Ever been watching the news and heard a presenter say “the following report contains imagery which some viewers may find distressing”? Putting a content warning on your forum post is the writing equivalent of doing that. You’re letting people know that what they’re about to read may contain themes or subjects which can cause distress or otherwise negatively affect the reader.
The generally accepted consensus about what needs content (or trigger) warnings includes but is not limited to:
Abuse (including emotional abuse)
Drug or alcohol abuse
Suicide and self-harm
This list of potential content-warning-worthy topics is not exhaustive. If you’re not sure whether your words need a warning on them, it’s best to err on the side of caution. You don’t know what someone else has experienced so if in doubt it’s better to act in kindness.
How to use content warnings
Put the warning IN YOUR POST TITLE
Use the abbreviation CW and then the subject of the warning i.e CW DRUG ABUSE
If you haven’t used one be prepared for a mod or staff member to ask you to edit your post to reflect its content
Using content or trigger warnings is about courtesy for your fellow forum users who are also human beings. It’s not about not offending people (although it’s never nice to intentionally offend people, see also: don’t be a dick).
It takes very little effort to use a content warning but it can make the world of difference to the other humans sharing our little corner of the internet. K? K.