content warning

From IndieWeb

content warning is a feature of a post create UI where an author can hide some or all of the primary content of a post due to concerns about negative impacts of the content upon viewers, and typically provide a text warning (eponymously named) with the nature of the concerns, which is initially displayed instead of the post content.

IndieWeb Examples

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fluffy publishes some posts with content warnings, which means they are treated differently when displayed on index pages (including RSS/atom feeds), vs. in the full entry context.

Some examples:

Sebastian Greger displays a warning when presenting bookmarked websites that have accessibility flaws with potential for seizures (permalink):

Other Examples


Trove is an Australian-based website that has pop up content warnings that provide cultural advice for indigenous peoples who may have issues with images and audio of deceased persons.

Screen capture of a pop up warning that reads Cultural Adivce - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that Trove contains images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, websites, film, audio recordings or printed material with buttons to Find out More or Don't show cultural advice.

Software Support


In Mastodon a "Show More" button allows a viewer to explicitly decide they want to reveal and see the content that has been hidden by default by the author.

In ActivityPub, this post is represented with a summary property of "Indieweb-style OAuth" and the content property is the full text of the post.


proposed p-content-warning

There is a proposed p-content-warning property addition to h-entry for a text warning that would be initially displayed instead of the summary or content properties.

Preventing Spoilers

One potential use case for a Content Warning would be to prevent spoilers. If I want to post about a new episode of Game of Thrones, it would be useful to put a CW on it with a reference to a reason (Game of Thrones Spoilers). This would allow a reader to minimize the post with a reason it is minimized "Game of Thrones Spoilers". This allows someone to tap on it and reveal the hidden message inside.


  • Is there a way to categorize CW posts so that if you unhide one of a specific category in a reader you could unhide the rest of the same category?
  • Post content of a CW would be the normal post. It would just need some way to indicate that it was a post with sensitive content and potentially a way to either provide a reason or a category. This could be as simple as adding something like a p-warning-reason or something to that extent.

UX issues

When providing a CW, it's important to remember that there are different navigation paths one might take to a page. It might be tempting to have the CW itself on one's feed and then unfurl the content on the entry page, but keep in mind that someone might navigate to an entry via a different path, such as a previous/next link from another entry, or an external search result from a search engine.

For many small updates in succession, there should always be an option to "unfurl all."

CWs should also not be used habitually to hide absolutely everything; on Mastodon there is a tendency for people to over-CW things and as a result many users have reported getting into the habit of unfurling everything without thinking about it, and then being shocked/upset by seeing a thing they weren't expecting.

See Also

Offensive Content Alert: Warning. The National Jukebox contains historic recordings that reflect the culture of an earlier era. Some of these recordings may be offensive. For more information, please read our Disclaimer.
Library of Congress National Jukebox