Good day for a few friendly reminders:
1. Putting topics behind a content warning helps people manage their own stress.
2. Putting uspol in the CW, or #uspol in the text, helps non-US users filter out posts that aren't relevant to them.
3. Setting post visibility to Unlisted or Followers Only can help keep some Home timelines on-topic.
4. Roughly 200,000 of us have been here less than a week, and they're acclimating to a new set of conventions, so let's try to stay constructive.
This may be a good time to discuss content warnings. The format I use is general-comma-specific, like an entry in a book index. For example:
> uspol, elections
The idea is to help people manage their stress around potentially stressful topics, so name the stressors, but try to keep the actual stress below the fold.
It's a feature that operates on trust, so don't abuse it. And hashtags don't work in CWs, but you can always repeat the CW labels as hasgtags in the body of the post.
Occasionally, you'll see someone argue that a topic is too important to "censor" behind a content warning.
The purpose of CWs is not to prevent people from seeing the warned-about content, but rather to prepare them to see it. That's especially necessary in a forum where posts come through in a steady stream, with barely any transition from one thought to the next. It helps people fight numbness, keep from feeling overwhelmed, and ultimately maintain their engagement with important issues.
Been mulling the objection that CWs limit the reach of useful political info…
One solution would be to add a HELP TYPE to the CW. For example:
> uspol, environment, event
"Event" would signal that the post is not just about those topics, but also suggests a practical response. My bet is that more people will open a post that empowers them.
Help types could be:
• event — where/when to go
• fund — where to give
• organizing — building groups
• support — where to get it
• tactic — what to do
The other benefit of making a habit of including a help type when you post about political topics is that it promotes mindfulness. If you can't honestly figure out a help type to put in the CW, then maybe the post isn't helpful. Which isn't necessarily required — you're allowed to express an opinion or share a news story — but thinking about it more often may help you focus and clarify your political engagement.
@lrhodes this! I drafted a toot saying the same. Might post it later. People don't seem to understand its about choosing when to see something as much as what they see
@tattooed_mummy @lrhodes I agree with all this, but there’s a distinction between “it’s best to CW your #uspol content” and “you should jump into the replies of hurting, angry people to tell them off for not CWing their pain and anger”, which is what the posts on this topic I saw (and boosted) yesterday were getting at. (I know this is not what either of you is advocating btw!)
@tattooed_mummy @lrhodes I think people get overly bristly (understandably) because there has been a long history on here of (white) people demanding non-white users of CWing their own lived experiences or those of their communities,
or alternatively people just being really hostile about demanding a stranger use the CW function even for something as benign as a toot asking for financial help.
I feel like if we (as in the greater Mastodon community) could encourage people to content warn (1/2)
@lrhodes Even if the help type is "vent" or "gripe" or something, that would make me more likely to click it if I knew the person and/or were in the mood for a vent/gripe.
@lrhodes Also, I post about Scottish politics, which is irrelevant to non-Scottish followers. A post with a one-line header is much less tedious for the disinterested to scroll past. So it's kinda polite.
While the intend might not be to censor, it does effect visibility. The whole point is to don't put it in ones face. I respect content warnings, but do not consider it mandatory. They are supportive to those who need them, esp for those traumatised. But talking about it free and openly can also help trauma. Usage I would consider context based and one out of solidarity, not something to be forced or pressured into. We all have different needs at times and sometimes those conflict...
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