except that no one uses tags like “fetishized rape” or “child porn” or “romanticized abuse” on their ao3 fics, and really that’s what people want to avoid. am i suggesting that ao3 hires a thousand people to tag all fics? no, but they should absolutely encourage more tagging and actually require certain tags. “chose not to use archive warnings” means nothing. one person tags “underage” for two 15 year olds kissing. another doesn’t for an adult raping a child. needs more regulation





Well, the legal definition of child porn does not match what fandom is calling “child porn.” And people DO tag for underage and noncon because they have to per archive rules.

If someone tags underage for teenagers kissing, that’s their prerogative. If you click on a story with an Underage warning, you are accepting the risks inherent in reading a work with that tag. You are explicitly consenting to read that content.

“needs more regulation”

Approximately 2,200 fics were added to AO3 every day between April 2017 and July 2018. Who’s going to do this regulating? What rules are you going to put in place? How do you prevent abuse of the regulations? Brigading/revenge reporting? How do you restore a fic and comments that were mistakenly deleted?

Y’all act like we haven’t been through this shit before. We have, and AO3 is the solution.

“chose not to use archive warnings” means nothing.

It means “There could literally be anything in this fic and by clicking it, you, the reader, accept the responsibility of reading whatever you find in this story and potentially getting upset by it. You have been warned.”

That’s a whole lot of “nothing”. smh

Like, I too am sometimes frustrated by the use of that tag in place of more specific tags that the story definitely merits (which, by the way, only started happening widely after antis started selectively going after people who tagged properly) but… People using that tag are generally using it because they’re not comfortable using more specific tags for some reason. Whether that’s “I’d be going in circles all day trying to pinpoint exact ages for these characters” or “this content merits a warning tag but I don’t want to risk being harassed”.

Aside from “don’t be the reason people are scared to declare their content”, my advice to people who don’t want to see the content that might be behind a “choose not to warn” tag is to remember that the content might not be there if the author didn’t have the option to tag it that way… and filter it out! You can live in a world without that tag or any of the stories it contains, if you want to.

Also if someone doesn’t tag a fic that includes any of the main warnings (character death, underage, rape or graphic violence) and they didn’t add a chose not to warn because unfortunately yeah not everyone follows the rules, you can report the fic so the warnings get added or it gets taken down. People not following rules is going to be a problem because humans are humans, the solution is not upend an otherwise working system for one that in the past literally resulted in the loss of entire archives of fic, its use the tools in place for reporting rule breaking so that it can be addressed.

I’ve also used “chose not to use archive warnings” when I’m genuinely unsure if my stuff counts. (How graphic is “graphic depictions of violence”? Does a non-consensual act that isn’t explicitly sexual but turns me on count as “rape/non-con”, and does it matter if it also turns the perpetrator on? Does it count if it’s dubious consent rather than clear non-consent, and how dubious is dubious?)

Also, when proper archive warnings would constitute spoilers. If I was posting the next Bridge to Terabithia, I wouldn’t tag “major character death”, I’d tag “chose not to use archive warnings”.

My advice? If any of the archive warnings would be a serious trigger for you, don’t read anything tagged “chose not use archive warnings”. Just don’t take the risk. There’s plenty of stuff that’s tagged clearly, read some of that instead.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.