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

@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

I’m going to have to respectfully, but very emphatically, disagree here. 

@Gargron I guess I don't really understand the purpose of content warnings, other than maybe to warn people I'm posting a nude photo or something. But then if someone was posting stuff I didn't want to see, wouldn't I just stop following them?

@bazalkryn if you want to understand CW's, you can easily learn just by observing how people use them and trying to imagine why someone else might appreciate the option to skip that content (without having to unfollow or mute). This exercise practiced in good faith will get you further than any direct explanation.

@bazalkryn You could not spoil your followers on the latest westworld episodes, for example.

And yes, the porn thing too.

@Gargron thank you for this, i have a lot of anxiety about posting because i feel like everything should be in a cw just in case

@Gargron Eugen I really appreciate you addressing toxicity you see on this site it’s very refreshing thank you


But how will I show off to the new users how smart I am?!?

They need to know that I'm better than them!

@Gargron my first interaction with mastodon and I see this post about "cw". makes sense!

@Gargron "please CW that" isn't a demand, it's a request. It's perfectly fine to ask, someone may have forgotten or not realised it's the sort of thing that might require a CW. if they don't want to CW after that, fine then you can mute or whatever but there's no harm in asking

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