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Forums » Suggestions & Development Discussion » A "dark" setting for prompts (rejected)

TRIGGER WARNING
I will be discussing themes that could be offensive to some users, and will no doubt cause a debate.
If you want my honest opinion, if you're easily offended, it's probably best not to read this.

I'm Salazar, and I've been roleplaying for a good ten years of my life. As someone who has serious, and potentially life-threatening medical issues, roleplaying is a coping mechanism for me. I use it to get a brief escape from the problems and fears I face in real life. Some roleplay for fun, but for me, it has become an essential part of my life that makes each day a bit more bearable after repeatedly bad news.

RPR is not the first roleplaying site I've used in these ten years, and I doubt it will be the last. But so far, it has offered me more creativity and freedom than all the other sites I've used put together. In general, it has provided me with a means to have almost all of my RP needs to be met. The keyword there being almost. You see, it's hard to go through the things I've experienced and not develop a dark sense of humour, which eventually transformed into a desire to seek out or create characters and roleplays that had darker themes to them.

Now, sooner or later I've either left or felt forced to leave each roleplaying site I've joined purely because of this and it has had a draining effect on my mental health. I want to feel like a welcome and included member of the community, but at times that has proven easier said than done. My characters are not sweet, innocent little things. They have dark and twisted aspects to them that some people might find offensive, or just don't want to be exposed to due to personal preference. I seek out roleplays with darker themes because frankly, the lighter slice of life ones have become boring. In my opinion, roleplaying should allow people with varying interests to connect and enjoy writing together.

There are days where I'm hooked up to several machines, struggling to breathe. When I eventually get home from an experience that makes me question whether it's all worth it, I don't want to sign on to my laptop and have to pretend to be someone I'm not to avoid causing offence. Of course, I'm not saying people aren't entitled to have an opinion or find something uncomfortable. Far from it. I have things I don't want included in my own roleplays and I will actively make sure to inform people of this to avoid stepping on any toes. But it becomes tedious.

So, this is what I'm suggesting: a "dark" setting as it were for RPR prompts and characters.
This function would allow people to create characters and prompts that could be considered sensitive/offensive in a category of their own. I get we have trigger warnings now, but people might not want to have that as part of their RPR experience. So I would further propose to have an option in our comfort and privacy setting that allows us to opt-in and opt-out of seeing characters/prompts with the dark setting.

I get that the time and effort to create this might be taxing and take a while, but if we have an option that during Epic Week, replaces spidery monsters with something else, then surely this isn't too far fetched? We can opt-in to see forum posts flagged for sexual nature and request to stop seeing all content that someone creates after we block them. The same logic could be applied to this idea. Simply click a little box that will hide this category from the user's RPR experience entirely. That way, everyone wins and no one has to compromise.

This is something I would love and be so grateful to see become a part of RPR. It would honestly make my own experience so much better and I know there are a lot of people like me who prefer darker settings and characters that would greatly benefit from this.

Well, that’s my little piece over and done with. Idea voiced, I can only hope it’s heard.
I will put in my two cents that I strongly agree this would be a great way to allow players to create characters that might offend sensibilities of some, but not all, and that will still allow those players to have the room for creativity that others who play lighter tone and very happy and good overall plots do. For realistically, that is what it comes down to with much moderation on characters, or content, is what is acceptable for all ages. So if there was a way to guarentee these types could be filtered out for those that absolutely did not wish to see them, it would still provide that freedom for those of us with darker sensibilities that enjoy elements of realism and believably to our writing.

Thank you Salazar, for sharing this idea, and coming up with a solid suggestion to try to help for those of us that struggle to find homes for our villains and their dark plots and drives. :)
I've always been of the mind that if you don't like it, don't look. But if a feature like this would create a better experience for everyone on both sides, I am 100% in support of it.
I completely agree with this, but at the same time too, triggers vary so greatly, there is no way to ensure that people won't be offended or, indeed, triggered.

Trust me when I say, I could not advocate for something more, as this resonates greatly within me. However, because triggers can vary so greatly, this only most assuredly guarantees that someone may get triggered and give Kim and the mods flack for 'allowing this type of RP on the RPR!'. I can see and hear it already, and that alone, unfortunately, makes it unfeasible.

I don't mean to shoot this into the ground, because as I have said - hell, I wish! But, I highly doubt it will ever become a thing, even if Kim does find it reasonable.
Salazar does point out some really good idea's that I think would benefit those that prefer darker shades of Roleplay, while my most recent roleplays have been close to an SoL with some horror elements edging in I have begun to develop a taste trying my hand at the strict horror.

I am one of those people while most of my characters have something in them that is not so nice, I feel sometimes I tread thin ice when I am seeking roleplay for some of them due to their habits, actions, and them not being everyone's cup of tea. One of my most recent characters is purely for horror/darker themes but I haven't felt comfortable sending him out into the world just yet.

In the recent implementation of the additional tags added to character profiles, doing so with more horror related prompts and LFRP will prevent people from seeing what they don't want, ie; blood sacrifices, cannibalism, torture (to name a few). Aspects that some are interested in writing about but are too afraid too for the risk of being moderated as those that are not into it will likely lash out at those that do. It will create a safe space for those seeking it and those that wish to avoid it because isn't RP supposed to be somewhat all-inclusive? (exceptions being extremely taboo)
I'm sorry @Demilicious, but I don't see any reason why this idea shouldn't be taken up or at least developed on.

It is quite straight forward to establish a list of dark themes most people can agree are trigger worthy. For example. Cannibalism. That's not something I ever want to be exposed to in an rp and I think we can agree it's not something all that common but definitely a trigger.

Hell. We could even have a little site vote where we say what we think is worthy of a trigger warning and what isn't to avoid any confusion. It wouldn't be hard to make sure a feature like this, that would greatly benefit a lot of people, could be implemented. I firmly believe it should. As someone who tends to steer clear of dark rps, I would happily pay to see this kind of feature on this site.
I also agree that it could be a very good solution to the problem. In the realm of writing fiction, many things can be triggering if we wanted to write powerfully and meaningfully. Personally, I do not enjoy some of the darker aspects of modern fantasy, but it doesn't mean that other people should not be allowed to either. Writing is many things, and if darker themes in writing can be safely explored in literature or writing classes at various schools and Universities all over the world, then they should also be safely explored on a platform like this.

I would also refer to this article, which speaks eloquently and safely enough for such topics.
Auxiline wrote:
I'm sorry @Demilicious, but I don't see any reason why this idea shouldn't be taken up or at least developed on.

It is quite straight forward to establish a list of dark themes most people can agree are trigger worthy. For example. Cannibalism. That's not something I ever want to be exposed to in an rp and I think we can agree it's not something all that common but definitely a trigger.

Hell. We could even have a little site vote where we say what we think is worthy of a trigger warning and what isn't to avoid any confusion. It wouldn't be hard to make sure a feature like this, that would greatly benefit a lot of people, could be implemented. I firmly believe it should. As someone who tends to steer clear of dark rps, I would happily pay to see this kind of feature on this site.

I'm not against this. Please, please understand that. The reason why I'm saying I doubt it will come to fruition is because of the many times I have either had to amend my characters to fit into what is 'acceptable' or have had to outright delete characters because there was no way to salvage them to obey the parameters I was given.

I want this, but I am also forced to be pragmatic based upon the experiences I have had.
How would this differ from the 'Character Categories' that already exist?

As a slight aside... getting a consistent definition of what constitutes 'dark' would be nearly impossible. You're bound to end up with heaps and heaps of characters categorized as 'Dark' just because it sounds edgy and cool. Or because the writer is willing to play the character in a dark setting even if nothing about the character itself is all that dark.

Similarly, I frequently see the warning for sexual content on a character profile... and then there's nothing on the profile remotely sexual.
Demilicious wrote:
Auxiline wrote:
I'm sorry @Demilicious, but I don't see any reason why this idea shouldn't be taken up or at least developed on.

It is quite straight forward to establish a list of dark themes most people can agree are trigger worthy. For example. Cannibalism. That's not something I ever want to be exposed to in an rp and I think we can agree it's not something all that common but definitely a trigger.

Hell. We could even have a little site vote where we say what we think is worthy of a trigger warning and what isn't to avoid any confusion. It wouldn't be hard to make sure a feature like this, that would greatly benefit a lot of people, could be implemented. I firmly believe it should. As someone who tends to steer clear of dark rps, I would happily pay to see this kind of feature on this site.

I'm not against this. Please, please understand that. The reason why I'm saying i doubt it is because of the many times I have either had to amended my characters to fit into what is 'acceptable' or have had to outright delete characters because there was no way to salvage them to obey the parameters I was given.

I want this, but I am also forced to be pragmatic based upon the experiences I have had.

You've highlighted the problem beautifully. Why should people have to delete their characters or fit them to what is acceptable when it is against this sites very rules to not pretend to be something for someone else.

RPR claims to be the friendliest rp site and allows all genres and writing styles. Dark and sensitive themes should be included in that too, why should people who like it be excluded? If nothing is done about it, then that just means those who are looking for this type of roleplay are being discriminated against on no solid grounds. Their preferences are not being accounted for, when according to the claims of this site, they should.

Oh, and @Juls, if you read my earlier comment you would see the suggestion for a list complied by the mods to avoid confusion.
Juls wrote:
How would this differ from the 'Character Categories' that already exist?

(As a slight aside... getting a consistent definition of what constitutes 'dark' would be nearly impossible. You're bound to end up with heaps and heaps of characters categorized as 'Dark' just because it sounds edgy and cool. Or because the writer is willing to play the character in a dark setting even if nothing about the character itself is all that dark. )


Well thats the thing isn't it? They would opt into the idea of playing/seeing those kinds of roleplays and characters. If they complain about it, they essentially have no ground to stand on if they wanted to complain/report because they WANTED to see it. Then it gives admin the freedom to be like 'you opted into this, you wouldn't of seen the prompt/character if you didn't.'
People already have the option to opt-in or out of seeing the tags currently provided, so as for characters that's already a setting we can utilize, if players tag their characters properly.

Seeking threads on the public forums I'd love having these same four options, as it would show what a player is open to with their roleplay and let people filter them in or out.

I don't see anyone being discriminated at this point if their characters are properly tagged to let the warnings stop people from seeing it. You did your due diligence to protect the RPR community from those themes, and I personally thank you for taking the time to use those trigger warning tags. I play some heavy stuff myself, but sometimes I check here at work so I like being able to have that pause of the warning page before I go diving.

Possibly making a "I don't want to see these characters tagged with this" redirect to the dashboard if directly linked, and those characters tagged being filtered out of browsing and searches, is something to give people that extra space to not see things, but a dark setting isn't really necessary when the ones already offered cover most if not all.

It's all down to players remembering to tag their characters, and if they don't want to be moderated for not doing so, that's on them. It's on the players playing dark themes to remember this is a PG-13 site outside of private forums and PMs, and they need to censor the things that show up on main pages (which means your icons, taglines, and character names), tag their characters properly to provide that space. If you need help tagging, then you likely shouldn't be playing those themes in the first place.
I admit I only skimmed through this, but I'll put out there that I'd fully support something like a dark/fluffy slider for LFRP posts. I figure that's about where something like this would be both most useful (or near to it) and easiest to add in.

For characters... I'd expect existing tools to be sufficient, whether that's using a "mature" tag or writing it into the profile itself, or both.
Mipps

DorianM wrote:
I also agree that it could be a very good solution to the problem. In the realm of writing fiction, many things can be triggering if we wanted to write powerfully and meaningfully. Personally, I do not enjoy some of the darker aspects of modern fantasy, but it doesn't mean that other people should not be allowed to either. Writing is many things, and if darker themes in writing can be safely explored in literature or writing classes at various schools and Universities all over the world, then they should also be safely explored on a platform like this.

I would also refer to this article, which speaks eloquently and safely enough for such topics.


That was a wonderful article and represents exactly how i think and feel about dark content.
konnie wrote:

I don't see anyone being discriminated at this point if their characters are properly tagged to let the warnings stop people from seeing it. You did your due diligence to protect the RPR community from those themes, and I personally thank you for taking the time to use those trigger warning tags. I play some heavy stuff myself, but sometimes I check here at work so I like being able to have that pause of the warning page before I go diving.


I have had characters reported for characters despite the filters/warnings. Such as using things in historical context in backgrounds.



Like Salazar, I play very dark characters as a coping mechanism. I have had a very hard life... I have a very dark sense of humor and taste for stories because of it. But with the treatment i have received from some players, having content reported... and in some cases being ridiculed for the types of RP i search for.. I have recoiled into the dark shadows. I honestly don't feel at home on RPR. I think if such features were implemented where people who don't want to see my kind of content could be enabled would be GOOD for both sides.. and having a slider would also help.

But also... I want the option to take characters out of the public directory. If they are troublesome characters that affect a majority... then maybe having an invisible option would help too.


To be honest, this thread seems to come at a great time... as I have been gravley and critically depressed over this very topic.
Mipps, you've summed up my feelings on this entirely. Salazar's post is also fantastic.

I would love to see something that better caters to the darker side of RP where people from both sides can still feel welcomed and safe.
Mipps, I’m sorry to hear you’ve had that happen. Sometimes reports happen regardless of tagging (I’ve had this happen as well), and these new trigger warning tags we can fill out specifics of should help curb some of that.🤞🏻

I really do hope we can find some way to filter the characters from people who don’t want to see them at all, as well as something to add to seeking threads. I’d love to be able to know the comfort levels of other players... the amount of times I’ve accidentally crossed a line with plot suggestions to new rp partners is embarrassing. 😅 Bless players who use play style charts for those specifics.

I’ve always been shy about my darker RP tastes and keep it very private. I respect those who want to be able to have that without shame.
Who do I have to pay and how much to make this happen? It is an amazing idea and I think would definitely improve our community!

Giving people the option to not see characters or prompts who are flagged with a dark/trigger theme would be a huge benefit! That way, no one would be offended and creators aren't forced to hold back on their creativity purely because someone might not like it. I'm a dark roleplayer myself and feel this site really doesn't give much leeway to those of us who aren't as easily offended as others. I know things make people uncomfortable, and that's fair enough. But I'm a person who is not bothered heavily by topics or characters that some might consider being triggering. I'd love to see more of them, but as so many people have stated above, they feel ashamed or forced to hold back because of the criticism they'll receive.

If the roles were reversed, and slice of life roleplays were the things that were frowned on, I'm sure a separate LF RP forum would be created for them so they could still find likeminded individuals who enjoyed that kind of thing. We have fantasy threads, a sci-fi thread, why can we not have a dark thread for our LF RP forums that can be hidden in our settings and an option for character filtering for darker set characters?
Kim Site Admin

I see about five different suggestions floating around in this topic; it doesn't feel like everyone in here is discussing the same thing.

I don't believe a "darkness" slider would meaningfully inform people over just writing out that you plan to include very dark themes in the RP. What's dark to one is not to another. Written content warnings are MUCH more likely to actually protect people from the content they don't want to see.

The one suggestion I'm seeing that is likely to get real consideration at this point (and indeed, is already on my list of things I've been experimenting with) is some kind of filter to hide topics you find unpleasant, ie not seeing any character or topic that include a word like "cannibalism." We might do something like this.

It's a bit tricksy. 1) it has the potential to be laggy, and 2) it's wildly unreliable. Taking just cannibalism as our example; Cannibalism could also be "eating people" "eats people" "eats his/her/their own species" "eats members of his own species" or it could even show up as "I am NOT comfortable with cannibalism, please do not include this topic in RPs with me!" Multiply this by a zillion topics people find upsetting and refer to with a thousand ever-evolving nicknames, and you've got a sieve. There's a sweet spot between "totally useless false sense of security that still causes you to be upset on a regular basis" and "not 100% but good enough to reduce the amount of upset that you feel on a regular basis" that still needs to be found.

I also want to be really clear: us adding a topic filter would not cause those topics that we have hard bans in place on site-wide to be suddenly unbanned. You could still not use the platform to play out children being sexually abused or to play a non-villain Nazi, for example. Such a feature would also not cause us to lift bans on requesting certain heavy topics on the public LFRP forums, even though it's okay to play them in private. Find yourself a group where it's okay to request those topics instead. Allowing people to play things in private that aren't appropriate for our public areas is like 50% of why groups were added to the site.
I admit I came here after seeing Mipps posted on it and read through the rest of it and I have to say that I see the point on a lot of people's points of views as well as their ideas. I can say from a very recent and personal event here on RPR that people's triggers are legitimately as varied as the people themselves and that unfortunately means that almost any option that was to be put forward? Likely wouldn't fit every scenario.

I do confess though that I support the idea of a slider because of the reasons listed below:

a- Many people don't READ everything but seeing a slider that sits on the super dark side of things? Will definitely be a thing someone noticed. It would, I believe, be enough of a warning that people would then read the warning listed in the LFRP etc.

b- Having a slider would free people from having to read over triggers. In my personal understanding sometimes even just reading the trigger is enough to cause issues and I firmly believe that undue triggering should be avoided if possible.

c- Many of us are lazier than we want to admit. (I own it... Most days.) Because of that some of us don't put as much detail as we should and because of that? It can at times lead to awkward moments.

d- Having this option available for both Characters and Groups would definitely help in searches for LFRP as well as help both Owner and Staff manage and resolve any issues of either misunderstandings or misinformation. If something is clearly listed and in such a way that is easily noted it makes resolving issues much easier.


I do understand that there is also the issue that, while the slider is a good idea, it's implementation would be tricky. As our lovely Kim stated that dark is really just varying shades of grey to everyone. You also have to find a way to measure it in a way that does not reveal any actual triggers otherwise it makes the implementation of it somewhat moot. There is a scale for psychopaths that goes from 1-10 that was created by some of the worlds leading psychologists that might be a good way to measure the possible 'dark' or 'trigger' risks for RP prompts, LFRP, and Groups.

Perhaps something can be implemented on the scale below?

1- little to no triggers or darkness involved.
2- possible graphic interactions/themes that may be unsettling
3-some graphic interactions/themes that may be unsettling
4- graphic interactions/themes that may be unsettling
5- graphic interactions/themes that are unsettling
6- interactions that contain sex/violence/blood/abuse
7- interactions that contain non-consensual situations/sex/violence/blood/abuse
8- extremely graphic interactions that contain non-consensual situations/sex/violence/blood/abuse/
9- extreme violence/ extreme language/ extreme trigger risk
10- full tilt violence/ gore/ abuse/sexual abuse

I want to make note too that this is not there to fully describe either a group or lfrp but rather to pose as a guide. People are aware of their own triggers and comfort levels and will often err on the side of caution if they fear they might find something upsetting. Likewise people who are more... Comfortable in the darker themes will be able to use this as a way to feel out if it is something they might be able to join in accordance to their own tastes.

Given this is meant to be more as a guide too it would be best for those posting in lfrp or groups to then specify what triggers they may or may not contain as well as the more specified areas of 'darkness' that will be taking place or being looked for.

I personally would be happy to contribute funds to a 'slider' and I do not doubt others would be willing to as well if on;y because it helps simplify things to a certain extent. I also feel it would truly be a benefit to RPR because it shows both compassion and individuality for the players and the unique desires and needs of each.

On a side note- I am aware that many people can take things to DMs for such an occasion but I do believe that many of us? Write because we want our words to be read. To be consumed. I personally don't really enjoy DMs because it limits those who can read my words to simply myself and the other. It also poses issues for group role plays. I am not saying there is anything wrong with DMs but I do personally feel that it has it's own limitations to both playablility(sp?) and imagination.
Salazar Topic Starter

@Kim, I will refer your attention to the comment below yours. It very nicely explains the way a slider could function on this site, exactly how we use sliders to indicate how much romance or violence will be present in a roleplay. I will openly admit I tend to look at the sliders first when going to the public threads to see if corresponds with the type of roleplay I'd be interested in before actually reading the whole plot. If a plot is going to be heavily dominated by romance, chances are I'm going to click off and look somewhere else. The same could be applied to this. If someone says they're going to expect a darkness setting of about 7 or 8 out of 10, then that would give users a strong indication that the roleplayer and/or the character is going to want to include themes that could be of a potential trigger to them, so will probably avoid it.

Also, having the means to hide a topic people find uncomfortable would further support the community by allowing everyone to engage in roleplays, rather than a minority to feel suppressed and isolated from everyone else simply because their tastes are a bit different. Of course, there are going to be potential bugs, issues and so on, but I think with time and development there is a way to find a way to implement something like this.

Furthermore, I'm not really sure why hard bans are being mentioned? I didn't bring that up at any point during my post. The whole point of my writing this post is to put across the way I feel about a certain genre/area of rps that have issues being met without a whole lot of complicated messes. On a previous site, I got kicked off because my character had a family link to terrorism. People simply reported the character because of the word terrorism, they didn't actually look on the profile and see that it was merely "this character has to keep a low profile due to their Uncle's involvement with a terrorist organisation".

I have found myself a group, I have found people who enjoy the same themes as I do, but I like to branch out and see if there are others too. The groups aren't always active, and the people who I roleplay with aren't always available. It's nice to make new friends with similar interests and not be hurled abuse at because I have an "edgy character". I also don't like getting messages where people contact me telling me they think I'm scummy simply because of a character I've created that has nothing to do with my personal views and more importantly is a fictional character that does not have a real effect on the world.

Again, this is just my feelings on a matter that does somewhat trouble me and I hope my feelings are taken into consideration.

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