Should I use asterisks or spoilers in my forum posts?

The purpose of the forums are to promote healing from trauma and abuse. It is assumed that most people are here because they are dealing with some degree of painful life experiences and thus will experience a degree of triggering when encountering certain posts.

Graphic descriptions of traumatic events are off-topic in the forums. This includes detailed descriptions of abusive events. If we observe that these kinds of descriptions are being posted, we will (at our discretion) edit and/or delete the problem post.

Each person who visits the forums is responsible for their own safety and well-being. Depending on where a person is in their healing process, the forums may be too triggering for comfort. In that case, it may be appropriate to consult with a therapist and consider whether or not participation here is appropriate at a given time.

Occasionally people take “breathers” from the forums for this reason, and they’re always welcome to come back at a later time when participation is more manageable.

Our preference is that people avoid the use of asterisks (*) or “spoilering” within words and sentences. It makes text unreadable and can actually be as triggering in and of itself as the unspoilered word is.

After all, if every other word is spoilered, it loses its power.

However, using asterisks to create space within a post to encourage the reader to take extra care before proceeding is ok. That would look something like this: *
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Somewhat disturbing content, use caution…
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However, due to the fact that the forum messages are listed sequentially on a page, such spoilering is kind of ineffective since you have to scroll down to read “unspoilered” posts.

It is no failing on anyone’s part to need to take a breather to work in therapy (or elsewhere) to develop containment methods to stay safe while reading the content here. It’s a part of the self-care skills everyone needs in life.

We hope this clarifies the policy here at TWHJ on the use of spoilers and creating safety.

It may be an imperfect solution, but we feel each person is more empowered when we decide to do what is necessary to keep ourselves safe, even if it means closing the browser and walking away.

And on that note, we need to avoid begging people to stay when they are clearly overwhelmed. Though we wish they might be able to stay, we need to honor their efforts to do what is in their own best interests.

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