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bobbinhood's avatar

As a whole, has our community missed the point of labeling a question NSFW?

Asked by bobbinhood (5894points) April 26th, 2011

I thought the point of putting “NSFW” in the title of a question was to enable people to have only work-friendly content on their screen and to “hide” age-sensitive discussions from the kids that hang out here. However, I rarely see an NSFW question title that appreciates this reasoning. Rather than providing a discrete title that hints at the question, people nearly always use a blatantly NSFW title that completely spells out the question. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of labeling it NSFW in the first place?

In case someone doesn’t know, “NSFW” stands for “not safe for work” and is used to distinguish adult content.

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31 Answers

syz's avatar

The moderation team has been recently discussing just that issue.

You are correct – the premise of the NSFW warning is to avoid having any graphic or inappropriate material visible that could negatively affect a user. However, since we also require that the question title be clear and concise, I can understand how it would sometimes be difficult to walk that tightrope.

The consensus that the moderation team recently came to was that we would make a concerted effort to have users edit questions that actually contain the NSFW material in the title. The title may still be somewhat descriptive, but we’re going to focus more on keeping the main pages “PG” rated (for lack of a better term). In the body of the question, however, it’s “click at your own risk”.

Of course, change can be hard, and it may take us a little while to find the right balance. There always seems to be an occasional user who takes any moderation as a personal attack on their freedom (shame on us Nazi mods), but we hope most folks will be patient with us while we figure out the best approach that allows for open, frank discussions while at the same time protecting those that need it.

WasCy's avatar

Can we start talking about food now? I got some real nice Kashmiri Rajma from Ocean State Job Lots a few weeks back, and when I went to find more it was all gone. If anyone finds that on store shelves I’d love to restock on it.

wundayatta's avatar

I hope you decide to put the result of your deliberations on the blog or something. It would be nice to have clearer guidelines whenever you decide what they are.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, if you are going to start enforcing a change, then please put it out there first!

ucme's avatar

Maybe after the nsfw it should simply say details follow. Kind of a double warning.

Seelix's avatar

I would think that it might be a good idea to have NSFW questions in their own category, like the way that Social and General are separate. I don’t know how difficult that would be, but at least that way, people who are at work (or in other places where they shouldn’t view NSFW stuff) can completely avoid those questions.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Seelix That’s an awesome idea. When was still alive, there was a “sexual” category called The Boudoir. That way, sexual questions weren’t posted on the main page for all eyes to see. You had to deliberately go there to read them.

A “NSFW” tab would be great!

jonsblond's avatar

@Seelix I know that has been suggested before when they created the categories, and not long after. I think the main concern was cluttering up the page with too many categories. Many people didn’t even like the categories to begin with. Seeing how Ben and Andrew didn’t even have time for an April’s Fool joke for everyone here this year like they have done in the past, I doubt they have the time now to make a change like that, even if they wanted to. (just my thoughts, the higher ups can correct me please if I’m wrong)

Seelix's avatar

@jonsblond – Good point.

What about implementing something along the lines of the [spoiler] [/spoiler] code I’ve seen used around? Something that’ll mask the text unless you mouse over it?

I don’t know anything about computer stuff, so I don’t know how difficult that would be, either :S

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Is not one of the things that get your questions kicked is not spelling it out to the looker? I can’t tell how many times that has happened to me, I was trying to hint at the question be it a NSFW or one that someone would and they often due take the wrong way because it, or they read something into the question that wasn’t there to begin with. But what good is using it or not using it when there is no mechanism that prevents those under 18 from getting to the question anyhow? It makes it about as big of a joke as Yahoo photo search, if I were some horny 13yr if I put the right tag into the field intermingled with all the other photos is a good deal of full blown porn with nothing left to the imagination. Back when I was a teen that would have been a dream come true to be able to pull up porn that graphic and not have your parents even know.

lillycoyote's avatar

Yes, I have mentioned that several times. If you write a question like: [NSFW] Is it ok if I want to have anal sex with my sister’s 4h goat? It’s already kind of two late, isn’t it? The NSFW horse is already out of the barn, right? If it’s not suitable for work don’t put the NSFW bits about anal goat sex in the part of the question that is in big burnt orange letters!!!! Duh!! That’s the part that will most likely be seen at work! Not the little black text in the body of the thread. I absolutely agree that the point seems to have been missed.

Seelix's avatar

@lillycoyote – I agree with you about leaving out NSFW details in the question itself (i.e. the title). But I also agree with @Hypocrisy_Central about the fact that our questions are supposed to be clearly stated. Something like “NSFW Can you help?” or “NSFW What’s your take?” could be seen as too vague.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Seelix I agree but perhaps there is some middle ground or maybe an exception can be made for NSFW questions. What other way around the problem is there? If you put the details in it’s already too late and if you don’t the question is too vague. But just the fact that a question starts with NSFW may be enough to get people’s attention so that they look at the details. Maybe those kind of questions should be clearly stated in one or two lines at the top of the detail and then the “details” can be stated in the next paragraph.

jonsblond's avatar

@lillycoyote But just the fact that a question starts with NSFW may be enough to get people’s attention so that they look at the details.

I agree. NSFW does seem to draw people in no matter what the actual topic is. I usually stay away from the questions, so someone like me would just skip the question, just like I would skip an NSFW tab if it was created.

augustlan's avatar

I think what we’ll be trying to do is push the question back for editing with a suggestion on how to reword it. So, @lillycoyote‘s question, ”[NSFW] Is it ok if I want to have anal sex with my sister’s 4h goat?” would get a recommendation to change the title to something like ”(NSFW) Is intimacy with an animal ok?”. Or is that title still too iffy? Your suggestions are really appreciated, by the way!

lillycoyote's avatar

@jonsblond I’m not really a prude, I don’t ask or answer NSFW questions because I just consider that kind of thing to be personal business. I don’t see anything wrong with it, it’s just that I’m not as comfortable discussing my personal and sexual business on a public forum as other people are.

seazen_'s avatar


Correct assumption in the details. Well put.

josie's avatar

Gotta confess. I never really understood what NSFW actually meant in the first place. Always a slow study. But now that I get it, watch out.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Rather than anyone knocking themselves out to be NSFW cryptic in the title post, I really do like the NSFW, see details…

lillycoyote's avatar

@Neizvestnaya That’s the way to do, I think, it until fluther comes up with a better method. I don’t really mind seeing them, I just don’t tend to answer them, we’ve already established that the point of label seems to have been, in my opinion that has been established already, but that may be because I already agreed to begin with. :-). But some people do mind seeing them. I came across this question when I was searching fluther for [NSFW] just to see some of the history of NSFW Qs and how those questions are and have generally been worded.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@lillycoyote What other way around the problem is there? To have a separate thread just for NSFW like we have for Social, General, and Meta. But it still goes is warning the only reason for a NSFW qualifier? Becuase unless there is some check to steer certain Jellies who are not old enough or deemed so from entering the thread it is a lot to go through for those who are Fluthering at work when they should be working.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central There certainly are other solutions, I see that now but the judgement as to what people should and should be doing on a “work computer” is perhaps not yours to make. Some may be on during their lunch breaks and acting in full compliance with the policy of their employers. They may own their own businesses and can therefore do whatever the heck they want but the not suitable for work stuff could put them in the position of creating a “hostile work environment” or be considered sexual harassment so it’s best it not be on their computer screens in their place of business. Who knows? Certainly not you nor I.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@lillycoyote The judgement[sic] as to what people should and should be doing on a “work computer” is perhaps not yours to make. It isn’t my judgment or that of the worker, management of the boss dictates that. The computer is like any other piece of office equipment in there; there are rules to how it is used. If policy was that loose, they may not even have to worry about NSFW content. They could shop for sex toys without worry, etc. Just because they are off the clock for lunch don’t mean their computer is too. They can’t say because they are on their lunch break that gives them the right to print up 57 fliers to their daughter’s recital. The rules on who, what, and how the copier is used still apply. With so many other ways to connect to the Web via Smart Phone, iPad, laptops, or internet café’ they should not be stuck in their office or cubicle just to get online.

Seelix's avatar

Both “judgment” and “judgement” are acceptable spellings.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I’ve always spelled it “judgement”. And I’m not British.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

As so, Websters ½ point, though in small print, Spellcheck zero they only have the more used version sans ‘E’

lillycoyote's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I believe my response covered those issues.

lillycoyote's avatar

It’s judgment. I know that. It was a mistake but thanks for pointing it out. I would have caught it in a later draft, if there had been one, and there usually is. I don’t have 268 Perfecto Fish awards for lack of making mistakes and then trying to fix them as best I can.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@lillycoyote What’s a 4h goat, and how is it different from my beloved out back?

@Seelix Plus, if we have a separate NSFW category, we’ll probably have more NSFW questions. Yay!

lillycoyote's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs It’s a goat raised by sweet, innocent country children who are members of their local 4-H Club and who shouldn’t be exposed to such violations and sexual abuse of their lovingly, hand raised livestock.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The separate NSFW category holds merit. If one were created, there are a couple of challenges that would have to be worked through.
1.) It is going to lump both General and Social questions of this nature together.
2.) It isn’t going to stop them from showing up in the Questions for You button section.

While not an IT person, it seems like both challenges could be resolved, but it would take a lot of work.

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