There seems to be a popular perception that muting keywords is a practicable alternative to CWs, and I think that's rooted in the fallacy that CWs are de facto mutes. But good, descriptive CWs help people make exceptions on a case-by-case basis, so that they can consider factors like "do I trust the person posting this?" or "is this local to me?" or even just "am I in the right headspace for this right now?" Mutes can never be that granular.l, which is why CWs give people more agency.

In my less generous moments, I think a lot of people tout "mutes > CWs" because they don't want the burden of helping others and want to shift that burden onto their audience, but I think a lot of us share similar values and just haven't all worked through how these features connect to those values. People often talk about CWs in terms of consent, but I prefer to think of them in terms of agency, and I want this network to lend people more agency than they'd get in other social media spaces.

Writing CWs is a little bit custom, but also a little bit art. If your CW is just "news" or "uspol," then sure, people aren't likely to click through. But a Portlander who would ignore a post CW'd just "news" may be more inclined expand one CW'd "news: public health, Portland".

Yes, there are ways to write CWs that implicitly tell people "keep scrolling," but the whole point is to give them some idea of what they're getting into by clicking expand. And sometimes, they'll want to get into it.

Again, that's about enhancing the agency of readers. It seems entirely likely to me that a message with a well-written CW can get more viewers (or, at least, more relevant viewers) than an un-CW'd message posted into a network where everyone relies heavily on muting to filter out content — precisely because people WILL sometimes click through when they have a good idea of what they're getting into. But for that to work, we have to build an atmosphere of trust and cooperation.

Hounding individual people to use CWs probably doesn't work. Using moderator actions to enforce them is likely overkill. Both, as we have seen, can turn ugly and/or perpetuate systemic injustices. CW use should be voluntary. (Cooperation, too, is a matter of agency.) I'm hoping that talking openly about the personal and social benefits will encourage more people to volunteer, but each person should make their own decisions.

@lrhodes I agree, I think CWs are just another way to make explicit what you want to talk about whenever you feel the people that follow you or the people who can reach your posts may not want to engage for whatever reason. I think the name 'content warning' makes them seem as more problematic than they really are.

@okf @lrhodes I lebe the distinction between content note and trigger warning for that particular reason. And I think using content note as a descriptor for this mastodon feature would be beneficial. It would get rid of the warning part and it's more like a title of your post in the end.

@lrhodes Someone told me once to write them like the entries in an index, with increasing detail, which I really like: "uspol, Texas, -"

CWs are my new favorite thing 😄 

@pence @lrhodes

Last one was 80yr old Don Julio.

@lrhodes “Why not use keyword muting?” is just another way to say “consideration for others sounds like too much work”. Which is why it mostly comes from cishet white guys, who consider it beneath them to offer courtesy to anyone not like them

@lrhodes I like this a lot; it’s helpful to organize my thinking. Also, I have tried to use filter to just add CWs (instead of hiding altogether) and it doesn’t seem to work that way fully, at least in the apps. On the web, it does show that it’s been muted and gives the name of the filter, which is helpful.

@PlinyTheOlder @lrhodes I’m still getting the hang of CWs. It is one of the very best features of the platform in my opinion.

@lrhodes hi, I’m incredibly new to mastodon. Can you explain what a CW is? I could Google it but I think I would wind up with search results about the TV channel by the same name lol

CW's are <- this thing -> 

Welcome to the fediverse! 🍍
It stands for "Content Warning", it's the mechanism that lets you put a read more button on your posts. A way to give people a warning if you posted something potentially upsetting. They're also handy for use as a subject header, a way to respect people's column space when making long toots, you can even tell jokes with them. (yes, you can get/inflict rickroll'd)
Not sure how to place them on Metatext, on stock masto it's a little CW at the bottom of the compose box that toggles on a bar to type one in on.

Thank you… That was incredibly 

@WeeMadHamish it took me a couple times to figure out the mechanics… Thanks for your patience.

re: Thank you… That was incredibly 

@BrynnLee27 Yup, no worries. Glad I could help the new skill acquisition. :blobaww:

re: Thank you… That was incredibly 

@WeeMadHamish I just sent you a follow request. You seem very interesting.


Yes. I in fact usually feel safe clicking a CW even if topic would be on any mute list I'd make.

A) CW demonstrates some care for audience. That doesn't mean *no* chance of twiterrian fight or flight-triggering rhetoric, but less of it.

B) if my first introduction to someone in a social space is a political harangue direct to my face, I feel unsafe. If it's a gentle feeling out of if I'm ok with the conversation, I feel safe.

This is a social space and most of us are strangers.

@lrhodes At the end of the day, it's up to individual users to curate their feeds, but CWs represent the community's effort to be kind to each other, and I love that.


What is a CW?
So many TLA's flying around these days - haven't figured them all out yet. 🙂

@MaryPot @lrhodes Content Warning. It makes the little blinder dealie with a message written on it over your post. Use for topics that are sensitive, or just boring and annoying (I CW my wordles) or explore its joke potential.

@freemancrouch @lrhodes

Okay. But that's not working at all at the moment. People are hiding just about anything, and especially totally innocuous pictures!

it is good for text as long as there is a keyword shown and actually possibly triggering pictures, but the name of the trigger could be shown in the fuzz that replaces the picture.

@MaryPot @freemancrouch I think you may be talking about the sensitive media filter, which is distinct from CWs. You can turn off that filter in your Preferences.

@lrhodes @freemancrouch
The post I got had no keywords or other signs of it being "suspect". I see where I can put in filters, but that would be for things like "Elon Musk" or "spider".
The number of words used to describe porn specifically could fill a little dictionary and would not be practical to filter as the filters work now. This is why instances would be better.
Also, instances would allow those who enjoy that kind of thing to share as much as they like - and me to block the instance.

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