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Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings
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TOPIC: Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings
#51603
WiccanMethuselah
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Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 3 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 111
Why Are Ratings So Important?

Dokuga is an all-ages site. We don’t force you to swear that you’re old enough to view all our materials before you are allowed to become a member or view the site. We DO, however, have a ratings system that we expect our members and guests to adhere to.

Since we ARE an all-ages site, we must do what we can to ensure that minors are not viewing inappropriate material for their age group. We have a duty, BY LAW, to police this as rigorously as we can and, believe me, we take it seriously. MANY people have had their profiles deleted for accessing inappropriate materials despite having been warned not to do so. If we ignored this, it is entirely possible that Dokuga could be sued for providing inappropriate materials to minors... I want Dokuga to survive, I’m sure you do too.

In view of this, you MUST assign a rating to your story when you first post it. PERIOD. Stories posted without ratings will receive ONE warning. If not corrected, they will be deleted.

How Can I Determine a Rating for My Story?

Use the guidelines posted in our rules, which you can find here: http://dokuga.com/rules . If you are unclear on what ANYTHING in those guidelines means, please contact a Site Administrator! Do not just assume that you know what the different ratings mean.

K rated fics cannot have ANY profanity, NO violence or gore, and absolutely NO adult situations even hinted at. Think happy, fluffy puppies and kittens kinds of stuff.

K+ rated fics can only have MINOR profanity. In other words, keep it down to a "hell" or a "damn," or maybe a "bitch," but nothing any more coarse than that, please. Also, only MILD violence, no serious injuries, no deaths. NO adult situations.

T ratings can only have slightly more coarse, but still rather MINOR, language than K+ - in other words, wh**e, bast**d, sh*t, sl*t, a$$ or a$$h*le, etc. (And if you don't get what I'm alluding to, PM me) You may have violence, but NO descriptive DEATH (yes, we all know that Naraku dies, but don't go into detail) NO SUICIDE ATTEMPTS, NO CUTTING and NO CHILD ABUSE, nor should there be any other sensitive issues which may be too mature to be viewed by those age 13. If in doubt, please PM an Administrator, and they will be happy to help you. You can have your characters kissing, hugging, and snuggling, but NO ADULT SITUATIONS any more explicit than that.

M ratings cannot have any EXPLICIT coarse language in them. That means NO c**t, p***y, d**k, c**k, the f-word, etc. These stories can have REFERENCES to violence, but WITHOUT graphic description, like, NO gory details. You can refer to suicide, depression, and self-abuse (without graphically describing physical scenes), but you cannot refer to child abuse that includes rape. You can refer to the fact that your characters may have shared intimacies or a bed, HOWEVER, no descriptions of body parts, no descriptions of sexual acts on body parts, or sexual reactions of body parts or participants.

MA ratings are, as you can guess, anything goes.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS AS TO WHETHER OR NOT WHAT YOU'RE WRITING IS APPROPRIATELY RATED, PLEASE ASK BEFORE YOU POST!!!

Can I Write a Story With a Rating Higher Than I Can Read?

NO. If you aren’t old enough to read it, you aren’t old enough to write it.

Again, people, this is to protect our site. We could face any number of things that would force us to shut down permanently, thereby depriving all of you of the HUGE number of stories hosted here and on the A Single Spark archives. PLEASE do not do things to endanger our site - think long and hard about your ratings. Make them appropriate to what you have planned for your story but, above all, DON’T FORGET TO RATE YOUR STORIES!

~~Wiccan~~
PS - If you think that you may have forgotten to rate your story, or rated it incorrectly, please take the time to correct it BEFORE I have to warn you. Thank you!!
 
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Last Edit: 2012/05/11 23:55 By WiccanMethuselah.
 

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#68621
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 3 Years, 1 Month ago Karma: 13
Okay, silly question time!

In regards to ratings, can a story be rated something like M so long as it has a lemon warning around a solitary MA scene? The answer is probably 'no, change the rating before posting that chapter', but I figured I'd ask anyway since I've seen it on FF.net. Furthermore, would it be a valid option to post any MA material separate from its source story?

A passing curiosity. Maybe I'm asking questions for others in the future.

~AD
 
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#68628
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 3 Years, 1 Month ago Karma: 111
Aura Depths wrote:
Okay, silly question time!

In regards to ratings, can a story be rated something like M so long as it has a lemon warning around a solitary MA scene? The answer is probably 'no, change the rating before posting that chapter', but I figured I'd ask anyway since I've seen it on FF.net. Furthermore, would it be a valid option to post any MA material separate from its source story?

A passing curiosity. Maybe I'm asking questions for others in the future.

~AD


Y'know what they say about "Ask a silly question..." don't you?

Neither do I.

Anyway, you were right at the outset; the answer is "no," for a couple of reasons:

First off, we track the materials that minors on our site access. We are one of the strictest all-ages sites to do so. I assume that you read the tutorial, so I also assume that you know why we are so strict regarding the ratings. For an entire story to be rated M yet still contain an MA scene defeats our purpose in rating things in the first place.

The ratings are to tell the young'uns to stay away. Once they're engrossed in a story, they aren't going to turn away from one scene just cuz there's a silly warning, are they? And so on, down the slippery slope until the point where someone complains that their delicate flower accessed adult material on this site unhindered.

Secondly, I can't begin to tell you how many times people have - to put it politely - complained that a story contained material above its rating. Yes, they do that! There are some people that just do not read MA stories and would prefer to know in advance if there's going to be "that sort" of material. Complaints have ranged from being shocked and disgusted to being 'disgruntled' that the flow of the story was interrupted, no matter the warnings, for 'pornography' right in the middle of a chapter. Honest.

As for posting any MA material as a 'continuation' or separate story, yes, that would indeed be a valid option. Many authors on ff.net took to doing that when ff.net would crack down on the adult material... rather than expose their story to possible deletion, they would simply post the lemons elsewhere. In this case, you would merely need to post it as a separate 'story.'

Hope that takes care of "passing curiosity" for today, m'dear!!

~~Wiccan~~
 
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\\\"The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinion.\\\"
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 0
So, saying I have no idea where my story is going.. the rating can be changed if I veer off into a completely different direction than I originally intended?

Is it safer to have a high rating, such as M or MA and then bump it down in the end if needed...

Or,

Rate what I already have in the beginning and then change it to something higher as the story progresses?

So basically downgrade vs upgrade?
 
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Last Edit: 2012/01/12 11:27 By thatchick.
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#74319
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 8 Months ago Karma: 111
thatchick wrote:
So, saying I have no idea where my story is going.. the rating can be changed if I veer off into a completely different direction than I originally intended?

Is it safer to have a high rating, such as M or MA and then bump it down in the end if needed...

Or,

Rate what I already have in the beginning and then change it to something higher as the story progresses?

So basically downgrade vs upgrade?


I would prefer that you rate the story initially on what you know you will be doing, then change the rating as things progress.

If you are reasonably certain that the story won't contain adult material, then rate it accordingly. If that changes, then the rating changes.

If you feel, from the beginning, that you may stray into adult material at some point, then rate according to that.

What I DO ask of all authors is that, when you upgrade the rating to indicate adult material, you include an author's note in the beginning of the chapter in which the rating changes. That way, we know the date that the rating changed; thus we can determine if underaged readers have been accessing the adult material portion of the story after the rating changed.

Make sure that your warning is sufficient to catch the eye of the reader and, for extra security, change your summary to indicate the rating change for at least the chapter where the change occurred.

Thanks so much for taking the time to clarify this and, if you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask!!

~~Wiccan~~
 
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#75149
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 7 Months ago Karma: 0
When posting a drabble on Dokuga_Contest, will the rating have to match the rating to the whole story? Since the drabble is rated K, but the whole story on Dokuga is MA.
 
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#75151
WiccanMethuselah
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 7 Months ago Karma: 111
JanaeGee wrote:
When posting a drabble on Dokuga_Contest, will the rating have to match the rating to the whole story? Since the drabble is rated K, but the whole story on Dokuga is MA.

Frankly, although it is called Dokuga_Contest, and is affiliated with the site, we have no control over the ratings on LiveJournal. You would be better off to send either a PM to Forthright here, or over on LiveJournal. My guess would be that the drabble, standing alone on LiveJournal, would be properly rated as K there, while the entire story would remain rated MA here.

Just my guess, though!

~~Wiccan~~
 
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#77287
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 22
Ohh, Wiccan, I am so terribly torn XD

I tried to write a nice T fic for Christmas, but now I feel like I have scarred people! Many people have told me it's a cute, bubbly fic with lots of 'AWWW' moments, but the first chapter DOES have Inumama getting killed. It is a bit descriptive...then later on, Rin is being picked on by the other children, thus gaining a few injuries.

Should I change this to MA then? I kind of feel like it doesn't fit in that category due to the majority of the content :/ Perhaps it's better to keep it a T fic, but then put an A/N saying is has a but of described death in the first chapter?

Even though I am a MA reader, I have read lovely fluffy and happy T fics that may have had a certain chapter describing character death, but I feel like putting it in a M or MA category is labeling it poorly D:

So, I suppose my question is, are these super strict rules where even if it is one little paragraph, we will get warned? Or, do we have a little bit of room?

Sorry, I'm kind of confused :3

Thanks a ton!
-MissKatt <3
 
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#77291
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 111
Depending on the level of description of the death, I would perhaps make it an M, rather than MA.

If you look at the original rules, on the rules page, you will notice that most of what you see in the tutorial is covered there. This is not new... not really. All I did in the tutorial was clarify our original ratings rules because they were getting totally out of hand.

K, K+ and T are ratings for young people. There is a reason that these rules have been in place from the beginning of the site, but I fear that a lot of people seem to have lost touch with that. People that age don't need to be reading descriptions of suicide, attempted suicide, self-cutting, gore, entrails, beheadings, evisceration and other yummy stuff. Not even in "one little paragraph." Really. Not every kid that age can deal with that subject matter.

Nor can every kid that age deal with child abuse, spousal abuse, "non-graphic" sexual situations, strong coarse language and the rest. Mature material of this nature needs to be labeled, even if it's only a small part of the overall story. Frankly, it's like the situation two questions above yours that dealt with wanting to rate a story with an overall lower rating and just rate one chapter as MA. If the mature material is there anywhere, the whole story gets the higher rating.

Hope this answers your question, and don't hesitate to contact me if you have any others.

~~Wiccan~~
 
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Last Edit: 2012/03/31 11:29 By WiccanMethuselah.
 

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#77296
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 22
Ohh, okay! Thanks Wiccan! I upped the rating <3
 
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#77297
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 111
MissKatt wrote:
Ohh, okay! Thanks Wiccan! I upped the rating <3

And thank YOU!

I can't tell you how much I appreciate all the cooperation I get from the members here. You guys are ALL TERRIFIC!!

~~Wiccan~~
 
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#77298
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 15
WiccanMethuselah wrote:

K, K+ and T are ratings for young people... people 13 and younger.


QUESTION!

T rating is for people aged 13, got that and agree.

T rating is for people aged younger than 13?! Don't get that and am having a hard time following how that is even possible. Doesn't it mean Teen - as in Teenager - as in someone 13 years of age or over?

Did I miss something?
 
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#77372
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 14
In the past few days there have been concerns and confusion on the topic of the ratings system. While it has been said, multiple times, that they have not changed, I feel that they have, and this is only an opinion based off of personal observation, and my concerns that stem from it.

I am still fairly new to Dokuga. I have been here less than a year, and in that time I have been asked to bump up ratings three times. Out of 19 stories, that is a fairly high number, and when in doubt, it was specifically told to me to consult the FCC ratings or contact an admin. My confusion grew from the fact that I was told to work based off of the television rating system. I don't have cable, what few shows I do watch I watch online and I honestly didn't know the rating for until I did a search. So I began working off of movie ratings, as I do watch movies often, and the I felt rating systems were not terribly different. Most of us here are aware that admins have many duties on the site, so it has been easier to refer to a guide.

I have always considered K the equivalent of G, K+ the equivalent of PG, T the equivalent of PG13 and M the equivalent of R and MA the equivalent of NC17, the three Xs or the newest addition of 'Unrated'. And for the most part it has stood me in good stead. However recently, I feel that the guidelines have changed from what is permissible by the standards set to something more fluid, and my confusion and concern are both results.

Please understand, I am not attacking anyone's beliefs or morality, and I am not attacking the site. I am only presenting a perspective and giving voice to my concerns.

The FCC's TV Rating system is fairly set in stone. What is allowed on television for a certain rating is generally what the rating has been here on the site. But with the additions made to clarify things here, things become muddied and confusing. The additions allow the use of certain words and expletives in ratings that television would not allow, and have specifically cited instances of imagery used that belong in a higher rating than television would place it. Specific instances are easy to work with, because they make things clear. But there has also been use of open phrases such as 'what people can handle', 'graphic imagery', 'descriptive death', 'sensitive issues', 'mild violence', 'a little sexual innuendo', and 'gory details'. These are subjective, vague terms that change definition from person to person, which is something that as writers and readers I'm sure we're all aware of.

It is the vagueness that worries me. Lacking a solid framework, instances are created where some can take offense where others would not. It turns from a question of what is allowed based on the letter of the rules themselves to the spirit of the rules and the interpretations of those who enforce them, essentially from 'legality' to 'morality'. In that space created, issues can and will be born and evolve, and I feel that it places those who have accepted the duty to enforce the rules and those that are compelled to obey them in a very uncomfortable, perhaps even undesirable position. Enforcing rules is one thing, making a judgment call is a completely different other, one that provides room for natural human error. It also puts those who work within those vague lines at the mercy of another person's personal beliefs and opinions, and that is a place few artists or writers want to be.

Until now we have worked on an honor system, and though there have been the inevitable fumbles, this site has, to my observation, worked fairly well with it. Most of us here work on precedent set by the ratings systems of the FCC, the MPAA, and of course the site itself.

I am not attacking the system, but pointing out what I feel are valid fears and concerns. Though specific instances have been made clear, there are others that have not. It does feel as if there has been a change given the former guidelines that we were given to follow, but I am not attacking those changes. If the ratings system is being overhauled, I am more than willing to comply with it, but I feel that clarity is necessary for everyone involved.

Here are the links to the sites I have used as a personal ratings system given our ratings system on the site. I will not hesitate to admit that, for the sake of simplicity, I have often used the MPAA ratings system over those of the FCC, because the MPAA ratings seemed to translate more thoroughly, although once again, that could be because I don't watch television often.

tvguidelines.org/ratings.htm
www.mpaa.org/ratings/what-each-rating-means
 
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#77373
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 16
My concerns are the same as Hatter's. I have been pouring through my unpublished works trying to find proper ratings for them, double and triple guessing each one. ANd feel the need for more clarification. I really don't want to negatively impact this site or its users in any way shape or form due to my confusion. If it at all possible, granted that you have the time, could you list some example fics? I know that I learn better from example. LOL

Thanks for all that you do!
 
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I write to tell stories. I believe that there a some professions in the world that will last forever: doctor or a nurse, teacher, builder and a storyteller. I write also to become myself, more so day by day. Writing is a way to shape out visible and invisible, in myself as well as in the world.
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#77374
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 6
I have to agree with Zan, Hat, and Kay - I've been getting more and more confused as I peer at the ratings suggestions and at my own work, trying to decide if I shouldn't just throw in the towel and rate everything MA for safety's sake. Knowing that I have readers out there who would then not be able to read said fictions has held me back, as has questioning the necessity in the first place. I have always assumed that the T rating was for fiction that exceeded K+, but did not reach the level of intensity of an M rating - equivalent to the PG13 rating for movies or the P14 rating on television. Of course ratings levels are always going to be subjective, that's their nature, but I think Kay had an excellent suggestion. Would it be possible to post examples of stories that are at the "maximum intensity" of allowed content for each rating? Something that could stand as a "if there's more than this, it should be rated higher" example!
Despite the difficulty, I have to send thanks out to Wiccan and mods all for dealing with this issue, so that Dokuga can continue being its awesome self!
 
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#77375
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 34
Just saw this - and I have a slightly different perspective to add, which includes stories AND chat.

While the ratings guide on Dokuga says "go with TV ratings and what's acceptable by personal calls" the fact if - the TV guide and so on mentioned here are American guides. I - and many other users are not American and therefore have not much idea of what is acceptable for K+, T, or M or MA and so on. What I know of American ratings comes mostly from all the shows I watch on Star World, but I am aware that what India gets aired at night is what you might be getting in a different time slot. It gets very confusing to me then, when I am told that the words "sexy," "bastard," "bitch," "asshole," "badass" can be used in a T rated story, but they can't be used in a T rated chat.

Similarly, in my experience with movies, the F-word is used often in movies rated M (R), but if that word is used in a story here, the rating is bumped up to MA even if there's nothing else to warrant it. To me, therefore, there seems a complete disconnect with the site's guidelines and the TV/movie guides we are expected to use as a base.

I'm not trying to raise Cain here, I just want a little more clarification on just what goes where. It's just...sort of frustrating when you think you're talking by guidelines and then are told not to use this or that word.

My first point is, if it can be used in a story rated T, why can it not be used in chat which is supposed to be rated the same? Unless chat is actually rated K+ in practice and T in name only? If that is the case, then wouldn't it be better to spell that out, along with a precise list of words allowed for each rating - for stories AND chat?

My second point relates to the "language and themes shall be judged by personal boundaries that the surveyor has for those ratings." That puts a LOT of subjectivity out there in a field that should remain objective, in my honest opinion; a situattion that's not healthy for anyone. Not the writer/speaker not the moderator who's on duty. It also makes things difficult because we have several moderators and most have very differing views on what is acceptable for each rating. I had, for esample, one tell me some weeks ago that in her day-to-day life, she either swears wholesale or doesn't swear at ALL, and therefore she had not much idea of what goes in between those two areas. As you can imgagine, I was taken aback and very confused - so if the moderator thinks that "T = no swearing/I don't know what T means," and I think that "T = all those words I listed above" and yet another person thinks "T = only some of the words listed above even if they're ALL used on TV/movies that are rated T" and personal boundaries are what we're making a judgement call on...who wins?

Because there we go into the territory of "my perception is the correct one and yours is wrong" which is the implication I get even if that's not the intention. If "personal perception" is going to be the scale by which we weigh content and language, no matter what area of the site it may be, then we're setting ourselves up for a LOT of completely unnecessary censorship. I don't believe that that is, or should ever be the function of a fan community where creativity is usually measured on playing off the same rules - not on a different rule for everybody. If we let rules, especially delicate rules like ones on content and language, morph according to whomsoever in charge...then all we can have are disagreements and dissatisfaction, because my personal perspective of content feels correct to me, and I would naturally resent being told that it's wrong simply because it doesn't conform to what someone else believes. That, I'm afraid, goes a little into the freedom of speech category, which can be avoided by simply having indiscriminate, precise and accurate rules. With lists of words and scenarios if need be to make them as crystal clear as possible.

When the safety of a community is based on the rules it follows, those rules should not flex to individual interpretation, but should be such that there can only BE one single interpretation - the one that's spelled out on the page and no one should be able to give a different opinion.

Do pardon me for speaking so bluntly, for dragging chat ratings into author's tutorials and mixing the two up as far as content and language go; I just couldn't figure out where better to say it and this seemed to flow seamlessly as one discussion, for me.
 
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Last Edit: 2012/03/31 08:38 By naqaashi.
 



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#77378
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 111
zandrellia wrote:
WiccanMethuselah wrote:

K, K+ and T are ratings for young people... people 13 and younger.


QUESTION!

T rating is for people aged 13, got that and agree.

T rating is for people aged younger than 13?! Don't get that and am having a hard time following how that is even possible. Doesn't it mean Teen - as in Teenager - as in someone 13 years of age or over?

Did I miss something?


Obviously you didn't miss anything Zan. Obviously, I made a mistake. Obviously, T is meant for people 13 and OLDER, as you said. My apologies for my poor typing and thinking skills while trying to multi-task and field IMs from multiple people at the same time. Obviously, that doesn't work well for me!

~~Wiccan~~~
 
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Last Edit: 2012/03/31 11:41 By WiccanMethuselah.
 

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#77381
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 111
Okay... Hat, Kayelyn, Lyra... I will reply to Hatter's concerns first, then address the idea of a list of stories:

"While it has been said, multiple times, that they have not changed, I feel that they have..."

Have the rules truly changed, or have they now been narrowed to truly reflect their intent? Is it that they are now being more rigorously enforced that colors the perception, perhaps? We have, from the very beginning of the site, used the following system:

www.fictionratings.com/

You will note this is the EXACT same system that ff.net uses. You will also note that this is about as clear as MUD. What I have attempted to do is pick out the key words and phrases in each guideline and apply them as they appear to indicate.

"I have been here less than a year, and in that time I have been asked to bump up ratings three times. Out of 19 stories, that is a fairly high number..."

Three stories out of 19 represents 16% of your work - not so high in reality, but the perception is there, I will concede that.

"...when in doubt, it was specifically told to me to consult the FCC ratings or contact an admin."

I would love to know who told you to consult the FCC ratings. Contact an Admin? Yes. The FCC? Ah, no.

"My confusion grew from the fact that I was told to work based off of the television rating system."

Yes, a reference was made at one time, in this tutorial, to television vis a vis an alternate guideline for language. The tutorial never referred to using the television ratings system however. The television ratings system has its limitations, as do ALL other VISUAL ratings systems; that of PARENTAL OVERSIGHT. You will note, in both of the ratings systems that you reference at the end of your post, they refer to PARENTAL DISCRETION and PARENTAL GUIDANCE.

The fiction ratings referenced above are for written work. They are designed to alert the READER to the need for caution in accessing certain material. They make no reference to the need for PARENTAL discretion or oversight. The visual ratings systems rely heavily on PARENTAL oversight as their basis. Here, we have to assume that there will be no parental oversight, thus we have to have a ratings system geared to the target audience.

"The FCC's TV Rating system is fairly set in stone."

It may be "set in stone," but I challenge you to show me, in the description of the ratings, where it is any more specific than some of the guidelines I've attempted to outline here. I challenge you to show me where and how that wording makes it clearer to you than what I've put in this tutorial.

"It is the vagueness that worries me."

We have a small problem enumerating all the myriad instances of language, actions, descriptors, et cetera, that one might find in any given rating level. The forum is intended for an all-ages audience, much the same as any other public area of the site. I can hardly sit down and write out a list of all the things that would or would not be allowed in a specific rating, given that restriction. In addition, it would probably encompass far more space than a single forum post could handle.

What I have attempted to do is make things SLIGHTLY CLEARER than the already unbelievably vague rules that have been here since the site's inception. I defy anyone to take any of the ratings systems that have been linked in this thread and show me where they are any more specific than what I have already enumerated in this tutorial. ALL of these things are guidelines... meaning that they are not the ONLY things, but are to be used as an indication of what may or may not be allowed.

In addition, the subjectivity that Hatter references is apparent in every single one of the ratings systems linked here. For television programs and movies to be rated, they must be submitted to a group of HUMANS who subjectively apply those vague precepts to each one. A group of human beings who say "yea" or "nay" to each and every single program, movie, and other visual offering that is rated. If I read this correctly, what Hatter is referencing is the very same thing.

Yes, there will be a human being subjectively applying these rules. You can't get away from that. What I have attempted to do is apply a little more of a framework for both authors and future Admins to use in applying these rules. I fail to see where it's become any more vague than it was originally. What I DO see, however, is people wishing to go back to the old "honor system."

The "honor system" was all very well and fine - except that it got completely out of hand over the years. We have stories rated T that have descriptive sexual scenes in them. We have K rated stories that have graphic, gruesome descriptive violence in them, you know, like when bodies are mangled beyond belief? We have language, violence and sexuality in stories that MOST people - meaning most parents - would consider inappropriate for people 13 and younger (yes, I meant to say younger this time, merely because T STARTS with age 13).

Again, people, you have to realize that the old "wild frontier" rules of the interwebs aren't going to serve us in good stead for much longer. Unless we are able to demonstrate, through documentation, that we take an active role in policing what type of content minors have access to on this site, we run the risk of being classified as indiscriminate purveyors of porn. Srsly. Yes, you can point to ff.net all you want, but we don't have their size, their power, or their lawyers.
 
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#77383
WiccanMethuselah
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 111
For Kayelyn and Lyra:

You have both suggested that you would like a list of stories that demonstrate the limits of the ratings they possess. I would love to help you out with that... honest, I would. There's one small problem, however. To compile a list of that nature, I would have to scour the archives to make sure that I find the stories that hit the limits that you're looking for in all three areas: violence, language and sexual content.

I hate to beat the "poor me" drums, but I have a pretty full plate at the moment. To wade through about 5,000 stories to find the best examples of what you're looking for, I can't even begin to imagine how long that would take me. Yes, I attempt to read EVERYTHING that's posted on the front page, every day, in order to make sure that we're up to snuff... but that takes me until 3am once I'm finished with my RL stuff. Frankly, I'm not sure when I'd find the time to even START such a task.

The best I can offer at the moment is that I'll try. The second-best alternative would be to contact an Admin if you're truly not sure where in the ratings continuum your story would fall. I always try to get back to people within a day or two at the most. Sometimes 3 if things are really crazy. If you don't hear from me, then contact Moxy, or Skye, or r0o. I'm sure any of them could assist you in interpreting the ratings the way they've been outlined.

~~Wiccan~~
 
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Last Edit: 2012/03/31 13:42 By WiccanMethuselah.
 

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#77390
Chie
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 23
I just wanted to say that I'm very glad the ratings were clarified somewhat - especially the list of those swear words. Before there was only a vague reference to TV guidelines in the US which, as naq already pointed out, might confuse the Dokugans who live elsewhere.
(At least it confused me - I have no clue what's allowed on the TV in the US on what timeslot on what network/cable whatever. )

Ratings are a really important issue, but unfortunately it is also one of the most difficult rules to enforce. The much talked about subjectivity is one problem, but I also feel that something like a rating also varies within and across different cultures. Dokuga is, after all, an international community.
So I wish good luck to all the moderators, thank you for donating your time and effort on such a monumental task.
 
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#77391
WiccanMethuselah
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 111
Okay, moving on to Naq's concerns:

"While the ratings guide on Dokuga says "go with TV ratings and what's acceptable by personal calls"..."

I don't believe we've ever had anything on the site that said that exactly. I don't know where that comes from other than the previous wording in the tutorial referencing "network television" as regards language guidelines. In that case, it was obviously not taking the international flavor of the site into consideration and, for that, I apologize. This was, in fact, one of the reasons I attempted to clarify certain terms that would or would not be allowed within some ratings.

"It gets very confusing to me then, when I am told that the words "sexy," "bastard," "bitch," "asshole," "badass" can be used in a T rated story, but they can't be used in a T rated chat."

To be honest, chat was never rated T. It has always been called PG-13 which, in my estimation, is a totally unworkable classification to apply here. First, you cannot take any of the visually-oriented ratings systems used for American television and movies and apply them here. Why? Well, primarily because they rely on one key element that we have never had, and most likely will never have, here: Parental Guidance (the P and G of PG-13).

Now, we do have mods who are parents. We have chatters who are parents. We have Admins who are parents... but all our parenting systems are bound to have differences. What's sauce for one is not for another, and all that. The ratings assigned to movies and television in the United States are all chosen by panels or committees - made up of humans with all different views of what constitutes that which requires "guidance." These ratings are then applied according to a methodology that was developed which purported to show what would be agreeable to MOST parents in the United States.

Such things are obviously subjective, and always will be. Even a panel or committee made up of a broad spectrum of humans is still going to be subjective in their determinations. We are human, it cannot be otherwise. Still, you cannot equally apply the ratings systems for television and movies here without also considering that vital component, parental guidance. Nor can the many different categories in television and movie ratings be equated with our system - an R-rated movie, for example, permits the use of the f-word. But the guidelines for R-rated movies dictate that no one under 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian in attendance. How are we to determine if a parent is standing by when someone is reading an M-rated story? See what I mean? R does not equate to our M rating. PG-13 does not equate to our T rating. TV-14 does not equate to our T rating.

"My second point relates to the "language and themes shall be judged by personal boundaries that the surveyor has for those ratings." "

Now, I REALLY want to know where this came from... really. I've never seen anything, from the site's inception, that said this. And, still, we have the question of subjectivity... and always will. This question is going to arise every time one person's interpretation disagrees with another's - and isn't about to be put to rest. At least, not here. Frankly, as long as humans have differing views, values, and opinions, I don't think you're ever going to find a "ratings system" that isn't subjective to a certain extent.

So, what everything boils down to, here, is that:

1. Chat is a different animal from the story end of things, but one that sorely needs some major overhaul. I cannot begin to address the problems with chat here, nor do I feel that they automatically flow seamlessly. My apologies if THAT sounds blunt!

2. Ratings are, always have been, and always will be open to interpretation. I have attempted to remove some of the speculation by providing certain concrete examples of what does, or does not, fit certain ratings. Contrary to popular opinion, however, I do not see where these examples have muddied the waters. Frankly, it's more definition than we've had in the past. What our members need to keep in mind, however, is that they are ALWAYS welcome to ASK an Admin if they have questions as to whether or not their story needs a specific rating. Hopefully, an answer, along with a rationale, will be provided in a timely fashion.

Rules, any rules, dealing with issues of morality, are going to be subjectively issued and subjectively interpreted. The only thing any of us can do to avoid BROAD interpretation is to clarify, as much as possible, what can or cannot be done in certain areas. I've attempted to do that... and I'm having a hard time understanding the uproar, but I'll get over it!

~~me~~
 
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#77393
MoxyMikki
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 28
I also wanted to point out, because I think Wiccan is covering everything quite well, that there is a reason why some of the rating descriptions are a bit vague or subjective. Hatter, you're spot on in this, and trust me we all get that its uber confusing not having it spelled out when the rating system is a big issue for safety here. But we can't actually go into details to explain what might constitute a more mature rating, without in doing so posting reference to content or even mentioning more mature content. lol Minors couldn't read the rules!!! lol The irony.

So I implore ANYONE who is still confused, come to an admin and we'll privately try to spell it out more clearly. We'll hash out any issues or concerns specific to your story and the rating it may need. Its a small community here, and although, YES we are busy folks, we are SO happy to help and dedicate individual time to members who care enough about following the rules, to help them do just that! Thats the benifit of a small online community like this!

i'm sorry, for I know that doesn't actually SOLVE the issue, but you really have no idea how eager and pleased we are to help members like you lot (Hatter, Naq, Chie, Zand, Lyra, etc because their are too many to name, even those that didn't post in this thread) who really care about this site and take a personal interest in following the rules. SO PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE feel like you can come to us! We're happy to work with you as closely as you need until you get a grasp of what the rating system means.

Love you lot! You really are the best sort.
 
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#77496
Susan
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 0
Thank you, I was kind of confused but now I understand.
Thanks!
 
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#77509
naqaashi
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 34
To Wiccan,

Thank you for the clarifications! Knowing the difference between Visual and language ratings, as in T vs PG-13, R vs M and so on has been a huge help! I actually never kenw that there IS such a difference - as I said, not being from America, I only had a vague idea of how ratings go there. I always thought that PG-13 and R were the "old" system and T and M were just the "new" terminology, with no difference in meaning at all.

Heck, I didn't even know that there are different guides for visual media and language. It's much clearer now and also removes a good deal of my frustration with constantly messing up and not knowing why.

Regards my assertion about the rules being open to interpretation in many areas - you are right, this isn't written anywhere. But I have been verbally told this by different moderators, and the line about people judging situations and clarifying their view of what's an acceptable level of rating by their personal perception and background was actually told to me by another admin in chat when she was trying to clarify my concerns over the same issue. I hope that cleared things on my side a little


To Moxy,

Thank you both, for taking the time - I'm aware of how busy RL can get, and it's good of you to take the trouble to work us through this!
 
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I claimed Sesshoumaru\'s dismembered left arm in the Dokuga Claim Game.

Master Weird-Outer of Dokuga. My tool of choice? A sentient sewing machine called Lord Ew that likes to spew technicoloured handkerchiefs embellished with the stuff that nightmares and crack-fics are made of.
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#77514
WiccanMethuselah
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Re:Dokuga Author's Tutorial: Ratings 2 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 111
I'm glad we could clear some things up for you, Naq. I am hoping that, as time goes on, we can all become accustomed to thinking about the ratings in the terms laid out in the tutorial. While they are by no means comprehensive, they at least give you authors a starting point.

As Moxy pointed out, though, if there is ANY question in your mind, PLEASE don't hesitate to come to an Admin for clarification. We are always happy to help our members, and if we can avoid misunderstandings that way, so much the better!!

~~Wiccan~~
 
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