The person who asked HP Fan-fic where an Imperiused Dudley jumps off a building also included a link to Lifeline, the Australian nonprofit that provides support to people who are affected or have been affected by rape, assault, suicide and similar events that may or may not cause extreme distress or negative effects in users.

I think that while reminding people that such services exist is a good idea, I think in this case the execution might be problematic. This is a single link to a single non profit in a single country which doesn't even make the top 50 of most populous countries in the world. Providing a link to this one service while leaving out the millions of other users who can't be helped by this service seems like a drop in the ocean, and somewhat misplaced.

Again, I don't have an issue with providing users information on how to cope with this kind of stuff, and I feel like it adds value, but what I don't like is that we single out Australia and leave aside the countries with more users, or even the 50 countries with higher population count. Either provide more links, or a link to an aggregator, or don't provide a link at all, but don't just have 1 link.

so there are effectively 2 questions here:

  1. should we proactively add a suicide disclaimer on questions that handle suicide, as frequently happens on TV or in the newspaper?
  2. If yes, what should this disclaimer be?
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    Actually, the "Lifeline" link just goes to the original tweet that lead to the question (though I doubt that was intended). – jwodder Jul 11 '17 at 13:14
  • @jwodder I didn't click on that link myself, but i agree that it probably wasn't intended, and the question itself remains valid. – Nzall Jul 11 '17 at 13:15
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    I've fixed the link. – SQB Jul 11 '17 at 13:22
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    If you see a suicidal user, flag for mod attention and we'll pass it onto the CMs or give them the link that SE uses ourselves. The link that SE uses is Koko, which is probably a better link to use. – Mithical Jul 11 '17 at 13:29
  • @Mithrandir This is more about proactively marking questions on suicide: Should we? If yes, how? – Nzall Jul 11 '17 at 13:32
  • @Nzall - yes, but I was addressing your point on the link that the OP used only being useful for Australians. – Mithical Jul 11 '17 at 13:33
  • For serious mentions of suicide/self-harm: meta.stackexchange.com/q/243700/266359. – Shokhet Jul 11 '17 at 19:53

I've deleted the link.

1) It's simply not relevant. Adding extraneous links that might be of interest falls under the general heading of "chatter"

2) Even if it were relevant, that particular organisation only covers a tiny percentage of our userbase.

  • Should we proactively police every question that mentions suicide and add links to suicide-prevention organisations?

    No. Absolutely not.

  • Can I mention them in comments below questions?

    Yes, sure. Why not?

  • Should we hide anything "triggering" or "scary" behind spoiler tags?

    No. Absolutely not.


First off, I think I should point out two things:

  1. We deal with fiction which may have adult, graphic, suicidal or other themes which might be deemed inappropriate for one or the other part of the audience. We can't outright ban those themes. Since they are part of fantasy/sci fi genre, it's natural that some questions specifically about or based on those themes will appear.
  2. We can't expect random users to cater to specific needs of the entire world.

I'd suggest that we should use the existing tools that we have which are (To clarify, the following is to be used purely on discretion of the OP without any obligation to do so as a Policy. OP would naturally retain the right to rollback any edit done by someone else which they might deem harmful or unnecessary like in any other scenario.):

  1. Warning headers
  2. Spoiler mark-up
  3. Editing

For example:

Warning: The following contains graphic/disturbing/suicidal content. Reader's discretion advised.

Insert disturbing content here

This simple process can be done by either the OP or any other concerned member of public (Those without editing privilege will have to go through editing queue).

That's the best you can do.

If the Question is on-topic, isn't offensive and not in any way whatsoever violating the policies and T&C of SE, Let it be. Enclose the disturbing content in spoiler tags and add the warning header, that's about it.

Or if you think that the post is still troublesome, raise a custom flag, explain the situation. If the Mods agree with your reasoning, they might delete it for you but if the post was delete-worthy regardless to disturbing content, community will do it via reviews and flags as well.

There are also Post Notices which the mods can add but their statements are pre-defined. You can open a new feature-request on MSE to request a new Post Notice to be used for such content.

Also as suggested by Rand al'Thor, read the following related posts:

  1. Should we edit posts to change strong language?
  2. Do we want any sort of content warnings?
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    Potentially related: Should we edit posts to change sexual language and (from a neighbour site) Do we need/want any sorts of content warnings? The latter especially deals with the sort of graphic content warnings that you're talking about. – Rand al'Thor Jul 11 '17 at 14:16
  • I happen to disagree with this. The guidance is good in case someone does want to, however I don't think it's necessary to for all of us to post a disclaimer or anything. I just did it because I personally wanted to. :) – Möoz Jul 11 '17 at 21:36
  • @Möoz I agree that's why I said this can be done either by the OP or any other concerned member of audience. OP doesn't have any obligation to do that. If s/he doesn't but some other member thinks there should be something done about it, they can do it themselves and if OP thinks that edit is unnecessary they can always rollback – Aegon Jul 12 '17 at 6:48

It's all about me

As the OP of said question / disclaimer thingy I'd like to add why I posted that.

This particular issue is close to me due to family reasons. The topic of suicide is one that is particularly difficult for me to bear as I've been affected by it. For me, if I'm able to lead someone to something that might end up saving their life, then I will do it every time. Especially because, the thought of ever finding out that someone read one of my posts and decided that that's they way they're going to do it would just devastate me.

I understand that this is an extremely unlikely scenario and is not likely to ever have an impact, positive or negative, however, it's my prerogative.

You see, in Australia, it is traditional for tv-shows and the like to feature a similar disclaimer either verbally after talking about such topics or in writing immediately after the show. I sort of liked that idea and followed suit.

In future

I strongly suggest you don't start posting similar things, unless you really want to, on your own accord. This is not something that is easy to nor should be enacted as a policy. Many of the things that we post about here have concepts which would 'trigger' someone, and there isn't a 'catch all' thing we can do to cover ourselves.

I personally will only post such things in comments (and maybe not even that), so as to not disrupt the flow of our posts, I suggest you do so as well (if you're going to post such things).

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