On content warnings

My site templates support content/trigger warnings. I took inspiration for this from Mastodon, as it’s one of the better features of that platform. It gives people the chance to opt out of reading content that might be objectionable to them, or which they don’t want to accidentally appear on-screen at a workplace or the like. Or for people who do want to read it, it gives them a chance to center themselves and prepare for what might be coming.

I do this because I have a history of trauma. Certain things, when seen without warning, have a tendency to hurt me badly. But being warned about the content allows me to prepare for it, and if I know what I’m getting into I know, from my own personal experience, that I can face it without having a panic attack.

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Alec, isolation, solidarity

Scott Benson wrote a more detailed, public article about what had been going on with him and Alec Holowka. Please read the whole thing, but I want to especially highlight this paragraph:

I’d asked people who knew not to tell anyone. This is pretty common. I had reasons- during development we couldn’t deal with publicly hashing this out, I was too exhausted to handle some big public thing with Alec, etc. And I was too far removed from Alec’s social circles to really know what was happening there. And lots of other people who had similar experiences with Alec never told me, or anyone. It’s common. I wasn’t keeping Alec’s secret. I was keeping mine. That’s how this happens.

That feels a lot like the shit I’d been holding on to privately for the past 8 years. Nobody wanted to tarnish the reputation of a widely-beloved person, and I’m still afraid of actually directly naming him in these posts. I don’t want to relive the community abuse I experienced, especially if it means being seen as being a “collaborator” or “protector” of a serial abuser, and on the other hand being seen as someone who’s looking for attention or some perceived “clout.”

In the aftermath of my writeup, on Sunday I had a very good conversation with the mutual friend who’d taken on the burden of the wellness check and the estate management. I won’t repeat anything of what he said (that’s his story to tell, of course) but the conversation helped me quite a lot, and I hope it helped him too.

For what it’s worth, the past two days have been the lowest-pain I’ve had in a while.

Seeing the reactions to Scott’s articles, including on the now-quite-toxic backers-only thread on the NITW kickstarter, all I can hope for is that everyone eventually finds their peace with this, and that we as a society start having better, more open conversations about this stuff before it turns tragic.