which they disagree.

Citation needed for the underlined bit.

Dragan Glas wrote:This is an example of the sort of other views to which they're protesting - completely ignoring and/or forgetting that the First Amendment allows such.

And the First Amendment allows for people to protest views with which they disagree. What's your point?

Dragan Glas wrote:The demands for trigger warnings are a way to prevent other views, including science - like evolution.

Citation needed.

Dragan Glas wrote:Bearing in mind that If faculty have to give warnings to students whenever they're giving a lecture on this or that topic, what does that say about free and open debate? About the whole basis for democracy?

Clearly you have an answer to those questions. What is it?
"Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest" -- Albert Szent-Gyrgyi
Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:37 pm
SpecialFrogUser avatarPosts: 827Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:13 pmLocation: Great White North Gender: Tree

Post Re: Trigger Warnings. Good or Bad?

In general, I find this article a reasonable overview.

Part of why I recognize the potential value here is that I have a son on the autism spectrum. He get upset by things that most kids would find innocuous. Knowing what to expect in advance can help him be prepared which makes it easier for him to deal with things. Given that understanding, why would I dismiss other people who express similar issues?
"Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest" -- Albert Szent-Gyrgyi
Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:46 pm
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