Adult Content Warning Guide

Content Warning: This guide discusses a variety of adult themes.

rating: +26+x

With the implementation of the new adult content warning component, we intend to make the process and reasoning for applying these content warnings to articles clear to readers, authors and staff, by outlining the rules and requirements in this guide.

This is not intended to replace existing methods for warning about adult content, such as banners at the top of articles or the info box content warning, but to supplement them. Many types of content may warrant a content warning but would not result in the article being considered adult, including bigotry, slurs and most violence and body horror, and we encourage authors to continue adding content warnings as they deem appropriate.

The Adult Content Curation Team

Adult Content Warnings are the responsibility of the Adult Content Curation Team, which is part of the Maintenance and Ancillary Team (MAST). Members of the Adult Content Curation Team are listed on the MAST hub, and can be contacted via private message, via the #mast-help-desk channel of the MAST discord, or via IRC chat #site77.

As a team, we are conscious that we are likely have personal and cultural biases affecting what we consider as adult. Since this will always be a subjective judgement, we've decided to err on the side of being too cautious and potentially tagging too much, rather than too little. If we find ourselves debating whether or not a specific article is actually adult, we'll probably just label it as adult. Ultimately, we'd rather leave the decision of whether or not to engage with potentially adult material up to our readers, and to use the content warnings to enable adult audiences to make informed decisions.

Adding and Modifying the Adult Content Warning

Authors are free to label their own work as adult, by adding the _adult tag, including the Adult Content Warning component, and adding the appropriate content warnings. We'd recommend doing this if your article contains any sexual content, since this will always be given an adult content warning. Other content warnings are more subjective and we'd recommend getting in touch with the Adult Content Curation Team if you think your article may be adult based on non-sexual content, or if you're unsure how to correctly label your work as adult.

People who read potentially adult content posted by others should get in contact with the Adult Content Curation Team to recommend that they review the article. If possible, suggest content warnings, so we know what to look for. Do not add the Adult Content Warning component or adult tag to other people's articles without permission from the Adult Content Curation Team.

It is not permitted to remove an Adult Content Warning added by a member of the Adult Content Curation Team, or to alter the default content warnings chosen by the team. If you disagree with their reasoning, you will need to get in touch to discuss removing or altering it.

Authors have much more freedom to suggest custom content warnings to supplement or expand on the default ones, although these must remain strictly informative. Custom content warnings will need to be approved by a member of the Adult Content Curation Team if they haven't already been used as a custom content warning on another article. When proposing a custom content warning, remember that content warnings on the Adult Content Warning component should be phrased consistently, and should be easily understandable and appropriately serious. Redundancy between the custom content warnings and the set of standard content warnings should be avoided, and content warnings should be kept short to make it more likely that people will actually read them.

The Adult Content Warning has a deliberately uniform appearance to ensure optimal visibility and consistency across themes. As specified in our CSS Policy, it is not permitted to alter the appearance of the Adult Content Warning. If specific themes or components cause issues with the Adult Content Warning, contact the Adult Content Curation Team or the Technical Team.

In cases of collaborative articles where multiple authors submit their own works, the Adult Content Curation Team may decide to place an Adult Content Warning over a specific section or sections, although the page would still be tagged as adult. This will only be done if the majority of works submitted do not qualify for an Adult Content Warning. In most cases, removal of adult content from a collaborative page will be a more appropriate response than placing it behind an individual content warning.

The Adult Content Warnings

While the component itself explains how to add it to articles, the various content warnings may require further explanation. The default content warnings built in to the component are:

  • Gore - Graphic depictions of blood, gore or mutilation of body parts.
  • Sexual References - Features sexual themes or language, but does not depict sexual acts.
  • Sexually Explicit - Explicit depiction of sexual acts.
  • Sexual Assault - Features non-consensual sexual acts.
  • Child Abuse - Depiction of severe mistreatment of children.
  • Self-Harm - Depiction of self-harm.
  • Suicide - Depiction of suicide.
  • Torture - Depiction of torture.

This is not a comprehensive list of all possible content that may be considered inappropriate or triggering, and so authors have the option to add custom content warnings. Custom content warnings need to be approved by the Adult Content Curation team first, to ensure that the Adult Content Warning remains purely informative.

Any of the default content warnings could be considered a valid reason to tag an article as adult, but not all articles that explore these themes are necessarily adult. The Adult Content Curation team reserves the right to add additional content warnings to this list, or to tag articles as adult for reasons not currently on this list, via an appropriate custom content warning.

Content warnings are intended to be self-explanatory, but if you're interested in exactly when and why they are applied, read on.

At least so far, adult content warnings for sexual content are the most frequently applied. The Sexual References content warning applies to articles featuring highly suggestive language, sexual themes such as pornography or sex work, or discussion of sexual acts or genitals. It is superseded by the Sexually Explicit content warning, which is applied to articles that describe sexual acts, so articles should only have one of these content warnings. The difference between these two content warnings is basically reducible to the difference between an article that discusses sex and an article that depicts sex. If the article features non-consensual sexual activity (which could be anything from groping to rape), then the article will be given the Sexual Assault content warning, which also supersedes the Sexual References content warning. It's possible for an article to get a content warning for sexual assault without being sexually explicit, since sexual assault may be discussed without being described, and so if appropriate an article can have both the Sexually Explicit and Sexual Assault content warnings.

Gore in isolation will only get an Adult Content Warning if it's particularly extreme or graphic, since written descriptions of gore and body horror are generally regarded as less severe than a visual depiction would be. However, the Gore content warning is often used in combination with other adult content warnings, and in that case the standards for applying it are less strict, since depiction of mutilation and violence may make other kinds of adult content more disturbing.

References to child abuse, suicide, self harm and torture would not result in an article being given an Adult Content Warning, but depictions may. For suicide, self harm and torture, detailed descriptions of the act would warrant an Adult Content Warning. In articles featuring children, the implication of physical or sexual abuse may warrant an Adult Content Warning, even in the absence of detailed information about the nature of the abuse.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License