Why I don’t use trigger warnings

My policy on this blog is not to put trigger warnings in subject titles. There are a few reasons for this.

This blog is not intended to be a “safe space”. Discussion is welcomed and encouraged, so I have a policy against aggressive or intentionally offensive language if commenters come here. But I will cover some topics that will be troubling, or potentially triggering, to some people, which may make it seem unsafe. Common trigger topics that appear from time to time in my writing include:

  • Discussions of hate-based violence, including transphobia and homophobia
  • Discussions of consent violations, especially in sexual contexts, including non-consensual violence (physical and emotional)
  • Discussions of sexual fantasies or consenting activities around consensual non-consent, sexual use of violence, and extreme emotions
  • Fiction based on those fantasies
  • Other potentially triggering material or topics.

If you know you can be triggered by these topics, or any that I have missed, then please proceed with caution when reading my blog.

If I were to use trigger warnings, I would have to be able to do so consistently in order to avoid misleading others. This is far from certain. Some topics may seem obvious, but others are less so; and from time to time I only realise much later that a post has strayed into the areas that may need trigger warnings. Overall, and as someone who has experienced panic symptoms from unlabelled posts, I feel that to use them inconsistently or inadequately would be worse than not using them at all, and therefore encourage my readers to exercise due caution when reading posts. I will aim to give a clear indication about content in the title or first paragraph of a post if I think a topic may have triggering potential. I would also encourage others linking to my articles to label their links with trigger warnings if they feel that such are warranted for their likely readership.

UPDATE 28.5.14: Although I will still not attempt to provide a comprehensive trigger warning system, I will from time to time add content notes at the beginning of pieces that, when writing, felt troubling, and the reasons why.


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