Please don't demand content warnings from strangers. Content warnings are a sort of social contract between an author and their followers; if you are not happy with how someone chooses to use them, do not follow that person or outright mute them, or mute words.

One of the most alienating experiences on Mastodon I've observed is when someone posts about something they're passionate about or is part of their identity and the first response is "please cw that" from a complete stranger.


@haverofopinions @Gargron and quit boosting so many cat pics eugen. Jesus we get it. You like cats!

@Gargron How do you feel about instance wide CW policies that are enforced?

@Gargron The CW feature is by far the best thing about Mastodon!

@gargron Someone who didn't even follow me told me to CW my :winky: emoji. I ended up blocking them so they never have to accidentally see my toots again, but it didn't feel good.

@pixelguff dude, that's the worst drawing of an eggplant I've ever seen

Don't feel bad. That kind of blocking is being a good digital neighbor if someone is unwilling for some reason to use the functions at their disposal to curate their own experience.

@Gargron yup. It still comes down to looking after yourself.

@Gargron I totally understand where you're coming from. However, given that we have local timelines, (some of which are really fun to read!) I can totally understand people asking others to make them a better place.

As always, it's obviously also about manners and timing. :-)

@esureL @Gargron Yes. Stuff that's generally accepted as NSFW or "Lewd," as the kids say... it really is common courtesy to have that behind a CW. That way if your follower is at work they can still enjoy looking at the rest of your TL without any awkwardness.

Most instances have policies requiring CWs for NSFW content. In fact, people who don't CW publicly posted NSFW content can get their instance in hot water, because of the global time-line.

I'm those cases, I feel it is justified to request CWs. Or that they don't post to the local time-line.

@esureL @Gargron surely if you're on a local timeline all you can expect is that the content follows that's instance's rules. Which are like clearly stated on joining the instance.

@Gargron Agree. This said, I think CW is a good thing specially for rants. But that's up to the tooter, not the reader.

@Gargron while I think that it's perfectly fine to ask for CW's (within reason) it is certainly unacceptable to butt into someone's passion like that. I totally agree that muting/unfollowing sometimes is the better option. This comes from a person who needs CWs.

@Gargron This request feels like a basic change in mastodon social norms. My understanding (and what I've observed) is that it's fine to make polite requests, and let people know that their topic can be heavy for some people. It's not okay to get pissy if they say no, but it's okay to ask.

How else will we all learn how to take care of each other? We need to let each other know what we need.

@jakobpunkt @Gargron Emphasis on "polite" though. I've had quite a few people yell at me, not even from .social, demanding that I CW pics that seemed totally innocuous (one was a kitten). There's no way to guess what upsets people and when the first reply is outrage, the experience can sour quickly

@cypnk @jakobpunkt @Gargron one thing to remember is that in our current society, and in Mastodon specifically, many people have been traumatized and are trying to recover or support each other. So on one hand you're totally right, but on the other hand you can't really ask a person who's been stabbed to calm down, ya know? They're not focused on politeness, they're focused on surviving an onslaught.

This sort of context mismatch is very common on twitter and seems to happen here too.

@cypnk @jakobpunkt @Gargron the #1 piece of advice I can give someone in your shoes is, when someone's yelling at you, take a beat to sympathetically figure out why they might be yelling. Could be you're standing on their foot. Could be they're off their rocker and ya need to block them. We're all in a big room shouting into the void, hard to know what's going on without checking first.

@wilbr @jakobpunkt @Gargron That’s a very good point. Definitely something to think about

Thank you

Good advice, but not easy when being yelled at is what triggers you.

Trigger cascades are serious worries for me.

@cypnk @jakobpunkt @Gargron

@webmind @cypnk @jakobpunkt @Gargron ultimately someone being triggered into a legit PTSD anxiety attack is something that person needs to deal with in a halfway-acceptable way. It's not your fault for lighting off fireworks on July 4, and it is Old Man Dan's fault for coming at you with a gun demanding you stop, but the ~resolution~ to this stalemate is to recognize the symptoms of PTSD, deescalate, apologize & try to be considerate

@webmind @cypnk @jakobpunkt @Gargron sometime in between this ancient post and now I developed a mantra that gets more relevant every day:
- don't get defensive.
- if someone's getting defensive, don't double down.

Literally 2 days ago I got dragged and subtooted to hell on here for jumping in someone's mentions and pissing them off. But once I realized the signs I just apologized, backed down, cleared my notifs, & closed the app.

@webmind @cypnk @jakobpunkt @Gargron TLDR: "I'm offended that you're offended" is a losing argument every time. Just swallow your pride, walk away, and live to debate another day.

Only now noticed how old this thread is...

Those are good approaches and is core of cognitive behavior therapy. You can apply it to all kinds of triggers, but depending on the severity it can take quite some time before you manage and then more until it becomes easier. And then we can all have our setbacks and fails when we're exhausted/tired. Recovering from trauma is hard work.

@cypnk @jakobpunkt @Gargron

@webmind @cypnk @jakobpunkt @Gargron I've got a great idea!

Let's put a WHOLE BUNCH of marginalized, traumatized, and antisocial people in ONE GIANT ROOM and give each person a megaphone and a pair of earplugs. It'll be fun! (Don't worry, if they don't like it they can just use the earplugs.)

Yes, that is the ideal. I'm just saying it's not always easy to respond 'fittingly' to triggers, that's the entire issue with triggers. They trigger strong and often overwhelming emotional responses.
If it was so easy to 'just not act on them' they wouldn't be half the trouble they are.

@cypnk @jakobpunkt @Gargron

@webmind @cypnk @jakobpunkt @Gargron oh of course.

I guess the mental trick to dealing with this is to realize, yes, IT'S NOT FAIR. None of it is. Neither the innocent initial infraction or the outsized reaction or the giant cluster**** that has resulted. There is no fairness here.

But the ANSWER is to try and deescalate and forgive and apologize and create breathing room to cool down. Nothing to do with fairness, just pragmatism.

@webmind @cypnk @jakobpunkt @Gargron my other favorite phrase is, "it's an explanation, not an excuse." The guy's a Vietnam vet, he's traumatized. That doesn't EXCUSE him coming at you with a gun -- he's still responsible for that action and needs to work on his PTSD -- but it does mean that you don't necessarily need to call him an asshole or call the cops, because now we realize that's not a good pragmatic way to resolve things.

@Gargron Ooh, I thought it was an unspoken rule on Masto to CW everything that wasn't G rated, or one sentence long. (No sarcasm, genuine assumption.)

The problem with unspoken rules is that people who don't know about them can't follow them.


I'd imagine that some of this can be a tone issue too.

If someone sent me a DM that asked nicely if I would , as a favor to them, CW some topic because they'd like to follow me but won't be able to because that topic bothers them, then I'd be really happy they did. (I might agree or disagree, depending on the topic) In fact, I'd much prefer they send that DM than that they unfollow me without explanation!

But that's very different from a public "CW please!" toot.

Exactly. Its definitely tone and presentational.

Public "cw this please" from a stranger is akin to walking up to someone, and demanding they change the subject.

Pulling them aside and asking? You'll get better results.


@Gargron Better yet, use the report feature. If it's content that should be CWd by you or instance's standards, let your moderators mark it as such.

Shouldn't that work?

@Gargron I was just wondering if CWs are required and which ones.

@Tesshutchy If you want to learn the rules of your instance, go to /about/more
Specifically mentions tagging porn/nudity and violence/gore

From what I've seen on the fediverse, it is also customary to cw politics, rants, mental heath topics, and stuff you might think upsets people.

@Gargron I feel like this is gonna cause controversy, but, I think that's a really good way to go about CWs.

@Gargron Totally agree with you here!

On there are some basic rules about content warnings/sensitive media (, but the most things are something people must learn from trial-and-error.

@Gargron it's true. Targeted unrequested advice from ppl you don't know aired publicly can be very humiliating. Ask any parent with a crying child in grocery checkout lane.

@Snommel_ @Gargron OK, but in some cases I bet there are instances which have CWs as policy, so if a mod steps in to say, "Please CW next time" that wouldn't be out of line.

@amylsacks @Gargron yes that would be an expected behavior for a mod. Seems like, too, tooters can also DM a mod when they believe someone repeatedly isn't using the CW when needed.

@Gargron I’d have thought that just muting someone, rather than giving them an opportunity to reconsider how they post, is pretty alienating.
In most instances I’d expect that when people don’t CW something sensitive, it’s because they’re innocently unaware of the impact on others. If it was me, I’d welcome some constructive feedback so I could learn from it & make my posts more inclusive.
Putting something behind a CW harms no one- people aren’t being asked to not post, just to give a heads up

@gargron this strikes me as myopic and falsely decisive.

There is not a binary decision between "demand CWs without explanation" and " unfollow/mute". It's possible to ask politely; to gently suggest; to model.

Yes, they are part of the agreement between author and audience, but that agreement is negotiable.

It seems like you just don't like CWs, based on this and your comments on several related PRs...

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