Trigger Warnings are Done

Sometimes this forum gets ridiculous. What on my post was inappropriate? Because people didn’t like it because it’s not the same as their opinion?

Nerfed forum for cry babies.


I’ll be sure not to say anything untoward moving forward.

Wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s delicate feelings.

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The phrase “food trigger warning” already contains the word “food” so the warning is a trigger itself. :pie:

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Where was this? I can’t find any relevant references by ctrl-Fing “food,” “trigger,” or “warning” on Planet IF right now.

I’m under the impression that people who have PTSD and the like are generally getting help over and above trigger warnings. That doesn’t necessarily mean trigger warnings aren’t also necessary, does it?

Insofar as this isn’t a straw man, it’s unnecessarily insulting. The clear suggestion here is that people who need trigger warnings only want to read things that give them comfort–that seems obviously false–and the insult directed at those people is doubly inappropriate.

This seems against the spirit if not the letter of most competitions’ judging guidelines.

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Trigger Warning: This reply may contain trigger warnings, also wheat, eggs, and nuts.

You don’t need trigger warnings. Congratulations on your excellent mental health. Some others are not so lucky.

If a work contains potentially traumatizing material for individuals with certain mental health issues, warning them ahead of time is a considerate thing to do. Armed with a warning, they can do what’s best for them and make an informed decision whether to engage with the work.

Trigger warnings don’t just help folks avoid materials they don’t want to see. They also make it easier for them to confront difficult material. If they know what they’re in for, they automatically feel more in control and they can distance themselves more easily to avoid re-traumatizing themselves.

With regard to the food warning, I think a casual mention of food probably wouldn’t deserve a warning. Hopefully we are all already exposed to food and eating at least once a day. However, if the author is intentionally talking about food in an unhealthy way that might trigger relapses for those suffering from eating disorders, warning folks upfront is the responsible thing to do.

To summarize, I’m sorry trigger warnings are triggering for you, but you are an adult, you can handle it.


Movies don’t use them nor do novels, tv shows, or nightly news. Why does IF need them?

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For what it’s worth, a helpful person pointed me to this passage from the IF Tech Foundation accessibility report:

An aside: one tester did state that Twine of Access should have had a “food” trigger warning – for the benefit of players with eating disorders – based on a scene where the player can sit at a banquet table and consume an entire, deliciously described turkey. While we don’t necessarily advocate this content-warning approach over others, it does illustrate another example of how playtesting a game with a diverse field can yield unexpected and interesting feedback.

This seems to me like a mild remark, which explicitly does not recommend food trigger warnings nor suggests that any author (let alone Twine authors in particular) is considering this. I’m not sure why it merits such an explosive reaction.

Movies, tv shows, and nightly news absolutely do use content warnings. “Rated R for violence and nudity,” “viewer discretion is advised,” etc. etc.

[EDIT: Forgot a disclosure: The IFTF is now the owner (?) of this forum and as a moderator of the board I am a member of the IFTF subcommittee in charge of it or something like that. But I didn’t have anything to do with the accessibility report and nobody from the IFTF has ever suggested that I defend it or anything like that.]


Movies do, though. If there’s a movie that shows a sexual assault on-screen, at least in America, the MPAA will put a big notice at the beginning saying “this film is rated NC-17 for [reasons]”.

It doesn’t seem too unreasonable to expect IF to provide the same courtesy. As a person who doesn’t have PTSD, I’d still really appreciate knowing what I’m getting into before I start playing De Baron. Doesn’t mean I won’t play it—but it does mean I’ll know what sort of game I’m playing from the get-go.

(EDIT: and I’m pretty sure De Baron does warn the player at the beginning; if it doesn’t, the IFDB page certainly does. That’s the sort of thing I appreciate, since it makes sure I’m not thrown into that sort of thing when I was expecting Colossal Cave. It doesn’t have to be intrusive or ruin the game or anything.)

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De Baron was distributed with a README file that had a warning saying that it was inappropriate for children under 15 and not for people who did not want to read about human misery. Also, on startup it tells you to type MENU even if you are an experienced IF player, and this warning can be found in the menu.

It is not specific about its theme, presumably because knowing the theme in advance would significantly diminish the experience for those who don’t need to avoid the content in question. This can be a difficult circle to square, presumably. Also perhaps worth noting that De Baron was written before the idea of trigger warnings had much currency (at least as far as I know).

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Sure there are “warnings” on tv, movies news and books but I’ve yet to see one that says “There’s a guy who eats a hot dog in one scene of this movie and we’re telling you now in case you have an eating disorder and this sort of thing triggers you.”

I maintain- trigger warnings are useless and needless since “genres” and other categories exist for adult readers. I’m starting to get the feeling they’re only put on games by authors who want to look especially socially conscious. Not a surprise given the Twine community.

If you have no use or need of a thing, that does not mean nobody else does. You seem to be getting unnecessarily angry over a suggestion by someone trying to be helpful.

That’s fine. It’ll lead to OTHERS putting trigger warnings on YOUR games and stories.
And what if those trigger warnings spoil an aspect of your game or story?

Real adults don’t need trigger warnings.

It’s a solution to a problem no one had.

But I guess I’m the jerk for having a dissenting opinion.

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It’s fine if you don’t care for trigger warnings, but statements like ‘Real adults don’t need trigger warnings’ are just unpleasant. It makes it seem as though you want people who appreciate them to feel ashamed and silly, just because you get no use from them.


Where were trigger warnings 20 years ago? 30?

We’ve been doing interactive fiction for decades and suddenly (suspiciously alongside the rise of Twine) we found the need to put trigger warnings on everything?

Forgive me if I question again WHY they exist.

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There used to be lead in paint and kids road bikes without helmets. Nobody complained about a little brain damage back then. The good old days?

Several people have responded with sound reasons for trigger warnings, but you don’t address those arguments. Your argument seems be that you don’t like them, therefore no one should have them. Why do you want to punish authors that are considerate enough to include them?

I think that’s called a review?


Hi @MTW. While we appreciate discussion of this topic as it relates to IF, I would ask you to refrain from making targeted judgemental statements that can cause an argument or hurt feelings.


While we all can appreciate a good “back in my day…” type rant, please do so without targeting and insulting specific people or groups of people.

You can foster this discussion without directing it in anger:

"I’ve seen a trigger warning specifically for food, and I don’t understand how this can be a trigger. Can someone possibly explain this to me?"

Also please be aware:

Publicly documenting this type of behavior could lead to having your votes and/or participation nullified specifically in IFComp, and possibly other competitions. Segregating people by inference and saying “we [as a specific group] need to curtail the behavior of [the general group of people who do this who are in another group]” is very specifically what I’m talking about.

I have games with trigger warnings, and you, as a personal friend, know my direct email and Google chat contact. Please feel free to take out this personal aggression you feel about this subject directly to me in private if you feel it necessary, but please do not continue general or personally targeted aggression as I’ve pointed out above on this forum.

Thank you!


This topic was automatically opened after 3 hours.

Trigger warnings are controversial, no doubt about that. And before anyone suggests that it’s some political left vs right, PC vs non-PC disagreement, even the leftish Atlantic has written critically about them:

I don’t think every possibly concerning thing needs a warning, but I do see some benefit in them. For something like sexual violence we can consider that a lot of victims do not report it or seek treatment, and that unfortunately, perhaps much more than for other trigger warning categories, there are a lot of creative works which use rape under the mistaken idea that it suffices for character development. Rape and other sexual violence or harassment is so prevalent in creative media that there are dozens of distinct tropes.

Do you think we know everything there is to know about mental disorders and how to treat them? For example, PTSD was only coined in 1978! Before then, soldiers with shell shock were often considered cowards.

Some men suffering from shell shock were put on trial, and even executed, for military crimes including desertion and cowardice. While it was recognised that the stresses of war could cause men to break down, a lasting episode was likely to be seen as symptomatic of an underlying lack of character. For instance, in his testimony to the post-war Royal Commission examining shell shock, Lord Gort said that shell shock was a weakness and was not found in “good” units. The continued pressure to avoid medical recognition of shell shock meant that it was not, in itself, considered an admissible defence. Executions of soldiers in the British Army were not commonplace. While there were 240,000 Courts Martial and 3080 death sentences handed down, in only 346 cases was the sentence carried out. 266 British soldiers were executed for “Desertion”, 18 for “Cowardice”, 7 for “Quitting a post without authority”, 5 for “Disobedience to a lawful command” and 2 for “Casting away arms”. (Wikipedia article on Shell shock)

We’ve come a long way as a society since then. I’m sure we’ll learn more still. I’m not a pyschologist, and I won’t try to predict whether trigger warnings will be seen as valuable tools or harmful pseudo-therapy in 20 years.

You’re free to have and express your opinion that trigger warnings are unnecessary or even harmful, but your opinion that people who value them aren’t “real adults” is not welcome here. I hope you can see the distinction.


In addition, I’ve heard some groups pushing for the term “content warning” instead of “trigger warning”—because the latter is using a specific medical term, and the term itself is getting devalued because of it (see: the “triggered” meme).

People don’t have to have PTSD to be sensitive to things, after all. Again as a non-PTSD-having person I’d still want a warning before seeing a graphic depiction of animal abuse, for example: just a note up front saying “hey this game contains X, Y, and Z, consider yourself warned”.