NSFW Policy

Edited: November 9, 2022

While it’s true that Discord (and most other social media platforms) require their users to be at least 13 years of age, it’s become clear that using common age-specific ratings for media (for example, PG-13) is not sufficient for our community. As the way people define NSFW content varies wildly depending on the individual and context, this document seeks to define what that term means for our community, and thus what content is unacceptable in our spaces.

Terminology

We use the following terminology in the below document, which we’ve decided to explain here — just in case you’re not entirely familiar with them.

Body Horror

“Body horror” can refer to one of a number of concepts:

  • AI-generated imagery that depicts people or animals with disfigured bodies and limbs, extra body parts, missing body parts, etc
  • Artwork and photography that depicts people or animals with disfigured bodies and limbs, where the primary intention of the imagery is to shock, horrify or scare the viewer
    • Photos and depictions of people with physical disabilities or unusual birthmarks, missing limbs due to accidents, or any other physical differences to a typical able-bodied person do not count as body horror — these people are not monsters, and deserve to be treated with the same respect and care that everyone else does

Content

To keep things simple, we define “content” as anything a user could post, upload, link to or discuss. For example, we’d consider all the following to be “content”:

  • A user’s Discord, forum or GitHub profile, including their username, nickname, avatar, banner, “About Me” section, connections, or status
  • Textual content, including issue comments, forum posts and Discord messages
  • Mixed media, such as photos, audio, and images — directly uploaded by the user, linked to from another site, posted in the form of a sticker or emoji (including as a reaction), and so on

It’s worth noting that this definition includes content not directly posted in our spaces, but made easily available to the users of our spaces by participating in them. We believe that this type of content can also be problematic in specific contexts, so we moderate it in addition to content directly posted by users.

Gender-Affirming Surgery

“Gender-affirming surgery” refers to surgeries that may be undertaken by trans people in order to physically affirm their gender (and expression thereof), if they wish. This includes things like sexual reassignment surgery (SRS), facial feminization surgery (FFS), facial masculinization surgery (FMS), and so on.

While it’s true that cis people also occasionally undertake gender-affirming surgeries, this is considerably easier to for them to obtain when compared to trans people. If you’re cis and are undertaking (or have undertaken) surgeries like this then your related discussions still come under this definition, but our policies largely focus on trans people, as they suffer from far more related discrimination — medical, political, and otherwise.

NSFW? What’s That?

NSFW is short for “Not Safe For Work”. This term, along with NSFL (“Not Safe For Life”), are often used online to denote content that you either wouldn’t show to your boss, or wouldn’t show to anyone — acting as loose definitions for content that either belongs in specific spaces, or doesn’t belong anywhere.

Generally speaking:

  • NSFW includes: Suggestive content, porn, etc
  • NSFL includes: Animal abuse, gore (including any visible internal organs/tissue), vore, suicide, serious injuries, body horror, etc

Additionally, SFW (“Safe For Work”) and SFL (“Safe For Life”) can be used as opposing designations for content that definitely doesn’t come under the designations of NSFW or NSFL respectively.

NSFL content is (and always will be) roundly banned at Quilt, aside from users seeking support from each other regarding how they feel about it, or for things that have happened to them. With NSFW content, though, the devil’s in the details — this term is loose by design, and they way it’s applied differs greatly depending on the people, situation, and content in question.

Quilt’s Definitions

In order to make this easier to understand, we’ve split potentially NSFW content into several categories:

  • Explicitly Allowed: Content which we do not consider NSFW, and that we allow in any space
  • Contextual: Content which we may allow or disallow based on the discussion it’s part of and context around it
  • Restricted: Content which is only allowed within the spaces we specifically designate for it
  • Banned: Content which is not allowed in all circumstances

Some of our spaces may also have specific rules that apply to them. Where that’s the case, we’ve listed them under the appropriate heading below.

Note: It’s always worth remembering that everyone has their own experiences and history. Additionally, note that posting content and discussing it isn’t the same thing — but if you’re in doubt, you can always contact us via @ModMail.

Additionally: We are not the ultimate arbiters of what should and should not be considered NSFW content on a global scale. We’ve listed some types of content below because a user had questions about it, because we want to ensure people understand how posting specific content impacts their safety, or because we wanted to be clear and avoid confusing users — not because we consider it problematic, or we think other people shouldn’t be allowed to peruse it (aside from a few specific examples in the banned category).

Space-Specific Rules

The following rules apply to specific Quilt community spaces. If we haven’t listed a space here, you can assume that it follows the rest of this document. Banned content remains banned regardless of space-specific rules.

  • Forums: We only allow minimal contextual content outside dedicated topics and categories
  • GitHub: We do not allow any restricted or contextual content
  • Toolchain Discord: We do not allow any restricted content, and we only allow minimal contextual content

The specific definitions for each type of content mentioned here can be found in the following sections.

Explicitly Allowed Content

We allow the following content in our spaces.

Anywhere

  • Hormone replacement therapy and related discussions, including conversations about DIY hormone replacement therapy

We believe that hormone replacement therapy should be available for anyone that needs it — many countries are happy to provide access to this for cis people but unfairly discriminate against trans people, even though this approach contravenes modern medical recommendations and human rights work.

Quilt has always been explicitly supportive of trans people, and some members of its Community Team consider themselves human rights activists. However, it’s worth noting that testosterone is a controlled substance in the USA (the location of many platforms we use), and we may need to ask you to stop discussing ways to obtain it directly in our spaces.

In your Discord bio and connections

Your Discord bio is the section displayed under “About Me” on your profile — not your status, banner, or avatar.

  • Linked accounts containing potentially NSFW content, as long as they are correctly age gated or tagged for sensitive content as required by the platform
  • If your bio is otherwise SFW, a link to your (potentially NSFW) site or Discord server, as long as it’s properly age-gated, without excessively explicit details in text

While it would be completely inappropriate to engage in it within our spaces, we believe that sex work is work just like any other. We will not tolerate discriminatory behaviour towards sex workers in our spaces, but we will moderate sexual content in accordance with our policies regardless of whether the user in question is a sex worker.

Contextual Content

We allow or disallow the following content based on the surrounding context.

Anywhere

  • Non-sexual, consensual expressions of affection, including hugging/cuddling, parental/guardian-like affection such as sitting on laps, and so on

Remember that consent must be explicit — it’s best not to make assumptions and to ask people if they’re OK with an approach, instead of assuming they’ll be OK with it and potentially hurting them.

As long as this is consensual and appropriate, we’re unlikely to try to moderate this outside of situations involving poor timing or lack of tact, where that’s likely to hurt someone — for example, you shouldn’t try to hug someone when they’re talking about how they’ve been negatively affected by people hugging them without consent.

With a spoiler and content warning

  • Mildly suggestive artwork or artwork depicting injuries, as long as the purpose of the artwork isn’t simply to shock or upset other users
  • Artwork or photos depicting the intimate parts of a relationship

While we don’t have an interest in banning depictions of couples kissing (for example), we understand that this can be a trigger for some people, so we ask that it’s posted with a content warning and a spoiler.

Restricted content

We only allow the following content in spaces designated for it.

In spaces designated for artwork and artistic discussions

With a spoiler and content warning

  • Anatomy practise and historic artistic nudity (for example, the Venus statues)
  • Artwork that could reasonably be considered horror or horror-related (except for gore or body horror)

It’s difficult to improve your approach to drawing people in general without putting in some anatomy practice. However, this does not have to be extremely detailed work — we advise that you use your best judgement, but we’ll still remove content that includes depictions of intimate parts of the body that are too detailed.

In spaces designated for serious or sensitive topics

With a spoiler and content warning, and without imagery

  • Discussions relating to sexual abuse (or other related trauma), from the perspective of activism, venting, discussing news, seeking support, and supporting survivors and the families of victims

While we aren’t therapists (or trained in how to help with these situations), it’s hard to overstate how helpful it can be to receive support from your peer group, or just to talk about your trauma. We feel it’s important for us to provide spaces where this can happen — but we’d like to remind you that therapy is helpful for many people going through all sorts of things, and you should still seek it out if you need it.

In spaces designated for trans or LGBT+ people, or for serious or sensitive topics

Without intimate imagery, aside from medical diagrams with a spoiler and content warning

  • Sexual health and body care
  • Detailed information about gender-affirming surgery and what happens during it

As a trans-positive space, it wouldn’t make sense for us to disallow these discussions. It’s still worth noting that even cis people may need to talk about sexual health and body care, though, so we don’t limit this to trans-related discussions.

In spaces designated for trans or LGBT+ people, or for fashion or selfies

  • Photos of yourself that are not sexual in nature but depict suggestive or semi-intimate wear, or clothing that isn’t suggestive but is commonly sexualized on the internet, with considerations made for your safety — for example:
    • Clothing such as hosiery, swimwear, crop tops, bras, tall heels or short shorts/skirts
    • Body parts such as your chest, thighs, feet, or navel area

This restriction is intended to protect users that wish to post photos of themselves, rather than entirely removing content from the view of other users — it gives us a much smaller potential surface area to moderate, and makes it easier to pick out people that are just around to creep on people’s photos.

Regardless, please use your best judgement when posting content that may impact your safety. We’ll always recommend you avoid posting your face or the area you live or work in, including scenery visible through windows.

Note: It’s not appropriate for threads or forum topics to be created to collate this type of content — but it’s OK to create (for example) an “outfit of the day” thread, as long as it isn’t exclusively meant for this type of content, and allows for on-topic posts that don’t match this designation.

Banned Content

We do not allow the following content under any circumstances, aside from the exceptions detailed previously.

Implied or explicit nudity

  • Implied or explicit nudity involving drawn characters, real people or AI generated images, including photos depicting the results of gender-affirming surgery or imagery where someone appears to be nude — even when their intimate body parts are not visible due to positioning or framing
  • Implied or explicit nudity involving drawn characters, where the intention of the depiction is to be suggestive, sexual, shocking, or otherwise not incidental or intended for practice

Suggestive or sexual attention

  • Suggestive comments about (or reactions to) other users that haven’t consented to it, especially if they’ve stated they’re uncomfortable with it or aren’t old enough — regardless of how explicit the comments are
  • Sexual comments about other users, regardless of context or whether they consent to it, including implications about other people or groups of people
  • Any suggestive or intimate depictions involving people other than the poster, without their consent or knowledge — including creep-shots or images reasonably assumed to be private, regardless of how well-known the person is

Suggestive or sexual content

  • Content (including imagery, audio and other multimedia) intended to be suggestive or arousing, or to seek a sexual response from another user
  • Explicit sexual content and behaviour, including role-play and innuendo intended to imply sexual intent
  • Depictions of movements intended to be sexual or seductive, including twerking (even if it’s a Crewmate from Among Us), regardless of the reason it’s being posted

Other content

  • Depictions of anything that can reasonably be considered NSFL — animal abuse, gore, serious injuries, body horror, suicide, and so on

Moderation Policy

First and foremost, we’d like to point out that we’re not trying to be the fun police. Our community is host to a diverse range of people with many backgrounds, and some of them may suffer from panic attacks or other strong reactions to NSFW content. We believe that these people have a place in our community, and we’d like to make it as welcoming for them as we can.

We’re aware of the different levels of tolerance people have for drawn art versus photography and depictions of real people, and we understand the need to take content and context into account when moderating this type of media. We’ll do our best to avoid under-moderating while still allowing an acceptable degree of freedom.

Additionally, it’s worth pointing out that NSFW content can present a safety issue when posted around minors. Our team is intimately familiar with the correlation between people posting NSFW content around minors and how those people can be a danger to those minors, and we will not tolerate any behaviour that impacts the safety of our users.

While we moderate NSFW content on a case-by-case basis in accordance with our broader moderation policy, we’d like to point out that the Community Team may include minors and people that have strong reactions to NSFW content. For this reason, we do not allow minors to handle NSFW content, and Community Team members that do not wish to handle NSFW content are welcome to avoid doing so, or ask another staff member to handle it on their behalf.

It’s important to us that everyone on our staff teams prioritizes individual safety and mental health above their work, but we’ll still do our best to respond to reports and issues in a timely fashion.

Note: There’s a difference between sexual content and approaching another user sexually, or with sexual intent — but the lines may be blurry in some situations. We consider approaching someone sexually to be much more serious than posting sexual content on its own, but it’s also worth noting that sometimes the act of posting sexual content can itself be considered sexual attention towards someone. We always aim to prioritize safety, so it shouldn’t be surprising if we are harsher than you may expect in situations like this!