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Mar 20, 2011
@ 1:27 am
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Trigger warning / Content Warning

Definition

A trigger warning usually takes the form of some emphasised (usually bold) text describing in broad terms the upsetting nature of the content, and contains the words “trigger warning” (eg “Trigger warning for sexual violence against children”).

Only the words “trigger warning” are insufficient: a (general) indication of the potentially trigger topic is expected.

The actual triggering text might be below the warning or hidden in some way requiring readers to click through.

Trigger warnings are expected for:

  • imagery of, graphic descriptions of or extensive discussion of (bigotry-related) violence, abuse, especially sexual abuse or torture;
  • imagery of, graphic descriptions of or extensive discussion of self-harming behaviour such as suicide, self-inflicted injuries or disordered eating;
  • depictions, especially lengthy or psychologically realistic ones, of the mental state of someone suffering abuse or engaging in self-harming behaviour,

and

  • discussion of statistics of hate-crimes and self-harming are best preceded by a content warning;
  • moving images (flashing or otherwise high contrast) while not triggering in the above-described sense can cause migraines so are often posted after a break (so they don’t show up on dashboards) with a content warning before the break.

Usage

[Trigger Warning: discussion of topic] or “TRIGGER WARNING: graphic description of topic”.

Sometimes multiple trigger warnings are put at the top of a page, with a brief indication before the section where a specific topic is discussed. This reminder is often abbreviated: (tw:topic)

See Also

PTSD

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