let’s discuss content warnings!

YES. I’M ACTUALLY DOING ANOTHER DISCUSSION POST. After months and months and well, you get the picture. So yeah, let’s start talking about this hot topic!

what’s going on?

Recently, a lot of discussion has been going around discussing the use of content warnings. A fantastic alternative to Goodreads is a website called Storygraph that allows users to mark content/trigger warnings on books. Several BIPOC authors have pointed out that their books have far more warnings than books like Twilight. In response, Storygraph changed their policy to allow authors to be the ones to approve warnings, and to streamline user-created warnings.

why is this important, and how can this be better dealt with?

  • Content/trigger warnings are vital to readers. You never know what can bring up trauma, or when a reader just n fact, they’re so important that authors often put them on their websites. Ideally, publishers should have a page with them but unfortunately that’s far more uncommon than you’d think.
  • In my opinion, if you’re a reviewer, it might be helpful to have a less spoilery content warnings section and a more spoilery one. For example, instead of just marking something like “anxiety” you could go into more detail and say “panic attacks, detailed descriptions of spiraling thoughts, etc.” to give more context.
  • Speaking of context, there are instances where sensitive topics such as suicide and grief will be brought up because they play an important role in the book. There are cases where such topics are handled well, and other cases where they are not. It’s important to differentiate between marking a book as containing
    “racism” when it’s The Hate U Give vs. Eleanor and Park.
  • One last point I want to make is that while Storygraph did change their policy for the better, it would be wise to remember that it is a relatively new website. As such, newer releases are actually most likely the ones being reviewed in depth. Sure, everyone marks off Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Twilight, City of Bones, Lord of the Rings, Throne of Glass, etc. But how many of those people are going to go back and write an in-depth review with the tooplsYes, Twilight doesn’t have as many content warnings as other books, but how many people who just transferred to Twilight are actively reading/read it in 2020-2021, and then proceeded to give warnings on it? So while the issue of content warnings being weaponized against minority authors is a valid one, it’s not one necessarily limited to Storygraph.

That’s all I have to say, but I want to hear everyone else’s thoughts! Let’s discuss below!

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15 thoughts on “let’s discuss content warnings!

  1. This is literally the only thing I need to be added to Goodreads asap! I’m a young reader, so it would be so helpful if they had an age limit or a trigger warning like they do on Common Sense Media. This discussion was great and I think it’s my first time actually seeing your blog (I usually read it in the WordPress Reader) and your theme is so aesthetic! Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m never sure whether i should include them or not? I’m also always wondering if something I find triggering would be triggering for someone else etc? I think publishers and authors that include them are brilliant! I as a reviewer tend to do the main trigger warnings in most of my reviews, but I’ve noticed if you put certain triggers on amazon etc they won’t publish the review 😬

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that’s understandable!! sometimes, they can be really spoilery. and yes, definitely! i try to add just general ones (anxiety, suicide, etc.) because there can honestly be far too many variables to go into depth sometimes. that’s a great idea! and wait, amazon does that??? that’s horrible. what sorts of triggers do they not allow?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Firstly I’m so sorry because I could have sworn I was following your blog already?! Not sure what happened there!
    I loved reading this discussion and I definitely agree that content warnings are so important! As someone who has anxiety I do tend to look at content warnings because sometimes I’m just not in the headspace for a deeper book covering certain topics, so I just like to prepare myself. Websites like Storygraph would be so useful so I’ll definitely be looking at that in the future!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. After facing an unwanted reaction from reading an ARC, I always make sure to write in trigger warnings if I can. And I agree too that release date in my opinion has a stronger impact on the amount of in depth analysis the book gets.

    I was actively using Storygraph for a while but I don’t know what happened it just kept glitching on me and I stopped using it and never got back into it. Did you face the same issues?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with your thoughts, Kaya. Content warnings are so important and I cannot understand why so few books contain them. As a reviewer I always make sure to include them – if there are lots of content warnings or they act as spoilers I sometimes create a whole section. Great discussion! 💜

    Liked by 2 people

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