Anatomical Natt

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Anatomical Natt
nattish

POLL: Warnings

This poll refers to the warnings often found in fic headers (i.e. Warnings: spankings and naughty language!). If you have any thoughts to contribute I'd be appreciative.

Poll #552902 Fanfic Survey: (Header) Warnings

Are you less likely to read a fic if it does NOT have warning information?

Yes
43(23.8%)
No
67(37.0%)
I don't care either way
71(39.2%)

If YES, why?

Are you less likely to read a fic if it DOES have warning information?

Yes
35(19.4%)
No
90(50.0%)
I don't care either way
55(30.6%)

If YES, why?

Do you feel that the information in warnings can spoil or make fics less enjoyable for you?

Yes, but not so much that I will refuse to read the fic.
40(22.1%)
Yes, and I sometimes refuse to read the fic if I know too much information about it already.
11(6.1%)
No, warnings don't effect my fic-reading experience.
27(14.9%)
No. I like having warnings, so that I know what to expect and/or whether I want to read the fic.
101(55.8%)
No. And I won't read a fic unless it has warnings.
2(1.1%)

If you come across content in a fanfic that you find offensive or think merits a warning, what do you do?

Leave some rude feedback.
0(0.0%)
Ask the author to add a warning to the header or someplace else.
18(10.1%)
Stop reading the fic immediately.
43(24.0%)
Keep reading, with hopes that I will still like the story.
52(29.1%)
Other.
16(8.9%)

Do you wish authors would make warnings more optional (i.e. putting them behind lj-cuts or at the end of the document)?

Yes
35(19.6%)
No
57(31.8%)
I don't care either way
87(48.6%)

IF YOU ARE AN AUTHOR, do you use warnings for your fics?

Yes, always.
34(24.5%)
No, never.
5(3.6%)
It depends on the content.
93(66.9%)
Only if a community or archive I am posting it in requires it.
7(5.0%)

If you answered YES, why do you use warnings?

I don't want to be held responsible for offending anyone.
0(0.0%)
To make it easier for people to find the types of fics they enjoy reading.
9(9.2%)
Fandom pressure.
1(1.0%)
Etiquette.
6(6.1%)
Other.
3(3.1%)

If you answered IT DEPENDS ON THE CONTENT, what do you think merits use of warnings?

Offensive language
0(0.0%)
Mild violence
0(0.0%)
Explicit violence
1(0.9%)
Mild sexual content
0(0.0%)
Explicit sexual content
0(0.0%)
Slash
0(0.0%)
Het
0(0.0%)
Mpreg
1(0.9%)
Other
6(5.5%)

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For me as a reader the only valuable warning is for main character death 'cos I don't like it when my fave characters die. OTOH it's a huge spoiler. As a fic collector, I like warnings 'cos they make my life so much easier - I don't have to read 119865187 PWPs to check if they feature something for my lists. But then again, it's annoying that an author 'should' warn for dozens of kinks in case they squick somebody. What if I'm squicked by the mention of coffee?

I can't believe I forgot to put death in the poll! We are opposites here, perhaps---I can't stand to be warned about character deaths. I generally refuse to read a fic if I know if someone is dying (even if I don't know who it is). It might be a matter of protest (I don't need protection. If I don't like something, I can simply stop reading it), but mainly I don't like to be spoiled.

Did you say coffee? I read a coffee!enema fic. Just saying. :D (I might have gotten it from a list of yours, though!) Anyway, I agree about the squick thing. I'm squicked by feet, but no one warns me about toe-sucking fics...

I've read it too. Was as squicked as one might be, brrrrrr :/ Seriously, I love coffee, but one can be suicked by really unexpected things.

It might be a matter of protest (I don't need protection. If I don't like something, I can simply stop reading it)

Yes, me too. But so many people start wailing and flaming if they weren't forewarned that it's easier to post warnings. I don't see how it's necessary to warn for explicit sexual content. If somebody is so stupid that they don't understand what NC-17 means, I'm going to kick them as soon as they open their mouth to complain.

For me as a reader the only valuable warning is for main character death 'cos I don't like it when my fave characters die. OTOH it's a huge spoiler.

That's how I feel as well.

If I'm digging into a long story I like the character death warning because I want to know what I'm getting myself into. On the other hand, it absolutely affects how I read the story. For short fic, I prefer not to know because the investment is different and the impact of not knowing is often powerful.

If you answered IT DEPENDS ON THE CONTENT, what do you think merits use of warnings?

Character death - it's a huge squick for me, unless the fic in question makes the death necessary (e.g. because the deceased character turns into a ghost or something like that).

Ooooooh, I knew I forgot something important! *stupid*

That's something that bothers me. If I see "character death" in the header I generally will not read a fic. I think, "Well, now why should I bother, when I already know a major event...?"

a "character death warning" well, it upsets in a different way than a kink warning. For me, hitting something in a story that squicks me (like that coffee enema thing *nods*), well I deal with it peacefully: either I get over it or I stop reading. But having a character that I invested in emotionally (I'm a very emotionnal reader) be killed off is different, it's a lot more upsetting and harder to deal with. It's more than "get that mental image out of your head" it's "get out of that mindset and don't let it get to you" (assuming that the fic was well written, that it :)) which is much harder to do.
Personally, I find it a very unpleasant experience and avoid it if I can. I need the warning, though, to do that.
I know that there are some people who distinguish between major and minor character death. in that case, I'd only avoid the major character death warnings.
did that make any sense?

(Deleted comment)
That's probably the only thing I don't mind being warned for (though I'd never warn for it on my own fics), just because it's difficult to come across readable mpreg and I need all the help I can get!

I checked others in the content question, because I don't find any of those offensive, although I do warn for MPREG because I know people don't enjoy it.

To me warnings are for biggies: non-con, bdsm, chan, character death, and mpreg. I can't think of anything else off hand.

You know, I've stumbled across quite sickening things (golden showers, scat play *coughmpreg*) and it really didn't bother me that much, I just clicked back and remembered not to read that fic later.

But I often get blind sided by things because usually, all I read is the rating at the couple, sometimes the summary. :P

I answered other for these two questions:

If you come across content in a fanfic that you find offensive or think merits a warning, what do you do? I usually will stop reading unless the story is well-written. I only comment to an author if I like the story. I've yet to find a story that's made me so indignant that I need to complain to the author.

If you answered IT DEPENDS ON THE CONTENT, what do you think merits use of warnings? If I see a fic that's rated NC-17, I expect explicit sex (rimming, penetration, graphic language used to describe sex, etc. so those stories don't need warnings, imo -- the NC-17 covers it -- but kinks/squicks should be warned for because people's tastes are so varied: chan, bdsm, vomit play, food play, scat, necro, watersports, torture, spanking, bestiality, etc. Certain kink warnings make me want to READ the story, so authors should definitely have those warnings so as to draw readers in!

I have always hated the idea of MPAA-style ratings for fics. Those ratings are extremely vague and unhelpful, and I think it's stupid to try to rate the age of the audience for a fic, as opposed to actually rating the content of the fic. So I now don't use MPAA ratings at all. Instead, I use the warnings for that kind of thing: mild or explicit sex, violence, and language. I don't really write any kinks to speak of, so that doesn't usually come up for me.


It was really sad when I had to click on "yes I warn fro MPREG" .
:(
but darn, yeah, I use warnings for: 'very very sad and kind of violent.' I wish I didn't have to post warnings. They're very spoiler-y.

You don't have to use warnings. Join the anti-warning revolution! :D

PS: Your name is changed! That was quick. And I realized I don't recognize you by your name, but your icon...

I don't care one way or another if a fic has warnings, but I do like to be warned for things that I object do--chan, extreme kinks, that sort of thing. Conversely, I tend to warn in my fics for any content other might find objectionable, just because it means no one can complain about it later. I don't warn for slash or het because, dude, if you looked at the pairing, you should know.

Of course, there are exceptions; I've written fics where the pairing was meant to be a surprise, or where I didn't want to give away a twist. But in general I don't think most warnings are spoilery--saying "warning: character death" isn't the same as saying "Oh, and btw, Harry is going to be eaten by a shoggoth."

I warn for chan, non-con, violence, and bestiality, (all of which I write/have written). I like to be warned for scat, breathplay, bloodplay, BDSM, cannibalism, and mpreg. Anything more extreme than those kinks should garner a warning, too, in my book. (Though that brings up, as always, the question of what constitutes extremity. Necrophilia I tend to find poignant, heartbreaking, charming, or funny, depending on the story; in any case, it's not going to send me running for the hills. Vomitplay, on the otherhand, or numerous more esoteric kinks... *shudders*)

I refuse to warn for slash, het, or incest--people can look at the damn' pairing--and I don't plan on warning for character death should I ever write that.

I don't like warnings. Books don't have warnings, so IMO neither should fanfic. I'm not here to coddle you.

That's interesting, because I personally think there's a big difference between a 150,000 word book and, say, a 1,000 word PWP that runs very heavy on the kink to the extent that showcasing the kink is the point of the fic. There are some things that I really don't want to read as a PWP which I'd read in a novel (or a very long and complex fic), so I'd like to know if that's all the fic is going to be about. On the other hand, some warnings can get ridiculous: if you've got an NC-17 rating on the fic, I'm expecting extreme violence or explicit sex, so that, I think, doesn't need warning for.

It works the other way too, of course -- people obviously actively search for things they like in fic, and so putting a description of kink-related content in your headers is going to get it noticed by people who are looking for stuff like that to read. I'd have thought that by 'warning' you'd get a more suitable readership -- those who won't like can look elsewhere, and those that'll love it can read and review for you.

Re: Here via the Snitch

Well, I don't write fics like that. If something happens in my fic, it happens for a reason, regardless of the length of the fic, and I want people to read the story to find out, not be spoiled by the warnings.

But if I did write a fic that was all about one specific kink, then I'd put it in the summary not as a warning. If the thing you're warning for is the plot, that's where it belongs. If you're writing an mpreg, then that is the plot. It's not something incidental. Therefore the summary should say something about X getting pregnant or whatever. I mean, I hate mpreg, but I don't think it needs to be warned for. Just write a decent summary.

And obviously this is based on my own reading habits. I'll read stuff based on the plot or the author or the pairing, but not because of a random kink, and I don't write that way either. So it just seems...eh. I don't like it.

Re: Here via the Snitch

My sentiments exactly.

Yeah, as others have said, I don't believe in warning for any of the things you listed, especially as explicit sex is covered by the NC-17 -- but I WOULD warn for especially kinky things -- but I'm thinking I'd warn for sex-with-your-own-father's-skull, and not for more mundane things like rimming.

Er, if I were to write either, that is.

And I hate character death warnings. DESPISE them. Why would I want to be spoiled in the header? And why should the author have to "show their hand" like that? Especially when combined with a pairing note -- which also spoils the reader and prevents there being any sense of suspense or discovery of who the characters are.

The warnings I'm mainly concerned about are spoiler warnings. For instance, in the Stargate: Atlantis fandom we're not even half-way through season two. I'm trying my best to remain spoiler-free. I won't read fics with spoilers for episodes I've not seen yet. I also hate being spoiled about something because someone didn't put up a spoiler warning. That's just inconsiderate.

Also, if I see warnings for anything that I personally find offensive (bestiality, for example) I won't read the fic. There's really not much that offends me, but I do have some limits.

Strong language doesn't bother me but if I'm writing a fic with it I will warn for it. Same with violence. I may or may not write "Warning: Slash" in the header but I will at least make the pairing very clear.

(Deleted comment)
I thought it was important to note that although I personally don't care what sort of content a fic has (I'm a fan fic!whore, I'll read anything), I do think that authors should have them. I understand that it ruins the mood for some people to have the warnings, but I think that having an outside link to warnings is a good idea. There are too many young people out there, for one, and for two- it's just plain polite to give warning about certain things to people. If you had an outside link, it would be a win-win situation, because people could decide if they wanted to read the warnings or not. One must keep this in mind- different strokes for different folks- what might not offend you could upset another person.

In reading fic, I tend to stop reading/not read character death fics, incest, chan, torture, rape, those kinds of things.

I don't consider "slash" in and of itself to be objectionable; as with any subject, it depends on how the authro takes it.

Most of my writing tends to be on the R or lower rated side, mostly for swearing and sexual content. If I'm doing anything that I know woudl catch me up, I'll put a warning in both the first chapter and then in that chapter, if the fic has multiple parts. I dont' want my readers to be unpleasantly surprised.

(Deleted comment)
I like warnings because sometimes I'm just not in the mood to read certain things. I can't recall ever refusing to read a fic because of a specific warning, but if I'm having a bad day I generally don't want to top it off with a death fic. *shrugs*

Here from the Snitch...

I picked "explicit violence", "Mpreg" and "other" for the stuff that merits a warning. For instance, I'm not terrible into bloodplay, breathplay or other rather extreme kinks and would prefer not to stumble across it halfway through a fic.
So if there's a chance that people might get offended by the kinks, say, crossdressing, I warn for it. I just think the most important thing to remember is that one person's kink easily can be another person's squick. :)

I rarely read warnings on fic, as they all too often spoil the story. If there's a character death, I'd prefer to get the gut-punch reaction over spending my time wondering who and when. The same for extreme sex &/or violence.


If it were up to me (and on those occasions when it is, on my lj or wherever archives don't require it) I won't warn or do a summary. The funny thing is, if I see mpreg, unless the writer's known to me, I won't bother reading it (I do the same with lengthy lists of kinks, because that's a general indicator the person's writing for the sake of kink, which is ... not my kink *g*). However, I wouldn't really miss warnings were they eliminated, because what really throws me out or keeps me hooked, with any story, is the quality of the writing, not whether there's this that or the other kink or whatever in the story. I loathe mpreg on principle and because it's almost always dreadfully written, but one of the very best stories I ever read, kaiz's A Necessary Evil, has it. So ... no warnings are almost better for me, in that I come into a fic with no preconceptions and either stay or go purely based on the writer's ability to write. If I hit something that throws me out, I just leave. I don't get bothered that I wasn't warned for it.

I take it back. I do want to know the pairing if there is one. That's a kind of warning, isn't it?

As an author, I post warnings for incest, non-con, dubious consent, etc. Language and violence are covered by the ratings, I think.

Interesting poll. I have to say that I generally prefer to not have warnings, and I feel rating is enough. A good writer will make every event in a story work, wether it's to your personal taste or not. So if I see a warning that isn't to my personal taste I have to try not to be put off. If I know its a great writer, no problems, but if I don't know their writing it could steer me away. Inversely a story could have a warning for everything I like, but if it's crap... its crap.

The quality of the writing is the best measure. The thing I like the least is characters doing something unbelievable. A great writer can make the most unlikely occurrence, likely an unskilled writer can make a common happening seem utterly false.

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