So, why do we need trigger warnings in video games...

Treeberry

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I didn't realise that 'trigger warnings' and 'content warnings' were synonymous...
 

EyeReaper

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You don't understand, OP.I can't read the ESRB stickers. Cuz every time I look at a nintendo game and see this:


It reminds me of when Judge Doom killed my brother. Why isn't there a trigger warning warning me about the trigger warning?

not to mention the inherently flawed system the ESRB operates on. You see that rating over there? E. For Everyone. Guess what guys? Quadriplegics and comatose people are part of everyone, last I checked, and they can't play Mario. Super Ableist Bros is more like it.
 

Remus

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Trigger warning: Sergeant Raymond Shaw? Raymond Prentiss Shaw? ESRB M Violence, Death, Adult Themes, Mind Control - don't you have something you should be doing?
Really, triggers? To the wrong person a fruit rollup or the color blue can trigger a violent act. These aren't triggers so much as they are things present in a videogame. Calling these triggers is akin to saying that the majority of gamers are mentally ill and could go off at a moment's notice if they see the wrong thing on a computer screen. That's just a tiny bit offensive.
 

Areloch

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A thought occurs:

Given the ubiquity of smartphones, which can readily read a QR code via the now-standard camera, I wonder if it'd be a useful expansion(for people who it actually concerns, rather than some random person buying games) to have a embedded ESRB QR code that would, if scanned, link them to the full breakdown page for that game.

So you see 'Rated M: Sexual Content, Violence, Language', but that may not be *exactly* what you need, you scan the rating QR code with your phone and that would take you to the ESRB's full rating breakdown for that game, letting you know exactly why it got the rating it did.
 

someguy1231

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Something Amyss said:
Loonyyy said:
It's not about potentially offensive content, it's about content that's likely to cause adverse effects in sufferers or PTSD. And you don't need them, you can go without them, as is clearly shown by the current status. You'll notice that "Alcohol Use" sits on there, as does nudity. They're adult content warnings, designed as part of a rating system based on age. As opposed to, say, wanting to discuss sexual assault, without hurting victims of the same.

Of course, if you want to discuss a difficult topic, without inadvertantly hurting the people that you want to talk about and explore, then you might want to include some warning.
And if you want to see how silly this argument sounds, spoil The Force Awakens and see the backlash. We will fervently protect people from having a movie spoiled, then turn around and balk that someone might want to be made aware of trauma-related issues.
That's a terrible comparison. People refrain from spoiling TV shows, movies, and other fiction so that the people who later watch it can experience it the way it was meant to be experienced. No halfway decent storyteller would reveal what happens and why at the beginning of their story. If someone has a TV or movie spoiled for them they were planning on seeing, they'd just feel annoyed or irritated, whereas someone who legitimately has PTSD would have a far more severe reaction.

Besides, as other posters have pointed out, "trauma-related issues" have become so broad in recent years that it's often impossible to please everyone who has them (or claims to have them).
 

Something Amyss

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Loonyyy said:
Yeah. It does resemble that situation quite a lot actually. Lots of critics and people who want to talk about things like plots of new films will put a spoiler warning up so that they can talk about it without ruining it for the people they want to talk to, and it's the same case there.
And the shitstorm if they don't. Man, I've seen people lose their minds that someone mentioned something from a 40 year old movie.

Hell, screw that. I'm supposed to believe that Michael Bay or Shia The Beef can ruin your childhood retroactively, and then people don't understand why something like being fucking raped might have an emotional impact.

The most common times I see trigger warnings or similar content warnings is when someone wants to talk about topics like sexual assault, and often in graphic detail, which is naturally upsetting to some of those directly affected by it, and there's a significant number of them who deal with trauma and post traumatic stress. If you're an activist talking about sexual assault, it's just good sense not to unwittingly hurt they people you want to fight for. And occasionally really stupid ones on tumblr, and yeah, some of those are kinda dumb, sure. It's not like someone putting a silly warning on a pointless post is going to cause me any trouble. Doesn't effect me, so I don't even need to read it.
The thing about Tumblr is it's a massive community and bound to draw in stupid people of pretty much all walks of life who are inclined to use the internet. And I couldn't really care less, because outside an occasional post shared by my SO,. I don't bother with it. Or any other format that looks like those mass emails my grandma used to send out in the 90s to everyone in her contacts list.

..the short of this being that I can't really account for Tumblr, but it does seem to be the source of a lot of the claims of why trigger warnings are bad. Then again, such a story doesn't actually have to be true for that to be the case, and while I don't want to get too political here I figure I'll make the one example of the "welfare queen" who manages to drive around in a BMW on the taxpayer's dollar. We have a better chance of finding Bigfoot, the example was made up, and it still persists in the minds of many as an extant threat.

The thing about "trigger warnings," though, is that the intent isn't even so much not to upset victims of trauma but to allow them to approach such things on their own terms. This is actually part of learning to cope with trauma, or any kind of fear. Or, at least, it's one approach. I mean, I do think that erring on the side of consideration is a good thing, but that's not really the main thrust here. And whatever the diction, identifying that which causes you to be set off is part of the coping/recovery part.

But fuck that and fuck everyone else. No spoiler warnings. Wasn't it horrible in the new film when the Rey girl dyed her hair and proceeded to crush the villain using the force to wield the Millenium Falcon as a bludgeon, shouting about how the opponents of social justice must die? Like, I'm a fairly radical and progressive sort, but that's just being a Social Justice Warrior.
I was more shocked that she literally castrated Kylo Ren during that fifteen minute monologue on patriarchy. And how she chastised Finn for picking up a lightsaber because it was phallic and therefore patriarchal? Man, Star Wars has been ruined for me. I need to go write a 300,000 word blog post on how this has impacted me personally.

For the record, I'm fine with spoiler warnings, as well. I don't give a crap about them personally. I know all the big stuff from TFA without watching it, because I know the odds are slim I'm going to see it before its home video release. But it takes very little effort to respect the wishes of others and not spoil things.

Which dovetails nicely with the amazing levels of outrage the discussion of "trigger warnings" generally sparks.

someguy1231 said:
That's a terrible comparison.
It is a terrible comparison. It's terrible that people get so upset about having a plot twist "ruined" for them, thenturn around and say rape victims should grow thicker skin.

Oh, you meant the direct 1:1 comparison between spoilers and trauma I wasn't making, I know.

People refrain from spoiling TV shows, movies, and other fiction so that the people who later watch it can experience it the way it was meant to be experienced.
And that is apparently a bigger deal than being raped or nearly killed.

No halfway decent storyteller would reveal what happens and why at the beginning of their story.
Babylon 5 and Star Wars say hi.

If someone has a TV or movie spoiled for them they were planning on seeing, they'd just feel annoyed or irritated, whereas someone who legitimately has PTSD would have a far more severe reaction.
And yet, the ones told to get over it are not the ones who had a TV show "spoiled" for them.

You can get moderated on this forum for spoiling a movie. The equivalent does not happen with PTSD.

Besides, as other posters have pointed out, "trauma-related issues" have become so broad in recent years that it's often impossible to please everyone who has them (or claims to have them).
Yes, and that's a cop-out. Pardon me if I don't dwell too long on it.
 

Kyrian007

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My thoughts, more specifically about those who post online whining about "why so sensitive... why I have to see trigger warnings that are obviously not for me or have anything to do with me, why do I have to see things I don't wanna see and only serves to show me that there are people who aren't like me?"

Why in the world would anyone complain about someone leaving a "trigger warning," a person who's concern is for someone else and their compassion doesn't affect anyone other than the potentially triggered viewer in any meaningful way? It's just small minded, whiny, selfish, people complaining because they want something to ***** about. Because they don't have anything better to do with their lives. If you are someone who isn't "triggered by things" like me... then do what I do; don't care about warnings, they don't affect me. And they might actually benefit someone else. The "trigger warning" may not be for you, probably isn't actually. However if you think it has ANY effect on you if you aren't "triggered" by the thing... well, someone is being "over sensitive." Someone has a persecution complex.
 

Gethsemani_v1legacy

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evilthecat said:
This stupid false dichotomy between "trigger warnings" and exposure therapy needs to die, because effective exposure therapy relies on "trigger warnings" to be successful. Simply throwing shit at someone and causing them to have an episode is not helpful to them, in fact it's actively harmful because it further cements the association between the object of trauma and the ongoing experience of being triggered.
This is easily understood in the example of arachnophobia. The first step is letting the client talk about spiders. The next step is letting the client see pictures of spiders. After that seeing a live spider in a closed container. Then a live spider outside the container. Then touching the spider and eventually, after many, many therapy sessions letting the spider climb onto the clients body. All throughout this the therapist must be very clear with what is about to happen ("you are about to see a spider") and be ready to instantly cease the exposure if the client passes from discomfort into panic or terror.

How exactly it is hard to understand that exposure therapy is similar for other phobias or treatable mental health problems, like PTSD, is beyond me. But I get the feeling that it is largely politically motivated ignorance of what trigger warnings are and what they are used for. All their detractors needs to know is that the evil progressive leftists use them, so they must be bullshit and not something that therapists and mental health professionals use daily in their work.
 

Loonyyy

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Something Amyss said:
The thing about Tumblr is it's a massive community and bound to draw in stupid people of pretty much all walks of life who are inclined to use the internet. And I couldn't really care less, because outside an occasional post shared by my SO,. I don't bother with it. Or any other format that looks like those mass emails my grandma used to send out in the 90s to everyone in her contacts list.
Oh, definitely. I'm not on the tumblr hate bandwagon. It's a blogging service. It's not a website with a staff of writers, editorial, it's a series of "microblogs" with mechanisms for connecting them. It's like hating facebook for content, or for a more accurate comparison, wordpress or livejournal.
..the short of this being that I can't really account for Tumblr, but it does seem to be the source of a lot of the claims of why trigger warnings are bad. Then again, such a story doesn't actually have to be true for that to be the case, and while I don't want to get too political here I figure I'll make the one example of the "welfare queen" who manages to drive around in a BMW on the taxpayer's dollar. We have a better chance of finding Bigfoot, the example was made up, and it still persists in the minds of many as an extant threat.
The examples I've seen have usually been dug up by people who disagree with them. Like, 90% of the stuff I've seen from tumblr, as someone who doesn't go there myself, is food, foodporn, actual porn, lifestyle stuff (So softcore porn, with food), a bit more porn, some overshares, some political stuff, and some overly twee discussions of mental illness which I tend to find rather annoying. The one in question was something tagged with a ridiculous number of warnings which were mostly silly. And I'm like, well, whatever, you know? Like, it doesn't affect me, sure it's dumb, but there are a lot of uses which aren't. Probably would have been a good idea to warn us in English class that our essay book had a boy being graphically molested, that's not exactly something most people expect.

Person in question was also rabidly antifeminist, and more than a little racist. Funny how that happens. I didn't have a problem with stupid internet shit that doesn't find it's way to me, but I did have a problem with her odious personality.
The thing about "trigger warnings," though, is that the intent isn't even so much not to upset victims of trauma but to allow them to approach such things on their own terms. This is actually part of learning to cope with trauma, or any kind of fear. Or, at least, it's one approach. I mean, I do think that erring on the side of consideration is a good thing, but that's not really the main thrust here. And whatever the diction, identifying that which causes you to be set off is part of the coping/recovery part.
Yeah. I've got a friend who has PTSD. She saw her best friend kill himself. He hung himself. She was watching the first season of Orange is the New Black, and there's this one scene in there, and it basically gave her the most fucked up panic attack I've ever seen in my life. She just wasn't expecting it, and she kept saying that, over and over, and she couldn't breath, and she couldn't stop crying, and tore open an empty soft drink can with her bare hands curled into claws to hurt herself, tore the most massive cut I've ever seen someone inflict on themself in her arm. For the record, I don't know if any warning would have helped there, and I don't know that the imagery there would set many people off, but it was very alarming.

If you've seen something like that, you take the idea really serious, really quick. I don't have much time for people who want to rant about trigger warnings, or argue the toss about how it's all about pretend, or those stupid "triggered" jokes. I don't know a single person who I've seen making those jokes who'd have the stomach to tie their friend's arm back together with a towel, and for what it's worth, I suffer from panic attacks and anxiety, and it's never been a passive thing. I don't have PTSD or anything, I get really anxious sometimes, and when it's combined with stress, and particularly adversity or animosity, the red veil goes down. It's not a weak thing, I have to restrain myself hard because that adrenal, panicked response starts up, and it's really fight or flight, and I'm terrible at running. I had some asshole deliberately wasting my time at the University when I was trying to use the computer lab to get my lab in, and I had to dig my fingers all the way into my hands, because I couldn't stop imagining smashing his head into the wall, and yeah, that's not nice. Every muscle on my body tensed up, I hyped up, my heart went faster, my breathing gets ragged, and I get this pressure in my head like a migraine. When I was a kid, I always thought of it as like being a beserker in a fantasy novel, and it did help more than once when people decided to pick on me. It does make a very nice response to the assholes who want to talk about thin skins though, because I tend to scare the fucking shit out of them. It's not a particularly fun experience though. And it's extremely hard to explain to people without getting shit about "Anger issues" or "Violence is never the answer". And it's like, it's not an anger issue, because it's not being angry that sets it off, and I try to avoid being angry. And obviously violence is bad, that's why it's so troubling. If I let loose it would be far easier. When I have, it's over in seconds.

There is such thing as exposure therapy with PTSD sufferers, and that's about reducing their impact, but the thing is, that's not the same as accidental exposure, which doesn't help at all. Not treating PTSD is not exposure therapy. Controlling it, allowing them to be prepared for it and confront things when they need to, is the important thing. They need to establish a way to be exposed to the things that cause them panic, stress, terror, and anxiety in the clinical sense, without these reactions, not have a long series of these reactions in the hope they'll become blase. Therapy is between them and their therapist. Not taking these things into account when you're online isn't being a therapist, it's not heroic, it's just you not bothering, and whatever, I don't really care if you don't, because odds are you don't matter, but you're not a hero for that.
I was more shocked that she literally castrated Kylo Ren during that fifteen minute monologue on patriarchy. And how she chastised Finn for picking up a lightsaber because it was phallic and therefore patriarchal? Man, Star Wars has been ruined for me. I need to go write a 300,000 word blog post on how this has impacted me personally.
Look, I would have been fine with the castration. We all know that Kylo Ren was just an emo beta male, faced with an overpowered Mary Sue Uber(wo)mensch, who was beaten because progressives, PC, matriachy, and gynocracy, and really, don't beta's deserve castration?

I was just really upset that she threw away her lightsaber saying "This is a dick, and dicks are for second class citizens in the kingdom of the force" before constructing a light-vagina, with which she proceeded to castrate him, using the untrimmed pubic hair. Just horrible pandering. For the record, the choreography was amazing, they made the vagina a believable weapon, but it was just too on the nose. You can't insult lightsabers in Star Wars.
For the record, I'm fine with spoiler warnings, as well. I don't give a crap about them personally. I know all the big stuff from TFA without watching it, because I know the odds are slim I'm going to see it before its home video release. But it takes very little effort to respect the wishes of others and not spoil things.

Which dovetails nicely with the amazing levels of outrage the discussion of "trigger warnings" generally sparks.
When has someone ever been seriously inconvenienced by a spoiler warning or trigger warning? I mean really, at best it's a sentence you can skim over in seconds.
 

someguy1231

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Something Amyss said:
Oh, you meant the direct 1:1 comparison between spoilers and trauma I wasn't making, I know.
Something Amyss said:
And that is apparently a bigger deal than being raped or nearly killed.
So first you accuse me of twisting your words to make a comparison you didn't make, and then you do the same to me. I didn't say that having fiction spoiled was a "bigger deal". In fact, I said quite the opposite, as your later quote shows: "If someone has a TV or movie spoiled for them they were planning on seeing, they'd just feel annoyed or irritated, whereas someone who legitimately has PTSD would have a far more severe reaction."
[/quote]

Something Amyss said:
Babylon 5 and Star Wars say hi.
Funny, I don't remember being told that
Vader is Luke's Father
at the start of "A New Hope".
[/quote]

Something Amyss said:
And yet, the ones told to get over it are not the ones who had a TV show "spoiled" for them.
Something Amyss said:
You can get moderated on this forum for spoiling a movie. The equivalent does not happen with PTSD.
That's because, in recent years, people have been claiming PTSD for increasingly broad (and frankly, absurd) reasons. You say that this is a "cop-out". If so, then it's not only inevitable, but those demanding "Trigger warnings" have only themselves blame for it. They're the ones that have been making "triggers" and "PTSD" less and less clearly defined.

Besides, how can posters prove that they have PTSD, and that another poster triggered it? How would the mods enforce such a rule without turning it into a mechanism for posters to ban any other posters they don't like by simply claiming "Triggered!"? Spoiling fiction is something that's straightforward and obvious to see. Not so with PTSD.
 

Elijin

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Loonyyy said:
When has someone ever been seriously inconvenienced by a spoiler warning or trigger warning? I mean really, at best it's a sentence you can skim over in seconds.
I think it comes down to a combination of three things:
1. People acting hard on the internet, scoffing at people being concerned about "some words, or a picture."
2. People taking the jokes and horror stories about trigger warnings passed around as gospel, and lose common sense.
3. People taking the concept of trigger warnings not as a warning about content contained, but as a form of censorship, and flipping out because oh nooooooooooo censorship (even though its not censoring any topics, its simply warning they will be discussed/shown/mentioned).
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
I think trigger warnings are a great idea. It means you can go further in depth in a discussion than you could otherwise since you might hold back if you think you would offend someone. With a trigger warning you can be sure the people there, really want to be there and are more willing to confront things that might upset them.
 

happyninja42

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Rebel_Raven said:
... That's not a trigger warning, IMO.
Then what does constitute a trigger warning? I'm genuinely curious. I mean without specifically stating on the cover, detailed information about a scene in the game (eg: Warning, this game includes a scene where the female protagonist is violently assaulted, and threatened with rape), what can they put on the game to constitute a trigger warning?

Strong Sexual Content
Violence

Those 2 vague terms seem, to me at least, to give a general warning of what you might expect, without spoiling the game itself.

So what should game devs do to satisfy the need for a trigger warning, and just what is the definition of one. Because it seems that they can't satisfy the public's request for a trigger warning, without actually knowing what would constitute one.

I personally think the content warnings is sufficient, but that's just me. And I don't see any way to be more specific without spoiling the game. And frankly, I don't think the devs are responsible for how people react to their product on such a broad level. From my personal experience with people suffering from PTSD and other disorders, just about anything could trigger them. Hell on this site alone, I made a very random, benign comment about a totally safe and neutral subject, but it triggered something else in the other person, because it reminded them of something else, which then reminded them of the issue that gives them anxiety, and caused a panic attack. There's just no way to predict it, and thus, no real way to prepare for every possible scenario.

I mean hell, if most people are even slightly like me, and have a very tangential brain, then you can end up being reminded of all kinds of things from the most random stimulus. And it's impractical to assume a company can preface everything. Maybe just seeing someone driving in a car might trigger you, because you remember being in the backseat on the right hand side, looking out the window, and someone hit your family. And that scene in X game where the protagonist is sitting in the back seat triggers you. Do we warn against "Driving content" now? There's just no way to know what can trigger someone. I remember seeing someone on youtube, who has a disorder where they are obsessive about hair, and wanting to get rid of it I think? I'm honestly not 100% on this, but it seems that the condition makes a person be repulsed by their body hair, and want to remove it, sometimes to extreme measures. And she was talking about how an episode of Doctor Who triggered her, because the Doctor plucked a hair out of his companions head, and the show made a big scene about it. And it triggered her. There's just so many different things.

I mean, there was a very good, multipart article on this very site about triggers and games, the author even mentioned how sometimes triggers can trigger an episode. "Warning, this content includes depictions of rape" Well great, now someone is reminded of their own incident of rape, and have been triggered. That's right, the warning intended to help prevent episodes, can sometimes cause the episodes.

So yeah, I don't really know what game developers could do that would satisfy this issue. It's complicated and muddy, and something that I think is ultimately futile on their part to try and resolve.
 

Loonyyy

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Elijin said:
Loonyyy said:
When has someone ever been seriously inconvenienced by a spoiler warning or trigger warning? I mean really, at best it's a sentence you can skim over in seconds.
I think it comes down to a combination of three things:
1. People acting hard on the internet, scoffing at people being concerned about "some words, or a picture."
2. People taking the jokes and horror stories about trigger warnings passed around as gospel, and lose common sense.
3. People taking the concept of trigger warnings not as a warning about content contained, but as a form of censorship, and flipping out because oh nooooooooooo censorship (even though its not censoring any topics, its simply warning they will be discussed/shown/mentioned).
I think you're exactly right. I don't think that the people with the problem have any idea about the extremity of a panic attack, anxiety, or PTSD, which is why we see it conflated with "Offense" and are told that it's all about thick skins. I think they see a few stupid things, some of which are legitimately stupid, and see a lot of other people ranting about them. I think that a lot of these people lack life experience or sympathy.

And then there's the slippery slope to censorship, which is just on its face fallacious.

At best it's a sentence that saves someone with a real problem some harm. At worst it's a cringeworthy attempt to be either understanding, well meaning, or maybe they do want some attention for it. But it really is just a few words. If you don't want to use them, fair enough, but if you want to talk about subjects that people are often traumatised by, a little sensitivity goes a long way.
 

Loonyyy

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Happyninja42 said:
Then what does constitute a trigger warning? I'm genuinely curious. I mean without specifically stating on the cover, detailed information about a scene in the game (eg: Warning, this game includes a scene where the female protagonist is violently assaulted, and threatened with rape), what can they put on the game to constitute a trigger warning?
Basically it's a warning of a discussion of traumatic events. The ones I see most often, are about sexual assault.

Obviously, you can't prevent people from running into anything, but people are frequently traumatised by events like rape, or torture, and graphic depictions of those events can cause them to relive them, and cause anxiety attacks. Usually, the idea is to give those people a heads up before depicting things like rape, or describing them in detail, so that they can be included in discussion, on their own terms.

It's not meant to be a content warning, which is about an age rating. You wouldn't say "Violence" or "Strong Sexual Content". You're looking more "Depictions of rape" etc. The things that commonly set people off don't really creep up all that unexpectedly in videogames bar that as far as I'm aware. People playing military themed games are aware of what they are, and that's really most of the common ones. Things like domestic abuse, suicide, torture, etc, often are going to set people off, but they're less likely to be a part of games. Until Greenlight approves "Domestic Abuse and Rape Simulator 2016" presumably.

You can't warn people of everything. If they wanted to know everything in something, they'd have to go through it. The idea is to warn people of the most common things, before discussing them. Like I said, usually I see it before someone talks about rape with graphic detail.

Better question for me is, why do gamers care so much about a warning to the potentially traumatised, even though most of them have no idea what they are, probably because most of them have never actually encountered one?

Here's an example of one on a blog I frequent: "TRIGGER WARNING here (for violent talk about rape)". Strangely enough, basically the wording I used to describe why you'd put one there. He put that before writing about graphic depictions of rape. That's what people are having tantrums over.
 

Areloch

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Happyninja42 said:
Rebel_Raven said:
... That's not a trigger warning, IMO.
Then what does constitute a trigger warning? I'm genuinely curious. I mean without specifically stating on the cover, detailed information about a scene in the game (eg: Warning, this game includes a scene where the female protagonist is violently assaulted, and threatened with rape), what can they put on the game to constitute a trigger warning?

Strong Sexual Content
Violence

Those 2 vague terms seem, to me at least, to give a general warning of what you might expect, without spoiling the game itself.

So what should game devs do to satisfy the need for a trigger warning, and just what is the definition of one. Because it seems that they can't satisfy the public's request for a trigger warning, without actually knowing what would constitute one.

I personally think the content warnings is sufficient, but that's just me. And I don't see any way to be more specific without spoiling the game. And frankly, I don't think the devs are responsible for how people react to their product on such a broad level. From my personal experience with people suffering from PTSD and other disorders, just about anything could trigger them. Hell on this site alone, I made a very random, benign comment about a totally safe and neutral subject, but it triggered something else in the other person, because it reminded them of something else, which then reminded them of the issue that gives them anxiety, and caused a panic attack. There's just no way to predict it, and thus, no real way to prepare for every possible scenario.

I mean hell, if most people are even slightly like me, and have a very tangential brain, then you can end up being reminded of all kinds of things from the most random stimulus. And it's impractical to assume a company can preface everything. Maybe just seeing someone driving in a car might trigger you, because you remember being in the backseat on the right hand side, looking out the window, and someone hit your family. And that scene in X game where the protagonist is sitting in the back seat triggers you. Do we warn against "Driving content" now? There's just no way to know what can trigger someone. I remember seeing someone on youtube, who has a disorder where they are obsessive about hair, and wanting to get rid of it I think? I'm honestly not 100% on this, but it seems that the condition makes a person be repulsed by their body hair, and want to remove it, sometimes to extreme measures. And she was talking about how an episode of Doctor Who triggered her, because the Doctor plucked a hair out of his companions head, and the show made a big scene about it. And it triggered her. There's just so many different things.

I mean, there was a very good, multipart article on this very site about triggers and games, the author even mentioned how sometimes triggers can trigger an episode. "Warning, this content includes depictions of rape" Well great, now someone is reminded of their own incident of rape, and have been triggered. That's right, the warning intended to help prevent episodes, can sometimes cause the episodes.

So yeah, I don't really know what game developers could do that would satisfy this issue. It's complicated and muddy, and something that I think is ultimately futile on their part to try and resolve.
This is pretty much aligned to how I feel about it.

If broad content warnings aren't sufficient, then it's at the point where it's no longer practical to try and appease the afflicted party. Unfortunate, but the reality.

Loonyyy said:
At best it's a sentence that saves someone with a real problem some harm. At worst it's a cringeworthy attempt to be either understanding, well meaning, or maybe they do want some attention for it. But it really is just a few words. If you don't want to use them, fair enough, but if you want to talk about subjects that people are often traumatised by, a little sensitivity goes a long way.
Really, I don't think most anyone has an issue with "Content Warnings" such as what is commonly utilized by the ESRB or PEGI - as in 'Depictions of Violence' or 'Drug or Alcohol use' or 'Extreme Language' and so on.
The problem arises when people specifically want warnings about things that could possibly trigger some kind of episode with them. The issue is that triggers tend to be rather personal, and thus infeasible for content creators to attempt to cover.

This is further compounded by the people that took the idea of trigger warnings and ran them straight into the ground by wanting them for anything even almost-nearly-vaguely related, or even on astoundingly inconsequential things. The pomegranate tumblr thing is an example of this.

No content creator should be expected to try and adhere to such a bizarre extreme of labeling content that they should try and anticipate tangential interpretations of said content, such as "pomegranates look sorta like organs, and that gets to me, so please give it a "gore" trigger warning". That's incredibly unreasonable, and I think what everyone is really concerned about because it puts a completely unwarranted burden on content creators to try and adhere to.

Justified or no, at this point a lot of people seem to associate 'trigger warning' to that lunacy.
 

happyninja42

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Loonyyy said:
Basically it's a warning of a discussion of traumatic events. The ones I see most often, are about sexual assault.

Obviously, you can't prevent people from running into anything, but people are frequently traumatised by events like rape, or torture, and graphic depictions of those events can cause them to relive them, and cause anxiety attacks. Usually, the idea is to give those people a heads up before depicting things like rape, or describing them in detail, so that they can be included in discussion, on their own terms.
My apologies, my question was semi-rhetorical, despite my wording. I was mainly trying to convey that there doesn't seem to be a consensus of what a trigger warning actually is. There is a strong opinion on it yes, but not a total agreement. I was more curious what that specific poster I quoted thought a trigger warning was.

Loonyyy said:
It's not meant to be a content warning,
Except that's exactly what it is. It's a warning about the content of the thing you are about to experience.

Loonyyy said:
"Violence" or "Strong Sexual Content". You're looking more "Depictions of rape" etc. The things that commonly set people off don't really creep up all that unexpectedly in videogames bar that as far as I'm aware. People playing military themed games are aware of what they are, and that's really most of the common ones. Things like domestic abuse, suicide, torture, etc, often are going to set people off, but they're less likely to be a part of games.
And yet those themes are frequently in games. Everyone of the "less likely" that you described, have shown up in many games that I play. In fact, I can think of a handful of popular games that have all 3 of those in one.

I don't see why the ESRB isn't just as valid of a platform for content/trigger warnings. I mean if you see a game that says Violence, and Strong Sexual Content, it's a pretty safe assumption that the possibility of sexual assault might be included. Sure, it might not, but those 2 phrases together should set off some alarms for people. It does for me. I assume that the "strong" sexual content, doesn't only mean "lots of titties and butts shaking around". I assume it might also mean "Someone might be violently raped, or threatened with it."


Loonyyy said:
You can't warn people of everything. If they wanted to know everything in something, they'd have to go through it. The idea is to warn people of the most common things, before discussing them. Like I said, usually I see it before someone talks about rape with graphic detail.
Except we're not "discussing" content in a game. Or what I mean is, when you are experiencing it in a game, there is no discussion of it. You are experiencing it directly. And while I do fully agree that this can be stressful for people with these issues, my point is where do you draw the line? At what point does a publisher say "Sorry, your legitimate, and diagnosed issue isn't worth the time/resources to put up a trigger warning. Just deal with it."? My above example of the woman with the hair issue. She had a real issue, and it caused her a lot of stress, you could see it in her vlog. But come on. Hair? What about my personal trigger of things happening to an eye? It freaks me the fuck out. That scene in First Contact, where the borg needle pokes Picard in the eye? I have a severe panic attack over that. It causes me physical pain, anxiety, and I have to take a time out and deal with it, because it reminds me of a traumatic thing that happened to me as a kid. But I can't expect the devs to put up "Contains scenes of eye penetration." or "Contains scenes of pulling out a strand of hair." For one, because I feel it is basically giving away game content, when they are under no obligation to do so. And two, because they can't cover everything.

Since you seem to focus mostly on rape, then would putting the word Rape in the ESRB not be a sufficient trigger warning?

Loonyyy said:
Better question for me is, why do gamers care so much about a warning to the potentially traumatised, even though most of them have no idea what they are, probably because most of them have never actually encountered one?
I don't know, in my experience, just about anything can trigger someone. And I don't mean examples like my eye thing, or the hair thing above, I mean some random stimulus can trigger something. Maybe it's a song, maybe it's a particular smell, maybe it's just having someone come up to you from behind and gently put a hand on your shoulder without you knowing it. I have to be very careful how I approach some of my coworkers, as they are all veterans, and some have some serious PTSD. If I make a loud sound they weren't expecting, or suddenly start speaking to them from behind, they have an episode. Which is why I think trying to provide trigger warnings with game content, or any content that is an open medium is ultimately futile. There's simply no way to plan for every contingency.

Loonyyy said:
Here's an example of one on a blog I frequent: "TRIGGER WARNING here (for violent talk about rape)". Strangely enough, basically the wording I used to describe why you'd put one there. He put that before writing about graphic depictions of rape. That's what people are having tantrums over.
See in a specific discussion thread, where the only thing being discussed is rape, it makes sense to me. Because you can, at least at first, control the situation. You are opening a dialogue about rape, and thus, you put a warning up "Hey, this thread will be discussing rape in strong detail, you have been warned." I have no issue with that. My issue, which is the main issue of this specific thread, is the use of trigger warnings in video games, though I think it applies to film/tv as well.
 

Something Amyss

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Gethsemani said:
How exactly it is hard to understand that exposure therapy is similar for other phobias or treatable mental health problems, like PTSD, is beyond me. But I get the feeling that it is largely politically motivated ignorance of what trigger warnings are and what they are used for. All their detractors needs to know is that the evil progressive leftists use them, so they must be bullshit and not something that therapists and mental health professionals use daily in their work.
How hard is it, even, for people to understand that mental health might be like physical health?

Someone gets seriously wounded, we don't tell them to walk it off. We send them to PT/rehab. At least, hopefully.

Loonyyy said:
Oh, definitely. I'm not on the tumblr hate bandwagon.
That was mostly a lead-in to the next part.

The examples I've seen have usually been dug up by people who disagree with them. Like, 90% of the stuff I've seen from tumblr, as someone who doesn't go there myself, is food, foodporn, actual porn, lifestyle stuff (So softcore porn, with food), a bit more porn, some overshares, some political stuff, and some overly twee discussions of mental illness which I tend to find rather annoying. The one in question was something tagged with a ridiculous number of warnings which were mostly silly. And I'm like, well, whatever, you know? Like, it doesn't affect me, sure it's dumb, but there are a lot of uses which aren't. Probably would have been a good idea to warn us in English class that our essay book had a boy being graphically molested, that's not exactly something most people expect.
Most of my encounters wth Tublr are the images that come up in my porn searches. If I didn't have people constantly telling me I was a "Tumblrina" and whatnot, I probably would think it was a porn site.

But, I mean, I've seen people in the past link to things proving how stupid Tumblr is, and often times they're intended as jokes for example. One of the commonly linked to examples of someone choosing nautical personal pronouns appears to have originated on the blog of someone who hates trans people and conflates us with otherkin. So their example was both a joke and done by their "side" of things.

I have less exposure to "trigger warnings" because I tend to avoid not only Tumblr, but topics that might lead to certain subjects. And I know that's an unhealthy thing to do. But more on that in a moment, lest I forget my main point here: it seems like you get what you're looking fo on Tumblr, so these folks who dig up extreme examples appear to be looking for something to complain about. Pause for irony.

But also that they glom on to any example, even jokes.

Yeah. I've got a friend who has PTSD. She saw her best friend kill himself. He hung himself. She was watching the first season of Orange is the New Black, and there's this one scene in there, and it basically gave her the most fucked up panic attack I've ever seen in my life. She just wasn't expecting it, and she kept saying that, over and over, and she couldn't breath, and she couldn't stop crying, and tore open an empty soft drink can with her bare hands curled into claws to hurt herself, tore the most massive cut I've ever seen someone inflict on themself in her arm. For the record, I don't know if any warning would have helped there, and I don't know that the imagery there would set many people off, but it was very alarming.

If you've seen something like that, you take the idea really serious, really quick. I don't have much time for people who want to rant about trigger warnings, or argue the toss about how it's all about pretend, or those stupid "triggered" jokes. I don't know a single person who I've seen making those jokes who'd have the stomach to tie their friend's arm back together with a towel, and for what it's worth, I suffer from panic attacks and anxiety, and it's never been a passive thing. I don't have PTSD or anything, I get really anxious sometimes, and when it's combined with stress, and particularly adversity or animosity, the red veil goes down. It's not a weak thing, I have to restrain myself hard because that adrenal, panicked response starts up, and it's really fight or flight, and I'm terrible at running. I had some asshole deliberately wasting my time at the University when I was trying to use the computer lab to get my lab in, and I had to dig my fingers all the way into my hands, because I couldn't stop imagining smashing his head into the wall, and yeah, that's not nice. Every muscle on my body tensed up, I hyped up, my heart went faster, my breathing gets ragged, and I get this pressure in my head like a migraine. When I was a kid, I always thought of it as like being a beserker in a fantasy novel, and it did help more than once when people decided to pick on me. It does make a very nice response to the assholes who want to talk about thin skins though, because I tend to scare the fucking shit out of them. It's not a particularly fun experience though. And it's extremely hard to explain to people without getting shit about "Anger issues" or "Violence is never the answer". And it's like, it's not an anger issue, because it's not being angry that sets it off, and I try to avoid being angry. And obviously violence is bad, that's why it's so troubling. If I let loose it would be far easier. When I have, it's over in seconds.
That was a rough read.

I started writing something on personal experiences, but I don't have it in me to do it today. I have a hard time writing about this stuff, and a harder time actually talking about it. I recently recounted some traumatic experiences on here in a post, and it was partially done in solidarity to someone else and partially because I was pissed off to read someone was claiming these things don't happen in first world countries. And if I stay on the periphery, I can get away with sore jaw muscles from clenching, nailmarks in my hands, and an elevated pulse (probably blood pressure, too, but I can't measure that). I can allude to things, say "I have PTSD" and give no more information, or similar, but if I go into it...well, I normally can't go into those things unless I'm already set off. Not "triggered," mind, as this doesn't necessarily tie to an anxiety/trauma reaction. Sometimes I'm just too pissed to care anymore.

Though maybe that is related, I don't know because I have so much trouble actually talking about this. Or anything related to it. In any case, I would really like an excuse to be not talking about this at all right now.

There is such thing as exposure therapy with PTSD sufferers, and that's about reducing their impact, but the thing is, that's not the same as accidental exposure, which doesn't help at all. Not treating PTSD is not exposure therapy. Controlling it, allowing them to be prepared for it and confront things when they need to, is the important thing. They need to establish a way to be exposed to the things that cause them panic, stress, terror, and anxiety in the clinical sense, without these reactions, not have a long series of these reactions in the hope they'll become blase. Therapy is between them and their therapist. Not taking these things into account when you're online isn't being a therapist, it's not heroic, it's just you not bothering, and whatever, I don't really care if you don't, because odds are you don't matter, but you're not a hero for that.
Being inconsiderate seems to be the most heroic act that many on the internet can name. Somehow, kicking people while they're down is sticking it to the (wo)man and political correctness or whatever. Which is no longer a stark authoritarian concept, but rather something proclaimed whenever someone asks me not to be a jerk.

Look, I would have been fine with the castration. We all know that Kylo Ren was just an emo beta male, faced with an overpowered Mary Sue Uber(wo)mensch, who was beaten because progressives, PC, matriachy, and gynocracy, and really, don't beta's deserve castration?

I was just really upset that she threw away her lightsaber saying "This is a dick, and dicks are for second class citizens in the kingdom of the force" before constructing a light-vagina, with which she proceeded to castrate him, using the untrimmed pubic hair. Just horrible pandering. For the record, the choreography was amazing, they made the vagina a believable weapon, but it was just too on the nose. You can't insult lightsabers in Star Wars.
I'm more concerned by the light-vulva's teeth. Vagina dentata? In this day and age? Everyone knows Rey would use copulens!

...I probably spelled that wrong, and I don't care.

When has someone ever been seriously inconvenienced by a spoiler warning or trigger warning? I mean really, at best it's a sentence you can skim over in seconds.
Honestly, have you seen the way so many people tend to react over either? You'd think it was the worst offense they'd ever suffered. And I kind of wonder how often it is the worst thing they've ever experienced.